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Old 04-21-2014, 01:49 AM   #1 
ArrowheadShark
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Talking Fun with Seventy Gallons

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:
  • Temp: 75-82F
  • PH: 6.0-7.8
  • 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.
  • 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.

(Pleco) Albino Bristlenosed Pleco:
  • Temp: 72-84F

  • 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.

*Khuli Loach:
  • Temp: 76-82F
  • 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.
Fancy Tailed Guppies:
  • Temp: 64-82F
  • PH: 6.8-7.6
  • 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!
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:38 AM   #2 
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I can assure you that you will love having such a large tank; there are so many options! I have a 55 gallon, and it still makes me giddy sometimes to think of all the stocking possibilities. As for other fish to add to your aquarium, I'll provide several of my favorite easy keepers, and let you do the research on them so I don't have to type everything ;) Feel free to ask any questions about these fish and we'll see if I have a sufficient answer! Here we go: rummy nose tetras, black neon tetras, cory cats, hillstream loach(require well oxygenated water), variatus(basically platies, but pretty), forktail rainbowfish, and upsidedown catfish.
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Old 04-24-2014, 03:53 PM   #3 
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I can assure you that you will love having such a large tank; there are so many options! I have a 55 gallon, and it still makes me giddy sometimes to think of all the stocking possibilities. As for other fish to add to your aquarium, I'll provide several of my favorite easy keepers, and let you do the research on them so I don't have to type everything ;) Feel free to ask any questions about these fish and we'll see if I have a sufficient answer! Here we go: rummy nose tetras, black neon tetras, cory cats, hillstream loach(require well oxygenated water), variatus(basically platies, but pretty), forktail rainbowfish, and upsidedown catfish.
Ooohhh, I have heard of many of these fish! I didn't think about looking into the Upsidedown Catfish, I'll look into them! The hillstream loaches are really neat looking; I've seen them several times on fish websites when I was checking out where to buy my Khuli Loaches. (Unfortunately, the ones I would love to have are hard to come by >.< I love the purple-dabble-bellied ones, of which I forget the scientific name for, but I have it saved in a bookmark)

The Variatus are beautiful, but just like Fancy Guppies, because of their metallic scales and body shape I wonder if Shark would attack them? I feel sometimes I over-estimate the Betta fish's agression to similar-finned/bodied fish, but I'd rather over-estimate than under-estimate and end up with a bloodied tank and sad fish.

Cory Cats may be possible, but I worry slightly about them competing with my other bottom-feeders for food. Then again, the floorspace on the tank is huge, and the bottom-feeders are little, so there will be plenty of space for all of them, but I've heard stories of Khuli's being starved by Cory's because the Khuli Loaches won't be very competitive for food. I think I could solve this if I just broke the algae wafers up and spred out the feeding? Or perhaps they'd be cool eating together xD I like putting the bottom-feeders food in a seashell or bowl, since the kind I have disintigrate quickly and Pleco quickly makes a mess of it. She eats it all up, but sometimes it ends up in a spot where she can't get to it (like wedged under a rock or something), which means more cleaning-up.

The forktails are adorable!

Will all of the fish you listed live peacefully together and tolerate the same water conditions? Thank you very much for your input, it's helped a lot. (Now I know what to go research next, hehe! >w<)
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Old 04-24-2014, 04:46 PM   #4 
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Ah, I have done some research, and here's what I found:

Hillstream Loach: They like cooler water and a good current; the fish I'm looking at for this tank are slow-water or still water(ie; the betta, and the bristlenose lives in slow-moving waters)

Upsidedown Catfish: I literally just looked them up, and already forgot xD'' I think they liked a current too, that or cooler water? Also, I think their PH liking is a bit lower than the general-range of fish I've narrowed it down to.

Rummy Nose Tetras: Interesting their color pales so extremely when/if water conditions go downstream (instead of downhill, get it? :D). I admit I'm nervous about getting fish that are very sensitive to water conditions being pristine (though truly every fish is to an extent!), since I'm new to fish keeping. I know Khuli's need and like clean water, and shouldn't be added to an aquarium until it is well-established, at least water-chemistry wise.

Black Neon Tetras: They are adorable, though I admit I'm a lover of the Neon Tetra's vivid coloring. I didn't look into their water or environment needs right now, but I may later.

Cory Catfish: Looks like they like a neutral PH, and are adapted to slow-moving or still clear waters. (I've only checked two sites, so noone quote me on this! This is just quick-derping-around searching, not hardcore serious knowledge-hunting ;w;) Between Khuli Loaches, Cory Cats, and Pleco, I would have a very active bottom of my tank. I think there's enough space to house them all comfortably, and I'd never have to worry about food leftovers even when their done with their own meals! I'll definitely look more into them later.

Variatus: I'd love to have them, but I think there'd be conflictions with my betta, Shark. Sort of the same deal with the Guppies, though someone said that Platy's may out-compete a betta for food?
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Old 04-24-2014, 05:15 PM   #5 
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I currently have Cory cats, Variatus, Rummy Noses, Black Neons, and an Upsidedown cat all in the same tank at about 78F and they all do well, though the U-cat like to lounge in shady places until nighttime. My mom currently has 2 Hillstream loaches in her community tank at about 76-78F and they love it. I find Rummies to actually be very hardy and not at all picky, and with a tank as large as yours, I think Variatus might be alright with your betta, since they're not territorial and kinda mind their own business.
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:56 PM   #6 
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I currently have Cory cats, Variatus, Rummy Noses, Black Neons, and an Upsidedown cat all in the same tank at about 78F and they all do well, though the U-cat like to lounge in shady places until nighttime. My mom currently has 2 Hillstream loaches in her community tank at about 76-78F and they love it. I find Rummies to actually be very hardy and not at all picky, and with a tank as large as yours, I think Variatus might be alright with your betta, since they're not territorial and kinda mind their own business.
I'll keep this in mind! I definitely would love to try the Variatus Platys, I think they're beautiful. The Rummy's are cute too, but if I had to choose between them or the Corys I'll go for the Corys. (I seem to have an affliction for the bottom-dwellers; plecos stole my heart, then it was the Khuli Loaches, now the Cory Catfish)

Here's a question; I'd like to do a Fishless Cycle, but I am wondering if it would be harmful to Shark and Pleco, my two current fish, if it was just them in the big tank while it cycled? Now that I ask it sounds like an obvious 'just do it fishless' but I am curious. Also, do you have any advice for feeding all the different kinds of fish? I know, obviously, feeding the algae wafers and zuchinni for the vegi-lovers (pleco, Khuli's...and a couple other fish I've looked at like to nibble them) and my betta gets his pellets... but what about feeding all the surface eaters? Who have different diets? Or do you just try to get fish who eat similar things?
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:29 PM   #7 
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I hate you, you have a huge tank. I wish I had enough room for a 79g
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:26 PM   #8 
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I'm about to reveal the biggest fish keeping no no ever that I regularly practice: I've never cycled a tank. I use water that basically has all the gunk taken out already, and I've never had a problem with filling my tank and just putting the fish in. At for feeding, I primarily feed Omega One Super Color pellets (I actually feed these to my bettas as well), which are high in protein, and are basically the staple for any of my fish besides the algae eaters. If any of my fish do nibble the plants, it's not really noticeable, so I don't mind. All my fish also like brine shrimp. One of the advantages to a large tank is that it kinda becomes it's own ecosystem. If I miss a feeding, the fish have their pick of algae, plants, and baby snails.
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Old 04-25-2014, 12:24 AM   #9 
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I'm about to reveal the biggest fish keeping no no ever that I regularly practice: I've never cycled a tank. I use water that basically has all the gunk taken out already, and I've never had a problem with filling my tank and just putting the fish in. At for feeding, I primarily feed Omega One Super Color pellets (I actually feed these to my bettas as well), which are high in protein, and are basically the staple for any of my fish besides the algae eaters. If any of my fish do nibble the plants, it's not really noticeable, so I don't mind. All my fish also like brine shrimp. One of the advantages to a large tank is that it kinda becomes it's own ecosystem. If I miss a feeding, the fish have their pick of algae, plants, and baby snails.
That is one of the reasons I'm really excited to set up the big tank; despite it's size, I think it will be easier to manage and maintain than my ten gallon(which I haven't cycled, either ;P shhhh!). There'll be room for algae, plantlife, so many hidey-hole options, and plenty of surface area for the BB to grow. I personally really want to go with the struggle of getting the tank cycled and stable, I think it'll help a lot with the tank staying clean and safe for the fish (ie; not having to do more water changes to get out the ammonia). Then again, my grandpa was telling me stories of his 37 tanks of every tropical fish you could think of (from bettas to chichilids to oscars(his favorite} to Platys!) that he kept at 68 degrees F and did a water change once a year, unless something happened like ich or some other alliment.

@_@ how?

Also, here's a FUN FACT! It was raining like crazy the past two days here, and there was a crayfish in the grass some forty feet away from our pond! My friend Andy had already rescued one, and this one she found and grabbed a brochure from our dorms and I carried it to the pond. He was really cute >w< Just a lil' guy, but still sizable to pinch!
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Old 06-04-2014, 02:47 PM   #10 
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Tank update!


Sooo... I found a Rena XP3 Canister filter for $70 -- the person just wants to get rid of it, getting out of the hobby I think. I haven't gone and talked to them yet, but I'm hoping the three of them aren't sold by next week so I can buy one for my tank... my only question is this: It's rated for up to 125 gallons, but mine is only a 70... would that be over-kill for my tank, or can I just turn the flow down?

Shark and Pleco are doing fine; I think Shark's grumpy because I haven't been paying much attention to him lately, this will change when school gets out and I'm not so busy. Big move back to the house for them either Thursday night or Friday morning; Friday I graduate, and then it's off to clean house, set up the big aquarium, and get rolling on after-highschool life!
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