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AndyS 10-25-2012 07:32 PM

My Aquastyle 9
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I've been out of the aquarium hobby for about 12 years. I moved, and just never brought the tanks back out of the garage. I used to really enjoy South American and Malawian cichlids, and while I had some java fern and moss in some apistogramma and krib breeding tanks, I never really had a real plant oriented tank.

I got the bug to set up a small aquarium lately for plants and shrimp. Shopping around, I decided to start with an Eheim Aquastyle 9. The goal is to be relatively low tech. No CO2. Still figuring out my fertilization strategy, so I decided to start with maybe Flourish at minimal amounts. And the goal is to pick some plants that aren't overly demanding, at least until I get this tank figured out.

To start, I've put in the following:

Java Fern x2
Rotela indica
Ludwigia repens (I think, it was labeled "red ludwigia")
Cryptocoryne wendtii red
Pennywort (not sure which type)

On the way I have some Xmas moss to make a moss wall in the back.

I'm thinking about ordering some mini pellia to try to get to grow on the stump. And would also like to get an anubias or two. Maybe some I saw on ebay labled "petite". I also thought about doing some kind of low foreground plant, but I'm not sure what to use. Suggestions welcome.

The stem plants are there mainly to grow fast and take up nitrate. I thought about getting some floater plants as well, but haven't come across any locally yet. Duckweed, etc. For that same purpose mainly, keeping nitrates in check as a buffer plant.

As I said above, I plan to put shrimp in this tank. Neocaridina of some sort. I kind of like the orange strains, but we'll see. My daughter loves snails, so I'll either get some nerites or apple snails. Not sure about fish yet.

Just using the included filter at this point. I bought a new sponge filter, but in a tank of this size, it kind of took over the look. I considered adding a Fluval 106, but am going to see how this internal works, first. I'm also using a small heater I had from before. Not sure if it's going to make it through cycle or not, as I'm not sure I trust a heater this old. But we'll see.

For substrate, I bought Aquasoil New Amazonia. Started to use dirt, but I was a bit nervous about doing it jumping into a new part of the hobby, so decided to spend a bit on a proven substrate with the idea of trying dirt down the road when I'm more comfortable with plants.

I've got a few river rocks that I might try to hide the base of the stump and the root cut with, as they won't stay hidden in the substrate. We'll see.

All the plants have a bit of dirt on them that settled after the mess I made filling the tank (even though I was pretty careful, it still happened). I'm a bit concerned that 3 days in, I have a bit of algae on the stump already. We'll see where that goes as the cycle goes. I think I've got about an 8 hour light cycle. I dosed ammonia to start the cycle, but understand the Amazonia will also kick out some ammonia, too.

The ludwigia is already showing some growth I'm happy to see. Hopefully the other stuff will follow soon.

Slightly blurry cell shot. Critiques or suggestions welcome:

crazydaz 10-26-2012 01:47 AM

Looks pretty good for being out of the hobby for twelve years, neighbor! I would suggest using some Marselia minuta for the can do well without pressurized CO2. The addition of Excel will not only supply a good source of carbon for your plants, it will help keep algae at bay. I would like to see what the stones look can't hurt, and adding them later will be difficult if you already have a planted foreground!

You should check out when you have a chance. A lot of hobbyists local our area are on there.

Thanks for sharing, and welcome back to the hobby!!

AndyS 10-26-2012 02:53 PM

I tried to reply last night, but it gave me a moderation review required. It's been more than 12 hours, so I'm trying again. Hope I don't end up double posting.

I had actually considered Marsilea of some type. I was looking around a bit. I think there was some quadrifolia on aquabid or somewhere. Don't think I ever found any minuta. Not sure how much size difference there is.

I thought about getting Excel, but had heard it was not optimal for shrimp. I might get some to boost the plants during the cycle, though, then maybe use it for problem situations down the road.

Got my Xmas moss in from [Ebay Link Removed] Have it in a jar in the kitchen window until I get a chance to put it in some mesh for the moss wall. I probably could have just skipped that idea after deciding to add the stems in the back, as it's probably going to be a bit busy on the back wall. Kind of hate to disturb things now as it looks like I didn't leave enough clearance to fit the wall in without uprooting some of the ludwigia and rotela that I had trouble keeping down to begin with.

EDIT: ha, I just said the name of the auction site and didn't use a link. The auto-edit made it much more obvious than just the 4 letter site name.

GMYukonon24s 10-26-2012 04:58 PM

Nice startup

Disher 11-26-2012 05:11 PM

Any updates? Interested in buying a tank like this. How is the brightness of the lamp?

AndyS 11-26-2012 07:16 PM


Originally Posted by Disher (Post 2089850)
Any updates? Interested in buying a tank like this. How is the brightness of the lamp?

I've been doing a fishless cycle, and it's taking quite awhile longer than I intended. It's doing OK, with a bit of hair algae and a touch on the glass, but it's still keeping low levels of ammonia. Probably partially the Aqua Soil. I have seen the ammonia drop over the last few days, and I've already had the nitrite rise and fall, but still have some low/medium levels of ammonia hanging around.

