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New big tank DIY on a budget...
Great looking tank! And great pictures! Really pull the fish out. Yes this and the other tank are contest winners.
I took a few more snapshots in the tank yesterday. I keep trying to plant more Vallisneria that I have spare from another tank, but it keeps getting dug up after a few days. Yesterday I managed to catch 13 of 15 little Cichlasomas that survived from the first spawning. It was easier than I had expected! Need to catch the remaining two today if possible then give them all away. I am hoping one of the local shops will take them.
Here are the little cichlids in their small temporary tank - but there is still one I just can't catch!
There are a few things to update regarding this tank. Firstly the Cichlasomas are causing problems. They keep on spawning repeatedly, but since that first batch have not managed to rear any young past a couple of days free swimming. But they are getting bigger and more aggressive all the time, even on the few days that they don't have eggs or fry they are chasing the other fish from an ever increasing area. One morning I caught the male eating a diamond tetra and the numbers of tetras of both kinds seem to have decreased recently. One of the large festivums has part of a ventral fin missing, and another small one has a bite mark on its side and I am pretty sure the Cichlasomas are responsible as the other fish are all very peaceful. I am afraid they will have to go, the local fish shop owner will take them and look after them there in a large tank with other big fish.
(apologies for reflections, but shows one short ventral fin)
There is also now a lone angelfish in the tank that I had to move from my other large tank. He was always aggressive to one other angel in particular, but recently (after more than two years together) he became much worse and more persistent, forcing the other one to hide all the time. He is not causing any problems at the moment, but he does not really being in this tank as it is meant to look natural and he is a domestic marble angelfish, and the only one in the tank. Also I might consider one day getting some altums, or another wild type angelfish for this tank. So I will probably have to give him away as well as I believe "Time out" doesn't work.
The original Vallisneria is just about surviving, though nowhere near as healthy or quick growing as in my other tanks. I have several times tried to plant more, but it always gets dug up, and when it floats on the surface the Uarus eat the roots. And I haven't got round to adding any more branches or roots though I do intend to after I have caught the Cichlasomas. There is this piece I have in mind, but it may be too big and it is dry so will need weighing down. I will also have to remove one of the tank lids (which means disconnecting the light).
All the fish have grown, but I still think there is room for more (reasonably peaceful ones), especially when the Cichlasoma and angelfish go.
I keep forgetting to leave the lights on after dark to get better photos with no reflections, but here is a shot of the tank taken today, as you will see the substrate has been very much rearranged mostly by the CIchlasomas but also the severum (who made those mounds in front of the wood 'cave", right hand side and front right corner).
Last week I took the CIchlasomas to the fish shop, where they will be kept in a very large display tank. They were very interesting fish but were causing too much stress to the other fish in my tank, eventually dominating the whole tank bottom. The other fish are more relaxed now. A couple of days ago I once more tried to plant some more Vallisneria as mainly it was the Cichlasomas that were digging it up before, possibly helped but the severum and Uarus, who were definitely interested in the new plants initially, but I distracted them with some lettuce leaves. I took photos straight away even though there are reflections and the water not quite clear after the water change, as I was not at all sure that the Vals would last more than a day. I had to be careful to not let any roots be exposed as the Uarus really go for the roots and as the substrate is sand its difficult to get them securely planted initially. I couldn't plant them at the back without disconnecting the lights and removing the lid, so just put them were I could reach relatively easily (with a small ladder).Two days later and only one smaller plant is floating, the two big ones are still planted, fingers crossed....I also added a bit more wood, not the big piece as that would be a major operation and I didn't have that much time the other day, but a couple of smaller ones, I could not put them where I wanted yet as they are dry, just had to wedge them in wherever for the time being. I did this as I thought the tank was looking rather bare, especially as some of the nice finer roots that were there originally have by now disintegrated or been eaten by Uarus.
