Matt's 64 Litre Tank

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Offline Helen

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #100 on: January 14, 2018, 10:10:49 PM »
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We visited the fish shop this afternoon. Out of all the tanks in the shop, my daughter insisted on making sure I saw the tank that had her favourites in - pygmy puffers!   :rotfl: Fortunately this thread has been enough research, so I was able to say immediately that they wouldn't be good in my tank.


And no, @Littlefish , she's not getting her own tank.  :yikes: She's not yet 5. My tank is older than she is!

Online Matt

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #101 on: January 14, 2018, 10:17:14 PM »
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I was pleasantly surprised to hear the MA staff offering very good advice about them, tankmates, their diet etc. In fact the sales assistant said they said they don't sell many due to people not being able to provide what the puffers need. 

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #102 on: January 14, 2018, 10:24:37 PM »
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@Helen there is plenty of time for another tank...perhaps a future birthday or christmas present for your daughter...perhaps...Those little puffers don;t need much space (but a bigger tank with lots of them is worth it). ;D

@Matt it is very comforting to hear of sales staff in any fish store offering good advice. Hooray.

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #103 on: January 19, 2018, 10:01:45 PM »
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Ok so here is my plan...

I have had the wood soaking all week to get rid of as much tannins as possible and to make sure they sink. The rocks have also been in the tank growing biofilm (I will loose some biofilm by changing the substrate so it seemed sensible even if it makes little difference in reality).  I need to wash the sand first thing so everything is then ready to go. I'll have to put it in a mixing bowl once done to save running out of buckets later down the line...

Next step will be to remove the decor and plants from the tank. The plants are being reused so will go into a bucket of tank water.  I will then do a little bit of gravel vacuuming just in the areas with plants that have root tabs under them to avoid creating a big mess later on. This will also remove some water which will make it easier for me to catch the galaxy rasbora and assassin snail which are being transferred to the 220litre.  The otocinclus and goby will be put into the bucket with the plants along with the filter and heater. I'll then need to remove the tank lid because of the way the electrics work on the tank so i can run the filter in the bucket. I'm going to take a risk on keeping the goby in with the puffers for a week as I want to add 4 gobies into the 220litre in total and because they can be territorial I want to add them all at the same time if I can. If the puffers and goby don't get on I can always just transfer him across early. 

I can then drain the tank, take out the gravel, and move the tank to its new permanent location. Mrs Matt will sort through the gravel which ill put in the other bucket to find any shrimp babies and Malaysian trumpet snails.  Whilst she is doing this I can put the sand, rocks and wood into the tank and spend a while aquascaping it all until I'm happy with things. I'm going to use tetra initial sticks under the sand to provide the plants with some nutrients.

Once we are happy with the hardscape, the tank will be partially refilled with water from the 220litre, and the filter and heater reinstalled.  The next step will be planting.  As the plants are going to be in the fish bucket it will be less stressful for the fish to have the big tank with the decor in it to hide behind whilst I plant it than be in a bucket I keep putting my hand in and out of so ill move them across before i start. Ill also be stealing a plant or two from the 220litre tank.

Once the planting is done I can top up the water if required from the fish bucket and go get the puffers!!
  :fishy1:

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #104 on: January 20, 2018, 09:16:48 AM »
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 ;D

A busy day, but totally worth it.  :cheers:

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #105 on: January 20, 2018, 06:37:43 PM »
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 :fishy1:

 ;D

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #106 on: January 20, 2018, 06:47:18 PM »
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 :cheers:

Aren't they sooooooooooooooooooo cute.  ;D

Offline fcmf

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #107 on: January 20, 2018, 07:48:45 PM »
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Oooooooooooh, gorgeous!  :fishy1:

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #108 on: January 20, 2018, 07:56:16 PM »
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Not enough 'o's there littlefish and fcmf for something so adorable!!  :D  They swim around in little groups or on their own but constantly get distracted by absolutely everything that catches their googly eyes!!!

They have had some live bloodworm... hilarious watching them stare at it on the substrate, swim around it whilst never taking an eye off it... then dart at it and suddenly find themselves with a bloodworm in their mouths that is twice as long as them! Even better when they pick up the bloodworm in the middle of the worm and can't figure out what to do and one of their mates comes over and nicks it whilst they are still thinking about it.

The khuli loaches are lovely too, so different from other species behaviour.  I've seen one eating tonight too so they seem to be settling in well. They are going to make a great companion fish for the puffers, who so far seem to only have been confused by them (giant stripy bloodworm :o)!! The otocinclus are being totally ignored.

The plants I have are dwarf sag, buce, vallis, anubias nana, hornwort,  hydrocotyle tripartita and dwarf hairgrass. There is some java moss in there too for tieing to the wood at a later date.

The tank is still a bit cloudy but here are a couple more photos of the inhabitants...

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #109 on: January 20, 2018, 10:25:01 PM »
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Dwarf puffers, khuli loaches, otos - that's a tank that will provide you with endless hours of entertainment.
Awesome.  :cheers:

Offline fcmf

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #110 on: January 20, 2018, 11:15:02 PM »
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Fantastic update and pics. I particularly like the one of the dwarf puffer eyeing/sizing up the bloodworm, having read your description. The eye movements of dwarf puffers are adorable.

Offline Helen

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #111 on: January 20, 2018, 11:37:11 PM »
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Once you've put kuhlis in your tank, there's no moving away from them! Apart from the fact that they're long lived (mine could be up to 8 years old), they are so different to anything else I've researched and seriously considered.

I find I can spend hours watching them after the lights have gone out, if there's enough background light.

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #112 on: January 21, 2018, 05:48:01 AM »
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Thats a good idea regarding the background light @Helen as i suspect they will soon figure out that the left over bloodworm is there in the evening and they dont get disturbed as much on evening bloodworm expeditions... I may have to try using my blue moon light in the evenings again once the tank is stable.

Offline Helen

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #113 on: January 21, 2018, 09:53:18 AM »
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Being nocturnal, I'm pretty sure they will find any left over bloodworm no matter how little light there is. It's just whether you can see them!

The most interesting thing I've seen since putting the sand in my tank, is seeing the kuhlis feeding by shifting the sand through their gills. They do it at quite a surprising rate - I can see little showers of sand flying nearly halfway down their body! And they leave some interesting scalloping patterns in the sand. I imagine that a few feeding in the same place could have quite an aquascaping effect!

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #114 on: January 21, 2018, 10:29:27 AM »
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One khuli was very active indeed this morning... though the other is yet to be seen...I just have snail tracks across the sand... Im regretting using the old gravel to build up the sand in the corner now...

Do your khulis dig little burrows into the sand under rocks/wood? My goby has spent ages excavating the sand under a rock to build himself a little hidey hole  ::)

Offline Sue

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #115 on: January 21, 2018, 11:24:41 AM »
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Stiphodons do that. They are a nightmare to catch in a shop tank that has gravel on the bottom.

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #116 on: January 21, 2018, 11:31:26 AM »
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Yeh... i cant catch the goby to transfer him now...!!!  :vcross:

Offline Helen

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #117 on: January 21, 2018, 11:50:07 AM »
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I'm not aware of my kuhlis burrowing. But they've only just got sand after many years of gravel that was a bit too big for burrowing.

But I think it was my BN Plec that was landscaping to make his favourite caves big enough for him. I've not put them completely back (just rearranged to stabilise) and he seems happy, so it has stayed as it is. I actually find the variation in substrate levels add interest.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #118 on: January 21, 2018, 12:07:26 PM »
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Burrowing gobies are so cute when you see their little faces poking out of the burrow.  ;D

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #119 on: January 21, 2018, 01:08:46 PM »
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Anyone got any tips for catching them??  :vcross:

Offline Sue

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #120 on: January 21, 2018, 02:16:44 PM »
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The woman at the shop just scooped up a load of gravel with the fish hidden in it ..........

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #121 on: January 27, 2018, 11:23:49 PM »
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Everybody seems to be doing well, I'm still getting used to how much I need to feed the tank. It is certainly not as easy as it is with 'normal fish' where you can flow things like the 'as much as they can eat in 2 minutes rule.  I am thinking that  about 2 blood worms per puffer per day is about the right amount, a bit more though for the khulis to get something at lights out.

The wood is growing that white gloopy stuff in absolute bucket loads. I've never see it so bad. There are three pieces of wood in the tank and the two bought from the same store have as much some on them as there is wood, most likely there is more some than wood.  :sick:

I took all the wood out (won't be doing that again... nightmare getting it assembled and back in right again) and rubbed the growth off in hot water.  Hopefully that will slow it down a bit...
I think some if the root tabs in the built up area at the back had become dislodged in a landslide and may have been feeding the tank with nutrients.  This has been sorted now too.

I rejigged the layout of the buce and anubias a little when I put the wood back in and the tank looks a lot more 'balanced' now.  I'll get some photos in the morning when everyone has had a chance to settle back in.

I have also built a snail breeding 'tank'. It's very heath robinson :-[ but I think it should serve a purpose for feeding the puffers. I had a spaghetti storage Tupperware thing with a clip on lid that I had once planned to build an external filter from with a heater inside it. This is the 'tank'. Using this allowed me to gain enough height (when compared to normal 'horizontal' food containers) to install a cheap air powered filter. The airline goes through a hole I've drilled in the lid and there are several very small holes also in the lid to allow the air to escape... but not the snails!  I have put the whole thing in the cabinet of my aquaoak in the bucket thing I have the filter in so it's packed right up next to it and I'm hoping this will provide enough heat to keep it warm enough for the snails to breed. I can put veg or bits of algae wafer in every now and then to feed them.

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #122 on: January 28, 2018, 07:19:12 AM »
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I woke up this morning to find the puffers sleeping as normal. They loose their colour as per other fish but just seem to rest on the bottom scattered about the tank in the nearest place to when they got tired.

 This morning though one had obviously got tired near a branch of wood because it had decided to go to sleep perched on the branch... looking like a bird!   :o

They are such silly little things...

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #123 on: January 28, 2018, 08:45:30 AM »
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 ;D

Having access to baby snails on a regular basis is great when you have dwarf puffers. They love them. Nom, nom, nom.

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #124 on: January 28, 2018, 11:02:57 AM »
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It would help if the little idiots didnt swim down the siphon hose!...

To be honest i think it enjoyed its trip on the rollercoaster... seemed to take it all in its stride  :raspberries

They are somehow very annoying in the cutest possible way  ???

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #125 on: January 28, 2018, 11:36:21 AM »
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Shot of the tank... not the best in daylight but it shows how I've changed it round a bit...

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #126 on: January 28, 2018, 12:53:28 PM »
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If I remember correctly, one of Fiona's puffers took a spin in a syphon, and was fine with the whole thing.
They are very inquisitive little fish, which is adorable, but can be a tad inconvenient during tank maintenance.  ::)

Offline fcmf

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #127 on: January 28, 2018, 03:20:41 PM »
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So envious of you having these. Saw some baby dwarf puffers - each about 0.5 cm in size - recently in the LFS and was almost drooling over how gorgeous they were.  Keep up the updates on their antics.
 :fishy1:

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #128 on: April 20, 2018, 09:58:49 PM »
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I was never quite happy with this tank... well now I finally am. It's funny how you can start with a certain vision in your head but end up with something completely different in the end!...

Hopefully you can see how the vallis will grow to create a green background to the tank.  The buce now looks more natural in the layout and the baby java fern will grow much taller of course and will be moved backwards to grow up through the wood to hopefully give a very natural feel. The dwarf sag is growing well and sending out little runners and forming new plants and over time will fill the central gap left by the java fern when it gets moved back into the wood more. The sag and vallis look surprisingly similar which ties things together nicely.  I have the substrate sloped towards the back of the tank which also looks better than the previous slope from left to right.

Hope you like it too! I think it will only look better with time. Other advantage is I'm seeing more of the khulis and otos as there is actually less space to hide in this new scape.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #129 on: April 20, 2018, 10:12:21 PM »
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Your tank looks great.  8)

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #130 on: April 20, 2018, 10:25:52 PM »
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Looking v.good there Matt...   ;)

Offline fcmf

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #131 on: April 20, 2018, 10:41:37 PM »
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Does indeed look great. You have a natural aquascaping talent.  8)

Offline Helen

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #132 on: April 20, 2018, 11:46:35 PM »
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Looks great.  :cheers:

As @fcmf says, you have a real talent for aquascaping.

You should take a photo every week then your post will look like one of the "how to aquascape" articles in Practical Fishkeeping!  ;)

* Apart from all our comments.  :rotfl:

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Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Reply #133 on: April 21, 2018, 08:26:26 AM »
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Thanks everyone.  :cheers:

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