Creatures,  Hobbies,  Ramblings

A Fresh Chance to Start Right

Okie doles, as my phone likes to auto-correct. There is now another tank in the house. The ten gallon I may or may not have mentioned ordering is now set up on a relatively unstable shelf in our living room. I am not talented when it comes to aquascaping. Perhaps if I had rooms of rocks and sticks available to choose from, I could do something more elaborate. As it is, we have to choose from what’s on the shelf at our tiny aquarium shop and try to visualize the look without the tank to use for sizing things properly. I do believe if I owned a shop, I’d have standard tanks set up for people to use for staging their ideas, acrylic, of course. Or maybe one large edged platform with measurements along the sides. Regardless, I have a difficult time ‘scaping a tank in such a way that it limits the swimming room for any fish we stock. A ten gallon tank, or something like 9.6 gallons, technically, is pretty small already. It doesn’t allow for much designing, in my opinion, if you want to see your fish and give them room to move. Despite this minimal decor, the tank only took about seven gallons of water to fill.

Right now there are six dream blue velvet shrimp in there. You can just make out one in the lower left corner of the picture. I’m sorry about that image. The light we chose for this tank hasn’t arrived yet, so I am forced to open the front door and use that light for the plants; that’s why Heaven is erupting from the back right side. Despite how bright the overexposed image appears, the aquarium itself is not lit overly well. I hear it’s better to use low light for newly planted tanks, since when the plants are first put in they’re just getting acclimated and won’t grow as much initially, which leaves all that beneficial light and whatever that all does, for the algae that’s just lying in wait. Let us pretend it was done intentionally.

We’ve only had one problem tank for algae and that’s the formerly plants only tank, which has a substrate of Seachem Flourite. That is the only difference between that tank and all the others and I’m going to be redoing it, so I can completely remove the Seachem Flourite and see if that helps with the algae.

We have the shrimp in the aquarium to help establish the “cycling” necessary for a new tank. I am a novice when it comes to aquariuming (you want to tell me that’s not a word, don’t you?) so don’t assume I know what I’m talking about. However, I have watched many videos and read many pages regarding this cycling thing, and I can tell you this without hesitation: people don’t explain things succinctly. Here is an image that shows what’s going on. (And here is the article is comes from, in case you have time to read a novella.)

Here’s what else I can tell you without hesitation: If you don’t cycle your tank, you’re increasing the possibility of your tank suffering an ammonia spike, especially if you load the new tank with multiple critters, and then you’re changing the water every day for like three weeks. Ask me how I know.

Just do the cycling. I don’t care if you’ve never had an issue before. Unless you tested your water, you could very well have had an issue, and your fish just survived it. We never would have suspected an issue if the shrimp hadn’t started flinging themselves out of the water, smashing their goopy little bodies against the glass and then just hanging out there until I pushed them back into the poison, and the loach started swimming with his butt nearly vertical at every pause.

We tested and then began the insane amount of water changing necessary to lower the ammonia while things worked themselves out. We had used a plethora of Quick Start, but that didn’t seem to matter, so I wouldn’t advise relying on that.

The shrimp are in there for their bio load, or their waste. Don’t get mad. I do hope they survive any spike that may occur while the tank does its thing, but they’re also semi-sacrificial. We are rooting for them, but they’re there in place of the chunk of rotting salmon someone suggested. We will test the water regularly, but if the levels start to rise, they’ll probably be moved to one of the established tanks, and the tank will be left to right itself. I’m not water changing that thing every night. I say they’ll probably be moved because shrimp are difficult to capture when there are a lot of cubbies and even when there aren’t a lot of cubbies. They flick like a blink from one place to another so fast you can hardly see it happen.

Here are the products being used in the ten gallon tank and every other tank, sans the formerly plants only one, where Douglas and the ember tetras now reside.

Filter: AquaClear Power Filter 30 (for 10-30 gallon tanks)

  • Inside, we use the sponge and carbon that comes with it, but in place of the ceramic bits that are included, we use Eheim SubstratPro biological filtration media, which we put in a mesh bag whose brand is unknown to me because a bag is a bag.
  • Also on the filter intake tube is an AquaClear 30 foam block, cut to size, with a hole cut/bored into the center. It helps to prevent shrimp being sucked up into the filter. Ask me how I know.

Heater: Eheim Jager TruTemp 75-watt

  • This heater is somewhat finicky to calibrate, but once you get it to where you need it to be, it’s quite reliable and steady. Our ten gallon tank doesn’t need the 75-watt version, but that’s all our store had on hand. If we were to have ordered it, we’d have probably chosen the 50-watt, which is good for 7-16 gallons.

Light (on its way): Twinstar 450e

Substrate: Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum

Gravel/Sand: CaribSea Super Natural, Torpedo Beach Sand and CaribSea African Cichlid Mix, Ivory Coast

  • Here is an up-close view of the gravelsandsubstrate. The black orbs are the Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum, the rest, I believe, is just the CaribSea African Cichlid Mix, Ivory Coast. There may or may not be a bit of CaribSea Super Natural, Torpedo Beach Sand mixed in there. I don’t remember. Douglas says, “Gluhglwuhlgwuhlgwuhlg,” which Google Translate says means, “I am useless at eating the ramshorn snails that are attempting to overtake my tank.”

Pebbles: Estes’s Natural Aquarium Gravel, Swift Creek

Wood: spider wood

Rocks: pagoda stone

Plants: I have no idea. I don’t keep track of them.

Note: I have purchased multiple tanks from, so I’m confident in recommending them, though I have never ordered anything else, most especially plants and live fish. Any other site I’ve linked is for you to view the item. I am not suggesting you order from any site I’ve linked, except perhaps None of my links are affiliate or sponsored.

Title From:
No Time Flat
by Uncle Lucius