Moving tanks

It only took a few weeks, and Jazz has had to move tank. I decided that his 4gallon was definitely too small for him with how active he is, and so he has been upgraded to a 9gallon. At first I was slightly worried that Jazz’s constant movement and what looked to be playfulness, was actually a sign of stress with the move, but seen as he has been with me a few weeks and has greedily eaten everything I have tried to feed him and hasn’t flared once, I’ve decided that this is just who he is. I’m happy to say that he absolutely loves his new bigger tank 🙂

It’s interesting to see that different betta prefer different sized tanks. This 9 gallon is Genie’s old tank before he was moved into a 4gallon when he first developed signs of fin rot. I could tell straight away that Genie preferred the smaller space of the 4 gallon tank, whereas Jazz certainly prefers more room. I would definitely go no smaller than a 4gallon for a betta fish – but it was an interesting exercise all the same.

Introducing Jazz the Siamese Fighting Fish

As an early Christmas present, my boyfriend bought a new betta for me!

This is Jazz, the newest addition to my fish family.

Jazz is a blue and white marble, long eared, halfmoon plakat siamese fighting fish (betta splenden.)

‘Long eared’ describes the long flowing pectoral fins which other breeds of betta splenden don’t possess. It is not a very common fish, but that could potentially change as it may become the next ‘big thing’ for breeders to try and breed into their stock.

Plakat describes the shortened tail, dorsal and pelvic fins, and halfmoon describes the shape.

Marble describes how the colouring has been presented in this breed.

Jazz is living in our bedroom in a filtered and heated 4gallon tank.

To quote Mr Potato Head: “Prepare to meet – Mr Angry Eyes!”

Guppies guppies guppies!

My 19gallon planted tank has now taken quite a different turn than I expected. From a planted community tank, it is now possibly going to be a guppy tank!

Earlier on in the week I was asked if I wanted to take 10 baby guppies and I couldn’t really say no. My boyfriend went this evening to pick them up and he was given strict instructions to try and make sure he got 10 males as I really don’t want babies everywhere, and by the looks of it he did a pretty good job! They are of varying ages from 1-3months so it’s not so easy to tell, but it seems like they could all be male. They are the sweetest little things and are currently acclimating as I type.

We have a few photos of them and their packaging I’ll show you, and in a few days I’ll put up photos of them settled in. 7 of the guppies are going into the planted tank, and three are going into a new small tank I have set up in my bedroom for a new future betta, and when he arrives, they’ll join their brothers.

Here is the box and them in their bag.

Time to say hello!

Another thing which has been added to the tank is more plants. I had a little spending splurge on ebay this week, and have been buying things with moss on! Plus my beloved duckweed. I have wanted some for ages and it is one of those plants which people either love or hate. I’ll give my final verdict on this little floating plants in a few weeks when it starts to take over my tank!

Log with moss:

Bamboo with moss:

Aaaand duckweed!:

This is where the baby guppies are now. Settling down to the new temperature and water parametres.

19g Planted Tank:

New Bedroom Betta Tank:

I am so so excited to watch these baby guppies grow and thrive in my tank. It may have made my plans for my community tank change, but I don’t regret it in the slightest.

Diatoms Galore!

IT’S ALMOST CHRISTMAS! I can’t believe how quickly November has gone, and now how quickly I’m rattling through December. What is particularly exciting about Christmas however, is not only Christmas itself, but the fact that my tank is now officially 100% cycled and come the new year, ready for fish!

Well, perhaps not 100%, but it is certainly practically there. I still have the smallest traces of ammonia, zero nitrites and a nice amount of nitrates which have become established.

I believe the level of ammonia present will be due to me continuously adding old fish food to the tank to maintain the cycle and also the fact that since adding my new plants almost 2 weeks ago, some are (expectedly) doing a little bit of dying off.

The decaying of the plants will also help attribute to my ammonia levels. This teensy bit of ammonia isn’t bothering me yet seen as I am not going to purchase any fish until the new year.

So this is what the tank is looking like now! And please, excuse all the algae on the glass.

The tank is in a nice bright spot in my kitchen, has had brand new high voltage light bulbs and I’ve not bothered to do any maintenance on keeping the glass clean. The reason for this being, is that one type of fish I wish to populate my tank with is otocinclus. Ottos are complete algae lovers, and although you can supplement their diet with algae wafers and various veggies, having some (/a lot) of naturally grown algae in your tank is a good idea for when you first get them. They shall clear that all up quickity quick.

Besides the plants, my tank hasn’t been exactly devoid of life. For the last few weeks my tank has been home to loads of little squiddly widdlies (a pet name). I believe they are possibly nematodes or even midge fly larvae. They squirm around my tank for a week or two and then suddenly I have a load of little dead fly all over the surface of the water.

