Aquarium – Populating the tank – Fish

Of course, the main feature of an aquarium is the fish! I’ll start off with a recent video of what the aquarium looks like now:

This shows off most of the fish and other critters that currently live in my aquarium.

Of course you don’t start an aquarium off with a full population of fish, you need to add them over a period of time, in my case over three months. This gives the biological cycle time to get established and to adjust to the increased bioload of a fully populated tank. I started off with six Black Neons and two Bristlenose Plecos. It also shows what the tank looked like earlier on, and how much the plants have grown since then.

A Bristlenose and a shrimp eying each other over an algae wafer

The nice thing about Bristlenose Plecos is that that don’t grow very big, around two inches max. Regular Plecos can end up being a couple of feet long, which they often fail to mention at the pet store when you buy them and they are less than an inch long.

The Bristlenose parking himself on the algae wafer.
The two Brstlenoses on one of the rocks
Black Neons are very hardy, so they are a good breed to start with in a community tank.

After the Black Neons and the Plecos had been in the tank for around two weeks, I added the next set of fish. Which led into the only really big setback that I’ve had. I bought ten Cardinal Tetras and six Peppered Cory catfish from Pisces. A few days later, all the Cardinals died, and the Peppered Cories didn’t look good either. They had all developed Ich, which is a fairly common disease in fish. With my aquariums in the past when this happened I would just go to the pet store and pick up some medication for them. Not so anymore, I discovered that Health Canada has banned Pet stores from being able to sell medications, including those for fish. I lost all the Cardinals and all but one of the Cories. Fortunately Pisces does have a replacement policy on their fish, so I was able to replace them, they were out of Cardinals, so I got Neon Tetras instead, which are very similar.

The doomed Cardinals
The replacement Neon Tetras
What the tank looked like at this point

The Peppered Cories got replaced with Panda Cories. I also set up a small quarantine tank for new fish. Luckily the Ich hadn’t spread to the other fish in my tank but it easily could have.

A bag of six Panda Cories
A couple of the Pandas in the quarantine tank.

This led to one of the stranger events. There were six Pandas in the little three gallon tank. The lid on the tank fits tight. Nothing else in that tank would be able to eat them. Somehow two of them vanished. No dead bodies. No fish laying outside of the tank, even though it would be next to impossible for them to jump out I checked anyway. Once I moved the rest of them into the main tank, I took everything out of the small tank, no sign of them. I have to agree with my friend’s assessment that they used the Stargate to escape.

Pandas figuring out how to use the Stargate?
The quarantine tank under the main tank.

I also picked up four Sterbai Cory catfish. I’ve never had these before, but I really like the spotted pattern that they have and the orange on their fins. They are also constantly moving, which makes it hard to get a good photo of them. My wife and I promptly nicknamed them Spazzy cats

Two Sterbai’s zipping by.
You can kind of see the orange on the fins in this one

In this video you can see the different types of catfish at feeding time. It starts off showing two Peppered Cories with a Panda Cory, Then a Sterbai Cory with a Panda Cory, the up to a few more Panda Cories.

One of the things I’ve tried to be mindful of with this set up is to check which of the fish I’m buying like to school and are happiest in larger numbers. Which is also why I’ve ended up buying between six and ten of many of the fish. The Harlequin rasbora’s are one type that I bought ten of. They almost always stick together, and they love to play in the current that my filter creates. It was hard to get a clear video of it because if you get too close to the tank they scoot off to the far side. They will often swim in a little more of a circle than in this video, although you sort of see it here.

The most unique fish, an a bit more expensive than most, was a Super Red Bristlenose Pleco. It did fine for a month and a half and then suddenly died. No sign of injury or disease, just expired for no apparent reason. I have now replaced it and hope the new one lasts longer.

Red Brstlenose hanging on the side of the tank
Sitting on the bottom of the tank
The new Red Bristlenose

This video shows the three different Plecos that I have as well as several snails, Neons, and Cories

I’m very happy with how the tank has come together. Of course I’m already thinking about moving up to a bigger one, but that would require some major rearranging of furniture, and I should probably wait until I’ve had this one going for at least a year to make sure I’m still enjoying it. I’m sure I will be, I’ve always enjoyed having aquariums and I’ve loved getting this one going. One final video that tours the tank and catches most of the fish and a couple shrimp and snails as well.

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