Extremely happy to report we still have a healthy tank. Three huge weather loaches, who love to be fed by hand and even curl up for a rest in our cupped palms.
WCMMs all present and correct, sadly lost a few female Danios due to being egg bound. The male Platy also passed away but around 12 surviving babies, some not really babies now. Incredibly, all of the more mature Platy babies appear to be female, as far as I can tell using Mr. Google.
We also have four Zebra loaches and a rescue Hillstream loach. We took the Hillstream thinking it was a baby plec that could be rehomed but no chance of catching him now. We added a bubble wall and he hangs out there, so hopefully we aren't doing him so much of a disservice (considering he was in a fishbowl previously)
We are now passing the height of the diatom bloom down to the sand substrate, it's reducing gradually, five nerites have helped and happily the loaches have left them alone.
I'm now a dab hand at the master testing but with fortnightly wc's, heavy planting plus a pothos growing nicely and careful feeding we have continually avoided any spikes, even minor.
I will say that we are now culturing our own daphnia and this has helped a lot with feeding. With that and other live foods I barely have to vacuum the sand, just agitate it when cleaning to release any air pockets.
Still loving it, still spending hours watching it (now more than usual due to Covid 19) still enjoying the maintenance, testing and perfecting the eco balance.
Just loving it really!
Best wishes to all in these strange times, stay safe, stay well, stay fishy
11 weeks in, blimey it feels a lot longer than that!
Throughout all the trials and tribulations the tank has retained great parameters, a lot of hard work, research and worry though well worth it. To have a weather loach curl up in your hand for a snooze is better than winning the lottery.
We now have a settled tank with the following:
3 (now huge) Weather Loaches 8 Leopard Danios 8 WCMMs 3 Variatus Platy 4 x 1 Week old V. Platy (hoped the loaches would prevent this, dang!) 1 suprise Zebra Loach (friends and a tank heater to be purchased shortly) A few baby MTS hitchhiking (WL's observed eating these so hope they won't become a problem)
Thriving jungle val, annubias, Amazon swords, crypts, ludwigia, java moss and a little bit of salvinia. Just started a pothos cutting to see how it affects nitrates, cos I'm a nerd and I can lol.
Best news of all is that hubby has started the alcove for the 5 footer! He is going to build a solid wood frame based on load weight, distribution and all that flar flar, cos he's a nerd and he can lol.
We have found a supplier for the new tank who build and stock a standard tank that fits what we need. Plus I get cupboard room specific to requirements, mainly to house the growing collection of fish food and aquarist supplies that I am amassing.
I seriously love this tank and wanted to say a HUGE thankyou to this site and you guys who have helped. It has been a very steep learning curve - last week I was in the lfs buying live food and a couple of other customers were discussing fishy stuff with the staff; I not only joined in but also made a few valid points that they hadn't thought of and then agreed with. That made my year 😋🤓🎉👏 so thank you again!
So we bought some new plants for our 350 litre, from Pets at Home. Three days later out pops a Zebra Loach!
I'm still in total shock, I had to call hubby over as I thought I was having a delusional episode and hallucinating (feel free to laugh!)
Aside from not believing how on earth this guy survived in a bag with a plant on a rock, jostled about in the car boot and no water for over an hour - I'm now really concerned as the tank sits at about 20c and initial reading tells me they need to be at 23c min.
Of course we may need to speak to Pets at Home and check if they had Zebras in the tank where the plants came from, we've added a few new plants over the last couple of weeks so he could in theory have come from elsewhere, perhaps even longer ago as a baby? He's about two inches.
Any help, advice or ideas would be greatly appreciated!
So dosed the tank last night to 2ppm, just popped back (16 hrs later)and ammonia 0.5ppm and nitrite 0.5ppm.
I'm going to try and get again tonight but if I can't does this look like the tank is already cycled? Am I right in thinking at the 24 hour point, if the ammonia is 0, the nitrite is 0 and nitrates are present then it is cycled?
So a friend has asked for advice on setting up a 25 litre (5gal) tank for his kids. After using my new found knowledge to advise, I'm confident they won't now just fill it with water and plop a goldfish in!
So what I was planning on doing was providing them with the following from our tank:
Sand substrate, enough to lightly cover the base of the 24l Three small Marimo moss balls Small piece of bog wood Ceramic noodles and Seachem Matrix from our filter Seachem Prime Seachem Stability
The new tank is TINY compared to our 350 litre. My filter is packed out (ready to increase stocking, that will be on hold now!) with media so I can easily spare enough to fill the tiny HOB filter. Our aqadvisor capacity is such that I'm not concerned about a mini cycle in our tank my removing the above items.
They know the tank needs to be cycled before stocking, if they feed it with fish food how long do folks think it will take?
I do have all my test kits on hand to monitor it for them and can dose pure ammonia if needed. It will be unheated so I wondered if this may slow it some.
Somebody else advised them to use Evolution Aqua Pure Aquarium Balls? I've seen these at the lfs but thought they were a water clearing conditioner?
This will certainly be a lesson in patience for the kids! As for tank stock, one betta? Snails?
Quick update - a month in and tank parameters are just about ideal for our stock.
I won't bore you with the detail but no mini cycle, hardness suiting and by heck are these loaches growing!
Absolutely religious daily water changes, daily strip testing and twice weekly master testing, this beaut of a tank has remained stable. We have also used RO to reduce hardness to 10. I'm paraphrasing here as hubby does the RO and hardness parameters, I'm not really sure, I just do as I'm told with how many litres of RO and tap to add.
We have used Seachem Prime, Stability and Matrix, I suspect these have helped hugely.
This is our accidental beginner tank and I'm so pleased we have managed to give these guys a good environment to enjoy life.
Next step is a few extra souls, shall keep you updated! Oh and starting a shrimp tank too, a whole new thread/subject.