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My 240l Planted Tank, Again.

Author Topic: My 240l planted tank, again.  (Read 9229 times)

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Offline Helen

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My 240l planted tank, again.
« on: September 17, 2017, 08:34:09 PM »
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Here's a photo of my tank, with it's new lights.


In case you're curious what it used to look like before I got distracted by my 2 legged 'pets', here's a link to my original post in the gallery:
https://forums.thinkfish.co.uk/gallery-showcase/my-240l-planted-tank/

Offline MarquisMirage

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2017, 10:26:56 PM »
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Nice, like it.  :)

Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2017, 11:02:00 PM »
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Here's a photo of one of my kuhli loaches. I don't think I've ever managed to photograph them before. Sorry, it's still not a great photo!

Offline Matt

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2017, 06:45:33 AM »
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Are your khulis still chasing down the bugs disturbed in your substrate changing activities? Must be fascinating to watch  :fishy1:

I've always been afraid of not seeing khuli loaches because of their nocturnal nature - they are such interesting fish though.  Do you see much of yours during the day? What do you feed them?

Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2017, 08:24:44 AM »
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In that photo the kuhli is on the undisturbed substrate. They're a bit too well camouflaged on the 'new' dark, speckled substrate. But I stayed up a bit late last night watching them, they're so interesting  :o Both kuhlis went on 'hunting' expeditions on the the lowered gravel, slinking around the valis. Although I didn't see anything as distinctly hunting as the day before, they were definitely still clearly finding things to eat.

I've seen a lot more of my kuhlis recently than I used to. I think it's because my crypts pretty much completely covered the substrate, so they can be seen from the front of  the tank but still not be exposed from the surface. I will definitely be doing something along these lines with the refreshed tank.

Offline Sue

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2017, 10:33:32 AM »
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The more kuhlis there are the more they come out. In order to see them, you need lots of them  :)

Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2017, 02:07:19 PM »
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More kuhlis are definitely on my shopping list. But I figured that they (and other bottom dwellers) would be most distressed by my messing with the substrate. So I am resisting the temptation to buy more until I've got the aquascaping right.

Also kuhlis are the only fish I've had from the very beginning, so it's not impossible that these two are nearly 8 years old!  :isay:

(It hasn't always just been the two of them, but I had a case of white spot, which they must have survived)

I think the prevalence of crypts has had the most notable effect of their 'courage'. Unless it's just old age that makes them care less about being out and about!  ???

Offline Sue

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2017, 02:23:16 PM »
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It's always difficult to know what to do for the best with aged fish, the last few of a shoal. If you don't want more, just keep them as they are till they pass away from old age.

But if Matt or anyone else is thinking of getting any, get at least 6, preferably a lot more.

Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2017, 02:40:15 PM »
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What do you think an ideal number would be for my 4 ft tank? It will be heavily planted, with quite a bit of bogwood and a stone 'cave' / arch. I am contemplating one other type of bottom dwellers, (maybe kribs?) so they shouldn't have much competition in the bottom of the tank.


Offline Sue

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2017, 02:54:18 PM »
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In a tank that size, I would look at having 10 to 15 kuhlis.

I've seen photos by people who have 10+ with the kuhlis draped over pieces of decor at the most peculiar angles. The owners reckon they only do this when there are enough of them to feel comfortable to be seen out. One owner I've read had 15 in a 2 foot tank  :)

Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2017, 10:28:50 PM »
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I have a soft spot for kuhlis, so love the idea of getting another dozen.  ;D  I've never seen that many in my lfs at one time, so I guess I'd have to order them? Is that generally an easy thing to do - it's a Maidenhead aquatics branch?

Offline Matt

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2017, 11:20:24 PM »
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MA should be able to order in anything on their central list of fish.  I would imagine they would have no problem getting hold of khulis.  If your anywhere near Chorley.... Aquahome had some in today.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2017, 08:37:46 AM »
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Both my local MAs always have khulis in stock, so it shouldn;t be a problem for your's to get hold of some.  :)

Offline Sue

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2017, 08:39:38 AM »
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I was once told they can get anything on their list as Matt said. But they can't get anything not on their list, and the fish I wanted wasn't.

Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2018, 11:38:21 PM »
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Realised that I've not put a photo of the refurbished tank in here. So here it is.

The five band barbs are settling in slowly. They may be the same colour scheme as the rasboras, but they behave very differently. I'm really pleased that I got them, they are a lovely addition to the tank.

