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Old 03-04-2015, 09:36 PM   #21
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greetings Coursair, I appreciate your concern. I am on the higher side, but the guy I bought it from seemed to think it would be fine and he's a community planted tank specialists. this morning I unplugged the heater altogether to see if the temp would come down. I was shooting originally for 77f. I have read about quite a few people having success at that temp with Hillstream Loachs as long as oxygen/flow is adequate. I should probably get a second temperature gauge so I know exactly where it 's at. from the gauge I have now, it hovers around 78-79, which is higher than I'd like. the good news is that I have three filters going and substantial flow throughout the tank with lots of plants and this little guy is eating like a champ, scouring the glass and wood of algae and even swimming up into the water column at feeding time to snag bits of Repashy gel. it's really quite an active fish and appears to be very healthy. I do appreciate your concern and should be getting the temp down a few degrees in the coming weeks as I tweak the ventilation intake and outflow to bring more heat to the substrate in the BRB vivarium substrate. If I have to, I can even vent heat by circulating air through tubing on the outside of the dome to cool things down on it's way between enclosures. hopefully with the heater off, it will cool a few degrees at night, which will hopefully help keep the peak daytime temp down. I'll keep everyone posted.
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Old 03-05-2015, 02:27 AM   #22
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Ok, sounds good. I know they get stuck in a lot of tanks that aren't suitable. Great fish, I hope to have some someday. My friend has 3 babies that hatched in her tank.
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Old 03-05-2015, 09:08 AM   #23
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I couldn't get this thread to load the last time I saw it because of my poor service, I'm glad it came up today. It's a great build.
I second the concern for the Hillstream, they usually have just a few months in heated aquariums before suffocating, but the oxygen levels going in your tank are good. Good oxygen doesn't make them a warm water fish, but it gives them a better chance.
It's a really great build though.
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Old 03-10-2015, 06:56 PM   #24
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well I've hit my first snag. it appears that one of the glass catfish came with ich and about the time I started moving forward with sealing up the dome, it spread wildly along with some fin rot in the white clouds, which I missed at first because the females were being quite nippy, so I thought it was just a bit of fin loss from that. My response was to set up a QT tank, which I should have done earlier and treat the effected individuals. Also, I took some reverse steps and increased ventilation to the outside and upped the water change schedule. I believe the culprit was two fold. I think one of the glass catfish came with some ich that didn't get an edge until conditions in the tank became stressful from over feeding. yep, I think I fell prey to the classic reaction of over feeding as an attempt to make sure everyone got some food. in particular, I've been concerned that the african dwarf frogs get enough. I have since then cut back on feeding and started "hand feeding" the frogs with a section of tubing, that I blow through to deliver blood worms directly in front of them. Man, it's hard to believe these guys survive in the wild, food can be right in front of them and they don't detect it. their eye site seems virtually zero, pecking at sand as much as the food. they are learning fast, and eating more. fortunately we are back on the mend and things are looking mostly back to normal, fingers crossed. I may have to resort to upping the temp and using salt on the planted tank if the QT isn't enough.
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Old 04-06-2015, 04:53 PM   #25
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after putting the white clouds and hatchet fish back into the main tank, they quickly developed fin issues again so back into the quarantine tank they went.
worthy of note, the butterfly hill stream loach is doing great, in fact between the fan shrimp, snails and Loach the tank is staying very clean. I haven't had to clean the glass in weeks.

for a while it was quite a balancing act between overfeeding, underfeeding and perhaps having too many fish or perhaps not the perfect combo for the water conditions.

After talking it through with a local expert a few recommendations were given.

1) keep the effected fish in the quarantine tank for an extended period (4-6 weeks), letting both tanks normalize.

2) steadily increase feeding while keeping an eye on chemistry to assure that the fin issues are not from hunger driven fin nipping.


so I have done this with success so far. out of 53 fish, I lost one and for the most part everyone looks happy and healthy.

also it turns out the water in the main aquarium is harder and higher PH than the QT tank because of steps I take to condition the main tank water. hatchets and white clouds like softer more acidic water, so that may explain why the fin issues go away with the unconditioned rainwater in the QT tank. One glass catfish remains in the QT tank as well because it still is not looking robust and clear, this is the one that had Ick pretty bad, because it hung out behind all the plants and things got bad before I noticed, it is probably the source of the Ick in the first place (kicking myself for not having a quarantine tank set up previously). I am going to wait a couple of weeks more while adjusting the conditioning of the main tank to move it in a slightly more acidic and softer direction, before adding back the hatchets and white clouds.

after being reminded of how difficult disease control can be, I am also taking extra steps to purify the rain water. In addition to the screen on the gutters, the first flush adapter at the cistern and the fine screen at the entrance to the cistern I now also run the water through a filter that connects to the garden hose that I use to fill the water change buckets and then boil the water. I do need to get a handle on how to make water changes easier down the line, but for now I still feel better about using rainwater than treated tap water.

