Old Fort Exotics Fishroom Build

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OldFort Exotics

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Hello everyone, I have been gone from the forum for a bit but not fish keeping. I have changed my setup some while I was away by adding new tanks. I'm still working out a few details on what tanks to expand into next, my goal is to breed more fish and lucky fir me the LFS will buy a lot of the common stuff. That means some common stuff to help off set the cost of keeping fish but a few are just for me.

My fish room is in my basement with the original room 130sq feet, I have expanded to another room in the basement so now I have around 280sq feet. Still kinda small compared to many rooms but should do well for me. I have 34 tanks ranging from 5.5g to 150g (950g) and plan on adding another 10-15 tanks this summer.

Here is what I'm currently working on
Mbuna Red Zebra group (11 total)
Mbuna Electric Yellow group (12 total)

These 2 groups are my first Mbuna groups but really liking them a lot. I bought all the fish small so they are all still growing out, I have them in a 55g now and they are 2"-3" long so breeding should start in the next month or so.

Blood Dragon Peacock group
Regal Blue Peacock group
German Red Peacock group

I have had most of these for a while but never tried to breed them. I have setup the males I wanted and added the females, some of the females are a mix of peacocks but I wanted to make sure the number of females in the tanks is high to decrease the risk of them getting too stressed. My goal is to breed the fry from the best color females back to the male and remove the "mixed" females from the group. It will take a while but it looks to be working so far. I really enjoy working with the peacocks a lot more then I did my SA cichilds should have switched sooner.

BN Pleco group (common)
BN pleco albino group

The albino group I was sold as L144 but I don't think that is what they are I think they are just albino commons. Not a big deal but should have researched them more before buying. The common brown BN have been doing well in my room for years but now starting to need more so all the BN I have breed I'm keeping.

Black Molly group (1 M/3F)
Never had great luck with Mollies but I got this group and 2 of the females where carrying so I have a nice group started. They now have 30-40 fry in the tank so will need to setup another tank soon

Swordtail Red (1M/2F)
Swordtail Green (1M/3F)

Looked a long time for healthy swordtails and never been able to find any but I did find these guys and very happy with them.

Lots of Guppies (Red Moscow, cobra, HB, and Elephant ear), Endlers, and a wild strain of Poecilia minima.

Cherry Shrimp, Blue Dream Shrimp, and Pumpkin Shrimp

I have keep these for years but never really tried to breed them to sell, but now I have them in colony tanks so I can try to breed them enough to start selling. Might see about getting a few different groups but not sure yet.

My future plans
I would like to pick up some more Endlers I really like the yellow strain, I would like to get some Wild type Molly and Swordtails. It might be later in the summer before I really start looking but it is something I want to do. I'm also thinking about picking up some more native fish and see about breeding those. I know they don't sell well but if I watch what I'm doing I should be able to breed enough for me with few extras.

I still have my SA cichilds don't see me getting rid of them and my Bettas I still love these guys, might try to breed them some day too. Here is a walk thru my room from about a month ago I need to make a new video but days get too short.

I will be posting updates as they come along.
 

Damia:)

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How do you keep all the tanks clean and fed? I have always wanted many tanks but I'm not sure how I would have time to clean them all. If you have tips for keeping many tanks let me know
 

meyowmeow

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looks like a lot of fun! thank you for posting this!
 

OldFort Exotics

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It is a lot easier to keep them all then you would think. I have most of the lights on timers and that is a huge part of it all, I feed before I go to work and when I get home it only tanks 5 mins to feed every tank but most of the time it's 10-15 mins because I watch fish or see something that needs to be done.

I do my tank maintenance on Saturday water changes are easy I have a drain system on the front of most of the racks so I don't have to use buckets then I just refill from the tap and treat the new water with Prime or Safe(safe is the powdered version of prime and is cheaper). I clean the front glass on most of the tanks while I do water changes because it's pretty quick but some tanks I don't clean the glass because of the fry. Doing the water changes and cleaning the glass takes about 1 hour per week. I don't vacuum the gravel every week I allow the shrimp or plants to get rid of the waste but when I vacuum the tanks heavy or do heavy cleaning I normally do those after work in my spare time.

I would guess in a week I spend about 2.5-3 hours working with the tanks. My 150g took most of my time but I it up with a over flow system so I just have to turn on the water for 5 mins every morning and the tank gets a 15% water change, it is stocked very heavy but my Nitrates are 5 so it is working very well and almost no work on my part. I will be doing the same on my other large tanks in the coming months.

There are some weekends where I can't work in the room but all the tanks are in good shape so if I have to skip a week it's all good never had any issues.

I really enjoy the time with the tanks so I don't mind at all, but as you can guess I don't watch a lot of TV, my wife and I watch about a hour ever evening but most of that is talking. I also don't do any social media so that saves me a lot of time.
 