I will post photos when they're a bit more settled. The only time they've really come out was when I fed them this evening. And it wasn't until I took two steps back that they all shot out of their hiding places. Now I know to have my camera ready next time. 😀

Offline Matt

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2018, 07:13:02 AM »
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Nice!  8)

I find fish behaviour so much more interesting that their looks so I totally get what you mean about the barbs vs harlies.   :)  That said, ive never kept barbs... how would you say their behavious compares to the harlies?

Harlies for me are strong directional shoalers (though every now and then one of them seems to forget this is the case), they do their 'sharking' when displaying to each other and I find their feeding fascinating they seem to spy the food from 10-15cm below the surface then make quick darts to the top to grab the food then back down again to munch it down.  I assume because there are birds which would eat then in their natural environment. They don't tend to interact with the decor much but rather prefer to be out patrolling back and forth across the front of the tank.


PS. Reading up a bit about the discussion on MA's fish list they should be able to order anything off, i assume the same applies for the plant list I posted recently...

Offline Littlefish

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2018, 12:07:56 PM »
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Great tank  :cheers:


Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2018, 05:30:45 PM »
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The barbs aren't completely settled in yet, so it'll be interesting to see if/ how their behaviour changes as they get more comfortable in their new environment. Most of them are still doing what I think of as the 'new fish dash'. Which is swimming up and down in the area of strongest current (the back wall of the tank). When they're not doing this they seem to swim in a slightly more nose down position. And they seem to have a stop start swim pattern. Whereas the rasboras are definitely horizontal and more 'pootley', just keeping up with the current, but not then moving quite as quickly. These two swim positions make sense when reading up on their natural feeding habits. Rasboras are surface feeders, whereas the  five band barbs are substrate feeders. Again this was really obvious when I fed them. On Monday I fed a generous portion of flake, assuming that the barbs would have some. I'd read that barbs don't do well if fed only dried food, but I didn't realise that they wouldn't even recognise flakes on the surface as food! Having overfed the rasboras, I think didn't want to try a different food (which I know the rasboras would have gobbled as well). So by the time I fed again on Tuesday evening, the barbs seemed pretty hungry. This time I fed some gel daphnia. I tried to squidge it out of the packet in little bits and spread it around. The barbs waited till I was out of the way and then dashed out. They went completely head down and then moved around picking at the food on the substrate, or plants. The rasboras again kept as horizontal position as possible while picking food up. If one of the barbs broke up a bit of gel so there were loads of bits in the water, it was the rasboras that would go for the bits. The barbs seemed happier vertical, picking off the substrate.

Because they have different swim positions, it isn't as noticeable that they actually have pretty similar body shapes.

The kuhlis are out more and more as well (well one of them is). I've seen them just chilling under the crypts or draped over the  base of the bolbitus. I'm looking forward to getting more and they will be my next fish purchase. I asked when I bought the barbs if they had any kuhlis and the lady that served me offered to order some. So when I'm ready for my next fish, I'll give my local MA a call and order some kuhlis.

I've realised that although all my fish choices should be compatible, they all have different behaviours. I won't get anything else done once I'm fully stocked from watching fish!

Offline Sue

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2018, 06:54:50 PM »
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I have some substrate feeders, and other fish that feed from both the water column and the substrate. I have small sinking pellets. I soak them in water then suck them into a pipette and squirt the soggy pellets hard into the tank. Being soggy they sink faster and the hard squirt gets them to the bottom before the Espe's rasboras can get them all. I also add flake at the same time to distract the rasboras.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2018, 07:59:29 PM »
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I've realised that although all my fish choices should be compatible, they all have different behaviours. I won't get anything else done once I'm fully stocked from watching fish!

 ;D   :cheers:

Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2018, 10:12:49 PM »
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Hmm, I might try soaking a sinking pellet. Before the barbs were added, I'd sprinkle in crushed flakes and then when all the rasboras were busy feeding I'd drop a pellet in the other end of the tank. The rasboras don't mess with Bertie and the kuhlis. They stay a safe distance and wait for crumbs.

But I'd not thought of sinking pellets for the barbs.

Tonight they had frozen food. I've just dropped in a sinking pellet (after the lights went out). The barbs were first to it, but some of the rasboras seem to be barb groupies. Bertie looks like he's trying to decide whether to claim it or wait a bit longer. Hmm, I thought he was going to tag team with the kuhlis for a minute there...

