Starter tank, 29g

outofwater

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So, long story short I've decided to journal this tank, which started as a vague idea to pick up the hobby again, got kickstarted by a friend asking me to pet sit a betta, and has so far resulted on more expenses and deep dives for knowledge than I anticipated.

29 g
Started with gravel and decorations that came with tank (got it second hand)
 

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outofwater

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That was the start, and had to set it up quick because the betta sitting was a last moment thing. Got lucky/did good with the cycling while the lone betta was there. This tank started right before Christmas.

So, had tank set and running for one day, then betta came. Had to use seachem for fish-in cycling. That was achieved in about a week, thankfully fish did not have any bad reactions or issues while the nitrites were way up for a couple of days.
 

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After the betta was gone, I finished the cycling, took another 2 or 3 days if I remember correctly until i finally hit zero ammonia and nitrites. So, it was time for animals. Snails were first. One of each: assassin, mystery and a nerite.
 

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Some more plants came along too (had one or two on the final days of cycling). Floaters, moss, sword.

Then a couple of days later the first fish, a couple of corys
 

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outofwater

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Later on came the substrate change. At the suggestion of a more experienced hobbyist from the forum I went from gravel to sand. An afternoon's work buy worth it both for looks and more importantly for the corys. Added more plants, rearranged the setup and added some more fish. A school of neons, 2 more corys and 2 otos.
 

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Then trouble struck, a tetra died the very same day i got it, no visible issues. All in all, another 4 died, some looking like they had advanced fin rot or columnaris, some without any overly visible symptoms. I treated the tank with melafix and daily water changes for 4 days.

3 or 4 days after one of the otos suddenly seemed lethargic and bloated, it died that night.

Haven't figured out any reason at all, both otos seemed to be thriving and suddenly one died in one day.
 
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A week ago a relative surprised me with a gift (I don't want to buy fish at this time, it's too cold and it's obvious the fish are arriving stressed and weak at all my local stores, be it lfs or big chain stores). But hey, a gift is a gift. A dwarf gourami was added and he's the boss of the tank now. A bit weird guy he is. He decimated the floating plants in 2 days flat. Doesn't eat any bugs (got drosophila) and sometimes goes nuts chasing after the tetras, and then goes and tries to hide under the plants or decorations if I walk by the tank. Won't mess with the corys or the remaining oto though, which is a good thing.
 

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And that brings me to where we are now.

Yesterday I pulled what and think is the single male cory, because I noticed issues on his dorsal and tail fins. Not sure if fin rot, treating with melafix at the moment. The other possibility is that he got nipped by the gourami, whom I've seen trying to intimidate the corys lately. He just eats like a starving bastard and sometimes is going for the bottom feeder pellets/wafers. I've bought a additional food and added veggies (blanched spinach and lettuce) and that seems to be making things better.

Whatever the fins issue seems to have stopped, I'll keep the cory isolated and keep treating with melafix and won't out him back in genpop until his fin really shows healing, not just stopping the breakage.
 

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And the plan is: heavily plant the back of the aquarium, and the left side; removing that fake coral thing that's there now. I'll also take out that dino head, and leave the tiki heads. Eventually I'll either add some driftwood, OR also remove the tiki heads and just decorste with driftwood. I may remove the bubblers altogether once that's done.

Next on stock list are more neon tetras, I really want to complete a dozen for a nice shoal, add a couple more otos, maybe another couple peppered corys, and perhaps half a dozen harlequin rasboras, OR guppies. It depends on how the gourami keeps behaving, and the fish will be added only after the additional plants are in, to mark territories and make sure the aquascape is where it needs to be, both for looks and for the stability of the system.

Any comments or suggestions are more than welcome!
 
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A couple of weeks ago or so I had to remove the coral looking thing to set up a secondary tank for the dwarf bully, so plants were moved around and a new 10g tank was set up for the guy who apparently likes to be alone. Here's the big tank as of now, everyone is thriving, and I'm waiting for weather to get better and more stable to get a couple more pygmy cories and a couple more otos, this guy has been lonely since his partner died, but as mentioned before right now it's not the best time to get fish around here.
 

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Female cories are absolute units, peppered coming along nicely. Will get more soon, maybe will get the whole gang up to a dozen
 

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Neon gang looking nice too. Waiting for weather to get stable and make sure local shops are bringing healthy stock to bring these guys up to a dozen at least.

Sadly it was a dozen at the start, but 5 died within 2 days because of stress and poor health on incoming stock earlier in the winter during brutal cold snaps.
 

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