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The Nymph's Spring (EA900)

shangman

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Another mini update

The first pair of babies went to their new home with @Courtneybst, <you can follow his beautiful tank here> if you don't already. Here is a photo (my favourite picture ever omg they've grown up and flown the nest) of the pair in their home.

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I've also had another user request a pair, and if anyone wants to reserve a pair or more now is a good time, though they are still only about 2.5cm atm, they're really growing quickly and gaining colour, fabulous fins and confidence in the new tank. These fish will be free to anyone on UKAPS (though they have to be picked up from South London), I'd like to ensure as many as possible go to good homes before they go off to the fish shop where anyone can buy some. So DM me if you're interested :)

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I thought I'd do a little update on my 60L tank, which until this week was FILLED with spyrogira. I had previously done a blackout which didn't make much difference, and the spyro returned very quickly. This time however, I seem to have really given it a good blast and it's gone into hiding. Usually I aerate during a blackout with an airstone, but this time I decided to put in my trusty Eheim Pickup60 internal filter to add a bit more flow + disturb the surface. Then I just turned the lights off the tank for 2 days because I was very lazy and couldn't be bothered to do the blackout properly. Finally I mustered the courage to cover the tank in plastic bags, where they stayed for 2.5 days. I think mostly due to the extra flow from the mini filter, but also because of the extended darkness (and that there are now 36 less fish in it), it's worked GREAT. I was able to change the water this week and now have to spend half an hour pullng out algae, very good. None of the plants seem hurt by it either, except for the crinum where 3 leaves had 5cm of their ends die off, but considring these leaves are 30 - 80cm, it's not really a problem. I want to use all these plants in my new tank, so I want to try to at least beat the spyro back before I add them. Here's a photo of the tank rn, a bit overgrown, but as I want the plants for the new tank I'm letting everything grow a bit more and not punishing the vallis for spreading like mad.

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I also had to catch one final baby apisto who refused to be tricked by any of the traps I tried. He is hidden 99% of the time, though sometimes he pops out to present himself to Motherfish and see if she might be up for it, and every time she chases him madly in a rage across the tank until he hides in some leaves. Finally today I caught him with a net and my hand, you can see how he seems to have developed fancier fins and face colours compared to his brothers, I think because he realised he was the only male and so started to try to take on the role of the new Mr Apisto. Motherfish took a bite out of his tail, so it's for the best that he's now in the tank with his kin.

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shangman

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My fish babies are doing well, I think probably in a month or so most will be ready to go to the shop, so I've been thinking about the new aquascape more. I've been spending my lunches watching aquascaping tutorials on youtube, below are some of my faouvirtes where I felt I've learnt the most.

Particularly liking the Filipe Oliveira videos, I really like watching the way he does things and how he collages with the wood. My default thought would be to try to find an amazing large pieces of wood for the tank, but now I realise I can 'build' my own, better more sculptural wood from multiple mid and small-sized pieces so I have more control over it. I also like in Dave Chow's video where some of the wood is set quite low in the sand to give it a more interesting shape.

I think I will also try the technique of using mostly aquasoil (probably ADA Amazonia RIP my bank account), and separating the aquasoil from the sand with a rock barrier (then covered in moss and buce). I want quite a good-sized sand area as my fav fish are sifters, but still the principles are there. Really looking forward to getting to it in a few months, can't wait to visit Crowder's Aquatics and get some beautiful wood! ___





I also made a moodboard kinda thing of what I want to cram in there :)

tank.jpg
 
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shangman

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Today I have a few questions for everyone, cos I've started thinking about actually doing this tank up practically. I read in another thread earlier about a dark start, and watched the accompanying Green Aqua video, and I think it might be good to do with this tank. The filter will have been running for a good 6 weeks (if not longer) by the time the baby fish are gone, and I want to keep the bacteria in the filter going, but also don't want to set up the new aquascape immediately after giving the babies to the LFS. So my current plan is...

