Matt's 220 Litre Aquaoak

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Offline Helen

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #50 on: January 04, 2018, 08:52:06 AM »
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 :cheers:
I am the same, @Matt. Reading about your tank developing has been helping me maintain patience with mine! I go back to work next week (school term times), so am trying to get everything done this week.

How much washing is sand likely to need? I've got my sacks of play sand in my car (not all intended for the fish tank; fish will have to share with the two legged pets!) and have a plan for how to get it washed with the limited number of buckets I have. Reading your post made me wonder whether it'll take significantly longer than I'd planned.

Do you have any macro fertilisers that you can add to the tank to keep the plants going until you can stock with fish? Hopefully if the plants are happy, the bacteria will be ok.

My tank has been pootling along at <20% stocked for quite a few months now (since at least July). I have minor algae issues, but no significant plant die off. I think the resilience is mostly due to the large number of plants (you'll be the same). What I'm not sure of is how much of that resilience is due to my tank being old and well established - which yours doesn't have yet. Or even how many nutrients are being put back into circulation with all my messing with the substrate.

Fish Community Creator Tanks
Harlequin Rasbora (12) - Coolie Loach (2) - Bristlenose Plec (1) - Slender Harlequin (10) - Fiveband Barb (12) - Dwarf Rainbowfish (9) - Ember Tetra (11) - Celestial Pearl Danio (6) - Sparkling Gourami (2) - Otocinclus (2) - Bristlenose Plec (1) - Coolie Loach (8) - Harlequin Rasbora (12) - Fiveband Barb (12) - Dwarf Rainbowfish (9) - Kribensis (2) - Slender Harlequin (11) - Ember Tetra (12) -
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Offline Sue

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #51 on: January 04, 2018, 09:20:43 AM »
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The bacteria won't start to go dormant for at least a couple of weeks, and provided the tank has everything they need except food (wet, warm, oxygen) it will be at least a couple of months before they start to die. But the longer they are dormant, the longer it takes to 'wake up'. If it is so long that they are on the point of death it can take almost a long as a fishless cycle to wake up.

Fish Community Creator Tanks
Siamese Fighting Fish (male) (1) - Snails (1) - Slender Harlequin (15) - Peacock Goby (4) - Otocinclus (5) - Pygmy Cory (3) - Axelrods Rasbora (5) - Japonica Shrimp (80) - Snails (5) - Neon Tetra (18) - Honey Gourami (1) -
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Offline Matt

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #52 on: January 04, 2018, 10:15:39 AM »
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Thanks both, no need to worry as much as I was about the bacteria it seems then.  If I can keep the existing wood wet, and fill the tank part way, and not set up the filter or move fish over straight away it might give me more flexibility around things. I can then pick up the next few items over the next few days in the evening if I have to.

I don't use macro fertilisers but I'm thinking that if I transfer just my 2 corys first (easy to catch and only 6cm fish total) and some plants, they will probably be ok for a day without the filter if not fed as the volume of water will be so great compared to the volume of fish... ill try and avoid this though. The plants and filter will probably be fine without for a day anyways by the sound of it so maybe ill avoid this alltogether.

I have bought 'kiln dried' sand which does not appear to be particularly dusty, so I'm hoping it won't take long to clean, but people online with various different makes and manufacturers of sands have been washing them for hours just to get a cloudy tank anyway... I guess it depends a lot of the specific sand. 

There is a tip I know for adding sand to an existing tank though; if you put it in a water bottle, sink this with the open end up into the tank and let it fill with water then turn it over and very gently squeeze the sand out, the dirty dusty water will be left in the bottle and just the sand will fall out.  Thinking about it, this might be a good way to wash it if it works...???

Fish Community Creator Tanks
Ram / Butterfly Cichlid (2) - Cardinal Tetra (6) - Harlequin Rasbora (6) - Rummy Nose Tetra (6) - Panda Cory (5) - Chain Loach (4) - Honey Gourami (2) - Agassiz's Dwarf Cichlid (2) - Sparkling Gourami (6) - Coolie Loach (2) - Otocinclus (2) -
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Offline Helen

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #53 on: January 04, 2018, 02:36:51 PM »
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That's a good tip for putting the sand in. I'll have a hunt for a bottle that I can use (in the house).

Fish Community Creator Tanks
Harlequin Rasbora (12) - Coolie Loach (2) - Bristlenose Plec (1) - Slender Harlequin (10) - Fiveband Barb (12) - Dwarf Rainbowfish (9) - Ember Tetra (11) - Celestial Pearl Danio (6) - Sparkling Gourami (2) - Otocinclus (2) - Bristlenose Plec (1) - Coolie Loach (8) - Harlequin Rasbora (12) - Fiveband Barb (12) - Dwarf Rainbowfish (9) - Kribensis (2) - Slender Harlequin (11) - Ember Tetra (12) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Matt

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #54 on: January 07, 2018, 07:41:14 PM »
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Well I managed to get 'Day 1' completed as planned... see photos below  :fishy1:

I ended up not going with the path down the middle of the aquascape after some thought... I always preferred my 64 litre tank without it but the fish preferred it with it - I believe they felt more comfortable out in the open with a choice of hiding spots. I pretty sure that the extra space in the new tank will mean this is no longer an issue. 

