Category Archives: 20G Planted Tank

These posts mention the 20G freshwater planted tank.

4/11/2011: Update and lots of pictures!

Well the big day finally came, and I’ve got a ton of pictures. I’ll update by tank.

Quarantine Tank: Not there anymore! The two tangs were successfully moved to the big saltwater tank, so now I have this stand with no fish tank on it. What am I gonna do with that?

20G Planted “Shrimp” Tank: I think it’s OK to call this one: zero out of the 30+ shrimp I ordered were alive after being moved to my tank. I’ve started digging on a way to get some Red Cherry Shrimp locally, but there’s still a ways to go. The plants are doing great, though. There isn’t anything interesting in this tank right now, since it’s just plants, so no pictures.

55G Freshwater Tank: I’ve officially decided that I can’t keep an up-to-date accurate count of how many of each type of fish there are in this tank. I’ve seen a few that have died in the past week, which is to be expected, but there’s just no way to count them all. Torpedo is enjoying himself.

I have some pictures of this tank, I’ve gotten some decent quality sunrise and sunset pictures. Also, I realized that I don’t have very many pictures at all of the actual fish in the tank, so I have a couple of those too. I really like this tank, and I can’t wait to get the rams so we see more schooling behavior from the tetras.

First, a new full-tank shot (one I’m actually happy with):

A couple of sunset pictures:

A sunrise picture:

And some more pictures of the fish:

150G Saltwater Tank: It’s certainly been eventful in this tank. Saturday evening I added in the two new tangs; they were both really upset about the whole process until they made it into the tank. I’ve seen a lot of interesting behavior from everybody since the new additions were added.

Sarge actually seems unaffected, he’s still the largest fish in the tank, and since he’s very different from the new guys, there isn’t much aggression. He still swims around like he’s in charge, and anyone that would actually want to challenge him is afraid to because they’re so much smaller than him. I think more than anything he just likes having some new faces around.

Butch is really upset about the change. He’s been overly aggressive to just about everyone, and I can tell he’s raging out. He used to be boss over everyone except Sarge and Filet, and he clearly doesn’t like the idea of more fish being higher up than he is. Granted, he’s mostly harmless to the tangs, so eventually everyone will just get over it all.

It’s really interesting to watch the tangs interact, especially since they have three distinct and different personalities. The Powder Brown tang is smaller than the other two, who are roughly the same size. Filet is a little larger, but the Atlantic Blue is chunkier. Of course Filet has the home-field advantage, and nobody has really been able to touch him. This actually surprised me a little bit because I thought the Atlantic Blue would give him a run for his money — it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he did once he was more comfortable in the tank.

The Powder Brown tang looked like he thought he was going to be boss of everyone, but after the first night he had calmed down considerably. He also has a gash on one side of his body that looked like it came from another tang, so he must have been put in his place. I think he’s already accepted this and is starting to adjust very well to it. I really like what he’s adding to the tank, he looks awesome.

It’s a battle for dominance between the Atlantic Blue tang and Filet, and Filet is winning, but it’s not over yet. I originally had names planned out for the two new tangs, but I assumed the Atlantic Blue would end up being the dominant one, and the names reflected that. If Filet ends up being the boss, I’ll need to re-think the names. Names will be official once dominance has been established, which will be a couple of weeks at the most (or it could be tomorrow).

Something interesting about the Atlantic Blue tang’s color. When I got him from the fish store, he was yellow, but I think his color might have changed to blue for good. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if his “yellow phase” is over, and that he went through sort of a rite of passage during his quarantine.

I took some pictures of just the new tangs, and then I also took pictures when they were eating the algae. The Powder Brown tang actually hung back and let the other guys eat for a while before he went in for his turn, which is why I don’t think I got any pictures of all three tangs eating algae at the same time, but I did get some good pictures. Here they are:

I really like the middle-right picture, I think that’s one of my best shots. Also, you can really see in the pictures with Butch in them how dark he is — he only gets that dark when he’s REALLY mad.

