Here is what the 140 gallon aquarium looked like after the initial set up. There are several things that can be seen here that would eventually change. On the left is a plexiglass three compartment box, which I’ll discuss below. You can also see that the intake for the FX5 canister filter has a mesh bag over the end to prevent shrimp from being sucked into the filter. I quickly discovered that the mesh was too fine and clogged up quickly. It got replaced by a sponge tube fastened with a couple of zip ties. That would also get replaced a little later with a better setup.
There is also a pre-filter sponge over the intake for the AquaClear 100, also to prevent shrimp from being pulled into that filter.
There is a single heater on the back near the outflow from the FX5, then a mesh square held on with suction cups with some moss attached to it in the center on the back of the tank. A change between the first and second picture is the addition of a mesh net over the moss wall. The plastic squares were just big enough that some fish, in particular a rummynose tetra, would try and swim through the squares and get stuck. I actually had one die because it got stuck and I didn’t notice right away.
I decided that I wanted a place where my shrimp could hide away from the fish, so I picked up Fish Tank Breeding Box and set up some moss in one box, another plant in the middle and a food dish in the third. I did drill a couple extra holes to make it easier for the shrimp to get in and out. It kind of worked, but most of the shrimp didn’t bother with it and a couple very persistent fish would manage to get in, and one of my zebra danios actually got stuck in one of the holes trying to get out after. I had to get my hand in and gently push him out. He still lost some scales and had a bald patch for a while. The whole box also tended to slide down and I was constantly having to reattach it.
The FX5 in the cabinet with the hoses running out the back. I did add a plastic tub to the bottom of the cabinet after dealing with a small leak at one point.
Here is a picture followed by a video from a few months later. The things that have changed are that that the plants have filled in, the shrimp box is full of moss, although it’s not all doing well. Likewise for the moss wall in the back. I’ve also replaced the sponge that was zip tied to the outlet for the FX5 with an ATI Max III Foam Sponge Prefilter. I would soon get another one for the intake on the AquaClear 100 as well. I love them because they come with a nice set of connectors that allow you to hook them up to many types of tubes and orient them in multiple ways. In this picture I have it vertically in line with the tube but I would later change it to be horizontal. I’ve also replaced the original heater with a Fluval A774 E 300-Watt Electronic Heater. I would eventually add a second one to the other side of the tank. The features that I like on these is the fish guard around it, the LCD display, which is green when the temperature is within the range you want, blue when it is colder and red when it is hotter. It will also flash a “LF” if there isn’t enough water flow passing over the heater.
Unfortunately, 2021 would end on a low note for the aquarium. Near the beginning of December, I started losing fish. They would be fine one day and be dead the next day. Over the course of three weeks, I lost over thirty of my approximately 150 fish. I did end up getting some antibiotic food for them and a small amount of medication for treating the water, but I never did determine if it was a disease or something that had gone wrong with the City water supply. Things did settle down by the end of the year.