Update on Why I Haven’t Been Posting as Much

I haven’t been posting as much lately because I have been busy with school and also getting distracted occassionaly on the weekends by the various video games I play. I also don’t have that much to talk about to be honest as I only have the snails in my tank. I could talk about the other two tanks me and my mom have, if you want to hear about them?

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First Inhabitants

I got my first inhabitants recently!! They are 7 blue leopard spotted ramshorn snails and they are soo cute! They are also very little right now and that picture at the top of the post is one of the new snails.

These guys won’t be very big when full grown, an inch or so but they will be a nice blue color with white leopard spots. I have heard ramshorn snails are pest snails and can very quickly take over a tank so I will be keeping on their numbers and if I see it start to climb too high then I will look into reducing their numbers. I know that you can buy assassin snails that will do that but I wonder what other methods are out there.

They aren’t very difficult to care for, they mostly eat dead leaves and plants and any algae they find in the tank. I do feed them snail jello as a treat, a small square of it. We make it using calcium rich green baby food, fish food of different kinds, some knox gelatin and some reptile calcium powder. The snails also have a piece of cuttle bone in the tank with them. It is cool seeing them moving around the tank and exploring. One snails has even earned the nickname ‘Heater Snail’ due to his habit of hanging out on the heater of the tank. He will leave the heater occassionaly to explore or to have some snail jello, if there is any in the tank, but he always goes back to it.

 

Shrimp Tank

This is a post about one of the 4 tanks my mom and me have in our house. One tank is in the kitchen, two tanks are the living room and then there is my tank in my room.

I knew I wanted to have red cherry shrimp in my tank but as I started to look at fish for my tank, I came to realise that wanting to have shrimp in my tank was limiting the kind of fish that I could have in the tank. So I decided to to not have the shrimp in my tank and thus the idea of a shrimp tank was born.

My mom had recently gotten some red cherry shrimp and was worried that they weren’t getting enough food in the 30 gallon tank so I told her about my idea of having a shrimp tank. She liked the idea alot and thus we started planning what kind of tank we wanted for the shrimp and if we wanted it to have plants or not as well as if we would put the snails in the tank or not. We debated between a 5 gallon or 19 gallon tank as well as whether we do a tank kit or get everything we need piece by piece.

We ended up with a 10 gallon tank kit with heater, an Aqueon 30 filter, some driftwood, a piece of cholla wood and a flat redish colored rock. We also have added plants to the tank over the time we have had it up and running and changed the substrate once too. The plants we have added are some wisteria, jungle vals, amazon sword, ruffle amazon sword, marimo ball and most recently some baby tears. The light we have adds a red tint to the tank to the shrimp and the rock stand out even more than usual. The shrimp are way more active in their tank and the snails are still as active as when they were in the bigger tank.

And now it seems very likely we have two shrimp who have eggs, one has alot of eggs and the other has a few eggs but nonetheless we have shrimp with eggs! We weren’t exactly looking to breed our shrimp but I take the fact that they have eggs as a sign that they are happy, healthy and like their tank! Though it will be awhile before we have any baby shrimp, I’ve read online that it takes 30-45 days for the baby shrimp to develop.

 

Fish and My Tank

I knew I might end up making one of these posts at some point, I just didn’t think it would happen this soon. I promise they won’t happen very often. Just that every once and awhile I need to get something off my chest relating to the topic of this blog.

I admit that this tank was an impulse buy and looking back on it that was not a very wise move. I have to find a way to make this tank work for the time being as I can’t afford to get a new tank. I know now to not buy any fish tank on impulse because of this situation. I have been looking at fish since I got this tank, and I have been asking questions online to multiple different sites in an effort to come up with some combination that will work with my tank. It seems like eveything I come up won’t work and I’m getting the impression that my tank size and shape make it impossible to house anything.

I’m trying to do my research into what these fish need and some seem like they would work due to their small size. When I ask about them I’m told nope, can’t do it due to tank size and shape. It is just really frustrating and upsetting that I keep hitting brick wall after brick wall in regards to fish and my tank.

I don’t want to be one of those people who buys a fish because it looks pretty only to find out later on that it needed a bigger tank or something special to live and the fish ends up dying. That is why I keep asking all these questions and doing this research but it seems to be for nothing because I go from one brick wall to another brick wall.

I will continue to try and find a combination that both works for my tank and is something that I like. I don’t know how much longer I can keep doing this before I decide to quit, but I don’t want to give up and have an empty tank.  It is very difficult to stay encouraged and excited about something when you keep finding out that your ideas don’t work even though you thought it might work.

Fish Tank Changes

I talked about some changes I made to my fish tank one of the earlier posts. However, I neglected to explain those changes in detail so that is what this post is for. I will explain each I made and why I made it that way no one is left wondering why I made those changes. Here are the changes I made to the tank: I got a better filter, a better light, a better light bulb, an airstone and air pump and some plant specific substrate plus sand instead of gravel.

Better Filter

I got a better filter as I was advised that the filter that came with the kit was not very good nor would it work well with such a tall tank. I was recommended to check out the Aquaclear line from Hagen for a better filter and to make sure that I got one that could handle at least 10-20 gallons more than my tank needed. I looked on Amazon at these filters and went with the Aquaclear 30 filter and I also got some extra intake tubes because I was worried that the filter wouldn’t be long enough to reach the bottom. I’m glad I got the extra tubes as I did end up needing them.

