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Calling all fishkeepers

OdetteOdile

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
717
Hello Pricescopers who also happen to be fishkeepers!! All this staying in business has given me the itch to get my Fluval Spec 5 tank up and running again. Currently I have one male betta living in a different Fluval Spec 5 with a heater. This betta is 2 years old and slowing down. I am not that excited about the tank since my son picked the color scheme as well as the betta. I would like to set up the other Spec 5 with different gravel, some live plants and some other fish. Given the size of the tank I have realistic expectations about the limits. Does anyone have some good advice for me about some freshwater community fish I could keep? I like neon tetras - would that be possible? How many? Also, I love the idea of keeping live plants, but I have never had any luck at all - java fern, moss balls, anubias - I have killed them all. Would anyone out there be willing to give me some good tips on keeping plants alive? Perhaps I need a different light on the tank than the one it came with? I am not looking to spend a lot of money, but I would love to have a new project that keeps my mind occupied and gives me something to look forward to!

Also, if you would like to post a picture of your tank, I'd love that!
 

winnietucker

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 4, 2019
Messages
801
That’s their 5 gallon aquarium right? A 5 gallon is too small. You should get a minimum of 6 neons since they’re schooling fish. Have you looked into cardinal tetras? I personally like them better. I would be comfortable putting them in a 20 gallon. In a 5 gallon I’d recommend doing a single betta, a single pea puffer, or doing a shrimp tank.

Java fern and anubias should all be ok. All my tanks have been low tech. Make sure you don’t bury them! What are you doing with them? For cheap plants join Reddit and check out their aquaswap subreddit. I’ve gotten free/ cheap plants there before. I also like diamond blasting sand from tractor supply for a substrate. It’s super cheap. I make my own fertilizer pills and stick them in the sand.

I’m always off and on about aquariums. My 20 long leaked in our old house and I had to rehome my pea puffers cause I couldn’t get anything up quickly. After we moved I bought and resealed a used 60 gallon. I currently have a single betta in there. I think the bigger tank is easier to maintain than the smaller ones.... but I only have one fish in there lol. No tank pics of that one yet cause it’s a mess.

Here are some old pics of my former setups.
F3750D10-51BB-4362-8ED5-202E4EBAA33A.jpeg F783873E-B58F-4A88-96F4-B3777C002B57.jpeg BA550702-52E1-4AC9-A767-2E38CD362F71.jpeg
 

OdetteOdile

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
717
Thank you @winnietucker for your response! Yes, it is 5 gallons. It is small because we bought it for a betta. He was very happy in his home and lived a long time. I know it is easier to keep a larger tank in some ways, but I like a small tank because for me water changes are easier. I had considered shrimp, but not sure how excited I am by that. I think I need a break from bettas after 4 years of them. I was hoping for some small schooling tetras, but if 5 gallons is too small, I will not do that. I think that for plants, I have literally no understanding of how to keep them. When I tried before, I failed several times, and then realized I was putting more money into the hobby than I wanted to. Can I just set up the Fluval Spec V, order some easy plants, use the heater and have it all work out? Are there some basics with fertilizer that I should be aware of?

Can we talk about how funny it is that a single betta is living the good life in 60 gallons?!! :lol:

We seem to be a having a little algae (it's stringy! Hoping not hair algae?!) in my son's current tank, but I plan to clean it today. I will come back and post a picture.

Your tanks look great! Love that little puffer. They are the cutest! Do you find the shrimp fun to keep/watch? Are they easy?
 

winnietucker

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 4, 2019
Messages
801
@OdetteOdile You could. Some people keep plant only aquariums. That was my original goal for the 60 cause we had planned to travel a lot this year and I didn’t want to take care of fish during that time. I’d def try your luck with aquaswap. I got a very nice and very large anubias in exchange for 2 bags of veggies I had grown in my yard. Earlier this week I bought some crypts and hydrocotyle Japan for about half the price it would have cost me at my LFS.

The guy at my LFS laughed at me when I told him my idea of one betta in a 60. But my little fish seems happy! I’m planning on slowly adding plants and hoping to have it the way I want in a year or so. Then when my betta passes I’m going to get more pea puffers to replace him.