Offline fcmf

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2018, 08:50:59 AM »
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Absolutely loving the fascinating updates on the fishes' antics - keep 'em coming.  :fishy1:

Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2018, 09:40:57 PM »
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On the menu today was a few flakes to distract the rasboras (I don't think I put enough in as they weren't distracted for very long!) and some sinking pellets. Which went down (still are going down) a treat. Although I don't think I soaked them long enough as the response was definitely delayed.

@Sue, how long do you soak the sinking wafers for? I have tetrawafer mix. Which are approximately 6mm diameter wafers.

I also have JBL pleco wafers, which I put in for Bertie.

Anyway, it made for a great photo opportunity (and fish watching). I just need to work on my photographic skills!

So I managed to take one decent photo of a fiveband barb, that Bertie photo-bombed (very unlike him!). And then I realised that the previous photo, although fuzzy, had an example of each type of fish currently in my tank. So you are looking out for a kuhli loach (tail only, unfortunately, not head), BN Plec, fiveband barb and espeii and harlequin rasboras.  :D
 :fishy1:  :fishy1:  :fishy1:  :fishy1:

Offline Littlefish

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2018, 09:58:46 PM »
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Brilliant. Thanks for posting pics, it lovely to see your gang enjoying their new set up.  :)

Offline fcmf

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2018, 10:21:46 PM »
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Great update and pics. :cheers:

Offline Sue

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #25 on: January 19, 2018, 08:48:19 AM »
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@Helen I use New Life Spectrum Small Fish Formula which has 0.5 mm spherical pellets. I soak these for 2 to 3 minutes. I also have Omega One Veggie Rounds for the stiphodons; these are just over 1 cm diameter. I feed half a disc, crush it with a pestle and mortar to the same size as the NLS pellets, and soak it with the pellets.
NLS pellets - first one on the right side of the page here http://nlspectrum.co.uk/range/Freshwater - they make the same formulation in larger pellet sizes as well.
Veggie rounds http://www.omegasea.net/products/nutrition/veggie-rounds

Since I feed the fish just after our meals, I use left over water from the kettle to soak the food, and because it is still quite warm I find the pellets/wafer bits soak faster. And it probably has very little chlorine left after being boiled for a pot of tea.

Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2018, 01:07:33 AM »
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Soaked sinking wafers seems to be working really well. Because they are softer, they she'd bits on the way to the bottom of the tank. This causes the rasboras to go bonkers. But they stay in the middle of the water column. And the barbs start to go bonkers at the substrate level. It makes for a huge amount of activity over nearly the full height of the tank.

The barbs are definitely settling in. When I opened the door under the tank this evening to get the food out, 9 (of 12) came to see what I was doing and then started picking at the substrate even though I'd not put anything in the tank!

The one problem with the barbs is that they are next to impossible to count. I can't count them when they are feeding because they are too well camouflaged against the dark speckled substrate and crypts. But that is the only time they all come out of hiding.  :vcross:

So at the moment I can only hope I've not lost 2!  :yikes: (I've managed to count up to 10).

Offline Matt

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2018, 07:13:10 AM »
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Counting fish can be a nightmare in a heavily planted tank... it's taken me a few goes to count 10 galaxy rasbora in my 220 litre.  I used to struggle sometimes to find everyone in my 64 litre too, especially the 2 Amano shrimp (don't worry I'm not trying to count the cherry shrimp!!).  Most of the time though if there had been a fishy catastrophe, it was super obvious and right at the front for some reason (water flow?)  :yikes:

Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2018, 08:15:00 AM »
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I guess that's one of the benefits of a sandy substrate. I've not seen a fish body in my tank for ages, despite looking. (There was a rasbora body shaped stone that had me in a panic many times. It was specifically removed with the refurb!)
 I think I didn't feed my fish enough that they demolished any unlucky ones very quickly. :yikes:

Offline Sue

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2018, 10:14:19 AM »
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My rasboras are the easiest to count. I bought 18 (asked for and paid for 15!); 3 died within 2 weeks. I can only count 13 or sometimes 14. After the first three deaths I have not found a dead rasbora. So are the last couple hiding or have they died and the bodies vanished?