OldFort Exotics

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I'm hoping to finish my new rack this weekend. It is kinda small but I'm limited to the size of pump I have. It with be a 20g L sump tank, five 20g L and five 4g tubs all linked together, I will upload some photos once I get it finished. This rack will be for my livebearer breeding groups, I'm going to put guppies in 3 of the 20g and the other two will be platys. This will free up a few other tanks so I can move my swordtails to larger tanks.

The 4g tubs will be for my betta, I'm thinking if I already have heated and cycled water why not attach a few small tubs for bettas. I'm thinking about building a full rack for just bettas so this will be kinda of test system for the 4g tubs.

Damia @ I will try to take a few photos of my drain system, over flow and fill system it makes maintenance pretty easy. I will be upgrading it in the next few months because I have added some new tanks so might do a video or build thread on just that.
 

OldFort Exotics

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Well I finished my new rack system but after letting it run for a few hours and seeing it all in working I changed my mine about using this system so took it all back down. I know a lot of wasted time and work but the reason is I enjoy keeping my fish so I can see them, with the tanks turned so I was looking down the short end just wasn't going to work for me. The good news is I have a rack with will hold the 20g L tanks just need to move it to the fish room and put the tanks on it. So I can still have the tanks up and running this week. Bad news is the 4g tubs not sure what I will do with those I drilled overflows into them so could plug those holes but not sure yet.
 

Brian Rodgers

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Sounds great. I too was thinking I'd try tubs a one point because they are easy enough to drill, but like you I wasn't happy having only a top view of the fish. I did buy a diamond drill so I could add an overflow and possibly connect the tanks to an aquaponics grow-bed or two. Good luck with your new tanks set ups. I can't wait for pictures.
 

OldFort Exotics

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I got the clear tubs because I thought I could see in and are very easy to drill and they might work fine for some people but not what I was going for. I should really try drilling a tank but I'm worried I would break a tank.

I have the rack almost setup. I need to attach it to the wall just to be sure it doesn't move or fall, it is pretty stable but like to be safe.

I have been thinking about my fish room and I'm trying to decide how I want to go with my hobby. I might move away from all hybrids and just keep wild type fish, or at least only buy wild type from this point forward. Might start a thread about that as to not muddy this one up.
 

OldFort Exotics

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A few things to update.
Swordtail red male died, not sure why just one morning he was gone
Swordtail Green male jumped from the tank
I have the females and I'm hoping they spawned before the males died so waiting a few weeks and still feeding heavy just in case.

Thinking about taking down the Peacock groups. I will be keeping the Blood Dragons going but I moved the other males back to my Peacock tank. I don't see me getting rid of them but I don't want to be raising more fry from them right now.

BN Pleco are trying to breed me out of tanks, these guys are spawning like mad. I started feeding them very heavy and that is really got them going and the fry growing. I have moved many fry to other tanks and they are all doing great.

I have been working on my new 20g L rack, I did make a video of the progress so far. I think I want to build 1 more rack with 20g Tall but not sure yet.

Also doing some counting looks like I have 40 tanks running in the fish room (not all with fish yet) and over 1,000 Gallons of water. WOW that is a lot of water,
 
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OldFort Exotics

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Little update on my room

American Cichilds
Oscars are spawning but so at this point they have 2 batches of not fertilized eggs. I think both are females and I'm okay with that not sure I want to breed Oscars.
Texas cichild is female so going to move her to a new tank but only choice is a 55g. Good news is she is still small so not a big deal but will need to find another large tank.
Pink Convict cichilds really would like to breed these guys they are great looking adults but no where to move the fry I don't want. Don't want to spawn them just to keep 4 or 5 for my self.

African Cichilds
Peacock breeding I have decided to hold off on breeding the regal and german peacocks. Still growing up my blood dragons fry I have two batches of 15-20 each growing out.

Zebra and Electric Yellow Mbuna are all doing well and growing nice. Really expecting to see some spawning action but none so far.

LiveBearer
Molly are doing well and keep spawning, fry growing good. Not much to say about these.

Swordtails both my males jumped from the tanks so only have the females, feeding heavy hoping they spawned before I lost the males. The Red female might be carrying she is getting large.

Guppies are all doing well and I have started moving adults to give the fry more food and increase the number that will grow out.

Platy are getting fat but no fry yet.

BN Pleco are doing great I think they have had 4 spawns so far it is getting hard to tell at this point. The 20g tank easily has 75-100 fry, I have moved about 20 to other tanks to help with tank cleaning. Looks like about 15% of the fry are albino which is pretty cool as their parents are not so will be breeding some of those for sure. I'm going thru a 4 cans of green beans a week just feeding these guys, I feed other veggies and fish food but they love the beans.

Shrimp
Cherry and Pumpkin are breeding so those colones are growing. The Blue Dream have yet to spawn but look to be doing well.


I have finished the 20g L rack but don't have fish in most of those tanks, I also started a 20g H rack but again no fish yet.

Future plans
There is a club auction about 2 hours from here next month that I'm going to go to and see if I can find something cool. I want to get 4 or 5 Goodeid for the 20g L rank and still looking for a few wild type livebearers.

I need to make a new video of everything so maybe this week.
 
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