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From Tank to Tub...The Grand Fish Shuffle

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:58 am
by PVT-Kanaka
Aloha Again!


2014, we were supposed to break down our outdoor 55 gal "swamp tank," convert it to African Cichlids, and pull our 20 gal (high) and 26 gal flat back hex out of storage. Alas, life happened, 12 white cloud mountain minnows went into the swamp to control mosquitoes, and the other tanks remain in storage. On the upshot, life included a garden project that included a.) a place to run my large scale trains, and b/) a 50-100 gallon pond! All this slowly came to the point where we can stock the pond and decorate the garden.

This brings me to the title of the post...what goes into the pond? It is unfiltered with no water flow. It is exposed to the tropical sun 10+ hours a day. I measured temperatures at the surface at abou 90 degrees Fahrenheit. A bog plant I bought called a "golden star" (2 inch, circular floating leaves, 4-pointed, fuzzy, golden yellow flower) is doing well, and I just anchored a "baby" plant. I am going to sacrifice a crypt and some java fern to see what happens, too. I keep the pond 6"-8" deep, about half full, as I am waiting to see if overflow or evaporation will prove my greater enemy.

My inclination is to move the white clouds. They've done well outside for a year, but the "swamp tank" is under the lanai's roof. I am worried the exposed pond may be too hot. Thoughts? If this is going to be unsuitable for them, they will go inside to my 55 gal display tank. With Ol' Fred's (my ancient angelfish) recent passing, they'd safe.

As alternatives to the white clouds, and in light of the temperature, I was leaning towards tougher gouramis, especially our old friend the blue / gold / whatever gourami ( Trichogaster trichopterus).

I am open to other suggestions, too, especially a smaller schooling fish, and, of course, a LOACH! that might be at home in these conditions. Mosquito larvae eating powers would be highly desireable. Oh, being in the middle of nowhere, our selections trends towards "bread and butter." However appropriate Rarius expensivii might be, it won't be available.

"Tubbing" in the truest sense of the word here is new territory for us, so I appreciate the suggestions.

Eric

Re: From Tank to Tub...The Grand Fish Shuffle

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 2:40 pm
by ScottFish
Oooooh a pond! I'm looking forward to reading how this comes along. I would think you want to make this tank deeper because of the temperature.

Re: From Tank to Tub...The Grand Fish Shuffle

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 6:58 pm
by PVT-Kanaka
Scottfish,

Design limited on the depth. We had heavy rains all weekend, though, so I am going to fill it closer to the top.

Eric

Re: From Tank to Tub...The Grand Fish Shuffle

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:23 pm
by Wailua Boy
I would switch to a livebearer like guppies, ELB or mollies. Swords could work but may appreciate more water movement; they are also big jumpers. Whiteclouds wont handle the high temps very well, although they are tough fish. You could plant a lot of floating plants(water lily, duckweed, azolla, waterlettuce, etc.) to reduce daytime temps. A gourami would be a good tank mate, preferably a female as the males can be scrappy.

Re: From Tank to Tub...The Grand Fish Shuffle

PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:00 am
by PVT-Kanaka
Wailua Boy,

Thanks. Whatever "golden star" is, it is slowly spreading, and ought to provide shade in time. I have my eyes open for the other plants, too.

I will take your suggestion and move my white clouds indoors. Mollies may be the right fish. The pond is raised and set in from the garden, so slightly bigger fish will be more visible. Also, for whatever reason, guppies seem to have a poor survival record in my care.

I probably need to get a photo up to show this set-up a bit...

