Started work on a planted, deep substrate no filter no waterchange nano aquarium. Excited to see if I can grow some of the plants out and establish a stable cycle that might eventually be able to support some fish 🤞if it pans out, maybe I'll get some photos up in 2 months or so.
Its...not an artistically composed scape or anything-I just had some fishless aquariums that were sitting sad & neglected so I grabbed the poor, snail bitten plants and the substrate from them and tossed them into this little experimental aquarium for a second chance at life heh
Here's today. Some of the plants we salvaged were...lookin' rough when we put 'em in. So Im interested to see who survives and who dies off. (that poor front leftmost anubias...🤞) Wasn't gonna post the starting pics but maybe it'll be interesting... maybe it'll be catastrophe...
(10 gal tank. Substrate is 4 inches deep: 1 inch organic dirt, 1 inch fine gravel, 3 inches coarser black gravel).
Day 10! Things are!! That anubias I was sad for didn't make it. I pulled her out and put in some weeds instead (foxtails). They were smol...but they're already getting so tol!! The top salad is thriving really well, too.
The fast growing plants are really appealing because plants will only filter out nitrates if they are actively growing. Nitrates lvls are present but pleasant. Ammonia is all gone which makes me a happy bee! If everything still reads the same in 3 days I will add shrimp janitors!
Not being able to play animal crossing today made me reckless and impulsive, and like a rebel, I have brought home the janitorial crew a day earlier than I intended to.
They're...really cute ; v;
(I also got an assassin snail because hoohoo the snails are boomin' Hannibal has his work cut out of him. Last I saw, he was bookin' it under a rock. No idea where he is now but I hope he's enjoying the buffet...)
day 19!
My plants are pearling!!! They are producing so many little oxygen bubbles!!
Proud of my little mess😭💕
At this point, I could technically put fish in...but I don't want anything that will put the fear of god into my janitorial staff, they've been working so hard and well, they deserve to rule over their little kingdom. Betta fish are definately out of the question.
fuckit, featherfin rainbow fish to keep me on my toes. Great fit for the environment I've set up and the parameters I'm keeping, but daintier bois than I am use to hosting.
Hope this doesn't end in disaster😬
All 7 survived the first night! Im...suprised? They're very sensitive to water change so much so that its apparenly common to lose few as they try to acclimate from the fish store to the home aquarium. These bois are looking well so far! (Lookit the one do their flashy display!)
A closer shot of these beautiful, tiny fish.
The bois are lookin' good today!
Also, buncha new followers, hi! My name is Bees and I tweet about my art, my animals, dungeons and drsgons, and various cute nintendo properties (looootsa animal crossing lately!)
Day 29!
It is time to prune the fox tails and the floating water spangles, but here's a photo before I do!
I haven't done a single water change yet and the ammonia & nitrite is at an undetectable low (reading at 0ppm) while the nitrates have been stable at less than 12.5mg/l
(with fish as delicate as my little threadfin rainbows in the aquarium I will be doing occasional water changes for the sake of managing with their natural biproducts [hormones, etc]. But I am really happy with how this little nano biome is progressing!)
Holy moly, my ammonia and nitrate test are almost the same color (and that's a good thing)
Still no water change, & my nitrates levels are dropping not increasing, which is gr8!
Funnily, I actually don't want my nitrate levels to drop too low or my water lettuce will be unhappy.
these fish are so small...but so cool.
They're also extremely difficult to photograph since they are so zippy and never sit still.
I thought I had all males, but the bottom right most fish in the top right photograph may actually be female's not a very young male.
My tank loves pure sunlight, but the rainbow's colors pop best in low/artificial lighting:
twitter, the photo quality was already bad enough without you expanding the size by 300%, but thanks.
Tank's doing well! Except some of my poor shrimps haven't survived their molts. Which--my water perameters continuing to be well and stable--suggests that it's just a bit too soft for them/not enough calcium.
I'm not sure though--if adding Ca will affect my sensitive rainbows.
the plant growth in this tank is out of control...
Now vs when I started the tank on march 8th.
The only new plant I added were three small foxtail ( The rest of the new density is...natural growth.
