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Ropefish playground

4 Nov 2017
This tank is with me for more than 10 years. At first it was a discus tank, but after I completely failed with them I got 5 little 20 cm ropefish. They're with me to this day and this tank is dedicated to them although they have other tankmates now. The tank was never restarted after ropes where added (around 10 years ago), the tank, the sand and the filter are all the same.

Dimensions: 120x48x60 cm (345 litres)

Current stocking:
5 ropefish,
3 bushfish,
4 butterfly fish,
2 kribensis,
1 blue gularis (he killed his females...).

There was a time when I had a school of congo tetras, but I've lost them due to a CO2 malfunction. Maybe one day I'll get another batch.

Eheim 2028,

T5 4x39W - 2x sylvania aquastar, 2x sylvania luxline 865.

2,5 kg CO2 with sera reactor 1000 (love it), 300W hydor inline heater, ELEMAC aquarium computer, automatic feeder.

microsorium pteropus, narrow, windelov,
anubias barteri, nana, bonsai, gold, gigantea, lanceolata,
bolbitis heudelotti,
cryptocoryne wendtii brown,
red lotus,
crinum calamistratum,
echinodorus tenellus, major, aflame, vesuvius,
blyxa japonica, aubertii.

Let's go through the history:
Don't know why, but I can't find photos before 2013, so here we go:
End of 2013:


Through 2016:




Current year:





The big rescape of 2017 (two months ago):




And here we are today:

The left side is in progress, so don't be harsh on it ;) It looks bad right now.

Here is an album of my grumpy fish taken today: https://imgur.com/a/eENng
The ropefish are no more little 20 cm things, the biggest is 42 cm long and they are spawning on regular basis. I have a "success" of getting one small ropefish to grow to 5 cm, which is BIG. I know only about one successful case of breeding ropefish and the fry died ad 6 months old too. Maybe one day I'll have more time to get into breeding them.
I have other tanks, but this one is my favorite and my water noodles are absolutely the best!
Love this tank! I have a new found love of rope fish they are so cool! Do they not damage the plants in the tank? Also how did you find the Blyxa Aubertii?
Love this tank! I have a new found love of rope fish they are so cool! Do they not damage the plants in the tank? Also how did you find the Blyxa Aubertii?
Kribensis are much worse when it comes to plants. Ropefish tend to uproot carpeting plants when looking for food (they're adorably bad ad finding food), but after having big monte carlo carpet floating, I went with echinodorus tenellus and seems like it has strong roots. On the other hand kribensis will do whatever the hell they want. "Oh, you've got a nice blyxa there... Maybe we should dig our new home there? Or maybe this beautiful echinodorus aflame would look good UNDER the sand? Yeah, much better!"

Here in Poland b. aubertii is sold as any other plant, you won't find it in most LFS, but it can be easily ordered (for like 1€).
Really love the interesting fish choice and the scape looks great.
For now it's just a little taller than b. japonica (it's in the back), I don't think it grows much differently. Maybe a little bit slower, but no big problems.

Really love the interesting fish choice and the scape looks great.
Thank you!
My fish choice was kind of random at first. I had a free tank after I failed with discus. Somehow I've found ropefish. They've been there alone for a long time and around 2-3 years ago I decided to get them some friends. I've been trying to use fish that at least sometimes can be seen in the Congo river ;)
My echinodorus collection is growing, I have major, vesuvius, aflame and Reiner's kitty now! Other new plants: legenandra thwaitesi, some crypts (purpurea and some other).







Big bushfish are just the grumpiest fish ever.
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As my blyxa infestation is getting more and more severe echinodorus tenellus began to mix with it. So tenellus went out today. I've planted some Alternanthera reineckii mini and pogostemon helferi. Both are from tissue culture, we'll see how will they do.

I've started mixing my own RO mineralizer, for 80 litres it's:
2.59 g CaCl
6.48 MgSO4 * 7H2O
3.67 CaCO3
4.10 KHCO3
It should give:
K 20 ppm
Mg 8 ppm
Ca 30 ppm
GH 6
KH 4

After few weeks seems it's going well as my KH went from 0-1 to 3, GH from 10 to 7, TDS from 300 to 200. I like the results and I would use it in other tanks too, but this is my only tank with CO2 and there's no way so much CaCO3 will dissolve without CO2.

