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  1. I'm a sales rep for a tropical fish wholesaler. Lots of choices for plecos that aren't grossly inappropriate for most tanks like the standard plecos. If you haven't checked out Planet Catfish, definitely look at that site. It's one of the more accurate sites online for fish info.Hypancistrus species are a great choice. Most of these are from Brazil, and Brazil took them off their white list (meaning banned from export) a couple years ago. There are a number of these that are now Florida raised; I regularly have Orinoco zebras, chocolate zebras, king tigers, and a couple of other types. Tank raised means more expensive, probably retail for at least $60 at about 1.5"Lately I've been getting in L-129 Colombian zebra plecos, a nice dark brown and cream colored, mottled pattern, small species. Hold up great, and a fraction of the price of tank-raised fish. I also get the L-46 true zebra pleco, but even at a low markup they're going to retail for well over $200.Green phantoms are in season right now, olive green with yellow spots. Get a bit larger, but still max out at a reasonable size, ~6".Gold nuggets and orange seams should be coming in again soon, we've been trying to get a Brazil shipment for months but the numbers haven't been available. Black with bright yellow/orange spots, and they stay relatively small.Keep in mind many of the fancy plecos available now are not strict algae eaters, they are omnivores and need more protein in their diet than the standard plecos.Feel free to send a PM and I can give you my contact to pass along to your local stores. Let me know where you're at, I may have customers there already.
  2. I've talked to Todd a couple times, already trying to get them on board. Probably not doing anything soon, but they get my price list every week. It sounds like a great store, he's told me about the kind of stuff that sells for them and the variety they have. Maybe you'll see some of my fish there some day.FYI, I've always gotten my rock from a local stone and tile place. Yeah, there is a minor risk, but I've never had issues. Rinse thoroughly, let it soak a little while, if you're worried throw it in a small spare tank with some test fish. I was paying somewhere around $0.15 a pound for nice stuff that would have been at least $2.00 a pound in my local store. Another store I've heard good things about is Adam's Pet Safari, with a store in Warren and in Chester. I have no idea of they're worth the trip, but I know they do get some nice fish (not from me, I've seen their stock list on line).
  3. Just got a couple hundred of these in. Puntius denasoni, usually known as a rose-line shark. I haven't heard them called torpedo barbs before. $70 is outrageous; they're not cheap but they shouldn't be that pricey. How big were these? Thats not a bad price if they're 5 or 6", but they usually come in around 2" (and the bigger they are the worse they ship from what I've seen). Should probably be somewhere around $20 retail. If you want, PM me your local store name and I'll see if I can sell them some fish. They're either getting a huge mark up, or I can be real competitive on prices.
  4. Apistos are kind of hit and miss. My advice is to find a local aquarium society and see if any of the folks there are raising them. Most of them are going to be wild caught, and they'll probably want really soft low pH water. If your local store gets tank raised Apistos those should work, and will probably be a bit sturdier than the rams. Quality on rams varies a lot depending on where they're raised, how they're shipped, etc. Odd you lost some danios, they are usually tough as nails. The more corys you have the more they'll school. Best thing for Java fern is patience. It does grow slowly. You might also want to look into Riccia for the driftwood. Wait for advice from Fanatic on this, sounds like he's better with plants than I am. Ottos come in in rough shape. Initial mortality is pretty normal for them. Offering some algae tablets or zucchini slices might help if you don't have a ton of algae in the tank. You're hooked! Within reason, multiple tanks don't add a lot more time. If you're breaking out the Python to do a water change on the 75, another couple of small tanks don't take much longer. A nice planted 10 gallon would work real well for a small group of Apistos.One last piece of advice. Set up a quarantine tank. Especially since you are looking at things like wild caught Apistos (which often show up full of parasites) or rams (which are often raised or held in an antibiotic bath, this doesn't help their immune system). 10 gallon tank, sponge filter, an air pump, and a few lengths of PVC pipe (for hiding places) and you're done.
  5. Sorry I haven't checked in here in a long time. Been out of work and avoided being homeless thanks to friends and family. Had to get rid of nearly all my tanks, but hopefully I'll be setting some up soon. New job is in the aquarium industry working for a fish wholesaler. I'll try to get some pictures of some of the new and neat fish that come through. Really nice fish that's becoming more available now that would look great in some of these planted tanks is the millennium rainbow (G. psuedoincisus). A lot like the standard New Guinea reds, but not as big, and brighter color at a smaller size. I may get motivated enough to set up a marine tank soon. It's hard seeing so many cool fish pass through work and not have tanks set up for them. I did get some Goodea atripinnis at my local aquarium society auction, but that's a serious geek fish, it's pretty much a gray Mexican ditch fish, but extremely rare in the wild.
  6. Sorry about the Home Depot comments, I thought he had maintained some level of involvement. Thanks for the correction.
