I have three tanks with fish in. One large tank with cichlids and a smaller on with just on Malawi who does not want to integrate, and finally I have another smaller tank with small fish in it.
So, on Tuesday I bought a lovely orange cichlid that was going to be a tank mate for the Malawi, but he did nothing but chase her constantly. As I wanted her to thrive I put her in the communal big tank. She seemed okay at first, but then a few of the other fish chased her, but it settled down, well, for a bit until the Parrot fish and her BFF a yellow Lab decided to go after her. Now, she was not tiny, and only a little bit smaller than most of the tank. There are fish in there that are the same size as she was, so that should not be a problem, and I have not had problems introducing others to the tanks in the past. But, this was not to be, as I discovered on Wednesday evening. The Parrot slammed her on the side which caused instant swim bladder problems. I moved quick and put here in an isolation pod in the tank, but knew she would not make it as I have seen this in the past. Thursday early hours she died, and was buried in the garden with the other animals from our 20 years here. It was a shame as she was very pretty. I have decided that I will not be getting any more for the two cichlid tanks unless the fish are large and I know they can handle themselves.
I finally finished both my large tanks and I have to say I am very happy with it all. The first tank video is in the hall next to our spiral staircase. I have just changed the lighting to full spectrum lights that are automatic, so they do the full sunrise, sunset and thunderstorms. Mostly large fish in this tank, and some odd buggers including horse head loaches. I also managed to get two dolphin fish after my last one died due to the large catfish, which have now got their own tank. The second video is of the lounge tank, this one is full of livebearers, snails and various shrimp including a large Cameroon.
Today I planted out the tank with 11 plants, treated the water again with biological bacteria that will help stabilise the tank, help the plants utilise light, water, and nutrients from the fertiliser I add each day. This products also helps the breakdown of waste and nitrates. Once this was done I added 10 of my fish to the tank and left it there for a few hours. Again after a few hours added another 10, then finally this evening I transferred the final 10, 30 in total.
List of Fish
2 x synodontis catfish
1 x bala shark
1 x tiger barb
2 x tiger loach
1 x weather loach
2 x angelfish
1 x pleco
1 x blue dolphin
2 x blue gourami
2 x dwarf gourami
2 x kissing gourami
3 x sunset gourami
2 x pearl gourami
3 x cory
1 x silver dollar
2 x golden panchax
2 x rainbow fish
Now that is done, I have turned off the heater, lights and the 2 reef wave makers to the old thanks and on Thursday I will drain it and start the cleaning process in order to get it ready for starting a marine tank. Although I know that the cleaning will take a good few weeks to ensure everything is spotless and free of any residue from the previous set up. Thankfully I have an aqua vacuum which means that side is easy enough, but the buildup of algae especially in the weir will be a tough part to clean. If you have never seen a weir, it is a closed off part of the tank at the back that water flows into before leaving the tank to flow through the sump tank and back up into the main tank. As mentioned I have had to leave the pump and air pump running as I do not fancy the water turning stagnant before I can empty and clean it.
I have 2 electric blue acara’s on order and with luck, I can collect them this weekend. Once they are in I do not think that I will be adding any more to it. Unless I can find something really special. I did fancy a disc fish, but they need a very quiet and peaceful tank. I also found freshwater stingrays, but apart from them starting at £300 and ranging up to £1200, they need very different tank mates, so that is out. I may put a snail or two in the tank as mentioned mine are breeding, so that would be a good relocation move. Although I would rather have my apple snails breed as they get rather big, and would suit the tank.
Today I decided to pop to one of the reliable aquatic shops and look at tanks and was looking at a nice tank, but the sales guy Graham told me of another tank that was £50 more, but it was bigger, the filter heater and lighting was better, and all round a better-looking tank. I had a good look and it was rather stunning, so threw caution to the wind and bought it. I could have gone for shaped tanks, corner tanks, and orb ones, but decided to stay traditional.
I built the cabinet this afternoon, placed the tank on it and added the river sand, but need to get more for it as 10 kilos does not cover much. Everything is in position, so tomorrow I will go back and get some more river sand and 100 litres of RO water, then when home mix with another 100 litres of tap water, then leave all the equipment to run for a few weeks until it has fully cycled and all the levels are perfect. When this happens, I will remove about 20 litres of water and add 20 from my current tank to the new one, and let cycle for a few days and then move all the fish over.
Once this is all done then the hard work starts with the old tank. I will need to do a full clean of both the tank and the glass sump, get rid of all the stones install plastic “egg box” grid to support the rock features, add ocean sand, live rock, RO water, and more equipment. I also need to replace all the sump media too so it will not be cheap, but when it is done it should be stunning. I estimate it will take about 4 to 6 months to get it perfect, but I am more than happy to go slow, get it right, and most importantly no lose any livestock, anemonies or coral.
Once I have transferred the fish to the new tank I will post some photos, and of course, write about my experience of building a reef tank.
This week I went to the aquatic shop and got a few more fish for my large tank, and whilst there M and I had a look at all the marine fish, coral and anemones. What an incredible sight it was to see. I have visited this place many many times but never gone into this side as I had no reason as my tanks are all tropical. However, M decided to go and have a look, and when I had purchased my livestock called me through to have a look at some of the fish. As I mentioned, they were amazing, and it started me thinking again about setting up a marine reef tank.
The large tank I have was originally a marine reef tank of my Mum’s, however, I decided to use it for tropical. So, with that I have been thinking of getting another standard tank and putting it in the hall next to the spiral staircase and transferring all the fish to this, then cleaning out my reef tank and setting it back up as it was originally intended. I have found a few tanks that I like that come with cabinets. Some great bargains too, but wouldn’t you know, out of stock. I am going to visit a few of the aquatic stores to see what is available. I am not going to rush things either as the fish are perfectly happy in their home, so there is no need to make decisions in haste that I may regret at leisure.