I've started using my own micro mix too, it's based on one of burr's mixes, I'm just dosing much lower, as I'm dosing my macros much lower.

I (still) have BBA. I'm quite sure it's caused by organic matter as my tank is really old and it's hard to control the mulm. I've decided to clean the filter more frequently, but I guess it's mostly what's beneath the plants, it's hard to get there without moving everything.

I have some more photos, but I'm really bad at it (and my camera is not so great), so I'll have to look through them and find decent ones.

Right now I'm at home 3-4 days a week. So today I came home, first thing to do: let's check the tanks. The tank was dead. Horrible bacterial bloom, all fish dead. So after crying a lot I started breaking down everything. A little ray of hope. Four out of five ropes survived. They are now in a tiny 60 litres tank.
For quite some time I had more and more BBA problems, I was guessing too much organics and now I think I was more right than I thought. My tank was going for ~11 years without a break. Sand was never switched, only the surface layer cleaned. After all those years there must have been a ton of organics in the substrate. It must have reached the critical mass when I wasn't home and boom everything crushed.
I was proud of the longevity of my tank and I believed the microorganisms that started to appear after a few years were a big help in making ropefish breed. But there is an end to everything. It seems that it was too long.
I'm devastated, before I knew the 4 ropes were alive I thought that it's time to sell the tank and stay with the small ones. But the ropes are alive, so I'm going to care for them.
The tank is absolutely empty now. Tomorrow I'm going to get clean new sand (cleaning sand from my tank completely is impossible) and start over. I will have to do a fish-in cycle, as I don't have any other tank big enough for ropes.

Very sorry to hear that. Best of luck with the new setup.
Really sorry to hear that. Keep up with daily water changes while the new tank cycles. You should still have a cycled filter? It shouldn't take that long to get the water quality up again.
Sadly I think bacteria in my filter are dead too. Bloom must suffocated them. The filter smelled horribly (same as the tank), so I'm guessing it's not in a good shape. Good thing is I have 5 other tanks and I can take some filter media from each. Those tanks are much smaller, but seeding media will always help.
It is very odd that despite having a heavily planted tank and a filter, the oxygen levels dipped so low to suffocate both fish and filter bacteria. Do you think that's just because the substrate was old and full of organics? Was there much surface agitation I wonder? How often were water changes done?Was the filter cleaned recently or was the substrate disturbed recently because the facultative heterotrophic bacteria normally lives in the substrate and the bloom only happens if it was severely disturbed. Then theoretically it overtakes the surfaces that are normally occupied by the nitrifying bacteria, plus obviously sucking up all oxygen in the process too...which oxygen apparently the plants could not replace fast enough. The filter may have gone anaerobic earlier than the bacterial bloom...if there was a lot of detritus inside...I am just thinking aloud because despite the very sad situation, it is a good learning experience others could learn from...
The filter was cleaned 3 weeks ago (usually I'm cleaning it once in 2 months), I have massive surface aeration (additional wave maker 2500 l/h directed to the surface), I'm doing weekly 30% water changes (with trimming and cleaning the sponge on the filter intake), fish were looking incredibly healthy... But I had some BBA coming more and more often, which makes me believe that I had problem with high organics. The tank was going for 11 years without a break, so it's quite possible that after all this years substrate accumulated too much organics. The other thing is my fish are old. Ropes are 11 years with me, they live ~25 years, so I doubt that the one ropefish that died was the trigger. Sterbai cories has been 12 years old. I had a killifish that has been 2 years old, which for most killis is long. So there is a possibility one of them could died and triggered the rest. I had kribensis pair that were ultimate substrate diggers, if they had been digging too deep... It's hard to guess now, as I didn't see the process, but I'm strongly suspecting too long run time (=substrate), it was a ticking bomb... It's just a wild guess though.

I'm really surprised how four ropes made it, they seem perfectly healthy, eating eagerly, swimming around the teeny-tiny 60 litres tank. It's even more odd seeing that one died with the rest and those four are unharmed.