January 10, 2010

Nanocube in 2010

It's been quite some time since I've updated this particular blog. Almost 3 years. I guess having our first baby will do that to one's time and priorities. ;-p Since my last post, I'm sad to say that my poor Nanocube and its denizens have suffered from neglect. It wasn't until this past Friday that I finally got around to making some stock changes and cleaning up and redecorating the cube.

Nanocube 2010

For the past few months, the sole remaining hearty souls remaining in the Nanocube were all bottom dwellers: 4 yoyo loaches, 2 true Siamese algae eaters, 3 upside-down catfish, and a pleco. How they survived on the sporadic food that I'd drop in for them I'll never know. Particularly the upside-down catfish as I only caught glimpses of them every now and then since they never came out when the lights were on. I didn't even know all 3 had survived since they were first introduced to the tank. But somehow they flourished. Particularly the loaches and the upside-down catfish cause they were pretty darn large. But, I finally decided to begin my reconstruction plan and unfortunately they no longer included them.

So I fished the 4 loaches and 3 upside-down catfish out of the cube and traded them in for some new stock. Now I've had a pretty annoying tiny snail problem for a long time, mainly infesting the porous filter material in the back of the cube. Not really too much of a big deal but still annoying. But I hadn't realized the extent that the loaches were eradicating these snails from the cube itself until I had lifted out all the decorative pieces in the tank and found a mass grave of tiny conical snail shells littering practically the entire substrate. Was quite impressive. Now that the loaches are gone, I'm using some anti-snail drops to hopefully deal with the remaining live ones (if any) in the filter material.

Panda Cories

As for the new stock, I picked up 6 each of my old-time favs, the furcata rainbow and panda cory along with 3 otos. The rainbows and otos seem rather young so hopefully they'll have room to grow in the cube. Still on the lookout for some albino koi swordtails but haven't seen any in the stores recently. Wouldn't mind picking up a paired set of German blue rams either but it's tough finding a matched pair. Will also probably try to add some more plant-life to the tank which is currently dominated by the massive clump of java fern that's grown onto the driftwood as you can see in the photo above.

But, I'm in no rush so we'll see how it goes. Hopefully I can get this cube back in decent shape again within the year. ;-p

Posted by ronin at 2:13 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2007

Nanocube in 2007

24 Gallon Nanocube

Ha, this Nanocube is in serious need of a layout overhaul. Actually it's not too bad but currently the main piece of driftwood is situated to the rear left corner which makes no sense. I'll eventually try to bring it front and center and sort everything else around it. I'm not sure if I want to keep that big white rock in the rear right but it provides a semi-private area for fish to hide in if they need to. If I can find something that will fit in the tank better I'll definitely get rid of it. This photo was taken after a major trim of the plants in the back. Just cut everything down and replanted. Hopefully it'll look a bit better once it grows up again.


Currently there are 2 trios of livebearers in the tank. The short-finned mollies I've had forever and they still seem to be ok. A few fry were born but only one survived to any reasonable size and he eventually died as well. The trio of albino koi swords are new. Hopefully they'll last longer this time. There aren't as many fish to compete with them this time around.

Furcata Rainbows

Managed to get another quad of furcata rainbows as well. This time they're all male I believe so they're a bit of a rowdy group, chasing each other all over the place. My dabble in rainbows has ended as I donated my last Bosemani back to AF since it was terrorizing the other fish and oddly enough, trying to mate with the short-finned mollies. I think I'll stick with the furcatas from now on. They're small and very pretty.

Furcatas Again

Posted by ronin at 12:39 AM | Comments (0)

New Year, New Updates

5.5 Gallon Tank

Wow it's been quite some time since I've updated this blog. Life's just been much too busy to keep up with 3 blogs on a regular basis. But I'll still try. =) My 5.5 gallon tank is still algae infested but it seems to have reached a maximum infestation point. I think eventually I'll either break down and clean out the entire tank or just throw in a ton of algae-eating shrimp and see how it goes. ;-p Current residents are 4 albino koi swordtail fry, one female guppy, a couple of cory pygmaeus, 2 Japonica shrimp, and a small betta of some sort (not the typical Siamese fighting fish betta). I would put in batches of crystal or cherry shrimp but I suspect the small betta may snack on them if given the opportunity. He leaves the Japonica's alone but that's cause they're relatively large. Cherries and crystals are much smaller. But we'll see, if I run into any at a LFS I'll pick some up and try it.

Posted by ronin at 12:38 AM | Comments (0)

June 9, 2006

Red alert...

Damn, had an outbreak of popeye in my Nanocube the last week and lost 6 fish to it before it seems to have stopped or been eliminated by the Maracin that I've been dosing the tank with for the last 4 days. But it wiped out my true Siamese algae eaters, a praecox rainbow, and my male gold barb. Crossing my fingers that whatever the heck it was it's gone away.

Posted by ronin at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2006


Woke up yesterday morning to the sound of splashing water coming from downstairs so I rushed down to check it out. Turns out that the tube connecting the Nanocube's pump to the outlet came loose so instead of being pumped back directly into the tank it was splashing out of the back and side. Luckily it seemed to have happened relatively recently so cleaning up wasn't too bad. I think I'll need to get some sort of tube clamp to make sure it doesn't happen again cause after I connected the tube and started the pump again, it came loose in the afternoon. Good thing Erin was around to catch it this time.

Anyway, in the evening I decided I might as well spend the time to swap out the pump with the Marineland Maxi-Jet 900 that I had just purchased off of eBay. The ACCELA powerhead that comes with the Nanocube puts out 266 gph which I felt was a bit too strong for freshwater fish (unless you only keep ones that like extremely strong current) so following the advice of the JBJLighting support guy, I replaced it with the Maxi-Jet 900 which clocks in at 230 gph. Not a huge change but the next model down would have been only 160 gph which would be too low.

Swapping the pumps was pretty easy and hopefully the tube will stay in place until I get the clamps since I installed the pump higher up along the wall instead of at the very bottom of the compartment like the original pump was.

Posted by ronin at 11:57 AM | Comments (2)

April 7, 2006

Initial Nanocube Population...

Finally got around to breaking down and selling off my old Eclipse System 12 and moving everything to the new Nanocube.

First set up

These pics were taken a little over a week ago and already they're old. Tank looks just a little different than it does in this picture. The giant ambulia was too tall so I wound up cutting off the bottom third and then replanting both portions side by side in the back. Not sure if there'll be enough light or even if the bottom stem of the top half will regrow roots but guess we'll find out in a few weeks. Also tried moving the left Amazon to the left side of the tank but it had a tough time standing straight in that area since it seems like the water flow is strongest there. So I moved it back towards the middle and left the left side of the tank mostly bare except for the crypts.

Giant Ambulia
Giant Ambulia

When I saw this beauty at AF I knew I had to get it. Just love it, hope it does alright. Provides a great backdrop for my little furcata rainbows school. =)

Male Koi
Brilliant male koi swordtail

Soon after I took this pic the poor fellow started moping around one day and then just up and died the next. Very disappointing cause he sported great coloration. Maybe it was the internal worm problem that I just read that livebearer's are often susceptible to cause when I fished him out of the tank his white abdomen had streaks of red within it seems. *sigh*

Female Koi
Young female koi swordtail

My sole remaining koi sword for the time being until I'm able to find another batch that has the bold colors that I like. Maybe I'll be able to get some more at the American Livebearer Association Convention at the end of the month.

Three-Striped Pencilfish
Three-Striped Pencilfish

I originally picked up 3 of these guys thinking they were schooling fish. Apparently not as the alpha male seemed to spend a lot of time picking the other 2 to death. Which is a pity cause these are really pretty fish. Their coloration is real interesting as well cause they have nice solid horizontal black stripes when the light is on but at night they sport thick vertical black stripes instead. Kinda weird that they can do that. Don't mix in other similarly-shaped fish that have black horizontal stripes with them as these guys'll act aggressively towards them as well. Like my 2 ill-fated true Siamese algae eaters. But otherwise he seems to get along fine with everyone else.

Yoyo Loach
Inquisitive Yoyo Loach

Even though I have no snails in this tank I kinda like these guys. They're real thin so they can squeeze through just about any nook and cranny and have no problem going horizontal to do so. They are pretty voracious feeders as they'll eat from all levels of the tank, even the top.

Posted by ronin at 12:34 AM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2006

I need a Python...

Nanocube 24 Gallon
The sacred cube

Finally had some time to set up my Nanocube after having it sit idle for 2 weeks. First off had to put together the cabinet stand. The instruction sheet that came with it was simply horrible. Believe me, I just spent the last 2 weeks putting together bookshelves and entire desks and the instructions for this thing was the worst of the lot. Now that I took another look at what the final product is supposed to look like I just discovered that I installed the door and the 2 side panels upside down. Mutha@#$@#!!!! But that's alright. I wanted the door to open from the right anyway instead of from the left like they have it.

Nanocube on Stand
The accursed stand

Having wasted like 2 hours trying to figure out how to put the stand together, I finally unboxed the tank itself and set it up on the stand. No big deal. Next came the arduous task of filling the tank to check for leaks. Considering that all I had was a light blue washbasin, this took awhile. But after all was said and done, the tank was finally up and running smoothly.

All set up!

Will let it run for a day or two to let the carbon and ceramic bio ball bags spit out its dust and loose bits before clearing the water out and adding substrate. Got 2 20lb. bags of Eco-Complete (25% off this month at AF!) all ready to go. The new MSS surface skimmer that comes with the 2006 models seems to work ok but using it requires you to fill the tank up to literally the very top. Which makes the transparent cover protecting the lights pretty much submerged in a thin layer of water. A bit apprehensive about that but we'll see how that goes after awhile.

Inside the Cube
Shot of the powerhead outlet, skimmer in the far back and light protector

Posted by ronin at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

Beginnings of a new tank...

Earlier this month we moved into our new place and I decided to get rid of the 12 and 6 gal Eclipse tanks and consolidate everything into one 24 gal Nanocube by JBJLighting. The 5.5 gal AGA tank I'd keep but clear out to use as a hospital tank when needed.

Continue reading "Beginnings of a new tank..."

Posted by ronin at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)

January 9, 2006

Another loss...

Don't seem to have that great luck with zebra otos as the current one I had in this tank just died of unknown causes. Was doing fine for awhile as far as I could tell and was eating the zucchini that I would drop in there periodically. *sigh*

Also transferred one of the male blue rams from the large 12 gal tank to this 5.5 gal one. For awhile the 2 rams were fighting on fairly equal footing but recently I noticed that this one was losing and suffering damage to his head. So I decided it'd be best to separate them. Hopefully he'll heal up while in this tank.

Posted by ronin at 10:23 AM | Comments (0)

January 5, 2006

New Year, New Filter...

Decided to take some time during the New Year break to replace the Hagen Elite Stingray 5 underwater filter that I had in the planted 5.5 gal tank with the new Hagen Aqua Clear Mini power filter that I had purchased a while ago but just never got around to installing. While originally I thought the Stingray 5 was a pretty cool filter for a small tank, that thought quickly dissipated after one dead fish too many that I discovered in the small gap between the filter and the back wall of the tank. Plus having to yank the entire filter out for a thorough cleaning every few weeks turned out to be a drag.

The Aqua Clear, while much larger than the Stingray 5, only has the transparent intake tube actually located in the tank. So what I lose in space behind the tank I make up for with more room for the fish and plants to grow out in. And less chance of the fish being caught behind the filter and not being able to get out.

I'm not that impressed with the setup of the Aqua Clear though. It comes with 3 filtration material: a foam filter, an activated carbon pouch, and an ammonium remover pouch. The foam filter is fine, the carbon pouch is a little too big for the area you're supposed to cram it into on top of the foam filter and the ammonium remover comes with a separate mesh bag that you have to pour the remover into and then cinch and cut off by yourself. In this day and age, why? How hard is it to come out with a pouch that has the ammonium remover in it already (like the activated carbon pouch).

Maybe I should have stuck with a Marineland Biowheel filter. Only reason I chose the Aqua Clear was because it has a basic flow control mechanism so you can sorta adjust the size of the flow coming back into the tank. And even that doesn't make a huge difference. Ah well, it works so far so not much I can really complain about. Hopefully, using the Aqua Clear will also break up the weird film that I was seeing on the water surface and which seemed to be inhibiting my salvinia growth. Not that having a major infestation of salvinia is that great either but at least it's more natural than that filmy thing that I was seeing.

Posted by ronin at 3:46 PM | Comments (0)