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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First, thanks for all the help in answering a few questions over the last couple of weeks. I have dug through these forums and had a lot of fun while learning quite a bit.

When I started it was going to be a small 10-30g shellie tank, but as these things often go it has turned into a 55g.

The specs:
Tank: 55g 48x13x21
Substrate: Tahitian Moon black sand
Filter: El Cheepo that came with the tank. Soon to be augmented/eventually replaced.
Heater: 200W
Stand: Black painted pine stand

Fish:
Cycle fish: 12 mollys and platys: 2 died right outta the bag. When I put them in they were torn up pretty bad already. The others have been living now just fine for a couple of weeks.
Future Inhabitants (may change as availability, $, and good sense dictates)
10 C. Leptosoma Utinta Blue neon
5 buescheri (remove extras when a pair has formed)
5 calvus (remove extras when a pair has formed)
5 multifaciatus, similis, gold occies or staps (Leaning strongly towards the multies now, or similis)
5 Xeno flavipinnis (maybe instead of the buescheri- Anyone have thoughts?)

And now some pictures!
Just after being setup in it's new home

Cycling Fish in the Bag: Mollys, platys and fishtank oh my

In goes the Tahitian Moon sand. It was expensive but sure looks nice. I love it when the sand costs more than the glass. :eek: Funny side note is that we drove all over Fairbanks looking for pool sand, blasting sand, color quartz and my wife just kept pointing out "you know you want that black sand back at the fish store. Just go get it". Well we did. I have a great wife!

Water in and very cloudy. I guess I shoulda washed that stuff just a bit more. Just a couple of lace rocks in here at this point. Soon to be many, many more.

Finally the fish go in. This was my first attempt at shooting fish in water (lol) and I hope it gets better from here on out.


Next up: ROCKS and a new filter. Gotta go take some pictures!
 

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Is that a penguin 300? Its really not a bad filter, if you mod and add another one that should give you adequate filtration for that aquarium. I've used them in the past and I still use them now. I've had success with that filter in both a marine and freshwater setting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nope. That would be nice. It is actually an Aqua Tech, made by Tetra for the complete setups they sell. Very similar to a Whisper. I must say that after running it for a couple of weeks now, it has been very quiet, not bothered by the small amounts of sand that have hit it and it does create a good current. I just don't have faith that it will last too long.

In fact, I just bought a TetraTec PF 300 a couple days ago and it is a very interesting filter. I should do a review on it. Some really positive aspects (built in heater) and some less so (very noisy water flow pattern). But I got a REALLY good deal on it and with some tinkering I think it could be very effective. I am shooting for redundant heating and filtering here as I live over 4 hours away from the closest store if a problem were to arise (we drive to the grocery store that far here).

I am about to post more pics of the tank and new stuff...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So, I went out and did some rock collecting. Brought back about 50 rocks to choose from and washed 'em up good.

I remembered something from my old cichlid tanks that I had forgotten. Sand gets much deeper when you add tons of rock to the bottom of the tank. I now have a VERY deep sand bed that will need to be lowered dramatically sometime soon. At least I know I will have substrate ready for the next tank which will come soon. I imagine to house the cycle fish that we actually like more than we thought we would. I can see a 20 long on my dresser in the near future. Maybe with some other shellies in it? :wink:

Bought a new filter. I have included some pictures as well. I think I will do a review on that one. Very cool idea (HOB, built in heater, wet/dry concept). But, noisy and kinda had to tinker with it just to be able to sleep in the same room with it (we live in a cabin with a loft).

So without further ado, more pics!
The whole enchilada!

Center where the shells will go when I get them

Right side

Left side

Happy fish doing their job putting waste in the tank.

New filter. Inline heater on the intake, goes through 4 filter pads and into the wet dry area that fills and empties every five seconds or so. Had to disable that particular feature to avoid going mad from the gurgling sound.


Next up is to install the black background. Once again, wish I had remembered to do that one first. Should be fun. Any suggestions?

I have a bunch of shells to order, the ones you see in the tank were on hand and not necessarily for the shellies. When those come in I will likely move the rocks around a bit more and pull a bunch of the sand out for another tank. At least it will jump start the other tank if I leave it in here for a bit.

Again, please send suggestions or thoughts. This is a work in progress and I am having a blast working on it. I had forgotten many things about keeping tanks in the last few years, but the biggest thing I forgot was how much fun it is.

Happy Fish! :fish: :fish: :fish: :fish: :fish: :fish: :fish: :fish: :fish:
 

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Nice tank. I've got one of those tetra tecs on my 90g, and I had to take the clear cap out to make it be quiet( the 90's in my bedroom). Makes a funny gurgle sometime if the flow rate gets out of whack, a little adjustment makes it stop. Other than that I like it. I only run two cartrigdes in mine though , seems to work a little better that way .
 

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Good stuff, just a warning on those TetraTec's, they were discontinued - so I would consider finding a replacement in the next year or so. Other then that looks good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the info. That is likely why it was such a good deal for the filter. I really do like it, too bad they didn't work out the design issues and keep it around. Like I said, with a little custom work, it could be a great filter. It has a huge box for adding/changing media options. Just needs a bit of work.

My plan is to add a canister down the line and move the HOB to a another tank. For what I paid, if this one lasts a couple of years it will be good money spent.

Can't wait to get some other fish in this baby though.
 

