Video of my Tiger Oscars

I took a quick video of the Tiger Oscars shortly after I had fed them. The camera has a bit of trouble with focusing.

Brother wanted a bit of attention too.

Here is a photo of the Jack Dempsey. I put more decoration in her tank. I was cleaning up my boxes of fish stuff, and dropped all the fake plants I could find into the tank. I also added more rock from one of my other tanks. It looks much better now.
Jack Dempsey fish I think she looks happier, don’t you?

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New Fish – Oscars!

With the recent changes in my life, comes a difference in opinion on what ‘cool’ fish are. Me, I love watching dozens of Neon Tetras schooling from one side of a large tank to the other. I’ve been told that little fish are boring, and that the tank in the living room needs fish big enough to see.

We found some Tiger Oscars this weekend.

I’ve never been a ‘big’ fish aquarist, so I hadn’t read too terribly much up on them. The 75 gallon tank came with Jack Dempseys, so I have done a little research into non-community fish. No serious research though.

I knew Oscars got big. I have seen good sized ones. I guess I didn’t realize how big. 16 inches long and over 2lbs in the wild. In most fish tanks, only a foot long.

My new baby Oscars

I got 3 of them. My thoughts being, that it would be cool to get a breeding pair, and getting 3 vs. 2 doubles my chance at getting at least one male and female. A little research shows that 3 is exactly the wrong number to get. If 2 pair up, the 3rd one will get harassed something fierce.

My 75 gallon tank isn’t big enough. It can comfortably handle 1 Oscar, but it too small for 2 of them, much less three. Luckily I have the 110 gallon tank which will work for 2 of them. I will just need to find a new home for one of the Oscars in about a year. Likely, 2 will go in the 110, and one will stay in the 75 gallon tank when I get the 110 set up (when I am out of the apartment).

Moving the Oscars into their new home Because the 75 gallon tank is in the main living area, it is used as a display stand, including a fish tank on top – so it’s a bit of a pain to tear it down to open the lid.
I had to evict the nocturnal Jack Dempsey from the 75 to relocate her into the 45 I recently set up in the other room. That was a pain trying to chase her down. I hope she will like the other, smaller tank. Less light, more cozy. There is a big temperature difference between the two tanks, so I had to take my time and acclimate her on the temperature differences.
I have had a Platy in the 45 gallon tank for probably close to a month to cycle that tank up. So, that platy needed to be moved to – into the little tank that sits on top of the 75 least it be eaten by the Jack Dempsey. Most people aren’t patient enough when starting new tanks. I would have liked to move a few more Platys into the 45 for another month to get the tank used to the mass of fish that the Jack Dempsey is. I will just need to watch the 45 gallon tank for about 2 weeks to a month to make sure that it can cope with the Jack’s size.
I am not too worried about it, I tend to be over-cautious with moving fish around.

Wonderfalls large aquarium volcano I had seen one of these volcano aquarium decorations set up and running in a pet store years and years ago. I had always wanted one. Badly.
I am not much of one for candy-colored tank decorations, moving divers, opening treasure chests, etc. I just love this volcano for some reason.
I found this Wonderfalls Large Aquarium Decoration in a little whole-in-the-wall pet store in Fort Lauderdale a few years ago. The owner was re-arranging the store a bit, and I spotted this gem on the bottom shelf, hidden behind other merchandise. I offered to take the thing off the guys hands as I wiped the dust off the price tag so I could read it. $149.99!
I paid $30-40 for it. Whatever I had for cash on me at the time. I had been in there a few times before and bought fish. I think he was happy to be rid of it.

He said that they where nothing but trouble. The sand got everywhere in the tank. It plugged up with crud and quit working. Basically the thing would make a mess of your tank, and wouldn’t work past a week without constant fiddling.
I still love the dumb thing. This is the first I have been able to use it. I haven’t had a tank tall enough for this thing. The pump that came with it is worthless, so I put one of my sump pumps on it.

It looks wicked cool sitting behind my castle. In about a year or so when the volcano algie’s up to match the castle, they will make an awesome looking set.

I also like the coloration as it matches and compliments the Oscars.

I am thinking of setting the volcano up on a timer so it goes on/off/on/off frequently during the day. It seems wasteful to run that pump at night when nobody can see it. I may hook it up to a red LED and run it a few hours into the ‘night’ after the lights go off just for effect. Tank lights off is about 10pm or so, so running it until midnight light up might be pretty cool.

Moving my plant stand

With the changes in my life, come changes in where I can keep my furniture. I had put my plant stand in the sliding glass window, as I always kept the shades open. Now, it was deamed too annoying to fight closing and opening the blinds around the planter. It had to be moved.

Aquarium and plant stand  I moved the plant stand in front of the window in the extra bedroom – the ‘project room’. The 45 gallon tank got set up in there. You can see that it has LED lights on the tank. I think this works pretty well. It’s not very bright, but for around 20 watts, on a 4 foot long tank, it’s not to bad. I have 2 aluminum gutters sitting on top of the tank I think I will be setting them up for hydroponics/aquaponics. One will be a raft system, the other ebb and flow I think.
I think I can make an automatic fill/flush system where I fill the raft unit, let it overflow into a temporary tank, when the temporary tank fills full, it starts a siphon, which rapidly fills the ebb&flow unit. The ebb/flow system will then have the fill -> flush siphon built into it as well, so once it fills, it will rapidly drain. If I size and balance things right, it should just automatically work passivly on a single, continuously running pump.

