Low Light, Low Tech 55g some advice?
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:12 PM   #1
Antdim
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Low Light, Low Tech 55g some advice?


Hello Everyone,
I'm new to the forum and was wondering if I can get some help on wether I have my setup correctly...

First some general info:

55g (48"Long, 12"Deep, 20"Tall)

Substrate:
Flourite (the black and red mix for plants) + Flourite Black (not the sand) + a layer of white sand on top. The total depth is about 3" on average.

Lights:
2 x 18"/15 watt lights, so it's pretty low light. There is absolutely no other light since the tank is in the basement where it's dark. I have set the timer on the lights for almost 12 hrs.

Filter:
Eheim Classic 2217 filter aka Eheim Classic 600.

Temperature is about 76-77.
No CO2, no fertilizer for the moment.

So I started from scratch over a month. At first I only had the Flourite in, then I added quite a bit of driftwood which released quite a bit of tannins. Then I added the white sand because it was very dark.
I have a fair amount of plants but not completely covered because i am waiting on them to grow. Some have been there for more than a few weeks, others I just added a week ago.

The plants I have so far are:
2 java fern
2 small java fern windelov
Christmas moss
java moss
4 Anubias (one tall, one med and 2 nana)
4 stalks wisteria
1 water sprite
1 stalk cabomba
5-6 small sagittaria i just added
3 crypts
2 aponogenton bulbs that are growing nicely
1 lily bulb just starting to grow
1 clump of hornwort
2 Vallisneria - one tall one short
1 small clump of frill plant
1 narrow leaf sword or crypt (not sure)
a clump of dwarf hairgrass but it will probably die and one stem of some other grassy looking plant.
I would also like to add madagascar lace at some point...

Inhabitants:
1 Amano Shrimp
5 Dwarf shrimp (Cherries and others)
2 Ottos I just added 1 week ago
6 Guppies added also about a week ago.

From what I have measured I have no ammonia and nitrites and my pH seems to be about 7.2.
At first I had added a bit of salt but as I have performed small (no more than 20%) water changes - probably about 3-4 since the start I have not been adding any salt.

So this is sort of the history. The plants are growing, but I notice a lot of brownish dust-like stuff on them - especially on the mosses and hornwort toward the base. I have attached the hornwort to the bottom of the tank. I wonder if i'm supposed to "fluff" the plants like i read on some forum to get rid of that because it will always be there or if it will eventually go away once the plants start growing more.
I notice some of the driftwood is dropping small particles which is easy to see on the white sand. Also the water is pretty tan colored as i mentioned since i put my driftwood in. I read this could last for months, so i'm not too worried about it, however i wonder how much it hinders the already low light from reaching the bottom of the tank? To give you some idea, when i look from the side of the tank through it (lengthwise) it's somewhat hard to see the other end and it gets very reddish in color.

So anyway, i wonder if this all sounds normal to the experts out there.

With time I plan on adding the following:

4-5 corys (probably this weekend)
7 Harlequin rasboras
5 rummynose tetras
1 pair of Apistos
1 pair of curvicepts
maybe a pair of swordtails

I will wait for the cichlids for awhile but i also wonder if those two species are compatible.
I am not dead set on what tetras to get but i want something schooling and i read the rummynose seem to be the best choice, though i don't find them that attractive since they look like someone punched them in the face .

Anyway, any advice or comments are appreciated.
Sorry this got so long.

I will try to post a pic.

Thanks.

A.
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:31 PM   #2
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The brown dust-like stuff is proably diatoms. If so, you can use your hand and rub off it the leaves easily enough, if you want to remove it. Within a few weeks it will likely disappear completely, as it's typical of a new tank and vanishes as the tank matures.

Adding Seachem's Purigen is the most effective thing to rid the water of the brown tint from the tannins leaching out of the wood . Add a single 100 ml bag to your Ehiem filter and it should show visible improvements to water color in about 3-4 days. Filter carbon is supposed to do the same, but Purigen works much better and can be "recharged" several times by soaking in bleach overnight.
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:45 PM   #3
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Thank you for the quick response Rick. Reading about the diatoms more you may be right that this is the problem.
I'll have to research more on the Seachem Purigen product, but this may be a good solution.
Thanks again!
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:54 AM   #4
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it looks like your wood release tannins
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:28 PM   #5
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Very nice!

The otos should help w/ the diatoms.
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:06 PM   #6
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Snails will help with the diatoms as well......but NEVER a total solution to the problem, of course! I think you should reduce the lighting as well.....10 hours at most. This helped me when I started.

If you want to get those tanins out of the driftwood quicker, take it out and boil it for a few hours. Just make sure it does sit on the bottom of the pot so it doesn't "cook" haha.
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:39 PM   #7
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The Cichlids and Tetra's aren't going to do real well together. Pick one or the the other, but not both.

How are you handling your water circulation?
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:07 PM   #8
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Thank you all for the replies. Quick update and answers...
I cannot soak the wood because they are all large pieces, but now I'm trying out the Purigen like Rick suggested. The bag has been in the filter for over a day now. I think I may be seeing improvement, but I don't know yet. It could be wishful thinking. I am a little worried about how to recycle the bag because I read some people were having problems. Any good tips?
My momma cherry shrimp has eggs, though I see fewer of them so I'm hoping they'll make it.
I had to make a DIY prefilter on my Eheim Classic 2217 because I searched everywhere for a simple sponge that i can put over the intake tube that does not take too much space and could not find one. Any ideas/leads? I came up with using (a little white trashy those socks from the shoe stores that you are supposed to try shoes with. It works great , but doesn't look that pretty and it probably won't last that long.
Also on the bright side i thought i'd lost some juvenile shrimp but found most of them at the bottom of the filter when i had to clean it so that was a pleasant surprise!
IsNull, I had read a lot of people keeping some kind of schooling fish with dwarf cichlids... I thought it was safe. I really want a school of fish and at least one pair of Apistos maybe... . Will the Apistos kill them in general or when they spawn or what do they do?
Thanks.

A.
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:11 PM   #9
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Oh i also am starting to see some snails in the tank that snuck in but unfortunately they are the pond snails and i'm not a fan of those. I was contemplating if i should get an assassin snail to take care of them and then get rid of him and get a better kind of snail like ramshorn. What do you think?
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:21 PM   #10
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Assassins are perfect to remedy that problem. You might actually want to keep them.....they look pretty cool. I like them better than ramshorns.

Not sure on the Apistos. I thought I read they were a little more on the aggressive side, especially when breeding.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shloken38 View Post
Assassins are perfect to remedy that problem. You might actually want to keep them.....they look pretty cool. I like them better than ramshorns.

Not sure on the Apistos. I thought I read they were a little more on the aggressive side, especially when breeding.
Don't they need snails to eat? or they eat other stuff too? Would they kill Cherry Shrimp?
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:47 PM   #12
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I'm not personally familiar with Apistos, but as a general rule find most cichlids to aggressive and have different water requirements than tetra. However, this article (LINK) seems to suggest Apistos with Tetras. In the little research I did do, they do get aggressive during spawning.
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:19 PM   #13
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Thanks for the link. Yeah I read that they get aggressive when they spawn, but i'm hoping once my plants grow there will be plenty of hiding places for all... .

Quick update on the Purigen ... Well so far I really don't see much of a difference in the removing of the tannins from the water. Perhaps there is some, but not enough for sure. Maybe i need to be more patinent.
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