Work in progress: Freshwater, planted tank

by Lala

After a year and a half hiatus we are back in the aquarium game. Starting in 2009, we’ve had some sort of aquarium set up at home. I shudder to think at the cost now, because we fell victim to MTS – Multiple Tank Syndrome – quite hard at times. I even had a 45cm hex tank set up in my office at one stage! Can’t believe they let me do that.

We spent many a happy hour on the old Fish Forum South Africa, until the admin left for the UK and closed the site. Made a lot of good friends that we still have today. Between now and then we’ve had freshwater fish including: Guppies, betta fish, plecostomus, loaches, spiny eels, synodontus decorous, bumblebee gobies & lots more. Our weekends were spent on fish forums and then visiting every local fish shop, pet shop and aquarium we could find, buying plants, substrates & equipment.

After some time we sold the majority of the equipment & gave the fish to friends. We pared things down a lot and decided to get one large (for us anyway) cabinet tank. The tank we have was a marine tank that we got customised to freshwater. We focused on plants and inverterbrates, specifically red cherry shrimp (neocaridina nilotica). I was quite obsessed with freshwater shrimp at one stage.

Red cherry shrimp
Above: Shrimp getting acclimated and dining off of some filter media.

We have moved house three times with the cabinet tank, in the space of 4 years. Hectic, and a bit discouraging to go through the time and expense of setting it up, establishing plants and a little biosphere only to break it down and start over. So it’s no wonder that when we moved the third time, it took us a year and a half to get the tank set up again. One of our good friends gave us the plants, one Kuhli loach and a huge colony of red cherry shrimp – descendants of the shrimp we had all started with when we got into the hobby.

Khuli loach

Above: Kuhli loach (pangio kuhlii) came out to say hello. Our friend said it’s very shy.

Our plan now is to develop this as mainly a planted tank (all live plants, no plastic) with the majority of its population being inverts, and maybe a few shrimp friendly fish. I’m beyond excited to get a bigger variety of shrimp, like crystal reds (they have white and red stripes) & perhaps some Sulawesi shrimp (google them …unreal!).

This was supposed to be a short post, but I realise it’s gotten this long because of how much I missed aquarium keeping. I can’t wait till we are properly set up again and the cherries are bright red and looking their best.

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