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Jahn 04-30-2013 01:36 PM

First Father & Kids Tank - 20 High - 5/23/14 update! Ich Death recovery!
Hi all, I'm moving this tank to this subforum to track progress in the right place. This is actually a joint tank with my 9 year old son, we picked up the tank from Petco last week during the dollar a gallon sale, but seeing as how our mutual knowledge of this hobby is a tie, I'm going to read up and help him out. My previous two experiences were horrendous pre-internet affairs, knowing nothing and pretty much sprinting the fish to fish heaven when I was a teen.

So the subtrate is one bag of Fluval Shrimp Stratum and a bag of eco-complete. I had another bag of eco-complete that I guess is trade bait now, since I didn't need it - the stratum is the bottom substrate, and the eco complete tops it light in the front and slopes up higher to the back a few inches. Just some sand-colored gravel in the front right corner as a decorative psuedo-pond look too.

A Tetra HT30 was supposed to keep the water at 78 but never got there, so i swapped in a fluval with adjustable temp and the digital therm has the water at 77.8, nice. I may lower this to 77 to keep tetra happy, and Platys should be ok with that. Fishless cycling, so the fluval 30 is cranked at full speed - after cycling i guess i'll just keep it there unless the fish are swimming backwards, haha. Didn't use the carbon bag, just the filter and biomass. Actually just added a second filter in middle after cycling was done, the original filter left on the bottomost tier, biomass on top.

Speaking of biomass, I used Dr. Tim's One and Only, dropped Dr. Tim's ammonia in there (about 23 drops) and left everything to settle for 3 days. Before the ammonia the tap water after being treated with Prime was zeros across the board for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Believe it or not, when I got back home after those 3 days the API tests read 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates and 20ppm nitrates! sheesh, quick cycle! I dropped some more ammonia in there last night to keep the bacteria fed while i went plant shopping after work today. (got back home, ammonia dropped from 2.0 to .5 in 8 hours, not bad) I did a 50% water change to get rid of the nitrates and lower the water level to plant plants, and filled it back up with tap w/prime once planting was done.

The foreground is dwarf baby tears with some crypt and bits of moss, and the middle ground is up in the air right now - maybe some anubis around the petrified wood that should be coming from eBay later in the week.

The background is Cabomba, half are red which I fenced that lighter gravel area with. Incoming C02 tester from eBay too, and I have Flourish here and some liquid C02 booster - just put a thread and a half of booster in this morning, and the weekly flourish after the water change.

So far so good, but told my son we needed to take it slow, ten emperor tetra in there now and schooling fine, some of the plants came with green and black algae, so I was thinking of picking up some shrimp - my son wants red ones!

Any suggestions for something I missed? I'm going low-light on the plants since the Aqueon hood has a 18W full range spectrum bulb for 20 gal. I have a gravel vacuum but probably won't use it for a while since I don't want to disturb the bacteria on the gravel, and there's not much in the way of fish detrius yet (plus when there's a nice amount of plants in there I don't want to disturb them!). Using the vacuum just to suck water out for water changes at the moment.

Here's the tank - didn't have time to take a pre-planted shot since I actually swung by Win in Chinatown on the way home and got a deal on a bag of freshwater plants, and 10 emperor tetra. So here they are! Did a 50 percent water change first with prime, took all the obvious black algae laden leaves off, and left room for the petrified wood coming later this week (the pagoda was a compromise with my son, we're keeping it on the hill in the back to hide the heater). All ten tetra survived the ordeal, and should be enough to school i think.


Edit: That is the below, following is the after, as of 12/7/13! Amazing, but since I upped the CO2, lowered the amount of light, upped filtration to a Fluval C4, and loaded it with Seachem Matrix - NO BLACK ALGAE. No joke, my bane is finally gone! And no fish deaths - nitrate has stayed nice and low! I have to keep getting in there and pruning stuff - this is after a recent pruning, already it's getting stuffed in there again :proud: Following the pic is a video of our five new Lambchop Rasbora shoaling with the Galaxy Rasbora (Celestial Pearl Danio).