I'm looking to get two taller pieces of wood for the left hand side to balance things out a bit.  The difference in the colour of the wood is the old, and new and one unsoaked piece.

There's is a lot of planting substrate floating around and some has escaped the  back section and ended up on the surface of the sand.  I'll have to clean this up tomorrow.  There is sand everywhere too from the filling process too but fortunately no clouding of the water. The sand needs smoothing out and the smaller rocks retrieving from underneath it. I'll need to waft some sand off the decor too.

Tomorrow I will attempt 'day 2' steps but again may not achieve this due to work. It would be good to get some planting done and a few fish moved over even if only half the amount I had previously thought. Fingers crossed for no issues overnight with the tank, filter and heater.

Fish Community Creator Tanks
Ram / Butterfly Cichlid (2) - Cardinal Tetra (6) - Harlequin Rasbora (6) - Rummy Nose Tetra (6) - Panda Cory (5) - Chain Loach (4) - Honey Gourami (2) - Agassiz's Dwarf Cichlid (2) - Sparkling Gourami (6) - Coolie Loach (2) - Otocinclus (2) -
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Offline Littlefish

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #55 on: January 07, 2018, 08:30:10 PM »
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I like that layout, and I'mm looking forward to seeing the progress.  8)

Offline fcmf

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #56 on: January 07, 2018, 09:38:10 PM »
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Looking good so far.  :cheers:

Fish Community Creator Tanks
X-ray Tetra (5) - Harlequin Rasbora (6) - Cardinal Tetra (3) - Sparkling Gourami (2) - Ram / Butterfly Cichlid (2) - Cherry Barb (3) - Blue Tetra (1) - Ember Tetra (1) - Golden Pencilfish (2) - Glowlight Tetra (1) - Agassiz's Dwarf Cichlid (2) - Galaxy Rasbora (1) - Lampeye Panchax (1) -
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Offline Helen

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #57 on: January 07, 2018, 11:32:47 PM »
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It's looking really good. Can't wait to see your planting.

Fish Community Creator Tanks
Harlequin Rasbora (12) - Coolie Loach (2) - Bristlenose Plec (1) - Slender Harlequin (10) - Fiveband Barb (12) - Dwarf Rainbowfish (9) - Ember Tetra (11) - Celestial Pearl Danio (6) - Sparkling Gourami (2) - Otocinclus (2) - Bristlenose Plec (1) - Coolie Loach (8) - Harlequin Rasbora (12) - Fiveband Barb (12) - Dwarf Rainbowfish (9) - Kribensis (2) - Slender Harlequin (11) - Ember Tetra (12) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Matt

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #58 on: January 08, 2018, 04:09:54 AM »
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Thank you everyone!!  :cheers:

I really hope I don't regret the decision to change the layout at the last minute... The sofa is over to the left of the tank so by having it clearer on that side I will be able to see more from where I sit. It seemed like the logical thing to do.  I'm wondering about moving one rock into the wood a bit mor to create more height (but not sure if it will look like it's missing from below if I do), but Im very happy with it.

I can't help thinking I'm going to need a lot of plants!! There's a lot of aquasoil to cover - that said there is a lot of sand too... I can't believe how much floor area there is :yikes:

I checked the tank this morning and it was nicely to temperature just a little tweak required to match the exisitng tank and everything was running ok.  ;D. So I should be OK to keep progressing things after work.

There is a Maidenhead Aquatics on route to my morning meeting so I will take my 'lunch break' at MA and see what I can find 're wood and plants.

Fish Community Creator Tanks
Ram / Butterfly Cichlid (2) - Cardinal Tetra (6) - Harlequin Rasbora (6) - Rummy Nose Tetra (6) - Panda Cory (5) - Chain Loach (4) - Honey Gourami (2) - Agassiz's Dwarf Cichlid (2) - Sparkling Gourami (6) - Coolie Loach (2) - Otocinclus (2) -
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Offline Littlefish

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #59 on: January 08, 2018, 03:35:11 PM »
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May I also be so bold as to suggest you may want to have a look here for items that you won't find at MA
http://www.aquariumgardens.co.uk/

Offline Matt

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #60 on: January 09, 2018, 04:51:55 AM »
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I managed to finish work early  :yikes: and my trip to MA was very successful so Ive made up for lost time!!

They had a really good selection of plants at the Blackpool MA but alas no wood that was suitable for what i needed. This is the first ive been following their floods in November and the store is now much brighter and more modern and focusses on freshwater only. I got lots of bunches of java fern, some crypts, some stem plants, and some moss.

