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Seeking Suggestions On A Texas Boitope!

Discussion in 'Freshwater Aquarium Builds' started by CastleGrayskull, Apr 10, 2019.

  1. CastleGrayskull Valued Member Member

    Hey folks. So I just got 3 phantom red tetras and 7 neons for my daughter's 20 gallon and while I was out, I picked up a ten gallon that I'm water testing overnight right now.

    The plan is to create a biotope that will basically use all of the stuff from one of the local lakes I have in town. I want to take a chunk of native Texas waters and put it in my aquarium.

    So first and foremost, I'd like to ask for basic suggestions on setup.

    Here's the general plan:
    1. Substrate - I'll probably take substrate straight from the lake and rinse it to get rid of as much of the cloudy particles as possible and use that as my aquarium substrate.

    2. Decoration - It might wind up being a blackwater tank because I plan to use any natural decorations I can find including rocks, wood and plants I find in the water. That will be the whole of my decor. All natural, wild-found decorations.

    3. Water - I'm of two minds here. I'm tempted to use the water straight from the lake but I don't know if that would be a good thing or a bad thing. It's already alive and fish live in it so it seems, more or less, healthy. The lakes nearby seem to have good water testing done with high marks. Or I could just use distilled or even tapwater but my tapwater is very hard. Open to suggestions here.

    4. Occupants - Not sure here! I took a bit of algae from the lake and put it in a jar. I was going to use it to feed my shrimp in my 20gal but didn't. I noticed some rather big daphnia, or at least what appear to be large daphnia (perhaps 1cm) as well as small.. what appear to be snails and other small creatures. Anyway, depending on the water I use, I might use very small (since it'll be a 10gal nano) fish caught from the lake itself or maybe something store bought that fits the water parameters.

    5 Filtration - I don't know if I'll need it. Maybe a small sponge filter or undergravel?

    So I'd like some opinions on this. My goal is to take a chunk of local lakes and put them in an aquarium. Would I even need filtration if I put enough plants in? What water should I use?

    A note on fish and size possibilities: Seeing as it's exceedingly hard to find information on specific non-game fish found in my area, I may catch a wild non-game fish and have it outgrow my tank. If I do, I have considering just putting it back in the same place I got it from unless the species is invasive. Basically let it live a happy life in a tank and if it grows too big to be healthy for it, I'll release it and catch new one and document what I find.

    All of this will be well documented, as well. The main point of that is because there seems to be precious little information on doing what I plan to do!

    All suggestions welcome. Thanks!

    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
  2. Executionernerner New Member Member

    Golden topminnow

  3. david1978 Fishlore Legend Member



  4. CastleGrayskull Valued Member Member

    Okay so I took the water parameters for the lake that I'll likely be using for source! It seems pretty good!The numbers provided are rough because it's color coded and I have a hard time with shades.

    GH ~120 - 180
    KH ~40
    pH 7.0 - 7.5
    Nitrite 0
    Nitrate ~0 - ~20
    Ammonia ~0

    Thanks for the species suggestions, y'all! I'll look into those!

    Any suggestions for the setup?
  5. midna Well Known Member Member

    you'll need to keep getting water from the lake for water changes if you decide to go that route. it's easiest if you just use tap water and acclimate them. plus you don't know what potentially harmful nasties are in the lake.

    if you want a challenge then get a big tank (55+ gallons) with some texas cichlids haha. i don't know about any other native fish, they all get pretty huge. longear sunfish are pretty and they don't get -too- big.  

    where in texas are you located btw?
  6. CastleGrayskull Valued Member Member

    midna: My tapwater and the lake water are actually almost exactly the same. My tapwater is probably .25 more alkaline and the kh is a teensy bit higher, but otherwise the parameters are about the same. I'm honestly not too incredibly worried about the "nasties". I mean.. if I use the substracte from the lake, plants, stones and wood from the lake and even inhabitants from the lake.. what will using that water do?

    It makes me wonder where my water is coming from. I think it's lake-fed, actually..

    Might do water changes with tap. Haven't decided 100% on the water stuff just yet.

    Honeslty I would LOVE to do a bigger tank. My second tank ever was a 55 with African and.. malawi(?) cichlids. They lived for a good 5 years before I had to move and gave them to a pet store for adoption. Was a forced decision. Made me very sad.

    Right now, I just can't afford a bigger tank. I'm on the lookout for anyone trying to get rid of one or selling one for cheap. Haha.

    I'm in the DFW area.
  7. RyanC14 Valued Member Member

    Mosquitofish maybe?
  8. CastleGrayskull Valued Member Member

    I'd love to. They seem a lot like guppies. I'm not sure where I'd catch them.
  9. RyanC14 Valued Member Member

    I think they're pretty common in most ponds and lakes, but I've only been to Houston so I don't know lol
  10. CastleGrayskull Valued Member Member

    Yeah from what I've read they're common in your area.

    I just got a net and a small keeper bucket so tomorrow morning I'm going to go and see what I can grab! We'll see!

    Do I need to cycle if I use lake substrate and decor? Maybe I can obviate filtration or maybe use light filtration at max, too?
  11. Executionernerner New Member Member

    Most of the beneficial bacteria is in the filtration so you'll still need to cycls
  12. CastleGrayskull Valued Member Member

    I get that but if that's the case then how does a tank with no filter become cycled and how do natural bodies of water cycle themselves over time? ;)
  13. RyanC14 Valued Member Member

    Lakes, ponds and other bodies of water are like very big understocked tanks, they hold just enough beneficial bacteria for the aquatic life within the substrate. You'll probably need a filter unless you really understock your tank.
  14. CastleGrayskull Valued Member Member