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MTV-Kribs

ScareCrow

Member
Joined
28 Jan 2019
Messages
140
Location
South west
I've been meaning to create a journal for a while but haven't got around to it, so now I need to do a bit of a catchup.

The tank was setup at the start end of November 2020.

Substrate is beech and oak leaf mould mixed approximately 50:50 with cat litter. I've also added some Miracle-gro slow release fertiliser to increase longevity. I've topped this with more cat litter.
Hardscape is stone that I've dug up from my garden. Pro's, it's sandstone, inert and free. Con's I've dug up about 2 tonnes of the stuff. I've collected beech branches that had fallen and soaked until they wouldn't float or pretty close. I left the bark on as I've removed back several times in the past and it's a horrible job. I've never noticed any difference between leaving it on or taking it off.

Tank is a AquaOne Aqua Nano 40 (55 Litres)
Equipment is mostly contained in the back section but I've added an eheim ecco 130 as the back section works well as a surface skimmer but is useless at removing detritus and so the mosses were getting covered in detritus.
Lighting is a Chihiros rgb

Immersed plants are:
Pogostemon Helferi
hydrocotyle tripartita
Hygrophila Polysperma
(I ordered rosanervig but got green, so I'll probably add to this).
A few Buces that the Royal Mail kindly took care off for a few weeks, so not looking the happiest but they've all started regrowing
Aegagropila linnaei (Moss ball)
Microsorum pteropus 'Needle Leaf'
Fissidens fontanus
Distichophyllum sp.
Limnobium laevigatum


Riparian plants are:
Philodendron 'Marble Queen' (doesn't show much variegation as it doesn't get much light).
Philodendron 'white butterfly'
tradescantia zebrina
Lysimachia nummularia

Fish: One pair of Pelvicachromis taeniatus 'Nigeria red'

I started by making a bag to contain the leaf mould cat litter mix as previous experience with cat litter has taught me that it is very light and probably useless at capping anything below it. I then created the rock structure, on top of some pond egg crate and then placed the structure on top of some stones to provide the kribs a place to hide and hopefully spawn. I glued some plastic to the underside of the egg crate to give them a flat surface to spawn on (this may have been a mistake, more on this below). This is what the tank looked like on the 28th of November 2020.
28th_November.JPG

After this I did very little to the tank other than dose EI at 50%, liquid carbon at 1ml and do weekly 50% water changes. This is the tank on the 10th of Jan.
10th_January.JPG

17th of Jan I added the fissidens and added some more branches to get the height I wanted.
17th_January.JPG

How the tank looks today. I flattened the moss balls and stuck them on to the stone to try and get a more natural moss covered rock look with a sense of scale for this size of tank but I think it looks a bit telly tubby house now. So I'm considering scrapping this and going with coconut hides, essentially just a pile of whole and halved coconuts to look like a natural pile with some structural leaf litter to add to the natural look, reuse the branches in my current setup and then densely plant something along the lines of what @shangman has done as I think it looks fantastic (link here). I think I want to use sand as the cat litter is very lightweight and plants often break free for a few weeks before they establish decent roots. I'd also like the kribs to be able to filter the substrate like they would do naturally. The reason I say sticking the plastic under the egg crate is possible mistake as I'm really struggling to get these kribs to spawn successfully. I don't know if the plastic is too slippery and so the eggs can't adhere to the roof of the cave or whether they just aren't happy with the cave provided. I've tried making the entrances smaller so they had to dig them, they've definitely spawned since being added to the tank and have spawned in a previous setup but only managed to keep 7 (of 9) fry for a few days. They were quite young at that point so I wasn't too concerned. I've kept this krib variant before and they're not as easy to breed as the conventional krib. Last time I didn't manage to get them to spawn at all (that time I didn't have them long before I had to rehome them and breakdown the tank), so if anyone has any advice I'd be grateful as it took me a long time to find them and I'd really like to keep them going this time. My thinking is that if I switch to the coconut hides I can provide more breeding site options and the eggs will definitely be able to stick to the inside of the coconut. I also have some ideas to improve the filtration so I can remove the canister filter but I've bored you enough for now. Thanks for reading.
22nd_February2.jpg

22nd_February1.jpg
 

shangman

Member
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
179
Location
London
Oh wow thank you what a big compliment!! I'm so pleased you like it. I was planning on doing a little writeup about how I plant my tank in that thread, I will do it this week in case it's helpful. :)

I think changing to sand is always a good thing in a breeding tank with sand-sifting fish, I love watching them sift. Also it is definitely easier to plant into sand. It's really cute when the babies start to do it but have to spit it out too.

For botanicals I use oaks leaves and a variety of medium and large seedpods from <Blackwater UK> which looks really natural in a nice tropical way, and can give you variety so it's not just coconuts. The seedpods are a really easy way to make beautiful caves, seeing my apistos explore them and my female come out with babies from one was so cool. Also of course they provide more biofilm and microfauna for the babies to eat. If you keep any otos or shrimp they find them delicious as well. Plus they soften the water that tiny bit extra which can help with breeding.

Agree with everyone, the journal name is A+!
 