That’s all for now, there will be more updates and pictures as more interesting things happen.

4/7/2011: News, but no pictures

Hi. I have news; some good, some bad. I don’t have pictures, but I have some pretty good excuses for not having pictures.

Saltwater tank: I noticed that Ruckus’ eye looked bad again, I also noticed both of Butch’s eyes were popped out really bad, and several other of the fish were “flashing” (that’s a sign of having the ich parasite). I was really worried, but then I woke up. What a terrible dream. Everyone is fine in that tank.

I haven’t seen Sunny in a while. Granted, he’s disappeared for a long time like this before and ended up in the overflow cup before, so I’ll have to do a thorough search before I say anything definitive, but Dantrell has recently taken to swimming across the tank just to attack Sunny, so hopefully he’s OK.

Planted tank: Yesterday the shrimp arrived in the mail. However, a majority of them were DOA. Someone is getting negative feedback on eBay! I’m might try and find a local breeder for Red Cherry Shrimp, but maybe enough made it to start a colony anyways. I’ll have to wait and see.

My excuse for not having pictures: I couldn’t catch any of the fish out of that tank without moving some of the plants, which stirred up the gravel and made the tank really messy and cloudy. Not to mention that any surviving shrimp were hiding pretty well because they were probably very stressed. Any pictures I would have taken would look like an empty, cloudy, dirty tank.

55G tank: All of the fish, including Torpedo, were moved to this tank last night. Torpedo seemed pretty disoriented at first, but I’m sure he’ll enjoy all the extra room he has to swim around. Except for the rams, this tank is now stocked. It will be really nice to get some more aggressive fish in this tank, because I’m not seeing much schooling behavior at the moment.

I should mention, that there have been a couple of casualties so far in this tank: two glowlight tetras. It’s unreasonable to think that I can buy 50+ fish and not lose any of them due to the stress of moving, but that doesn’t make it any less sad. Hopefully I won’t lose any more.

My excuse for not having pictures: the pictures I want to take of this tank involve really seeing the lighting. In order to get the best pictures of that, I have to wait until the sun goes down so that light pollution doesn’t get in the picture. I was busy the last two nights in that window between the sunset outside and the sunset in the tank.

Yeah, I know I could adjust the lights manually to get the pictures I wanted, but how would you feel if someone turned on the lights in your bedroom and woke you up in the middle of the night to take pictures of you?

Quarantine tank: two more days! The two tangs are adjusting back to “normal” marine water conditions pretty well. It’s not their favorite thing in the world but they’re doing fine.

My excuse for not having pictures (well, video): I mentioned last update that I was going to try and get a video of something cute the tangs were doing. Well, they aren’t doing it anymore, so I’ll just write about it.

I’ve noticed a big turn-around in the Atlantic Blue Tang’s personality over the past four weeks. He used to be really, really timid, and wouldn’t even come out to eat until I left the room. He even let the Powder Brown Tang push him around, even though he was much bigger. This may sound crazy, but I think some of it had to do with losing the Naso Tang — The Atlantic Blue really liked him, and I think he was really upset for a while, he seemed that way, especially when the Naso died. He snapped out of it all of a sudden, which is why I’ve had to separate them. Well now they both get excited when I enter the room, and they actively beg for food, which is great.