5/23/14: ich wipeout. Added a balloon ram that had ich, wiped everything out except 4 Lambchop rasbora, that one neon tetra that must be Wolverine, the Pleco, and two amano shrimp. Since the tank has gotten to the point where all the ich is gone and off the current fish, might as well intro new fish during treatment since I would treat them for ich anyhow. Thought we got ten rummynose tetra but one snuck in there that wasn't- the January Tetra.

It loves to school with the rummies so this is fine. Before adding them, here is a shot with the new driftwood the store gave me as a mea culpa for the fishocalypse:

Jahn 04-30-2013 03:13 PM

OK that first post is technically 4/29/13, today's post is 4/30/13. Checking the water as A-OK after the ten tetra have settled in (with no problem at just under 78 degrees either, which is good for future platys in a week or two), I decided that 10 Sakura shrimp isn't too much of a bioload to introduce today either, what with all the plants doing their thing too with algae ready to be chomped on. I was thinking of feeding the fish twice a day, but until I'm sure the bacteria is caught up on 10 tetra and 10 shrimp within 48 hours, I'll keep it at one feeding and monitor ammonia levels. I'll do another water change, probably 20% when the petrified wood arrives, probably on Thursday. For the shrimp, it'll be 10 juvies from this tank:

These are the petrified wood that are coming, about 20 pounds total in weight so I think it's fine without a foam cushion on the bottom of the tank. It's Nazlini from Arizona, so none of the color should leech out, it's been inert for like 200 million years, haha. Here it is wet, to give an idea of how it'll look in the tank. Four look mountain-rangey, two look good leaned against each other for a bridge type thing, and the one big one should do well in the back right corner hiding the thermometer, maybe with a tall plant or two peeking out from behind:

Hmm, one of the swords has pretty bad BBA, I had to prune about half its leaves already. I should just dump that plant before the BBA spreads to other plants. The other sword has fuzzy bright green algae that actually looks kinda nice behind the pagoda, I'll keep that. But yeah that BBAed sword is freaking me out - what a thing to introduce to a new tank! I think I'll get a marimo ball for the shrimp too, maybe park it solo in the light gravel corner to stand out.

Jahn 05-01-2013 01:43 PM

Ok, enough fauna intro for a few weeks, probably just get 3 Platys more then that's it. The count currently is 10 Emperor Tetra, 10 Sakura Shrimp, 6 hitchhiking snails. Fauna foreground is dwarf baby tears with a few pygmy chain swords hiding in there, the main mid plants are green and red cabomba, and the back I removed that nasty grass one with the black beard algae and bought an amazon sword and a back fence of Anacharis that will quickly fill out I'm sure. The Sakura Shrimp seller included a few floating plants - giant duckweed, some a very nice red around the edges - to help suck nitrate and do pH balance. And the coup de grace, a a Marimo moss ball for the shrimp to play with in the open waters. I stuck a post-filter sponge on the intake tube as a pre-filter until the more attractive small black Fluval pre-filter sponges come.

So here's the tank before the petrified wood is put in - it got delivered today so my son and I will plan placement and all that. Since my son's 9, don't expect graceful, but do expect playful! (his idea to stuff the two tufts of "firey looking" java moss into the windows of the pagoda to make it look like it's green fire haha). Here are the pics from this morning, May 1:

Here's a side shot to show the low-medium-high front to back gradation of the 'scaping:

And here's a pic of the pagoda. The Amazon sword in the back will hide the heater and cables when it's bigger, and the pygmy chain sword in the front of the pagoda's just a lawn ornament for the "courtyard" according to my kid:

Once the petrified wood is situated, I might get one more round of red stemmed plants to offset them, either tall behind or short in front.

Jahn 05-01-2013 06:42 PM

Isn't this a great way to frame cabomba? I think I'll try something like this with the petrified wood and the red cabomba to the right, behind the marimo ball.

Jahn 05-02-2013 02:04 AM

Here we go! My son picked out the right two to be the bridge, and the biggest piece we had the hardest time deciding the orientation but this way makes a mini alcove-grotto so it's nice. The side pieces were the quickest and easiest to place. I love how the "bark" parts make for a great mountain rangey feel, but then some unexpected color pops through. What a difference from no petrified wood to adding it! I have a few more plants coming to add red stemmed fencing to the far back, but the cabomba idea 'tween the rocks worked well. Here are the pics!





