Returning to a tropical tank

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So yesterday, while out of state visiting family, my sis in law gave me her fish. A 6-7 inch pleco, and three tetras. She had kept that pleco a long time, and finally decided she’d had enough of fish since her oscar died. I’m now looking into upgrading them to my other 30 gallon tank, setting it up as a tropical community, but with our high ph, it’s looking like my options are mostly livebearers and bettas. Having a small community of female bettas would be pretty, they’d keep the fry rate low!
 
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j.w

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I used to do the tank thing. So pretty and relaxing till I had to clean it! Did it for many years but no more. Just sticking w/the pond fish as much easier and no inside messes. The bigger the tank the easier it goes too. I have a 75 gallon one just sitting here empty.
Here are a few pix of when I had it up and running.

75 gal aquarium 5.jpg

2004 new 75 gal aquarium 1.jpg


Here is my Pleco I ended up giving away. He was the last survivor and I think he would live forever. He was about 12".
This is his new home w/the guy I gave him too. He has goldfish friends now or he did anyways. This was several years ago.
Pleco given to Larry in new home 2 (800x600).jpg
 
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I’m contemplating making two or three tanks. If I move my book shelf, I could build a big tank by the window with built in filtration, an aquaponic bed for herbs and pothos, set up with lots of plants, a water lilly, which with a grow light, I might get to bloom in winter! Once I have the living room rearranging done, I’ll look at the plexiglass and figure up how many gallons it would be, but I’m thinking shubinkins in there might be nice, or something like that which can take cold drafts in winter. Then if that works out, I’ll try doing a long tall thin tank as a divider between kitchen and back room, to let in light but no drafts. Guppies and other nanos are my thoughts on that, maybe even try a few shrimp. And who knows, I may try a third one as a coffee table.
 
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So working over ideas, I like planted tanks. But I don’t want to go with gravel, I’d like to try soil. Contemplating trying local soil after I wash it well, bake it to kill bugs, seeds, etc. I’d need to top it with something a little heavier to keep it from clouding the water, and from what I’ve been reading, I’ll need to invest in aquatic fertilizer with chelated iron. But I’m working with well water, and most articles I’ve read are based on tap water. Hmmm, I think I’ll be trying low tech, low light, free soil type things. Then all I need to get are more plants, vermiculite, and either some fine pea gravel or sand. I can get sand from the river bank, and treat it like the soil to kill any microorganisms, seeds, bugs. I’ll be thinking this over a bit, before I actually try it.
 

addy1

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I had a huge 150 gallon tank, mainlykept ciclids. Sold it when I moved across country.
 
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I would love a huge tank like that! I’ve got two thirty gallon tanks, a 10, and now another 10. Considering that we’ve moved so many times, it’s a good thing we didn’t have one before. But now we are in a house I plan to stay in till I’m too old to take care of myself ( unless I win the lottery, then I’ll move!), I can go ahead and start planning big tanks, and think up ways to make or buy to get what I want. I think I’m having pond withdrawals! I know working with the fish and plants are my zen, so I’ll be giving it a try with tanks inside to get me through the winters!
 
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I've had aquariums most of my life, with a few intermissions. We have a 50 gallon tank in the living room that we really enjoy, in the winter especially. There are a couple goldfish, a sarasa comet and a shubunkin and 12 bronze corydorus cats. They all get along fine, although before the gold fish grew so much I also had some neon tetras, but as they got really old, they slowly died off.

I have broken a lot of rules with this one, bringing in the goldies and a bunch of plants from the pond, that a couple years ago were out of a local lake, along with the snails. I used Pacific Ocean beach sand, well washed. The catfish love it, sometimes plowing like a bulldozer, with most their heads buried! Other than cleaning the glass, the filter and changing 1/4-1/3 of the water every month or so, I haven't cleaned it in 2 years. The plants stay healthy as do the fish.

0626aquarium.jpg


Sometimes one of the big guys will shove a catfish away from a chunk of food, but the cory's just take it in stride and search elsewhere.

0624 comet and corys.jpg


I keep it around 70 and everyone seems happy. It's not as good as a pond, but is a good winter substitute!
 
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I love that grey one with long fins! And all the greenery. Real plants?
 
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A low-tech tank is extremely fun and can be most beautiful. Here is an outstanding source of information:
By: Diane Walstad
'Ecology of the Planted Aquarium: A practical Manual a Scientific Treatise for the Home Aquarist'
In my opinion, she is the best source for a naturally planted aquarium.
Just my two cents here, but at 8-inches, your 'plec' is too big for a 30-gallon tank. You might consider soon finding him a home before he gets bigger and then it will be very difficult to re-home the fish. Malaysian drift wood or aquarium safe woods sold at a pet shop are your best bet.
 
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Finding a good home for any fish around here seems to be beyond me. I have plans to build a bigger tank, but a 30 gal will be better than the 10 he’s been in.
 
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Finding a good home for any fish around here seems to be beyond me. I have plans to build a bigger tank, but a 30 gal will be better than the 10 he’s been in.
Absolutely, the 30 gallon tank will be so much better given the circumstances. You are a very good person for taking the fish. Good for you! I will be happy to help you with your planted tank. There are a bunch of us pond keepers who also do 'behind the scenes' aquarium keeping on this site. By the way, if you like the pleco, you might design a tank around its specific needs. A pleco species tank can be stunning.
 
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To be honest, I’m just not that into plecos. This one just needed a better home. Even I knew it is too big for a 10 gallon tank! I do want to set up a nice habitat for it, but it won’t be the show piece of that tank.
 
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You’ve got a great eye and green thumb to have all those plants! I struggle to keep more than pothos and spider plants alive. I have a rosebush I have in a planter I brought in for winter, it bloomed inside! I’m hoping I can keep it alive all winter. So right now, I’m planning on how to scape the 30 gallon tank so I can have plants the pleco won’t kill. Does anyone have experience of plecos with water lillies? If they’re compatible, I’ll put two of my smaller lillies in that tank, I’ll get Anubis come spring, and work on filling other spots with suitable plants as I learn what will work. I’ll turn the HOB filter into a planter for pothos and I’m thinking I’ll try the peace lilly there too, to fill it out.
 
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Have a peace lily in my kitchen tank I built for my wife. It has a live wall as well fed from the fish tank. You can put just about any plant hanging in fish waste. There is a HOB filter with I believe spider plant parts. The pump runs water to top and drips through felt moss and roots until it goes back into tank. I used another boot tray on this one just hung it vertical. Plants are very easy like this and all the bromeliads are only living off attached to the drift wood as water runs down cleans water and feeds the plants. This tank is 10 gallons and I had it for a quarantine tank for fish and new plants. All runs in one timer and zero maintenance other than adding water once a week.
15462986965203718223391280507237.jpg
 
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addy1

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I LOVE IT! So darn cool!
 
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