  7. One thing that I don't think has been mentioned is Blank's interests outside the NFL. I'm sure the average FBG knows Blank owns Home Depot, but I don't think the average person on the street knows that. They probably will very soon, PETA and HSUS will make sure of that. If Blank doesn't do something about this you might see a publicity campaign to quit shopping there. I'm guessing Blank takes Home Depot a lot more seriously than his NFL team. There's only one stadium that the Falcons play in to protest in front of; there's a whole lot of Home Depots, all within a short drive for nearly any PETA member in the country. Another aspect of this is that, as much as the cap hit will hurt, I would guess Falcons merchandise will not be selling too well as long as Vick is on the team. One more thing Blank has to take into consideration. Regarding the NFLPA, I haven't heard them raise much of an issue with what Goodell has done so far. Maybe they have gotten enough feedback from the players that aren't criminals, and don't want to continue to stick up for guys that do this kind of stuff. Maybe they realize sticking up for Vick would be a publicity nightmare. Maybe they're trying to bank some political capital to use in their push to improve benefits for retired players. For a number of reasons, I don't think they are going to be backing Vick much regardless of what happens to him.
  8. I wouldn't worry about the cories at this point, as they get settled in you should see them swimming all over the bottom of the tank, as well as racing up and down the sides all the way to the surface. If they're hanging out at the surface for a long time it could be an issue, but right now they're probably just stressed. If you've got plenty of surface water movement I doubt you have an issue with oxygen exchange.
  9. Congrats on finally getting fish. Keep us posted on how they do. Half dozen cories is definitely not too many, they act much more naturally in decent sized schools. I'm looking to put maybe 20 in my 200 at some point. The black skirts you were asking about before are pretty good, sturdy fish. They can be fin nippers, you'll probably be OK as long as there is a school, and as long as you don't have slow long-finned fish in the tank. Generally these are OK, but I'd watch them for signs of aggression if you do add some. Good luck.
  10. The 1" per gallon rule is pretty useless. Look at it this way; your 12 zebra danios would count the same as a 12" oscar. The mass of the oscar and the amount of waste it produces are exponentially greater than the 12 danios. Also, the 1" rule doesn't take into account what type of filtration you are using, if you have live plants, how much surface water movement you have, what the temperature is, how often you do water changes, etc. Regarding the paradise fish, they can be somewhat aggressive, but they are also slow. I doubt they'd be able to catch your danios, on the other hand, they might give your rams (after the tank is cycled, they aren't hardy) a hard time. Your tank is large enough, you may have less aggression problems than you would in a smaller tank. Honestly, some of it is trial and error, even within a given species individuals will have different personalities. The more visual barriers and hiding places you provide, the less likely you are to have problems with aggression, at least with most fish.
  11. Kinda hard to say for sure, but I think you should be able to add more than a few fish, but not a full tank load. Sorry, I know that's not too specific. I think a small school of danios (maybe a dozen) and a pair of paradise fish would be fine. I'd have no problem starting a cycle with that kind of fish load in 75 gallons, and that's enough fish to keep the tank from looking empty. As long as you start with healthy stock, you pretty much have to hit the paradise fish with a hammer to kill them. As long as you're willing to do a water change, and maybe have some Amquel on hand (which I would only look at as a short term band-aid, not a long term fix), I think you'd be fine with this kind of fish load. I doubt you'd see problems, just be prepared for that water change if you do. Another thing that I've done in many of tanks is to grow some pothos (a hanging plant) with the roots submerged. Just pull it from the pot, rinse the dirt off the roots, and put some sprigs partially submerged. These things suck up ridiculous amounts of nutrients, to the point that algae quits growing in the tank and it's really hard to grow any aquatic plants. Might be helpful if you do start to see problems with the fish. I don't know if you can do this without making your set-up look too half-assed, but it shouldn't be too difficult.
  12. Does your test kit read ammonia and ammonium? You might see a spike after the water change, if so this is could be due to the pH change shifting the ammonium to ammonia. If your test kit detects NH3 and NH4+ than ignore this. If you can't get things working with the fishless cycle, I still think you'll do fine doing a 100% water change and than adding some danios or the like. Essentially, you'll be doing a cycle with a couple week head start.
  13. Hey Fanatic, or anybody else with planted tanks- Just got some Riccia last month. I got a small bunch, and threw it in an empty, half filled 10 gallon with 24-7 lighting. It's started growing really well, but not dense enough to attach to anything. I was thinking of putting some driftwood and rocks in the tank, keeping the tank filled to about the level of the rocks, and letting the Riccia attach on its own. Ever try anything like this? It doesn't seem solid enough to attach it with fishing line or the like yet, not like Java moss. Let me know if you have any better ideas. Thanks
  14. Sorry about the cycling problems. Haven't done the fishless cycling myself. You should be OK adding fish if you completely drain the tank. The blue gouramis, paradise fish and danios are all OK going through a cycling period. Definitely skip the loaches and rams. If you drain the tank then add fish you're basically just going through the nitrite part of the cycle, which isn't as rough on the fish. Not sure why your taking longer to drop the ammonia levels. Hope things start looking better soon. By the way, if your nitrites aren't rising, than you must be having some reduction in nitrite, otherwise that would be going up every time your ammonia gets broken down to nitrite.
  15. Congrats on the getting the tank going. The pics look good. I missed most of the drama above, but caught your images. I'm in the process of setting up a couple of new 75s myself, I'll try to post pics when I get a chance. Are you cycling using plain ammonia? Sounds like you're off to a good start.