KnorQ's Kitchen

Serial Hobbyist

Category: aquarium

Aquarium update – 45G Freshwater

Pics of my 45g tank with two gravel eaters, 4 ruby barbs and 1 lovely bichir. Its a planted tank that needs some infill. I am going to drill holes in the main wood piece and fill it will trimmed Java fern to add height and shape. I would like to cover the “cave” wood piece to the left with baby sword growth eventually.


Aquarium Update 3.2009

Here are some photos of the 30 gallon planted. The plants and fish are doing well. Striped barbs, neons and one albino bushy nose. Looking forward to add 3 gouramis – not sure if red or blues. Also, going to drill some holes at the top of the bridge to add plants and bring up the height of the plant matter in the tank — right now it is looking a little sloppy in there. See the before photo. I will have pics of the 45 gallon soon. Its undergoing a bit of a over haul but has some nice wood features

Neons and striped barbs and the 'bridge' that will be planted next

Neons and striped barbs and the 'bridge' that will be planted next

Aquarium update

Last post I wrote about setting up my ‘new’ 45 gallon tank that I purchased off of Craigslist. Buying used tanks is a little risky and I feel I was a bit mislead in my purchase. The guy claimed the light set up would support plant growth: “totally – this light is meant for it”. Not true. He also failed to disclose that the gravel included with the tank and which I reused after adding a layer of growing substrate is infested with snails. Yuck. So tank set up is halted and even back tracking. I pulled out all of the plants I had planted and tossed them. No need to feed these snails if I’m trying to get rid of them. Next, I have been hand picking snails out of the tank – about 15 per day. It seems to be working. I don’t mind a couple snails here or there – they can help clean the bottom of the tank by eating decaying plant matter but I don’t want to start my tank with an infestation. I am eager to get the tank set up – it looks unattractive and strange in the living room with no life in it (aside from snails). I think I will bite the bullet and go all out for a Coralife light for this tank. Because it is a tall tank it will need a powerful light to support plant growth. That means buying a new hood to accommodate the Coralife which tends to be a bit wide. To be really successful with the plants I will need to do a CO2 set up. Not sure if I feel up to the DIY – I’ve heard some funky stories of splattered, yeasty disasters. I will do some research and look into my CO2 options – suggestions and advice are welcome. Lastly, I would like to purchase nice wood features for my tank. Something that would have an impact in a tall 45 gallon. In retrospect I think I would not have been so hasty and waited for craigslist to turn up a wide rather than tall 45 gallon which is better(?) for a planted tank and easier to maintain (no wet sleeves, easy access for planting). Here is my revised aquarium todo list:

*Coralife light

*Work on making tank snail free

*Purchase cool wood feature

*Get lots o plants

*Figure out C02 set up

*Get fish – Fun!

Aquarium Update 5.20.08

Very exciting news in my planted freshwater tropical tank… the male Gourami has built a bubble nest! Now if he can get a lady to give up some eggs there might be a cool show to watch in the tank over the next few days. Basically it will be a fry buffet for the other members of the tank but wouldn’t it be fun if one of them managed to survive? I will take some photos of the bubble nest soon but until then here are some shots of the tank progress:

I do not have any shots of the tank after I first got it but here is a shot after I added the drift wood and the first two plants. The community was the same as when I inherited it only I had swaped the pictus for 8 striped barbs:

Aquarium - starting the makeover

Here is my tank with the new plants – including giant baby tears and the new fish: 3 powder blue gouramis.

Here is the bichir that D has named “Porkchop”

I like him

Porkchop in the right foreground with two of the Powder Blue Gouramis

Bichir on right with two gourami

Planted Freshwater Tropical Aquarium: Hobby of the Moment

I’m always picking up new hobbies like a bad cold. I get one little germ of inspiration and I begin cruising craigslist for tools and goodies for my latest endeavor. Eventually the germ spreads and I’m sick with it, obsessed. So it was with planted freshwater tropical aquariums. I noticed at my friend Liz’s house how pleasant it was to look at a fish tank. I love gardening and was intrigued by the underwater gardens you could build in aquariums. Eventually, I started cruising the internet to read freshwater tropical blogs, then buying books, then stalking the employees at my local fish shop, then getting a tank and next thing you know I’m dropping nearly two hundred dollars on wood and lights and sucking fish crap out of a 30 gallon tank that defies the lease agreement on my house.

The sucking fish crap really came as a surprise. I was told I would be getting a gravel vacuum. I pictured something with a pump or automated suction. No. You suck on a tube like you’re siphoning gas and if you are new, and unsure and don’t suck hard enough you get a mouthful of nasty fish water. Then you run to the bathroom and brush your teeth until your gums bleed. YUCK.

Aside from that, I’ve really loved owning a fish tank. It has honestly provided hours of nerdy enjoyment. Even Mr. Man likes watching the tank – from the other room I’ll hear, “Babe, the bichir’s carrying around the algae pellet like a Frisbee” He’s even named the little beast “porkchop” after Sandy’s biker friend.

I decided I will keep a sloppy and infrequent account of my aquarium as I transform it from a plain, overpopulated tank to a thriving, planted community aquarium.

Here’s how it all began:

$65 – Found 30 gallon aquarium on Craigslist for $65. The tank came with Penguin Power Filter, 20 Watt fluorescent lighting with hood, water testing kit, heater, net, fish food, gravel, gravel vacuum (aka hose) and:

· One 8” Pleco

· One 4” Rainbow Shark – a real beauty

· One 5” Pictus Catfish – spastic

· One 3” Albino Gold Bushy Nose Pleco (I think, it does not have a bushy nose)

· One 4” Bichir – Skinny thing, very charming

· One 2.5” Glass Cat Fish

Here is what I’ve changed:

$106 – over doubled the light wattage – its now up to almost 1.8 watts per gallon to support plant growth. $20 – Added a plant friendly substrate under the gravel. $65 purchased large pieces of interesting driftwood. $15 purchased an Anubis, giant baby tears, sword plant and one other plant – many more to come.


· Pleco – Donated to a great local fish shop – he was too big for tank

· Pictus – Donated to a great local fish shop (GLFS)– he was too high strung

· Rainbow Shark – Went to GLFS – sad to see it go, so pretty but a predator and I noticed the barbs I added had fin nips

· Glass Cat Fish – Dead. Not sure why. He wasn’t in good shape when I got him. I like to think it was old age.

· Added: 8 Striped Barbs

· Added: 3 Powder Blue Gouramis – very pretty. Nice addition. They seem to get along well with others.

Current Population

· Albino Gold Bushy Nose Pleco

· Bichir – I know when he is larger he will prey on the community but Mr. Man and I have become attached to him. The previous owner had him for 3 years and said he has not grown during that time. Very strange.

· Striped Barbs (8) – Fun – they like the current from the filter and get glowy red when fed.

· Gourami – they get along well in the tank and are pretty fish.

I have just a bit of room to add 1 or 2 more fish. Any suggestions of what would work in this community?

Photos on the way