ScareCrow

Member
Thread starter
Joined
28 Jan 2019
Messages
140
Location
South west
Thanks @shangman. I was planning to use sand but got worried about compaction as I added too much soil substrate and would need about 10mm cap making total substrate depth of about 40mm maybe a bit more. Subsequent research has lessened my concern so after talking myself out of using the sand I bought 6 years ago with the intention of using it in a tank, I think I'll give it ago. When I dismantle this setup I'll reduce the amount of soil substrate before adding the sand cap though.
My original plan was to use oak leaves that I collected back last year and have dried out but the P.helferi were so small when I got them I thought the leaves might block light getting to them. I'll add the leaves along with some acorn caps I found while collecting the leaves and I add alder cones every week with my water change but normally put them in the back section, so I might drop them in the tank to add some extra interest. They should all help add tannins too which is good as my water is hard (although I'm moving back to using rainwater) and the fish show better colour when there are some tannins in the water. The tank is mostly about the fish with the plants there to make the fish more comfortable with the added benefit that they look nice.
My plan is to do the following but if there are any opinions or advice please share:
1) Remove the back section as it is essentially a sediment trap. I do culture black worms in one of the sections but it hasn't been going as well as I'd like (it's hard to access, which makes 'propagating' the worms tricky). I also culture grindal worms, hatch brineshrimp, feed 5 different types of frozen food and 5 different types of dry food (the fish eat better than I do) so I don't think they're missing out if I can't find an alternative location to culture the black worms.
2) Make a smaller boxed in area to hide the filter and heater, but this will have the intake at the bottom, so more detritus will be collected in the filter, opposed to be the moss. Hopefully this will allow me to remove the eheim (possibly making space for the black worm culture in the cabinet).
3) Reduce substrate depth, add sand cap and replant.
4) Come up with some aesthetically pleasing way to hold the riparium plants. I'm contemplating adding a moss wall, so it might be possible to incorporate something and hide it from view.
5) Add CO2 but at a low rate. This should allow me to stop dosing liquid carbon.

Fish pic for putting up with my rambling, thanks all.

1614074494795.jpg
 

shangman

Member
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
179
Location
London
That's a gorgeous fish! Your plan sounds really good, I'm sure your fish will really love it :)

For your emergents/back wall ... In my other tank I have a moss/java fern back wall with a mesh back (which maybe you could shape around the filter/heater or something), and then across the top of it there's a piece of wood, at a slight angle to create a pocket behind it (the wood has 2 suckers superglued to it so it sticks to the glass in place). In that pocket we have some plants, which we put there planning to set up better and more naturally with net and soil but was delayed and now the roots have gone through the pots and into the wall, whoops. I would change it but it's technically my dad's tank so leave it alone for now. There's moss growing on the wood so that bit looks quite nice, and even though it's shady under the wood/pocket the java fern doesn't mind and grew out to the light. It was inspired by @zozo's journal which has some wood with emergents on it that's super nice, <link here>

PXL_20210223_173702157.jpg
 

ScareCrow

Member
Thread starter
Joined
28 Jan 2019
Messages
140
Location
South west
Thanks for the idea @shangman. I'm thinking I might have a sponge the whole height of the tank in one corner and plant into that, sort of like a matten filter and then have moss back and side walls so it blends in.
I've cut the back section out and have removed some of the leaf mould substrate, ready to be capped over with sand, which is where I'm struggling a bit. I want the substrate to be dark to get the best out of the fish colour, so I ordered some black sand. Problem is it looks really fake to me. I've been trying to tell myself that it could be a river on a volcanic island but I'm still not selling it to myself. The first bag of black sand wasn't enough and stupidly I ordered a second bag before I thought about mixing it with some other sand I have. The pic below is a 3:1 mix of light and black sand. My sales pitch to myself is that it looks like the bed of a very slow moving tributary where lots of organic matter has built up amongst the sand. Is anyone else convinced 😂? I'm going to put loads of leaves on top of it in the end and hopefully have very dense planting so the substrate might not be very visible anyway.
 

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shangman

Member
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
179
Location
London
Thanks for the idea @shangman. I'm thinking I might have a sponge the whole height of the tank in one corner and plant into that, sort of like a matten filter and then have moss back and side walls so it blends in.
I've cut the back section out and have removed some of the leaf mould substrate, ready to be capped over with sand, which is where I'm struggling a bit. I want the substrate to be dark to get the best out of the fish colour, so I ordered some black sand. Problem is it looks really fake to me. I've been trying to tell myself that it could be a river on a volcanic island but I'm still not selling it to myself. The first bag of black sand wasn't enough and stupidly I ordered a second bag before I thought about mixing it with some other sand I have. The pic below is a 3:1 mix of light and black sand. My sales pitch to myself is that it looks like the bed of a very slow moving tributary where lots of organic matter has built up amongst the sand. Is anyone else convinced 😂? I'm going to put loads of leaves on top of it in the end and hopefully have very dense planting so the substrate might not be very visible anyway.
It's hard to tell without a tank shot, but it does look a bit strange... a lot of leaves will do the trick though!
 
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