All my fish know what going into the cupboard means, then when I open the lid they are waiting for me. The betta is worse. As soon as he sees the food tub he goes straight to his feeding place and gets agitated if I take too long. I get told off by a fish  ;D

Offline Fishbeard

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #30 on: January 22, 2018, 08:23:12 PM »
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Glad to see I'm not alone in struggling to count. My tetras and gouramis play fair, but the corys insist on hiding and lying perfectly still on similarly coloured gravel and rocks... it doesn't help that they sometimes "sleep" on top of each other too, just to make it even more of a challenge.

That's a lovely looking tank too, very natural.

Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #31 on: February 04, 2018, 04:52:15 PM »
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Thought you might like to see a photo of the tank with it's latest inhabitants. Looking a little less stark.

Think I'm going to have to get more green plants to go along the crypts. The fiveband barbs are too well camouflaged, swimming in their favourite area of the tank!  :rotfl:

Offline fcmf

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #32 on: February 04, 2018, 06:05:20 PM »
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Looks great :cheers:

Offline Littlefish

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #33 on: February 04, 2018, 08:08:07 PM »
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Fantastic tank.  ;D

Offline Matt

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #34 on: February 05, 2018, 06:33:13 AM »
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Awesome...  :cheers:

Nope, I can't see any fivebands!

Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #35 on: February 05, 2018, 06:51:30 AM »
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 :rotfl:

There are 5 visible in this photo - 3 quite clear! The two that photographed the best are on the bottom 'third' line, just to the right of the giant bogwood (on the left, just above the crypts).

They definitely inhabit the bottom third of the tank. The rasboras in the middle and the rainbows the top third.  ;)

Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #36 on: February 05, 2018, 09:37:55 AM »
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 :rotfl:
Ha ha. It's a bit like "where's Walley". Or maybe a magic eye picture

I was going to put circles round the two I was trying to point out, but my technological skill can't stretch that far.

So here's a cropped section of the photo. Starting from the top, there are 3 harlequin rasboras, one dwarf rainbow fish and then well camouflaged  by the crypts you can see the vertical bars of two fiveband barbs, perfectly in profile!

Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #37 on: February 05, 2018, 09:39:37 AM »
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Perhaps it's why they seem so at home in my tank. They don't hide, because even when they're not hiding it isn't easy to see them!

Offline Sue

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #38 on: February 05, 2018, 09:49:18 AM »
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I have tampered with your photo  ;D You'll need to click on it to see my "circles"


But I can find only 4 barbs......

Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #39 on: February 05, 2018, 10:03:56 AM »
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 :rotfl: :rotfl:

I think the fifth one is half behind the middle leaf of the small anubias on the stone / pebble. I think I can just see one distinctive band and the tail is a blur. I don't think it is the decor. :yikes:

Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #40 on: February 05, 2018, 10:09:07 AM »
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By the way, they are much easier to see in real life. Because of their movement but also their bands have a beautiful iridescence.  And the males are almost orange.

There is one (?!) female that keeps flicking against leaves (not hard surfaces, so I'm comfortable it's not parasites), but although some of the males seem interested, she doesn't seem to have persuaded any of them to actually spawn with her. Or maybe I've just missed it!

Offline Matt

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #41 on: February 05, 2018, 07:26:23 PM »
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They are beautiful fish @Helen

Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #42 on: February 05, 2018, 08:45:14 PM »
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Thank you @Matt . I'm feeling really pleased with my combination of fish right now. Together they fill the tank nicely because they inhabit different areas. I'm quite excited about how it'll look when they're all full size (which is different for each species).  :D

But it is sooooo difficult to stop tinkering! The problem with slow growing plants is that... they grow slowly! So it is and will continue to take some time for the tank to fill up as I want it. I have several ideas for filling in some spots, another tall java fern narrow behind the large bogwood, for example. Possibly attached to a coconut cave. And I think I might tweak the arrangement of rocks to the right of the lotus. I am wondering whether my tank could accommodate another lotus, but I'm guessing that as soon as I give in, they'll both grow like mad and I'll have to take one out!

It is a good thing that I don't have enough time to implement my ideas. If I did, I suspect I'd catch MTS! I just have to live it through everyone else on here.  :cheers:

(This week I'm organising a party for my daughter's 5th birthday at the weekend! The fish are getting a lot of watching to keep me calm!)

Offline Matt

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #43 on: February 05, 2018, 08:47:49 PM »
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(This week I'm organising a party for my daughter's 5th birthday at the weekend! The fish are getting a lot of watching to keep me calm!)

 :rotfl: Good Luck!!!

Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #44 on: March 19, 2018, 10:19:27 AM »
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I have to say that @Sue 's suggestion of grinding sinking pellets is brilliant. The feeding behaviours of the fish, in particular the fiveband barbs, but also the kuhlis, seems a lot more natural. They 'peck' over the substrate, rather than cluster all in one place competing for the pellets.

Downsides are it is completely impossible to count how many fivebands I have.

And I'm not sure about the quantities that I am feeding. Even if I soak the ground up pellets in tank water before I pour them in, they spread over a decent area (which is good, imho), but most of that area is small gravel, so the food grains don't just sit on top. So I can't tell if I'm over feeding the fish. The usual measures of food being left over after a couple minutes doesn't work because I can't see the food to start with. And because they have to look for their food, the fish take longer to feed, swimming and pecking, rather than just guzzling. Also it is difficult to tell how much of the food I put in gets eaten and how much falls out of reach in between the gravel.

Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #45 on: April 10, 2018, 11:04:39 PM »
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Developments on the plant side. Lotus is looking much better for adding the root tab. So I've dotted another couple around the tank to try and encourage some height.

New plants turned up today - nymphoides hydrophylla 'Taiwan' (thanks for the recommendation @TopCookie ). Because it was a tissue culture, I've put that in the tank. Certainly good value. I didn't expect to get quite so much. If it grows as much as the label says (30cm in 30 days) I will be taking rather a lot out in a couple months time!

Also in my little delivery was some TNC carbon, a cryptocorne wenditii green (apologies for my spelling, it's just gone haywire) and a little pot of java moss. I've decided to quarantine the crypt and moss for a bit longer. And I think I'll let the new plants settle before I try the carbon.

I also got out the junior hacksaw for my coconuts.  ;) One of my existing coconut halves got a doorway cut out of it and I sawed in half the 'new' coconut. Hmm, I left that a bit long and the inside was far from edible. It smells a lot like a strong blue cheese - with a hint of coconut!  :sick: It is going to be a good while before that is clean enough to go in my tank.

I'd like to point out that coconut shells are hard. I did wonder whether the 5 for someone else to do the sawing might have been worth it!

The java moss has also been tied to the existing coconut pieces, the caves can soak at the same time as the moss is quarantined. I'm considering leaving the caves in quarantine until the moss has attached itself to the coconut and I can cut off the thread. I didn't find tieing thread round a half coconut very easy. The underside looks a bit like one of those laser rooms you see in films. 😮

Offline TopCookie

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #46 on: April 10, 2018, 11:15:10 PM »
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Wow, Helen...  this is gorgeous...!!! 


Offline Helen

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #47 on: April 10, 2018, 11:34:33 PM »
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Thank you.

I don't suffer from MTS, but an alternative, CTT (chronic tank tinkering).  :yikes:

It took me nearly 8 years to actually get around to the monumental task of removing more than half the substrate and completely replanting the tank. I also introduced the sand area. Which was a path until the inhabitants had their turn at aquascaping! I did do a thread showing my progress through the substrate removal. I think it is in general fishkeeping chat and called rejuvenating a neglected tank?

The nymphoides has gone on the left hand side with the intention of providing some surface cover there. When I get the ferts right, the Vallis on the right grows up to and along the surface. But I'm not there yet with the new configuration.

The green crypts will go in amongst the other crypts and hopefully break up the brown colour block a bit.

And the rainbowfish are looking better and bluer all the time. It's difficult not to be impatient for them to reach full size.  :o

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #48 on: April 11, 2018, 07:02:43 AM »
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I like the idea of the mossy coconut caves... I got the chance to try out one of those laser rooms when we did crystal mase in Manchester.... It's was absolutely impossible!

Just a note on vallis and liquid carbon... a lot of people find that vallis doesn't like liquid carbon... I can't recall the science behind it but I know there are mixed reviews with its effect on vallis... I would start with a half dose and see how you go. To be honest, I would never do more than a half dose of liquid carbon anyway seeing as it is actually a product designed to clean medical instruments and kill bacteria... I personally always see upset fish at more than a half dose.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: My 240l planted tank, again.
« Reply #49 on: April 11, 2018, 07:54:08 AM »
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Glad to hear that root tabs are having a positive impact on your plants.
I don't have the patience or dexterity to tie plants (especially moss) to anything.
I hope that your new plants do well  :)

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