1. Buy wood & other hardscape within the month, put wood in waterbutts to sink.
2. Buy aquasoil (ADA Amazonia)
3. Give away babies.
4. Clean out aquarium, then fill with aquasoil and test out layouts. Take out hardscape (noting the shape for where moss should go), then fill aquarium with water and turn on filter again. Begin the dark 'start'.
5. Do a dry start on the wood and rocks to establish nice moss. Keep in a plastic box in the greenhouse. Wait 3-4 weeks.
6. Drain all water in tank, add in mossy hardscape and sand. Say goodbye to pretty 60L, steal most of the plants and add to new tank, along with lots of other plants. Set up CO2 (probably a few days before so not too stressful a day!)
7. Wait ?? (3?) weeks, doing 2 waterchanges a week. Keep adding plants as/if needed & trimming to get more volume.
8. Start to add fishes.

What do you guys think of that plan? This means my filter doesn't need to go through another cycle, and I can get my moss wood good (I think the dry start gives a more natural feel to the moss rather than tying it), and avoid having a lot of ammonia in the water from the soil when I plant, because I've heard some plants melt from the ammonia (like buces, hydrocotyle verticillata, etc) and I'd like to get all the plants in at once at the start.

I'm unsure how many waterchange you need to do if you do a dry start, the videos said nothing and to me implied that you would just do one at the end of the 3-4 weeks of 100%, but I would like to know what you all think. Would like to avoid doing the daily changes if I can, it just seems like such a big waste of water as the plants don't need that much watering and I can't reach the garden with it. Weekly or bi-weekly, or no need until the end?

With this timeframe, would adding shrimps and/or fish be ok 3 weeks after the tank's been planted?
 

Tim Harrison

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Sounds like a good plan. It should give the tank the best possible start. During a dark start there's usually no need to do any water changes, just drain it at the end before planting. After a dark start one or a couple of water changes a week should be fine, but only you'll be able to judge for sure.

You should be okay to start adding critters gradually pretty much straight away, but I always wait until I'm sure I've got the CO2 dialled in and there are no teething problems, and I'm completely sure I'm happy with the setup.
 

Wookii

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As Amazonia puts out so much ammonia, it might be worth doing daily water changes early on (first week or so) if you can. Don't quote me, but I'm sure I read @dw1305 posted somewhere that high ammonia levels can have a negative affect on the growth of beneficial bacteria.
 

Tim Harrison

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As Amazonia puts out so much ammonia, it might be worth doing daily water changes early on (first week or so) if you can. Don't quote me, but I'm sure I read @dw1305 posted somewhere that high ammonia levels can have a negative affect on the growth of beneficial bacteria.
That's true but the ammonia spike should have been dealt with during a 2-3 week dark start. It's pretty much the reason for doing one in the first place. Adding critters slowly afterwards should give the filter time to mature in sync.
 

shangman

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Sounds like a good plan. It should give the tank the best possible start. During a dark start there's usually no need to do any water changes, just drain it at the end before planting. After a dark start one or a couple of water changes a week should be fine, but only you'll be able to judge for sure.

You should be okay to start adding critters gradually pretty much straight away, but I always wait until I'm sure I've got the CO2 dialled in and there are no teething problems, and I'm completely sure I'm happy with the setup.
Amazing, thanks for the advice! Yes will definitely be doing a few extras in the first two weeks of planting to keep potential problems at a minimum, just would like to avoid daily. I've spent ages reading many of the journals here and advice threads and trying to work out what will make the tank successful from the start, and the dark start technique sounds so perfect. I'm also planning on buying a secondhand filter like the Biomaster 600 to go on the opposite side of the tank without media and just add more flow, since it seems like many of the problems in hightech tanks comes from insufficient and wonky flow.

Interesting that the animals can be added so soon! I was planning to wait a few weeks to let the tank get a bit grown in, and because as you said the CO2 needs to be perfected - I haven't done it before, and am a bit paranoid I might accidentally gas them all. I'm sure the plant growth will be interesting enough to keep me entertained for a little while, and it gives me a chance to really up the CO2 in the first few weeks.

As Amazonia puts out so much ammonia, it might be worth doing daily water changes early on (first week or so) if you can. Don't quote me, but I'm sure I read @dw1305 posted somewhere that high ammonia levels can have a negative affect on the growth of beneficial bacteria.
One thing I have an advantage over is that the filter is probably cycled already (or will be by the time I get around to properly scaping the tank) - the filter was filled with a good amount mature media from 3 different tanks (thanks again!) when I put the baby apistos in, and has been running for 7 weeks now. It's going to be at least a month before I give the babies to the shops (wish they would grow faster), so I think the filter should be relatively mature for the dark start, so at least with the Amazonia ammonia it won't be like starting completely from scratch. Really this is one of the reason why I want to do the dark start - not only to deal with the ammonia in the soil, but also to keep my filter going without having to set up the new scape immediately after giving the babies away.

