`Your Freshwater & Saltwater Community Aquarium

All about setting up and maintaining a home freshwater or saltwater aquarium.

Nano Salt Tank as it is Now

After posting the post with the tips, I thought I should share some photos and maybe a rundown of what all is in the tank.  I bought 5 pounds more of live rock, which brings the total up to 11 pounds of live rock now.  I also got a deal on some baby Kenya Tree Coral (Capnella sp.).  

This photo is of the entire tank with all of the live rock in place.  The tank looks more full now, but there is plenty of swimming room for my little fish. I left large "holes" between the stacked rock on the right, as the cleaner shrimp likes to hang upside down waiting for a fish that needs "cleaned" to wander by!  You can also see my skimmer in the rear right side of the tank.

Here is a picture of the Skunk Cleaner Shrimp who is a relatively new addition to the tank.  He is REALLY good at picking up leftover food that makes its way to the bottom that the fish dont get.  He's quick, and will have the bottom cleaned up in minutes!  When he's done eating, he goes in his favorite hole in the rocks, waiting to clean the fish too!  I got him cuz of his cleaning ability, but he's pretty, too!  He adds some color to the tank.  One of the goals of this tank is to make it as colorful as possible.  Saltwater life is very colorful.

This weekend, I thought I'd try my hand at keeping a coral.  This is the Brown Tree Coral, or Kenya Tree Coral I spoke of.  It's a baby off of a larger piece at the fish store.  I actually got 2 of these, one I "planted" in the sand, another I put on one of the rocks.  The one the store had was actually a little bit on the large size, and from what I read, these grow relatively fast, but they apparently cal also be "pruned" also.  Thought I'd try this as it's supposedly a very hardy variety.

Here is a nice picture of the cleaner shrimp, the damsel and Nemo, the Clownfish.  The other coral is visible on the top of the rock in the foreground.  My cardinalfish is partially visible behind the rock in the foreground.  He hides when I take pictures, I think he's a bit camera shy.  I have another shrimp, he is shy too, and comes out mostly at night or during feeding time, and even then, he stays partially hidden in the rocks.

Here is one of my little hermit crabs.  These cute little guys (I have 2) scour the bottom looking for old, leftover food that the shrimp dont get.  I also have two snails that feed on the algae and helps keep that under control.  I have a fair amount of green algae growing on the tank walls, but it gives the snails something to eat.  As long as the front glass is clear, I dont worry about the sides and back.

Well, there you have it, these are the major players in this little aquarium.  This is all in a 10 gallon!  Although most salt tanks are in massive tanks, dont let that stop you.  Saltwater is doable in a smaller tank too!


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Nano Reef Tips

Although I only had this tank for about a month now, I'd like to share with you a few things I've learned.  I feel that I have some things to share with the newcomer to the hobby, as I haven't lost a fish or any livestock since I started, and I also may have found out a trick or two that will help speed the setup somewhat.

When I started setting up, I put the sand in, then the water, then a couple pounds of live rock.  The first post I wrote has pictures of the tank that contains the sand, rock and one fish.  The first fish I put in, I had to return because it was very aggressive to the second fish I had added.  The Strawberry Basslet was absolutely ruthless towards my blue damsel, that I had to take him back.  First hint - dont use an aggressive fish as your first fish.

While I had that first fish, I tested the water daily.  The ammonia levels rose as expected, but the ammonia never peaked to a very high level like it did on my very first freshwater aquarium.  I believe that is because I used a filter I had been running on one of my freshwater tanks.  I wasnt certain at first if this would be a good idea or not, but it turned out to be so far.  In fact, it worked out so well, that the tank seems to have completely cycled in only 2 weeks with this approach, so...Second tip:  Use a "used" biological filter.

Speaking of water quality, and I've heard hobbyists say either way, that a skimmer is not absolutely necessary.  I cannot comment on whether one is nessary to maintain a tank, but add me to the list who believes in them!  I bought a skimmer, and I was dumping out brownish, yellow water from it daily.  I have since did a slight modification to the collection cup on mine.  I drilled a hole in the side to tightly fit a piece of airline tubing, and have the tubing going thru a larger tub where the cup can drain so I dont have to empty it so often.  I have it draining in a clear plastic box, and I can tell you, the water in it is like... "ewwww"...so the skimmer is definately doing something.  Now I did not go and get a very expensive model.  I got the little Oceanic nano skimmer that is used on their 14 nano cube.  It has suction cups so it can be used in a standard tank.  This skimmer fits inside the aquarium.  I put the drain tubing just below the reaction chamber, so the cup never fills all the way.  Third tip:  get a skimmer!  even a low cost one will help.