I’d get a nerite snail for your son’s aquarium. They’re my fave clean up snails. I don’t like shrimp too much because they just don’t thrive with me. They survive ok but I never get giant shrimp colonies other people do. Plus I wanted a rich red so I got Bloody Mary shrimp which I feel are too expensive to not thrive. An opae tank has been on my radar though!
 

OdetteOdile

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
717
@OdetteOdile You could. Some people keep plant only aquariums. That was my original goal for the 60 cause we had planned to travel a lot this year and I didn’t want to take care of fish during that time. I’d def try your luck with aquaswap. I got a very nice and very large anubias in exchange for 2 bags of veggies I had grown in my yard. Earlier this week I bought some crypts and hydrocotyle Japan for about half the price it would have cost me at my LFS.

The guy at my LFS laughed at me when I told him my idea of one betta in a 60. But my little fish seems happy! I’m planning on slowly adding plants and hoping to have it the way I want in a year or so. Then when my betta passes I’m going to get more pea puffers to replace him.

I’d get a nerite snail for your son’s aquarium. They’re my fave clean up snails. I don’t like shrimp too much because they just don’t thrive with me. They survive ok but I never get giant shrimp colonies other people do. Plus I wanted a rich red so I got Bloody Mary shrimp which I feel are too expensive to not thrive. An opae tank has been on my radar though!
Sounds good Winnie - I'll keep you updated if I go ahead with anything. I feel like setting up a new tank would be a creative pursuit right now that is also relaxing, but not sure I will take the plunge. I think bettas are awesome, and I love that your guy is chilling in his 60 gallons. I wish all bettas were so cared for!

I will tell you that my favorite fish are goldfish, but they just require sooooo much tank space and soooo much filtration. But I really do just love those little clowns!
 

xsouzie

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 8, 2011
Messages
151
I would do a blackwater biotope with neon tetras, congo tetras and some rasboras. And I would also go 20+ gallons. Something like this...


images.jpeg

maxresdefault.jpg

But I might be biased because I keep a blackwater tank. I too, can't keep plants alive and this setup is perfect since it's all driftwood and dead leaves...LOL!
This is my 120 gallon Rio Negro biotope. I use Indian almond leaves and alder cones to keep the water nice and dark...

IMG_20190120_0017156_2_(1).jpg

nats3.jpg

IMG_20190101_1815507.jpg
 

OdetteOdile

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
717
I would do a blackwater biotope with neon tetras, congo tetras and some rasboras. And I would also go 20+ gallons. Something like this...


images.jpeg

maxresdefault.jpg

But I might be biased because I keep a blackwater tank. I too, can't keep plants alive and this setup is perfect since it's all driftwood and dead leaves...LOL!
This is my 120 gallon Rio Negro biotope. I use Indian almond leaves and alder cones to keep the water nice and dark...

IMG_20190120_0017156_2_(1).jpg

nats3.jpg

IMG_20190101_1815507.jpg
Ooooh - what cool looking tanks! I have never thought of a blackwater tank before. I think the neons in particular look so good in them!

For now, I am stuck with my 5 gallon and just seeing if I want to use it or if I want to sell it. I don't see a 20 gallon in my near future, but you never know.

120 gallon tank! Do you do water changes using a python? How long do water changes take you?
 

xsouzie

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 8, 2011
Messages
151
Ooooh - what cool looking tanks! I have never thought of a blackwater tank before. I think the neons in particular look so good in them!

For now, I am stuck with my 5 gallon and just seeing if I want to use it or if I want to sell it. I don't see a 20 gallon in my near future, but you never know.

120 gallon tank! Do you do water changes using a python? How long do water changes take you?
The blackwater really makes their color pop!

No way I'm lugging buckets of water back and forth so yes, I use a python for my WCs. I do 90% water changes and it takes me about an hour. I scrub the glass, clean the filters and stir up the sand while I'm waiting for the tank to drain. =)2

Also, you can definitely do a 5 gallon BW tank! Here's an example of 5 gallon BW tank with cherry shrimp...

balckwater.jpg
 

paragon1234

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
37
I've kept tropical fish for almost 20 years. I have a 6 feet long tank with various small fish. For your size tank I'd recommend guppies. Small and colourful and live 1-2 years. For plants, java fern and anubias. You can buy a mixed bag of plants on eBay to get you started.