Re: From Tank to Tub...The Grand Fish Shuffle

PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:45 am
by Wailua Boy
Aloha Kanaka, I set up a similar tank about a year ago, it's 65g circle(12in deep). Initially I worried about the depth/size. I set it up mainly to grow plants. First couple months the water was totally green but as the plants filled in the water became crystal clear. This pond is close to my home and under the cover of a Hapu'u fern/shrubs and receives filtered light. I live at 1500ft on the slope of Haleakala, so I have warm days but chilly nights(can go to 50'sF) I stocked initially with 4 white cloud mnt minnows and they spawned. I only had a few survivors and left them in; I then added 6 fantail guppy. Since I added gups, no more white cloud spawns. I have Java Moss, Java Fern, Anacharis( Elgeria densa) and duckweed for cover. I feed only once or twice a week as the fish feed on plenty of natural foods, in fact they are constantly hunting small insect at surface. If they aren't hunting they are grazing on algae, they are quite active and spawn often. The fantails are starting to over populate with impressive numbers. This tank is stocked very basic but I enjoy watching this tank because of its natural behaviors and the fish are very healthy.

Re: From Tank to Tub...The Grand Fish Shuffle

PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:29 am
by PVT-Kanaka
Mahalo nui loa Wailua Boy!

I live on O'ahu's windward coast. The 55 gal tank has been up and running for about 5+ years, though neither the white clouds nor zebras before them ever spawned, something I attribute to the heat. Only val ever seemed to grow, and that densely. Temperatures here rarely get into the high 60-s in the winter, but even my indoor tanks get into the 90-s in the summer. Like you, I found the raw simplicity of this tank charming in its own right, but it has run its course.

The big difference in the pond will be the fact it has no cover other than the spreading water plants, and, in 10 or 20 years, the branches of an avocado tree. Also, the tank has a dirt bottom. the pond has a bare bottom. It sounds from your experience the white clouds will likely survive, but not thrive, in the pond.

As I said, I probably need to get that picture downloaded and posted to this thread!

Re: From Tank to Tub...The Grand Fish Shuffle

PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:33 am
by PVT-Kanaka
Quick update...

The white clouds went inside to my coolest and emptiest tank (The family voted them down as fillers for the display tank in the living room. They are still mourning Ol' Fred.). One jumped into the yard and disappeared, otherwise the transfer went fine. The val, while ultimately too long for the pond's depth, went into pots with rocks and soil. If it grows, great. If not, it was bound for the green waste pile, anyway.

We plan to get the mollies or gouramis this week. It is still the cool season. By summer, we should have the shade. I filled the pond to only a couple inches from the rim, so that should give me additional margin for temperature control.

Photos coming...I promise!

Re: From Tank to Tub...The Grand Fish Shuffle

PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:12 pm
by PVT-Kanaka
OK, at long last, an update...

First, here is the tub / pond in question:

Image

It gets lots of direct sunlight, is unfiltered, and is ~55 gallons. Per earlier posts, I now fill it close to the top. Water from here is used for the garden, and then we top it off.

Below are pictures of the "Yellow Star." It blooms during the day, and it grows quite rapidly; in fact, I just thinned it! I will let it go over the summer to provide shade.

Image

We split the difference regarding stocking, borrowing from suggestions above. They include:
    One male and three female "red eyed velvet swords
    On male and one female white "balloon mollies." The rest of the family liked them and, while I find the body shape grotesque, it actually looks OK from the top.

I am also tossing in weighted clumps of Anubius and java fern. They seem to be doing OK My attempt at transplanting a crypt into a weighted pot failed. I think my "helpers" may have knocked it over while messing with the "yellow star." Another bog plant may join the pond, too, to give it some vertical appeal.

We may toss in some other species of hardy fish for mosquito control, but I am hoping we'll see more mollies and swords soon enough to obviate that.

The final issue may be mulm removal. This will require some sort of pump, I imagine, as I have no height differential to use a siphon.

So far so good!

