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Introducing myself and my aquarium
April 30, 2013
8:14 pm
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shorty
Bergen, Norway
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Hi all,

 

My name is Pete, just hoping to share my tank and get some expert opinions from you here. I have been visiting this site for a while checking out profiles and trying to find what fish if any might do best in my little tank. So I guess in order to best get some type of advice I should first introduce my tank.

 

It is a little 25L glass tank, unheated and unfiltered loosely trying to follow some type of Walstad / Natural Planted Tank methodology. The temp will probably never fluctuate below 18C or higher than 24C due to the heating / air con unit in the house. I have a digital thermometer sitting right next to the tank and for the last couple of months it has only ranged between 20.2 and 22.1C. Anyways here is a shot of the tank:

 

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s91/shorty2181/mytank27413.jpgImage Enlarger

 

If you want you can see my set up process and everything here:

http://www.aquascapingworld.co.....stad.7960/

 

So I now have a tank full of Daphnia, cyclops and cherry shrimp, and would like to add a tiny species of fish to my tank. Would love Elassoma but realise they really need a lot more plant coverage. Thinking about Dario dario, but would like to know others thoughts on their suitability. Otherwise was wondering if anyone could suggest the perfect guest for this tank. Was thinking some type of killi might be good but I really don't know where to start with them, Never had any experience with them. I do know that I love the look of the Cynolebias, Austrolebias, simpsonichthys and Aphanius.

 

I guess what I really need is something sub tropical, small, coming from stagnant / relatively still waters, rather tolerant to water chemistry and quality. Not asking too much am I?

 

 

 

 

 

May 1, 2013
11:11 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Hi Pete and welcome to the site. Smile Your tank looks very nice so far!

D. dario could work in there but would probably eat any shrimplets in the tank. How is the pH and hardness of your water?

Cake or death?
May 1, 2013
11:41 am
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BigTom
Edinburgh
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If you don't mind a very reclusive fish, then Indostomus paradoxus would probably work well in there and are just about the only fish I know that won't eat baby shrimp. You won't see much of them day to day, but very rewarding when you do. You can also hide pipes in the sand/plants which they'll often frequent.

May 1, 2013
11:47 am
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shorty
Bergen, Norway
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Thanks Matt!

Firstly the shrimplets and daphnia etc are in there hoping they will become part of the food chain. In a bigger tank I would hope for some type of self sustaining (to a degree) environment somewhat like Tom's bucket, but I realize in such a small tank they will probably just get eaten very quickly and I will just have to feed from separate cultures.

Secondly, as far as pH and hardness I actually haven't checked/ don't have the test kits to check. I have checked with the local water suppliers websites and found out that the water comes out at our end at quite a high pH, often around pH 8.5. There is next to no hardness though, so I suspect that with my tank having a reasonable organic load that the pH should drop to perhaps slightly acid, and that hardness should rise slightly. I have talked to the guy at the local fish store, and he says that even though that out of the tap pH is quite high, that in all his tanks without any buffeting agents the pH always drops so I'm not sure how the water company treats the water as I also know in the lakes, pH is neutral to slightly acidic.

My major worry with water chemistry is that my rocks could contribute to hardness / pH. I checked them before hand with vinegar but know that a stronger acid really is necessary for a more comprehensive result.

As a result I don't think my parameters should be too extreme in either direction, I am reasonably experienced with keeping aquaria and water chemistry, am I stupid for assuming this?

Matt, I see you are someone to go to for info on Aphanius. I read that most species really need quite hard water with an alkaline pH. Are there any species or populations that come from slightly acidic, softer water?

Thanks for any help,

Pete.

May 1, 2013
11:53 am
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shorty
Bergen, Norway
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Wow bigtom, you musta written that whilst I was slowly tapping out my reply. I would love Indostomus, but thought my temperature would be too low.

May 1, 2013
12:23 pm
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BigTom
Edinburgh
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shorty said
Wow bigtom, you musta written that whilst I was slowly tapping out my reply. I would love Indostomus, but thought my temperature would be too low.

I've had them breed at around 20 degrees, should be OK temp wise.

What substrate have you got under your sand?