Glad most of the plants found new life after my prior neglect (except that front left most anubias, rip)
Man, what the hell is killing my shrimp? Ammonia, nitrites are 0 nitrates are negligable, no major water changes, no added chemicals/meds, rainbows, plants and snails thriving. But every morning is a new dead shrimp. They appear paralyzed and then fade into that good night.🤔
Could be something related to GH but its weird that its become a problem all at once after several weeks. They all have food in 'em when they die, no obvious damage to their bodies. I am stumped.
these lads...difficult to photograph.
more of the lads
these photos were taken right after a water top-up, and while I pour carefully to avoid kicking up sediment as much as possible...I'm happy with how clear the water is--despite the thriving snail population and (thus far) 0 water changes (just top-ups to replace evaporated water)
oh, OH!! WE MIGHT have figured out what was killing my shrimp, I'm thrilled!! Lemme geek out with my theory on this!:
So, this tank is intended to be a deep substrate tank, with intentionally created anoxic zones in the bottom most layers of the substrate. 1/
This is to encourage bacteria down there to use nitrates rather than oxygen, effectively turning the substrate into a filter. Anoxic zones though--also produce H2S which is super deadly to ...basically everything lmao. But, the presence of O2 in the water turns it inert. 2/
My tank is heavily planted, and during times of day when the sun shines through my window, they pearl! SO MUCH OXYGEN right?? I thought so, I was wrong. The sun also heated up the water, not enough to kill my fish/shrimp, but enough to reduce the water's ability to retain O2. 3/
I was assuming my thick layer or coarse substrate aerated the water enough to turn the H2S into SO4 before entering into the open water where my fish and shrimp and snails lived. But, with heat reducing the amount of dissolved O2 in the water, this likely wasn't happening. 4/
My water was likely oxygenated enough to get rid of the H2S as soon as it left the substrate, making almost all areas of the inhabited tank safe--EXCEPT for directly on the ground...where the shrimp hung out. There was likely an H2S "fog" that blanketed the ground. 5/
So while my fish and my booming population of snails appeared unaffected, my shrimp experienced a sudden die off. Because the fish inhabit the middle/top areas of the tank, the snails hang out all over, and the shrimp always...spend a great deal of time feeding on the bottom. 6/
This is exciting to me because it's directly related to what I am trying to achieve with this tank, and it is something I can, in theory, easily correct! Add an airstone, don't let sunlight heat up the tank-if that isn't enough, add another 2 inches of coarse substrate. 7/
I'll give this all a shot and see if my poor shrimp population can thrive again. For better or worse, I'll share the results as they arise--gonna require some time, but my fingers are crossed! Either I can solve this and my build remains viable, or I learn that it's *not*. 8/8
The bois showing us why they're called rainbows 💕
(aw, I wish video quality on here was less garbage haha)
"what ever, it's fine, I can just get a nice photo instead."
The photos:
i give up u just gotta trust me that they're pretty
Got an airstone this morning! Put it under the gravel, under the clay pot. Lets hope this is the solution my little shrimps were praying for! <3
I keep trying to capture the real life colors and lighting and details (of my actually mediocre tank that I just really love)...but my camera is just not up to the task
(oh yeah, and...I got BLUE shurmps.)
Shrimp update: big ole die off today, and I am 99.9% certain H2S is the culprit, most likely due to a significant spike that occurred when I hugely disturbed the substrate to insert the airstone into it.
On one hand, this kind of confirms the suspicions that lead me to GET the airstone. On the other hand, I DID expect this to happen yet I am still, somehow, making the shocked pikachu face about it. Preformed small water change, now all I can do is sit, wait, and see who survives.
(protip: If you get die offs in your tank after water changes, it may be becaus the poured water agitates the substrate, releasing pockets of H2S even without a "deep" substrate. Float a plastic bag on the water, and pour gently on top of it to avoid disturbing your substrate.)
While the chaos settles (no new shrimp deaths this morning, yay!), Sean suggested I start another 10 gal experiment. I wondered if sand and trumpet snails would have been a more stable option. So, I'm gonna do that and kick the culture off with a sample from the local waterfall.
one of the two remaining survivors. This guy and the big lone black rose cherry (my fave) are the only two shrimp I've seen active around the tank since the end of shrimpocalypse. Seeing these two still kicking in the morning is a good sign.
aaannd, here's where yesterday's waterfall sample went!