A little education on the coloration of fish, specifically the Atlantic Blue Tang: Almost all fish have what I call “daytime colors” and “nighttime colors.” The nighttime colors are usually darker or more drab, and sometimes show patterns. For example, most of the tetras and the cardinals turn to a solid grey; Sarge, Ruckus and Butch turn mostly black, but Filet gets this brown circle with a white line through it on both sides of his body, and Dantrell gets covered in white spots. These colors show up when the fish are “sleeping”, but also when they are stressed for some reason. Basically you know they’re awake and happy if their colors are radiant, and this is increased by having a day/night cycle in the tank. That’s something I learned from keeping saltwater fish. The Atlantic Blue Tang’s “nighttime colors” are the deep purple that’s in all of the pictures I’ve been able to get. He’s basically constantly stressed because he’s in a small tank, and there’s another fish in the tank that he wants to be aggressive towards. These colors will most likely go away when he goes into the big tank and we’ll see his “daytime colors.” Now his daytime colors are interesting by themselves. As a juvenile, he will be a pale yellow, with some faint vertical stripes, but as he matures, his color will change to blue. The tang I have is still in the “yellow phase.”

So what the Atlantic Blue Tang was doing that I thought was cute — he’ll just be chilling in the tank, looking through the barrier, wishing he could harass the Powder Brown Tang. Then I walk in the room and I show him the can of food. I’ll see his colors briefly turn back to his natural yellow, and he gets really excited for the food, at least until I get too close to the tank and he puts his guard back up. It was just a great example of how you can use those colors to tell exactly how a fish is feeling. I’m really excited to see how he takes to the big tank and how that affects his colors.

4/5/2011: It’s finally a fish tank!

Just be glad I didn’t say it’s “o-fish-ially a fish tank”

After having a lovely 55-gallon fish tank in my office for almost two months without fish in it, it’s finally changed, and yes, I have pictures.

I should start by updating from last week:

1. Ruckus’ eye is completely healed and he can see fine out of both eyes (as far as I can tell).

2. Unless something really bad happens, the two tangs in quarantine will make it into the display tank this weekend. I think I’m going to start a slow acclimation on Wednesday. There will be pictures, and I’m trying to get a picture/video of them because they do something kind of cute when they think they’re going to get fed.

3. The cycle issues I was having when I updated last have been solved. It turns out that it’s a good thing I waited to add fish, because due to a bunch of chemical reasons that I halfway understand, and the softer-than-usual water that comes out of the tap here, I had a pH crash in the 55-gallon tank. Everything has been fixed and taken care of, and the problem won’t happen again. If you want to read all about it, there’s a thread on the aquarium forum I go to that deals with it — turns out that two other people on there from Virginia were having the same problem I was at the same time.

4. I think I’m finally happy with the aquascaping in that tank, I ended up getting some more rock and a different piece of driftwood that doesn’t float (this one was expensive, but it was totally worth it, you’ll see it in the pictures). As far as the floating piece of driftwood goes, I’m going to stick it in a 5-gallon bucket filled with water, and leave it in my backyard all summer. If it doesn’t sink after that, I’m not sure what I’ll do with it. If it does sink after that, I’m still not sure what I’ll do with it.

So here’s the deal with the 55G tank: I’m going to stock the tank with everything except the rams now, and I’ll wait as long as I need to wait in order to find a healthy pair of rams for the tank. Yesterday night I bought 53 fish for the tank:

22 (+4) neon tetras
6 (+4) black neon tetras
25 glowlight tetras

Those (+4)s; the four neons, four black neons, and Torpedo; are still in the planted tank. I’ve ordered the shrimp for that tank and when the shrimp arrive, I’ll move those fish over to the new tank. At that point, there will be 61 tetras and Torpedo in the 55G tank, and it will be fully stocked except for the rams.

Time for some pictures! I’ll start with my best attempt at a full-tank shot.

I’m not quite happy with the quality of some of these, the problem is that the room is small enough that it’s difficult to get far enough away from the tank to get the whole thing in the picture. It’s going to take me a few more tries to get a full-tank shot I’m happy with, hopefully I’ll get it figured out some day. More pictures:

I’m pretty happy with the aquascaping, especially on the left side of the tank with the rocks and that awesome piece of driftwood. Also, I’ve taken another fast-forward video of the lighting system in action. It’s decent quality, but I think that the orange lights don’t show up on the video as much as they do in real life.