When i got home, first I moved the rock i was talking about, though it didn't look right where I thought it should go but Mrs Matt came along with a fresh pair of eyes at just the right moment and now it's in a much better position anyway.  Hardscaping completed  :)

I then set to tidying up the aquasoil on the sand and floating at the surface.  I have still got a bit more work to do here but I'm through the worst of it.  :vcross:

Then the planting began.  :)) All the new plants were prepped and planted. Then I transferred the anubias and moss balls (as they were so easy to transfer and push into cracks in the new layout) and the hygrophila.  I dont have much of this as the lower leaves dont get enough light currently I dont think so I keep having to strip them and lower the plant into the substrate a bit - it is one if the plants I expect to do better in the new set up as despite this its still grows well.  The remaining plants I want to move across from the 64 litre ate the Amazon swords and crypts though i will leave this for a few days depending on the water test results.  I havent put root tabs under anything yet - I can always go back and do this if required - I figured I may as well give it a go without them first... would people class crypts as a root feeder though?

As I had got additional plants earlier than planned, I realised this basically meant extra filtration capacity so I felt confident in moving the first batch of fish across. I moved the 3 harlequins, 3 cardinals, and 2 corys over, plus a few shrimp (it became clear that shrimp would be an on going thing as they can hide so well  ::)). Following a death of a harlequin and a cardinal (due to old age) over the last couple of months since i did the initial planning, this is exactly half of the stocking of the 64 litre.  I've just been to check on them and everyone seems to be doing ok.

A photo is below (sorry it's rubbish quality, I'll get a better one tomorrow when I can turn up the lights a bit more and the fish are settled in). The odd small branches wood and moss on the left will be incorporated at some later stage. Ideally the moss would already have been attached to the wood and that all seems a bit complicated now... only some of the wood can easily be removed again. :vcross:

Tomorrow I will need to do some further water tests to check the fish are ok, continue to remove floating aquasoil and aquasoil that's worked it's way onto the sand, I can transfer any more shrimp I can catch, and possibly have a go at tieing some moss to the wood. I'll likely do some routine gravel vacuuming on the 64 litre as well.  :D

I need to put the lights on a timer in the morning as I realise now as i type this, that I'd forgotten all about this!

Fish Community Creator Tanks
Ram / Butterfly Cichlid (2) - Cardinal Tetra (6) - Harlequin Rasbora (6) - Rummy Nose Tetra (6) - Panda Cory (5) - Chain Loach (4) - Honey Gourami (2) - Agassiz's Dwarf Cichlid (2) - Sparkling Gourami (6) - Coolie Loach (2) - Otocinclus (2) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Helen

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #61 on: January 09, 2018, 04:25:55 PM »
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Looking good. It's going to be fabulous when the plants have established themselves.

I think crypts are root feeders. Where I had deep substrate (that accumulated a lot of fish fertiliser over the years) the roots on my crypts were huge. In a lot of cases, the roots were longer than the leaves. Also, nitrogen rich substrate is less likely to result in crypt melt, so the crypts might benefit from root tabs until they get established (about a month? So one tab?)

I found hygrophilia to be very nitrogen hungry. This will bee ideal for a new set up, but as I tried to reduce my maintenance burden of my tank (including fertiliser additions), my hygrophilia was one of the plants that got removed. Also the Amazon swords, that were slightly less nitrogen hungry than the hygrophilia, but still good nitrate 'cleaners'.

Fish Community Creator Tanks
Harlequin Rasbora (12) - Coolie Loach (2) - Bristlenose Plec (1) - Slender Harlequin (10) - Fiveband Barb (12) - Dwarf Rainbowfish (9) - Ember Tetra (11) - Celestial Pearl Danio (6) - Sparkling Gourami (2) - Otocinclus (2) - Bristlenose Plec (1) - Coolie Loach (8) - Harlequin Rasbora (12) - Fiveband Barb (12) - Dwarf Rainbowfish (9) - Kribensis (2) - Slender Harlequin (11) - Ember Tetra (12) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Littlefish

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #62 on: January 09, 2018, 04:37:10 PM »
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Great tank @Matt

Offline Matt

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #63 on: January 09, 2018, 09:53:19 PM »
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Thanks for our experience with the crypt @Helen I'll get some root rabs underneath them in a couple of days once i know Im happy with where they are placed.  Have You ever tried to 'split' a crypt plant to generate 2 plants. Im wondering if this is possible and how they propagate in the wild... might do some googling on that. You experience. Hygroila is also interesting. I live in an area with low tap water nitrate so wonder if this may be why I'm struggling with them... it's no loss if i only get the same performance from them in the new tank.  Amazon swords i know are heavy root feeders and can grow quite quickly in good conditions.  Mine have massive root structures.  Apparently they are keen in having iron too as a micronutrient to facilitate proper growth.

Fish Community Creator Tanks
Ram / Butterfly Cichlid (2) - Cardinal Tetra (6) - Harlequin Rasbora (6) - Rummy Nose Tetra (6) - Panda Cory (5) - Chain Loach (4) - Honey Gourami (2) - Agassiz's Dwarf Cichlid (2) - Sparkling Gourami (6) - Coolie Loach (2) - Otocinclus (2) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Helen

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #64 on: January 09, 2018, 10:15:37 PM »
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Both my fish and I like crypts, so I have quite a few (about half my tank substrate is planted with a variety of different types of them). Having reduced and cleaned my substrate, I am experiencing a bit of melt. But it isn't complete plants, so it may just be that I've accelerated the natural die off and so I'm not particularly worried about it, yet.