Brown algae:  I think every tank gets it when youre starting out.  I disregarded all the warnings regarding to using tap water in the tank.  I never saw it written as to WHY not to use it, so I wasnt sure if it was an old wives tale or what, so I went ahead and used tap water.  That was a mistake.  I later read that some tap water has minerals, mostly silicates that brown algae thrives on, and boy did I get a nice algae bloom!  The tank was covered with it, and it happened in just one day!  The next day, I went to one of those companies that install commercial water coolers with the big 5 gallon plastic bottles of water.  Culligan is one such place.  Check first, but the ones in my area use reverse osmosis water.  I bought 2- 5 gallon bottles.  The water is not that expensive and will keep the tank pretty.  I did only a 1/3 partial water change on my tank, and within a week, ALL of the brown ick was gone outta my tank.  Fourth tip: Use bottled water, and check to make sure its reverse osmosis water.  I'm told distilled water is ok too, but the problem that could arise is if they use a copper still to distill it.  Many  crustaceans are sensitive to copper.

I hope this helps you out.  Also, I welcome any comments on this and other stories I post here.  I'm not an authority on saltwater - I'm still learning, and sharing what has worked for me, SO FAR.  If you see something that I'm writing about that is not good practice, please leave a comment and discuss it.

Gold Mystery Snails Are A Mystery

I purchased 4 Gold Mystery Snails some months ago as I heard that they help keep your aquarium clean, well that theory is still up in the air what I have noticed in my aquarium is alot of eggs and so far not one of the eggs have hatched the snails place them up only to have them fall in the water and decay.

Typically the snails will lay the eggs above the waterline in your tank so that no other prey can get to them and the eggs hatch between 10-14 days what is a mystery to me is that these snails also climb out of the tank if there is a small opening and deposit the eggs on the filter, and of course they can't find their way back into the tank so then comes the time to play where is my snail.

I have lost 2 snails this way as they have climbed out and deposited their eggs onto the filter and expired after not finding their way back into the tank, I'm sure snails have a purpose I'm just not sure as to what it is at this moment, my Pleco keeps the tank cleaner then the snails do and he doesn't tend to wander. All in All I am fairly no extremely disappointed in my purchase of these snails as I've had to clean my tank more because of decaying eggs also had to search for expired snails, not to mention scrape off the eggs that I found in the morning attached to the filter.

There might be some Aquarium Enthusiast that have had better luck then I have had with them but I find the Mystery Snails to be more work and headaches then a help to the aquarium. I think I will stick with the Pleco as far as keeping my aquarium algae free and I am now in the process of trying to find homes for the remaining two snails.

For those that have not purchased any mystery snails I would strongly suggest that you do some research before purchasing the mystery snail because sometimes the mystery can become a misery.

Information on Mystery Snails can be found at : http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aquariumforum/showthread.php?t=38661

New Nano-Reef

Its been awhile since I posted, but I feel its time I do so. Last weekend, I began putting together a nano-reef, and I felt I should write about it.

Before you decide to undertake such a project, let me first say, I spent a couple of weeks reading about doing this. A reef tank is a fair amount more complicated to set up than a freshwater tank, but its not overwhelming. Anyone CAN set one up, but I would recommend reading up on the topic before you start. Reef tanks are very expensive compared to a freshwater tank. So far, my meager aquarium I have about $150 invested, and I'm far from finished, and this is only a little 10 gallon tank! As you can see, I dont have enough rock yet. What you see here is 3 pounds of live rock and 15 pounds of live sand. They recommend a minimum of 10 pounds (one pound per gallon) for this tank, and more is ok.

This aquarium as I write this is only 4 days old. The first day, I poured the sand in, then I mixed the sea salt with tap water which I used Tetra Aquasafe to remove the chlorine. Purists would have used reverse osmosis water for the water. Then I mixed the water in a 2 gallon bucket, using a hydrometer to weigh the water and got it close, but on the "light" side, in case I mess up. When the tank was filled, the salinity was a little light, so I added some salt to the filter to let it dissolve and feed into the tank. I checked it about an hour later, now it was too salty. I removed some water and replaced with fresh unsalted water, a cup at a time until I got it right. I was able to get the water at 1.021 specific gravity.

After pouring the water, it mixed with the sand, and when it was completely filled, it looked like I had poured milk in the tank it was so cloudy. I let the water sit overnight, but the next morning it was still VERY cloudy. It had cleared up substantially, but I still couldnt see thru the tank. I put my Marineland Penguin 150 biowheel filter in to clean the tank up, which did a real nice job. I measured the weight of the water again with the water cleared, and the reading did not change. I then went to the fish store and bought the 2 live rocks, a Strawberry Basslet (Pseudochromis porphyreus), and a Peppermint Shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni).

The livestock has been in the tank now for about 30 hours as I write this. The fish seems happy, and the shrimp was out this morning. Mr. Leggs (The name I came up for him) likes to hide during the day. I dont know where he goes when the light comes on, but I assume its under one of the rocks. He stayed out for about 10 minutes after I turned the light on this morning and was able to capture this shot of him in the front right corner of the aquarium.