I’m pretty sure that as I figure out the best way to take pictures of this tank without using the flash (since that kind of destroys the lighting effects I have going), you’ll be seeing more dramatic (and less blurry) shots of the 55-gallon tank.

This is an exciting week for all of my fish tanks, and this is the first update of many. There will be more pictures, hopefully a few more videos, and a lot of happy fish.

3/30/2011: An update on life

It’s about time for an update on what’s going on in the fish tanks.

20G Planted tank: Not much to say here, everybody is doing fine, and I’m continuing the never-ending process of trying to select the best balance of fertilizers to maximize plant growth and minimize algae growth. I think I’ve made a recent improvement, in that the type of algae that’s growing now is easy to remove from the plants. Exciting, huh?

55G Freshwater tank: An interesting development here. Last week I took a reading and I got my first zero ammonia/nitrite reading. This is actually a big deal because this is the first indication that the fishless cycle is done. I added ammonia and checked it the next day and I still got the zero readings, which served as a way to double-check that the tank is ready for fish. I started to make arrangements to get fish this past weekend, like I mentioned in my last post, but I was having trouble getting the rams. I went around to a couple more stores and it was looking like I was going to have to order them online. Then, something strange happened, I started getting ammonia readings in the tank. I have no idea what’s causing this, even though the solution is the same regardless of the cause. The worst case scenario is that something wiped out most of the bacteria population I’ve been building over the past several weeks, and I have to start mostly from scratch again. Best case is that it will be ready again next week.

In other news, one of the fish stores I went to had Bolivian Rams in stock. They were all female, but I asked about it and they said they get those fish from a local breeder. I think I’ve made up my mind that this is what I want to do, since it’s a near-ideal situation for both me and the fish. It’s good for the fish because they don’t have to be shipped a long way at any point in their life, and it’s good for me because I know I’m getting the fish very young, and they are small enough at that point that I can add them to the tank basically whenever I want without serious consequences, which I can’t do with a more mature fish like that. There’s no way to know when the breeder will have another batch ready, but I’m willing to wait, and I can fill the tank up with 50+ tetras while I wait.

One last thing on this tank, that same fish store has some absolutely beautiful driftwood sets. They’re expensive, but totally worth it. I’m going to try and stop by there soon and pick one up.

Quarantine tank: Just a little over a week until these guys go into the main tank! They are both eating very well, and appear to be happy, except for the fact that they would like to be in a larger tank. They’re even starting to warm up to me being in the room; the powder brown tang especially. They have started to develop personalities, even in the quarantine: the Atlantic Blue Tang is very similar to Butch, except he can be more persistent in his aggressive behavior. The Powder Brown Tang is friendly and outgoing, but but has a little bit of spunk in him that I’m not sure how to react to yet. I’m not quite sure how he feels playing a submissive role to another tang, hopefully he’ll do better in the larger tank with more hiding places.

150G Saltwater tank: The only real news here is an update on Ruckus. His eye sort of got worse, but now it’s looking much better. There is still some swelling, but it’s mostly gone down, and no other fish have shown any signs of infection or anything bad, so leaving him in the tank was the right way to go. Since it’s not completely healed, I can’t say for sure, but my best guess based on my observations is that he hasn’t lost sight in that eye, but he’s still having trouble seeing out of it now because it’s still not back to normal. I feel OK saying that I think he’ll be back to normal with all of his sight within a week, which is a good thing because soon, this tank will be getting two more aggressive fish and Ruckus doesn’t need to be vulnerable.

That’s all I have for now.

3/25/2011: Weekly? update

An update on a few things that have happened this week. I’ll start with saltwater.

