Category Archives: 55G Freshwater Tank

6/25/2012: It’s been a while (pictures)

Hi. I have some updates šŸ™‚

The LED lighting system on the 55G tank had gone into disrepair; the sunrise/sunset lights weren’t working anymore and one of the white LED strips was falling off, so I ordered new parts and fixed it over the weekend. I think they way I re-attached everything will make it less likely to break in the future.

In other news, the saltwater tank refugium is finally working right again. I’m not increasing nitrates anymore with just the fish that are left, which is an important thing for keeping a reef. I’ve ordered some more macroalgae to help out some more with this, and also some more test kits. Once that arrives, I’ll be able to get a good idea of what all of the important parameters are, and what I have left to do before I can get some corals. Hopefully it won’t be all that much. Also, I plan to get some more fish soon as well; I want a lawnmower blenny and a diamond watchmen goby for sure, and I’ll probably get some other fish as well!

I decided to take updated pictures of all of the named fish, and at least attempt to take pictures of the shrimp tank. I’m going to have to find a better solution for taking pictures of the shrimp, though, because I’m not happy with the quality. I’m also planning to change the descriptions on the Roll Call page so that they are updated. Here are the pictures:

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 maleĀ  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 changingĀ  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 šŸ˜›

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.

5/20/2011: New group in the 55G tank

A couple of weeks, and a couple of things have happened in the 55-gallon tank. It started with Torpedo acting kind of funny, and I eventually came to the conclusion that was he was going blind. He’s an old fish and he was still finding a way to feed himself, so it wasn’t a huge deal.

Then, I was looking at a new fish store in the areĀ  and they had rams! Finally, the showpiece fish I’ve been wanting for that tank, and what will keep the tetras in their schools. Not only did they have rams, but they had different choices! I did a little homework and I went with a mated pair of German Blue Rams, mostly because they had bred before so I knew they wouldn’t kill each other. The moment I put them in the tank, the tetras instantly got in their schools, which was funny. I have pictures, and I’ll put them at the end of this post.

As far as I can tell, the larger one is the female, and it’s still difficult for me to tell them apart if they’re not right next to each other. Both of them are adjusting very well to the new tank, not like I thought they would have any trouble with it in the first place.

Unfortunately, I think one of their first orders of business was to find a certain blind, weak fish (Torpedo) and harass him to death. It was sad, but Torpedo had lived a full life and his golden years just came to the end.

Names for the new fish are still under construction. I have a few ideas and we’ll see what ends up fitting. Now, for pictures!

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.