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Try to score a new (not used) canister filter off ebay. Definitely the way to go. I scored a brand new rena xp3 for $100 including the shipping.
 

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Thanks for the info. That is likely why it was such a good deal for the filter. I really do like it, too bad they didn't work out the design issues and keep it around. Like I said, with a little custom work, it could be a great filter. It has a huge box for adding/changing media options. Just needs a bit of work.
Yup , despite the few quirks it's a great filter. Too bad tetra hasn't offered an upgraded version that corrected it's few shortcomings. I'd buy one in a heartbeat if they did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, I had to mess around a bit to see what would work better from feedback I got and the uncontrollable urge to mess around a bit more with the tank. I wanted to create more defined rock and sand zones and also separate the lace rock from the other rock. I also added a black background. Here is the new look.





Please let me know what you think. Especially in regards to the fish I am looking at getting. Thanks for all the input so far :thumb:
:fish: :fish: :fish: :fish: :fish: :fish: :fish: :fish: :fish:
 

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It looks very beautiful, are you still going to put Tangs in it? What is your fish list because the various types might need different aquascapes.
 

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Tank: 55g 48x13x21
Substrate: Tahitian Moon black sand

Future Inhabitants (may change as availability, $, and good sense dictates)
10 C. Leptosoma Utinta Blue neon
5 buescheri (remove extras when a pair has formed)
5 calvus (remove extras when a pair has formed)
5 multifaciatus, similis, gold occies or staps (Leaning strongly towards the multies now, or similis)
5 Xeno flavipinnis (maybe instead of the buescheri- Anyone have thoughts?)
 

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Yes I saw that but I figured he must have changed his list based on the new aquascape. Is that the final list?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yep. That is the "Final" stocking list. I am sure it might still change. We are leaning towards the bueschari instead of the xenos due to lack of floor space with the multies. We really want the multies to form a nice colony so they get the floor I think.

As far as the sand goes, yep again. It was due to putting in about an 1 1/2 '' at first, before putting in all the rocks. They pushed aside the sand creating the 4+'' deep bed. The extra is going to go into a 20 long we are putting in as a second tank.

Funny how we started talking about 1 20g and now we have a 55 and will need a 20g for a backup!
:dancing:
 

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Yes I was thinking with Xenos and Multis you might want more sand space.

I don't think you "need" the rocks that high and it might work better for the fish to have 2 smaller piles instead of one big one on the left.

Plus I think you need more shells, I hear shellies ideal situation would be a bed of small snail-type (think escargot) shells at least 2 shells deep. The murex and conch I can see are beautiful on the black sand, but it may be better to view them as decor and provide additional, more functional shells for the multies.

If you want to stick with a smaller number of shells (like I do when I do my tank), I think Brevis are happier with a very small number of shells.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have about 40 shells coming for the 6 or so multies to start off with. The shells will cover most of the right hands side of the tank after I take out some of the sand. The 3 shells you see in there are just ones we had on hand to toss in as decoration.

Next I am getting the shells and java fern for the rock piles. I will post more pics when I get the next stage up and going.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I haven't updated here in a bit so I thought I would post the semi-final results (never quite done messing around) on these (now 2) tanks with fish. Of course, the one tank turned into two as my wife and I couldn't pick just one shelly. Originally this was supposed to be one small 10-30g tank. Now we have a 55 and a 20. Since shipping to Alaska was going to be epic, why not go big. We ended up going with this as the stocking lists.

55G: Cyps Blue Flash, Xeno Bath, White Calvus, Multies. 20G: Occies. They are mostly juvies and will be removed as they mature and pair up. Of course the cyps and xenos will stay. The multies and occies were already adult and the multies are already pairing and breeding.

And now pictures!
The final layout before the fish arrived.

The xenos! I have been really surprised by these guys. They were the first fish to settle into the tank and they school around everywhere before always returning to the sand to chomp away. Great fish. :thumb:

Here are a couple shell bed shots. The cyps and calvus used to hang out over the shell bed all the time. Now the cyps are everywhere and the calvus have started to take over the rocks on the other side of the tank.

More shellies! The female in the center of the pic has already given me fry!

The occie tank before the fish arrived. It was in a window on our dining table as the stand broke right after I filled it. Thankfully I noticed before everything came crashing down. It is no longer in the window. In fact it is in our new nursery for our baby (still waiting on the stork though).

Occies. What a bunch of characters!


The multies are already breeding and so I may need to remove the exiled ones soon. They are hanging out with the xenos for now, but I don't know how long it will be before they start to bother them. The group in the shell bed almost never venture out. We are so glad that we added the tank and occies. We love those guys. I didn't expect them to be so interactive with us. They watch us like hawks. They even all come to the glass when a dog walks by. I thought they would be more skittish than that.

I bought the fish from Reserve Stock and they shipped thousands of miles to get to Denali, Alaska from New York. They were great to work with. (I did a review of them in the Retailers Reviews) ALL the fish survived the journey and weeks later I have had no losses, or even so much as a fish hiding behind a filter. So, I consider us VERY lucky.

Some plants have been added since, java fern, java moss and anubis. Other than that, mostly the same as in the pics.

We have been joking that these may be the furthest shellies north on earth. If not, they are in a very small club. The Arctic Circle Shellie Society :D
 

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That is a great tank!

I wish i had a 55 so i could get some sand dwellers as well. I'm in the process of assembling my 29, so I cant :(
 
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