75 gallon aquarium journal

Gudgie

Hi everyone,

My 75 gallon tank is finally up and running, and I wanted to share its progress. I’ve never tracked my tanks before, so I’m hoping to periodically post pictures and see how it fills in. In theory I’m aiming for a South American community tank, if you ignore the fact that we also have six dwarf synodontis (who peacefully coexist with everyone). Any suggestions on things to tweak are always welcome.

We transitioned everything from our old 55 gallon over to this new tank this weekend, including the substrate. My husband custom built the stand for it - just still needs some doors so our dogs won’t raid the fish food (wouldn’t be the first time...).

Equipment and decor:
75 gallon aquarium
Custom stand
Fluval 407 and 306 canisters
Fluval E heater
36" Fluval eco bright LED fixture (13588)
two 21" Marineland Hidden LED Lighting Strips
Pool filter sand
Dark frosted window film as the background
New spider wood, plus our old Malaysian and a bit of mopani driftwood
Dragon stone

Plants:
Anubias nana
Crypt wendtii
Crypt balansae
Rotala indica
Amazon swords
Ludwia repens
A smattering of other plants that I can’t remember

Fishes/Inverts:
4 Bolivian rams (currently 3M:1F, hoping to add more females soon!)
10 rummynose tetras
6 endlers
1 female BN pleco
1 Colombian zebra pleco (sold as L129, though I’m not sure how to differentiate from L270).
6 Synodontis luscipinnis
2 black neons
2 glowlight tetras (these and the neons are remains of old schools)
2 Amano shrimp
6 nerites
1 Mystery snail (he rode along with some plants)

Stand after priming:

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Just after we filled the tank on Saturday, waiting for it to clear up:

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Here are some tank shots from Monday, with the tank looking much clearer!

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Unfortunately a lot of the plants are in rough shape due to algae and a recent antibiotic treatment in our 55, but hopefully they’ll all recover with time. We definitely need some background plants to fill in. I’ve supplemented with root tabs so far, plus I have liquid ferts. Eventually I hope to upgrade the lighting, probably to a 48” Beamworks FSPEC.

I think I should try to adjust the spider wood on the left so that it takes up more vertical room, but I’m waiting until it’s fully water logged first (rocks are weighting it down). The top of the tank just feels so empty right now. Thoughts?
 

CoryBoi

Following!
 

Basil

Very nice! I have some java fern on taller driftwood to fill out the top of my 75. But I don’t really think yours looks all that bare.
And nice to see another Marylander! What fish stores do you go to?
 

Gudgie

Very nice! I have some java fern on taller driftwood to fill out the top of my 75. But I don’t really think yours looks all that bare.
And nice to see another Marylander! What fish stores do you go to?
Thanks!

I've gone to Congressional Aquarium the most since that's closest to me, though they're often pricey. I more recently discovered House of Tropicals - that's where my Colombian pleco came from. I'm still a relatively recent transplant to Maryland (less than 2 years), so I'm all ears if you have other fish store suggestions.
 

Basil

Thanks!

I've gone to Congressional Aquarium the most since that's closest to me, though they're often pricey. I more recently discovered House of Tropicals - that's where my Colombian pleco came from. I'm still a relatively recent transplant to Maryland (less than 2 years), so I'm all ears if you have other fish store suggestions.
I’ll pm you later.
Huh. So I couldn’t message you for some reason.
Anyhoo, I’ve never been to Congressional but I’ve heard it’s very nice. Go to House of Tropicals and That Fish Place in Lancaster, PA on a fairly regular basis.
I also go to CTE Aquatics in Timonium. It’s a very small place. But healthy fish and good staff.
 

Gudgie

I realize I'm overdue for an update as it's been about a month, so here's a new tank shot (after about an hour of maintenance and ripping out hair algae...).

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Looks like the amazon sword on the right has slowly been filling in, which I'm happy about. Less happy about the crazy hair algae, though admittedly I've been slacking on trying to get rid of it.

Now that the spider wood is more waterlogged, I tried to play around with the setup on the left. Not sure if I'm entirely happy with it yet, but it's a stack of four smaller pieces of driftwood so it may just have to do. I felt like I was playing a game of jenga when I rearranged it. Perhaps eventually I can replace it with 1-2 larger pieces instead.

I also just added a powerhead to the lower left. I'm hoping that'll help fix a lot of the dead spots in the back were crud was accumulating. If that doesn't fix everything, I'm also debating getting a spray bar for one of our canister filters.

Here's one of my beautiful male rams (thanks coralbandit) hanging out under the leftside driftwood, with one of the syno cats chilling out under him.

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My lone female ram continues to have some ups and downs - literally. She'll have a few days of sitting on the bottom with slightly clamped fins, then goes back to normal for a few days, then repeats the cycle. Not entirely sure what to make of it. No other symptoms, eats fine, tank parameters are fine, no one pesters her that I can tell, all other inhabitants are fine. Still hoping to add a few more female rams into the tank as soon as I can get them, especially since everyone else seems perfectly happy and healthy.

Lastly, here's a quick shot of my Colombian zebra pleco, with my bristlenose pleco chilling on the TARDIS behind him/her. The Colombian pleco is surprisingly way less shy than the BN - I can almost always spot him in the tank.

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By the way, Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!
 

jmaldo

Looking Good!

I also just added a powerhead to the lower left. I'm hoping that'll help fix a lot of the dead spots in the back were crud was accumulating. If that doesn't fix everything, I'm also debating getting a spray bar for one of our canister filters.

I had a similar issue in my 55g, some stagnant areas. My power head is on a timer every few hours for 10 mins or so, most of the inhabitants enjoy swimming in the current.

Good Luck!

Learning all the Time.
 

Utar

The open stand looks similar to mine.
10 gal.jpg

Please excuse the mess, that is my dog's blanket on the floor. Your husband is a much better carpenter then I am. lol But it is very sturdy, takes two people to move it.

You have beautiful setups, hope my turn out like that when I am finished.
 

Gudgie

Please excuse the mess, that is my dog's blanket on the floor. Your husband is a much better carpenter then I am. lol But it is very sturdy, takes two people to move it.

You have beautiful setups, hope my turn out like that when I am finished.
Your stand also looks great! And I'm no judge of mess - you can't see our chaos just outside the photo frame!

This was my husband's first time building a stand, but he loves power tools and is a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to things like this. Speaking of which, our stand finally gained some doors! They were delayed while he decided how to build it (plus a bit of trial and error). No more dogs raiding the fish food! Here are a couple of shots before I decided to rescape the tank yesterday. I can't believe how much the amazon sword on the right has grown since May!

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I wasn't entirely happy with the original layout, so I spent some time rescaping yesterday and rearranged the filter outakes and intakes. The big anubias from the back left is the only thing I removed since it was always covered in hair algae - tossed it into my 10 gal fry tank for now. Then shifted around the hardscape multiple times and did some minor plant rearrangement. I can't decide if I like the new layout better or not. Maybe I just need the other swords to fill in a bit. Here's right after I finished, hence all the cloudiness:

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Here's a shot from today now that the water has cleared up.

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Thoughts? I'd welcome any suggestions on how to tweak this. Or was it better before I rescaped?

I'm know I'm lacking some foreground plants. Any suggestions of other low-tech plants that could fill up some of the empty sand in front?
 

Utar

Your whole setup looks awesome. Here is the latest pics of my 55 gallon.


55 gallon aquarium 8-5-20.jpg

My Fish 8-5-20.jpg
 

Basil

I love the rescape! I’ve rearranged things in my 75 a few times lol!
That amazon sword is amazing! Mine never did well even with root tabs so I pulled them out. However, the java fern does great. And it is more appropriate since I have all Asian fish in that tank.
Picked up a few more tiger barbs and flying fox from house of Tropicals. They are in quarantine and will finish my 75 g stocking.
 

