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l8nite 09-17-2012 04:17 AM

HANdS 29G High Tech Community
September 22nd, 2012:

December 2nd, 2012:

29G Oceanic Systems Tank
Dimensions: 30.5" x 12.5" x 18.75"
Substrate: Flourite Black Sand
Lighting: Ray II 24" DS 24 Inches 7000k / 7000k, Also 20W T12 that I turn on when I remember. (4650 LUX ~65PAR @ substrate)
CO2: 5lb canister into .5 micron diffusion stone into filter intake.
Fertilizers: EI dosing KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4 and Plantex CSM+B (Macros 3x/week, Micros 2x/week)

Flora: Help me guess by clicking here
  • Nymphaea pubescens
  • Anubias spp.
  • More.

  • "Pongo" and "Perdita" Dalmation Mollys (Expecting!)
  • "Sucker" Otocinclus
  • 7x Neon Tetra
  • 7x Fancy Guppies (3 tequila sunrise, 2 fancy red, 2 turquoise)
  • 4x Ghost Shrimp
  • "Burnout" - Tracked Nerite
  • Malaysian Trumpet Snails (x1000000)
  • Ramshorn Snails (x10 or so)
  • Pond Snails (x1000)

The Acquisition Story
After starting the Betta tank journey (see here), I was excited about aquariums and so spent a ton of time talking about them :)

I was talking a coworker's ear off about the nitrogen cycle, et al., and as luck would have it, he asked if I wanted a 29G tank for FREE! Apparently, his wife's (very old) goldfish had passed away only a few days prior. They gave me a new tank with stand, gravel, some driftwood attached to slate, a lava rock, a few powerheads, undergravel filter, two HOB filters, a bunch of accessories, etc.

Needless to say, I was pretty excited about the whole thing. My wife wasn't quite so thrilled, but she is slowly coming around ;)

When I went to pick it up, the first thing I noticed was that the tank was in pretty rough shape. There was thick dark green algae/sludge coating most of the tank walls, the gravel clouded the water pretty badly when it was disturbed, and it had a not-so-pleasant stale odor. My original plan had been to immediately stock the already-cycled tank and then work from there, but I wasn't happy with the condition, so as they say, the plan changed.

As soon as I got it home, I removed all the gravel and the undergravel filter from the tank and started rinsing those. While the gravel was rinsing, I brought the tank out front and pressure-washed the insides with the garden hose. Then, I started the tedious job of thoroughly scraping off all the algae from the insides (using a credit card was a nice trick I picked up from these forums somewhere).

Finally, I busted out an old toothbrush and gave all the filters/tubing/etc a good scrubbing. When I was done, it looked quite a lot nicer! I decided I was going to make this a high-tech planted tank. I'm currently in the process of attempting to not kill the plants I've put in.

l8nite 09-17-2012 04:28 AM

This is the 29G tank with the original gravel it came with and with the lonely anubias tree I created. This was also before I installed the inline filter or heater, or the CO2 setup, etc.

Here are the two Nerites that live in this tank:

Older journal posts

I started keeping my journal entries in new replies to this thread, rather than constantly updating just this one post - here are some of the updates from before that happened.

25 August, 2012 - Free tank given to me by a coworker - Cleaned thoroughly from ~7pm to 1am

2 September, 2012 - Stocked with 3 Tequila Sunrise Guppies, 2 Red Tail Guppies, and 5 Neon Tetras.
Also attached two Anubias Barteri plants to the driftwood with superglue. I decided I wasn't in love with the gravel substrate, and I really wanted to

4 September, 2012 - Installed a Hagen DIY CO2 system for the two plants. I'll probably upgrade to a pressurized system soon, but I'll eventually want the DIY ladder

8 September, 2012 - Noticed high nitrite levels, tank is cycling again. Started doing daily water 40% water changes.

11 September, 2012 - Decided I didn't like the gravel and that the tank would have to cycle again. Switched to a new substrate, Flourite Black Sand, which I had to rinse for hours on end. Completed the substrate change without incident. Thankfully, my order of 20 "low light beginner" plants from Bob's Tropical Plants arrived (along with a fair number of dead nerite snails). I have no idea what most of them are, but I planted them all!

14 September, 2012 - Plumbing day. Installed new Eheim 2217 canister filter, Hydor 200W inline heater, and ISTA Max Mix CO2 reactor (with my DIY Hagen). Mounted my timed power strip inside the cabinet, plumbed the lines around the insides. Introduced two new turquoise guppies and two more neon tetras, bringing each of my schools to 7. I want to get some larger individual fish next, but I haven't decided what.

17 September, 2012 - Nitrite levels were up a little today, did a 70% water change and dumped the remainder of the stability bottle I had in there. I also acclimated and added 5 ghost shrimp... hopefully the nitrite levels aren't a problem. I'll be dosing prime and keeping an eye on it closely this week. Also found a little MTS, might have hitchhiked on the plants or came with the ghost shrimp...

19 September, 2012 - Still high nitrites... going to do another large-ish water change.

20 September, 2012 - My python water changer broke in the middle of a water change, what a pain in the ass.

22 September, 2012 - Rescaped, added new driftwood, plants, and introduced some new tank mates (Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami, 2x Dalmation Mollys, and 2x Otocinclus). Nitrites are still present, but manageable. Going on vacation for 24 hours, we'll see how the tank does.

l8nite 09-17-2012 08:05 AM

I named the Nerites today. Should I be worried that I named snails?

