Monday, February 2, 2009

full and stocked

So I have had the tank up and running for a while now, and things are exactly what I had envisioned when I started out with this project. I stocked slowly at first, and now have a shoal of 80 harlequin rasboras, groups of three-spot gouramis (we fished for these off of our front porch in my first rainy season in Thailand), moonlight gouramis, snakeskin gouramis (a favorite Thai jerky treat), siamese algae eaters (endemic to Thailand), and Khulii loaches, along with a single red-tailed shark (thought to be extinct in the wild, yet can be found in every country that keeps fish in aquariums, endemic to Thailand). So here is the tank stocked and planted, better than TV!!
A couple months ago from the "left" side

Last month from the "right" side, plants have filled in a bit.

...and a few inhabitants shots
Gold three spot, the king of the tank, or so he thinks.

Siamese algae eater.

snakeskin gourami, can't wait til these guys are 10"+!!

When I was planning this tank, I had some specific things in mind. A large showpiece, and I didn't want to spend all of my time keeping it looking like a showpiece. I am so happy with what it has become! Here are a few things about the tank that allow me to enjoy my fish, and not spend my fish time doing tank maintinance.

Live plants
The perfect natural aquarium filter, I actually have to add "fish waste" in the form of chemical fertilizers to the water because the plants use the available nutrients from the fish faster than the fish can make it.

Low light
Relatively slow plant growth = little to no pruning. High light tanks can grow plants fast, which is nice if that is what you are going for, but I have not had to prune this tank in three month, and it will go another month or more before it needs it. I also rarely have to wipe algae from the viewing panes.

Auto waterchanger
I traded some snakes for this reverse osmosis filtration unit.

It removes just about everything from the tap water so I am left with 99.9% pure H2o with nothing dissolved in it. I have it on an auto sprinkler timer to add about 5% of the tank volume everyday. This flows into the sump where there is an overflow bulkhead which goes right to the drain, changing 5% of the tank volume every day "the secret to pollution is dilution!". This also keeps the tank topped off at all times.

Lights are also on timers, and the fish do the rest. I just feed, and watch, and feed some more! I love being able to enjoy my animals without feeling like all I ever do is clean things. I really think it turned out to be the perfect showpiece for the basement!