I tried various plants in the beginning, but eventually vallis became the dominant plant, giving it a jungle look. This was my tank just after planting it up last year.
IMG_20190514_200449_resize_12.jpg
 

OdetteOdile

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
717
I've kept tropical fish for almost 20 years. I have a 6 feet long tank with various small fish. For your size tank I'd recommend guppies. Small and colourful and live 1-2 years. For plants, java fern and anubias. You can buy a mixed bag of plants on eBay to get you started.

I tried various plants in the beginning, but eventually vallis became the dominant plant, giving it a jungle look. This was my tank just after planting it up last year.
IMG_20190514_200449_resize_12.jpg
What an amazing tank!!! I have serious tank envy! I would have no idea how to manage a tank of this size. I have learned a lot about fishkeeping by watching youtube videos, but I feel like there is always so much more to learn. How much time do you put into maintaining your tank?
 

finerthings

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 4, 2004
Messages
304
Here was my small but mighty 10 gallon freshwater tank with Fluval canister filter that held another 2 gallons... no longer have right now due to life changes and adopting 2 cats this past year. In this tank I had live plants, used ADA Aqua soil for the medium, and Espei Rasboras. I also had at least 20 live shrimp and they were a wonderful addition. It was a great past time, and I still have all the equipment... now seeing your post makes me want to start it up again. I have had a few tanks over many years, fresh water, salt water and planted with fish, and I think the planted with fish was my favorite. Good luck!

IMG_3583.jpeg
 

paragon1234

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
37
What an amazing tank!!! I have serious tank envy! I would have no idea how to manage a tank of this size. I have learned a lot about fishkeeping by watching youtube videos, but I feel like there is always so much more to learn. How much time do you put into maintaining your tank?
I should do an hour a week, but in reality it's more like every few weeks. I was using pressurised co2, but right now I can't be bothered so it's a low maintenance tank. The biggest time sink was trimming the plants.

It helps that my tank is understocked.

I don't even have a python for water changes. I use a 10 litre bucket and lug it back and forth. It's my exercise :D
 

OdetteOdile

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
717
I should do an hour a week, but in reality it's more like every few weeks. I was using pressurised co2, but right now I can't be bothered so it's a low maintenance tank. The biggest time sink was trimming the plants.

It helps that my tank is understocked.

I don't even have a python for water changes. I use a 10 litre bucket and lug it back and forth. It's my exercise :D
Using a bucket to do a water change on a 6 foot long tank?! Now that I did not anticipate! I have to say, I am intrigued by everyone who keeps saying their very large tank is taking them only about an hour a week. Gets my wheels spinning... one day...
 

OdetteOdile

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
717
Here was my small but mighty 10 gallon freshwater tank with Fluval canister filter that held another 2 gallons... no longer have right now due to life changes and adopting 2 cats this past year. In this tank I had live plants, used ADA Aqua soil for the medium, and Espei Rasboras. I also had at least 20 live shrimp and they were a wonderful addition. It was a great past time, and I still have all the equipment... now seeing your post makes me want to start it up again. I have had a few tanks over many years, fresh water, salt water and planted with fish, and I think the planted with fish was my favorite. Good luck!

IMG_3583.jpeg
This is a beautiful set up! Your plants look so lush and healthy! If you are doing a "stay at home" where you live and you are looking for ways to pass the time, you should get the tank up and running again!!
 

737lizakg

Shiny_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 18, 2015
Messages
340
How fun! Apologies if I ramble on and on. My partner is even less interested in my fishkeeping hobby than my bling hobby and refuses to listen to me when I talk about Kelvin, nitrites, substrates...



For an easy setup with minimal input:

Fish: I'd echo the guppy recommendation because they are cheap, pretty, and active. But maybe stick to one gender. Otherwise there will be mayhem as the males will be able to pester the females nonstop since it's too small a tank for there to be any real places to hide. Not to mention the population explosion/baby cannibalism that would happen. Which I always found kinda gross.

What about the least killifish which is also very easy to keep but less pretty, in my opinion. It's a livebearer too.

I now am very conscious of how the fish are supplied and try not to buy if wild caught and certainly not if the species is threatened in the wild. So although there are some really beautiful higher maintenance fish that could survive a small tank, I'd stick to the ones that can reproduce in captivity.

