Dirt, plants, CPDs, Inverts, and an Endler--29g journal

AP1

Have greatly enjoyed the FishLore community throughout the course of my 29g build journal (linked below), and with the tank now past its initial stages, I look forward to keeping the good times rolling with this journal. Thanks to all who read through these rambling posts.

Here we go again! Dirted 29 setup | Freshwater Aquarium Builds Forum | 506411

In brief, the tank is a dirted tank (capped with pool filter sand) with low/medium lighting. I have been quite happy so far overall with plant growth--plant list includes crypts, swords, pogostemenon, water wisteria, hornwort, java fern, vals, and ludwigia. Inhabitants at the moment are: 12 Celestial Pearl Danios, one endler (included as a very young fry with the shrimp), about 10-14 davidii shrimp, one mystery snail, one nerite snail, at least one Malaysian Trumpet Snail (seriously, might just be one--I haven't seen more than one), and quite a colony of ramshorn snails.

About 240 TDS (I think), 75 F, 7.6-7.8 PH, 0/0/5 nitrate.

Overall goals remain the same as for the build: maintain a low-stocked tank that lends itself to low maintenance; ensure great health for the inhabitants (no fish losses so far; main worry at present is whether the shrimp have been getting enough to eat, it's possible there have been shrimp losses); and create/maintain a visually pleasing tank with lots of nooks and crannies. More minor plans/goals include figuring out the sex of the endler and perhaps stocking 3-4 more endlers for company, perhaps stocking more inverts (amano shrimp and/or Thai micro crabs are what I am thinking at present), and work on adding a couple of anubias to the rocks and perhaps a dwarf water lily bulb somewhere. I am also preparing for the possibility of a prolonged absence next summer (an out-of-country research trip) that may necessitate my wife or others taking care of the tank. The goal of keeping the tank low maintenance is in part linked to this.

That's it for the general introduction, and I look forward to hearing thoughts on tank going forward!

7909C357-EE57-44BA-BEF6-EE773AE2B7DB.jpeg

ED2921FA-4B55-4B48-92D8-F803F0178BAF.jpeg

753B3D4C-58D8-4BA2-A2E5-FE6D7B65AC94.jpeg

AD6145D0-5E8B-4E80-A031-851F2E2AE19D.jpeg

A3B92316-1538-4C37-9721-E329AD173B61.jpeg
 

BigManAquatics

The tank certainly looks nice! Hope it continues to do well for you!
 

AP1

The tank certainly looks nice! Hope it continues to do well for you!
Thanks!

Looks like starting this journal sparked a fire--acclimating 4 amano shrimp as we speak.

IMG_20211020_124537633.jpg
 

AP1

Some cool things have happened in the tank the past two days. Yesterday the CPDs formed into a little barracuda pack and dismantled a shrimp pellet I put in for the shrimp (seriously, they were schooling/swarming all over it). Also saw pearling for the first time by the Pogostemenok. And caught some cool photos of female shrimp in the process of dropping eggs.
AB78BFB3-1941-4802-960E-649FC195B053.jpeg
F1B10420-3D06-4A5F-8EAF-02645A4771CB.jpeg
502C81D7-ECEF-4BB5-80D3-69FF85FB6C79.jpeg
 

Gudgie

Following your post - can't wait to see progress! :watching:
 

AP1

Following your post - can't wait to see progress! :watching:
Thanks!!

Also, a quick update: Awoke in a stupor at nearly 11 PM after putting our son to bed tonight (he won't sleep unless someone is lying next to him; half the time this means everyone is passed out by the time he is); but this meant that for the first time in a long time everyone in the house was asleep, I had nothing to do (or wake up for in the morning), and so I sat and watched/fiddled with the tank for an hour + just now. Lots of cool things seen, especially the first definite spawning behavior from the CPDs--a male and a female 'dancing' around the driftwood and the java fern as the rest of the pack attacked a shrimp pellet on the bottom.

