Saturday, January 24, 2015

In addition to my 29 gallon community aquarium that I started in April of 2013 I have added two 10 gallon aquariums.  One was started in the spring of 2014 and an additional one started in the fall.  With the new aquariums I began one with a substrate of Amazonia aquarium soil and the other with organic potting soil and covered with standard sized aquarium gravel.  I planted them and then added water from my seasoned aquarium just enough to cover the plants and left them alone to allow the plants to become established.  I then slowly added water either distilled or collected rain water until the aquariums were full.  At this point the aquarium was allowed to mature with only plants and whatever snails and micro life introduced with the plants for about three months. I wouldn't add a heater and just allowed the aquariums to remain cool which was usually around 65-68 degrees F.  This helped the plants to dominate and suppress but not eliminate any algae overgrowth.  I don't think it is possible to totally eliminate algae.  I would then add a heater and introduce small freshwater shrimp to see if they could establish themselves before I added any fish.  The Red Cherry Shrimp seem to be the most tolerant and will survive and reproduce.  I then added a small population of Celestial Pearl Danios which did very well but did seem to keep the shrimp population in check. I only gave them supplemental food a few times a week and they seemed to be very well fed.  I only see the occasional juvenile shrimp that has grown large enough to no longer be threatened by the small CPD's.  The CPD's have reproduced but none of the young have survived for very long and this may have been by the adults eating the eggs and young.  I also had a bit of a snail problem which may also have fed on the eggs.  A single CPD fry did manage to make it in to the newer 10 gallon aquarium a month ago possibly when I moved some plants or water between the two aquariums.  Without any competition or predators it's done very well.  A week ago I added some Crystal Red Shrimp to seem if I could get them to establish themselves.  About half of them died but a few remain.  Their not as hardy as the Red Cherry Shrimp.  What I would like to be able to create is a small sustaining population of the CPD's and shrimp. 

I had to purchase new lights for the above set up.  I had been using a 6 bulb 4 foot unit for T-5 HO fluorescents that was really great but the ballasts kept burning out and were two expensive to replace to make it very cost effective.  I purchased two 3ft two bulb Aquatic Life lights that provide about 8 watts per gallon that I have on for 12 hours a day. These were expensive but hopefully will last longer.  The wattage might seem excessive by the standard rule of 2-5 watts per gallon. I use surface floating plants like duckweed, frog bit and water lettuce that I have to thin out which filters the light a bit. My 29 gallon aquarium has 4 24watt bulbs for about 3 watts per gallon and has done well but I think it would do better with a six bulb unit. I planted the 29 gallon with large swords and Egyptian Lotus that dominate the surface and have to be thinned.  If I could do it over again I would go with smaller plants for this size of Aquarium.

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