6 inches of sand in the back, 3-4 inches in the front, with an inch of soil at the very bottom to help with the plants at this early stage. Now we just gotta wait for the water to clear up and cycle and see what grows!
Oh, OH!!! THREE SURVIVORS! There are TWO blue dreams still living!! (And my black rose decided to come say hi, too!) I am so pleased!!
Very true rule of thumb: "noooo you can't just let ammonia levels build up in your aquarium water!"

Anyone who is cycling a new tank: "Haha ammonia test go blue-green!"
I did a 90% water change just yesterday, in attempt to remove some of the murkiness from the water, so this is the ammonia buildup that occurred over less than 24hrs. This is largely why fish-in cycling strikes me as being hecka cruel :(
Love to see 'im!!
Groomy groomy
H-hello?? You are so tiny!!! Where did you come from???
Better video of the little dude. What a nice suprise ; v;
Oh, and here is a tiny shed skin, left over from a healthy moult! This is promising!!
Whelp, there's my black rose. Looks like she had trouble molting. But this confirms that my tank still isn't suitable for the shrimp. Something is still off. Time to test my GH and TDS I guess
I'm just stumped that the shrimp in the uncycled, untreated water is doing just fine, i have three shrimp in an uncycled tank as a control and all three of them have been👌including the one that's been living in those conditions for over a month, now. Whats going on with my tank?
a tale of 3 tanks.
Yellow=0ppm ammonia, blue-green=very many ammonia.
Guess which one has had 0 shrimp death thus far! (I'm so frustrated lmao)

In related new, the middle test is from my new, cycling 10 gal..! It's starting to read a bit more yellow, which is great!
once this new 10 gal is fully cycled, I'll be slowly transferring my livestock to it, starting with the shrimp. If the shrimp live out a month without catastrophe, then I'll move in the fish, too, dismantle the octagonal tank that they are currently in...and start it over.
I have high hopes for the sand substrate. Lmfao don't let me down, sand!
(also...if I turn the new tank into the rainbow fish tank...I can make...the octagonal tank...a betta tank again. Betta fish are a bit of a genetic disaster these days but I so do miss having them.)
The new tank is pretty much cycled! Right most tests are Nitrates (dark orange) and ammonia (yellow) on water from the new tank.
Left most (light orange) is nitrate test from the old tank. The lighter the orange, the less nitrates there are in the water. (1/2)
The older tank housing less nitrates despite having more livestock/waste suggests to me that denitrification is actually happening in the anoxic zones of the substrate. The new tank has not had time to develop these anoxic zones & the nitrate-consuming bacteria that'd live there.
time to shove some shrimp into this and see if they survive it much better than the gravel tank. Pls, science, let me have this win.
good luck little friends, bring me good news!! 😬🤞
This particular tank might be mysteriously anti-shrimp, but my rainbow fish continue to look and behave beautifully!
bought 3 more rainbows--hopin' they girls but I think one is a young male sigh.
ALSO, Sean's tadpole tank...cycled?? no ammonia, high nitrates, shrimp in that tank are doing well! I'm amazed.
The new 10 gal that was cycling has had...developments, but I'll get to that later lmao
The new babies are in!! And everyone is looking lively. Can you spot them? They are paled out compaired to the others from the stress of moving, but their color is already coming in after being put into the tank.
I had to dismantle and reassmble this tank from scratch after learning that the ""organic"" potting soil I used contained something that killed ALL my shrimp in under 24 hrs. But, the tanks cycled again. No potting soil (only aquasoil). I put in one brave explorer to test things.
I had to wash and rewash the sand over the course of 3 days, to get rid of any contaminates, and rinsed the plants thouroughly...I also had to ditch the driftwood because it would have soaked up like a spounge.
So far, shrimp's behavior is looking healthy!! I hope it keeps up!
I'll be letting that tank mature for another 3 weeks, and if nothing funny happens between now and then, I'll be moving these rainbows out of the octagonal tank into the long tank with the shrimp :D
My octagonal tank will become a nice little blackwater home for a new betta fish.