Btw, and speaking of the CPDs, whether they are a yay or nay to add to a tank probably depends, at least based on my experience, on how much you like/mind very skittish/reclusive/aware fish. I happen to like this sort of fish quite a bit, but the CPDs push even my limits sometimes in this regard. They are exceptionally aware fish--I've realized that I will perhaps never see their natural, relaxed behavior while sitting next to the tank because they are just as aware of me being there as I am of them. Their behavior, even when they are out and about, is markedly different when I am sitting there than when watching from a distance. For some fish this probably wouldn't matter, but CPDs are so small that you have to strain to watch them from a distance. The best I can do in terms of watching them in relaxed mode while still being able to see them fairly well is to lean out from the pass-through between the living room and kitchen about 4 feet diagonal from the tank--this is where I was when I saw the spawning tonight. I like them quite a bit and I'm very glad I have them as the tank's main fish, but I suspect not all would feel that way. (although to be fair, some Youtubers claim they have much more outgoing ones)
 

AP1

Bought and superglued two anubias (bought one but was actually two separate plants) to the rock pile today (pics below).

Quite happy about this, but unfortunately also have some perhaps not so great news and a question. For the second day in a row I caught a whiff of a fairly strong, tangy smell right after opening the lid to feed tonight. After the lid was open for 15 seconds or so the smell was gone and then I really couldn't even get a whiff of that smell again from the water. First thought both nights was ammonia, but tests showed zero both nights (same for nitrites and very low nitrates). Something similar happened two weeks ago, though that night the tests did seem to show .25 ammonia (but not 100% sure on that reading).

This seems to have something to do with low filter flow--by the end of the week flow is much slower than after a water change, and all three times this has happened has been at the end of the week. Tonight I spotted at least one stressed shrimp ( much of color faded) as well, though of course this could have been a coincidence (but since I haven't seen stressed shrimp before in the tank, this would be quite the coincidence).

Any thoughts on what is going on here? I confess that I don't really know what ammonia smells like. But the smell is quite tangy for lack of a better word, and different than how the tank usually smells. Then again, the negative tests would seem to suggest not ammonia...By the end of the week there is not really any flow at all in the third of the tank farthest from the filter-- is it possible there are 'ammonia pockets' down there but not up where I am testing? Does that even make sense?...Any thoughts are much appreciated!
*Edit: after typing this, figured has to be the flow, and so just went down and yanked the prefilter floss; flow is probably five or six times stronger as a result and we,'ll see what a smell test reveals in the morning (smell was there again when I opened the lid to take out the floss just now).

And tank shots after superglueing are below.
IMG_20211023_234727624.jpg
IMG_20211023_234746039.jpg
IMG_20211023_234740313.jpg
 

AP1

Well, tangy smell is still there despite much increased flow. Ammonia also continues to be 0 (tested again). So I guess that is not a ammonia smell. Anyone else have their tank's smell change as time-from-water-change increases?...Everyone looks pretty healthy; that one shrimp continues to be only half-colored, though I am also wondering now if this is perhaps a coloring-up juvenile. The guy who sold me the shrimp sold me different colors/qualities/ages, and so not all of them were red to begin with.

A mystery, but one that I guess I will not worry too much about at present...
 

AP1

Forgot to mention it, but purchased some Seachem Flourish and added to the tank after today's water change. The older wisteria leaves in particular are full of holes. I suspect that this is more likely due to being shaded, but figured the Flourish isn't likely to hurt--we will see how it works.
 

Basil

Also following. Nice tank!
I think all my tanks smell “marshy”. And I figure that, after all, bacteria does smell! That smell definitely wasn’t present until the tanks matured.
But I’ve also had some run ins with BGA or Cyanobacteria. That definitely has a distinct and sharp smell to it. But if you aren’t seeing very green algae like stuff growing, that’s probably not it.
 

AP1

Also following. Nice tank!
I think all my tanks smell “marshy”. And I figure that, after all, bacteria does smell! That smell definitely wasn’t present until the tanks matured.
But I’ve also had some run ins with BGA or Cyanobacteria. That definitely has a distinct and sharp smell to it. But if you aren’t seeing very green algae like stuff growing, that’s probably not it.
Thanks!

And very interesting idea re the BGA. Funny thing is that when I superglued the anubias on Saturday I noticed a couple of spots of bluish-green lichen-like stuff on the rock; remember thinking to myself 'that can't be BGA, can it?'. Then I wiped down the rock with a paper towel.

