Anne's Christmas 55 gallon - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-22-2016, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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Anne's Christmas 55 gallon

So it has been about 20 years since I had an aquarium. My home office seemed like it needed a touch of life, and an aquarium seemed to fit the bill. Initially I had thought a 20 gallon would be about right, but ended up buying a 55 gallon. Also, I had initially thought about doing a riverscape with lots of smooth stones and botias. Funny how plans change!
I do wish I had found this website before making some of the purchases that I did -- the wealth of knowledge and information that the users here share is amazing.

Specs:
55 gallon Aqueon (bought as a complete kit, upgraded everything)
Filter: Eheim 2213
Powerhead: MJ 600
Substrate: Ecocomplete topped with another gravel
Lighting: 2 - 48" Elive LEDs (wish I had come here - LFS suggested these and I spent a fortune buying enough pods to get to the medium light level)
Ferts: DIY CO2 (citric acid and baking soda fed into the powerhead).
Seachem
API root tabs
Plants: Spiky moss
Anubias nana
Ludwegia repens
Bacopa caroliana
Cardamime lyrata
alternanthera reineckii
Hygrophila corymbosa
Hydrocotyle
Vallisneria
Crypts - wendtii green, red, undulatus
Java fern
bacopa caroliniana
Water sprite
Ambulia
Critters:
Growing colony of cherry shrimp
10 harlequin rasboras in QT, will go into this tank in April
4 otocinclus (originally had 7, have lost a few)
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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I am going to start keeping track of the DIY CO2 in this thread. The current batch will be 2 weeks on Saturday and is still going quite strong.

The H rasboras have been in QT for three weeks now, so I think this weekend they will be ready to make the trip across the room into the big tank. Emailed back and forth with msjinkzd yesterday about some additional suitable fish. I'll make a decision next week.
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-25-2016, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
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Ferts Thread
3/24/16 - Added more root tabs about the Alternanthera, the crypts and the Hygrophila corymbosa (HC). Noticed that the HC has a few raggedy small holes that almost look like something has been chewing on it. It's only on the older leaves, guessing snail damage? The new growth on the plant looks strong and damage free.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-26-2016, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
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Moved the 10 harlequin rasboras into the tank from QT tonight. They seem very very happy with all the space, the plants, etc. I bought them at Petsmart, and remember the girl who helped me saying that there wasn't a lot of interest in that particular fish, so they had been left pretty much alone for a long time. So they spent their early days in a sparse pet shop tank, followed by a month in a small 10 gallon tank, and now have the run of the 55 gallon. Do fish feel happiness?

The shrimp, OTOH, seem a little grumpy about the new inhabitants. There's a big gathering of what appear to be the "elder" shrimp in one particular section near the top of the tank. I am guessing that the shrimplet population may see a decline if and when the rasboras figure out that there is a readily available source of live food.

Plants:
3/25/16 Had to stop by Petsmart today to pick up kitty litter and noticed that they had added some new aquarium plants, the kind grown in the gel. Picked up a Temple Compacta (hygrophila aocynbosa) and a crypt wendtii Tropica. I fully expect the crypt to melt away to nothing, but hopefully it will come back. It's a smallish plant with a pretty maroon color to the leaves. The Temple Hygro also has a lot of red color to the leaves. I put one stalk of it in the QT, and the rest in the big tank.
3/28/16 - The new hygrophila is showing some bright green growth.

Last edited by abaker1961; 03-28-2016 at 10:54 PM. Reason: Keeping a log on this thread about plants
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-27-2016, 01:10 AM Thread Starter
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The rasboras have settled in nicely and are showing some gorgeous color --- bright orange and a glowing silvery blue. And the little bits of orange on their fins seem to glow against the plants. I think that little fish like these get overlooked at the pet stores because they are so stressed and colorless.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-02-2016, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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Tonight I tackled cleaning the Eheim filter for the first time. It's been running for 3 months now with no issues, but the flow has definitely been reduced. What I thought would take an hour ended up occupying most of my Friday night (exciting!). I had bought some new tubing since I felt that the intake tubing was a little on the short side, so there was some replumbing to be done.

When I opened the canister and took out the media, there were 4 little shrimp staring up at me. Who knows how long they have been living in the bottom of the filter? Set them free in the big tank.

Did a deep gravel vacuum on the end of the tank where the filter intake is, that seems to collect a lot of deitrus and I've seen little white worms and what are probably leeches hanging out. They need to go.

It took a long time to get all the air bubbles worked out of the tubing and the canister. Seems like I didn't have as much trouble when I first set it up. But it's done and there is all kinds of flow
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-04-2016, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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Trimmed back the water sprite, which had gotten crazy bushy, and some of the bacopa today. The tank looks a lot brighter and water movement is better. The pond snail population has declined drastically -- a good thing but I wonder what the cause is.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-11-2016, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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Set up new CO2 today. Looks like 2 weeks is going to the point where production starts to drop off.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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Added 10 Brown Pencilfish yesterday that I ordered from msjinkzd. Very cool and somewhat mysterious little fish that hang just below the surface with their body at about a 45 degree angle. They are already setting up little territories.

On a side note -- I would say that in late January and February, there was an explosion of pond snails to the point where I was thinking it might be necessary to look into ways to cull the population. Tonight there is only one visible pond snail, and it's a very large snail. Other than that, no eggs, babies, nada. It could be so many things but I'm speculating that the shrimp population squeezed out their food source.

Last edited by abaker1961; 04-25-2016 at 10:23 AM. Reason: typo
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 01:22 AM
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That's interesting about the snails and shrimp. I find my snail population goes back and forth from invisible to ridiculous periodically, and have no idea why
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaye View Post
That's interesting about the snails and shrimp. I find my snail population goes back and forth from invisible to ridiculous periodically, and have no idea why
Thanks for posting that. It's so strange, like they all disappeared over the course of a couple of days. I'm not even finding shells.
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-28-2016, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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Started a new CO2 mix this morning. Probably could have let it go another day or so, but I'm encouraged that the last batch lasted over two weeks.
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-05-2016, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
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Noticed that the java fern is pearling. This is the first time I have observed this in my tank, it was kind of cool once I realized what was happening.
Everything is growing like crazy, although the corner where the filter intake is located is kind of a dead zone. Not all bad, it leaves some open swimming area for the fish.
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-13-2016, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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I just realized that it's been a month since I set up the last batch of CO2 and it's still going. Must have gotten lucky with this batch. I'll probably set up a new mix tonight, I'm pushing my luck on this.

Noticed 2 dead shrimp in the tank last night. They were medium size, so it's not like they died of old age. One had been there a while and was pretty decomposed, the other looked pretty fresh and still had some red color to it. The shrimp population looks quite healthy and there are plenty of shrimplets, so I'm not really concerned, but still would be good to know. I have seen the pencilfish showing an interest in shrimplets when they are up on the hydrocotyl leaves, but doubt they would bother an adult shrimp.
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-13-2016, 11:34 AM
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I loved reading this. I bet you'd get more replies with photos though, to be honest. But I liked the documentary style of reading what you have been doing. IT was neat. Anyway, a couple dead shrimp is nothing to fret about. I'd write it off as random acts of mother nature, like a lightning strike.

DIY CO2 on a 55g will likely cost you more in the long run, but glad to see you've managed to keep it going for quite some time.

My only real criticism is the otos. They need a very matured environment to survive. Aside from their normal hit or miss nature, they probably struggled to find enough food in a new tank. They are best added to a several month old tank. Anyway, your fish selection is awesome, they are great fish. I like your stocking levels, very low. Probably not 'impressive' to look at, but the fish will enjoy it and the maintenance will be lower than those who stock higher.

Definitely take some photos!
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