Plants: I'm assuming easy means only one layer of substrate? If you use regular gravel, I've found that never cleaning/aerating the gravel works best for plants. Otherwise there probably aren't enough nutrients/nitrates for them, despite fertilizer pellets, which can get expensive too. I know everyone days it's dangerous for the fish to get anaerobic pockets but if they are left undisturbed, who's it harming? For my gravel only tanks I did better with larger gravel rather than fine sand. Especially for the coarser root plants like Anubias. Manado soil is really pretty if you want a darker substrate. It's the earthy red brown clay in the small sparsely planted tank. The only problem is it is dusty and floats up if you look at it funny. Have you tried echinoderus bleheri? It's the leafy plant that has taken over the left side of the smallish rounded front square tank. It grows well and will provide good hiding places for all fish, even top tank fish as it grows very tall.

I had 5 tanks running totalling 1400+ litres, both freshwater and saltwater fish. But with every move, my total liter count got smaller and smaller and now I only have one running, with no fish, some ailing anubias and a horrible snail infestation. My assassin snails couldn't even wipe them out. Quite the downgrade! Our last fish, Clopsy the Rasbora Espei, lived 7+ years with 1 eye after having one sucked out by a ghost knife fish. She was hardcore. Waiting to repopulate after we move house next month. I wish I could work on my tanks now during lockdown, it would be such a fun project!
20200503_125819-COLLAGE.jpg
@winnietucker can we please see a wide angle of your Betta's spacious abode? It sounds luxurious!
 

OdetteOdile

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
717
How fun! Apologies if I ramble on and on. My partner is even less interested in my fishkeeping hobby than my bling hobby and refuses to listen to me when I talk about Kelvin, nitrites, substrates...



For an easy setup with minimal input:

Fish: I'd echo the guppy recommendation because they are cheap, pretty, and active. But maybe stick to one gender. Otherwise there will be mayhem as the males will be able to pester the females nonstop since it's too small a tank for there to be any real places to hide. Not to mention the population explosion/baby cannibalism that would happen. Which I always found kinda gross.

What about the least killifish which is also very easy to keep but less pretty, in my opinion. It's a livebearer too.

I now am very conscious of how the fish are supplied and try not to buy if wild caught and certainly not if the species is threatened in the wild. So although there are some really beautiful higher maintenance fish that could survive a small tank, I'd stick to the ones that can reproduce in captivity.

Plants: I'm assuming easy means only one layer of substrate? If you use regular gravel, I've found that never cleaning/aerating the gravel works best for plants. Otherwise there probably aren't enough nutrients/nitrates for them, despite fertilizer pellets, which can get expensive too. I know everyone days it's dangerous for the fish to get anaerobic pockets but if they are left undisturbed, who's it harming? For my gravel only tanks I did better with larger gravel rather than fine sand. Especially for the coarser root plants like Anubias. Manado soil is really pretty if you want a darker substrate. It's the earthy red brown clay in the small sparsely planted tank. The only problem is it is dusty and floats up if you look at it funny. Have you tried echinoderus bleheri? It's the leafy plant that has taken over the left side of the smallish rounded front square tank. It grows well and will provide good hiding places for all fish, even top tank fish as it grows very tall.

I had 5 tanks running totalling 1400+ litres, both freshwater and saltwater fish. But with every move, my total liter count got smaller and smaller and now I only have one running, with no fish, some ailing anubias and a horrible snail infestation. My assassin snails couldn't even wipe them out. Quite the downgrade! Our last fish, Clopsy the Rasbora Espei, lived 7+ years with 1 eye after having one sucked out by a ghost knife fish. She was hardcore. Waiting to repopulate after we move house next month. I wish I could work on my tanks now during lockdown, it would be such a fun project!
20200503_125819-COLLAGE.jpg
@winnietucker can we please see a wide angle of your Betta's spacious abode? It sounds luxurious!
Wow - look at your gorgeous tanks!! Thank you for all the excellent advice. It's funny you say that about your partner being even less interested in your fishkeeping hobby than your jewelry hobby - same in this household!! But good news - I do have my 6 year old now saying things like "the tank is cycled! The ammonia has turned into nitrites which have turned into nitrates!". So I'm hoping to groom a little fishkeeping partner. I'm curious how all the fishkeepers on PS gained a lot of their knowledge. I don't know anyone nearby who is into fishkeeping. Are there any books/forums you especially recommend? Did you get involved in a local fishkeeping group?
 