Still think it probably isn't BGA. There is nothing else that looks like it in the tank, and really very little algae as a whole. And, that spot was tight to the rock like lichen, rather than the slime that I've seen in other pictures of BGA.

But still a possibility. Interesting thing is that the smell is either gone or almost gone today.

Anyways, thanks for the comment--I will def. keep an eye open for the blue-green if it becomes strong again.
 

AP1

For the first time since I put them in, I spotted three of the four amanos today (for the past few days I have only seen two at most at the same time). Not convinced that #4 made it, but fingers crossed.

Also, another question: is anyone here familiar with trimming wisteria and/or ludwigia? The super red ludwigia is getting tall, and some of the bottom leaves are turning yellow; there are also shoots coming out that could probably be trimmed at some point. To the first point, if I cut a tall ludwigia stem, I know that I can plant the top half, but will the bottom half be able to continue living? And is there a trick to making the cut?

In terms of the wisteria, which is really shading the big sword beneath, the stems of the plants that have hit the surface are quite thick. Same question If I make a cut on one of these thick stems: will both halves live? And is there an advantage to cutting off the side shoots v. leaving them on? Some of the side shoots have almost reached the surface themselves. I actually like their placement at present, so I would probably only cut if it is better for long term plant health.

Many thanks for any and all replies, and tank pics are below (3-5 really show the plants that will soon be in need of trimming, though do note that the shade is not quite as heavy as shown here: the camera darkened the shot so as not to bleach out the top hornwort).


IMG_20211027_224148125.jpg
IMG_20211027_224157414.jpg
IMG_20211027_224242577.jpg
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20211027_224246421.jpg
    IMG_20211027_224246421.jpg
    229.9 KB · Views: 12

AP1

Well, a bit of a strange and not so happy week for the tank. I posted elsewhere here about my worries regarding snails (answers were reassuring, however, with most suggesting that the snail population will eventually stabilize).

I also accidentally left the heater unplugged for 3 days after the water change two Sundays ago. This resulted in temps that probably got as low as 66-67in early morning (just guessing this based on a late afternoon temp reading of 70 degrees--we only just turned the home heat on yesterday, and so the house was unheated during this time). Unfortunately this is also one of the more likely culprits for the first significant health issue I have seen with the fish. This morning I noticed that one of the female CPDs had a swim bladder issue (swimming diagonally and up). I tried turning the heat up further (had put it at 72 so as not to raise the heat to quickly after the heater issue), but after changing the water this evening she still looked to have the issue. However, during feeding just now, I could not find her. Most likely she is hiding, but it is also just possible that this resolved spontaneously (I was reading something about eggbound females sometimes having this issue).

Finally, and although plants continue to grow well, there are lots of holes in the plant leaves. Those who replied to the snail query seemed to think this is a nutrient issue rather than the snails chomping at the plants, and I tend to agree. You can see some of these holes in pics 2,3, and 4 below. Seems to affect the Wisteria and swords the most; also present in the crypts. Additionally, the ludwigia, while growing has an increasing number of yellow leaves. I am currently dosing Flourish, but based on reviews here, I am thinking that I may need to order EasyGreen?

IMG_20211102_234526107.jpg
IMG_20211102_234536561.jpg
IMG_20211102_234756897.jpg
IMG_20211102_234556772.jpg

IMG_20211102_234526107.jpg
IMG_20211102_234536561.jpg
IMG_20211102_234756897.jpg
IMG_20211102_234556772.jpg
IMG_20211102_234631922.jpg
 

Basil

Ughh. I think we’ve all left heaters unplugged at one point. I now make it a habit to quadruple check that I’ve plugged everything back in.
I’m using Nilog Thrivec in all my low tech tanks. Happy with how the plants are responding. I also switched to their root capsules also. Definite improvement in my red tiger lotus and vals.
Everything I’ve read says holes are a K deficit. But not sure about yellow leaves. Maybe too little light?
 

