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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've finally gotten my tax return back, so I can upgrade to a bigger tank and get all the decent equipment it requires! I thought I'd try out this journal thing. I'm going to try to post regularly. I hope you guys enjoy it! I'm still really new at fishkeeping so I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, tips, things you notice, how my story relates to yours!
Right now, I have one 1.6 gallon tank. I also am attempting a planted 1 gallon bowl; that one is . . . a work in progress.. We call it the Experiment Bowl.

If you haven't seen her picture yet, this is Chadashah. Her name is Hebrew for "new," and she is named that because she marks a new season in my life. The other name you will want to know is E.Joy. She is my roommate and one of my best friends; she is also a great photographer. I'm (not so) secretly hoping that she will be providing lots of pictures for this journal! We call our house Castle; you will probably notice that theme sort of came out in the aquariums . . .

I decided around Christmas that I really wanted a pet, and since The Castle is a rental, the only pet we can have is fish. Luckily, I really enjoyed keeping fish as a kid. So I called up my landlord and asked about getting a one gallon tank, and they said that would be fine.

This is the first lesson I have learned fishkeeping: don't suggest a size to your landlord! Ask them how big of a tank you can have and let them give you the number. When I realized how much too small one gallon was going to be for Chadashah, I gathered up my courage to ask if I could get a five gallon. Turns out, my pet-free property, does in fact allow 5 gallon tanks.

Honestly, as much work as having a 1.6 gallon tank is, I am kind of glad I started there instead of getting a more expensive kit that still would not have been a good quality one. Over the last six months, I have learned so much more about keeping fish. I know I have a lot more to learn, but I feel confident picking out a basic five gallon glass tank and fit the filter, heater, substrate, etc. to what I want rather than just going and buying whatever the first thing I find. I would not have known what to do when I was first starting (and yes, I do recognize that 8 months is still 'first starting'). Fishkeeping is a little overwhelming, especially at first. Now, I feel much more prepared to get a tank that fits what I like and what Chadashah needs.

I have been slowly acquiring things while I wait for my tax refund to come in. With my state refund, I picked up a nice piece of wood, rocks, and substrate. I picked up a 5.5 gallon tank at a Petco sale back in June. My Amazon order of light, filter, heater, quality thermometer and vinyl for the back ground arrived a couple of days ago. Now I'm headed off to Menards, Petco, and my LFS for a few more supplies, and then I'm going to try (gulp) scaping it. The substrate and hardscape are all ready. I have one anubias coffeefolia, but I do need quite a few more plants. Fingers crossed I can find something good at my LFS! If not, I'll be doing an online order and finishing the planting when they come in. I'll wait to move Chadashah over until it's all planted. In the meantime, here are some pictures of Chadashah, Chadashah's Castle version 1, and the Experiment Bowl!

Let me know what you think. If you have questions, tips, tricks, etc. let me know! I am excited to learn more and share my journey with you all! Stay tuned for pictures of my progress on the new tank later on this week!

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I got a lot of progress made on the new tank this weekend! In other words, I spent all day Saturday working on it. It was great to watch it go from just a pile of boxes and bags to an actual aquarium! As much as I ranted about the wait, it was worth it.

Brown Ingredient Seasoning Wood Tints and shades

Wood Floor Flooring Rectangle Refrigerator

My LFS was low on plants, but I managed to snag two of the kinds I really wanted: anubias nana petite and corkscrew vallisenaria. I already have an anubias coffeefolia which I will be using, but Chadashah likes it so much I decided to leave it in her tank until I'm ready to move her over, unless I end up with an extra of some other plant that I can put in with her.

Water Plant Blue Fish supply Pet supply

The coffeefolia is going to go in the middle of the driftwood between the two petites that are already there.

I'm definitely going to have to order some plants online. I for sure want to get a lighter version of the anubias nana petite, a buce wavy green, some Christmas moss, and two kinds of stem plants. If anyone has suggestions for what stem plants would look good behind the treehouse, let me know! I am still trying to decide. There are so many good ones out there!

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And. . . drum roll please . . .

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Here is the full tank as it is so far! I am very happy with how it is turning out. What do you think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sadly, no real updates on the new tank. I put in an order for plants very early Thursday morning and was hoping that they would be here yesterday, but it looks like I got it in a little too late to have here before the weekend and the post office is estimating it will be here on Wednesday. I'm praying my plants survive the wait; I am optimistic that they will at least arrive algae free!

