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.
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!
Candle321 - This is so wonderful to read / get an update on your story so far - thanks for sharing this with us. Well done on your efforts and hard work to date which I'm sure is appreciated, and glad you and husband are reaping the rewards in terms of the aquatic inhabitants' behaviour and antics.
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
How lovely and much appreciated to get an update - many thanks.
Sorry to read that there have been a few losses but, on the whole, all seems to be going really well - and it's great that you're continuing to derive such pleasure from the tank, its inhabitants, the maintenance and overall maintaining the eco-system, even culturing food, and finding a viable solution for your hillsteam. Well done and keep up the good work - sounds like you're naturals at fishkeeping!