I vaguely remember testing iron levels in my tank, but don't remember what the results were or what I consequently did. But over the longer term, I've moved towards only having plants that suit my water parameters, hence don't have plants that have a high nitrogen requirement for my low tap water nitrates. This has also worked for me, as those plants tend to be faster growers and I can't keep up with pruning them, when they are successful!

I've not actively tried propagating my crypts, but at the latest plant reshuffle I noticed that there were often more than one plant on the same root structure. I separated these, making sure I left enough young looking roots for each plant. I have read that they propagate by sub-surface runners (they looked like thick roots to me). And I know that my crypts self propagated in my tank, because I've not bought enough to cover 50% of my tank!

The one crypt I've completely failed with is parva and my crispulata is only just hanging on (I had thought that I had killed that one too!)

Fish Community Creator Tanks
Harlequin Rasbora (12) - Coolie Loach (2) - Bristlenose Plec (1) - Slender Harlequin (10) - Fiveband Barb (12) - Dwarf Rainbowfish (9) - Ember Tetra (11) - Celestial Pearl Danio (6) - Sparkling Gourami (2) - Otocinclus (2) - Bristlenose Plec (1) - Coolie Loach (8) - Harlequin Rasbora (12) - Fiveband Barb (12) - Dwarf Rainbowfish (9) - Kribensis (2) - Slender Harlequin (11) - Ember Tetra (12) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Littlefish

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #65 on: January 09, 2018, 10:42:46 PM »
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Most crypts I've had have survived with little maintenance, so they are a bit of a go to plant here.
I have split some of my crypts and they have been fine.

Offline Matt

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #66 on: January 10, 2018, 05:33:52 AM »
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Thanks again both, I'll let them settle first before taking any drastic action but again thats all good to know for future.  I installed the light timer and have set it for a 5 hour lighting period at the moment in case of any algae growth, I'll increase it and add a siesta as the tank matures.

I managed to move a few more cherry shrimp over last night. I really want them to make a start at eating their way through the inevitable gloopy white wood fungus stuff which i seem to have in bucket loads on the new wood. I would think that the Amano shrimp would be able to make a dent in it if only i could catch them, they seem to be a lot smarter than the cherries and much better at hiding >:( I did find a burried cherry along the way which I've left in the 64 litre as i dont have the pre filter sponge in place yet and i suspet a more mature tank will give them a greater chance of survival.

I have managed to get pretty much all of the floating aquasoil out which is great and I've got up a lot of the aquasoil from the sand too, though i look to have spread what's left around a bit too so i need a new plan for getting that stuff picked up. I will probably go through it with the fish net to catch the aquasoil but let the sand pass again tomorrow as this did work well, but now its spread out a hit across the sand area its not really a job I'm looking forward too.   :vcross:  Dont suppose anyone has any bright ideas for this?

Water tests on both tanks are still good with zero ammonia across the board (apart from one old test strip i was using up which gave a false reading and scared me into doing a load more wet chemistry tests!! 5 mins is a long time to wait for a sample when your panicing!).  I'm going to try and get to MA Preston this afternoon after work, time permitting. I will of course look at what fish they have in stock in prep for some possible additions this weekend though I'm conscious that I still have to galaxy rasbora to move over though which with the stocking level of the tank currently, would account for a third increase in stocking which is the maximum im looking to do anyway per week. That said i do have the amazon swords to move across and the crypts if i do get carried away with myself and get 2 rams  ::)  I'm also interested to see what plants  have in stock though as I need something for the background behind the wood. The tank is quite deep (front to back) and so there is quite a bit of space back there at the moment. I'm ideally after sometng tall and very thin I think like Vallisneria nana or Eleocharis montevidensis but this may have to be an online order as I've not seen what im after in the shops before now.

I have decided for now at least not to put the moss on the wood as i actually quite like the crisp difference between the java fern etc and the wood, plus i feel that having the odd branch covered in moss will look unnatural somehow and i definately dont want everything covered... I'm a bit unsure anyways so for now I've a spare clump of java moss in the 64 litre and am not sure what im going to do with it quite yet.

I tidied up the spare scraps of wood in the last photo too so have tried to take a more  professional looking photo this time round. You can see I have a slight bit of water clouding which doesn't seem to be going away yet... im still hoping that sorts itself out in time...?

Fish Community Creator Tanks
Ram / Butterfly Cichlid (2) - Cardinal Tetra (6) - Harlequin Rasbora (6) - Rummy Nose Tetra (6) - Panda Cory (5) - Chain Loach (4) - Honey Gourami (2) - Agassiz's Dwarf Cichlid (2) - Sparkling Gourami (6) - Coolie Loach (2) - Otocinclus (2) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Helen

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #67 on: January 10, 2018, 04:33:03 PM »
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I think the slightly white cloudiness is something to do with a new tank. But I can't remember what. But am pretty confident it will clear.

