After very quickly becoming addicted to all things aqua, we have a 3 ft, 176 litre tank completely uninhabited and after much discussion have decided to keep it and stock it.
It is currently on a fishless cycle with a canister filter, using filter media left for just under 2 weeks partially submerged in old tank water outside the back door, rain water now included. Which will be interesting.....
RO water on hand if we need it.
Sand substrate which we are not prepared to change. Heater available too.
So what would be everyone's ideal stocking?
Ideas have been planted only, planted with shrimp or a whole new community.
Open to anything as long as it is suitable for beginners!
So it's exactly two weeks to the day that we started testing the water with an API master kit. Levels today:
Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 20ppm
Nitrate has dropped since we started introducing the RO water. Hardness isn't yet down to the 12 required (testing this with dip strips) but daily water changes continue and this will happen imminently. Ammonia and nitrite have remained at 0 daily, does this mean we have avoided a mini cycle?
Our tap water had insanely high nitrate readings, so I guess the RO unit is removing a lot but we may need to invest in a pump for it, to lower the nitrates to absolute zero.
All the loaches are still healthy and really great fun to watch, the WCMM's are now doing courting dances and going into the plants to scatter eggs. I'm hoping this means they are happy too!
Looking to the future after our 'accidental tank acquisition' as per my previous posts, I have been enjoying making a stocking plan, which I want to share for your honest opinions and advice.
Few background bits - we have a Juwel 350 (4ft) cold water tank with All Pond Solutions 1400 EF+ canister filter (with recently added Seachem Matrix in addition to boil balls, activated carbon, ceramic noodles and sponges that were previously cycled).
The tank is currently housing 3 juvenile Weather Loaches and 6 juvenile Gold White Cloud Mountain Minnows, sand substrate, bog wood, pebbles, slate rock caves and numerous live plants. Due to the tank move, from a 3ft, three days ago we are sticking with the current stocking (until we have reliable nitrate, ph and hardness readings for a good while).
Water testing is coming back good, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, nitrates changing due to new RO water but lowering and no mini cycling so far (can't remember the dang results but I have them in my notebook which I have left at work!). 10% water changes daily and we are gradually lowering the hardness after installing the under sink RO unit, to suit the loaches. Seachem Prime (and Stability as a precautionary measure) being used as per instructions.
We do have plans to get a 5ft tank next year but need to do a few renovations to the house before we can fit it where we want it.
So, based on the above, I have followed the links provided in the other thread and have come up with the following stock list. It includes current fish, so will be a total stock, not additional, so to speak:
Oh good Lordy, discovered today that we actually have a Juwel 350 not a 240!!
The new tank wasn't up to temp this morning (by less than a degree, pfft) so I ambled off to the lfs (I'm even getting in with the lingo now see) for a browse, to kill some time and take my mind off the fact I was starving the fishys in preparation for the tank move.
I was peering into an established 'show' tank, admiring the planting when I saw that it was a Juwel 240 but seemed much shorter than our new tank. Seeing me looking perplexed a staff member came over. After me doing a little arm stretchy, tippy toe representation of the size of the new tank, I was shown a brochure. Low and behold we have a larger tank than we thought!
With this news I walked around the rest of the place, dribbling slightly at the stocking potential, then chided myself and promised not to return before the new tank is settled for a few months.
So by this afto, both tanks were temperature (and Ph) matched so I went for it!
Moved the plants and decor first, I'd already planned where they were going so that didn't take long. Then I spent a few minutes netting all the darn debris from moving the plants - few broken stems and leaves.
I girded my loins and got all prepped for the filter media change. Towels, tubs and buckets, it must have looked like I was preparing to deliver a baby. I filled a tub with old tank water, turned off and disconnected the old filter and lifted out the trays and popped them in the tank water, leaving the air stone going in the old tank (I read that was a good idea).
Then I turned off the new filter, and found I could just swap the trays, I didn't realise they were the same size! Very pleased with that. The new filter is way more powerful, the flow rate is definitely higher, which I guess is better with a much larger tank? I didn't wash or agitate any of the media in the tank water, desperately trying to keep as much good bacteria as possible. So when I turned the new filter back on, whoosh, a load of cloudy water came out.
By this point it was too late to turn back so I braced myself for moving the fishys. The beautiful little beings that this whole crazy adventure has really been about.
Would you believe it, hubby arrived home at that very second and offered to do it for me. He is way calmer than me and more dexterous. He 'jugged' them one by one while I took myself off to the kitchen to clean the cooker hob, which was already spotless; just about vibrating with fear that someone would get mortally injured. Nobody did and all minnows and loaches were moved successfully.
By the time he had finished moving the fishys the water was clear of the 'cloud' and now just has a little detritus flowing about. I'm guessing that will clear.
So in terms of fishy status, the minnows are LOST in this tank, they are so tiny! They seem to be schooling in the filter current more, then breaking off to explore, then re-schooling. The loaches hid for about 10 minutes then started exploring. Dave, the one with the damaged dorsal fin, has been popping up to the top (for air?) so I've adjusted the spray bar to agitate the surface more.
We are now only two hours into the new tank and I'm feeling like I'm on amber alert. Hopefully all the fishys will survive the immense stress of what we have inflicted on them.
Next step is to gradually change over with RO water to get it within the hardness parameters for the loaches. I'm planning on doing that minimally as part of the daily 10% water changes, over the next few weeks.
Anyhoo, we shall see how it goes, any problems you guys will be the first to know!
I have spent the afternoon washing aquatic sand, messing about with hose and pulling my hair out trying to get the new filter working (turns out it was just an airlock). Im a bit frazzled but it's all up and running.
Got a lovely piece of bog wood and slate stones that came with it too.
So we have filled it with standard tap water with the required amount of Seachem Prime. Didn't want to add any RO yet until the fish are acclimatised (the fish aren't in yet) to the new set up, hopefully that's a good decision.
The water is 14c and so cold it is causing lots of condensation on the outside of the tank, so popped a heater in to get it up to temp. Hopefully that will happen asap because I am seriously excited about seeing the loaches in the new tank!
So, bit knackered now and decided to pop open the Chablis but tomorrow, if it's up to temp, I plan to move over the plants and decor from the old tank, taking time to get it looking perfect. Then transfer the old filter media and as calmly as I can possibly manage, move the fish over.
I have Seachem Stability on hand too, just in case!
Just hope I haven't missed anything. I'm having slight panic attacks as the lid on the new tank (Juwel 240 I think, 1200mm wide one) isn't as sturdy as the old one; I have puss cats who are extremely interested, eek!
In a few months I would hope to perhaps add to the stock - the new tank being larger and with the minnows so tiny I think we have space for a couple more.
What would people advise? The loaches are hopefully going to grow to full size in time so I'm thinking long term. Although we didn't choose these specific fish, their theme seems to be au naturel so I'd like to stay with that and not go for bright colourful fish. I want to keep the tank planted so nothing that will gobble the greenery too.
I haven't even looked into further stocking so just looking for ideas to start, so I can look a bit closer into specific species etc.
Thanks again all, I'm feeling much calmer about looking after these beauties for the rest of their lives, in the knowledge I'm doing everything right!