I did not expect anything in exchange for the cichlids, but the owner offered me a small Acarichthys heckelii, the last one he had left. I did not decide straight away, first because it is albino and secondly because it is very small and I am not sure if it would be ok to put with the bigger cichlids initially. However, thinking about it since I am quite tempted to take it. Altum angels have not materialized after all, and he says he is getting some Biotodoma, which I have wanted for a long time, but I am not getting my hopes up too much yet, will wait and see.
Oh dear, all the tops have been bitten off
On a more positive note I caught a rare glimpse of the little clown pleco
Oh well...you tried. Never give up the hope. Next time it may work
It is now over a year since I first added fish to this tank so thought it was time for an update. It has been more peaceful since I took out the Cichlasomas and the big angelfish who always terrorized the uarus. The Vallisneria continues to not do well, I try to clean the leaves when I do a water change but they seem to get a lot of algae and detritus on them, probably as they are not too healthy because the tops are bitten off. Sometimes I wonder if I should just take them all out. The wood at the left hand end does not look quite as good as it did originally as many of the finer roots have disintegrated and/or been chewed up by the Uarus. All the wood now has a lot of algae on it, mainly BBA I think. Maybe one day I will find another piece. This tank also gets much more algae on the front glass and is much harder to keep clean than my other tanks, not because of its size but for various other reasons - bigger fish that dig and stir things up a lot, heavier feeding, no snails or otos in the tank, it is in a room that gets a fair bit of daylight (though one other smaller tank is in this room too), not as many plants as the other tanks (except water lettuce). So while the other tanks can go several weeks without cleaning the glass, this one starts to look dirty before the week is up. I also wish I had used a coarser sand that would not get quite as stirred up, but I used what was available in the river at that time.
As for the fish, I have added a pair of Orinoco dwarf pike cichlids (more details here: https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/are-these-orinoco-dwarf-pike-cichlids.529987/) and they are doing well. At first the female was bigger and dominant and would chase the male, keeping him to the left hand side of the tank, but in the last few days this has reversed - the male has grown bigger and started to flare at and chase the female so now she is generally keeping to the right hand end of the tank. The other main news is that the uarus have spawned twice, a year after I first got them, but lost the eggs after two and three days respectively (more details here:My Uarus are spawning after a year! | Cichlid Forum). Since a couple of weeks before spawning they have been doing a lot of digging and have made some big holes and mountains in the substrate and put sand all over the rocks and lower branches and they still keep dong this. I cannot yet be sure that they are a true pair or two females, but they always stay together. They are pretty big now, only slightly smaller than the severum, who is still the biggest fish in the tank, and still spawns regularly, when she does so she just disappears for a couple of days behind the big wood piece and does not cause any trouble whatsoever.. Two of the festivums are huge, the others have not grown that much, no sign off any breeding behaviour from them.
Tank is great looking. Love the natural habitat look you are going for with it.
Time for a quick update as I have added more fish to this tank. 4 Geophagus (not sure what species, maybe G. abalíos?) and 3 Corydoras - again not sure of the species, something like brevirostris, but there are a lot that look similar. When I first added the Geophagus the tank got really cloudy for a few days as they stirred up the sand so all the very fine silt came to the surface. It also got in the roots of the water lettuce which they did not appreciate, the roots started to die and fall off making a horrible mess in the tank. I thought at first maybe it had been a mistake to add the geos. But the cloudiness only lasted a few days and now they, and the Corydoras, are keeping the sand much cleaner than before. I had to take out all the water lettuce and siphon up the dead roots, but I have plenty in other tanks and it will soon grow back. As for the Corydoras, I haven’t kept them before and was worried as 3 of the 6 I bought died in quarantine. But the other three are doing very well and I am loving them! They were a bit skittish at first but have now settled down and go all over the tank, not only on the sand but on the branches as well. Sometimes all three are together but often I see two together and one alone. So the tank looks a lot better now with much more activity on the bottom. Absolutely no issues with the other cichlids.