Completely unharmful to fish (if anything the fish’d happily eat them) and have been relatively amusing to watch. I believe I have them since I kept the tank in the kitchen for months with a small amount of water sitting in it and no lid. Now that there is a lid, all the emerging midges are dying on the surface for there is no way to escape and not being able to lay any more eggs. So our neighbouring squiddly widdlies should soon all die out. I must admit, I’m not going to miss the constant midge fishing every morning…

ROLL ON 2012!…

The Start of a Planted Tank

Whilst my tank is cycling (which I’m almost inclined to say it has done, as we’re getting small signs of nitrates and only the slightest traces of ammonia and nitrite left) I decided that I wanted to start getting it planted!

This is the first planted tank I have done, so it is going to be a huge experience filled with trial and error. I have been researching what plants I think might do well in my tank and have gotten the lighting sorted. Our substrate is only gravel and is therefore not preferable for a lot of plants, but there are still some which will thrive al right in my environment. Also I wanted plants which didn’t necessarily require CO2 supplements in the water as I thought this would simply be another thing to have to consider and for starting off, I decided to try and use plants which didn’t need this. Lastly, I bought a piece of bogwood for some plants to attach their roots to and to grow on.

Java fern on the left and then the anubias in the middle will both be attached to the bogwood so that their roots can settle and hopefully they will attach themselves properly. There are plenty of grooves to wedge them into and if they don’t stay put, I’ll tie them with rubber bands or something similar. Then the echinodorus on the right I’m really not sure about. I have never heard of it before, but the man in the shop said he had never heard of the plant I actually wanted and I’ve not seen it anywhere else either, so the echinodorus is going to be a little bit of a waiting game to see if it actually survives. I am going to plant that in the substrate and I’ve got some liquid fertilizer and hopefully it should be ok.

Here is the malaysian bogwood that will also be put in my tank. I soaked it in boiled water for 24hours in a bucket because the wood releases tannins into the water and so the water will turn a tea-like colour. This isn’t harmful for the life in the tank, but can look unsightly (if not very natural!). I would have let it soak for longer but got really impatient and wanted my plants NOW so it’s going in the tank with my anubias and java fern. It doesn’t matter if it colours the water in my tank anyway; it would eventually disappear in a few weeks.

Lastly, I will put in some of the marimo moss balls I had from my betta tanks which got removed and left to dry out. So here it is, the start of my planted tank!

How to cycle a tank so that it’s ready for fish.

Seen as I mentioned the nitrogen cycle in one of my posts a few days ago, and seen as I am currently going through cycling a tank, I thought I might as well share with you what the tank goes through. It’s not exactly the most visually stimulating thing ever, but it is interesting to see the chemistry behind the cycle.

I currently have (courtesy of my boyfriend’s brother – THANK YOU, MARK!) a 19gallon fish tank sitting on a kitchen bench. It is about half full at the moment and there are two filters running. One of my old filters and the old filter Mark used to use in the tank. It has black substrate in the bottom.

To start the cycle off you need a source of ammonia. An older, and less humane way some people cycle a tank is with some ‘hardy’ types of fish. These fish produce waste which help kick start the tank into a cycle. This could be done with some cheap goldfish or platies. Regardless of whether these fish are more likely to survive in ammonia riddled water whilst your tank cycles, does not alter the fact that these fish will be living so in a lot of discomfort. Damage such as ammonia poisoning and burns to their scales will be extremely common and may be a reason why fish die when people keep fish and don’t do research. This poor goldfish is extremely unhealthy with ammonia burns to his scales and fins.

The best way to cycle a tank without animal cruelty is by simply providing a source of ammonia a different way. You may get pure ammonia from chemists or pharmacies or you can do what I do, and produce the source of ammonia through rotting food by adding one or two fish flakes every couple of days. It’s that simple and it is not necessary to put any living creatures through harm. If you are going to do it using pure ammonia, please look up how much to use and when, as I’ve never done this myself before.

My tank!

I have been dropping a few flakes in every couple of days and this is where my cycle is at as of today!

In the picture you can see that the green tube is my ammonia reading, the purpley blue is my nitrITE and the yellow is my nitrATE. My ammonia has turned from a pale yellow with is a reading of 0ppm* to a reading of 0.5 ppm. This shows that there is some ammonia present and that a cycle will start. My nirtrITE has turned from a pale blue to a pale bluey purpley colour which shows that some of that ammonia is being changed into nitrITES with a reading of  0.25ppm. My cycle has officially started! And as for my nitrATES reading, this shows that it has not changed at all is still reading 0ppm. This means that the cycle is far from being complete. In case you’re thinking that my numbers are ridiculously small, even a reading of 0.5 ammonia can be too toxic for a lot of fish.

*’points per million’.