Tiny Serengeti Update

In spite of my not-so-tiny frustrations I went out and bought a new tank to replace the cracked one. Same filter, heater and light, same substrate, same rocks. I did switch the Kopje to the left side of the tank but that was because the outlet is on the right side and that way I could move the filter and heater and not have to look at their cords running behind the tank. (notice that the cord for the light is still there, grrr, I can’t switch it]

T Tank Feb 8

I’ve been watching the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. Sure enough the nitrate peaked about a week ago, causing a massive algae bloom. So I added our first residents to the Tiny Serengeti – snails (would these be the equivalent of warthogs?).

I know a lot of aquarists think badly of snails but they do help with the algae. They also produce waste to feed the bacteria that convert the ammonia to nitrite and the nitrite to nitrate. Ammonia is the most dangerous of these three.

So now I think it’s time to add the herds of wildebeest shrimp. I found someone on Craig’s list who is selling a variety of colors of Neocaridina davidi [commonly sold as red cherry shrimp but they come in other colors, too]. Do I want all one color? Multiple colors? Which ones? How many should I buy? Decisions, decisions, decisions.

The good news is that since I had to replace the original light and the original tank I’m over budget so I can spend whatever I want on the shrimp! Screw the deficit, I have MasterCard!


Tiny Tank Trials and Tribulations

I’m having some challenge with my tiny tank. No, not managing water quality in such a small space. Not even the budget (although I think that will get blown due to the problems listed below). Other things.

Like the filter. I set up this nice filter, worked great, then I tried to add some crushed coral to help harden our very, very soft tap water. Well, that slowed the filter down to a trickle. I’m going to have to re-think how I’ve got this set up, maybe take out some of the coral? I’m not sure yet. It’s a project for next weekend.


Then, the light. The one I had in the basement wasn’t working (it’s only about 20 years old) so I broke down and bought a new one. I very carefully chose one that was pictured on a framed glass tank.

Got it in today and, yeah, it’s not designed for a framed glass tank. I was able to carefully cut away some of the framing to fit the supports (with only 5 gallons I’m not worried about weakening the integrity of the tank by making the “frame” thinner). But then I tightened the screw that is important for bracing the light and…


Dammit. The tank cracked. It’s not leaking (yet) but I guess I’m going to have to buy a new one.

Did I say dammit yet?

And, of course, this happens the day I get my plants. Which look great! I’m thrilled with how this looks but replacing the broken light and the broken tank will push me over budget.

tiny tank with plants

Should have bought one of those kits off Amazon…

Can I start over?

Tiny Tank, Tiny Shrimp

Hi, I’m Diana and I’m new to Parlour Oceans. When BlackMudPuppy posted the Tiny Tank Challenge on Twitter I decided to join the fun and try something new. I have (redacted) years of experience keeping aquariums but right now I’m down to one: a 125 gallon community tank with live plants.

Jan 2016

When I decided to accept the the challenge I wanted to try something different. I thought about salt water (which I haven’t done before), brackish water, maybe something for an amphibian. But the challenge has a price limit and the poison dart frogs that I’d really like to try are seriously pricey. Maybe next year. And since small tanks are harder than big tanks I thought I’d be more successful with freshwater, where most of my experience has been.

If you Google “planted aquariums” you will find some spectacular tanks. My tank does not look like that. It’s really a community tank with plants. So that’s my Personal Challenge. I plan to device a spectacular scenic planted aquarium. With Shrimp.

To date I have bought a 5.5 gallon tank for $13.99, a thermometer for $2.99, and a filter bag for $2.99. I’ve also ordered an in-tank filter for$11.99 and a small heater for $17.59. I already have excess substrate, decorations and a hood to finish things off.


My biggest concern is my water supply. My tap water is very, very soft (carbonate hardness of around 50 ppm or 3 degrees). This means the pH can change quickly (and, in fact, my tap water pH varies between under 6 and up to nearly 8!). So I plan to add a layer of crushed coral under the plant substrate to help modify the hardness in the Tiny Shrimp Tank. Fingers crossed that this works.

Once I get the filter and heater I’ll start cycling the water and getting ready for the plants!