(pulled back view of the new tank set up. Just like my life, it is a hot mess!)
It's been almost a week since I put Intrepid Explorer into the 10 gal, and she had a successful molt last night! Her color's good, she's grazing well. I'm happy to see it!!
I think that I'll add in a friend; there's a blue male in the tadpole tank that might be happy to join her.
She seems to really love the dense mat of water spangles and duckweed, probably because there's so much food to be found trapped in the roots. I noticed it's a hotbed for the daphnia and micro-shrimp, as well.
Gave her a friend last night, and now they eat algae together💕 (I hope the abysmal website compression doesn't obscure their little grabby munchy hands, because it's the cutest)
remember the buncha tadpoles sean found in one of our buckets like...a month+ ago?
Some of them have finally started growing leggies lmao
so many dumb lil' mans
Oh yeah, and the shrimp in the new tank have continued to do well! New blue friend has molted and is healthy, so...I will definitely be moving the rainbowfish into this take come the 1st of July! And then...a betta into the old tank!💦
it is time..!
Started drip acclimating my rainbows to their new, more horizontally spacious tank 💦gonna be a 2 hour ordeal.
Wish us luck!
They're in!! And their behavior is promising! They're already picking off the daphnia and flashing their fins at each other. Their colors are coming back in quickly, too! Phew... there are 10 fish and 2 shrimp in this video, if you can find them :D
Cleaned up the (fishless) octagonal tank and did its very first major water change (50%)! Mostly to bring the PH down (didnt work). The buffer (KH) went from 10 °dH to guess that's what the 50% water change did for it lmao. Put in indian almond leaf for incoming betta!
Aaand here's Augustine!
He's a pretty striking lil' man..! I hope he's a healthy boy. I noticed his scales are sticking out around his belly but given how good he looks in all other aspects, I'm hoping it's just overfeeding and not early dropsy🤞Always a gamble with bettas.
got tired of twitter's video compression, here's my rainbows in slightly?? better quality?
I love watching my fish...maybe you do, too, idk haha
Added 10 new shrimps to this tank yesterday! They're looking good today! Here they are partying hard on a food pellet
Here's another longer video of the tank, with the shrimpies!
And here's a vid of Augustine!
He's a gluttonous little man...absolutely devastating the daphnia, seed shrimp, and planaria population.
Unlike threadfins, bettas love having their pictures taken.
They're not beautiful tanks, but they are thriving and I love them.
Augustine isn't looking so hot this morning, hiding on the bottom. I mentioned before that I noticed his scales were sticking out a bit when I got him, and hoped that it was from being overfed at the shop he came from, but I might have lost the betta genetic lotto this round.
I figured if it was pineconing, I'd know within the first week of bringing him home.
And now, here we are :\\
Augustine passed last night 😔 poor lil' mans.
I am now debating on if I wanna try the betta lotto one more time, or if I'd rather stick exclusively to smaller shoaling/schooling species.
planted some limnophila around the vase, because after putting some in the rainbow enclosure, I've decided that I like it a lot. The thin lil' leaves catch the light and bring it into the tank really nicely, something that the sagittaria wasn't able to do (but I love them, too)
oh my god, you guys...
My local fish store has these TINY 0.5 gallon nano tanks (with a little desk stand and LED lights and everything) and I...want one.
The nanoist of the nanoscapes... home for for tiny water invertebrates....
Also, while I was there, I picked up some more plants for my vacant octagon.
I'm thinking of trying my luck with a trio of sparkling gouramis and some ember tetras, once my fish shop has them in, and I feel like the little gouramis might need the additional plant density.
Threadfin "I just think they're neat" rainbowfish
a closer filming of my pretties...
My tap water: ultra soft <1°dH, perfectly neutral PH 7.0
Tank1: bonkers high >15°dH KH, alkaline 8.0 PH. 50% water change can't chew through that buffer. 50% water change ain't shit.
Tank2: Just the tap water, but acidic 6.0 PH. 1 cup of added H2O immediately bumps it up to 7.0
Tank 1: murders shrimp for fun, grants immortality to all plant life, is probably a mimic.