Plants are doing fine for the most part. Where I put the Ludwigia repens is probably not optimal, and the lower parts of the plants have died, but they're growing out at the top. Too much light getting blocked by the filter and stump.

Still haven't put in the Xmas moss wall. I have the moss in a jar on the kitchen window, but haven't gotten around to doing it yet. I think when I do I might move the wood forward a little bit and redo the Ludwigia repens location a bit forard, which might mean the pennywort also moves a bit.

I like the tank overall so far. I would assume the light would be called medium light.

Disher 11-27-2012 03:10 AM

It's a nice looking tank for sure. You should look into adding a foreground plant to fill in the emptiness in the front. What are your stocking plans once you finish cycling?

AndyS 11-27-2012 01:47 PM


Originally Posted by Disher (Post 2090504)
It's a nice looking tank for sure. You should look into adding a foreground plant to fill in the emptiness in the front. What are your stocking plans once you finish cycling?

Some kind of neocaridina shrimp and probably snails. Not sure if I'll add fish or not.

GMYukonon24s 11-27-2012 01:50 PM


Originally Posted by AndyS (Post 2090781)
Some kind of neocaridina shrimp and probably snails. Not sure if I'll add fish or not.

Cherries or something else? What kind of snails?

AndyS 11-27-2012 03:34 PM


Originally Posted by GMYukonon24s (Post 2090785)
Cherries or something else? What kind of snails?

I was thinking Pumpkin just to be a bit different. Not sure about snails yet, my daughter had one in an aquarium before and loved watching it. Maybe Nerite, maybe something more easily found in LFS around here.

Disher 11-29-2012 03:55 PM

I like the idea of using it as an invert tank only. Any updated pictures? Let's see 'em!

GMYukonon24s 11-29-2012 06:43 PM

Nerites would be nice.

AndyS 11-29-2012 11:35 PM


Originally Posted by Disher (Post 2093306)
I like the idea of using it as an invert tank only. Any updated pictures? Let's see 'em!

I'll try to get some soon. Nothing too special going on, just filled in a bit. Think I'll have to move the stump forward a bit to give more room for the ludwiga, or move some of the pennywort and plant some more forward in the side. If I move the stump up, some of the crypt will have to be replanted, too.

Minor stuff.

Think my ammonia has finally dropped out. Going to dose it again just to make sure, then it's time to start shopping shrimp.

I also need to test GH/KH. I'm suspecting I might need to do something there, as initial tests with the Aqua Soil left my water pretty soft. So I have some reading to do on what that means for shrimp keeping.

I used to use a Kati/Ani DI filter back when I kept saltwater fish and small cichlids. I still have them, but I'd rather not go to the trouble of doing that then buffering the water back up. I do think I saw my old container of Kent RO Right. Wonder how that would work if I'm soft? I don't see how that would really go out of date.

On the livestock question, I've started to waffle now a bit on pumpkin shrimp. Looking at Speedie's pics of Blue Velvets, might go that route instead. Confused.

AndyS 11-30-2012 01:42 PM

OK, water parameters prior to a water change:

Ph 6.6
TDS 163
KH 17.9 (1 drop on API test)
GH 125.3 (7 drops)
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 80ppm

Not sure how the nitrates got that high, assume there was a lot of ammonia processed with not enough plants to use it up. I'll take care of it with some water changes.

A bit concerned about KH. Not sure if I need to do something with that to have healthy shrimp and snails or not. Guess I have some reading I need to do. Maybe a post in the invert subforum.

EDIT: What about getting some Fluval Mineral Supplement?

If I go with Nerite snails, how many would be good for a 9 gallon tank? I know they're smallish. 5? 10?

AndyS 12-03-2012 02:05 AM

Gah, I was trying to move the drift wood around slightly tonight while doing a water change to lower the nitrates and got the idea that it might be waterlogged enough to not need the tile I screwed into the bottom.

While it was able to stay down on it's own, it wanted to tilt back no matter how many little rocks I propped it up on on the back. And apparently I got really lucky with the angle of the tile mount the first time, because I could NOT get it back to where it would sit right. The attempts uprooted all the pennywort and might have messed with the crypts, too.

So. Made a mess in something I was pretty happy with overall to begin with. Grrr.

Also, yesterday, I put in a moss wall and rock to start growing in.

Went by Aquatic Critter in Nashville today after going to the zoo. They had some very nice ludwigia that they'd labeled "Cuban Ludwigia", that I think might have been Ludwigia palustris after looking around the internet for pics. Really wish I'd found that instead of the repens I bought. I don't think I have room for another stem plant, or I'd have bought it.

Also saw some dwarf Mexican crawfish. Very cool, and would almost make me rethink the shrimp thing.

I ordered some Marsilea Minuta. The lot was probably more than I needed, but I agree that I need something more up front in the empty area.

Thinking about getting a floating plant of some sort to be a nitrate sponge after seeing my nitrates go so high in the cylce. Specifically I'm trying to decide between Asian Watermoss (Salvinia cucullata), and Frogbit.

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