Oh, and those 11 Sakura Red Shrimp can hide like NOBODY'S business! Max I only see 6 at a time, today just 3, haha - but then peekaboo you see one emerge!


Jayme 05-02-2013 02:25 AM

Those plants look very healthy! Love the petrified wood, the stuff I have doesn't have nearly that much character.

Jahn 05-02-2013 02:58 AM

Thanks! And agreed, the petrified wood captures all the surprising angles of something organic, yet it's rock - very cool! Just a few minutes looking at it and you see something else you've never seen. Here's another shot, and the view changes on you again!


jimmytruong87 05-02-2013 03:31 AM

petrified wood can increase PH of water, so I suggest you should tie moss on that Rock

Jahn 05-02-2013 12:26 PM

Thanks! Ill keep an eye on the pH, and run a test tonight too.

Oh, and I put the carbon bag in the fluval filter after putting the petrified wood in, just in case there's more than just a trace of minerals on there - I did scrub them all before putting them in though (my son actually helped with that too, thanks!) so no strange Arizona dirt should be floating around there, but you never know. I'll keep the carbon in there for a month then toss it if everything looks a-ok.

Big Dog 05-02-2013 01:42 PM

Looks real good.

BarbH 05-02-2013 04:09 PM

Re: First Father-Son Planted Tank - 20 High
Nice looking tank.

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dukebalt 05-02-2013 04:54 PM

Nice! Everything looks good! Glad you and your son are both doing the project together and enjoying it! Are all your tetras still there? Haha. I was reading that when the emperor tetras get bigger they can actually eat the shrimps... Hopefully you have a large enough community by then!

What other fishes do you plan on getting? Anyways, GL!

Jahn 05-02-2013 05:00 PM

Thanks! Yep the ten tetras are happily schooling around! I intentionally asked for juvie shrimp so they'd grow up used to this tank, but yeah I hope the tetra don't develop a taste for them before the shrimp molt up a few sizes! Actually the biggest shrimp female is pretty bold, just walks out there into the open and eyeballs curious tetras (who thankfully don't nip at her).

My son's having so much fun with the tank, that my daughter wants to get in on the action - in a few weeks we'll head to Pacific and let her choose a few Mickey Mouse platys, and then that should be it as far as fauna in the tank - a 20H shouldn't hold much more than that, right?

Oh, and I forgot, if the pH is too high and the water starts getting hard because of the petrified wood, I can always up the CO2 booster since right now I'm only putting in half the suggested daily dosage.

Oh, and just in case I forgot, the little gal left this message for me on our "to do" board this morning:

Jahn 05-03-2013 05:12 AM

Well the tank is definitely not ready for more fish yet. Bacteria is having a hard time keeping up with the addition of tetra and shrimp. Since they've been added it's been a daily water test, seeing the ammonia at .25-.5 and nitrates 30-40. I did 20% water changes. However today I had to be away from home, and of course when I finally got home near midnight the shrimp were hiding and the fish were not swimming right and the gills had streaks of blood yikes! Poisoning! Instantly did a test, ammonia was .5, nitrates 40, and oh no I even saw some nitrites! Did a 40 percent water change immediately with prime and got the levels to .25 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 5 nitrates. I thought it might have been the petrified wood but i did a pH test before the water change and it was 6.8, after water change was 6.6, both seemed fine. Probably it was what i initially thought - the bacteria just hasn't caught up yet. I also took all debris off the prefilter and out of the filter, and just tossed the carbon filter, that thing wasn't helping. It's been an hour now since the water change and everything looks fine, guess I'll sleep on it and make certain I'm home to do water changes each night before it's too late!

BTW the hiding shrimp came out of hiding after the water change - I'm glad they made it!

hobo717 05-03-2013 06:06 AM

First Father-Son (and soon Daughter) Planted Tank - 20 High - Petrified Wood is
Gotta get that Mickey Mouse platy. Can't wait for more photos.

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