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Old 07/31/2019, 07:21 PM   #701
Oldreeferman
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This has been an amazing read, thanks for taking the time over the yrs. to post it. Beautiful work by the way.


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Old 08/01/2019, 07:43 AM   #702
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Thank you Oldreeferman! Also, thanks again Michael!

Last night, on the 75g stream tank, I scraped off the excess silicone that was smeared on the right side glass when I mounted the rock wall. It was the only way that I could mount it and make sure that enough silicone got in that space in the corner. I am not happy with the scraper that I used, so I'll follow up with a razor blade to get the last little bit off. Man, it's harder than you'd think getting that stuff off of the glass. The excess epoxy that I spilled on the glass comes off easily, in case anyone ever wondered.

I also finished the final touch up work on the wall with the epoxy, so, I'll be able to add water in 7 days to test and maybe start cycling if everything goes well. The big test will be to see of the background holds in place and the roots don't float. Wish me luck!

Up next, paint Drylok tinted with dark charcoal cement dye on the outside of both sides of the tank to hide the silicone glue bond with the wall.

Also, I need to purchase a light. I decided on the Fluval Planted 3.0 fixture, and also will use a glass top for the tank, so I need to buy that as well.

I need to install a revised version of a DIY spray bar. The one that I initially designed can be modified easily, but the old one that would have been draped over the side of the tank won't permit me to use a glass top without cutting it. So, I'll access from the back side. It might require some drilling into my wall or the stand pipe where my canister filter intake is, but that should be easy.

It's time to design my rock scape with the rocks that I collected from our river way upstream. I washed and scrubbed the rocks off last week. I still need to collect some sand, so I plan to do that on Saturday. I could use play sand, but, I want a more natural look. I'm going to try and make this look as much as possible as a river bed. After the tank cycles, it's fish collecting time!


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Current Tank Info: 101g 3'X3'X18" Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank, 36"X17"X18" sump
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Old 08/01/2019, 10:36 AM   #703
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It's all coming together! Good luck with the wall and roots and water! I think you're good.

Since you're collecting your own sand, you could leave it dirty and full of life. Up to you of course. If you did, it should speed up the cycling process. Any plants going in this one?


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 08/01/2019, 03:19 PM   #704
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Thanks Michael...yeah finally coming together! I would like to collect some river stargrass. I hear it does well in aquaria, and also, in gravel. I need to filter out the sand to get insects and trash out of it, perhaps. It depends on where I can collect it. As far as the life goes, that was my initial plan, to help the tank cycle and such. But, with that comes insect larva, and potentially flies hatching in my house! I don't worry about worms much, but leeches, not what I need. So, we will see.


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Current Tank Info: 101g 3'X3'X18" Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank, 36"X17"X18" sump
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Old 09/03/2019, 07:52 AM   #705
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Regarding the 75g FW stream tank: I made progress, but... A couple days ago, I remembered that there is a stream close to my house where I could drive up and park right next to the water. So, I went and checked it out, and sure enough, there was a gravel/sand bar that looked great. The colors and size were perfect. Then, yesterday, I screened, washed and sifted the gravel. Here's a tip though. When you have to carry a 5 gallon bucket worth of wet gravel or rocks to your house from the vehicle, and then downstairs, it's much easier to divide it into two 5 gallon buckets and carry it in balanced. A month ago, when I collected the rocks, I carried the full 5 gallon bucket down and it wasn't fun. Also, washing creek gravel took a lot more time than washing store bought gravel. It seemed like it took forever. I think that I spent a good 3 hours or more washing it. Anyway, here it is divided into the two buckets:


Then, I took the rocks out of the bucket and sorted them out by size and shape, and set aside the ones that I wanted to be seen the most and arranged them on my workbench (which is the stand that I built for my 100g oyster reef tank).


After that, I went ahead and rockscaped the tank, then filled it with water. This was a test run, to see if the wall held up and the roots didn't float. I also set up the powerhead and checked out the current. It ran perfectly. I didn't use this design to achieve unidirectional flow. Rather this current, along with the spray bar, should simulate a stream side eddy and undercut bank. I didn't take a picture because the water was still cloudy, and, I didn't have my canister filter set up. I will have that done tonight.

