I just thought I would actually comply to one of these introduction things for a change since this is such a cool hobby that I already find a lot of enjoyment in.
I had a fish tank in the 90's, a 38 gallon Freshwater bow front, and just had some danios, plecos, 3 clown loaches (I had no idea they would get bigger) and one sometimes Angry Female Black Angelfish.
I was in my 20's, a lot was going on in my life at the time and like most 20 year olds it was a time when I found myself and there were a lot of changes. So eventually I sold the fish and sold the aquarium to a friend of a friend who lived in a trailer home.
About my most exciting experience was that when I first setup the tank, I tried to have live plants. I just had a normal gravel substrate and had no idea how to keep plants alive and even made the mistake of burying the "bananas" of a banana lily and it died.
The strange thing at the time was that I never noticed any snails and I had this tank for at least 2 years until one day I sold the clown loaches to a friend. And then as soon as they were gone I started noticing tons of tiny little snails multiplying on the tank.
Anyway fast forward to a few years ago and with the explosion of YouTube and the various channels on it like Cory's Aquarium Co-Op and Dustin's Fish Tanks and others I started to become interested again.
But I lived in an apartment which was not suitable for an aquarium but had plans on trying to buy a Condo.
Well unfortunately two years ago my Mom got cancer and died in June, but she gave me money to buy a condo and my Dad had to move in with me as well.
But we ended up getting a Condo that also didnt have a lot of room for a fish tank and was on the second floor, so the best I could do was to buy a Fluval Flex 15 tank with the built in filter.
It's a nice tank. I wish I could of gotten a bigger one but it will have to do for now.
The first thing I wanted was Plants!!! Especially after seeing so many of Cory's videos and Dustin's, I felt I was in a much better shape to keep them alive, especially with a good substrate.
I went with Eco-Complete for the substrate, and I bought a few plants from Cory, and the "Billy Beginner's" package from Dustin.
Cory's look great from the start, and I would have to say that Dustin gives you a LOT of plants in that Beginner's package. Especially since most of them you can break up into separate stems.
It was actually more plants then you can possibly fit in a Flex 15 (which is not totally 15 gallon since part of the area is in the built in filter chamber), so I set a small tank up for my girlfriend with the remainders just because she likes plants.
Then I was on to cycle the tank. In the old days at the LFS
, they would just give you Danios or Tetras (but more usually Danios) and you'd buy the tank and the fish the same day. But I didnt want to do that this time, it seemed kind of mean.
So at first I went with the fish food method which there is good instructions somewhere for. I did that for maybe 2 weeks, but in my mind it was causing at least one problem, and maybe another non-problem.
The non-problem was that Phosphate was just off the chart. Maybe not too terrible because I have plants anyway, but I did start to get a tiny bit of green hair algae before I put the fish in.
The main problem as I saw it was that the plants had pond snails. Like Dustin says "That's Nature Yo!". It's almost impossible to buy plants and not get snails unless you want to dip them in something and who's going to want to sell plants and do that?
One day I saw one of them, then the next day I saw 5. And there were more and more and more....
So the problem really was that my putting fish food in was only feeding them and helping them multiply like crazy.
They were actually helpful in some ways because they cleaned up the excess fish food for me which I otherwise would of had to vacuum up, and they created some bio-load themselves to feed any new bacteria. But I didnt want a thousand of these things in a less then 15 gallon tank, and if I were to buy any other sorts of scavengers like shrimp I was afraid they'd get out competed for food.
So anyway after two weeks, I went to the liquid Ammonia method instead.
It took me about 7 weeks to cycle the tank. Some of that was my fault, maybe doing too many water changes during it, etc... But it is what it is.
Anyway for fish I bought 8 Scarlet Endlers. The Flow on the Fluval 15 is INSANE and I dont know if they were doing it for fun, but they kept swimming into the water outlet's and the jet of water would send them flying across the tank and sometimes into the wall.
So I put a sponge over the outlets which decreased the flow rate but probably killed any surface agitation as well.
Eventually I got 4 Assassin snails to take care of the Snail problem. After about 4 days of just looking around, in about a couple weeks I never see any Pond Snails. I think they are there in tiny form and I bet they will start up again if I remove the Assassin snails, but I rarely see any. (usually they get in the back filter area)
And lastly I bought 7 Neocardinia Yellow Back Shrimp. I now have at least 20 of them. The fish seem to get most of the newborns but a few survive in the plants. I saw one of them on the outtake sponge once and just barely noticed it was a shrimp-let, until a Endler sprung at it and gulped it up. It's the only actual death I am aware of besides the Pond snails, but I am sure they have eaten a lot more.
Anyway that's my story so far. Sorry it's long. Does anyone really read these things?