Alright; I've done my research and am still doing it, and I'm ready to start a journal on my favorite fish keeping website! I thought you guys were kidding with your signature's saying 'Once you get started the hobby sucks you in...' Well, you were right.
It started with a 2.5 Gallon (quickly upgraded to a 10 gallon) and a double tale male betta fish, Shark, who won my heart. Then I ended up coming home with a cute, little, wiggling albino bristlenosed pleco named, quite aptly, Pleco.
Then I stumbled upon a chance of fortune and took home from my dorms a 70 gallon aquarium complete with hood, stand, Penguin Bio-wheel Filter, and a whole tub full of various tubes, accessories, and equipment (some of which I'm still trying to figure out...*Scratches head*) The UGF and gravel was immediately given away, since I already knew I wanted a sand substrate.
I've been planning my tank for months.
Researching, researching, and more researching! I quickly went from 'oh I'll just use pool filter sand and have a few hardy plants' to 'I'm buying Flourite sand and fertilizer tablets and making sure my light levels are good.' (please don't get me started thinking on pressurized CO2! I've got plenty on my plate as it is ;P)
I think the most head scratching thing for me was trying to find a place to start.
It's only been the past week things have finally started clicking in my head, and all of a sudden, things seem a lot simpler and I can't believe how much I was over-thinking everything!
For stocking, I already own Pleco and Shark, as mentioned above. If you guys don't mind, I'm just going to share the water parameters I've gotten and brief temperaments and notes on the different fish I'm looking at getting and have.
Please note: I am a beginner fish keeper and, unfortunately, do not magically know everything, much as I know many of us would love to ;P If you feel there is an error in any of the information I have collected and put together below, or things I should add, please do mention it!
(Shark) Betta Splenden:
- Dwells: Upper water column. Shark, however, loves chilling out anywhere in the tank. He lazes on the bottom a lot. Enjoys resting on the fine sand.
- Food: Betta pellets(three different kinds) and freeze-dried bloodworms is what I feed him. Frozen food may be offered later on. Bloodworms, most likely.
- Temperament: Could care less about Pleco or snails. (Had a 'volunteer snail' for a while until he died) Betta's are known to show agression towards other fish with bright colors or flowing fins, and certainly a combination of the two. Each betta has a different personality, however, and this is not always the case. Plan to have re-housing options available immediately should things not work out between tankmates.
(Pleco) Albino Bristlenosed Pleco:
- Additional Notes: I have no idea how Shark will react to other free-swimming fish. I doubt he'll bother Khuli Loaches, with his ignoring (and occasional lounging on) of Pleco.
- Temp: 72-84°F
- PH: 6.5-7.4
- Dwells: Bottom and sides of glass, and all over the decor. Enjoys hanging on the bottom of wide-leafed plants. Needs caves and hiding places. Nocturnal fish.
- Food: Algae found in tank with algae wafers (with Spirulian being one of the first ingredients). Requires driftwood to rasp on.
- Temperament: From what I understand, peaceful, though I believe males can be territorial? Don't quote me on that (or any of this really I am noooo expert!). I have heard of cases, rare in happening to my understanding, of ABNP's developing a taste for shellfish/fish's slime coats. And some like munching snails.
- Additional Notes: Pleco is a very active, well, pleco! She's about a good deal during the day, but is very much nocturnal. She'll chase Shark away from her food, but over time has come to realize he's not interested in eating it. I often catch Shark laying on her while she rasps on driftwood.
Fancy Tailed Guppies:
- Temp: 76-82°F
- PH: 5.5-7.5
- Dwells: Bottom dweller, nocturnal. Will try to squeeze into small spaces, and having a covered filter intake is a must; stories of Khuli Loaches found alive, mostly-alive, dying, dead, and mostly dead (Princess Bride reference anyone?) in filter chambers/intake tubes are sadly somewhat common, at least they are from my forum-browsing.
- Food: Happy omnivore; sinking pellets high in protein, algea wafers, and frozen or life food (bloodworms, daphnia, brine shrimp, blackworms, are what I've seen listed among many others). [Will they eat zuchini? I think I saw a picture of them nomming some]
- Temperament: Peaceful and, if kept in a large enough group, I've heard them to be very playful, comical, energetic fish!
- Additional Notes: I lean towards the more recommended minimum of five or six Khuli's; if kept alone or in small (two or three) numbers, their behavior tends to lean towards being very shy and they are not often seen, dissappearing for days or weeks, or, in some cases, months. I get the drift Khuili's are a case of 'The more the merrier!' It is common for them to vanish for a time; hidden under the sand or curled up in plants, and they come out at night, being nocturnal, making it even harder to glimpse them in action. Having a larger number of Khuli's seems to counteract their shyness. <---This is what I think, based on reading the stories, advice, and experiences from other Khuli owners.
- Dwells: Mid water column, I believe? Open-water swimming fishy.
- Food: protein-heavy flake food or pellets -- This may be incorrect. They also need vegi matter in their diet, I think. Live or frozen foods as well.
- Temperament: Peaceful, prolific breeders.
- Additional Notes: I am well aware that Fancy-tailed guppies and betta fish are liable to not mix well together. I have heard successful stories of keeping a betta in a guppy community tank, and have heard of problems keeping the betta splenden and guppies together.
I plan on a rather heavily-planted (artificial and live) tank, 70 gallons, with low-stocking numbers, and will carefully moniter Shark's reaction to the fish. I will try to get fancy guppies that aren't too obnoxiously colored/large-finned. I will not rush this process, and I will have new housing/rehoming lined up well before I even think of attempting this pairing.
I am not looking to spark a heated debate about putting a betta in with guppies, but I am open to helpful advice be it yay or nay in this idea. At the very least, I could put a tank divider in, but I would really rather have one whole tank for all the fish to swim in.
I guess that seems a very small variety of fish to have in a tank, since really I'll only be adding Khuli Loaches and Guppies so far. (which, please keep in mind, I am not decided on if I will try this or not! I am concerned about both fishes welfare, and it bugs me that the only way to know if Shark will be cool with other tankmates is to try it and find out >n<)
I am actually at a bit of a loss for other fish to add to the aquarium; if any of you have any suggestions, please let me know! I have considered Neon Tetras, but I like them less than the guppies. I've a funny feeling they would at nip Shark's fins; I've heard them to be fin-nippers.
I am also in a bit of a tighter budget, so I am looking for less-expensive fish. Especially since this is my first big aquarium project, while I care more for a fish's well-being than it's price tag, I really would rather not lose, say, fifty dollars in one fish. (or even two ._.)
I've also thought of looking into if I could have shrimp in my aquarium, but I haven't researched very far into it. As in; all I know right now is they are cute, tiny, and tend to get eaten a lot... hence why I decided shrimp are a no-go.
Part of why I know so little of what fish I want (aside from the Khuli Loaches; I have become an instant fan of them!) is because most my planning and researching has gone into setting up the actual environment; how to control it and keep it stable (cycling, water changes, and I bought the AP master test kit finally!), how to set up a proper substrate for plants, how to care for plants in general, things to avoid, things to consider... the list goes on.
Also, the 'months of planning' have been shared with school, arting, friends, driving classes, and a whole slew of life events going on. A lot of my free time has been devoted to hours on the internet, however, reading up on aquatic maintenance and care.
Here's what I have done, and have purchased so far:
- AP Master Freshwater Test Kit (because a saltwater one seemed kinda over-rated) (<---*sarcasm alert* ;P)
- Airline tubing
- Cleaned all the hard water in the tank and hood and glass pannels with vinegar
- Found a place to purchase the Flourite sand; It'll be the "Dark Flourite" from thatpetplace.com, provided they price match their $16.66 down to $12.57 as I found on trwalker.net (I have been using TPP to buy the majority of my aquarium stuff; from silk plants to mopani driftwood [both of which are awesome, one of which is absolutely gorgeous in my mind] to the test kit and airline tubing to a fish feeder. They have a 'low price guarentee,' so on my last order I asked for a few price matches after searching around on the internet, and lo and behold, I got 'em! ;D)
I still need to buy the Flourite sand, and I'm waiting to find out if TPP will price-match it for me. If they will, i'll be hooting for joy; I would rather buy from a place online that I already know and trust than trying out another website which seems a little sketchier to me. (I'm still hurting after a bad scam a few years back ;_; Luckily it was only 50 bucks, but still. Ouch.)
I also haven't decided if I want to go completely flourite or if I want to mix pool-filter sand in with it. One person, I saw on a forum post, complained they shouldn't have done it because they hated the 'salt n' pepper look' they ended up with when it all mixed together over time, but I loved it! Granted, they also used black-colored flourite, and I'll be probably be getting the dark since it's the cheapest price-match I could find, but still. The substrate's color won't bother me too much. (though I do love the white-bottomed aquariums... but I don't know if I can make that happen if I want to use the flourite) I'm more concerned about healthy plant growth and happy Khuli Loaches.
Anyone here used Flourite in their tank? I've read aquarists' opinions on it ranging from 'The best thing to happen to my plants and me!' to 'It's just expensive sand. Big whoop.'
I don't think I'll do anything with the peat-moss layers. I'm thinking I want to just stick to either all-flourite or fluorite (I just realized I've been spelling 'fluorite' wrong this entire time. Drat!)
mixed with sand. I've also heard about putting the flourite layer down first, then laying the sand over it, but that over time it all mixes together anyways, and I'll be having burrow-happy Khulis, so...
...which reminds me, will Khuli's uproot plants or un-bury fertilizer tablets? I haven't heard anything about that being a problem, but I don't know for certain. (having never owned them, yet ;P)
Thanks for your guys' and gals' wonderful patience! I realize I can get a bit wordy, but if you like reading, then hopefully this journal will keep you busy when I make new posts ;D I will say I may not keep up on this thread in a 'timely manner,' since I like to spend less time blogging it and more time doing it! I will try to get pictures up sometime, but again, no promises. Not anytime soon, anyways.
Any comments/feedback/yays-or-nays/different-views/approaches/ideas are always welcome! As long as nothing turns into a heated debate [this is my journal, for one thing ;) ] I'm open to any and all suggestions!
Also, on a side note, I have posted in the betta-habitat section a long time ago about getting this tank. I hope it's alright I decided to start a journal up about it instead? Here's the link to the other thread; http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=333969
My ideas and thoughts and 'knowledge' have changed a lot since then, I think. For one, I no longer think a deep sand bed is the way to go... at least, I don't think so, and certainly not with the price of the substrate I think I want!