Tank 2: beautiful, supports all life, but is the aquarium embodiment of that pitiful crying shiba inu I've been seeing in all the memes lately.
!!! A bunch of my shrimp are saddled with eggs!! (The yellow buts behind their heads are the eggs)
I am so excited to see it!
more of these funky lil' mans because how else am I gonna procrastinate?
!!!the first frog to emerge from our tadpole tank!
We thought they were gonna be (the super common) black spined toads, but surprise, 4 lined tree frogs!!! This guy was actually MISSING for a few days because he climbed outta the tank (toads can't do that, we were not prepared)
I thought I'd just find tiny frog jerky one day.
I was about to shower before bed just now and...pap against the wall, there he was. I knew it was him because the newly emerging froglettes would still have their tails. This one's already gone.
Released him out back by the creek.
local fish store is getting new stock in a few hours... I hope there's something exciting coming in..! Something suitable for my octagon!
...I forgot to go to the store and now it's almost 8:30pm lmao
Alright, tomorrow, then.
new friends incoming..!
me: oh boy!! I hope 12 fish in my 9 gallon isn't gonna overcrowd it, 6 of these fish are 2 inches long, I'm really pushing it!!
my 9 gallon with 12 fish in it:
I'm fuckin' wheezing guys, they're not even hiding, they're swimming around inspecting things and looking well, there's just....
so much....plant.
6 emerald dwarf rasboras, 6 Sterba's cory catfish, somewhere between 9-10 gallons of tank space, 5~minutes.

I'll do another video in a day or two after these kiddos have gotten good and cozy with their new home.
this tank is on the night stand next to my bed, and the lights turn on automatically at when I wake up tomorrow morning, the first thing I'll see are wiggly cory catfish and tbh I'm excited about it.
Sightings from the jungle this morning
Hmmm...something is not right in the jungle, and I know what the culprit is. Gotta make the hard choice to dismantle this tank so I can replace the substrate with sand and aquasoil. A huge pain right now, but it'll make things easier later on.
Lesson learned: this tank build absolutely requires a deep sand base, not gravel...and the soil should be invert-safe aquarium soil, NOT potting soil (I used organic and it has still caused issues with the chemical composition if the tank compaired to the other aquasoil'd tank)
This tank is such a hot mess...but I love it.
was doing some small tank maintenance and I found berries!!
my shrimpies have eggs :D
The rasbora jungle ft a ghost.
(decided against dismantling this tank. The rasboras were doing well and I didn't wanna stress 'em out for nothing. Mom in law got excited about some bettas she saw and bought me one for my b-day. He'll get a name if he survives the first week lmao)
This ghost is really pretty. It would be neat if he could stick around long enough for his fins to patch up.
The emerald dwarf rasboras are pretty cute... AND they are totally nonplussed by the Ghost (and vice versa)...if you ever wanted cute betta tankmates, these are a great candidate in a heavily planted tank.
This beautiful idiot thinks I am about to feed him...
holy christ the video quality is to abysmal lmao
Here's a slightly better version:
I may have bought...more fish........
I want to the store to get a few more emerald dwarves for the jungle...but they had all been sold out...
Got 7 celestial pearls instead, and now both tanks are maxed out on animal biomass. No more new fish until...I get my 40 gal.
A video showing both my tanks (and a super quick glimpse of my room haha)
sightings from the jungle today
fins, fins, fins!
I could watch him all day...

Pearls and Emeralds! :D
and the threadfin circus!

ok.....I should stop spamming twitter with fish for a while lmao
takes the same photo of this fish a hundred times
(I'm trying to keep tabs on his fin health, but also...he's too pretty not to share haha)
Left is today, right is from when I first got him on the 3rd. Fins patch up fast!
Let me show you my fiiish~ Shining shimmering splendens~🎶

I noticed he gets an occasional hole in his fins that heal the next day. At one point, his dorsal fin had a significant tear in it, and the next morning it was fully patched up. Had no idea their fins could heal so fast!
guys, look..!
Who here knows buttloads about bettas? This is mystifying me!