As far as reaching my goals, my main one was to create an ultra energy efficient system, and from that perspective I have succeeded, the heater rarely comes on as the tank and snake vivarium are heated pretty much entirely from the heat of the LED lights. my second goal was to increase CO2 in the water naturally (without toxing the fish). I feel like I have made some modest strides there. the plants are doing great and the co2 drop meter shows me being in the green without CO2 injection. my third goal of making a sealed bio-dome is still a work in progress and less of a motivation than the other two. Once I get an 02 sensor in the vivarium I may try and seal up the system again. I am leery though, as my friend who works at the Monterey Bay Aquarium pointed out, with a closed system, you are dealing with the build up of more gasses than just co2 and o2 and it can be really tricky monitoring every possibility. I will be happy in the end if a bubbler drawing from air outside the system is adequate for circulation while still allowing the Co2 level in the aquarium to concentrate somewhat for better plant growth.

The snake vivarium is doing much better after some adjustments. keeping a Brazilian Rainbow Boa at 80+% humidity and the upper 70's is a ripe environment for mold, which was a big issue early on, possibly enough that pumping moldy air from that environment into the main tank was a source of additional stress. I procured some springtails from Josh's frogs dot com and they seem to have gone to town on the mold. just like a fish tank, terrariums/vivariums cycle as well, so the terrestrial aspect is more stable overall biologically at this point. the smell is much better now and I am getting ready for my next round of certified organic fertilizer for the plants, thinking the spring tail colony is well enough established to keep up with mold that grows from the nutrients. our snake is doing wonderfully, having molted twice now and she has grown quite a bit. her skin has a great sheen and no illness issues.

all in all, things are good and we are having fun. the kids are very excited to watch as things evolve!
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Old 04-06-2015, 05:38 PM   #26
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after putting the white clouds and hatchet fish back into the main tank, they quickly developed fin issues again so back into the quarantine tank they went.
worthy of note, the butterfly hill stream loach is doing great, in fact between the fan shrimp, snails and Loach the tank is staying very clean. I haven't had to clean the glass in weeks.

for a while it was quite a balancing act between overfeeding, underfeeding and perhaps having too many fish or perhaps not the perfect combo for the water conditions.

After talking it through with a local expert a few recommendations were given.

1) keep the effected fish in the quarantine tank for an extended period (4-6 weeks), letting both tanks normalize.

2) steadily increase feeding while keeping an eye on chemistry to assure that the fin issues are not from hunger driven fin nipping.


so I have done this with success so far. out of 53 fish, I lost one and for the most part everyone looks happy and healthy.

also it turns out the water in the main aquarium is harder and higher PH than the QT tank because of steps I take to condition the main tank water. hatchets and white clouds like softer more acidic water, so that may explain why the fin issues go away with the unconditioned rainwater in the QT tank. One glass catfish remains in the QT tank as well because it still is not looking robust and clear, this is the one that had Ick pretty bad, because it hung out behind all the plants and things got bad before I noticed, it is probably the source of the Ick in the first place (kicking myself for not having a quarantine tank set up previously). I am going to wait a couple of weeks more while adjusting the conditioning of the main tank to move it in a slightly more acidic and softer direction, before adding back the hatchets and white clouds.

after being reminded of how difficult disease control can be, I am also taking extra steps to purify the rain water. In addition to the screen on the gutters, the first flush adapter at the cistern and the fine screen at the entrance to the cistern I now also run the water through a filter that connects to the garden hose that I use to fill the water change buckets and then boil the water. I do need to get a handle on how to make water changes easier down the line, but for now I still feel better about using rainwater than treated tap water.

As far as reaching my goals, my main one was to create an ultra energy efficient system, and from that perspective I have succeeded, the heater rarely comes on as the tank and snake vivarium are heated pretty much entirely from the heat of the LED lights. my second goal was to increase CO2 in the water naturally (without toxing the fish). I feel like I have made some modest strides there. the plants are doing great and the co2 drop meter shows me being in the green without CO2 injection. my third goal of making a sealed bio-dome is still a work in progress and less of a motivation than the other two. Once I get an 02 sensor in the vivarium I may try and seal up the system again. I am leery though, as my friend who works at the Monterey Bay Aquarium pointed out, with a closed system, you are dealing with the build up of more gasses than just co2 and o2 and it can be really tricky monitoring every possibility. I will be happy in the end if a bubbler drawing from air outside the system is adequate for circulation while still allowing the Co2 level in the aquarium to concentrate somewhat for better plant growth.

The snake vivarium is doing much better after some adjustments. keeping a Brazilian Rainbow Boa at 80+% humidity and the upper 70's is a ripe environment for mold, which was a big issue early on, possibly enough that pumping moldy air from that environment into the main tank was a source of additional stress. I procured some springtails from Josh's frogs dot com and they seem to have gone to town on the mold. just like a fish tank, terrariums/vivariums cycle as well, so the terrestrial aspect is more stable overall biologically at this point. the smell is much better now and I am getting ready for my next round of certified organic fertilizer for the plants, thinking the spring tail colony is well enough established to keep up with mold that grows from the nutrients. our snake is doing wonderfully, having molted twice now and she has grown quite a bit. her skin has a great sheen and no illness issues.

all in all, things are good and we are having fun. the kids are very excited to watch as things evolve!

Good call on the springtails they have done wonders for me as well.

And it's a very good sign that you have had two successful sheds and that its feeding.

As for the fish I would normally say that people raise temp for ich. But idk with the loach.


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Old 04-06-2015, 06:01 PM   #27
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Good call on the springtails they have done wonders for me as well.

And it's a very good sign that you have had two successful sheds and that its feeding.

As for the fish I would normally say that people raise temp for ich. But idk with the loach.


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Hillstream loaches are very sensitive to heat. I would quarantine separate and do medications. Rest can have heat treatment.


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Old 04-08-2015, 04:46 PM   #28
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My Aquarium-vivarium Dome Build And Tweaks!

Yes, for the loach, I've been reluctant to raise temps in the main tank and instead using a quarantine tank for treatment, but mostly with salt. That said, my butterfly Hillstream loach has been very happy (great job cleaning the glass, has a great healthy look, eats well at meal times and has grown pretty quick) even in the upper 70's, though I have a lot of circulation. The specialist at the store I bought it with said they do well in community tanks below 80 with good circulation.


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Old 11-13-2015, 03:00 PM   #29
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well it's been a while so I thought it was time for an update. this summer was rough, I was away for the hottest couple of weeks and my wife and children over fed the tank and didn't notice it was overheating :-(, despite my cautions and instructions. when I came home the loach and several others were gone and the tank was fuzzy green from all the hairy algae that proliferated from all the nutrients. After several 50% water changes I began to get things back into balance... pretty much it sucked and my wife and kids felt horrible.

there has been a turn around since, with the plants growing normally, filling the tank to the point where I need to harvest regularly. a few of the fish remained sickly and had to be put down from apparent gill/amonia damage. what remains is very hardy and happy. fortunately, the rainbow Boa in the attached vivarium has been doing very well, eating and shedding regularly and has quadrupled in girth and increased in length about 50%. the plants in her vivarium got anaerobic while I was gone as well and still have not fully recovered. I had to do a full replacement of substrate.

two months ago my 6 year old daughter began angling for getting guppies to add to the tank. now I've never really thought much of guppies and I knew they had a lot of babies and, due to her general excitement, that would mean raising babies. I was resistant to take on another project, until one day we went into our favorite aquarium store and found red lace russian snakeskin guppies. somehow I had failed to notice that Fancy guppies had now been bread to a whole new level of beauty from when I was a kid. we were stunned at how beautiful these little gems were. we took a few home to see how they would fit in. my daughter fell in love and it's been guppies guppies guppies ever since... more tanks, more heaters, more lights. She's just at the age where she is handling the feeding of the babies well. it's a bit of a juggling act keeping up with the water changes for me but we are back on a good track and having fun. petco had their $1 a gallon tank sale and we bought 3 ten gallons and 2 twenty longs. I had an old 40 breeder tank in storage, which is now being cleaned and I have cleared out a section of the basement and am heavily insulating it for a fish room, gulp. We plan to heat the room rather than the tanks individually. my insulation efforts with the vivarium were so effective in nearly eliminating the heating costs, other than the heats from the lights that I decided to apply similar perameters to the room, R10 and R22 insulation, completely sealed to retain moisture and heat using spray foam at the seams of the 4'X8' sections of insulation.

I guess it's time to start a new thread on the fish room... heaven help us, we've caught the fish bug! :~)
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Old 11-14-2015, 03:10 AM   #30
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Sounds like lots of fun projects and a continuing family tradition of loving the wet pets.

Those Guppies are quite beautiful. There are so many new strains and the breeding has been stepped up a notch. I actually saw real Moscow Purple Guppies in person from a breeder, real purple not just violet or bluish.

Watch out for mold in the basement, that would be my little tidbit of help. To have a basement to do a fish room would be very nice. Happy building and a pic of the Guppies would be nice if you can squeeze it in between your projects!
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