The rundown on all of the equipment used at this point in time in this setup is as follows:

  • Unknown name aquarium (Purchased at a flea market).
  • Penguin 150 Biowheel filter. This is recommended for a 20 -30 gal tank, I believe.
  • Tetra submersible heater, 20 gal size (this heater keeps the tank at 76 degrees, even when the room temp drops to below 60 degrees during the day when no one is home).
  • Tetra incandescent hood with bulbs replaced with CFL's

The sand, live rock and fish round out the setup. As you can see, most of the hardware you probably already have if you have a 10 gal setup. I used the oversize filter for this tank because I dont have a powerhead, and this filter seems to provide a good amount of circulation. The heater is oversize as well, as the room temperature varies wildly. The tank temp is a very stable 76 degrees no matter what the room temp is.

I am at a standstill right now, as I'm waiting for the tank to go through its nitrogen cycle. I want to get a clown and perhaps a tang, but I'm going to hold off until the cycle is complete. I am measuring salinity and ammonia daily, so far the salinity is stable, and the ammonia is at about 1 ppm, and rising slowly.

So there you have it, an easy to assemble nano-reef. If you wish to try this, I suggest you do as much reading on the subject that you can, and go SLOWLY, check EVERYTHING and do your best to get everything RIGHT before you introduce fish.

Convict Cichlid Breeding

It's been awhile since I've written, and a lot has changed here at Mike's aquarium. I currently have 3 tanks, 2 - 20 gallon and 1 - 10 gallon set up. I added a second 20 gallon tank to house a pair of Cichlids. I wasnt certain what I wanted to keep, as many cichlids grow larger than a 20 gallon would handle. It was a tossup between a pair of Convict's or a pair of Jack Dempsey's. I ended up choosing the Convicts as they are touted as being a "beginner's fish", and that they breed readily. Since I am interested in breeding fish, but still somewhat of a newcomer to the hobby, I felt that this was the logical choice.

So, off to the pet store I went. I bought a pair of fish, and brought them home. Turns out after researching online, I had a pair of female fish. So back I went, and located a male, and purchased it. Upon releasing the new male to the aquarium, he and the smaller female fought, locking lips and pushing her around the tank. Eventually, he let her be, and soon thereafter, fell for the other, larger female. The next week or so, she dug out an area under and behind the rock wall, and the 2 fish disappeared for a great deal of time, coming out occasionally for a bite to eat and to chase the small female from time to time.

There was a point where the pair began attacking the odd female more agressively, so I removed her from the tank. I placed her in the community aquarium, but that didnt work out very well, as she seemed to nip the fins of the angelfish. So she eventually got placed in a 10 gallon along with a couple platy's to keep her company. She doesn't seem to bother the platy's.

One day about a week later, I turned on the light, and inside a cave that I had made with the rocks, a bunch of babies were laying on the cave floor. I estimated well over 100 fry, perhaps 150. They were quite tiny, about the same size as the newborn Corydoras fry I had a couple months before. A few of them were swimming, but most were "wigglers" on the cave floor. The next day I found most were swimming freely. At this point, mom has been primarily taking care of the fry, bringing them out in her mouth, and putting them back in the nest in the evening. Dad was the protector, circling the tank, watching for preditors, and sometimes trying to attack fish in the community aquarium, which sits right next to the Cichlid tank.

The next 4 days, I had gone camping. Now I had a problem, as to how to feed these little buggers. The day before I noticed the fry, I had bought some automatic feeders, but surely this would not work with the fry food I would feed them. I therefore hired a neighbor girl to come by and feed my fish twice a day. After showing her how, I then went on my vacation.

When I got back, the fry were thriving. They follow mom wherever she goes. The fry were about double their size when I got back, which is still pretty small. All of course were free swimming. The male keeps the area where the fry are hanging out clean, stirring up debris with his fins, and moving a pebble here and there. The fish like to eat off of the tops of the rocks, you will see them congregate on the surface of the rocks. They never go to the surface to get their food, so they eat after it falls.

Speaking of food, I have been feeding all my fry, the Convicts and the corydoras both Hikari "First Bites". Most breeders prefer live food, but the fish seem to thrive on this, and it is a whole lot easier and inexpensive. I have kept the water at around 72 degrees, however today I warmed the water to 76. The filter that I'm using is one of my own ideas, and it seems to work well. I have a sponge filter fitted to the intake of a 10 - 15 gallon power head tetra filter. Seems to work out quite well. The surface area is such that it doesnt affect the fry swimming near the filter, but it has enough suction to keep the water crystal clear.