AP1

Ughh. I think we’ve all left heaters unplugged at one point. I now make it a habit to quadruple check that I’ve plugged everything back in.
I’m using Nilog Thrivec in all my low tech tanks. Happy with how the plants are responding. I also switched to their root capsules also. Definite improvement in my red tiger lotus and vals.
Everything I’ve read says holes are a K deficit. But not sure about yellow leaves. Maybe too little light?
Sorry for the late reply. I think I will work on supplementing K at some point...the CPD with the swim bladder issue got progressively worse and had to be put down today. Stupid mistake to make with the heater. :-(
 

AP1

As noted, last week was not a good one for the tank due to the loss of one of the CPDs.

But it seems for now as if that was an isolated problem (fingers crossed), and so some news and notes from the tank:

Interesting identity questions regarding tank inhabitants. Firstly, the endler. I have no clue what sex it is. Several online sites state that endlers color up quite early (one states 17 days). This endler is now over two months old and has not significantly colored up (there are blue tints to its fins, but not nearly as clear as the below photo makes them seem). The shape and body color look for all the world like a female to me (again, see below photo). But there is no clear gravid spot, and the analfin is long and straight and appears much like a gonopodium. So current guess is a late-coloring male?

I am also unsure whether I have any Malaysian Trumpet Snails. I definitely had MTS in my last tank. They burrowed, mostly, during the day, and then I would seem them in the morning just after lights on before they disappeared again. In this tank I have snails that looked at first to me like MTS, but they do not seem to burrow. I'm starting to think that they are rabbit snails, unless MTS weirdly cannot burrow in pool filter sand?

I am also not sure that all of the Amano shrimp that I put in three weeks ago made it. I saw three, once, two weeks ago, but otherwise I usually only see two at a time...the tank (finally) has a bit of discernible (hair and diatom) algae. Not a big fair of the hair, and I am going to cut the lighting back a bit from its current ~11-12 hours a day...finally, nitrates continue to be very low. Like, the test strip does not change colors at all (if you haven't been reading along, I also master test kitted the nitrate, and this confirmed the test strip reading for that week, so the strips should be accurate enough). I have a feeling that the lack of nitrates, along with a lack of light, is one of the reasons that my pothos on the top remains at the same 4 leaves it had when I bought it (actually, two leaves initially fell off, so it has regrown 2 leaves since then).

Overall, and with the sad exception of the CPD, I remain happy with the tank. Once I figure out the sex of the endler, there may be new companion additions, especially if it is a male.


IMG_20211108_223348363.jpg
IMG_20211108_223426926.jpg
IMG_20211108_223407294.jpg
 

Basil

Tank looks great!
Absolutely can’t help with th endler or snails. But the hair algae can be common in a new tank. I had it in the 20 that I set up this summer.
I manually removed as much as possible and did an extra 50% water change per week until things balanced and it went away.
 

AP1

Tank looks great!
Absolutely can’t help with th endler or snails. But the hair algae can be common in a new tank. I had it in the 20 that I set up this summer.
I manually removed as much as possible and did an extra 50% water change per week until things balanced and it went away.
Thanks! There is only a little bit of the hair algae, and I'll have a go at removing it when I WC tomorrow or Thursday--the suggestion to do more water changes for the time being also sounds like a good one.
 

AP1

It's a boy! The endler is 'metamorphisizing' into adult malehood--can see a definite reddish spot on its flank and the gonopodium is very pronounced. I am thinking that I will add 5 more male endlers and 1 CPD sometime soon. The tank is a nitrate machine, and while not low stocking, that also shouldn't be high stocking either. Nervous about the add because of the possibility of adding disease (no QT tank), but I know endlers are social and I will check with my LFS about disease in the tanks, etc. before adding.

In other news, I spotted three amanos a few days ago, so at least 3/4 are alive and well...and the plants are looking good this week. The final pic below is maybe my favorite viewing perspective, from the wisteria side--spent a bit of time looking from that angle yesterday and could not even see fish--just the tangle of plants. Cool!


IMG_20211112_214915469.jpg
IMG_20211113_200923309.jpg
IMG_20211113_201029936.jpg
IMG_20211113_201057337.jpg
 

AP1

Took the plunge today and went to the LFS to buy fish. Ultimately added six endlers-- video from afterwards linked below! (Had a long explanation typed out but just accidentally deleted it somehow)
 

Basil

I got part of your explanation in my email notification. :). Hope all goes well!
 