Gudgie

I love the rescape! I’ve rearranged things in my 75 a few times lol!
That amazon sword is amazing! Mine never did well even with root tabs so I pulled them out. However, the java fern does great. And it is more appropriate since I have all Asian fish in that tank.
Picked up a few more tiger barbs and flying fox from house of Tropicals. They are in quarantine and will finish my 75 g stocking.
Hah I have no idea what it is about the 75 gallon that the sword loves so much, but I'm not complaining! We had that same sword in our 55 gallon, and it never took off like this. I just hope our two smaller swords decide to follow suit.

How is House of Tropicals these days? I see their updates on FB, and it certainly looks like they've still been getting stock in. I haven't been since before covid, but I keep thinking about taking a drive over. Though I don't have a QT tank at the moment, unless I pull our 25g back out of the attic...
 

Gudgie

Your whole setup looks awesome. Here is the latest pics of my 55 gallon.


55 gallon aquarium 8-5-20.jpg

My Fish 8-5-20.jpg
Thanks! Your setup looks fantastic too. I love that you made a canopy for yours! How do you access your tank for feeding and maintenance? Is there a door, or do you have to take the whole thing off? A canopy is on our eventual to do list too, but first we have to decide on a design...which could take awhile!
 

Basil

Hah I have no idea what it is about the 75 gallon that the sword loves so much, but I'm not complaining! We had that same sword in our 55 gallon, and it never took off like this. I just hope our two smaller swords decide to follow suit.

How is House of Tropicals these days? I see their updates on FB, and it certainly looks like they've still been getting stock in. I haven't been since before covid, but I keep thinking about taking a drive over. Though I don't have a QT tank at the moment, unless I pull our 25g back out of the attic...
They seem well stocked. I didn’t spend a lot of time browsing like I usually do but their tanks are full.
I also picked up a couple of nice plants for my newly set up 10 g.
If you are on FB, like their page as they post when they get in new shipments.
And I chose to go in a weekday to avoid crowding. But they will still busy!
 

Gudgie

They seem well stocked. I didn’t spend a lot of time browsing like I usually do but their yanks are full.
I also picked up a couple of nice plants for my newly set up 10 g.
If you are on FB, like their page as they post when they get in new shipments.
And I chose to go in a weekday to avoid crowding. But they will still busy!
Good to know! One of these days I need to find more female rams, so I might go there to look. I’d gotten some younger ones from coralbandit, and they all ended up slowly fading away. No idea why - tank parameters are great, and the three adult males I have from him are doing absolutely fantastic. I wonder if they weren’t eating enough; there was certainly no one picking on them.
 

Kirahn

Absolutely jealous of that sword. I've been really struggling to figure out how to get mine to grow like that. Very nice.
 

Gudgie

Absolutely jealous of that sword. I've been really struggling to figure out how to get mine to grow like that. Very nice.
I did start using nilocg root tabs when we set up the 75g, so it’s possible those have contributed to the growth. Could be worth a shot if you’re not already using tabs.
 

Kirahn

I did start using nilocg root tabs when we set up the 75g, so it’s possible those have contributed to the growth. Could be worth a shot if you’re not already using tabs.

That's exactly what I use =) Each sword has at least 3 under the roots. Just added this stuff to my build thread, it's an issue I have been having since I started and I can't seem to figure out my issues.
 

Utar

Thanks! Your setup looks fantastic too. I love that you made a canopy for yours! How do you access your tank for feeding and maintenance? Is there a door, or do you have to take the whole thing off? A canopy is on our eventual to do list too, but first we have to decide on a design...which could take awhile!
This is the first time I ever built a canopy for an aquarium and when I build the second one I will use lessons learned building the first one. One of the things I would do is figure out how to build it where the front opens up like a door, or make where it can completely come off.

But with this one I built it with really light wood, small one by one boards and 5mm plywood. So it is very light to pick up and move. Then I decided to install a feeding tube made of 2" pvc with a cap on it. Here is pictures of this.

2" pvc feeding tube

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pvc pipe feeding tube setting on top of Polycarbonate lid


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feeder tube setting inside canopy top


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pvc feeder tube with canopy lid

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Bottom of pvc feeding tube

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jmaldo

*Impressive" Tank!
Any suggestions of other low-tech plants that could fill up some of the empty sand in front?
I had a similar issue with my 55g. A member suggested Dwarf Chain Sword.


Planted 55g.jpg

I use NilocG root tabs along with PPS /EI dosing of Macros/Micros.
Very pleased with the results.

Good Luck!
 

Gudgie

*Impressive" Tank!

I had a similar issue with my 55g. A member suggested Dwarf Chain Sword.


Planted 55g.jpg

I use NilocG root tabs along with PPS /EI dosing of Macros/Micros.
Very pleased with the results.

Good Luck!
I think I tried some dwarf chain sword once before, and didn’t have good luck. However, that was in my old 55, so perhaps I should give it a try in this tank. I just remember that I could never get it to stay rooted. Any tips?

I have all those ferts from NilocG as well, and in theory try to dose a modified EI (I think it’s 1/3 the amounts since no CO2?). In actuality I’m pretty awful at remembering to dose, so the tank is lucky if macros and micros each get dosed separately 1-2x/week (instead of 3x/week each).


Then I decided to install a feeding tube made of 2" pvc with a cap on it.
Great idea! I wouldn’t have even thought of a feedig tube.

Whenever we get around to planning a canopy, I think the goal is to have two doors of some sort, that either swing out or flip up. Though I remember seeing a design awhile back where the whole front was on a hinge, where it would swing up like the cover for a piano’s keys. Hopefully that mental image makes sense - I’ll have to see if I can find a pic or the post I’m thinking of.
Edit: here’s a link to a hinged canopy like I mentioned. Not sure which design we’ll end up going with though. https://www.thereeftank.com/gallery...en_shot_2012_08_31_at_3_27_59_pm_original.png
 

jmaldo

I just remember that I could never get it to stay rooted. Any tips?
I have used plants weights in the past. Also, I started with the full doses of the ferts, eventually I decided to do 1/2 doses.
No "CO2" for me, but I did use "Excel" for a short time.
The plants were still growing well.

Good Luck!
 

LilyPipeDreams

Beautiful tank and fantastic stand! Looking forward to seeing how it comes along!
 

Gudgie

Well, I’m clearly deviating from my South American community plan. Last week I added five beautiful female bettas from philam, with a sixth to be added this week. So far, absolutely no issues between any of the fish and the newcomers are eating and behaving just fine.

I did question if the girls looked slightly bloated, but nothing in their behavior supports that. Certainly active and hungry. Perhaps they’re just a tad chunky? Been that way since arrival, no changes.
Edit: it very well could just be some natural bulginess (that’s TOTALLY a word...), but I suppose I could always feed some peas for peace of mind.

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Basil

Well, I’m clearly deviating from my South American community plan. Last week I added five beautiful female bettas from philam, with a sixth to be added this week. So far, absolutely no issues between any of the fish and the newcomers are eating and behaving just fine.

I did question if the girls looked slightly bloated, but nothing in their behavior supports that. Certainly active and hungry. Perhaps they’re just a tad chunky? Been that way since arrival, no changes.

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They are gorgeous! I know nothing about bettas, so have no idea if they look bloated or not.
 

Gudgie

Spent some time today organizing under my tank, with the help of some new drawers. Much happier now that things aren’t tossed everywhere or jumbled in sterilite bins. Now we’ll just have to see how long this lasts!

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And if only I could be this productive with actual work these days (I’m really not cut out for constant telework)!

They are gorgeous!
Thanks! I can’t wait to see how their color develops and changes as they get older. They’re just a little over 5 months right now.
 