Two weeks from today, the hyposalinity treatment will be finished for the two new tangs. Since they’ve been separated, both of them have vastly improved. I’m finally able to get both of them to eat every type of food I’m giving them, and they’re both starting to bulk up. The powder brown tang’s fins are getting better, now that he’s not getting beat up by the other guy all the time. They’re starting to warm up to me a little bit too, before they would both hide whenever I was anywhere in the room, they wouldn’t even eat until I had left the room. Now I think they understand the fact that I’m the one who feeds them and they don’t have to be scared of me. I’m hoping things get even better when they go into the main tank. Also, if I sneak up and poke my head in the room, I can see the Atlantic Blue Tang without his “I’m stressed” colors on, and it’s nice to see that yellow color. I just can’t nearly get close enough for a good picture yet.

In the main saltwater tank, there has been one issue. Ruckus has Pop-eye, where it looks like one of his eyes is popped out of its socket. It’s more of a symptom than a disease, really. I freaked out and then I did my research and asked around and it doesn’t look like there is any disease or infection or parasite in the tank. My best guess is that it was caused by trauma, since he’s acting normally (other than the fact that he can’t really see out of that eye, of course). The best thing to do is just to leave him in that tank and make sure it heals, so I’ve been keeping a close eye on that eye for a few days now and it seems OK. If it’s bad enough, Ruckus could possibly become permanently blind in that eye. In the worst case, it means he gets picked on more, but I don’t think it will be any major long-term issue.

Now for the new 55G tank. Earlier this week I got the first reading which indicates that the cycle is done. I started making plans to pick up fish this weekend, but I’m beginning to think I might wait a little longer just to make sure everything is cycled. Without getting too technical, I’ll just say that I want to be 100% certain that the bacteria colony that’s been growing can handle all of the fish I’m planning to put into the tank, and at the moment I’m only about 75% sure. In other news, I’m starting to come up with a more concrete stock list for the tank.

The two “showpiece” fish will probably be a pair of Electric Blue Rams, hopefully a male and a female. I’ll link to a picture of one of these guys, I think the one in the picture is a male. The female will probably not have as bright of a coloration, and I’ve also seen them have a deeper blue color.

Electric Blue Ram

I’m thinking for the tetras, I’ll probably go with two large schools of about 25 fish each. It’s still kind of up in the air, but I’m thinking at the moment of having one school of neon tetras, which will include a couple of different kinds of neons, since I already have blue neons and black neons in the freshwater tank. The other school might either have Ember tetras or Glowlight tetras. I’m hoping to have all of these guys in the tank before next weekend. At that point, there will of course be lots of pictures, and I plan on taking another video of the lighting system.

As for the freshwater tank, I’ve been looking into different kinds of shrimp to put in there. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have just one large colony of Red Cherry shrimp (RCS). This is an easy choice because those shrimp are a nice bright red, and they’re easy to take care of. I’ll link to a picture I took about a year ago of an RCS when I had them back then. Of course, they didn’t make it because fish are natural predators to shrimp, I don’t think we’ll have that problem this time.

Red Cherry Shrimp

3/11/2011: All-around update

Hi everyone. I’m going to give an update on everything fish tank related, I want it to kind of serve as a summary of how things have gone since I moved. It will include an update on the lighting for the new tank as well.

First, the 20G planted tank: I’ve been trying to leave this one alone as much as possible until I get the new freshwater tank set up. The nine fish in there have been very happy with the nice big tank all to themselves, especially Torpedo who is having a grand old time swimming around between the plants and driftwood. I’ve been tweaking the fertilizers I’ve been giving the tank some more as well; the main reason for that is because with the small number of fish I have in there, they aren’t producing as much CO2 and Nitrate and I need to compensate for that. There’s a little algae but I think the tank looks good. Once the fish are out I’m going to try to get a nice big colony of shrimp in there as quickly as possible.

Now for saltwater. I’ll start with the quarantine tank: the two new tangs have been doing fine. They’ve sort of acclimated to their treatment and to life inside one of my tanks, even though they wish they had more room. They’ve shown no signs of sickness, so if that continues, they can go into the main tank in 4 more weeks. Even though the Powder Brown tang is smaller, it looks like he’s actually becoming the boss between the two of these guys. It’s not set in stone yet but at least that’s the way it looks for now.

