Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Christiansburg, Va
Oh, you poor thing! You'll have to wait a while before a photo update!
I had to break this tank down due to a nasty columnaris outbreak recently. I just started to tear it down about a week ago. The columnaris killed 11 cardinals, 4 black tetras, 2 blue rams, amd 6 celebes rainbows in a week. It is thought the rainbows brought the columnaris in, since the deaths started the day after they arrived. The large water change I did the day before I put them in the tank didn't help in my opinion (stressing the fish). I never had anything but ick in all my years of keeping fish as a kid, so I never saw the importance of having a QT tank. By God I've got one now! I'll soon have a second one set up too.
I still have about 5" of water in the tank, to keep the plants alive. I'll do a potassium permanganate (sp?) dip of them before I switch them to a new tank.
I did have some ups & downs with the tank that I think are worth noting; first, the two T8s worked like a dream! I like the idea of low tech/low light tanks. The slow pace of growth appeals to me. In the tank I have a giant anubia, some anubias nana and coffeefolia, vals, baby's tears, some kind of huge coppery brown crypt I got as a RAOK here, another unknown smaller crypt, an red tiger lily, bacopa (sp?) and anacharis (again, not sure on the spelling). Oh, and a cabomba, or however it's spelled! LOL lousy way to list plants, but its 5am and I have to go to work soon & don't have time to look then up! ; )
All the plants did fantastic! I was seeing new growth on everything, and some were taking off. I saw an average of 4 - 6 new leaves in 3 - 4 weeks. Snail-slow for the Co2 crowd I'm sure, but I loved it.
My issues were with the Miracle Grow Organic Potting Mix - I'm not sure I'd do that next time. Mayby my cap wasn't deep enough, but it always worked it's way to the top. I did move the plants around a bit, so that didn't help. But bits of peat were always settling heavily on the leaves of the plants - it was constantly dirty looking. Really dirty looking. Also, this tank had problems my 40b doesn't, and I wonder if the MGOPM was the culprit. The 40 is set up exactly the same way, minus the Miracle Grow. The pea gravel/FloraMax mix is identical. The 40 is also seeing the same kind of growth, slightly slower, but healthier, too. The plants are the same in the two tanks (minus the red tiger lily) and they seem more robust in the 40. No debris is ever on them, there are no Co2 "burps" to break up, the tannins aren't present for so very long, the water is much clearer in terms of tannins and general appearance. The 55 tended to have a strange look - not really cloudy - but odd.
I don't know if this was related to the potting soil or not - I never see people posting about dirt tanks that they are unhappy with. Maybe it was noob mistakes of my own. I have to say though, that the 40b - which is identical in every other way - is a super healthy tank and I've neevr lost a fish or plant in it, in 6 months.
When I redo the 55 (and it's companion - I bought another to have them side-by-side) I may change the lighting. I'd like to go with T5NOs just to save electricity, but if I can't, I am still very satisfied with the twin bulb T8 I bought at Home Depot!