Category Archives: 20G Planted Tank

These posts mention the 20G freshwater planted tank.

12/28/2011: Update and a couple of pictures

Things have been going well, and there have been a couple of changes recently to the fish tanks so that means it’s time for an update.

150G Saltwater Tank: The bad news first, I haven’t seen more than 3 cardinals at the same time for a few months now, so I can only assume that I lost one of them. On the good side, though, everybody else has been doing great. Buzz had a big growth spurt and is now larger than Filet, enough so that he’s starting to become dominant. I also added a bunch of Nassarius snails to the tank so there’s a real clean-up crew in there. I’ve ordered a protein skimmer and some new RO/DI membranes, so over the next couple of months I’ll be trying to get the nitrates down in the tank. Once they hit zero and I have some idea what I’m doing, I’ll start putting corals in the tank!

55G Freshwater Tank: Not much to say here except that I found out that they make blue and purple GloFish now, so I put six orange and six blue GloFish into this tank yesterday. They go along with the color scheme of the tank and will make the tank a little more active. I have some pictures of that tank:

20G Planted Shrimp Tank: I’ve learned my lesson from my past failures now: when the shrimp tank is surviving, don’t touch it! The new colony is starting to take hold. They’re very difficult to get good pictures of, but I managed to get one picture. It’s just a matter of time before they multiply enough so that some adults will be out all of the time.

10/18/2011: Hey, it’s a post!


I haven’t updated in several months. I have a couple of reasons for this, some of them good reasons.

First, nothing really bad has happened to any of my tanks. All three of them are in a state where everyone inside is alive and happy, and I haven’t been messing with them very much. There are things I want to do, but I’ve been concentrating on doing work on my house and that kind of takes priority at the moment.

I had set a goal to have corals in the saltwater tank by the end of the year. I’d still like to shoot for that goal, since that’s the next big thing I want to do in fish-tank-land.

I’ll give a short update on the status of each tank.

150G Saltwater Tank: Things are going just fine. I suspect that I might have lost one of the cardinals, but it’s difficult to be sure. They don’t appear to be fighting anymore and that could be why.

55G Freshwater Tank: I don’t think it’s possible to determine the sex of the two Bolivian Rams in the tank, so I’ll just assume one male and one female and give them the names Doug and Patti like I wanted to give the last pair of rams.

This tank needed frequent large water changes before because of the new driftwood. I’m happy to say that it doesn’t need that anymore. Also, there was an issue with the lighting system and I had to take the sunrise/sunset LED strips off. I’ll order new ones some day but that’s not a very high priority.

20G Shrimp Tank: The fishless cycle completed successfully and I added in a new colony of Red Cherry Shrimp. There were several weeks where the survivors hid most of the time, but they’ve built up their numbers to the point where they don’t all hide anymore! It’s finally a successful shrimp tank!

The plants took kind of a beating during this process, but they’re starting to recover. I’m gradually adding fertilizers and it doesn’t seem to have any bad effects on the shrimp, and the plants appreciate it.

Most of the shrimp are still very small, and I have to sneak up on the tank or else they all hide, but hopefully I’ll get some halfway decent pictures and/or video of this tank soon. Over the past week or two it’s really started to look good.

I’ll probably update more as I prepare the saltwater tank for corals, there is one big thing left to do on the house, so after that’s done and winter starts, I’ll seriously look at getting the equipment I need to make this tank a reef tank.

7/26/2011: Another update

Over the past couple of weeks there have been a few things that happened. The pleco I had just bought last time ended up dying, and so did the other German Blue Ram. Once the ram died, the tetras in the tank didn’t school any more, which drove me kind of crazy. I went to the fish store and got a couple of Bolivian Rams, which helped things out a lot.

I’m not sure of the sex of these two, I’m trying to figure that out, but they seem to be OK with each other so that’s really good enough for me. Odds are that there’s one male and one female, but until I have a better guess, the names will have to wait.

Other than that, not too much has been happening. I’m starting over the 20G planted tank, and it’s going through a fishless cycle at the moment. In a couple of weeks I’ll probably be ready to try shrimp once again…

7/9/2011: so… it’s been a while

It’s been a while since I updated last, and actually it isn’t because of a lack of things happening to the tanks, unfortunately. I have no excuse :-(. However, I’m updating now, and I will have pictures!

150G Saltwater Tank: Things have mostly gone very well here, there are only a few things to write about. First, one of the cardinal pairs was doing their egg thing when the other pair suddenly decided that it was the time to declare war on them, so for the next few weeks, they mercilessly pestered this pair to the point where they can’t do anything in the tank without getting bitten and chased. It’s as aggressive as I’ve ever seen them, but the two victims are still alive and beginning to recover. I think the only reason they’re recovering though is because now the meanie pair did their egg thing. I’m confident that they’ll all be fine and hopefully they’ll work out their differences, since I know they are capable of coexisting in this tank.

Second, I went to the fish store today and got 10 Nassarius snails to help out with the sand bed. They aren’t exactly photogenic creatures, since they spend almost all of their time buried in the sand, but it’s the beginning of rebuilding the clean-up crew. Once I have a full clean-up crew, the next step is a protein skimmer, and then I can begin the process of getting the levels in that tank appropriate for a reef system! If everything goes perfectly, I might be buying corals by the end of the year.

20G Planted Tank: Well everything I’ve come up with has resulted in failure. I don’t know what’s happened, but I can’t even keep fish alive in this tank. Any survivors were moved to the 55G tank today, and I’m going to start it over. I’ll do what I can to keep the plants going during this process, and I’m still researching the best way to do that. Once the “start from scratch” process is done, though, I’ll be attempting to make it a shrimp tank again. I’ll hopefully be able to update during that process.

55G Freshwater Tank: This tank has had the most activity since the last update. After the whole heater incident, there were about 10 fish left in the tank, so I’ve been slowly restocking it since then. After a trip to the fish store today, here’s the stock list:

1 Female German Blue Ram (still haven’t decided on a good name for her yet)
1 Black Neon Tetra
1 Harlequin Rasbora (the survivor from the 20G tank)
1 Albino Bristlenose Pleco
about 15 Neon Blue Tetras
about 15 Priscilla Tetras (the grey ones in the pictures)
about 15 “Popcorn” Tetras (the orange ones in the pictures)

All of these fish have been doing really, really well; things are finally starting to calm down in that tank. The only thing that isn’t going really well is the fact that there’s so much new driftwood in the tank. It’s not bad for the fish, but after a week the water will be tea-colored, which makes the tank pretty dark. I have to do large (at least 50%) water changes every week, and I just have to keep doing this until the driftwood releases all of its tannins.

Now, I have some pictures of the new guys in the 55G tank:

6/9/2011: Failure in two tanks

Well I took a trip to the fish store with high hopes today, but it didn’t quite work out.

I got some ghost shrimp for the 20G tank as sort of a last-ditch effort to see if I could get any shrimp to survive at all in that tank. They didn’t last very long, and this means I’m officially out of ideas for what the problem could be. Today is the day I will give up on keeping shrimp in that tank. I do, however, have some plans for what I want to do to that tank. I want to get a school of rasboras, and maybe some snails (not the pest kind, but the good kind) or some “tank janitors” to go along with them. I don’t plan to wait on this for too long, so it would be reasonable to expect an update soon about this.

As for the 55G tank, shortly after my last post, the male ram died. It seems like the damage has been completed from the heater failure, so I’m starting to clean up after that. Today I got another male  German Blue Ram, since the female seems to be doing fine. Apparently he was not to her liking, because she quickly killed the new guy. I guess the good news is that she seems to be OK by herself, so I guess it will just stay that way. The future of this tank isn’t quite certain since I have to make up my mind on a few things, but I plan to re-stock this tank with some more tetras soon, and possibly something else.

I’m also thinking about changing  Patti’s (the female ram’s) name to something more vicious. I realized I “officially” named her, but it’s my fish tank and I make the rules 😛

6/4/2011: Disaster in the 55G tank

I’ll start off with the only good news: the two rams in the 55G tank have names. They are Doug and Patti, named after Doug Funnie and Patti Mayonnaise from the Doug cartoon. The female is larger than the male, so I can tell them apart when they’re together.

Now with the bad stuff. Yesterday I discovered a few things in the 55G tank that weren’t so good. First, I noticed several dead fish, then I noticed that the temperature was about 100 degrees, then I noticed that the heater had shattered and broke, probably from overheating. I am certainly not happy that my relatively new heater catastrophically failed and killed a bunch of my fish, so I spent some time yesterday cooling the tank back down to 80 degrees. I think the damage is over now; I lost 12 fish by my count, and both of the rams are OK. I’d guess that about half of the fish in that tank died because of this. I’m going to need to get some more.

Also, an update on the 20G tank; I’ve tried a few times to keep shrimp alive in that tank and have failed every time. I’ve been changing a few things each time to try and eliminate whatever is killing them with no luck yet. I have a couple of ideas that some people at the fish store suggested to me, so I’m going to try those and try using ghost shrimp instead of red cherry shrimp for this next try. If I still can’t get a colony going, it will be time to give up on the shrimp tank idea and I’ll probably put a school or rasboras in that tank or something. I really have no idea what the problem is here, especially considering that I’ve had shrimp in this tank before I moved and they did just fine. I’m getting frustrated with this, since I was really looking forward to having a shrimp tank.

5/3/2011: New video

Saltwater Tank: It’s nothing but good news here. I was worried for a while because one of the male Bangai Cardinals was hiding for a really long time with eggs in his mouth. I hadn’t seen him in about 3 weeks, and the other three cardinals were starting to act a little more aggressively toward each other. I was convinced that I had lost the male and the two other females were fighting over the last male, but a couple nights ago I finally saw all four of them, and imagine this: one of them was really hungry. Behavior is back to normal now, so I’m happy. I also took an updated video of this tank like I said I wanted to earlier.

“Shrimp Tank”: It’s back in quotation marks again because the last batch of shrimp didn’t last very long. I’m in the process of trying to figure out why they aren’t lasting in this tank like they were before, and trying to fix those things before I get the next batch. There will be updates, since I don’t want to leave this tank empty for long. Hopefully it works out the next time.

4/22/2011: Red Cherry Shrimp

You thought I’d disappeared, didn’t you? Well, I didn’t. I have a couple of interesting things to talk about too.

I’ll start with the big one: after several days of looking locally for some Red Cherry Shrimp, I finally found a source for them that is about a 15-minute drive from me. I went yesterday to pick up the shrimp and surprise! Some of them actually made it alive into the tank! I got about 25 of them, most of them are juveniles, and some are as small as 1/4 inch, but I’m already starting to see their red color develop, and they seem to be doing well so far. I have some pictures:

If all goes well, there will be enough to start a colony and they’ll reproduce like crazy.

Last night while I was getting the algae ready for the saltwater tank, I noticed three of the cardinals doing something kind of strange. They were trying to intimidate each other, and they were being kind of aggressive. This is weird because I can’t think of much of a reason they would decide to do this unless the male that had eggs in his mouth somehow died. I haven’t seen him in a while, so that’s not really a good thing. On the other hand, when they’re doing this, it’s a great time to take pictures of them, so I have a few pictures.

I also took some up-to-date full-tank shots of the shrimp tank and the saltwater tank, since I think my previous ones are several months old. Here they are.

What’s next: I want to take an updated video of each of the tanks, particularly the saltwater tank since the last video I took was before I moved. Also, there’s a different local fish club I found out about, which is actually how I was able to find the guy who sold me the Red Cherry Shrimp, so I’m going to look at that some more and with any luck, it might be a source for the rams I’ve been wanting for the 55G tank.