AP1

Have been meaning to retype that explanation of the Endler purchase:

Two Mondays ago, went down to the LFS with my (two-year-old) son and picked out three (yellow) tiger endlers and three 'WIC' endlers (because their coloration looked similar to that developing on my lone original one). I also figured that given the riskiness of introducing fish without a QT tank, I might as well stock the tank up to full so as to avoid future purchases/stocking for a long time, and so we also purchased two female CPDs to replace the one I lost last month.

A good lesson: be extra careful when purchasing fish with a small child. My attention was most decidedly not on the fish, and I did not examine them closely until we returned home. Luckily I did look then, and discovered that one of the CPDs had a rather crooked/bent/deformed spine. So I took both of the CPDs back (may have been a physical deformity, but did not want to risk introducing something to the tank) and did not replace them. My LFS runs sets of 12 tanks on shared filtration systems; luckily the endlers came from different sets and so there was no worry of contamination for them.

A week and a half later, and all six endlers seem to be doing well. Unfortunately I think there has been a bit of in-fighting, and my old endler appears to have a small sore on its back (I hope it is a sore and not anything else). Will continue to monitor this.

The addition of the endlers has definitely changed the feel of the tank. Fish were not always visible before, as the CPD group was quite reclusive. The endlers are constantly out and about; the CPDs seem to be a bit more confident as well.

I performed my first trimming of the wisteria a couple of days ago, and will add pictures of the tank post-trimming in a bit. One of the reasons for the trim is that we may be gone for about three weeks later next month and I want to start getting the tank ready for this; hopefully the trim ensures that the sword gets enough light and does not melt suddenly. If I can figure out feeding (either an auto feeder or neighbors), and assuming no technical failures, I hope the tank will do well--it consistently runs near-zero nitrates, and so hopefully water quality will be OK during the absence.

That's all folks, Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating!
 

AP1

I think something more than bullying may be going on here--just noticed that another of the endlers has a nearly all-white dorsal fin and white on the caudal fin as well. The fin still looks intact, but this may be some sort of disease (seems unlikely that both of their fins are transitioning to this weird almost bluish white color at the same time)--will see how things look in the morning and then decide whether to try to treat. (columnaris pops up in web searches, but this is confined to the fin and so unsure)
 

AP1

Started a separate post in the Diseases section about this; I am leaning toward fin rot at this point, and will try to treat first with stress coat and water changes (unless others feel differently).
And here’s that FTS after a water change tonight:
CD60B1B2-1B2A-49F2-AD67-02E835BBE7F9.jpeg
 

AP1

After some tank watching, I am pretty sure that the tiger endlers are bullying the other endlers to the point of causing the fin issues. The tiger endlers are manic in their energy level compared to everything else in the tank and are almost always in on scraps with the other endlers (I rarely if ever see issues between the endlers that do not involve the tiger endlers).

I’m sure that the other endlers are not pure endlers either, but online sources note that tiger endlers are crossbreeds between endlers and guppies—I’m going to tentatively chalk this up to a ‘guppier’ fish bullying the others.

So unless anything changes, I am going to return the tiger endlers to the store. I blew two good chances at netting them today (after which they dived into the plants), but will try again tomorrow.

The two endlers with the fin issues haven’t gotten significantly worse, and hopefully they will recover.
 

AP1

Nothing new on the fish end, but a couple of quick tech and accessories updates/thoughts:
1. Bought a smart plug recently, and I am quite happy with it. Using the 'Kasa' app I now have my tank on a 4 hour morning on-5 hour off-7 hour afternoon/evening on-8 hour off automatic lighting schedule.

2. Wooden kebab sticks are great for many things in the tank--breaking up frozen food cubes, moving around plants when you don't want to get your hands dirty, etc. Not sure if all brands would be tank safe, but I haven't noticed any issues from the ones that I am using.
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
4
Views
170
VibrantOrange
Replies
28
Views
848
AP1
Replies
69
Views
1K
AP1
Replies
5
Views
99
AP1
Replies
4
Views
324
CastleGrayskull

New Aquarium Journal Threads

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom