Ebola´s Aquarium

EbolaEbola Acolyte
edited July 2010 in Life
Welcome to Ebola´s aquarium (or at least post about it)

I just rewrote this post at some other forum and then realized that it should be here :cool:

I have owned and setup many aquariums over the years; big and small, fresh water and saltwater, planted and non-planted, solitary, biotop and community but my current project is the most interesting, which is why I thought I´d share it here.

This is what it looks like now:
Nightview.jpg Nightview2.jpg

Overall idea
The whole idea of this project is to have a big tank dedicated to a primary and a secondary species and a few "worker" fish. The primary fishes are Silver Monos and the secondary will be Colombian Shark Catfish. The Monos will domminate the tank and the "sharks" will roam along the bottom.
The special thing about both these species is that they both get born in freshwater and migrate to costal areas of either brackish or marine water, some ending in "real" ocean water. Depending on situation this process/migration takes a year to four in nature. I will mimmic it over the next three years through gradual waterchanging with saltier water.
There is and will be relativly few plants. Even in its freshwater stage I try to go for a light, sandy and "beachy" look, with a few reeds and long plants. Once it is saltwater, plants won´t survieve and only a little Caulerpa algee will be there insted.

List of fish:
6x Silver Monos (Monodactylus Argentus) (got 8 at the moment but will remove two as they grow)
4x "Sharks" (Arius Seemanii) (still to come, will get 6 and remove two as they grow)
10x Odessa Barbs (Puntius Odessa) (will be removed or eaten as the Monos and "sharks" grow)
10x Blue/Green Chromis (Chromis viridis) (to be added once the tank is salty enough).

List of plants:
1x Cryptocoryne aponogetifolia (grows VERY long and requires regular grooming)
5x Cryptocoryne (come in MANY variants, will maintain 5x as long as salinity allows)
5x Water Oinon (Crinum thaianum) (are very tolerant to salty water)
Caulerpa Caulerpa (grows rapidly, needs a lot of grooming)

Live corals?
With the Monos and "sharks" being reef-compatible, it will be possible to add live corals in about three years :) If we chose to do so, it will be mostly Red Xenia (Xenia umbellata). This is for several reasons. One is that I have kept it sucessfully before and it was the most rapidly growing and hardy of the corals I had, and also that they are relativly cheap (if anything can be considered cheap in a saltwater tank...) at about 40-50 USD for a fist sized one. Also I am not a fan of colour "spamming" and prefer a few but domminating colours rather than a vivid mix of many.

Tech
The tank itself is a Juwel Trigon 350 (in black) 85ish gallon corner tank with a curved front. It had a built-in filtersystem in the back corner that I have changed,

Filter
The original built-in filter has been changed to a "pre filter" containing a foam screen (easy cleanable) and filled with "bio-balls" for increased biological filtering.
This is a top view of the old corner filter, now used as a pre-filter:
DSC00285.jpg
The back hose draws water from the bottom of the pre-filter and water returns to the tank from the front hose. The top of the heater is visible to the left.

The main filter is an external Fluval FX5 canister filter. This 5 gallon filter I filled with porous ceramic rings (besides the included foam filter screens) for even more biological filtering, giving a total filter volume above 8 gallons (almost 10% of the entire system). I allowed a little space for chemical filtering if needed later. I had the rotor axl replaced with a ceramic one better suited for saltwater.
fluval_FX5_compartimentos.jpg
(not my own pic)

Lighting
The tank was "born" with 2x24W and 2x45W tubes which I have supplemented with a 13W T5 tube. Not only does it give me enough light to potentially enjoy the look, it also allows gradually (in 3 steps) lowering or increasing the light for a more smooth "dusk" and "dawn" (not to startle the later Arius Seemanii). I will add a few spots for point lighting and viewing at night. All tubes are run on timers providing about 13 hours of "day" and 11 hours of "night". I also have extra tube sets for DIY built-ins and I´m considering adding more for future corals.

Decoration/gravel
The gravel is crushed coral and all "stones" are (and will be) dead coral stone. No metals are allowed in saltwater incl. stones containing metalic deposits (especially lava). This will also help stabalizing the pH at the required 8.0-8.5
The only other "dead" objects are some bamboo. The sticks are all weighted in one end and can easily be moved when cleaning and also sway nicely in the current :) They will rot with time (even faster in saltwater) and require replacing.

Where are we now?
The Monos just arrived yesterday. They were packed individually (which is common with expensive fishes) and all in visually good condition. Seen below still in bags for acclimatation:
Inbags.jpg

During acclimatation one of them jumped into the tank premature but did fine and now seems to be "leader" of the group. After letting out the last seven, one of them displayed darker colours and was hiding in a corner with a list. I thought "darn, thats the weak one" (one of the two destined not to live their adult lives in the tank) but that was what could be expected. Shortly after the "leader" came and "nudged" the dark one a few times and it righted itself and joined the group. They are now swimming together all eight and are very lively.

As the Monos were "home" I made the bamboo "reeds" cut in lengths to go all the way from bottom and above the surface to mainting the illusion of them being a small part of bigger plants.

Whats left to do?
The next I will do is make background boxes. They will be placed behind the tank and made from old 3d backgrounds with some stuff added. This will help create the illusion of a deeper tank.

Within a month I should be able to get the "sharks". Once they are there the three year process of salting the water will start. I will keep a log of all water parameters, water changes and salt amount to make it easier as time goes.

I will keep updating on the progress towards the finished tank. Any tips on taking pics of the fish and the tank would be greatly appriciated :) Lighting, angles etc. are giving me slight problems (besides the fish not wanting to stand still and smile at the camera :) ).

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