Fish Community Creator Tanks
Harlequin Rasbora (12) - Coolie Loach (2) - Bristlenose Plec (1) - Slender Harlequin (10) - Fiveband Barb (12) - Dwarf Rainbowfish (9) - Ember Tetra (11) - Celestial Pearl Danio (6) - Sparkling Gourami (2) - Otocinclus (2) - Bristlenose Plec (1) - Coolie Loach (8) - Harlequin Rasbora (12) - Fiveband Barb (12) - Dwarf Rainbowfish (9) - Kribensis (2) - Slender Harlequin (11) - Ember Tetra (12) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Sue

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #68 on: January 10, 2018, 06:36:15 PM »
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Your tank is looking great  :cheers:


Your old test strip - that's one of the problems with strips, if they get damp they give false readings.


The cloudiness could be one of two things. Either dust from the substrate or a bacterial bloom. The latter are very common in new tanks because there is a lot of organic carbon in a new tank; from plasticiser in all the new plastic to organic things in the plant substrate. It will go away once the bacteria have eaten all their food, but it is impossible to say how long that will be.

Fish Community Creator Tanks
Siamese Fighting Fish (male) (1) - Snails (1) - Slender Harlequin (15) - Peacock Goby (4) - Otocinclus (5) - Pygmy Cory (3) - Axelrods Rasbora (5) - Japonica Shrimp (80) - Snails (5) - Neon Tetra (18) - Honey Gourami (1) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Littlefish

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #69 on: January 10, 2018, 09:42:11 PM »
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Your tank looks lovely. Well done.  :cheers:

As for catching shrimp, mine have out-smarted me on several occasions. I'm glad to hear that others have problems too.  :)

Offline fcmf

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #70 on: January 10, 2018, 09:58:52 PM »
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Tank does indeed look great. How are the fish finding their new-found space?

I'm also interested to see what plants  have in stock though as I need something for the background behind the wood.
I'm ideally after sometng tall and very thin I think like Vallisneria nana or Eleocharis montevidensis but this may have to be an online order as I've not seen what im after in the shops before now.
It might be worth finding out what day of the week your LFSs get their plant deliveries and then try to ensure that you're there the following day to get the best of the crop.
Your two suggestions of tall and thin plants sound good, the Vallis in particular. I've found it easier to keep second time round - in fact, it seems to have re-generated lately - while I found the Eleocharis had a very swift demise although I've only tried keeping it once.

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Offline Matt

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #71 on: January 11, 2018, 06:59:14 AM »
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Clouding seemed a bit worse if anything last night, I'm wondering if the addition of plant micronutrients when I set the tank up might have been a mistake. That said as Sue has said, I'm sure it will subside when whatever is there has been eaten.

The amano shrimp got transferred last night though the antics of catching them rather upset one of the rams who ended up thrashing around a bit at one side of the tank then looking very stressed. Fortunately this only lasted 10 minutes before she was completely back to normal  ::)  Catching the amanos was even more of an experience than I thought it would be... when one of them decided to walk out of the net and up the handle whilst out of the water  :yikes: I know they can walk out of water, but seeing this horror movie like creature coming towards me at pace when everything else has just sat pathetically in the bottom of the net unable to cope with the lack of support the air was giving them, was quite a shock!! I dropped the net back into the tank!

So with a stressed out ram, that was all that got done last night bar the usual water testing. I need to do a routine water change on the 64 litre tomorrow and a gravel vac. So that will take priority over moving plants etc.

I didn't get time to go to MA Preston last night, by the time work had finished it was too late...

Thanks for the tip on your experience with the vallis @fcmf, is that with the particular plants I referred to or the species as a whole? The fish are loving the extra space, my wife keeps telling me to feed them more because they must be getting exhausted from all the extra swimming!! I need to boost their numbers though, three cardinals, three harlequins, and two corys look a bit silly in a tank that size. I can't wait to see the harlequins swimming about as a tight directional group when there are more of them... it already looks fantastic! ;D

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Offline Rustle

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #72 on: January 11, 2018, 08:26:21 AM »
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Looks amazing Matt i love the way the 2 woods blend together.

Offline Sue

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #73 on: January 11, 2018, 09:15:39 AM »
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The trick with shrimps, and fish come to that, is as soon as they are in the net turn the net over so that you have the metal net rim facing downwards and a pouch of net containing the fish/shrimp dangling off to one side. The rim pressing against the upper fabric stops them getting out. That's how I transferred my cherry shrimp from the tank I was closing to the tank they are in now and none of them escaped  :)

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Offline Littlefish

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #74 on: January 11, 2018, 09:37:07 AM »
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My problems usually revolve around getting my amano shrimp into the net in the first place.  ::)

Offline Matt

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #75 on: January 11, 2018, 10:30:17 AM »
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The trick with shrimps, and fish come to that, is as soon as they are in the net turn the net over so that you have the metal net rim facing downwards and a pouch of net containing the fish/shrimp dangling off to one side. The rim pressing against the upper fabric stops them getting out.

Good tip! I'm not sure I'm calm enough when I'm doing it to think that logically!! Not sure who suffers more sometimes, me or the fish!

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Offline Sue

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #76 on: January 11, 2018, 11:24:05 AM »
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You need to make sure that the net is big enough so the fish doesn't get squashed in the 'pouch'. Once out of the water, just hold the net almost vertical, just tilted slightly over to keep the net closed.