Aloha,
Eric

Re: From Tank to Tub...The Grand Fish Shuffle

PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:25 pm
by Wailua Boy
Cool. Looks like your pond has a lot of potential, I like the train track too. (although if it was me I would clear out all the gravel and build a mega pond heehee) That is a fast growing plant, I've also heard it called the snowflake plant, looks a lot like a dwarf lily. A new development with my ponds is the Aukuu(Night Heron) has been visiting my property. After a couple of years with no incidence, I came outside at about 9:30PM and in my garage(the door have been left open and is loaded with tanks) a large Aukuu was perched on my 120g. Inside the tank swam two large 12in breeding cichlids, luckily unharmed. Initially, I thought it was a Pueo(owl) or Shearwater(seabird). So I killed the light for a minute, hoping he would fly off. I turned the light back on and there he stood unmoved. Once I realized it was a heron and actually was hunting my fish, he casually hopped off the tank, hopped on the garage floor a few steps outside and took flight. The next morning, looking around my property, I found 4 piles of scales in different locations.He sampled a fish from each pond.(Sorry for the long winded post) To make a long story short, I now cover all outside ponds/tanks. My dogs sleep inside, so no help there. This bird has now been returning regularly, luckily no more causalities. Watch out for reds, oranges and albinos they tend to get whacked quickly outdoors.

Re: From Tank to Tub...The Grand Fish Shuffle

PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:32 pm
by C. Andrew Nelson
Cool! Fish pond & trains: two of my favorite things.

Re: From Tank to Tub...The Grand Fish Shuffle

PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:32 pm
by ScottFish
An outdoor train track! Is there a story behind it? Any plans for that 2nd gravel area (top right in the picture)?

Re: From Tank to Tub...The Grand Fish Shuffle

PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 1:59 am
by PVT-Kanaka
The trains all date from the 1980-s when my family lived in Germany. Some of the rolling stock actually dates from the '70s! The company, LGB, pioneered weather-proof electric trains, and they set the standard for modern "garden railroads." For us, however, they served in a John Wayne inspired "Wild West" universe in our basement before returning to their boxes for about 25 years. I took possession of the family collection a few years back, and, after coming out at Christmas a couple times, we made the decision to set up the track permanently in a garden as means to move indoor activities outside. The pond, of course, was an obvious choice, but we are now growing our own herbs, and the kids populate the whole thing from time to time with everything from Lego to Barbie. Oh, and it can deliver adult beverages from the lanai to my grill area! BONUS!!!! :D

The first train ran in January, and land- waterscaping is underway. For now, the back area is serving as a staging area for landscaping items. It also serves as the kids "free play zone," and rocks and cinderblocks form their cities and stations. As we get out of the heavy landscaping, it'll probably serve as our "urban area." Another water feature is a possibility depending on the success of the first pond. Also, as we determine how we want to incorporate the whole into our lifestyle, we may run electricity via conduits to the garden to power pumps to add a fountain or "river" to the existing pond.

The garden is designed to evolve, and I call it my "Thirty Year Project." By that time, my three clown loaches will be full grown and NEED a fresh water ocean at which the trains can drop off 1/24 scale tourists!

Aloha!
Eric

Re: From Tank to Tub...The Grand Fish Shuffle

PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 9:38 pm
by C. Andrew Nelson
Ah, yes! I know LGB well. Great products. They practically last a lifetime. I used to be deep deep deep into model railroading. That was before I got married and had kids. No real room for it now. My wife tolerates the fish tanks and has even warmed up to them, but she has no love for model railroads. I guess I'll have to live vicariously through you and your backyard railroad. Love the combo of the train and the pond!

Re: From Tank to Tub...The Grand Fish Shuffle

PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 4:10 am
by PVT-Kanaka
Update...

One molly died...reasons unkown. Swords are fine, however, so I suspect it was fish-specific, not a system issue. Still, we did 75% water change to remove the suspended dirt from the failed cryptocryne project.

Oh, and as for spousal tolerance, that is, in part, why I remain a fish keeper and not a breeder. As long as my hobbies do not detract from the attractiveness of the house, I get a pass. A bare tank with an overturned flower pot would not endear the hobby to her!