A Beginners 55 - Aka My 2nd Big Mistake

Pescado_Verde

I divorced the first one, let's hope this goes better.

First you make a roux...

Oops, wrong forum! Let's try again...

First you get a glass box. I found mine on Craigslist, it's a 1970's era beast and the sucker selling it only wanted $100 for the glass box with base and they threw in delivery and a 200W heater.
I was all...


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I knew I needed a filter and a light so Amazon to the rescue! I was going to go with a HOB and looked into the biowheels but a coworker extolled the virtues of a canister filter to the point that I had to have one. The Eheim Classic 350 was delivered within 2 days, praise be to Prime!

Next came the light. My $200 budget for this project was already blown all to heck so I had to go cheap here. Even though I want plants it's my first tank and so there's no reason YET to go full moron. There will be plenty of time for that later, right? I had read some good things about Current USA's line of aquarium lights and found their Satellite LED on Amazon for $39. Who could pass that up? BAM! 2 days later it's in the house! Oh Prime, how do I love thee? Let me count the dollars!

So here's what I started with: glass box, base, light, filter and a couple pieces of blue poster board from HEB for the background.


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I wanted a natural looking substrate and the woman at the LFS said they had a buff colored coarse sand they had been carrying for 30 years that was their best seller and that I would love it. Awesome. Only when I got there she told me that their supplier had stopped carrying it as of this past week and that she had some others she could show me. Okay, well, I wasn't dead set on that so let's see what you've got! White? No, shows dirt too easily? Dark brown pebble? No, I want something a little bit brighter. How about this BLUE AND WHITE MIX? Oh yes, holy mother of Neptune it's so NATURAL looking! Yeah, no, whatever. I need a substrate, have you got 75 lbs of it? Yes? Great, I'll take it.


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I've got a few pieces of wood that I siliconed to rocks to keep them on the bottom while they get waterlogged and a handful of larger rocks. I dare to call this an aquascape.


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The turtle may or may not be a permanent fixture. He's growing on me.

Oh, and I had thrown in a couple of airstones because what self respecting aquarium doesn't have at least one airstone, right? They're out of sight but trust me, they're there and they're awesome!

Okay, let's add water!


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Yes, that's Harold (the turtle) being useful and holding the hose down while the tank fills.

So here's the finished 55. This color scheme is like some aquatic homage to the Dallas Cowboys, yes? I just need to paint a big star on that rock on the right and maybe drop in a laminated picture of Roger Staubach to complete the look.


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I of course added tap water conditioner and it's been 24 hours now so I went back this morning and picked up my 10 Zebra Danios and a sprig of Anacharis. They're floating now and will soon be released into the blueness.

It may be a while before I update this thread as for now I am done with the tank. The LFS will be checking my water and advising on that so until the tank is cycled and I can add stock there won't be much to report.

I hope you enjoyed this or at least found it a bit entertaining and thanks to all who post here for giving me the courage to embark upon this journey, you truly are inspirational.
 

emmysjj

I had a lot of fun reading this. I'm not usually a fan of blue gravel, but your tank blew me away

Also, I'm a lifetime Eagles fan Go birds!
 

Lorekeeper

Nice tank! Cute turtle, too.

As much as I'd advise against a fish-in cycle, it's a bit too late. That said, you can do it right. Seachem Stability or TSS+ are both excellent products to help you fish-in cycle.
 

Pescado_Verde

Nice tank! Cute turtle, too.

As much as I'd advise against a fish-in cycle, it's a bit too late. That said, you can do it right. Seachem Stability or TSS+ are both excellent products to help you fish-in cycle.
You know, I considered a fishless cycle and actually started the process. I got about 3 weeks in and realized that my choice of substrate just was not going to work out and so killed that project, tore the tank down and started over from scratch.
My LFS is family owned and has been in business here since 1964 and I guess they're just old school when it comes to building an aquarium. The newest owner (daughter of the founders of the business) assured me she could get me through this. I think it'll be alright.



Okay, thread wouldn't be complete without a picture of some fish in this thing. They seem to prefer the end with the wood.


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Observation: Forgot to mention that I also bought a ramp timer for the LED light. Messing around with setting it up and turned the lights off on the tank. When I turned them back on all of the Danios were in a tight group up near the sprigs of Anacharis that are floating in the tank. I think there must be an eddy there which is odd because that's right where the spray bar is.
 

Basil

I like the blue! Although I’m a Raven’s fan so purple would have been awesome
 

MN Mike

Nice tank! Cute turtle, too.

As much as I'd advise against a fish-in cycle, it's a bit too late. That said, you can do it right. Seachem Stability or TSS+ are both excellent products to help you fish-in cycle.
I've found that using prime and stability make a fish in cycle fairly easy, if you are familiar with the hobby, and don't mind the first few weeks of work.
 

Pescado_Verde

Roughly a week into this, here's the latest: A couple of the fish have gone "missing". Several of the stock that I bought were very small and that's the ones I can't find. I don't know if they're in hiding or if they perished, never to be found. I checked my water last night and ammonia was at 0, nitrites were present as were nitrates. I guess we're in the nitrite phase now. I stuck a few things in the tank from one of my Betta tanks so I'm hoping that helped to kickstart the cycle a little bit. The water is clear, I'm keeping the lights on only from 5-11 p.m. each day to ward off algae and the fish are active and eat well when fed. Next step will be to introduce some plants but I may build a QT box of some sort before that, I keep hearing horror stories about diseases and snails and I don't want that.
 

MN Mike

Roughly a week into this, here's the latest: A couple of the fish have gone "missing". Several of the stock that I bought were very small and that's the ones I can't find. I don't know if they're in hiding or if they perished, never to be found. I checked my water last night and ammonia was at 0, nitrites were present as were nitrates. I guess we're in the nitrite phase now. I stuck a few things in the tank from one of my Betta tanks so I'm hoping that helped to kickstart the cycle a little bit. The water is clear, I'm keeping the lights on only from 5-11 p.m. each day to ward off algae and the fish are active and eat well when fed. Next step will be to introduce some plants but I may build a QT box of some sort before that, I keep hearing horror stories about diseases and snails and I don't want that.
Is it possible that they got sucked into your filter? Not sure how small they are / were, but one way to accomplish two goals is to add an intake sponge to your filter intake. Benefit 1) it adds surface area for beneficial bacteria. 2) it prevents anything small from getting sucked in. Oh and 3) it acts as a pre filter, making your filter media last longer. good luck!
 

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Pescado_Verde

MN Mike , I guess it is possible though I looked at the screen such as it is and didn't see them stuck to it. The gaps are large enough though that they could have just kept on going. I don't have any plans to breed fish so hopefully no more small ones to disappear. I've got a double sponge filter on the opposite end of the tank for added BB surface area. It's certainly unfortunate for the missing and their families and I'll remember to cover the intake at some point in the near future.

Speaking of which, can you or anyone else perhaps point me to a good sponge that would fit or could be easily cut to fit on the end of my Eheim?
 

MN Mike

MN Mike , I guess it is possible though I looked at the screen such as it is and didn't see them stuck to it. The gaps are large enough though that they could have just kept on going. I don't have any plans to breed fish so hopefully no more small ones to disappear. I've got a double sponge filter on the opposite end of the tank for added BB surface area. It's certainly unfortunate for the missing and their families and I'll remember to cover the intake at some point in the near future.

Speaking of which, can you or anyone else perhaps point me to a good sponge that would fit or could be easily cut to fit on the end of my Eheim?
Go to . they have intake sponges to fit all filters, so does Flipaquatics.
 

Pescado_Verde

I added some rocks to one end of the tank, rearranged the other end a bit and I think I'm done with the hardscape. Next will be plants. Anyway, here's two RoboDans plotting world domination.


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My tap water is nearly 87 degrees. That's after letting it run for a half hour. I drained probably close to 75% out of my tank so that I could work, I had a bunch of plants show up and now I'm going to have to refill it one bucket at a time as it cools to something close to the aquarium temp. That could be morning before that happens and I've only got 2 5 gallon buckets at the moment. I really just need to get the water level up high enough that I can run the filter. It was 106 outside today so I'm not really surprised and I had suspected it was going to be warm, just a bit frustrated.

I love ya Mother Nature but wow you can be a beating sometimes.

Got a few plants in the tank now and I have NO idea what I'm doing, lol. We'll see what they look like in a week.


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I added a couple more of those Glo Danios to bring the total to 9. I think this project is in the "wait and see" phase now. I pretty much have things the way they're going to stay for a while though I would have liked some more natural substrate but I wanted to get on with my life so I settled for what they had at the time I was in the store. It being affordable had something to do with that choice also. Anyway, this is what I came up with. I'll post pics or an update if something develops that seems post worthy.


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PonzLL

This tank is starting to look real nice! I'm digging the blue colors. Reminds me of my sad and pathetic Detroit Lions LOL
 

Pescado_Verde


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Quoting myself here to do a little comparison after 1 week with the plants in the tank. The bushy guy on the left wasted no time in adding on a new stem! So psyched, much excite!

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Today is a big day, it's been ONE MONTH!! Woooo!!!!!!!! I'll be doing a water change in a bit and so checked my parameters to see where I'm at with this project and here are the results:

Ammonia - 0.25
Nitrites - 0.00
Nitrates - 80ppm
Temp - 79 degrees

I did about a 40% water change last Saturday and I'm wondering if the use of liquid ferts is having any impact on the nitrate reading I have. Anyone have any thoughts on that?

Aw what the heck, here's another picture. Noticeable growth from the wisteria on the right side now! The intake from the filter was visible just a few days ago from this angle but not anymore. Most of the Val is looking a bit ragged, not all but most. Same for my Java Fern (not sure how that's possible). Sag looks fine, no real change there.


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I hope I didn't get ahead of myself here but I bought some mickey mouse platies earlier at the Pstore.

Let us all bow our heads and say a short prayer to Poseidon.

Adding the platies sure changed the dynamic within the tank. It had just been Danios up until yesterday and so everyone had to rearrange their living spaces to accommodate the new guys and it is a work in progress. I thought that by adding a few more fish I'd be SEEING a few more fish when I looked at the tank but NOPE! It's like all of these fish are terrified of one another and so they've all taken refuge somewhere. Either that or they are getting along marvelously and are playing hide-n-seek.
These Gold Mickey Mouse guys... they're an interesting lot. They seem pretty lazy until they decide it's time to move and then they can haul balls.
Time will tell what I hath wrought.

I had to take a picture of one of these Mickey's, they're really a striking fish. And of course you can't get one to sit still while you snap their picture so it's a bit blurry.


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I was hoping that the Danios would have a calming effect on these Platies. The Platies are on one end of the tank going up and down and up and down. The Danios WERE just swimming around all fishlike and stuff. Then I guess they got curious as to what the Platies were doing. So they've started hanging out and watching the Platies go up and down and up and down and... Now the Danios are doing it too. SMH. Stupid fish.

So I added to my stock this past weekend and did a slight bit of rearranging of the decor. I bought a Dalmation Molly and a Pearl Gourami. The Gourami was an impulse buy. smh. You know it happens, don't judge me! I took out the driftwood and some of the rocks, bought some large Anubias and tied it to a few rocks and dropped those in. There's a couple on the right hand side behind the Wisteria, not easy to see YET but it's there. So here's what I have now.


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I've also ordered a new/bigger light for the tank, the Current USA that I have is nice but I wanted something a little more plant friendly so there will be a Current USA LED Pro+ on top soon. I also have ordered some floating plants and will in the next week or so be ordering some Sword plants and possibly some more grasslike smaller plants for the foreground.

As for the tank, I haven't been paying as much attention to the water quality as I should be. The tank is cycled but I've been adding fish and using liquid ferts so the nitrates are a bit elevated and I'm doing WC's every other day. I'll also be adding 7 new Glodans in the next day or so but that will be the end of the stocking for a few weeks at least. Hopefully the floating plants will help a bit with the nitrates along with the filter catching up.

So, that's my tank as of today. Follow me on Twitter @BigMistake <- J/K

Oh, and here's Jane, the Dalmation. Would you just look. at. that. tail! Sweet Jesus!


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My 7 Danios arrived alive and from all signs none the worse for the journey. They seem to be mixing well with the 7 I already had and really add a good bit of color to the tank.


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I was actually able to get a picture of the Pearl!


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Pescado_Verde

So as I documented here....
How Did I Spend So Much $??
I found some spare change in the sofa and ordered a few new toys for the tank. Plans for tomorrow are to rearrange a bit of the greenery on the right side of the tank and to drop in a piece of the Malaysian driftwood that I got. I was surprised by how dense the wood is, it looks like it could be fairly light due to all of the holes. I've got a good sized hunk boiling in the biggest stockpot I own right now.

There's a couple of Java ferns in the tank that are tied with rubber bands to rocks right now and I think I should be able to slide the rhizome into some natural notches in the piece of wood I have picked out. Keeping my fingers crossed! Pics tomorrow depend on how this works and looks. Nothing is going to improve the blue gravel much but I'm trying.

Oh, almost forgot the new light. Very nice, bright, I'm hoping that I can up my plant game a bit. I'm going to get this little bit done and then consider what other plants I want to incorporate into this wreck.

Got my hands wet today! Pretty much did what I had planned, moved the Wisteria on the right hand side further to the back near the filter intake and moved some of the grassier plants into the right front corner. Stuck some of the Java fern onto a new piece of driftwood and dropped it in and put some Anubias behind it towards the end near the Wisteria. I think I'm happy with it, it gives me room in the front for more foreground plants. Now I need to work on the big rock on the left and the Anubias there. I might just move the Anubia over behind the driftwood too. Seems to me like I need more there with some height. I just really love the look of the Anubias. They were out of the Coffeefolia when I ordered mine but I saw they have it in stock now. I may need to go scrounge in the sofa again.

As Rosanna Rosannadanna would tell you "It's always something".

The tank today -

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The right hand side that I was messing with.

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Oof, almost forgot! I have another piece of driftwood boiling away in the kitchen. It's got these 3 weird gnarly looking finger like appendages and one of them is fairly long. I'm going to drop it in there on the right hand side to see if it will take up some of the vertical space and still not look out of place. We'll see!

Yeah, nope, that didn't work. Nice piece of wood and would probably look great in a 20T. I guess I'll have to buy a tank to go around it now. HA!

Regarding plants in the tank, I had decided I wanted some floating plants - for a couple of reasons. 1) They'd provide some cover for Snoop, the Pearl Gourami and 2) They're supposed to be beneficial in processing ammonia and nitrates. So I ordered some Hornwort and Brazilian Pennywort (unwaxed).
These arrived Friday but I wasn't able to pick them up until yesterday and then with the other things I was playing with in the tank they kind of got put on hold for a few hours. I finally opened them up and was soaking them in a dip when I realized the sun was out! It's been unusually cloudy/rainy/cooler the last few days and this was a window to go out and jump in the pool/get some sun. So I just dumped the Worts into the 55 and went outside for a bit. I can't decide if I like the look or not. Yeah, they were tied in bundles with weights.


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Basil

Your tank looks nice. I can’t decide if I want to add more plants to my new 75 or not. I just restarted a fishless cycle this morning after a bit of an “ammonia that had surfactant in it” debacle.
Once cycled, I’m going to add some tetras and If all goes well, I’ll hopefully be able to order my loaches before it starts getting chilly.
Loaches are the reason I’m hesitating with too many plants. I understand they can be hard on them!
 

Pescado_Verde

Aaaaaaaaaand I've got fry. Holy cow that was fast, lol. I started the tank on June 30th? I've got Platy, Danio and Molly in the tank.
I was messing with the new light and was sitting up pretty close to the tank while I fiddled with the controller and I saw some movement and yep! That's a tiny fish! I'm guessing it's a Danio, I've got the one plain Zebra that has staked out the end of the tank where I saw this little guy at and that fish hasn't been letting anyone near them for a 2-3 weeks now.

Holy cow I'M A DADDY!!!
 

Pescado_Verde

My Molly Jane is missing this morning and I don't have time to look for her. Argh work!
 

Pescado_Verde

And my Molly Jane was nowhere to be found this morning and I don't have time to look.
 

Colleen B

She's got to be in there somewhere... mollies are much too large to be sucked into the filter! Hiding I would assume...
 

Pescado_Verde

She's got to be in there somewhere... mollies are much too large to be sucked into the filter! Hiding I would assume...
I looked as best I could quickly and didn't see her anywhere. I don't know why but fish never seem to die in plain sight. I'll give the tank a good going over once I get out of here (work). If she was/is hiding it would be the first time. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that is the case.
 

Pescado_Verde

I found her under the driftwood, the speckles on her body kind of blended in with the gravel and made it hard to see her. I looked her over after taking her out and I couldn't see anything wrong with her that would indicate what might have led to her death. Sad today.

I of course checked my water too and everything there seemed to be normal.
I'm starting ot get some algae for the first time, most likely due to the new light that I put on the tank. It's not bad but I've been lucky so far. I just need to clean the glass a bit and I think I'll lay off the ferts.

I'm supposed to get some more plants this week so I guess the plan for this weekend will be to stick them in the tank, do a good water change, clean the glass and I may get adventurous and clean the filter though I don't know that there's really any reason to at this point. Flow is good and the BB are in there just chugging away.
 

Pescado_Verde

Okay, it's a BOGO deal today - 55 update AND one of my Betta's, Eddie, got hisself a brand new beachfront condoquarium!

First the 55 - I stuck some Buce on a piece of driftwood that was pretty holey and moved some stuff around. Just tidied up a bit after that. I know I keep saying it but I think I'm going to move on from this tank for a little while now and just let it grow out and mature a bit. I'm probably lying but hey, it's the thought, right?

Today marks day 49 with the 55, we've come a longggg way. Notice the see-thru leaf on the Anubias on the left. That was one BIG leaf, hate to see it melt away like that.


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So about Eddies new digs - He was in a 3.5 one bedroom apartment and wanted out. He likes sand and sun so he picked out a nice place with a view of the beach - and it's got about 3 times the square footage of the old place. I heard him singing earlier...

"Believe it or not, I'm walking on air
I never thought I could feel so free
Flying away on a wing and a prayer
Who could it be?
Believe it or not, it's just me"


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We're doing a sponge filter for now, I had one in the 55 just chillin' and I took one of the foams off of it to stick in his tank. Should be more than enough.


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Pescado_Verde

So the fry I reported earlier, I'm beginning to think they're Platy. They seem to be developing a dark tail and the bodies appear to be orange. This pleases me, lol. I wanted more of the Golds and it looks like I may have some!
 

Pescado_Verde

Another 2fer this week though not much to report for the 55. Some plant growth is about it (the floating Pennywort mat on the right and the Wisteria below it are getting closer together and the Wisteria on the left had a stem put on a good bit). I did get some algae cleaned off the front glass so YAY ME!
Also, I got around to setting up the other Betta tank, this one for "Carlos".


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Carlos' new home - Ecocomplete under some Peace River sand/gravel. Malaysian driftwood w/Dwarf chain sword, couple bunches of Wisteria and some Pennywort floating around the top. Double sponge filter and a heater. 10 gallon Aquen tank with Versa Top and a Current USA LED light. Temp is 81.4F.


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Pescado_Verde

Aaaand I just realized I'm pregnant again. One of the Mickeys has a belly bigger than mine, lol. From the last batch of fry I've got I think 5 survivors and now we're going to be adding more. smh.

What the heck, here's a picture of Harold the turtle. He's like the Honey Badger, he don't care.


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Fishcat

At least Harold holds still for the camera.
 