I did put my first dose of liquid fertilizer in yesterday, so we'll see how everything does this week. So far none of the plants have died, and the val seem to be perking up a bit: they were a little raggedy and melty from the store. I'm doing a sort of hybrid cycle on the new tank right now. Since I have plants in the tank already, I don't want to risk the high ammonia levels you get from a fishless cycle, but I won't be moving Chadashah until all the plants are in, so I can't really do a fish-in cycle just yet. I did however use a bunch of substrate that was in Chadashah's current tank and I don't want to lose any beneficial bacteria that might be on it, so I have been dosing enough ammonia every couple of evenings to get me up to .5 ppm. So far that is gone by the morning, so I think I am going to try upping that dose this week. No sign of nitrates yet, so I'm not sure if it is the BB taking care of it, or if the plants are using it.

The experiment bowl has been a little neglected the last couple of weeks, so I did a bunch of cleaning on that. Once the plants arrive for the 5 gallon, I'll trim the Christmas moss down in the Experiment Bowl and use the trimmings in the 5 gallon. I tried supergluing some loose strands to a different part of my wood in the Experiment Bowl and it now looks like a bird pooped on the log. Also, I superglued some Christmas moss to my fingers, so in the 5 gallon, I will be using cotton thread to secure the moss. I'll still glue the anubias and the buce, though.

I added some rooibos tea to the tank Chadashah is in, yesterday. She's been a bit . . . off this last week. I'm hoping she is just stressed from moving her tank: I can't see any visible signs of illness, and her offness is really subtle, so I hope it is nothing. She is hiding more and flaring a lot. She is sometimes slower to come out to the front if I walk up to the tank. And while she is still eating, she isn't grabbing the food as fast as usual and seems to be less interested in non-pellet food. When I tried frozen daphnia this week, she took a couple of bites and spit it out. I had to run to work, so I'm not sure if she went on to eat the rest of it or not, but the tank seemed pretty clean when I came back, so I think she did eat it. All the water tests are coming back normal though; since I had to take her out of the tank to move it AND one of her hides went into the new tank, I'm pretty sure it is just stress. Hopefully the tea helps!

I'll grab some pictures tonight when the lighting is better and post them. In the meantime, have a great day, everyone!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Here are some pictures for your enjoyment!

Full tank shot of the experiment bowl:
Plant Botany Organism Terrestrial plant World

And that superglue job - it is definitely going to be a while before I try supergluing moss again, unless anyone has tips on how to do it a little more neatly. But that is why I have the Experiment Bowl - so I can try things out and see what works best!
Fluid Recipe Ingredient Cuisine Motor vehicle

And a couple shots of Chadashah in the small tank. The last two are compliments of EJoy!
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have sad news to report this weekend: Chadashah passed away on Monday evening. I'm not sure what was wrong. She didn't have any obvious signs of disease, and the water tests came out 0 for ammonia and nitrite and 5 for nitrates. I tried rooibos tea and blocking off the back and sides since she seemed stressed for a few days before, but I guess it was her time to go. I'm sorry I didn't get the chance to get her in the new tank, but I am thankful I had her. I will for sure be getting another betta. I'm going to pick up a nerite snail first though: I want to give it a little time to settle in before I add a betta.

In happy news: my plants arrived on Tuesday!! I got everything planted in the 5 gallon tank and I am very happy with how it came out. The pants are:

Anubias coffeefolia,
anubias nana petite
anubias super petite "snow white"
Christmas moss
Valisneria contortionist
marimo moss balls
bucephalandra wavy green
hygrophilia compact
Ludwigia sp. Atlantis

Water Vertebrate Plant Light Purple Flower Plant Blue Purple Botany Plant World Purple Water Branch

The val is growing very well: there are already at least two new runners with a couple of inches of growth on the new plants, and the old plants have sent up some new leaves as well. I've already talked to my LFS about selling them plants and they said they would be happy to take whatever I don't have room for. Maybe I'll have enough growth that I can get some store credit toward the betta! I ended up with a lot of plants, so I'm hopeful that I will have something to give them soon! I ordered from Aquarium Plant Factory and everything I wanted was on a buy two get one free sale. I wanted to have the new tank planted pretty heavily, but the result is there isn't too much room for replanting extra growth.

The lesson I have learned this week is that I love epiphytes that can be superglued to decor, and I really don't like planting stem plants. The hygro wasn't so bad: it has a pretty thick stem that seemed to stay in the substrate, but the ludwigia has very thin stems, and was not fun to get in there. I've watched so many youtube videos of people planting and it looks so easy. Then I try it and 2 hours later, I'm still trying to get the stupid plants to stay. Hopefully they root quickly and not too many of them float up.

I had enough extra plants to add to the Experiment Bowl as well. I decided to try plant weights with one bunch of the ludwigia. It seems to be doing fine so far, and I can see some roots starting to form at the bottom. All in all, the Experiment Bowl looks sssooooo much better! It's nice to see so much green inside; I'm thinking of picking up some shrimp for it while I'm getting the snail. I think some blue dream shrimp will look great against all that light green!

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