I have also noticed that since the babies were present, the parents arent eating as much as they were. They were very hungry fish before the breeding. The female eats less than the male, and the male eats very little. Could it be that they ate like pigs before the breeding to prepare for the breeding process?

As I'm writing this, the fry are about 3/8 inch long. If you look closely to one of the fry, you can see they have their stripes already, but I noticed that almost right after birth. Even at this young age, the fry are pretty independent. Some fry school around mom, some will be on the rocks eating. Some will even go back to the nest on their own, or they at least disappear somewhere. For awhile I thought the fish were eating the fry, as for much of the day, only about half or less of the fry were out. This morning however, I was greeted by the entire brood.

If you have any interest in trying your hand at breeding egglaying fish, I would definately suggest this species. Yes, you need a seperate aquarium, but you need a seperate tank anyway if you breed any kind of fish. I recommend these fish because like all cichlids, they care for their young, and as the saying goes... "To breed Convicts, just add water"!

Mike's Cichlid's

Convict FYI

Convict cichlids fish is very easy to keep and breed in aquariums and is therefore an ideal beginner’s fish and especially suited for those who want to keep their first cichlid. The name convict cichlid describes these beautiful fish and its black stripes on a white background very accurately.

kd0ar's Wonderful Convict Video

The small floating rice like pieces are the tiny Convict Babies

Product Review

I recently purchased the Marineland Bio Filter 100B which is for a 20 gal tank, the reason for this purchase was that I was frustrated with my Internal Aquarium Filter.
Not only did it take up tank space I was unsatisfied with how it performed there was not enough water flow or current as some call it, and now and then I would have to add Crystal Clear to clear up the cloudy water to help it along.
Sometimes when you purchase Aquarium Kits you get stuck with a internal filter and whatever comes with it and not all that comes with it might be the best.

I've only had this filter a day or two but I notice the difference right away there is more water flow and current, it runs much more quiet then the last filter and my water is crystal clear.

kd0ar had mentioned that he had purchased the 30 gal Bio filter days before and he seemed pleased with it so
I decided to become a copycat and I'm really glad I did the fish even seem to swim more then they did before plus I really like what I read about these filters which I will include below.

The Penguin BIO-Wheel Power Filters deliver easy, three-stage mechanical, chemical and biological aquarium filtration. Convenient Penguin Rite-Size Filter Cartridges come ready to use with each filter …ready to mechanically and chemically remove waste, discoloration and odors. Each contains new faster-acting Black Diamond Premium Activated Carbon for maximum efficiency. Biological filtration is provided by the revolutionary and patented BIO-Wheel - proven best at removing toxic ammonia and nitrite. All BIO-Wheel filters feature Noise-Reducing Two-Piece Vented Covers, and Adjustable Mid-Level Intake Strainers.

So before you pull you hair out give it a try it might just be what you and your fish need .
Feel free to check our sponser links out to find this product .

About this blog

Welcome to my new blog.

This site is something that I wanted to create for "YOU", the aquarium enthusiast. Whether you are brand new, and considering setting up your first aquarium or someone who has been into the hobby for a long time, I want to make this YOUR favorite blog site. I welcome any comments you may have as this site is being built.
I have two contributors to the page
Please give a warm welcome to Lady Holiday and Alice, Alice has had an aquarium for awhile and Me and Lady Holiday have had ours
since the beginning of 2009.
Please check back often. We will be adding new material to the blog as quickly as we can, and I hope that you will find it to be informational and that you can use it in setting up "Your Freshwater or Saltwater Community Aquarium"!


Founder of
"Your Freshwater & Saltwater Community Aquarium"
About 3 weeks ago, I successfully bred Albino Corydora Catfish.
I ended up with about a dozen babies.
The above video shows these little guys at about 2-3 weeks old.

I hope you enjoy the video!
Above is a video I created during a spawn cycle of 3 Albino Cory Catfish.
This was taken live in real time.
This process occurs a number of times until they finish.

About Us

Your Freshwater & Saltwater Community Aquarium
is bought to you by two aquarium enthusiasts from Youngstown, Ohio (Mike ) and (Lady Holiday) and (Alice) from Florida
we hope that you enjoy the site and will return.

★ Fresh Water Fish Facts ★

The Arapaima is considered by many to be the largest strictly freshwater fish in the world! The Arapaima, also known as Pirarucu, are beautiful, but they are a fish that can get up to 15 feet long and weigh as much as 440 pounds. They are fast growers, powerful swimmers, and in the wild will jump out of the water to snatch small birds from low hanging tree branches. Because of its large size this is probably not really a good choice for a home pet, but is well suited for a public aquarium
For more information on the Arapaima click below.


Special Thanks To Alice
For Designing This Picture

★ Cory Babies By Mike ★

★ Cory Fish Spawning By Mike ★

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Fish vs. Turtle

Lady Holiday


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