In the main tank, I have a couple of updates, though not much has happened (which is a good thing). I haven’t seen Midgee in a long time now, so I’m going to assume he’s dead :-(. I’ve also noticed that the Cardinals have become a lot more assertive and outgoing recently. The breeding-related tension that they had before the move has seemed to resolve itself, and these guys are actually challenging some of the larger fish (even Sarge) when it comes time to eat. It’s amazing how well they can do when they aren’t beating up on each other all of the time.

Also, I finally managed to get done something I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time now: instead of resting on top of the tank, the light for the saltwater tank is now suspended from the ceiling. This doesn’t have much effect on the tank itself, but it will make my life easier when I’m doing work on the tank since I’ll be able to easily move the light out of the way.

Now for the new tank: here’s where everything stands. The fishless cycle is already making progress, I’m getting zero ammonia readings, so my guess is that the cycle will be done in 2-3 weeks. I’ve bought the decorations for the tank, which consist of some rocks and driftwood. Most of it is already in the tank except for one piece of driftwood which is still floating at the moment. With driftwood, I have to force it to stay underwater until it becomes waterlogged and then it will sink. The water is the color of tea right now since the new driftwood is releasing its tannins. I’m not too worried about it since I have to do a large water change anyways before I put fish in the tank.

Here’s where the lighting stands: all of the hard work is done, but there are a few things I want to add to the system at some point. First, I’ll probably tweak the lighting schedule several times before I’m happy with it. Also, I bought an LCD screen that I haven’t gotten to work yet. If I can get it to work, it will make setting and displaying the time on the microcontroller a lot easier since I won’t have to hook it up to my computer to do that.

I’ve taken a higher quality video of the lighting schedule — it’s running in super-ultra-fast-forward, so the entire cycle takes a little over a minute to run. I’m going to take down the old videos because they were crap, so here’s the new video:

As you can probably see from the video, there are four different channels of lights. On the left and right sides, there are orange LED strips, one for sunrise and the other for sunset (two channels). On the front and back rims of the tank, there are white and blue LED strips, which are the other two channels. There are a total of four white strips and two blue strips.

I think I might be able to make the lights brighter by clearing the water of the tannins, but also the water level was low enough that most of the LEDs were not submerged. If the LEDS are submerged, I think the tank will be brighter, so I think I want to play with that some more.

The second video I had, the “behind the scenes” video, I think would work better as still pictures, so I have a few of those. The LED strips are attached to the rim of the tank using plastic zip ties and hot glue.

The wires run behind the tank to the bottom where I have a lovely project enclosure box that will keep all of my electrical stuff safe from water, just in case I accidentally splash some down there. I also mounted a switch on the outside of the box that will bypass the timer on the white LEDs and just turn them on at full intensity. This is useful in case I want to work on the tank when the lights are normally off, or if I want to feed the fish at an odd time for some reason.

Next, I have a picture of the inside of the box, which just holds the breadboard and all of my electrical stuff. Look at how much of a geek I am!

More updates to come. I’m sure I’ll have more changes to the lighting to write about in the next couple of weeks, and I’ll probably upload some pictures of the tank once the aquascaping is done.

3/3/2011: Some exciting news

Well I’ve been planning it for a while now, sort of gathering my inspiration and a big picture for my next fish tank, and I’ve finally started with it! Here’s the plan:

The new tank is going to be a 55-gallon freshwater tank. I’m going to have a couple of large schools of tetras, which means all of the fish from the freshwater tank (even Torpedo) will eventually be moved to this tank. That means I have plans for the 20G tank too! I’m looking to have a total of 50-70 tetras in the 55G tank when it’s all over. I also want to have one or two larger “showpiece” fish in the tank, something a little more aggressive so the tetras will stay in their schools and I can see that behavior. At the moment I’m leaning towards a mated pair of Rams (a type of Cichlid), but it really depends on what I can get a hold of.