I would like to avoid doing quite so many waterchanges at the start, I know that technically it's not huge amounts of water but it feels weirdly wasteful to me when I don't have the ability to drain it to the garden.

That's true but the ammonia spike should have been dealt with during a 2-3 week dark start. It's pretty much the reason for doing one in the first place. Adding critters slowly afterwards should give the filter time to mature in sync.
That's super promising! Dark starts sound so interesting, I'm tempted to not do the waterchanges during the dark start as suggested and can report the results, and just do 100% drain + few extra once is planted.

How slowly do you recommend adding the fish, is one small group a week?
 

Tim Harrison

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Interesting that the animals can be added so soon!
The ammonia given off over 2-3 weeks of dark start will have cycled the filter sufficiently to slowly allow the introduction of critters. Although in reference to Darrel's link above, building up the optimum filter flora will take much longer, probably months. However, your filter will also contain mature media which will probably help.
I'm tempted to not do the waterchanges during the dark start as suggested
No need to do water changes at all, it's part of the technique and a major draw for lazy folk like me :)
How slowly do you recommend adding the fish, is one small group a week?
Should be fine. As always just observe and use best judgment ;)
 

shangman

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You can also clean out your existing filter @shangman, shaking the media in the water inside the canister, and use the resulting mulmy water to pour over your new soil to seed it before filling the tank up. It's what I intend to do on all future rescapes to try and mature the substrate faster.
Fab idea, I'll def do that. There's lots of lovely stuff in that mulm, it makes the houseplants extremely happy!

I'm moving a lot of plants from my other tanks to this will help as well, I have no idea if using new vs established plants makes a difference, but I feel like it probably does since they're all ready-submerged and don't need to convert to anything, and have big root systems. Anyone know if that's true ?

The ammonia given off over 2-3 weeks of dark start will have cycled the filter sufficiently to slowly allow the introduction of critters. Although in reference to Darrel's link above, building up the optimum filter flora will take much longer, probably months. However, your filter will also contain mature media which will probably help.

No need to do water changes at all, it's part of the technique and a major draw for lazy folk like me :)

Should be fine. As always just observe and use best judgment ;)
Well this is true, I only feel that my current tank became balanced after about 8 months or so. Everything just feels calmer and more serene somehow, so I'm putting it down to filter and plant maturity.

It's not laziness.... it's efficiency! 😂
 

shangman

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I'm quite excited at the moment for the next two months. This week I'm picking up almost all the equipment I need (CO2, second filter, lily pipes & some other bits) from another local UKAPS member. This means that my new scape is so much closer!!

I went to Crowder's Aquatics about 2 weeks ago, and although they had an enormous selection of woods, I discovered that they were out of the wood I really like (riverwood). I didn't really know this was the wood I wanted until I saw everything and realised it wasn't there :( However I did get a lovely archway-style piece which I'm hoping I can use with the future riverwood, and some beautiful spiky corbo catfish wood for my future pond tank (coming this autumn probably lol). I was also BLOWN AWAY by their selectio of botanicals - it was vast, and full of beautiful sculptural seedpods and leaves which I haven't seen anywhere else. Once the new scape is set up I'm definitely going to order some botanicals for it, though there were so many I'm not sure which yet.

So... I'm gonna go to Aquarium Gardens in the next 2 weeks as a lovely little trip, to try to get my wood. Or possible Riverwood Aquatics, but I think they take the same time to get to from where I live, so why not the OG & Sponsor! EXCITING

My fish babies are currently between 2 - 4cm, with a few extra big boys. One of the two biggest seems particuarly gregarious and doesn't swim away when I come up to the glass, so I think he will be Mr Apister Junior. I'm also planning on keeping the smallest fish which is just tiny, I'm not sure I can send them to the shop when they're so small, and luckily I think they are a female so shouldn't have too many problems.