The photo on the left was taken 2 days ago. The photo on the right was taken today. At first I thought it might be some kind of weird fin melt (not fin rot), but it doesn't fin melt...
It looks like he dipped his tail in glue and the glue is slowly losing stickiness so the one big clump is declumping into smaller clumps.
I saw the many small clumps this morning and thought 'Oh no, it got worse', but it actually looks like the big clump is just coming apart.
no further deterioration this morning. The rays that are still stuck appear to be slowly teasing apart. I hope that he can start repairing the damage and get his beautiful full tail back!🤞
Still not sure what *caused* it but wyd
Thanks for all the help you guys offered!
the lad is lookin' 100% this morning! His tail will be back to perfect in no time.
"Hey, if we put on a dance for you, will you feed us?"
There are so many baby shrimp in this tank now, it makes me happy. You cant see any of them with twitters exceptionally bad video compression tho...
These guys get excited to see me, now...because I make it rain foodbits.
No photos of Ghost today. He's been getting a little solitary spa treatment (2.5 gal with treated water & aquarium salt), since his fins had begun to clump together again. And again, they unclumped back to normal, so he'll be returning to the rasbora jungle tomorrow morning :D
Ghost is back in his home!
There was food here the last time he checked...
always sad about how twitter's video compression mistreats him...
watching this tank brings me instant calm💕
hm, some kind of weird lockjaw is affecting my threadfins :<
I lost one about a week ago to this. They can't close their mouth, so they starve. No sign of internal blockage, no apparent infection, no sores...
Aside from the one that passed, I now have two others exhibiting this.
when it was just the one, I figured he might have bumped into something and broke his jaw at some point. But with two others presenting the same singular symptom, I have doubts about that, now...
remember that time I was like "gonna get a 40 gallon tank"?
Here's my new 83 gallon (thank you, Sean!)
I can't start working in it yet though...but...soon...soon. Gonna put a handful of tiny fish and a butt-tonne of plants in here!!
I'm thinking cories, threadfins, and Ghost.
I've only ever worked with 10 gallon tanks but, hard can this be?? Smaller tanks are harder to keep stable!

I'll be taking it...very slow....
he beholds a snail
I'm a little obsessed with his iridescence, I can't stop photographing him :'|
Someone on another site wanted to see the Hungry Ghost in slow motion, so I obliged!
wistful sigh
Another slow motion shot of Hungry Ghost! (Suffering twitter's hideous compression because for some reason, it seems like no one sees when I post youtube uploads)

Youtube version...because clarity ;;
80 gallon tank prep has begun! Spent an hour and a half rinsing 40kg of sand until the water was clear!
Just 200kg left to go!
guys...I got tennis elbow from washing sand. This bitch it so red and swollen and sore. why does life
Oh well, we filled the 80 gallon tank up to check for leaks and test the filter! Good news: it holds water!!! much water.... I am unreasonably excited about this aquarium.
mum in law found a store here that sells nothing but aquarium plants, and took us to see it. It's the same place that I was gonna order online from--I had not idea they had a physical store and now I'm so giddy ; v;
Ghost temporarily moved houses a week or so ago. Something in the other tank was definately irritating his fins, and all the perametres were good so I suspect its something to do with the potting soil I had mixed unto the gravel when I first set it up. Sooo I am disassembling it.
How it started->how it's going
This tank has slow plant growth but very stable for fish & shrimp; a stark contrast to the octagon jungle which was crazy fast plant growth but hard on fish & deadly to shrimp.
The key difference was proper aquasoil vs "organic" potting soil.
I'm not sure WHAT was in the potting soil, but it made the 7.0ph v. soft tap water alkaline (9.0ph) and v. hard, & killed off shrimp over the course of 1-2 months. Fish didn't appear affected and I'd have assumed they weren't bothered if not for ghost's fins becoming inflamed.
Trying to hide the algae wafers from this insatiable glutton...
completely dismantled the octagon today, RIP octagon.
Moved the rasboras into the threadfin tank which is now...very overstocked as it's currently housing 100% of my fish 8| but it's only temporary until the new octagon set-up cycles.
Tomorrow, I rebuild the octagon!
You can follow @paintedbees.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: