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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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A tank reborn

Our family made a long distant move and after some baby steps, I am in the process of setting up our old tank that's been in storage for ~2 years. In it's prior life it was in my daughter's room as a neon glow tetra tank. It will be reborn as a planted non Cichlid tank in the grown-up's bedroom. Because of this, the budget is bigger and the WAF is much much higher.

It's a standard rectangular 55g (48x13 that is 20" deep) tank.

I am attempting a low tech solution with relatively beginner plants, but would like to do some carpet type plants in the aquascape. I am attempting this solution just to minimize the chance of problems by eliminating required hardware, not really due to cost. IE reduce critical failure points in the system.

Have on hand:
100 lbs of Eco-Complete
48" Finnex FudgeRay
2 x basic Marineland heaters
Fluval 405 cannister

Aquascaping wise, I'd like to go with two 'mounds', the left (dominate focal point) one built around a nice manzanita piece and the smaller background mound on the right established with a little rock to create some depth. I'd like to go with some carpet plants along the front and to fill in the front of the wood and to help establish the natural feel and depth effect on the rock. Some mid size plants to fill in the areas around the front of the wood followed by some taller pieces behind it. Possibly some moss type on the wood.

My projected stock list:
Betta (1 male, 1 female)
Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami
Powder Blue Dwarf Grourami
Flame Dwarf Grourami
Cory Cats x 6
Harlequin Rasbora x 12

I've been slowly trying to do research on planted tanks and the wife has grown impatient with my lack of forward movement. In other words, she's tired of having an empty tank sitting in the bedroom.

Do you see a need for CO2 with my project?

I understand filtration isn't as needed with a planted tank as a non planted and water movement should be somewhat reduced. Is the 405 enough (memory seems to serve it would really move some water in the tank)?

What plants would you suggest for this setup, and do you order them online? While I live on the coast, the only real fish stores around are PetCo.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 07:24 PM
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If you stick with lower tech plants, you will not need CO2. All depends on which plants you like. Also, you may want to delve a little deeper into your choice for stock. I do not have Gouramis, but I hear they can be territorial and may go after one another. mixing them with Bettas might not be a good idea either. Bettas all have different personalities as well. I have one that will sit and have beers with me.....the other is as nasty as nasty can be.....he flares up every time one of us walks by. Whatever you do, research, research, research! I'm sure others will jump in.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Shloken,

I've had the Grouramis and Betas before, but then I may have had that beta like yours and my new mileage may vary from my last...

Just pulled the water report from last month for my area. Looks like I may need to buffer down the PH some:

Tap:
pH 7.74
Alkalinity as CaCO3 (ppm): 40
Hardness (ppm): 29
Sodium (ppm): 25
Chloride (ppm): 24
Flouride (ppm): .5
Total Chlorine Residual: 2.1

From the city provided RO dispensers (free):
pH 7.9
Alkalinity as CaCO3 (ppm): 45
Hardness (ppm): 4
Sodium (ppm): 29
Chloride (ppm): 9
Flouride (ppm): <.2
Total Chlorine Residual: N/A


Thoughts on plants to look at if I want to stay low tech?
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 07:55 PM
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You can lower the ph a little if you want, but don't go crazy. The key is to keep it stable and acclimate the fish properly. If you start using a lot of things to change the ph, you might end up with swings that can be harmful to the fish. Unless you are keeping sensitive fish (which you are not), I would leave it alone. My ph is a steady 7.5.

I have a 29 gallon with stock lighting and gravel substrate. My plants include anubias, crypts, java fern, hygro kompacta, hornwort, anacharis and an amazon sword. There are also several mosses in there that I have tied to mesh. I guess I'm trying to go somewhere with that, just not sure where yet (maybe a wall?) haha. I don't dose anything except a few osmocote+ tabs every few months near the crypts and sword.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2012, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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I know the holidays are here, but would really appreciate anyone's input here. I'd like to start the new year rolling on this tank.

What kind of carpet plant would you suggest for a low tech system like this?

If I go with the Grourami, it's suggested to have a few plants that go across the top, suggestions?

Thanks again Shloken for commenting.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2012, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IsNull View Post
I know the holidays are here, but would really appreciate anyone's input here. I'd like to start the new year rolling on this tank.

What kind of carpet plant would you suggest for a low tech system like this?

If I go with the Grourami, it's suggested to have a few plants that go across the top, suggestions?

Thanks again Shloken for commenting.
For a carpet I recommend saggittaria subulata, aka dwarf sag. And I also recommend any other plant in my tank, which you can see in my journal. But in a low tech tank, a dirt substrate is highly beneficial to plants, especially heavy rooters like sag, swords, and crypts. So unless you have your heart set on eco-complete, I would consider soil with a cap. That is what has given me so much success so far.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2012, 04:58 PM
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My 2

I'd be careful about mixing gourami species together. From what I've read, they can be quite aggressive with each other. AqAdvisor is a helpful site. It's not the be all and end all, so you'll still need to research your fish options and perhaps get advice on the forum to be sure.

As for plants, you can do quite a lot without CO2. You may need to look into upgrading your lights if you're currently using the stock fixture. You might find this site helpful.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2012, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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Upgrade my lights? The FugeRay was my upgrade... :/
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2012, 07:44 PM
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Upgrade my lights? The FugeRay was my upgrade... :/
Fugeray is perfect for medium light for a low tech tank! I don't think jpalimpsest saw that you were using that light. She said IF you had a stock light perhaps you should upgrade. Your good
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2012, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Incoming Manzanita stump:
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-01-2013, 04:46 PM
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I had 5 (now 4) dwarf gouramis and they are a little bit territorial towards each other. They will sometimes chase each other and flare their pectoral fins at each other, but they leave the other fish alone.

The Fraternity of Dirt #144
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