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Offline fcmf

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #77 on: January 11, 2018, 07:47:33 PM »
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Thanks for the tip on your experience with the vallis @fcmf, is that with the particular plants I referred to or the species as a whole?
Vallisneria Spiralis Tiger was purchased both times - found the receipt and this current one is 6+ months old so a record for me! The Eleocharis which didn't do at all well was Eleocharis Acicularis. [Having said all this, I've begun to notice that there are actually particular locations in the tank where my plants seem to do better or worse than others - and the Eleocharis was in the worst spot while the Vallis has never been there. It was only when I noticed that 2 of the 3 floating squares which I have containing Amazonian frogbit had healthy plants while one had all of its plants die suddenly the other day that I realised the existence of these "bad" locations - maybe it's something to do with strength of the lighting or least water flow.]

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Offline Matt

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #78 on: January 11, 2018, 09:12:23 PM »
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I did the water change on the 64 litre. Looking at the 220 litre now, I think there may have been a clouding issue which has now passed, and a tannin build-up which is now occurring. I'm going to do a big water change tomorrow and I also have some activted carbon I can add to the filter if needed.

This weekends current plans are to add 2 corys 1 cardinal and 1 harlequin. I realise this probably seems a bit odd, but this will mean 4 of each species and they all like to be in groups of 4 minimum.  I can then increase their numbers in following weeks.

That said, I think the rams in the 64 litre may be more hidey /stressy now there are less dither fish in the tank. So they will be getting moved the weekend after this when the filter can take the addition of them plus 2 more all at once to allow territories and hierarchies to be set up properly and not disrupted later on.  That will also give me the chance to increase the schoal of galaxy rasbora in the 64 litre the existing 2 have been removed from which can then all be move to the 220 litre the weekend after that and replaced with more fish for addition the following weekend. And so the cycle can continue, using the 64 as a quarantine tank (albeit a short quaranteen period). I may slow things down from the weekly cycle as time goes on, depends how excited I am!! I all also need to add the goby and the otocinclus and some new ones of these at some point.

Interesting theory about the bad spots fcmf... it could well be lighting or flow related. I know floating plants dont like too much flow and  so was the spot they didn't do so well in high light and high flow?

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Offline Littlefish

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #79 on: January 11, 2018, 09:34:17 PM »
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Glad to hear that the clouding issue has passed.  :)

Offline Helen

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #80 on: January 11, 2018, 10:57:12 PM »
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It's worth trying alternative plants in your "bad" locations @fcmf . I put an anubias in my bad spot and it turned into a monster. (Huge, not nasty)

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Offline fcmf

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #81 on: January 12, 2018, 06:03:17 PM »
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It's worth trying alternative plants in your "bad" locations @fcmf . I put an anubias in my bad spot and it turned into a monster. (Huge, not nasty)
There's one location in particular which kills off any plant - usually overnight but at least within 3 days.

Interesting theory about the bad spots fcmf... it could well be lighting or flow related. I know floating plants dont like too much flow and  so was the spot they didn't do so well in high light and high flow?
Definitely not high flow - but most likely high light for some reason; I've had plants smell as though they've been singed in that particular place.

This weekends current plans are to add 2 corys 1 cardinal and 1 harlequin. I realise this probably seems a bit odd, but this will mean 4 of each species and they all like to be in groups of 4 minimum.  I can then increase their numbers in following weeks.
Glad you plan to increase their numbers in subsequent weeks. Much of the advice on here about 4+ per species is not up-to-date - recommendations now tend to be 6+ (or often 8-10+) but cross-check with Seriously Fish for each species to be sure. For the sake of a few weeks until you increase numbers, though, I'm sure 4 will be fine.


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Offline Matt

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #82 on: January 12, 2018, 09:14:51 PM »
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Glad you plan to increase their numbers in subsequent weeks. Much of the advice on here about 4+ per species is not up-to-date - recommendations now tend to be 6+ (or often 8-10+) but cross-check with Seriously Fish for each species to be sure. For the sake of a few weeks until you increase numbers, though, I'm sure 4 will be fine.

Just realised I forgot the crucial piece of information from the below... I've no intention of keeping my fish in minimum numbers now I have so much space!! I can only add a third additional stocking each week, to allow the filter bacteria to grow.  This weekends additions will be an additional third. Next weekends third will be a bigger third though so things should build up nicely :)

Changed about 90 litres tonight... not fun doing it with half buckets to refill as my tap thingy hasn't arrived yet! Fortunately I could easily do full buckets when emptying it!! Water has cleared up nicely as a result and the water I took out was definitely a light tea colour so it's definitely tannins that were affecting the water the last couple of days. I managed to siphon off a good amount of the white wood fuzz though I though this was also growing on the old wood... turns out it is some sort of algae.  I'll do some research on this in the morning. I've added a small dose of liquid carbon which should start to tackle this anyway. I was expecting some sort of algae growth given its a new set up in many ways.

Also moved across the last lot of plants from the 64 litre tank (Amazon swords and some crypts) and put root tabs under everything that I felt was a root feeder. I've put a photo below though apart from the Amazon sword you may not see much different as the crypts went behind the wood to grow bigger.  I'll post a photo of the 64 litre in the gallery thread. It looks nothing like it used to!

