Algae Process

A while ago I had visited a friend who had a wonderful looking aquarium. I grilled him on it, and he told me about the Walstad type tank with live plants. The theory is that the plants take up the nitrogen and other bad things the fish produce while giving off good things the fish need. This means there is less tank maintenance because there is no algae growth (a by product of the fishes nitrogen production). It can also mean you can stock your tank with more fish.

After doing a bit of research I decided to go for it. First I had to find some dirt that had nothing in it except dirt (no fertilizers). Then I had to find a tank to hold my fish temporarily. Then I had to make time to get it done.

When I had the time I transferred water to the borrowed tank and moved my fish over. I completely drained my tank, cleaned it out, then added some topsoil to the bottom. I then cleaned all the gravel I had and put a small covering on top of the topsoil.

After a trip to a fish store I then planted my new plants in the dirt, added some decorative wood, then began the process of filling the tank.


emptying the tank


tank with plants half full


full tank

Soon after the tank was full I noticed the discoloured water. I expected this, but it got very dark quite quickly. Nightly for about a week I would flush out 30% – 50% of the water. By this point I was getting tired of this, but I was committed. I kept with it until it seemed to stabilize. It is still coloured, but at least I can see my fish.

A few more google searches later I may have found the culprit of the water colouring. The expensive fancy wood I bought. Grr. I may take it out to see what happens, but I like the look of it. I am not sure what to do about that.

Today I added some more plants and two more yellow Platy’s. I’m hoping this works out. I do like the planted tanks and I am looking forward to less maintenance.

Fancy Plant

On the weekend I made a trip out to Petsmart for some more things for my tank.

I got three fancy Tequila Sunrise Guppies to round out my fish population. They add some nice color and I really like the mix I have now. There is one Leopard Danio, one Red Long Fin Tetra, one Albino Cory, one Otocinclus, one blue Fancy Guppy, four Black Neon Tetras, and the three Tequila Sunrise Guppies. Those and many crayfish 🙂

I also picked up a live plant for the tank. It has been a while since I had one. When I got home I planted it appropriately and while I was doing that one of the five leaves broke off. Bummer. When I came back a few minutes later, the plant was floating, so I had to replant it a little deeper this time. A little later it was floating again. This kept happening throughout the day and got very frustrating. Leaves kept breaking off too.

By the time I went to bed, there were two leaves left on the root system. When I got up this morning, the plant was floating again, and only one leaf was attached. Grrr. Now I am starting to wonder if the crayfish are doing something to the plant.

Crayfish Personal

Bummer. When I got up today I saw that my largest crayfish had died. Just yesterday it looked fine and was zipping around the tank. Today, nothing. It just lay on its side not moving and looking way too pale.

As I was scooping it out of the tank Elliot was asking me about what I was doing and why. I told him about how sometimes when pets get old they die. I stayed away from mentioning Yoshi.

Of course Elliot being a boy wanted to see it up close and personal.

Colorful Sides

I was needing something else to add to the aquarium these days, so I though I would head out and see about picking up some schooling fish. I was thinking neon tetras since they are pretty colorful.

At PetSmart the guy I talked to mentioned that they just got their neon tetra shipment and he was still seeing a big die off. It was likely that some or all the fish I bought wouldn’t make it.

Instead I got directed toward the Black Neon Tetra tank.

I watched them a few minutes and decided to get a group of five for the tank. So far I really like them. They mainly stick together, are a little smaller than the rest of the fish, but are just as active. In the store I couldn’t see it, but in my tank I see that they are a really cool silver color, with a blue and a black stripe down their sides.

Miniature Problem

Last night when I was feeding the fish I discovered that I don’t have one baby crayfish, I actually have two baby crayfish’s. Each one is now about 1.5 inches long and look exactly like miniature versions of their parents minus the blue color. The babies are more of a brown color and still blend in with the surroundings quite well.

I will have to keep on top of the population. My co-worker who gave me the 4 crayfish still has too many of them and I don’t want a repeat of my snail problem.

Cleaner Rocks

Last weekend I was out at PetSmart getting a few supplies for around the house, and I decided to get another fish. I only had one Cory left, and I wanted another cleaner fish so I looked through their stock a bit before I found what I was looking for.

I chose an Otocinclus. This fish attaches itself to the side of the tank and eats the algae. Occasionally it swims around to another location, but most of its time is attached to the tank.

I also cleaned the tank this week. After moving one of the decorations, I caught a glimpse of a teeny, tiny crayfish. It is still alive. Cool. Hopefully it makes it. Right now the crayfish is about a centimetre long and dark like the rocks in the tank. When it doesn’t move, you can’t tell it is a living creature.

Speck Ready

Last night as I was closing up the house before bed I noticed the tank light wasn’t on. I had forgotten to feed the fish.

Right after I turned the light, out the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of movement. A tiny speck was hanging on to the back wall of the tank.

Looking closer I saw it move. It was a very, very tiny crayfish. At least one of the babies has hatched.

I fed the fish then watched as this tiny crayfish tried to blend in with the rocks and other decorations. I guess it was less than 5mm long. Very, very hard to see. I’m curious what happened to the rest of the eggs in the sac. After seeing one crayfish with some eggs, I later saw a second carrying eggs and making a bit of a nest under the rocks.

Curiosity is strong though. I want to move the tank decor to see what is going on underneath, but I also don’t want to disturb them tiny creatures. When they are ready they will make their way out. I’ll have to be careful next time I clean the tank though.

Pieces Molted

Last night when I got home I could see some crayfish shell on the bottom of the tank. I was sad that one of them had gotten eaten.

I looked a little closer, and the only crayfish that I couldn’t immediately see was the smallest one. Looking at the shell pieces I decided they were too big for the tiny crayfish. I moved a couple of the decorations and the tiny crayfish bolted.

One of the crayfish must have molted. Today I asked my co-worker who I got them from and he confirmed that they do that about once a year. Cool.