finerthings

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 4, 2004
Messages
304
This is a beautiful set up! Your plants look so lush and healthy! If you are doing a "stay at home" where you live and you are looking for ways to pass the time, you should get the tank up and running again!!
Thanks @OdetteOdile! I do miss it, and then again I don't miss it! It was a labor of love, requiring weekly water changes (40% H20 change), cleaning glass and trimming plants, then daily liquid supplements for the plants and feeding fish, then monthly filter maintenance. It was a nicely balanced little ecosystem - the plants were happy (used CO2), the fish were actually spawning and a few of their offspring survived being hunted down and eaten by others! The shrimp were constantly laying eggs on the plants. My favorite thing to do was sit in front of it and just stare at it... wasted many hours when I should have been doing something else! But it was a responsibility and I worried about leaving it when I went on short trips etc.. Aquarium keeping is a wonderful hobby, trying to create a small perfect environment is very satisfying... and I'm sure one day I'll start up another system! ;-)
 

737lizakg

Shiny_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 18, 2015
Messages
340
. Are there any books/forums you especially recommend? Did you get involved in a local fishkeeping group?
See, it's like a chemistry and a biology class! That's cute that he is interested. Can we see the setup that he has designed?

I used to be very geeky on the forums. I frequented the Swiss and French ones. But I was also on fishforum when I started out. I only posted once; when I accidentally partially cooked a clown loach who had come with some plastic decorations in a used tank I had bought. The sellers didn't tell me there should have been 6 fish (they had only bagged 5 little neons) and I took the drained tank and deco home, and gave everything a good scrub with hot water and a brush. Luckily I put the hideous fake cave back in the tank because the next day he was swimming around with half his body opaque and cooked looking. I have never been so shocked in my life. He was hiding wedged in there the whole time which was surprising because he was huge, a good 6 incher. Poor thing.

For my saltwater tanks, I just pestered and stalked my local independent fish dealer for information. He really knew his stuff. If I ever do a marine tank it'll be a small 100 litre setup with just a couple of clownfish, maybe a shrimp, and a LOT of corals.
 

paragon1234

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
37
I joined some forums, read a lot of websites, had a lot of trial and error. I made loads of mistakes along the way - keeping the wrong kinds of fish together so they were constantly nipping at each other, having black hair algae or blue green algae due to wrong water conditions. But now I've perfected it to a military precision.
I have 2 canister filters each rated for a bigger tank. I rotate which one I clean. I have a gravel siphon and large enough pebbles that they don't get sucked in (don't use sand!). I empty a third of the tank with everything off, then fill it with warm water from a mixer tap. The water is pretreated and checked for temperature.
My house is new (self build) so I know my pipes are safe. In older houses the hot water comes from lead pipes and is not safe for fish.
 

Dancing Fire

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Messages
31,506
The money I sank into this hobby..:rolleyes:

Setup my first 29 gal saltwater tank in late 70, then got into the Discus hobby in 80's, then had a 240 gal saltwater tank in the early 90's, then sold it and bought a 180 gal for my Arowana and now this 180 gal is empty with no fish.


And the money I sank into the koi hobby...:rolleyes:
koi 12301a.jpg

koi 005.jpg

I still have 5 of these big rare natural colored rose corals. I bought these 25 yrs ago when they were still legally sold.

koi 089.jpg
 

OdetteOdile

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
717
The money I sank into this hobby..:rolleyes:

Setup my first 29 gal saltwater tank in late 70, then got into the Discus hobby in 80's, then had a 240 gal saltwater tank in the early 90's, then sold it and bought a 180 gal for my Arowana and now this 180 gal is empty with no fish.


And the money I sank into the koi hobby...:rolleyes:
koi 12301a.jpg

koi 005.jpg

I still have 5 of these big rare natural colored rose corals. I bought these 25 yrs ago when they were still legally sold.

koi 089.jpg
240 gallon saltwater tank is my dream, but I know better than to attempt it! Sounds amazing. Your koi are gorgeous!! If I had koi I would get nothing done - I'd just watch them all day.
 
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