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Offline Littlefish

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #83 on: January 12, 2018, 09:20:38 PM »
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Your tank looks lovely.  ;D

Offline Matt

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #84 on: January 13, 2018, 07:08:05 PM »
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Well the plans changed....

I have bought the 2 additional rams and added them and my current ones to the tank.  They just didnt seem comfortable in the 64 litre any more for some reason.  They have coloured up and are out and about a lot more now so I think it was the right move.  So I now have 2 German blue rams, one golden and one neon. They look amazing together and I'm so glad I did this  ;D

This was a bit of a large boost to the stocking so more plants were bought to try and help out on this front too.  The tank is now looking a lot more 'mature'.  I don't want to know how much I've spent on plants overall... it's a big number  ::)

I also have boosted the numbers of galaxy rasbora in the 64 litre with the space created my the move of the rams.  These can be moved across next weekend or the weekend after and then I can also start to boost the numbers of the harlequins/cardinals/corys.

I also removed and boiled some of the branches of the old wood now in the 220 litre. I may do the same again... I have the dreaded black bearded algae growing  :'(  I suspect this will be an going battle...

The plans for the 64 litre have also changed following a trip to the LFS with Mrs Matt and very much for the better I think... more in the gallery thread!

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Offline Helen

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #85 on: January 13, 2018, 07:18:20 PM »
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Gorgeous.

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Offline Littlefish

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Re: Matt's planning for 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #86 on: January 13, 2018, 09:55:14 PM »
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Gosh, you've had a busy day.
Fantastic.  ;D

Offline Matt

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Re: Matt's 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #87 on: January 19, 2018, 10:30:13 PM »
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40% water change completed, sand surface cleaned, moss balls squeezed in old tank water and wood fungus stuff siphoned off.  Tanks looking great. I even manaved to siphon off nearly all of the bba with a little gentle persuasion with the end of the siphone hose.  It didnt budge the week before and i have been religiously adding liquid carbon to the tank each morning to try and tackle it.  That and the tank becoming more mature and the plants settling in has definately meant that the bba has died off significantly.  There is a bit of more stubborn stuff on the new wood but overall I'm confident I'm getting on top of the outbreak.  This will hopefully die off over the next week too, I will also be boiling any sections that are easy to remove again this weekend.

Oh and cleaning the glass... should I be worried about trapping sand under the glass cleaner thing and scratching the glass?

I add the 10 galaxy rasbora tomorrow from the 64litre and will be doing a further 10-15% water change when i refill the 64 litre after its rescape. Next addition will be 4 gobys, then I will finally get back to increasing the numbers of the schoaling species!

Can't wait for my new siphon hose and refill tap connector thing to come... all these buckets im lugging around are becoming hard work!

Other than that everything is nice and stable in the tank... long may it continue  :)

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Offline Helen

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Re: Matt's 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #88 on: January 19, 2018, 10:36:45 PM »
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I figure with a pair of two legged pets and a decent sized fish tank, I don't need a gym membership. When I'm not working, I'm either chasing around or lugging buckets of water across my house.

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Offline fcmf

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Re: Matt's 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #89 on: January 19, 2018, 10:52:19 PM »
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Oh and cleaning the glass... should I be worried about trapping sand under the glass cleaner thing and scratching the glass?
Having done that very thing about 6 months ago, I can vouch for how frustrating it is to see 2 several-inches-long scratch marks on the front pane of glass, especially when the light is on. I'll take a pic of it tomorrow and add it in here to serve as a useful reminder to you to be extra careful in that respect! :)

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Offline Sue

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Re: Matt's 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #90 on: January 20, 2018, 09:45:40 AM »
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I scratched my last tank with sand using one of those magnetic cleaners.

One of the best things for cleaning the glass is a plastic plant label. Or one of those pot scrubbers that look like a brightly coloured knitted plastic ball.

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Offline Matt

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Re: Matt's 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #91 on: January 20, 2018, 06:33:29 PM »
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Ok well I used a magnetic glass cleaner very carefully and its done a great job. As soon as I did the first strip of glass you could tell just how badly it needed doing!! I bought a glass cleaner that floats so even if I go wrong it shouldn't go near the sand!

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Offline Sue

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Re: Matt's 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #92 on: January 20, 2018, 06:41:29 PM »
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The main problem I had with magnetic cleaners was the string that joins the two bits was too short to allow the bit inside the tank to get low down. When I used thick sewing thread instead it just rotted and fell apart. So I had to use the two halves without any string but the inside bit kept falling off and getting covered with sand. It was after this happened with my last tank that I failed to remove just one grain of sand and scratched the glass.

You have just reminded me that I haven't cleaned the inside of the glass for a few months and I can still see in fine. I have no idea why algae etc has suddenly vanished from the glass unless it's the stiphodons  ???

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Offline Matt

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Re: Matt's 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #93 on: January 20, 2018, 06:51:40 PM »
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Could also be the shrimps or nerites... I had grown a nice thick layer of algae on the back of my old set up... like you, one day I noticed it had completely vanished!