Pescado_Verde

At least Harold holds still for the camera.
Yeah, I was actually trying to get a picture of the fry that's just above his head there but the fish wouldn't hold still. Harold is just steady as a rock.
 

Pescado_Verde

A pregnant Platy and Snoop. He's not that yellow in real life, don't know why his pic turned out that way. The Platy IS yellow though.


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YATT

Oh yes, holy mother of Neptune it's so NATURAL looking! Yeah, no, whatever. I need a substrate, have you got 75 lbs of it? Yes? Great, I'll take it.

Love it. LOL
 

Pescado_Verde

I got my heart set on having Mollies, I think even moreso after the Dalmation died so I found a pair of Gold Sailfins and they're now in the main tank. No QT, just plop and drop. Not ideal, I know. I keep telling myself I'm going to show some restraint, practice some self control, be patient and then... WOOOO! NEW FISH!!

I'm fairly convinced that "BUY WITH ONE CLICK" and "PAY WITH PAYPAL" are tools of the Devil. Anyway, here's a couple of pictures of the newest additions.


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The fry I've got are getting bigger and starting to act more like fish. They seem to have found each other and I'll find them together in their own little school sometimes. I don't see so good but I'm pretty sure there's 7 of them. I've got a feeling that having livebearers is going to get really interesting. Soon.

Oh, and here's a picture of one of my Bettas, Carlos because why not?


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Pescado_Verde

I decided earlier in the week that I wanted an Amazon Sword so I bought one. It arrived today. It's a bit bigger than I thought it would be, can you spot it in this pic?


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THRESHER

Oh my, that's a big sword!
 

Pescado_Verde

Oh my, that's a big sword!
It has definitely had an effect on the tank, all the fish are digging the heck out of it.
 

SaltyPhone

Looking good!
 

Pescado_Verde

I just got back from PSmart with 3 Nerites. My hope is that they'll out compete the pond snails for what algae there is, and there's starting to be a good bit, and then starve the uninvited guests to death. At the very least between the Nerites and the "thumb of justice" we can keep them under control.

Looking good!
Hey, thanks! If the Cowboys have a good season I'll look like a genius.
 

Pescado_Verde

So the fry I reported earlier, I'm beginning to think they're Platy. They seem to be developing a dark tail and the bodies appear to be orange. This pleases me, lol. I wanted more of the Golds and it looks like I may have some!
So yeah, the fry are definitely Platy. The two "mouse ears" on the tail are really becoming noticeable. That bumps the total # of Platies to 11. Mother of God I'm going to have a tank full of these things in no time.

Pond snails are just beyond stupid. Catching a ride on a concrete turtle. Hey guys, you're not going to get anywhere fast like that. Just smh stupid.


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Added some new inhabitants to the tank yesterday, 3 Nerite snails and a BN Pleco. Pleco has been named "Gollum". The way he moves around the tank just creeps me out, hard.
 

Pescado_Verde

I was finally able to get a halfway decent picture of Gollum, he was hanging out with Harold. Probably because Harold is the Honey Badger of aquatic decor, he don't give a rip.


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When he's moving around it reminds me of this...

 

Pescado_Verde

So about that Pleco... Last night I'm looking in the tank, just kinda checking things out and I see Gollum's back end/tail sticking out of the bubble tube/outlet from the sponge filter. I don't even. I stick my hand in there to pull him out assuming the worst and I touch his tail and he goes hauling out of there. I look a minute later and he's back in there, head in the tube. Only the back end of the fish is sticking out. I reach in again and give his tail a slight tug and he comes out. He disappeared into the vegetation and I don't know what to think.
He's out and about today working on the glass and whatever. He's not only creepy, he's crazy.
 

Pescado_Verde

Weekends were made for fish shopping, right? So then this guy mysteriously appeared in the mail. Well I couldn't just leave him in that bag! Snoop (upper right) isn't too pleased with the new addition, dwarf or not, he doesn't seem to like the idea of another Gourami in "his" tank.


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GeoffPro

Just wondering - about how much did you spend total on this?
 

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