The yellow/black striped, horned one is "Turbo"

The broken-striped one is "Burnout" (His markings look like tire treads).

chou 09-17-2012 08:52 AM

Lighting: Finnex "Ray II" LED, 20W T12 10000k

I'd prefer 6500k lighting over those just because those lights do not help live plants grow.

l8nite 09-17-2012 09:12 AM


Originally Posted by chou (Post 2013906)
Lighting: Finnex "Ray II" LED, 20W T12 7000k

I'd prefer 6500k lighting over those just because those lights do not help live plants grow.

Actually, they're 7000k/7000k -- Thanks for posting though! I'm still memorizing a lot of new terminology, so I'm trying not to get too mixed up :)

Ray II 24" DS
24 Inches 7000k / 7000k

l8nite 09-18-2012 07:30 AM

I added 5 new ghost shrimp today. I'll take some decent pictures of them once they're adjusted and looking relaxed.

I found this guy in there today -- don't know if he showed up with the shrimp or if he hitchhiked on the plants:

And, what exactly did this shrimp eat?!

GMYukonon24s 09-18-2012 04:28 PM

Nice looking tank

l8nite 09-18-2012 09:24 PM

I found a 5lb CO2 tank plus regulator for $70 on craigslist today! Tank needed to be hydrotested ($20) and filled ($18), so $108 all said and done.

This is the regulator - says it's $150 retail!

Here's the regulator:

The guy also gave me a huge decorative lava rock, a small specimen tank, a pair of aquatongs, a CO2 drop checker, and some other misc. stuff. I'm pretty stoked :)

Some of the other stuff:

aweeby 09-19-2012 04:15 AM

Nice start!
Glad to hear you got the old tank. It's situations like these when multi tank syndrome begins to set in, hehe. For future ref, a razor blade works wonders. Too late now, i guess. :(
Your shrimp is berried! If you remove it from the fish, you'll see baby shrimp in a month or so! If I were you, I'd buy your plants from the sale forum here. You'd probably get a better deal. I had to get my nerites from that guy because no one else who has them will ship to hi, or they wanted 2 arms and 2 legs... so let's just say it wasn't the best transaction. I'd plant more heavily. There's no point in having a high tech tank and just keeping easy plants that don't require injected co2. If you haven't bought the tank yet, you can get new tanks from beverage for much cheaper with free shipping.

You'll want to put the co2 diffuser in the flow of the filter. All those bubbles that reach the surface are wasted co2 and don't do your plants any good. I'd get a finer diffuser too, those bubbles look kind of big. e bay has some for 5$ shipped.

Also, 10000K lights WILL help plants grow, it's just not as optimal as something like 6500K or 7000K. I had 2 10000K bulbs over my 55g before my heater killed everything, and I was able to maintain a very heavily planted tank with ease.

l8nite 09-19-2012 07:51 PM

Hehe, yea a razor blade would have been so much smarter ;)

Cool @ shrimp! I have my fluval spec coming in a few days -- I'm assuming I can just grab some filter media and fill it with tank water from my Betta's tank and put the ghost shrimp babies in there?

I will definitely buy more plants from here in the future -- not knowing what I was doing led me to the establishment...

Those are actually airstone bubbles -- the CO2 is inline to a reactor (Ista MAX-MIX one, but it's noisy as hell, so I have a different (aqualine?) one coming).

I plan to add a night timer so the air goes on only at night, CO2 during the day.

Following information I read in this post, I bought a cheapo LUX meter from Amazon. It showed 4650 LUX at the depth of my substrate from that LED light.

Dividing by 61 and multiplying by 1.1 leaves me with 83 PAR... I definitely should get some cooler plants :)

I'm going to wait until I get the CO2 hardware in place and adjust to dosing fertilizers daily/etc before I make things more demanding on myself though.

aweeby 09-20-2012 04:02 AM

def take out the airstone, then. Hope your goodies come in soon! :)
and wow, you're getting a lot of tanks.

l8nite 09-21-2012 06:39 AM

My fertilizers arrived today :) I had fun making labels and raiding the tupperware cabinet. My wife is a chemistry major - she got a kick out of me trying to remember the various fertilizers...

l8nite 09-22-2012 07:27 AM

I drip-acclimated some new tankmates today ... it was a bit of an ordeal (story after the list):

1x Dwarf Blue Gourami - remains to be seen how he/she will interact with my guppies. So far so good.

2x Otocinclus - Feisty guys, they refused to even come out of the specimen container at the shop.

2x Dalmation Molly - Love the look of these! They were schooling really closely in the tanks at the shop. I really only wanted one, but I think they would've been unhappy apart ;)

So, during the drip-acclimation I had three separate problems:

1) The tupperware I was using was way too shallow for the Gourami once I poured the shop-water from the bag in... he was practically laying down in it.

2) I was giving my daughter a bath and just came out to check on the progress after a few minutes... the two mollies had jumped out of the tub and into the secondary container I use to contain overflow! Would've been fine except there wasn't any water in there yet! I scooped em back in and it doesn't seem like they've suffered any permanent damage.

3) I forgot to stop the siphon when I was done transferring the fish, so about an hour later I'm sitting in the livng room and I heard water hitting the floor in the livingroom... Good thing it's hard flooring! :)

In addition to the new tankmates, I purchased some more plants:

Egeria Densa (Anacharis) - fast growing "bushy" stems
Ludwigia Glandulosa - pretty red/green stem plant
A nice slender sword - haven't ID'd it yet.

EnigmaticGuppy92 09-22-2012 09:48 AM

nice job bargain for the co2 nice one

l8nite 09-22-2012 02:03 PM

Pictures of the new scape and tank mates - still a little cloudy since I was pretty disruptive while replanting/moving stuff. I'll try to get some nicer pictures on Sunday.

New scape with some up-closers:

Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami:

One of the dalmation mollys:

Otocinclus resting on a sword leaf:

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