Aquarium Updates

It’s been a while since my last aquarium update so after some major maintenance here are some updated pics.

A few changes in the 16g but nothing major. The pennywort in the new(er) Spec just wouldn’t stay rooted so it’s now a floater in the big tank. The T5 bulb burned out. I dug a Finnex Stingray LED out of the basement and am using that instead. The tank is brighter and I like the colors, just not very happy with the look of the fixture and the original plastic hood. Another future project 🙄 With this particular tank I have the light on a timer which I’ve had to adjust due to both the longer days and the fact that there was a bit of an algae bloom. Still planning to add more neons when the weather is consistently warmer.

The new(er) Spec without the pennywort, I also played around a bit with the rocks and wood. Nice growth on the sword.

The original Spec, which is on my desk. Not easy to see in the pic but the dwarf sag on the left has gone crazy, lots and lots of runners! I’ll eventually remove the moss balls, trim some of the runners, and replant them on the right.


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Quick Aquarium Updates

The cruise had me away from the house for eight days. The kids take care of the dogs but I still make quite detailed plans and instructions for feeding, sleeping arrangements, medications, etc. The fish and aquariums are the opposite end of the spectrum.

I let the fish go unfed. My stock is pretty basic-no high end, special needs fish-so they can easily go two weeks without feeding. I put a timer on the 16g light but left the two Specs alone. After almost a week and a half with mainly ambient lighting and no ferts the plants looked surprisingly good!

The new(er) Spec seemed to do the best. I managed to keep a few stems of pennywort in the substrate and let the rest float, lots of dangly root growth there. I’m very happy with growth of both the crypt spiralis and crypt parva. Really just need to make the time to do some trimming in all the tanks.

A few days after I got home the AquaClear on the 16g just died. I took the filter completely apart and cleaned everything but couldn’t get it running. Of course this was after 9pm so my only option was WalMart where I got a Whisper Internal Power Filter. I like the looks of it and it’s surprisingly quiet-only negative I’ve found is output can’t be adjusted-but it leaves the tank way underfiltered. Because of the tank’s location I get a lot of reflection with pics, this shot was taken from the side:

Going to use this opportunity to upgrade to a larger AquaClear and order more green neons from Rachel when the weather is warmer.

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New Tank Progress

At this point I suppose it isn’t really a new tank but since I have two Spec Vs I call it that to differentiate between them.

This is the tank I started in October. I’m not using the most plant-friendly substrate so growth is a bit slow but there has been progress. For a while I was having issues with the snails uprooting the crypt parva but that hasn’t happened recently; now for whatever reason I’m having trouble keeping the pennywort in the sand.

The schedule I’ve been following is a weekly water change, twice weekly doses of Flourish and Flourish Excel, and a weekly dose of Leaf Zone. I’ve been changing out the Poly Filter every other water change. Water quality hasn’t been a problem, it’s more of a preventative measure since I overstock. I also add a new Indian almond leaf maybe once a month.

Nov 03

Nov 10

Nov 13

Nov 20

Dec 02

Thoughts on this tank? I’m happy with the hardscape and finally starting to relax about the plant growth. Looking back at these pics I’m sure at this point that I want to add a background, I really don’t like seeing the cords hanging in the back. It’s a good livestock combination, if I did anything with that it would be to increase the number of both Amano shrimp and white clouds but not until spring when the weather is better for shipping.

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Daily Prompt: Fish

A few photos from our trip to San Francisco this past summer for today’s Daily Prompt: Fish

California Academy of Sciences:

Aquarium of the Bay:

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New Order

Last week I talked about possibly doing another fish order…fast forward and that order arrived today! From Rachel at Invertebrates by Msjinkzd: green neons, white clouds, otos, and Amano shrimp.

Otos acclimating in shipping bag:

Otos in bucket before separating:

White clouds when bag first hung in tank:

White clouds 30 minutes later:

Amano shrimp, which like other bottom feeders are major poop machines:

This is the happiest I’ve been with the tanks in a very long time, not just because of the new additions but overall. I setup a spreadsheet for maintenance and calendar reminders which seems to help a lot instead of thinking I should do this or that occasionally. It’s nice to sit and look at the tanks, enjoy what I’m seeing without being stressed.

On that note here’s a quick phone camera shot I took, right side of the 16g. Gotta love photo bombing fish  😂


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Oto Snacks Project

Some of my favorite fish are bottom feeders: kuhli loaches, pygmy cories, and otos.

Otos (Otocinclus vittatus) are a small catfish, max size is around 2″. They are great algae eaters and very peaceful with other fish and shrimp-including fry-which makes them quite popular. I currently have one but they do best in groups. Unlike my kuhli friends, otos are not nocturnal and are interesting to watch, either while they’re busy cleaning plants or tank glass, or resting balanced on plant leaves.

I don’t specifically feed my oto. It’s pretty easy to determine if he’s getting enough to eat by the size of his belly. That being said I decided to try growing some algae rocks to supplement what’s already available in the tank. This is basically putting aquarium safe clean rocks or stones in a container of dechlorinated water then adding a tiny bit of fish food and some leaf litter from one of the tanks. Container gets placed in direct sunlight and hopefully will produce some nice algae treats for the little guy.


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Aquarium Updates and Plans

Had a nice evening working on the tanks…that might sound odd but putting on some music, getting everything organized, and accomplishing a lot is a pretty good feeling. I don’t know if it’s the lighting or what but I prefer doing this stuff after dark. In order to keep on schedule I do all three tanks which is trimming and removing dying/dead plant leaves, cleaning or replacing filter media, water change, and adding plant fertilizers.

The 16g is difficult to photograph because of lighting and reflections regardless of time of day. I’ve never had a lot of luck with plants in this tank, most likely because of the depth and the fact that I just use standard lighting. The plants are doing well though, just very, very slow growing. I ordered a third piece of spider wood for the back left. I’m tossing around the idea of adding more green neons as well which in turn has me researching upgraded filters. It’s a 16g and I’m running an AquaClear 50 with extra media so technically I’m over filtering but I’m also overstocked. Other than that and a lack of patience with the plants I’m pretty happy with this tank.

Right now the original Spec 5 is my favorite. The Endlers are always active and I see new fry every few days. My original goal was a subwassertang mountain or hill. It was a lot of work and time before it finally settled down into basically one very large clump but I love the look. Only downside: shrimp seem to love it too and spend a lot of time hiding in there.

And finally the second Spec 5. Things were going well with this one until some drilling was done in the wall behind the (unprotected) tank, which resulted in the loss of at least four white clouds and two shrimp. Daily small water changes after that happened and I think the water quality is finally back to normal. I would definitely like to replace the lost fish and shrimp at some point. Plants are doing well other than a small bit of melt on the crypt spiralis (expected) and the snails have been regularly uprooting some of the tiny crypt parva. Shrimp travel better with something to hold onto in the bag and I was lucky enough to get an entire narrow leaf java fern in my last order. I tucked that into the driftwood near the spiralis, I think the two plants complement each other.


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New Aquarium Updates

The second piece of driftwood I ordered for the new tank arrived today, as well as the plant weights for the stubborn sword plant. This evening before:

First task was to replant the crypts (spiralis and parva) that the snails uprooted. Removed some melted leaves from the pennywort, added the new driftwood, and planted the sword. I’m really happy with how it looks although I think I need to do something with the right front corner. I’m also debating if I should add a background to the tank or not.

Oct 24 2016 after

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Aquarium Update/Build

I was kind of meh about the aquariums for a few months…summer was busier with the kids then there was poor Nandy followed by Teddy’s surgery. I had six tanks running and got to the point where I felt overwhelmed thinking about doing anything with them. Finally gave myself a kick in the butt and started downsizing: I now have three with the bonus of them all being in the same room which makes maintenance much easier.

The following photos show a somewhat quick build I did starting earlier this week, specific info & links after the pictures:


-Aquarium: Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit
-Substrate: National Geographic Aquarium Sand
-Rocks: eBay
-Wood: Emours Aquarium Driftwood
-Betta: Petco
-Plants: Planted Aquariums Central
-White clouds, Amano shrimp, and nerite snails: Invertebrates by Msjinkzd

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Fish Friday

Kuhli loach, Pangio kuhlii

Jan 19 2016 kuhlis1

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