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Gudgie

No great pics of the 75 lately, since we’ve been redoing our basement thanks to water damage. I do have this one shot from before we had to move the tank around. Thankfully we only had to lower the water by about half and then we were able to shimmy the whole setup on furniture sliders. So glad I didn’t have to net the fish and break down the tank! And it’s already back in place, just sounded by boxes and furniture as we redo the rest of the basement.

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In brighter news, I picked up two female Bolivian rams from my LFS a couple days ago. Terrible timing because of the basement, but I couldn’t pass them up! I’m pretty confident they’re female because I could see their breeding tubes, and they’re nearly full grown. Usually I only find juveniles and I’m terrible at sexing those. And they were B1G1, so clearly it was meant to be! So they’re now in a hastily setup QT tank for a couple weeks, while I make sure they’re illness-free. They were pretty stressed out the first day, but now have settled in and are ravenous! Can’t wait for QT to end so I can move them into the big tank!

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I know it’s hard to see the breeding tube on the ram on the right in the photo, but it’s just as pronounced as the one on the left.

Now if I can just get one more eventually, I’ll have equal numbers of males and females.
 

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Gudgie

Whooops, somehow it's been over four months since I updated this. I'm going to blame it on the basement, which is finally about 99% done, other than some final cleanup. The 75 gal was definitely a bit neglected the last few months while it was semi-blocked with our renovations. Hopefully it'll be back on track now!

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I ripped out a BUNCH of staghorn or hair algae a few days ago, which of course was tangled up in a bunch of Rotala. And there's still a bunch of BBA on the anubias...that seems to be there to stay unless I just remove the rest of the anubias. Or I could try a 48 hr blackout one of these days to see where that gets me...

Trimmed a bunch of stems, as well as removed a lot of outer leaves that were dying (or being nommed on by fish?). Added a ton of new vals and a handful of small crypts that I just received from Demeter. I'm liking how the back left is starting to look thanks to the vals! I still really need to get some foreground plants, just deciding what/when. Thinking possible Crypt parva, chain swords, or perhaps even Crypt wendtii. I know wendtii can get a big large, but they've never done so for me - that would be a good problem to have! Also regretting not putting soil under the sand when we set up the aquarium, but I'm not desperate enough [yet] to want to do that swap. Hopefully root tabs and liquid ferts will be enough for now!

Sadly, just discovered today that two of the female bettas appear to be developing tumors. They're still relatively small and the girls are acting fine, so hopefully they'll be slow to grow.

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Gudgie

Received some lovely vals from Basil today, so I filled in the right corner with them. Looks a tad more balanced I think - i just hope they flourish! Also added 6 Amano shrimp, but sadly didn’t get any pics of them.

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nimahs

Received some lovely vals from Basil today, so I filled in the right corner with them. Looks a tad more balanced I think - i just hope they flourish! Also added 6 Amano shrimp, but sadly didn’t get any pics of them.

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Your tank looks great, I love the driftwood
 

Gudgie

More maintenance today! I cleaned out the Fluval 306 canister which was wayyyyyy overdue. Unfortunately I neglected to also clean out the hoses....so it shot a lot of crud into the tank once I restarted the filter. :eek: Did a water change afterwards, so at least I got most of it back out. When I do the 407 in a few weeks, I’ll make sure to do the hoses too!

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I also introduced a bamboo shrimp into the tank. First one I’ve ever had. Thankfully the fish seem to be ignoring it - so far, so good! I also added a chestnut mystery snail to the tank as well.

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I had to restrain myself at the LFS today. They had some gorgeous looking young Bolivian rams (seriously, the best I’ve ever seen locally), but I couldn’t set up a proper QT space right now - especially since we will be out of town next weekend. Perhaps after we’re back, I’ll take a look to see if they have any females left! I’m currently back to 3M:1F again, so it would be nice to add a couple more girls.

Sometime soon, I may rearrange some of the plants a bit. I feel like they look like they’re all crowded into the back. It may just be because the front is so sparse - hopefully I can fix that soon.

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Basil

Do you go to another LFS besides HOT? I’m always looking for more to visit!
 

taj13

Well, I’m clearly deviating from my South American community plan. Last week I added five beautiful female bettas from philam, with a sixth to be added this week. So far, absolutely no issues between any of the fish and the newcomers are eating and behaving just fine.

I did question if the girls looked slightly bloated, but nothing in their behavior supports that. Certainly active and hungry. Perhaps they’re just a tad chunky? Been that way since arrival, no changes.
Edit: it very well could just be some natural bulginess (that’s TOTALLY a word...), but I suppose I could always feed some peas for peace of mind.

3E047B0B-0D31-4E0A-A1DF-627E161BD5E7.jpeg
Your tank is beautiful! Great job!
 

Gudgie

Do you go to another LFS besides HOT? I’m always looking for more to visit!
Yes, I went to Congressional Aquarium in Rockville. I don’t like it as much as HOT, but it’s much closer for me - plus I was already across the street at Petco picking up food for our ferrets.

They tend to be rather pricy and the stock can be very hit or miss, but it’s worth a visit every once in awhile!
 

Gudgie

Had a rare clear sighting of Plecopotamus today! I have no idea why we initially nicknamed our female BN pleco this, but the name stuck. We've had her for 4-5ish years and she moved with us from IL to MD, but she's always maintained her reclusive personality. Usually I can still manage to spot her, but she's always wedged into driftwood where I can't get a pic of her.

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Also figured out where our new bamboo shrimp likes to hang out. He/she has colored up nicely and seems to be doing well.

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Gudgie

Just a quick update, no photos -

Witnessed the Synodontis lucipinnis actively spawning a couple days ago! So that was super cool! Unfortunately, also witnessed two of the Bolivian rams actively following them around and eating the eggs.

Maybe we'll get lucky and a couple will escape unscathed, but I have my doubts. I've occasionally seen spawning behavior in the past but we've never seen fry. Though I also never saw the eggs before, so who knows...
 

jmaldo

Witnessed the Synodontis lucipinnis actively spawning a couple days ago! So that was super cool!
Maybe we'll get lucky and a couple will escape unscathed, but I have my doubts. I've occasionally seen spawning behavior in the past but we've never seen fry. Though I also never saw the eggs before, so who knows...
Nice, how old are yours, how long did you have them before the spawning started?
I have some guessing around 1 year young now, got them last fall.
Post pics if you have some.

Good Luck
 

Gudgie

Nice, how old are yours, how long did you have them before the spawning started?
I have some guessing around 1 year young now, got them last fall.
Post pics if you have some.

Good Luck
Hmm...well the three oldest are from around 2014 or so. And the three youngest from Jan 2018, though they were very young when we got them (compared to what I usually see in store); they were from a friend whose pair bred in his community tank, and probably about an inch or less when we got them.

I honestly can't remember the first time we witnessed them spawning. The older ones probably tried spawning a few years ago, the younger ones more in the last year or so? That's a bit of a guess on my part. We've never had a successful spawn in terms of surviving offspring (never witnessed a single fry), but they've always been in a community tank with other species that would eat their eggs (cories, rams, etc.), plus we never made an effort to purposely breed them. I think if I catch them in the act again and can find any eggs, I'll try to transfer some to a breeding net - would be cool if we managed to raise some.

I'll also note - I'm not entirely sure whether they are petricola, lucipinnis, or a mix of both. Our original three were sold as "dwarf petricola", as were the parents of our younger trio. I know odds are high that they're all lucipinnis, since that species is more common. But it seems like the only definitive way to tell are the presence of a pore and length, and they've never sat still long enough for us to determine either.

Edit: oops, forgot to add photos! I don't have many good ones, since they move so darn quickly and like to stay amongst the plants and driftwood. But here are a few recent shots I got.
 

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jmaldo

around 2014 or so. And the three youngest from Jan 2018
Wow! My largest is close to 2". I have 5 in with my Africans. "Great" hiders but I want to see them... they do cruise the tank now and then.
Any pics?
 

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