Florescent and LED grow lights I am playing around with the different grow lights to augment what little natural light comes in my north window. I have tried the $10 stick florescent tubes from Walmart which don’t work so well and burn out bulbs like you wouldn’t believe. Then I put in a nice t12 florescent fixture that I really do like a lot. I am also playing with LED lighting as well. These plants are going to be set up to be watered out of the fish tank on an automatic timer. I had to move the tubing around to the other side and yet have to set it back up.

Florescent and LED grow lights The boxes the African Violets are sitting on are LED light boxes. I know, the red LED light box would probably help the violets flower better, but, I need to cast a little light into the taller section that the Aloe Vera are in, so I thought I would give it a try. It’s interesting to play around with this stuff at least.

LED aquarium light hood Here you can see my LED lit 45 gallon tank with a single Molly in the tank to cycle the tank. I think the Jack Dempsey will go into this tank, as she will like the lower light level from the LED lights. The Molly has been in the tank for 3 weeks to a month now. Patience is a virtue that is often overlooked in setting up aquariums. Many people buy a tank and the fish rush home, set everything up and wonder why all their many fish died in a day or two, keep buying lots of fish repeatedly and still wonder why the keep dieing.

45 gallon aquarium rebuild

A good friend of mine gave me a couple of larger fish tanks. The one I have had up and running for a while now. The other didn’t make the move from his place to mine. It sprung a leak. It held water when he had it, but leaked when i tried to fill it up.

No biggy, I can fix that.

All Glass Aquarium build on May 12 1986 Here you can see that the tank is 23 years old. hopefully my patch job will last 23 years!

Filthy Dirty fish tank The tank is… dirty. Filthy dirty to say the least. It was in his basement running. I don’t remember if he never put fish in it when he set it up or if the didn’t survive, but he let the tank evaporate down to 4-5 inches left in the tank. So needless to say it was a little crusty. I also stuck it in the mud when I was moving it, so it’s literally dirty to boot.

Using a razor blade to cut away the silicone sealant on an aquarium To to remove the existing silicone sealant, I use one of those metal backed razor blades. I find the holder gets too clumsy in the corners, so i just be careful. You slide the blade down along the glass. It can be a bit awkward at some angles, but if you can use both hands, you can do it pretty easily.

Silicone seal partially removed Just cut the sealent clean to the corners, scraping the class clean of the old silicone.

rebuilding a leaky fish tank The corners are a bit fussy. Just hack and slash that stuff out of there, and clean it up well once the bulk of it is gone. Scrape all the thin stuff that clings clean with the blade. Just cut it off like your shaaving, or sharpening the blade on the glass.

the corner of the tank cleaned, ready to be cut awayHere is a cleaned corner, ready to be cut. Notice the blue tint to the silicone? I am thinking somebody treated the tank for ich once or twice. Probably not too many times, and a long time ago at that. Probably in the first 10-15 years of the tanks life. It’s not very strong colored, and isn’t behind the sealant where it’s loosened off the glass.

removing the silicone from the leaking aquarium Here I am pulling a strip free.

The fresh new silicone fixing the leak in the aqiarium The new silicone seal. I put it on, and smothed it with my finger. You can use a medical clove it you don’t want the silicone on your hands. It’s a pain to get off. Best way I have found is to go play in the dirt.

partially filled, very dirty fixed fish tank Here I am starting to fill the tank with water, testing it for leaks. Fill it a few inches, wait, watch for damp spots, then add a few more inches and repeat.

using the python siphon filter to fill the aquarium I picked up a Python brand siphon a while back, and I love it. I use it for fresh fills on tanks, because a quick flick and it will suck the water out almost as fast as it can fill the tank. If you only go a few inches at a time, you can drain below the leak quickly enough to not get much water out of the tank as he holes are likely to be small at this point.

freshly rebuilt fish tank - no more leaksHere is the tank full. It is still in need of cleaning. This batch of water will get drained in a day or two. The fresh silicone seems to me to be hard on that first change of water. I will siphon the rest of the crud out of the tank while I am at it.

2 different types of light bulbs on the rebuilt aquarium Here are the lights. 2 different bulbs, one was flickering pretty badly. The new bulb is the left bulb. I think it’s a grow light bulb, not an aquarium bulb like the right one. Notice the difference in brightness between old and new. Florescent tubes loose a lot of brightness over a six month period of use.

After a couple of hours, it’s still holding water OK – no leaks. That water stinks though. Going to have to drain it to get that stank out of the tank.

The stand leans a bit forward as well, so I will need to shim it back about an eighth of an inch so the water is level. Not sure if it’s the floor, the stand, or what.

I am going to cycle this tank next week with some platys that I have for a couple of months, then move the Jack Dempsey into it, freeing up the living room tank for fish that don’t hide all day long.

So, what do you think?