I'm going to call up the LFS this week and see when I can give them the babies, even though they are a delight, I am getting a little impatient, I want a beautiful tank again!! My 60L is very wild and jungly right now as I'm letting the plants grow so I have as much as possible for the new scape, the babies tank is pretty basic and full of algae because it's temporary it makes me lazy, and the nano is looking rubbish because it's main feature is shoved in with the babies. I haven't really been able to just sit and watch and appreciate and I miss that.

Here are some photos of the babies because I feel it's a criminal to post a long text thread like this without some cute pics. The fish I think will be Mr Apisto Junior is on the right of this first pic, he's pretty hench compared to the others. Apologies for the glare, will remember to close my skylights first next time!
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Since I've been without a functioning proper tank I've been spending loads of time researching all sorts of aquarium stuff. I'm currently kinda obsessed with wabi kusa, I think the pond-style tank will use a lot of them to make up some of the riparium growth. I'm going to test it out in my nano tank as soon as I give away the babies. My plan is to only use excess plants from my new tank + 60L (moss, stem plants and hydrocotyle) so I can do it as cheaply as possible. Originally I planned for my nano to have emmersed growth, but never worked out how to get it to grow from the wood that's just under the surface, and now I know I can just plonk a nice wabi kusa ball down, I can't wait!

Below are some links to my fav wabi kusa/ pond tank kinda things I've found recently:

Also, does anyone want any of this lovely salvinia I have? Not sure what sp. it is, it's similar to cuculata, but less extreme, and the roots are nice and green, short and subtle, unlike cuculata which has big fat hairy brown roots which aren't as cute. I chuck my extra waterlettuce and frogbit every week, but this one is quite nice so thought I'd ask. Happy to send for price of postage if wanted :)
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Hufsa

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Also, does anyone want any of this lovely salvinia I have? Not sure what sp. it is, it's similar to cuculata, but less extreme, and the roots are nice and green, short and subtle, unlike cuculata which has big fat hairy brown roots which aren't as cute. I chuck my extra waterlettuce and frogbit every week, but this one is quite nice so thought I'd ask. Happy to send for price of postage if wanted :)
I would have loved to take some had I only been in the UK :confused: Id be really interested to find out what species that is though!
Ive never seen it before, it appears to be adifferent shade of green as well, and with that interesting white outline :watching:
 

Conort2

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You’ve done a great job with the fry, they’re in great shape. Better than the stuff you see in the shops. Will you try and breed apistos again or have a break for now?

Cheers
 

shangman

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I would have loved to take some had I only been in the UK :confused: Id be really interested to find out what species that is though!
Ive never seen it before, it appears to be adifferent shade of green as well, and with that interesting white outline :watching:
Alas! It is very finely furry with white hairs that makes that outline. It's my favourite floater, it grows fast with no deficiency problems at all, it's pretty and 3D, it blocks a good amount of light but not too much, it has very fine greenish roots and makes a nicely thin layer. I really like mixing the floaters together, I have 4 together at the moment. Want to find some azolla and that amazing mimosa at some point!

When I next go to the LFS I'll ask them the name, though when I've asked them before they usually don't know 😂, might need to work out who the staff member is who orders them. They often have nice unusual floating plants, I've also bought proper giant frogbit and a cool flat grass-like floater from them, but I didn't know their actual names, and annoyingly they all died on me except for this one! I think they didn't like my rainwater, I might try again in tap as frogbit only grows for me in my tapwater nano tank. Probably should be fertilising more 😱

You’ve done a great job with the fry, they’re in great shape. Better than the stuff you see in the shops. Will you try and breed apistos again or have a break for now?

Cheers
Thank you! To be honest as a newbie I don't really understand the scale of quality when it comes to fish, other than those which drop dead on you very quickly, and those who thrive. So far all the ones I've given away are doing well :) I did try my absolute best to raise them healthily, and the babies are very perky with personalities, they play together all day and constantly change colours with their moods which can be very vibrant.

It was a lot of effort, so I don't think I will try to breed my macmasteri properly again, to be honest was planning on getting a shoaling fish that would eat young babies so only a few would survive, if any! Though I guess it depends on the lfs, if they said they were popular and would happily take them again then maybe I would do it more often, I just worry about what happens to them and will they have good lives which is definitely questionable. That's why I gave them away for free to UKAPS members, I know they will live well with you guys. I also have no idea about the economics and goings on in a LFS, maybe it is annoying to get random groups of fish from people?