May 1, 2013
1:06 pm
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shorty
Bergen, Norway
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BigTom, it's actually a bit of a mix. I collected some really dark loam, and soil, and a red sandy clay from the forest. To this I added some commercial potting mix (mostly peat and sand) and crushed up some old (I mean OLD) fired clay bricks, hoping to increase CEC a bit. Right now I wish a also added some sort of slow release fertilizer, but when I am feeding tank inhabitants I'll probably be glad I didn't.

May 1, 2013
1:18 pm
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BigTom
Edinburgh
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OK, hard to know exactly what that's going to do to your water parameters (the potting mix will almost certainly be pushing pH and hardness up). If your tap water is very soft then the pH readings out the tap are fairly meaningless and are probably high because water companies tend to add NaOH to reduce heavy metal leaching from pipework. 

If I had to place a bet I'd guess you're going to end up with moderately hard water (100-200ppm) with pH 7.something. Should be OK.

May 1, 2013
1:29 pm
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shorty
Bergen, Norway
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Shouldn't the peat (sphagnum peat, I just checked) soften and lower pH? I thought if anything it would be my unknown soil and rocks which could possibly harden the water.

May 1, 2013
1:40 pm
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BigTom
Edinburgh
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shorty said
Shouldn't the peat (sphagnum peat, I just checked) soften and lower pH? I thought if anything it would be my unknown soil and rocks which could possibly harden the water.

It will, but only a negligible amount compared to what the additives will probably be releasing. I made that same mistake when initially setting up my big tank for soft water species... the compost I used was 7 parts loam to 3 parts peat to 2 parts sand, but the added limestone and fertilisers pushed the pH and hardness way, way up. DO you know what sort of compost you used?

May 1, 2013
2:07 pm
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shorty
Bergen, Norway
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Sorry I re-read what I wrote and I was a bit misleading. When I said the potting mix was MOSTLY peat and sand it should have read ONLY. It is a cactus and succulent mix without added fertilizer. At least I think so 'cause I don't read Norwegian perfectly yet but there was nothing else in the ingredients list. Actually I went for this specific one cause I had read about your problems with the limestone added to yours. Would have helped you with CO2 production though!

May 1, 2013
2:46 pm
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BigTom
Edinburgh
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Ah right. In that case I have no idea Smile

Might be worth finding a LFS that will do you a quick pH and hardness/conductivity test before making a final decision, at least to give you a rough idea before stocking anything too tricky.

May 1, 2013
3:52 pm
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AlanYoung
Garden Grove, CA, USA
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Hey  any one having a video tutorial how to breed fish..???Smile

 

Alan Young

May 2, 2013
8:25 am
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shorty
Bergen, Norway
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Ok so regardless of unknown water parameters, I'm still open to any suggestions for species based on size, temperature and tank furnishing/layout.

I was not going to add fish for another couple of weeks/months, so I am really just trying to gather info on suitable species for this tank. I will definitely test water quality and chemistry before ordering any fish, just thought I would leave that as long as possible to try and find long term, more stable values.

I have lots of experience with cichlids, certain catfish, Australian natives and marine fish and inverts. Coming from Australia where we are extremely restricted in what is allowed into the country, and moving to Europe I have become a little overwhelmed by the choices seemingly available. Hence my asking for help to build up a list of potential candidates.

So if you think you know of the perfect species, or what you would put in here, no matter how obscure or unpopular a spe Kes may be I am open for suggestions. Later on when I think the tank is relatively stable I will check water chemistry and make the necessary cuts to my list of potential tank inhabitants.

Thanks sincerely,

Pete.

May 3, 2013
9:31 am
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Hi Pete,

just went through your thread on asw as well and must say, nicely done! Incidentally, I am busy with a fairly similar layout, just one size larger (60 x 30 x 30 cm), which I might present when done and dokumented.

Unfortunately, as with most "aqua scapes", it is the scape itself, or better perhaps the requirements to maintain that scape, which sets the limitations on stocking. I am not concerned about water parameters in your case and believe that Big Tom will prove quite accurate with his 'guesstimate': moderately hard and pH around neutral to slightly alkaline. I am keeping quite a few small species within the range of temperatures you mention, so that's no problem either. In my oppinion and from experience I'd say, the limiting factor in this tank is the light! 11 watts might not sound all that much but in a cfl should deliver around 900 lm and that's brilliant for your plants but in a 25 l tank unfortunately a bit much for many, if not most, small fish species. Sure they'd all survive but will never show their natural behaviour as they won't be "comfortable".

