Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Adding Plants

Today I added some plants to my new 55 gallon tank!  I like to keep my tanks bare-bottom (with no substrate) for easier maintenance, so I normally just tie some anubias or java fern onto large rocks if I want to add plants to my tank.  But this time I tried a different approach.  I wanted to have the plants rooted in gravel, but not have gravel throughout the entire tank.  So, I purchased this planter from Ikea.  The rounded corners make it ideal for use in a goldfish tank, since goldfish are clumsy swimmers and are constantly bumping into things. 



















I removed the stickers and filled it with black aquarium gravel.


I chose to plant a few different anubias varieties.  I got these plants online several months ago, and they're holding up to my abuse quite well.  I'm not so good with most aquatic plants, since I'm always uprooting and rearranging them! 


I arranged them how I wanted in the planter.


Then I carefully lowered the planter into the tank, and viola!



I love how it turned out.  It adds some more visual interest to the tank while still being easy to maintain, and it doesn't create a hazard for the fish.

Aquarium Sump Assembly- Part 3

The tank is finally finished!  The company I ordered the check valve from sent me the wrong size by accident, but I was still able to make it work.  The fish seem very happy to be in their new home, and I'm happy to not have a big tub of water sitting on my floor anymore.  :) 

Here's a video of them in the finished tank.

 







Friday, November 18, 2011

Aquarium Sump Assembly- Part 2

I made some progress on my 55 gallon tank setup!  Now I'm pretty much just waiting on a few more parts and waiting for the silicone to cure before I can set it up.


Here I'm siliconing the acrylic parts into the sump.  I used some books and rolls of tape I had laying around to support the pieces while they dried.




This is how I attached the UV sterilizer to the tank.  I used two PVC pipe hooks, and attached them to the back of the stand.  The UV fits perfectly.




Here's a zoomed-out view.



Then I attached the hoses.  I couldn't quite finish this part because I still need a check valve, which is coming in the mail.





This is where the drain hose meets the sump.  I used PVC glue to attach the PVC to the bulkhead, and then clamped the hose onto the PVC elbow.




And here's a view from the front with the doors open.



















I can just imagine the fish asking me...









Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Aquarium Sump Assembly- Part 1

The aquarium store finally finished the parts for my sump!  However, there was a major miscommunication or something, and it's not exactly what I expected.  I think I can still make it work though.   I found out the reason why they took so long too; apparently they aren't doing well financially and may even go out of business soon, so things have been really haywire there in the past month.  So I just decided to take what I could get as far as the sump goes, because if I rejected what they made I would be back to square one.  With fish waiting for the tank to be ready, I just can't afford to do that!  My main concern is that the sump is only a 10 gallon tank, which everyone says will be a problem because it will evaporate quickly.  I'll just have to keep an eye on that and be sure to top it off between water changes.  So anyway, I can finally begin the assembly and get my new broadtails set up in the 55 gallon tank!


Here's the tank with all the parts I need to assemble.










Sump parts.







Here is how it will look once assembled.  The chamber on the left will be full of bioballs, I just don't have them yet.


















Meanwhile, I'm happy to report that the two broadtails are doing really well!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Broadtails are Settling in...

My new red broadtails are doing well!  They're slowly recovering from the stress of shipping and are swimming around more, so I decided to give them a little bit of food today.  Feeding them seems to have encouraged even more swimming around!  I am the kind of person who names my fish, and I decided on Callisto for the female (the larger one) and Ganymede for the male. I've been changing as much of the water as I can each day, which ends up being about 75%, and the water parameters are looking great.  I'm keeping the water as pristine as possible to avoid any additional stress on them. 



















I'm getting so impatient to get them set up in their permanent home!  They will be the sole inhabitants of my new 55 gallon tank.  The tank itself is all ready, except that I'm still waiting on the fish store to build the sump for me.  For my 75 gallon tank, I built my own sump out of a 20 gallon long tank.  But the stand for the 55 gallon tank is so narrow that nothing fits very well underneath, so my plan was to have the fish store custom-make a sump that will fit well and still be large enough.  Well, I've been waiting for three weeks now, and at the end of each week I call to ask about the progress.  I keep getting the same answer; "we're really busy right now, but we'll call you back on Monday about it.".  Needless to say, they keep failing to call, and they haven't even begun to work on it yet.  It didn't bother me so much before, but now that I have fish that need to go in the tank, I'm getting very impatient about it.  These two fish are much bigger than I expected, and I think they would be better off in the 55 gallon tank than in the ~25 gallon QT tub (even though the tub is only temporary).  Here is my lovely (but yet unusable) new 55 gallon tank set up and waiting, with the QT tub on the floor next to it.  Kinda funny! 


Thursday, November 10, 2011

New Fish Arrival

The two new broadtails have arrived! They are a little stressed from shipping, but otherwise look to be in good shape!





Setting up a Quarantine Tub (New Fish!)

I'm expecting two new fish in the mail tomorrow morning! They are two vibrant red Chinese broadtails, here's a quick sneak peek of them.












I'm tracking their delivery progress online, and right now they're in Memphis, Tennessee! For their quarantine I'm using a 26 gallon clear plastic bin, filtered by an Aquaclear 110 filter. The filter is full of fine filter floss, and in the morning I'll seed it with plenty of cycled media (in the form of ceramic rings) from another tank. I also added an air stone to aerate the water well. Since the filter sits up rather high on the tub and makes loud splashing noises, I used a couple small clamps to attach some filter floss to the front of the filter, reducing the noise.

It doesn't look like much, but it does the trick!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

An Introduction to the Butterfly Telescope Goldfish

"The Butterfly Tail ... often flutters its lovely tail fins like a girl in the flower of her youth taking a leisurely stroll- all innocence, vitality, and not a hint of worry or sadness.  Words simply cannot do it justice."
-Louise Chan

The butterfly telescope is most easily recognized by its large, unforked caudal fins that resemble the outstretched wings of a butterfly when viewed from above. When the fish is at rest, the tail should spread out on a horizontal plane, forming a butterfly shape. In the ideal fish, the tail tips should begin to wrap around toward the fish’s head somewhat similar to that of a tosakin. The two caudal fins should be split half-way or more, and each tail should have little to no fork in-between the lobes. The tail should be long, but not so long that it loses the overall butterfly appearance.

















The dorsal fin should be held upright. The leading ray on the dorsal fin should come up straight, and the following rays should curve slightly backward. The telescopic eyes can be globe eyes, dome eyes, flat eyes, or anything in-between. The fish's body should be deep and round, and some fish have a slight hint of the ryukin-like hump starting behind the head. Traditionally, these fish are meant to be top-view fish (and many would argue the tail is best appreciated this way), but they are gaining popularity as side-view fish as well. The butterfly telescope is found in many different color types including: panda, black, white, purple, lavender, calico, red/white, red, kirin, metallic calico, and sakura. Since more traditional color types like red, red/white, and black have been established for longer, they tend to produce healthier and more robust fish. So for beginners wanting to try butterfly telescopes, it's a good idea to stick to the more traditional color types at first.

I have found these fish very rewarding to keep because they generally have very sweet and laid-back personalities. A few can be feisty, but for the most part, they are docile and can easily be trained to hand-feed.

Common Telescope Eye Types

Top-view Photos of Eye Types
A calico butterfly with globe eyes.


A red butterfly with flat eyes.


A black butterfly with dome eyes.