Once the 20G tank has no more fish in it, I’m going to start some shrimp colonies in there and have it just be a shrimp tank: I’m hoping to have enough shrimp that they can have a stable, sustainable colony since there will be no fish around. They’ll also do a great job of keeping the plants clean.

The decor for the 55G tank will be like this: solid black background, with substrate being Tahitian Moon Sand, which is a shiny black sand. No live plants, I’m going to try to have all of the decorations be driftwood and rocks, but I may end up putting some fake plants or something in there. The ambitious thing for this tank is going to be the lighting — I’m going to make my own custom lighting system. I’m going to use strips of waterproof LEDs and attach them to the inside of the top rim of the tank, so there will be nothing on top of the tank. They’ll be controlled with a microcontroller, and I’m going to have enough colors to simulate a sunrise on one side of the tank and a sunset on the other, along with some moonlight as well. I want most of the color in the tank to come from the fish and the lighting.

Last weekend I got all of the equipment I needed to start a fishless cycle on the tank, and I got that started so it should be less than 6 weeks until it’s time to add fish. The tank isn’t much to look at yet because there are no decorations yet, and I’m still waiting for the lighting equipment to arrive. When those things arrive, there will be pictures.

There’s an aquarium forum I’ve been posting at for a while, it’s where I learned most of what I know about fish tanks, and I’m working with a couple of people there on this DIY LED light project. I’ll link to that thread below in case you’re interested in some more technical details; it’s sort of a behind-the-scenes look at what will go into the lighting and over the next couple of weeks it should be interesting to watch how it develops. I should also mention that you don’t need to sign up for anything to read the post.

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums/f20/diy-led-lighting-142178.html

1/4/2011: Small update and a request

Not too much to write about, just a couple things.

I’m in the process of setting up a quarantine tank. I’ve decided it’s time for two more tangs, and that means they will spend at least 6 weeks in a quarantine tank before they go into the main tank. I’m still trying to cycle the quarantine tank using a fishless cycle, it’s taking a little longer than I thought it would, but it will hopefully be done in a week or two. When that happens I’ll go by the fish store until I can find two suitable tangs that I like. When that happens, of course there will be pictures.

I made a couple of changes to the freshwater tank. The tail sags (green stem plants in the front) weren’t doing so well since the move, and I like the Anubias (broad leaves) better so I took out the Tail Sags and moved one Anubias plant to the front where it can get more light. I think the tank looks better, so I took some more pictures:

One last thing, I have a request for you (yes, you!). If you read this at all, as in more than once, I’d like to know about it. If there’s someone out there that would actually like to read about some of the more technical or advanced stuff that goes on with my tanks, then I’ll post it. At the very least, if I know who all is subscribed, it’s more motivation for me to update more often and post more pictures and videos. Over the next few months I’ll be expanding my fish tanks since I have my own house now, so if you’d like to hear about it and see lots of pictures, please subscribe. You don’t have to get the E-mail updates if you don’t want them. All you have to do is click on the link over to the right —-> and register, and it would mean a lot to me if you did. Thanks.

12/7/2010: All about the move

All right, things have sort of calmed down and I’m able to collect my thoughts and write about moving the fish tank.

I’ll start by saying that due to personal circumstances, the move was sort of a surprise, and some things about the way I moved had to be altered because I wanted to get out of the old apartment as fast as possible. I’ll go through the process of how I moved each of the tanks:

Freshwater Tank:

The freshwater tank was relatively easy to move: this was the process: First, catch the fish and put them into a 5-gallon bucket. This turned out to be the hardest part since I didn’t want to remove any of the plants, so they had plenty of places to hide from my nets. Once they were caught, I drained the water out of the tank and transported the tank the way it was. When I arrived at the house, I simply filled the tank up with water, acclimated the fish, and I was done!

Saltwater Tank:

Moving a large tank is not easy. Also, moving saltwater is harder than freshwater. Almost all of my energy and time was spent on this tank. To prepare, I pre-mixed 140 gallons of saltwater in trash cans and kept them inside the house. I also cleaned seven new 5-gallon buckets and drilled holes in the lids.

The first thing was to drain some of the water from the display tank; I put some of it in the 5-gallon buckets that would later carry the fish. I then took all of the live rock out by hand and put it in five large coolers, partially filled with tank water. This was some of the more painstaking work because a few of the fish, namely Dantrell and Midgee (Sunny is more of a percher than a hider), like to hide inside the little holes in the rock, and I wanted to make sure they didn’t get stuck in with the live rock. I managed to find Dantrell in a rock, so I just put his rock in his bucket and kicked him out of the rock there. Midgee, on the other hand, was nowhere to be found.

After all of the rock was out of the tank, that began the process of catching the fish and putting them into their buckets. I used a piece of eggcrate to “corner” the fish on one side, and this made most of the fish easier to catch — except the small ones that were difficult to find and could swim through the holes in the eggcrate. I was hoping to find Midgee here, but he definitely wasn’t there :-(. Next, I drained all of the water out of the tank down to the sand. Then, using plastic cups, I took the sand out of the bottom of the display tank and put it into a plastic trash can; any hermit crabs I found went into the refugium and any snails I found (one) went into a bucket.

From here, the display tank was lifted and put onto the moving truck. I drained most of the water out of the sump and the refugium and loaded the stand onto the moving truck with the sump and refugium underneath. Also, the live rock coolers went on the moving truck, while the fish buckets went into the back of a car with the heat on.

Once I arrived at the house, I put the stand where I wanted it, and the display tank on top. I added about 20G of saltwater and then the new sand I bought when I noticed that the water waiting at the house was really cold. I assumed that room temperature would be fine for this water, but I had forgotten that I had the thermostat set to 60 degrees while I wasn’t living there. That, plus the fact that the water was stored near the edge of the house with no heater made it so I wasn’t comfortable putting all of the rock or the fish in that tank until it warmed up. This was a huge oversight on my part, and as a result, the fish had to spend the night in their buckets. That night, I put about 60 gallons of saltwater into the display tank and about half of the live rock. I rigged up my light on top of the buckets for light and some heat and took the lids off the buckets, putting some eggcrate on top of the buckets with Sarge, Filet, Dusty, and the rest of the damsels just so they wouldn’t go carpet surfing. Needless to say, I turned the thermostat up and put the water heaters and a powerhead in all of the water I had left (and in the display tank) to try and warm it up while I slept.

The next morning, the temperature was up to about 70 for all of the water, so I added the rest of the live rock and water to the tank and started the plumbing. While I was doing this, I saw the craziest thing in the tank: Midgee! I honestly don’t know how he could have survived, he must have came with the rock, but he had to have had a really rough ride here, and it must have been really cold for him. I was just happy to see him alive, though. Finally, I acclimated the fish to their new tank and put them in. It took them several hours for them to de-stress, but the next day they were eating like they were before. No casualties!

I have a couple of pictures: full-tank shots of each of the tanks and a picture of all four cardinals. I usually don’t see them together like this unless they’re really stressed, so I took the opportunity to get a few pictures.

12/6/2010: Move!!

Well it’s sort of a surprise to a lot of people, but I’ve been planning on moving for a while now and have been doing a lot of prep for that. This weekend was actually when the move happened, and as you may know, moving a 150G saltwater tank is anything but trivial. I’m going to have a lot to write about the process, and I’ll certainly have pictures, but for now I need to stay focused on getting myself moved in and that might take a good part of this week.

All of the fish survived the move: both in the freshwater and the saltwater tanks! I can’t promise you that I got every hermit crab and snail since I don’t know how many there were, but all of the fish are OK.