My opinion on species mentioned so far: Elassoma spp. ceratainly not, as you said yourself, Dario spp. not (sorry Matt) as they prefere much the same conditions as Elassoma, Indostomus paradoxus I have not kept myself but from what I read and hear, they do much better under dim light too.

I do believe that D. margaritatus would work very well (as would probably D. erythromicron) since they seem to love "open water" and, in my tank, seek out the brightest light. The same is true (funny enough) for Tateurndina ocellicauda. I know that recommended temps  are generally higher than those you'll have but I am keepeng them at 18 - 26* C (which is supported by temperatures actually measured long term in their natural habitat) and they're doing extremely well.

Apart from those, I would not know of any species I could recommend.

As far as your unknown critters are concerned, try the following. Get a 3% solution of peroxyde and a small (1 ml) syringe. Apply the solution slowly directly to the "colonies" and give it a couple of hours to do it's job. You might have to repeat the procedure once or twice to get all of them but generally it should work.

Hope that helps.

Regards

R

 

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
May 3, 2013
12:29 pm
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shorty
Bergen, Norway
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Thanks so much for the well thought out reply Rüdiger.

 

When you are done (or even in the process) with your tank I would love to see it.

 

Yes I realise the limitations with my 'scape', never really set up a tank as a scape before. Always just for fish so I'm kicking myself a bit with the restriction, but I really want to see it through as an aquascape too, at least to some point of maturity. Hence why I ask here for species suggestions, where users seem to be very knowledgeable plus looking at the ethics of fish keeping.

 

I wasn't sure with the Dario's, thanks for confirming they like it a bit more subdued. As for the brightness I know a lot of the Australian rainbowfish and blue eyes I have kept LOVE the light, and are the most brilliant in a well lit tank with plenty of green. If it weren't for the lower temp I would have good ol' Iraitherina werneri in here in a second, but they like a bit more swimming space I guess too. That's why I thought Dario might be good, they like a defined territory to defend/hunt in, which I can offer rather than open swimming space.

 

I will think about the Danio's but have had them before, was hoping to try something new to me. Now I guess my next groups that I really have never worked with are livebearers and killi's. Have to continue my research with them.....

May 3, 2013
2:18 pm
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Hi Pete,

I assumed you want to see that scape through and honestly, it would be a shame if you didn't. That's the rsason I didn't suggest to put more or different plants in there, which would make it suitable for Darios.

As you mention the blue eyes, perhaps have a look here. This suggests that especially P. gertrudae and P. signifer should very well handle the temperatures we're talking about. A very interesting site altogether by some of your compatriots. ;-)

Regards

R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
May 7, 2013
7:54 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Ah, is the plan not to let the plants grow in more?

Cake or death?
May 7, 2013
11:40 pm
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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I'd say that'd somehow contradict the idea of that scape. And even if, its 90% grass like plants, which Darios will use as cover when foraging for critters but they do prefer either broad leaves or a really tangled mess when hanging out, at least mine do. ;-) The java fern seems to be the needle leaf variant, which grows painfully slow and doesn't give much cover.

I'm always amazed how well a bright red fish can be camouflaged in a bunch of bright green Ceratophyllum.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
May 8, 2013
8:31 am
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shorty
Bergen, Norway
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@ Matt
My plan is definitely to let the plants grow in more, but it will still be relatively open, just thicker really. So I don't think it would be a great place for any fish that really love it dark and dense.

@ Rüdiger
I really love pseudomugil, have kept many and caught lots of signifer from different environments, as well as a number os species of rainbows. I always wanted to keep P. gertrudae but for now will try something that wasn't available to me at home. Actually speaking of Australian natives, have you heard of the Craterocephalus or "hardy heads"? In my opinion a highly underrated group at home, wonder if anyone from Europe etc knows of them?

So I will continue on my quest for knowledge about these cyprinidontiformes, funny that what should be a reasonably simple group of fish can daunt me so much!

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