Our Aquarium: Fish, Plants, Eels, & Snails

Our Aquarium

My Aquarium: Fish, Plants, Eels, & Snails

Our daughter, Shaylee, messed around with a 2.5 gallon and a couple bowls with goldfish and betas, but our son, Piers, when he turned 10 or so, wanted a big fish tank. Ten  gallons seemed big to me, but this past spring I decided 20 gallon would be better. So I surprised him for his birthday with an upgrade. 

Now this was not completely altruistic. Since I, the parent, had ultimately been the one who ended up feeding the fish and cleaning the tank, I figured it would actually be easier to clean and maintain a twenty gallon tank versus a ten gallon tank: I could put a bigger Whisper filter in it. I could get a decent hood with lights and such. The water temperature and chemical balance should remain more stable between cleanings and feedings and water exchanges. And we could put a few more plants and fish in it. It might actually be more enjoyable and easier to maintain, right?  Well, it has been about 8 weeks since swapping it over and I do *think* it seems easier to maintain. So, there may be some valid logic to the saying that bigger is better in this case. Scales of economy, right? However, I could just be paying closer attention to the tank and maintaining it more regularly. But I do think the biggest factor is the bigger filter. It definitely keeps the water cleaner no ifs ands or buts. 

The first thing Piers wanted to do when he got here for the summer and saw the tank was get more fish. Now mind you, the only fish that had survived from the year before and through Christmas of 2009 in the ten gallon tank was a Golden Dojo Loach and a Sunburst Platy. Oh, and snails. Snails had seemed to multiply just fine and numbered in the thirties when I transferred the tank contents.

The many casualties included three Plecostamus, a Beta, a black Angel fish, lots of Tetras, Zebras, Bala Sharks, Danios, a couple African Dwarf Frogs, Guppies, and a few others I can't even recall. So my idea of more fish was a couple more Platy and maybe some another bottom feeder or two. But since we did get a bigger tank, a few more fish were definitely in order. 

First fish on his list once we got to Petsmart? An eel. Of course. An eel. He also wanted anything with the word Shark in its name, some African Knife fish, and big giant Cichlids of various sizes and shapes. All under aggressive to semi-aggressive temperament as well as fairly sensitive to temperature changes and the like.  But since we didn't have a 50 gallon tank, and I don't want to mess with a heater and sensitive fish, and since I didn't want fish I could not mix with community fish, I vetoed all of them for obvious reasons except the eel. Somehow he talked me into the eel. 

So we got a Peacock Eel for the half-price bargain of $5.00 so I figured why not try it. Then we also got some more fish. So, now, I believe the tank is thoroughly overloaded after three trips to PetsMart each weekend Piers was here. But so far it seems okay. I know it over the rule of one inch per gallon by about 10 at this point, but it doesn't seem too crowded. I will have to watch the nitrate levels most and keep the fish on a pretty lean diet so it doesn't get crazy dirty but the filter seems to do a good job of keeping the water clean.

One minor problem these summer months is that string algae has grown in pretty well and I have to keep cleaning that out as best I can. It is actually very pretty until it gets too long and starts making a mess of things. 

Here are the current occupants of our fish tank listed in order of oldest occupant:

  • 1 - Sunburst Platy - 1.5 inches (Summer 2009)
  • 1 - Golden Dojo Loach - 4 inches (Summer 2009)
  • 1 - Peacock Eeel - 7 inches (Summer 2010)
  • 3 - Lamb Chop Rasboros (Heteromorpha) Danios - 1 inch (Summer 2010)
  • 4 5 - Orange Zebra Danios - 1 inch (Summer 2010) - 2010-08-31 Hum...I can only find 4 of them....the littlest one is missing....
  • 3 - Black Kuhli Loach - 2 inch (Summer 2010)
  • 1 2 - Ghost Shrimp - 1 inch (Summer 2010) - Pretty sure the eel ate the very small one within a few days.
  • 3 4 - African Dwarf Frogs - 1inch (Summer 2010) (These were all hitchhikers on driftwood-planters I bought) 2010-08-29 One died! I think, with the help of Shaylee also kindly taking on feeding tasks without informing me, may be the victim of overfeeding.
  • 1 - Leopard Plecostamus - 2 inches (Summer 2010)  Died 2010-08-13, Looks like the Eel may have had something to do with this. At the very least, the eel appeared to eat this thing once it died. After two days, all that was left was a bit of its skeleton.
  • 6 - Neon Tetra - 0.5 inches (Summer 2010)
  • 1 - Variatus Molly - 1.5 inches (Summer 2010)
  • 1 - Creamsicle Fancy Lyretail Molly - 2 inches (Summer 2010) - 2010-08-31 She died! I think, with the help of Shaylee also kindly taking on feeding tasks without informing me, may be the victim of overfeeding. I don't think it was the eel. The eel seems to nibble fins off the things it has eaten first.
  • 2 - Red Long Fin Tetra - 1.5 inches  (Summer 2010)
  • 1 - Orange Algae Eater - 1.5 inches  (Summer 2010)
  • 15-30 - Generic little snails - These are the small ones and hitchhiked on plants I have bought and since multiplied. Since getting the Eel though, the number seems to be diminishing and empty snail shells keep showing up... coincidence? - 2010-08-31 It appears only about 5 snails are crawling around now. Lots of empty shells now in the tank. The eel again?

Please don't add that up and tell me I am way overstocked. I don't want to know!

They seem good so far. I actually got the Ghost Shrimp to see if the Eel will eat them. I'll keep you posted. It is hard to tell if the Eel is eating so I figured let's try Ghost Shrimp. The Peacock Eel mostly just hides and buries itself and I have never caught it actually eating anything. I have been trying frozen blood worms with no visible luck. I have noticed my snails are being eaten by something, so...... the Eel is eating them? I also got some frozen krill to see if that pricks the Eels interest.

Feeding the Tropical Community

I rotate feeding about every 2 or 3 days between frog pellets, tetra flake, generic goldfish flakes, tropical flakes, tetra pellets, and frozen blood worms (everybody in the tank seems to like that). I figure that way everybody can get a taste of something they like. Occasionally I'll do a dash of everything (except blood worms, I always do those by themselves because they all seem to go crazy over that stuff and ignore everything else, even the frogs). I try to make sure I never put more in than they can eat in about 4 or 5 minutes. Sometimes I will go 4 or 5 days between feedings and everybody seems fine with that too. And yes, the tank stays cleaner the less I feed them! :-)

Golden Dojo Loach - Our Aquarium Snail Eating Swiss Chard - Our Aquarium Snails Eating Swiss Chard Leaf - Our Aquarium Snails Hanging Out On Rock being watched by a Peacock Eel - Our Aquarium




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