Better Light

The light that came with the tank would have been fine if the bulb had been rated for plants like the box said it was. However, it wasn’t rated for plants as I found out after I sent Aqueon an email asking about it. I started doing looking online at different fish tank lights to find something that worked for my tank and after reading comments online and on various websites I decided on a Finnex 12″ Planted + 24/7 light that would sit on the rim on the tank and it would provide enough to have live plants in the tank. However it wasn’t until I got the light that I realized that I wouldn’t be able to have the light on at the same time as the tank hood. So I went without the hood for a few weeks at the start of the cycling process, it wasn’t that big of a deal as I had no fish in the tank. It just meant that I had to top of the tank off a bit more frequently than I do now because more water would evaporate out of the tank without a lid. But it is a very good aside from the fact that I can’t use the tank hood with it and that is something I hope to get changed soon.

Better Light Bulb

When I realized that I can’t use the Finnex light with the hood I decided to go ahead an use the light and look for a suitable light bulb for the tank hood in case I ever wanted to use the hood again. It took quite a bit of looking around online but I did eventually find a light that worked. It was an Aqua-Glo 8″ Fluorescent bulb that is rated for plant growth which was perfect as I wanted to have live plants in my tank. I replaced the light bulb that came with the tank with this light and remvoed the Finnex to put the hood back on. The looked just as amazing as it did when I was using the Finnex light and I couldn’t wait to put plants in the tank!

An Airstone and Air Pump

The airstone and air pump were to provide movement at the surface of the water and to provide oxygen to the tank as well. I also understand that fish like to play in the bubbles that are produced by the airstone. I don’t have any fish yet so I can’t comment on that but it is something I seen online from other people who do have fish and airstones.

Plant specific substrate plus sand

I didn’t want to have gravel in my tank, it’s not that I don’t like gravel because I do like gravel; I just wanted to do something different along with doing something that I felt would benefit my future plants. This is why I went with the plant substrate instead of gravel. The plant subtrate is loaded with nutrients to help the plants the grow though I know that eventually those nutrients will run out I will need to to use something like root tabs(sorta like fertalizer) which I will put near the plants roots. The reason for the sand is that at the time I was setting the tank up I wanted to have some kind of Corydoras catfish in the tank and the sand would allow them to burrow into it if they wanted to and they wouldn’t potentially get hurt while doing so.

Thoughts on Fish, Part 2

So now that my tank is cycled I can really start thinking about the fish I want to have in my tank. There is just one problem, how am I supposed to choose any fish?! There are soo many fish out there and I’m having a very hard time choosing what fish I want in my tank as I keep changing my mind all the time. I honestly don’t know what fish I want in my tank besides the fact that I want to have 2 mystery snails. The reason I decided to drop getting the shrimp for my tank is that I think they put quite a limit on what I would be able to get. I mean if I wanted to add some at a later date I could certainly do that so it isn’t that big of a deal to not get them now.

Right now I’m thinking about doing a small cichlid or two, maybe an apistogramma species, 2 mystery snails, some ember tetras and some chili rasboras or some celestial pearl danios. This will mostly likely change at some point because I can’t make up my mind due to there being so many fish to choose from.

This is now my fifth fish idea as I keep changing my mind and second guessing myself on what I want to put in my tank.

Cycling my Tank, Part 2

I have been cycling the tank with ammonia and am now on day 29. It has been a learning experience to say the least. It has been both cool and frustrating at the same time to see the colors change as the cycle moves along. At first the ammonia result was very dark and then it began to gradually lightened up and now is at its lightest. I added the amount of ammonia that fishforums.net said I needed to add but that turned out to be too much. So I had to do a 50% water change to reduce the ammonia down from 160ppm to 4.0ppm. I only did that water change after 4 days of getting 160ppm as a result.

I didn’t start to see nitrites in the results until  I was into day 6 of the cycle and that wasn’t very much nitrites either. I didn’t start to see nitrates day 8 of the cycle. The ammonia gets broken down into nitrites which will then get broken down into nitrates. The nitrites couldn’t register until the ammonia started to get broken down and then the nitrates started to register a  few days later as the nitrites started to get broken down. The nitrates climbed very high very quickly and then stayed that way for 3 days before it started to drop some. It never did reach that highest point again but it did come close to it several times.

I have been using a notebook to keep track of my test results and after awhile it started get a little bit messy. So I decided to create a spreadsheet in Excel to keep track of my ammonia, nitrite and nitrate results. I color coded and labeled each column so knew which results went into which column. I also included every date since I started and continue to add dates so I continue to keep track of the results. The reason for this is that too much ammonia can make the fish ill and even kill them if the ammonia got too high. I started this blog on May 7th, 2016 and here are my results from that day till now:

May 7th: Ammonia- 0ppm, Nitrite- 2.0ppm and Nitrate- 10ppm

May 8th: Ammonia- 0ppm, Nitrite- 1.0ppm and Nitrate- 10ppm

May 9th: Ammonia- 0ppm, Nirtrite- 1.0ppm and Nitrate- 10ppm

May 10th: Ammonia- 0ppm, Nitrite- 0.25ppm and Nitrate- 10ppm

May 11th: Ammonia- 0ppm, Nitrite- 0.25ppm and Nitrate- 10ppm

May 12th: Ammonia- 0ppm, Nitrite- 0ppm and Nitrate- 5.0ppm

Today was the first day that I had seen both Ammonia and Nitrites at 0ppm! That means that if I see them at 0ppm tomorrow then my tank is officially cycled! I can’t wait for that because it means I can start putting fish into the tank. It has been almost 5 full weeks since I started this and it is almost done which is awesome!

Edit 5/13/2016: My tank is now officially cycled!!! I can now start putting fish in it, now I just have to decide what fish I want in the tank.