However.... my LFS posted a video about 2 weeks ago and at the very end was a crazy crazy beautiful bright metallic blue apisto with neon orange fins (not the borellii though they are nice), and the female has a dramatic black stripe. I think they're agassizii, v intrigued by the different personalities too. But it all depends on whether they're there when I have a tank spare to put them in. I'm also planning on keeping dicrossus in my blackwater pond tank, but that won't be set up until later in the year. (just took off the video, it seems like they weirdly edited out everything but the borellii they have. Maybe everything else is sold out!)
lso the only pseudomugli rainbows in a great colour I can find are sold on eBay as eggs, so wondering if I can try to raise them myself. 🤔 Anyone do this?
 
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Conort2

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Alas! It is very finely furry with white hairs that makes that outline. It's my favourite floater, it grows fast with no deficiency problems at all, it's pretty and 3D, it blocks a good amount of light but not too much, it has very fine greenish roots and makes a nicely thin layer. I really like mixing the floaters together, I have 4 together at the moment. Want to find some azolla and that amazing mimosa at some point!

When I next go to the LFS I'll ask them the name, though when I've asked them before they usually don't know 😂, might need to work out who the staff member is who orders them. They often have nice unusual floating plants, I've also bought proper giant frogbit and a cool flat grass-like floater from them, but I didn't know their actual names, and annoyingly they all died on me except for this one! I think they didn't like my rainwater, I might try again in tap as frogbit only grows for me in my tapwater nano tank. Probably should be fertilising more 😱


Thank you! To be honest as a newbie I don't really understand the scale of quality when it comes to fish, other than those which drop dead on you very quickly, and those who thrive. So far all the ones I've given away are doing well :) I did try my absolute best to raise them healthily, and the babies are very perky with personalities, they play together all day and constantly change colours with their moods which can be very vibrant.

It was a lot of effort, so I don't think I will try to breed my macmasteri properly again, to be honest was planning on getting a shoaling fish that would eat young babies so only a few would survive, if any! Though I guess it depends on the lfs, if they said they were popular and would happily take them again then maybe I would do it more often, I just worry about what happens to them and will they have good lives which is definitely questionable. That's why I gave them away for free to UKAPS members, I know they will live well with you guys. I also have no idea about the economics and goings on in a LFS, maybe it is annoying to get random groups of fish from people?

However.... my LFS posted a video about 2 weeks ago and at the very end was a crazy crazy beautiful bright metallic blue apisto with neon orange fins (not the borellii though they are nice), and the female has a dramatic black stripe. I think they're agassizii, v intrigued by the different personalities too. But it all depends on whether they're there when I have a tank spare to put them in. I'm also planning on keeping dicrossus in my blackwater pond tank, but that won't be set up until later in the year.


Also the only pseudomugli rainbows in a great colour I can find are sold on eBay as eggs, so wondering if I can try to raise them myself. 🤔 Anyone do this?
Would be worth a go with the psuedomugil. I purchased some luminatus a while back and the quality was horrific, seriously inbred fish which didn’t last long at all. You may have a much better chance in reading your own from fry.

cheers
 

shangman

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Just called the LFS (Aquatic Design Center) and they said they'll take them happily already, and that 3cm is a great size. Apparently they sometimes order dwarf cichlids and get them at 1cm, so 3cm is more than enough, especially since they're getting their colours already. So great to know they are ready! But also, my babbbiesssss are leaving meeeeeeeee omg :eek::eek:😭😭



I guess this weekend will be the last time people can pick up some babies from me! I think everyone who wanted some on UKAPS and lives close already has some, but just in case... last chance! (unless you want to go to the shop and spend actual money on them lol). I think I might make a post about it in the for sale section, everyone likes to visit there 😂

I'm currently planning on just keeping 1 male and 1 female of the babies (mostly cos she's very small still only 1.5cm), as well as motherfish. I think that's enough apistos for a 180L tank, though I wish I could have a proper community like @Kogre ! Will have to go for that in a few years!! They have to be ok together in the 60L for a good month during the dark start and first growth weeks so shouldn't try to pack them in, though I'd love to keep 2 males 3 females, I'm not sure they'd be happy with that.

Would be worth a go with the psuedomugil. I purchased some luminatus a while back and the quality was horrific, seriously inbred fish which didn’t last long at all. You may have a much better chance in reading your own from fry.

cheers
Will have to infitrate some rainbow forums to research, and ideally get some legit eggs (not sure if ordering on ebay will be the best way). I quite like the idea that most of the fish in this new scape could be raised by me. Maybe I should get into killis!
 

shangman

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Last night I picked up everything I needed for the new tank except for hardscape and a bit of extra soil!! I bought it all secondhand from another user here who lives local to me, who very kindly explained everything to me too (going to have to get my head around an automatic doser and all of that 🤯). Once again I'm very grateful to UKAPS, I'm going to have the hightech setup I dreamed of for less than half the price as new, which is amazing because I really couldn't have afforded it otherwise. Gonna have to pimp out my stand to fit it all in!

The soil I was given was some used Amazonia which should still be good to use with some root tabs. It's 18.5kg. Does anyone know what a good amount of soil is to use in a 90x50cm (180l) tank, is there a general rule? I think I should get another bag just in case. I saw there is a powder type or a normal type, which is best to get for top dressing? The powder is more expensive, could I just get the normal version and... bash it a little?




I also got a few otos and about 8 -10 cardinals (they needed a home). I put the fish in my 60L tank with Motherfish, and she is not happy about the cardinals (there are already otos and she ignores them all) and has been charging and warning at them all morning, she's gone from completely beige to beige and black stripey. It's not very violent, but I'm a bit hmm and surprised since she doesn't have any babies to protect I thought she'd be chill. Should've remembered that she's not a chill fish! The cardinals are stunning though, what incredible colour they add. I'm also a bit worried about putting the 2 young apistos I'm keeping there with her once the rest of the babies go to the LFS new week, but there isn't really anywhere else for them to go. I've read that I need to change up the tank as it's her established territory, so they can recreate territores in a "new space", but I don't really know how to do this, as the whole tank is just plants, so I'd have to rip almost all of them out and replant a lot to change it up, which I don't really want to do as it would make a lot of mess - a lot of the plants are deeply rooted. I can add a big load of leaves (already have some floating at the top), but otherwise unsure! Ignore the state of the tank - I'm letting it grow wild so I can harvest more plants for the new scape when the time comes, and I've got it with lowerlight to make sure the hair algae I had is properly killed off (finally seem to have some success!)

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Hufsa

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The soil I was given was some used Amazonia which should still be good to use with some root tabs. It's 18.5kg. Does anyone know what a good amount of soil is to use in a 90x50cm (180l) tank, is there a general rule? I think I should get another bag just in case. I saw there is a powder type or a normal type, which is best to get for top dressing? The powder is more expensive, could I just get the normal version and... bash it a little?
GreenAqua had a calculator, which I cannot find at the moment, but they do list this formula:

"How much General Plant Substrate should I buy?
It is relatively easy to calculate how much General Plant substrate will fit in your aquarium. Multiply the bottom area (width and depth - not height - centimeters) of the aquarium with the substrate height (a minimum of 4-5 centimeters), and divide it by one thousand. The result will show you how many liters of substrate you will need. Here is the formula:

Amount needed in liters = Width (cm) * Depth (cm) * Desired Substrate Height (cm) / 1000 (Excel calculator - download)
Example: a 60 x 35 cm base aquarium will need a minimum of 60*35*4/1000=8.4 liters of substrate, so you will buy one of the 9 liter bags."

This is for a flat substrate, while most scaped tanks bank/slope up the substrate towards the back to some degree.
I would recommend this, it gives you more surface area of the substrate for planting and makes the tank look deeper.
You can fill the bottom back with some cheaper material like pebbles or lava rock and just cover the top of the slope with soil, that will be easier on the budget and seems quite common unless the aquascaper is sponsored (getting the soil for free). Then they seem to pile it in like its sold at the dollar store ;)
Just make sure you account for a deep enough layer of soil, I would go for no less than 5 cm to plant in personally but you can check what others use.
Not sure if youre planning on sand in front but the front of the substrate doesnt need to be very deep unless you are planning to plant heavily there, and then still you might get away with 3 cm or so.

Dont bash soil, I dont think it likes it and it may cause it to break down faster, this is just my theory though. Powder is best for top dressing because of the smaller grain size, it holds down small plants easier. You could do something like 3-4 cm of normal soil and then 1-2 cm of powder soil on top maybe?
 
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