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blackwater tank cycling?


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This will probably be my last post unless something interesting happens. Nothing much to say the ec before water change was 34 and after water change was 28; the ph has been hugging 5.6-5.8 and i took these 3 lame pictures (2 of the male 1 of the female - these are the two that hang where i put most of the food; the smaller ones that get less food are on the other side and i've been making a point to give them more food; not sure how many are over there as i only saw 3 (that makes 5 out of 8); these two look like full size adults but no indication or hint they have any desire to breed - not that i really want to deal with frys right now; and as always the otto always come to the front to say hi when doing water changes - i'm wondering if it has soemthing to do with the change in current pattern (i turn off the sump pumps while doing water changes the only current is the python taking out water).


Oh and if nothing else the plants seem to be growing well - that golden anubia has put out several new leaves. I realize these post and thread is kind of boring - the only thing really unique about this aquarium is raw size since it larger than your typical black water aquarium on the bright side when the male snaps at the female she just darts under a leave and he is left standing there looking confused.
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Well-Known Member
Nothing really new - but took a few pictures. Last night i saw 5 of the 8 a. Bitaeniata; so at least a few are still alive ;)

Today i saw 9 of the 12 otto. Ec has been between 25 and 35 and ph is bouncing between 5.5 and 6.5. Dont' really trust this ph pen/monitor but maybe hte low ec is also hurting the readings.

From the top during water change; you can see the python front left.

A few otto:

some n's

One of the a. b. Hard to get a good picture of them because the best picture is taken by putting hte phone against the glass and that usually spooks them:


The area in teh back where i'm growing aquatic plants emerrsed:

The crypts and s. porto (sp) and s. repens seem to grow easiest. The nana anubia is struggling as well as the e. opacus.
My a. sp winklefleck aquarium - the ec is lower in this aquarium and i know i would get dinged for horrible layout for apistogramma but since she has turned yellow he has left her alone - they spend most of the day side by side or close proxmity (which seems weird for a polygamous species); though not sure where she is in this picture. A lot of time she darts in and out of the coconut shells but i don't believe she has eggs. She has been yellow for about 2 1/2 to 3 weeks now. You can see the python in the top pushing the plants down as i was doing a water change.


Well-Known Member
This is a 20 long i setup last week for a pair of a. lineta:
This is the full aquarium; stocking includes 10 n. morthenthaleri; 1 pair a. lineta; 1 L600 and 2 nerite snail. There is a coconut shell behind the driftwood on the left that i will probably remove; and i'll be adding more leaves slowly - probably 4 more this week and a few more after that. When the morthenthaleri get larger (they are around 1/2 to 3/4 an inch) i'll either remove 4 or 5 or remove them all and replace with a new set of small pencil. When the L600 gets a bit larger (1 1/2 to 2 inches) i'll remove him. Really dislike that coconut shell. The female mostly hides on the right but there are other places she can hide if she needs to. One odd thing is in the 180 the 2nd pair of a. lineta spend a lot of time swimming side by side; guess the larger aquarium makes them feel less secure or something (it is the discus tank that currently has 30 cardinals and 14 glowlight and 6 1/2 inch rams).

This is the female - will get a better picture later:

This is the male - just missed having his dorsal fin in full display - maybe next time; he was showing off to the female

The itsy bitsy pleco:

Anyway we will see how it goes.


Well-Known Member
I'm not surprised that your apistos are hiding a lot in the 20Long. It is much too open and bright.
Obviously the structure could be improved; the light is actually fairly dim and you can sort of tell that from the grain in the female picture. I hadn't intended to buy them so the tank was converted in a hurry and will be working on it the next few weeks. But the primary purpose of this post is the behavior changed. The male never bothered hiding but now the female has taken the coconut shell and the male sits outside talking to her and she sort of pokes her head out but won't actually come out and he won't go in. However she isn't yellow (I presume this species turn yellow like other species but maybe not). The key thing (for me) is he seems to have stopped harassing her. Anyway my primary goal in structure is to add large leaves slowly and maybe another piece of drift wood - she had quite a few hiding places because the leaves are about 10x her size but we shall see what happens.


Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
It is much too open and bright.
I'd have to agree with Mike, it needs a lot more structure (like your other tanks).
Anyway my primary goal in structure is to add large leaves slowly and maybe another piece of drift wood - she had quite a few hiding places because the leaves are about 10x her size
I'd just chuck them in, I think being large is actually probably an advantage.

Personally I'd remove the L600, even as a small fish it will try and get in the cave and disturb the Cichlids at night. I'd also remove the Nerites, they are going to shell attrition fairly rapidly and they can't then repair the damaged shell.

cheers Darrel


Well-Known Member
This is the top when not doing a water change; normally i remove a lot of the floaters to allow lower plants to do better but in this case all i have are anubia and java fern at the lower level and the anubia seem to be doing quite well; still the density is at some point going to need a bit of reduction. I did have a problem during the week where enough plants grew around the overlfow box that they manged to clog it - not a good thing so there is a bit of disturbance there (plants combination of water lettuce; red root floaters and excessive number of frog bit). I would say the major difference between this aquarium and my tap water one is the frog bits are a bit small.


Well-Known Member
Here is an updated picture of the lineta aquarium. The male/female haven't been fighting (as far as i can tell) since the last picture. Now when the male swims up to her she flicks her tail and he leaves her alone. I couldn't get good pictures of them - they aren't 'shy' but they never sit still. Just not like the winkelfleck that are sort of like dogs that go into this 'begging' mode when i walk up to the aquarium.

The aquarium is actually fairly dark but the auto-balance lightens it up. In my opinion it could use some more drift wood and a bit more hardscape at the mid level but there are a lot of hiding area if necessary.
In the 180 the lineta pair are much more in the open (of course it is a more open aquarium for the discus); sometime they swim side by side and sometime they are on opposite end but like the 20 long they mostly ignore me and rarely sit still making photo-graphing more difficult. The cockatoo will sit still for long period of times - the winkelfleck problem is getting them to stop begging. None of these three species are like the cupido which actively try to avoid me (i.e, swim to the opposite side of the aquarium); 'cept when i actually feed them.
(population is 8 to 10 pencil fishes and 2 lineta and some plants). Temp is 80; water is ro but can't comment on ph.

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