I also received the light that I ordered, a Fluval Planted 3.0. I'm really happy with it. I plugged it in, downloaded the phone app, and configured and previewed it. It's really cool. And, the best part is that, remember the shiny look of the epoxy after it finished drying, and I was worried about it? Well, what they advertise is true. It really does disappear underwater. Everything should look great when I'm finally done.

However, and now the but... I noticed that the roots stuck out of the water about 1/4", which is no big deal, but, it would have affected my ability to run the spray bar and shoot water over them to simulate the stream. I thought that maybe, when scaping the sand and rocks, that I just needed to adjust it, so, I pulled out the roots, moved the sand and rocks to the right side of the tank, and stuck the roots back in. And...they float. It isn't bad, but, it's enough to mess with my design concept. So, I unplugged everything and will work on fixing that asap. I pulled the roots out and set them in a container to drain them as water does get inside them. I'm not too worried about that because everything is inert that I used, and it enters very slowly. Although, I'm considering another coat of epoxy on areas where water might seep in, just in case.

The roots float at the top of the fixture, moving it away from the wall and up over the water surface. The bottom of the roots seems to stay down, somewhat because of sand and rocks, but, more because there was less foam used there. So, I think that I can leave the bottom alone, and design some sort of hook and latch system at the top, in the back, out of sight, that will hold the roots down.

Next steps include fixing the roots, draining the tank, scooping out the rocks, sand and gravel, add sand and gravel again, rescape the tank, refill it, cycle it, add fish.

The good news is that the back wall held in place, and is firmly attached. I don't think that it's going anywhere. And, the tank doesn't leak. I was worried about spray foam expansion damaging the glass seams, but, they're OK. And, the epoxy shine disappears underwater.

I'm almost there folks. There will be fish in it soon!


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Current Tank Info: 101g 3'X3'X18" Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank, 36"X17"X18" sump
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Old 09/03/2019, 09:05 AM   #706
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Great update! It's always something! A minor setback. I bet it looks great. So close! If you're not worried about them contaminating the water, maybe let the roots soak and get water-logged. That might resolve the issue.

I can't wait to see it!


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 09/03/2019, 11:04 AM   #707
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Thanks Michael! I may have a solution, zip ties should do the trick, along with a drill. You're right about the roots, maybe the air inside them is adding to the problem. Maybe I'll drill a few holes out of sight to release the air.

I was so close!


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Current Tank Info: 101g 3'X3'X18" Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank, 36"X17"X18" sump
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Old 09/03/2019, 07:04 PM   #708
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By the way, congrats on the back wall holding tight. That was a real worry and you triumphed! Hazah!


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 09/03/2019, 07:45 PM   #709
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Wow Kevin, just catching up on your thread. I can't wait to see pics of this in action once you work out the kinks of the roots floating.


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Old 09/04/2019, 06:43 AM   #710
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Thank you Michael and Dawn. I've had water in the tank for three days, and the back wall is holding up OK. So far so good, and no signs of anything coming loose...very tight. I used a ton of silicone and also with the very tight fit against the wall and frame, and the center bracket, all that should keep it in place.

I have an idea on how to connect the roots. I'm going to keep it simple and just use zip ties. I'm going to drill a hole through the back corner of the root, out of sight, and use a black zip ties to create a connection point, then, drill a hole through my stand pipe, and use a black zip tie to secure the root structure via that connection point. Sand and rocks should keep the bottom stable. I can still remove the roots easily for cleaning and maintenance simply by cutting the zip tie to the stand pipe.

Drilling the hole should let a lot of air out of the roots too.

Zip ties are wonderful, and cheap!


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Current Tank Info: 101g 3'X3'X18" Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank, 36"X17"X18" sump
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Old 09/04/2019, 10:44 AM   #711
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Sounds like a plan. I love zip ties!

Hey, are you going to do another thread for this tank? If so, let us know where. I'd like to keep up with it.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 09/04/2019, 11:14 AM   #712
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Zip ties have come in handy for me for so many things in and outside of my tanks! Awesome invention!

Yes, but I'm not sure if I can post a link to another forum. You can find it on the NANFA forum on the Advanced Captive Care board. It's in the planted tank forum and the cichlid forum as well.


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Current Tank Info: 101g 3'X3'X18" Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank, 36"X17"X18" sump
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Old 09/11/2019, 07:37 AM   #713
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This past weekend, between fishing trips, I made some progress on the 75g stream tank. First, I drained the tank, took out the rocks, scooped out the gravel and cleaned out the silt. When I put the gravel in the first time, even though I sifted it for a couple hours while running a hose through it, it still had a bunch of silt in it.

When everything settled, the silt created a layer of scum that covered everything, including the roots and wall. It actually looked like what you'd see in a real creek. But, I cleaned it off with my hand and a sponge and cleaned the glass as best I could. Some of the silt made it's way into the crevices of the rock wall and root. It actually looks pretty realistic, so I may or may not try and clean them out. I'll wait until I fill the tank again.

I took the gravel and divided it up into two buckets, and decided to clean half at a time. It took me three hours to clean the first half, and it's not perfect, but much, much better. I think that I'll divide the other half in half again, and clean each of those 1/4 amounts one at a time. Maybe it will go faster.

Once I had everything out of the tank and finished cleaning the scum, I put the roots back in, measured where to anchor them, and zip tied them to the stand pipe (picture below). It's really secure now, won't budge, and certainly won't float again. The stand pipe is wedged in there tight to the tank and secure in the wall. I'm really happy how it turned out. There is plenty of room for my standpipe and over the roots current.


If I want to do maintenance to clean out the stand pipe, I need to remove the roots. The zip tie is easy, just cut, take the roots out, clean the standpipe, put everything back together and in, and then use another zip tie. Easy peazy.

After that, I put the mostly clean gravel into the tank, then snapped a pic. Under water, the glare from the epoxy completely disappears. This is the first pic with the new light fixture:


Next steps this weekend (hopefully, I can get them all done)
-wash the rest of the gravel and put in the tank
-redo the rockscape
-fill the tank and reset the circulation pump
-redo my spray bar for the canister filter
-set up and test the canister filter

The only thing else after that is to buy a glass top, cycle the tank, and then catch some fish for the tank.


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Current Tank Info: 101g 3'X3'X18" Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank, 36"X17"X18" sump
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Old 09/11/2019, 08:05 AM   #714
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Almost there!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 10/17/2019, 09:58 AM   #715
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Been quiet around here lately. Kevin, you getting in all the fishing trips you can before it gets cold? Anything happening with the Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank?


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 10/22/2019, 10:30 AM   #716
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Hey Michael! I've been out fishing a lot for sure. But, I've made progress. There's good news and some pretty bad news. I'll start out with the good news.

I was able to pretty much finish the stream tank. I finished washing the gravel as best that I could, added it to the tank along with the river rocks that I collected, and rockscaped the tank. I'm not certain that I'll keep it this way. More than likely, I'll remove some of the river rocks. I kinda got carried away LOL. I also purchased a glass top that didn't fit correctly. But, it worked out, because I was able to trim the plastic pieces that come with it to make up the difference and give it a good fit. All I need to do with that is cut a couple of the corners to make room for the canister filter stand pipe intake tube and the spray bar. Oh, yeah, and I finished the spray bar. Once I get the glass cut, then I'll set up and run the canister filter. This should bring the river effect into full swing, adding current across the top of the roots and across the tank. The roots are cinched down tight and are doing their job well, hiding the powerhead. Below are a few pics.

Front View:


Front Left Side:


Front Right Side:


Front View Sunset:


Here's a video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNRo_j9UGV4

Next up for this tank, cycle it, then get out there and collect fish, then add them to the tank.

Now the bad news... My 20g long oyster reef tank had an ich and velvet outbreak. I have no idea how that happened, but, it did. I had a QT set up with some fish that I recently collected, treating them with copper and Prazipro, so I moved the surviving fish into the QT. One of the blennies was too far gone and died in QT. One blenny seems OK as of last night. One goby is hanging in there. It was belly up on the bottom barely breathing two nights ago, and is at least upright and breathing better, but, is really out of it. I think it could make it, but, I'm not really optimistic. I lost all of the skilletfish, three blennies, and four gobies. Of the fish that I recently collected, I lost two skilletfish, one goby, and a couple small killifish. Most of the fish that were in QT already that I collected seem to be doing better, including a small male blenny. They're still scratching, but, they are better, I think because they're eating again. The oyster reef tank is still running with inverts, but, I pulled the oyster cultches out for some maintenance.

My 20g high tank is doing OK, but, it's fishless. I did collect another anemone for that tank, so that was nice.

Now that the stream tank is up and running, it's time for me to clean up the mess that I left behind and finish my 100g oyster reef build. Hopefully, I'll be able to save the blennies and the fish to have something in the larger tank. Otherwise, I'll have to wait until it warms again next spring to collect more fish.

Lesson learned...when fish aren't interested in food and they haven't eaten yet, they're sick. Take action.


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Current Tank Info: 101g 3'X3'X18" Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank, 36"X17"X18" sump
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Old 10/22/2019, 11:23 AM   #717
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Wow, that stream tank looks great! I agree you've got too many rocks in there. They obscure your awesome fake wall too much.

Sorry to hear of your fish illness troubles. ICH and Velvet is a tough combination.

Nevertheless, I'm excited to hear that you'll get started on the oyster reef build!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 10/22/2019, 01:44 PM   #718
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There really was a method to my madness adding the rocks though. I wanted to see what they looked like under my new light. Sometimes rocks out of the water, or not under the light underwater, don't look like they do in the light underwater. I want to pick the ones out that I think look the best. The only way that I could do that was to put all of them in. Silly, now that I think about it.

I want lots of places darters, shiners and minnows could lay eggs too, and to simulate a real river bottom. The problem is that I collected enough rocks to stock at 220g much less a 75g!!!


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Old 10/23/2019, 10:58 AM   #719
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Makes sense to me. You gotta see how they look, then pick the winners.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 10/23/2019, 01:42 PM   #720
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I'm still losing fish. The largest goby, the one that almost came back, finally died. I have three small ones that seem fine, but lost one of the small ones. The large blenny seems OK, but, isn't interested in food. That worries me.

I tested for copper and the Cuprimine dose seems too low for therapeutic, even though I followed the dosing recommendation. I'm using a Salifter test kit. So, I added 10 drops of copper again last night. I'll keep doing it until I get to the therapeutic level. I don't want my fish suffering any longer.


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Old 11/04/2019, 06:15 PM   #721
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Another good news and bad news post. First, the good news:

The stream tank is completely done, ready for fish. Here's a video below. I still need to cycle it, but not a problem. I installed the canister filter and spray bar, and it is working just as planned, shooting current over top of the roots and across the top of the tank. The powerhead is hidden behind the roots and shoots current through the roots. There is an eddy effect, which is what I'm going for, so I'm happy with that. I also pulled a lot of the river rocks out, keeping my favorites, and I added a couple pieces of shale that I collected from a fossil site along a tributary of my river. I layered the rocks so that it appears that some sluff off of the wall (as Andy and Matt suggested) and will add a couple more soon. I have to dig them out of my fossil collection, LOL. I also have a preview of my sunrise to sunset feature of my light.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-O35-t5mGTg

Now the bad news. All of my benthic fish died in QT, succumbed to velvet. Copper treatment almost worked, giving them some relief, but, I'm not convinced that my test kit worked well enough and perhaps my copper levels weren't at therapeutic levels. I think I'm going to invest in the Hanna Instruments copper test device.

So, since my stream project is done, have no feature fish in my 20g oyster reef tank, which I broke down for the most part, will leave me time to focus on my big oyster reef tank with a goal of collecting again in April, as soon as it warms up. The oyster tank is still running, with no reef, just a live oyster, a bunch of tube anemones, a few mussels and barnacles, a few mud crabs and plenty of worms. It will run fallow until spring. I have in my QT some live fish from my last collecting trip, some rainwater killies and one sheepshead minnow. In my 20g high, I have an anemone, some mussels, a hermit crab, and plenty of mud crabs.

The big tank: I have to finish the stand first, then I can set the tank up. After that, I'll work on plumbing to my sump through my basement wall. I have to work out the lighting installation. Also, I want to build a water changing station, including my RO/DI unit.


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Current Tank Info: 101g 3'X3'X18" Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank, 36"X17"X18" sump
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Old 11/04/2019, 10:30 PM   #722
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That stream tank is cool! Nice job with the whole setup. And the rocks are nicely done! Amazing fake wall and roots to boot! Slick lighting too.

Sorry for your losses. Sounds like you have a lot of fun stuff remaining though. Hopefully you can hold onto some for the big tank. I kept a holding tank for my rebuild, and I'm glad I did.

Good luck with the next stuff!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/05/2019, 08:26 AM   #723
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The tank looks awesome!


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Old 11/05/2019, 08:36 AM   #724
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Thank you Michael. I'll remain optimistic for the future. I have learned a lot though the process. Maybe my V2 will be as successful as yours!


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Current Tank Info: 101g 3'X3'X18" Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank, 36"X17"X18" sump
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Old Yesterday, 10:18 AM   #725
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Thank you McPuff.

Well, no aquarium project is completely finished until it supports life, and in this case, fish. I had a little time late on Sunday to get out to a creek that is only 15 minutes from my house to catch a few fish. My goal was to collect a few minnows of any time, and if lucky, a couple darters. So, I gathered up my hip boots, a bucket, and my net, and headed to the creek.

After about a quarter mile hike, I got to the spot that I wanted to collect. I had about an hour or so before the lost of daylight. I walked the creek bank for a bit and didn't see any fish at all. Either the fish weren't there, or the cold weather had them all hiding. I wasn't sure if perhaps they migrated out of the creek and into the river or were still there.

I climbed into the creek and tried kicking up leaves and, sure enough, the first fish showed up in the net, a small eastern black nosed dace (Rhinichthys atratulus). It was tiny, and I didn't want tiny fragile fish in a new tank. So, I kept disturbing leaves and eventually, found more larger fish of the same species. I kept five of them for the tank. I moved from pool to pool disturbing rocks and leaves with my feet, but, no darters.

So, I decided to start turning over larger rocks with my hand. So, I rolled up my shirt sleeves and began to work. I turned over the rocks, used my other hand to scare anything underneath into my net, which leaned precariously against my leg. After a few rocks, finally, a beautiful male rainbow darter (Etheostoma caeruleum)showed up in my net!

I was so pumped, what a beautiful fish. I should have taken a picture then, but, my phone was in my jacket on the creek bank a few pools back. It was very dark, and his orange/red fins were stunning. I kept turning over rocks looking for a female companion for him.

After a few more rocks turned over, another darter showed up in the net. At first, I thought it was a female, but, on closer inspection, it was a different species. It was a fantail darter (Etheostoma flabellare). I tried for a while more, working down each pool with no more success on darters. I caught a sculpin, but released it, along with several more blacknose dace. Since daylight was ending, I called it quits, happy with what I caught. Not just happy, elated!

I took the fish home, stuck an airstone in the bucket and let it alone for about four hours, so the water temps would warm to room temperature in my basement, about 64 degrees. The creek was quite cold, so it took a while. I tested a few parameters of the creek water and they were very similar to those of my tank. After that, I netted the fish out of my bucket and released them into my tank.

Within an hour, the dace and fantail darters were exploring the tank. The rainbow darter hid and sulked for a long time, perhaps more than two hours before coming out to explore. I fed a few flakes to the dace, and they ate. I didn't expect the darters to eat the flakes, so, I tossed in some blackworms. The fantail darter ate some immediately, as did the dace. The rainbow darter had no interest in food yet.

Last night, I came home from a fishing trip and rushed downstairs to observe my new fish. All of the fish were happy, doing what they do. The darters explore every nook and cranny in the tank, hunting for food. I fed them flakes again first, thinking the dace would get full and not eat the worms. I learned that they are never full.

I dropped in some blackworm with a turkey baster, target feeding near the darters to make sure that they got at least one worm to eat, and that worked. Both darters ate them with gusto. Success! The fish are feeding already, and seem happy in their new environment. I marveled at the personality of both darters, and the brilliant coloration of the male, not yet in breeding colors, but still amazing that fish like that live so close to me.

I put together a video of the clips from the last two days, showing the tank with fish. I hope you enjoy it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIcr2BOH_7U


__________________
Blennies Rock!

--Kevin Wilson

Current Tank Info: 101g 3'X3'X18" Cubish Oyster Reef Blenny tank, 36"X17"X18" sump
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