Play Video

Adding 150 Fish and Shrimp to my Giant Aquascape

By Tank Tested on


0:00:00.0: Hi, I'm Alex, and this is Tank Tested. Today, we're adding more than 150 fish, shrimp, and snails to my 150-gallon custom aquarium. The plants have only been in this tank for two days, which is why they still look a little scraggly. Adding this many animals to a tank so quickly is usually a terrible idea, but I'll get to how I did it safely later in this video. So let's get started. We'll begin with a bag of rummy-nose tetras. In fact, make that two bags of rummy-nose tetras. These fish were shipped across the country, and were actually misdelivered, so they've been in their bags for more than two days. Because they've been in their bag so long, I wanted to get them out as quickly as possible and went with a sloppier acclimation technique than I'd otherwise use. My main goal was to get the water in the bag up to around the same temperature as the tank, about 77 degrees Fahrenheit. After soaking for about 30 minutes, I started adding water from the tank into the bag. Again, this isn't how I planned on this process working. It's not how I would have filmed it, and it's not how I would have acclimated them, but when they showed up unexpectedly at my door more than a day late, I had to drop everything I was doing, and get to work. I picked rummy-nose tetras as my first centerpiece fish because I wanted to honor the fish I saw on my recent trip to the Rio Negro in Brazil.

0:01:45.5: Rummy-nose are a native to this area and are some of the tightest schooling fish in the hobby. And my dream for this tank was to have a large school of fish mimicking their natural behavior right in my living room. You'll see if that worked out in a little bit. Once they were acclimated, I added them directly to my tank. Now, this is a great example of what you shouldn't normally do. Normally, you should keep your fish in a quarantine tank for about a month, so you can make sure they are disease-free and healthy before adding them to your established aquarium. I didn't do that here because the tank has no fish in it. If a disease emerged, I would drain the tank down to a few inches, and then dose the water. So I'd only be treating a few dozen gallons of water instead of the full 200-gallon system. Luckily, all the fish stayed healthy. Just a few minutes after release, you can see the rummy-nose tetras exhibiting their classic schooling behavior, sort of. They are super stressed right now. They're washed out and they're hugging the bottom of the tank. Once they've calmed down, they'll brighten up and school in the mid-water of the tank.

0:03:08.0: Now, on to the next addition to my set up. These are salt and pepper corydoras, and with their addition, I'm already breaking my aspiration of a Rio Negro fish species aquarium. That's because these corydoras are native to Colombia and Venezuela, but they occupy a similar niche in the ecosystem to the small corydoras that are found in the Rio Negro. I went with this species because they were available and they're tiny, maxing out at about 1.5 inches. I acclimated them in a large mason jar using the drip method. Basically adding small amounts of tank water on a regular basis, until you've completely replaced the water that the fish were swimming in. That meant repeating this process three or four times until I felt like I'd gotten about 80% to 90% of the water column to be tank water rather than bag water. Once I felt like the corydoras were properly acclimated to my water, I released them into the tank and they promptly disappeared into my plants.

0:04:24.1: To help control algae in the tank, I also added about 50 nerite snails. These are a favorite of mine because they're great algae eaters, but they can't reproduce in freshwater. They will lay white eggs around the tank, but those eggs need brackish water to hatch. So these eggs are as far as the reproductive cycle goes. As a result, nerite snails are a great algae eating snail that won't reproduce out of control in your aquarium. Now, most of them were able to navigate their way out of the mason jar on their own, but in the process, one salt and pepper corydora found its way back into the jar and then couldn't find its way out again. So go figure. I also released about 30 to 40 Amano shrimp into the tank. These are a wonderful algae eater. And before I released them, I acclimated them using the drip method in a five-gallon bucket, so I didn't acclimate them in this tiny mason jar. But I was able to transfer them from the bucket into the tank using this mason jar.

0:05:42.7: So this is the tank about an hour later. Now, I was able to release so many animals so quickly because of what I'd done before I set up the tank. I've been running the sump for about a month prior to setting up this aquascape. That meant that the tank already had a robust bacterial colony in the sump that was able to jump-start the nitrogen cycle right away. This was critical for me because I didn't wanna have plants in the aquarium with no algae eaters to help control any algae growth. And speaking of algae, there's one other algae eater I forgot to mention that I added to this aquarium, 12 otocinclus, a small fish found in the Amazon basin. I wish that I had filmed the release, but as I mentioned, the fish showed up more than a day late and I was kind of operating in a bit of a panic. So this is my tank, already stocked to more than 50% capacity. I'll leave you with a little footage of the aquascape up and running. It's already wonderfully relaxing. If you like this video, hit the subscribe button, so I will see you here next time. Thanks to my Patreon supporters for their backing. Custom Aquariums for the tank and Ultum Nature Systems for the beautiful plants.


About Tank Tested

Alex Wenchel from the YouTube channel, Tank Tested, has been aquascaping and keeping aquariums for over twenty years, sharing his knowledge and expertise with the YouTube community. Watch the video filmed at Aquashella, Dallas 2019 here, and check out his channel for some great info on aquarium care.

"Tank Tested was created by me, Alex Wenchel. I've kept aquariums for more than twenty years, but it's only been in the last few that I've gotten into aquascaping. By trade, I'm a documentary and natural history filmmaker based in Washington, D.C. and I've been producing digital series for years. If you'd like to see some of the series I've produced, check out Nat Geo Wild's Wild_Life with Bertie Gregory or Symbio's Wild Warrior."

View More

Connect with Tank Tested