It’s time to check in with Avalus to see what’s up in the new aquarium.
Part 4 – Technically Challenged
You could see it in the last part of Full Fish ahead: I modified the filter inlet tubing. Today I want to talk about what I did and why.
A word of warning: When playing around with water, make sure you have no non-water safe electrical McGuffins running in the splash zone and test, extensively, if your seals are really waterproof (for example overnight in a box).
A darker background helps to calm shyer fish and lets their colours stand out. I also cut some of the plants in the middle (Didiplis diandra) to give the other plants between space and light (Hygrophilia Araguaia and cryptocoryne wenditii).
The filter comes with 16 mm hose and an inlet piece that fits the hose. The Problem with this is threefold. One, the Inlet has few large openings, small fish and especially shrimp will get sucked in the filter. It also congests really quickly. Then, just behind the inlet, the water flow is choked and because of the small diameter there is much resistance from the walls, resulting in higher strain in the pump. Also the hose really quickly plugs up from particles sticking to the walls and bacterial mats that will grow.
So I decided to use 22 mm hose for the water flow from the tank to the filter. The nice thing is that I can just heat the larger tube with hair dryer, slide the big tube over the small one and get a tight seal. The black thing is a bender that I bought to prevent kinks.
The next piece is a bit of polyethylene tubing. It is sanitary equipment and as such food safe. I cut it to the appropriate length and then drilled many, many 2 mm holes in it. And then some more, after testing the response of the pump. This configuration leads to a slow flow speed over the surface and so prevents weak swimmers (fish fry, shrimplets) from being sucked in. The large surface prevents clogging. The tube and the hose don’t fit perfectly, so I improvised a seal with a household rubber band. I will re-seal it, when I find appropriate, food safe O-rings. As the last step, I glued a piece of bamboo I had left in the bottom of the tube to seal it. I drilled a tiny hole in the bamboo plug so no air would be trapped and glued a coil of 1 mm V2A stainless steel wire inside (useful stuff! Still have it back from the time I repaired chainmail…). The extra weight should keep the whole tube pointed down in the tank and the bamboo is a convenient anchor.
The outflow (filter to tank) has clean water without many particles and thus the 16 mm hose is fine. I am still playing around with the pieces of tubing that came with the filter to get a water current in the tank that I like. To lower the velocity of the water flowing in the tank I constructed a flowbrake by widening the diameter of the hose.
No rant, but more pretty pictures.
Also last week I wrote about the shrimps’ reckless abandon, this time I have photographic proof as I cleaned the shrimp tank. I held the animal under the water all the time, but that’s hard to see.
The new tank got some new inhabitants! There are a dozen colourful new shrimps (Neocaridia davidi, red and blue), nine Khuli loaches (Pangio kuhlio) and four honey gourami (Trichogaster chuna).
The tropical loaches are interesting fishes as they do not have scales. Instead they have a tough flexible skin, but that makes them vulnerable to injury by scratches. These specific ones have an unusual snake like body and they like to burrow in fine soil like sand. In nature, that’s where they find their food of worms and insect larva, in the tank they seem to do it just for the fun of it. They are said to be shy but without larger fishes in my tank, they are curious and active. And they like to snuggle as seen above. Either in groups of their own or with the similarly social corydoras catfishes. They also like to jam themselves into any nook and cranny they can find. This is another reason why I build my own outlet to the filter.
The honey gourami are just plain beautiful with a deep yellow to brown colouration and an accentuating black strip under the chin for the males, while the females have a brown stripe along their side and are more camouflaged. They can be pretty territorial when they feel like breeding and are rather shy otherwise, so a highly planted tank with sight blockers, nooks and crannies to hide in helps to keep the peace. They love the depth of the wood piece and swim through the openings.