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Thread: Treat a Fish Tank as a Pond - and what I've learnt

  1. #1
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    Treat a Fish Tank as a Pond - and what I've learnt

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    I know the majority enthusiasts here belongs to either:
    1) Aquascaping users
    2) Tank with fish without plants (heavy reliance on filters)


    I didn't get to find resources within this forum nor many other sites about possibility of treating a fish tank as a pond.


    Why, you may ask.


    Honestly my initial intention is to understand whether there's possibility to create a self-sustaining ecosystem in a fish tank.
    - So i set out in early March to get a tank and tested many things and experienced many situations.


    56 litres tank / around 15 gallons
    Personal intended criterias
    Only intend to house hardy species:
    Snails (detrivore) // went for Ramshorn, and got hitchhiked Bladder snails
    Shrimps (detrivore) // went for Neocaridina (bought juvy BlueJelly)
    Guppy (hardy fish - eats mosquito/worms etc)
    Not to spend a dime on "fish food/shrimp food".
    Limit filter usage + oxygenator usage (max 2 hours a day)
    Ensure tank doesn't smell bad


    What went on - timeline:
    1) Bought 10 ramshorn snails + some aquarium plants (java moss + riccia)
    -> put snails in a 5-day aged water
    // This is still a bad move on hindsight, 9/10 died in about 1.5 weeks later. Pretty sure is due to absent of full cycling.
    // Intention was to use snails to kickstart cycling, which did succeed, but still killed most (left 1)
    - Fed melon skin with flesh.


    2) Bought more plants
    -> hitchhiked Bladder snails. No regrets though!
    // Population ramshorn went to 4/10
    -> wanted full cycling evidence + reproduction (eggs) before buying fish.


    3) Started seeing snail eggs
    -> Got some plants + guppy x 3 juvy
    (Original intention was to skip guppy and buy shrimps -> into shrimp focus tank. But too many nematodes.)
    -> Guppy was able to find nematode/algae as primary food source.
    -> Slight green water


    4) The "Long Night" happened.
    -> This event killed around 10% snails (super hardy), 1/3 guppy and 50% plants - only leaving Duckweed + Riccia + Myriophyllum alive.
    // tiny bit of MonteCarlo survived
    -> Changed out water slowly over 1 week (around 15% water per day, 50% on first day only)


    5) Tank stabilises, and kind of grow very well
    -> Plant growth +30%-40%
    -> Snail growth to around 70-80, 1/3 adult snails
    was able to sell some to fellow aquarist for algae purpose.
    -> guppy pregnant
    -> Bought some Neocaridinas as detrivore


    6) (Where i am now)
    -> Plant growth 15%
    -> Snail count around 70-80, 1/3 adults
    -> 2 guppy with 10 young guppies
    -> Can't see Neocaridinas


    From here what i wanted to try is to have "natural filters" to clean the aquarium water.
    The water i use for my aquarium are "used water", meaning eg kitchen water without detergent. Eg washing of utensils/basic cleaning/fruits/veges.
    The food i provide to the tank are organic waste. Meaning eg roots of veggies, etc. As is, without boiling. Tried many many things, include banana skin/melon skin etc.


    Has anybody succeed to use natural filters eg, aquaponics kind of setup (plant absorbing nitrates and remove)?
    -> Youtube has some vids of using Sweet Potato Plant to draw out nutrients from aquarium.
    I intend to try that soon.


    I don't really mind having green water (definitely not to the taste of most of the users here), but i want to have a productive setup.
    -> Able to grow eg snails/fish/shrimp/plant all together.
    -> Eg split to 2 tanks at a later time.


    Something i want to constantly ask is:
    How can i simulate as close towards "Fish tank as a Pond"?
    - The only premise it was working for me before till now, is that i "change water quite frequently". I use aquarium water to water household plants, and top up tank with 'waste water' rather daily.
    -> What will be ideal is to clean the water enough that there is no manual intervention required.


    What do you guys think?


    #IDontFeedFishPellets

  2. #2
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    Re: Treat a Fish Tank as a Pond - and what I've learnt

    Glad to see someone trying to do it more naturally. I'm curious that for a pond it would have lots of layer of water, mud and soil which help absorbing and naturally break down matters. For a tank it would take way longer given the smaller scale.
    Also, water from washing veggies and fruit may carry traces of pesticides and other additives, would they be harmful to the tank?
    Maybe a little help would still be needed?
    I hope to catch a glimpse of the tank too

  3. #3
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    Re: Treat a Fish Tank as a Pond - and what I've learnt

    I can't say whether there is existing pesticides in the tank from the kitchen water, but i assume water removal will dilute it to non-dangerous levels. Otherwise more if not all of the inhabitants would have died.
    Am trying the sweet potato method as a filter now.

    Will record how it goes and share images perhaps at a later time.
    It is a green tank for the moment with alot of nematodes which I don't think will be nice to see.
    (But i assume this is likely going to be the case with a normal start-up pond too)
    It should go stable soon as guppy fry is growing big quickly.
    - I am seeing the fry (3-4 days old) starting to eat nematodes now and growing quickly in green water.

    Aim is in a month's time where guppy is juvenile-grown, likely nematodes population will be in control.

  4. #4
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    Re: Treat a Fish Tank as a Pond - and what I've learnt

    Interesting experiment! Looking forward to your updates!

  5. #5
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    Re: Treat a Fish Tank as a Pond - and what I've learnt

    Update:
    7) Bought 1x female guppy. Found out the guppy size is 2 x my current Fem Guppy size. This is likely evident related to lack of "easy accessible food" compared to the LFS.
    - pretty sure my guppies would complain having to work very hard for food. ��
    -> Forage food: daphnia, copepods, baby snails, algae, baby snails, baby shrimps and nematodes.
    - Bought 5 x Fire red shrimps but put in separate container.
    Attached current population details in the tank.


    I realise subconsciously the thinking behind this seems to mimick what Rice farmers have in their setup
    - Rice plant draw nutrients
    - Fish/snails/insects rely on nutrients within and around the water.



    #IDontFeedFishPellets

    aqua1.jpgaqua2.jpgaqua3.jpgaqua4.jpg

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