Fish Community Creator Tanks
Ram / Butterfly Cichlid (2) - Cardinal Tetra (6) - Harlequin Rasbora (6) - Rummy Nose Tetra (6) - Panda Cory (5) - Chain Loach (4) - Honey Gourami (2) - Agassiz's Dwarf Cichlid (2) - Sparkling Gourami (6) - Coolie Loach (2) - Otocinclus (2) -
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Offline fcmf

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Re: Matt's 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #94 on: January 20, 2018, 07:53:58 PM »
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I find my nerite has a sort of OCD for cleaning the filters and front and side/algae-free panes over and over and over again until they're almost gleaming; however, he tends not to do much about breaking through the thick layer of algae on the back or other side pane. Yesterday, I had the magnetic cleaner out, having checked it diligently for sand grains beforehand, and tackled the thick layers of algae; typically, he then decided to QA my work, having not actually contributed much to cleaning those particular panes beforehand.

Fish Community Creator Tanks
X-ray Tetra (5) - Harlequin Rasbora (6) - Cardinal Tetra (3) - Sparkling Gourami (2) - Ram / Butterfly Cichlid (2) - Cherry Barb (3) - Blue Tetra (1) - Ember Tetra (1) - Golden Pencilfish (2) - Glowlight Tetra (1) - Agassiz's Dwarf Cichlid (2) - Galaxy Rasbora (1) - Lampeye Panchax (1) -
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Offline Matt

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Re: Matt's 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #95 on: January 20, 2018, 09:44:53 PM »
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Photo of the tank as it is now... I can see the plants have grown since the previous photo which is nice as the tank is still only getting 4.5 hours light per day. I will be increasing this tomorrow though.

Fish Community Creator Tanks
Ram / Butterfly Cichlid (2) - Cardinal Tetra (6) - Harlequin Rasbora (6) - Rummy Nose Tetra (6) - Panda Cory (5) - Chain Loach (4) - Honey Gourami (2) - Agassiz's Dwarf Cichlid (2) - Sparkling Gourami (6) - Coolie Loach (2) - Otocinclus (2) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Littlefish

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Re: Matt's 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #96 on: January 20, 2018, 10:27:00 PM »
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That tank looks lovely.  :)

Offline fcmf

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Re: Matt's 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #97 on: January 20, 2018, 11:11:32 PM »
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Lovely. I trust that those who have been transferred over are still enjoying and exploring the larger environment?  :)

Fish Community Creator Tanks
X-ray Tetra (5) - Harlequin Rasbora (6) - Cardinal Tetra (3) - Sparkling Gourami (2) - Ram / Butterfly Cichlid (2) - Cherry Barb (3) - Blue Tetra (1) - Ember Tetra (1) - Golden Pencilfish (2) - Glowlight Tetra (1) - Agassiz's Dwarf Cichlid (2) - Galaxy Rasbora (1) - Lampeye Panchax (1) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Helen

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Re: Matt's 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #98 on: January 20, 2018, 11:31:14 PM »
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Looking gorgeous.

Fish Community Creator Tanks
Harlequin Rasbora (12) - Coolie Loach (2) - Bristlenose Plec (1) - Slender Harlequin (10) - Fiveband Barb (12) - Dwarf Rainbowfish (9) - Ember Tetra (11) - Celestial Pearl Danio (6) - Sparkling Gourami (2) - Otocinclus (2) - Bristlenose Plec (1) - Coolie Loach (8) - Harlequin Rasbora (12) - Fiveband Barb (12) - Dwarf Rainbowfish (9) - Kribensis (2) - Slender Harlequin (11) - Ember Tetra (12) -
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Offline Matt

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Re: Matt's 220 litre Aquaoak
« Reply #99 on: January 21, 2018, 05:44:05 AM »
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Lovely. I trust that those who have been transferred over are still enjoying and exploring the larger environment?  :)

Yep :) it's really nice having the 4 rams in the tank. I did have some concern over territories and aggression but they seem to have it figured out. There is naturally more and less dominant fish in the group but they are not scrapping by any stretch, they are in fact very calm with each other if they want to be, if they want to display to each other they do but if they want to ignore each other they will.

I'm going to take a small risk against my own stocking rule of no more than a third extra being added each week (really this shouldn't matter much as the tank is heavily planted) and add 4 goby tomorrow to keep on top of the algae and fungus growing on the wood. Im also having a little break from adding ferts over the next couple of days and won't add any fish next week as a result.  I feel like the new tank phase has passed nice and quickly due to the planting, low initial stocking, and transfer of biomedia and remaining algae etc associated with a new system now just needs to be mopped up.

Time for frequequent regular water tests to resume! I hope I don't regret my decision!
I'm assuming ammonia levels will be highest (if there is any) before the lights come on in he morning and the plants get going so this would be the optimum time to test?

Fish Community Creator Tanks
Ram / Butterfly Cichlid (2) - Cardinal Tetra (6) - Harlequin Rasbora (6) - Rummy Nose Tetra (6) - Panda Cory (5) - Chain Loach (4) - Honey Gourami (2) - Agassiz's Dwarf Cichlid (2) - Sparkling Gourami (6) - Coolie Loach (2) - Otocinclus (2) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


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