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Old 02-15-2013, 06:25 PM   #46
Gootz
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I'd still do a water change on a regular basis, I do 25% a week. My nitrates show about what yours does right before a water change. It goes down, and slowly creeps back up through the week. I've found that with my water supply here in Eau Claire, a big water change effects almost all my plants in a bad way. I have a high pH from the tap, which the tank lowers. I top the tank off due to evaporation with distilled water once and a while. You want to strive for stability, wild swings in anything is bad.

Depending on a lot of things, like what you use for water, plant density, stocking, fertilizers, light levels, oxygen levels, CO2 levels, and the boogeyman in your tank, you will have to change things slowly and observe what happens. Keep reading everything having to do with any problems that occur, and then read some more.

I'm glad you like your julii's, they should be very happy in your tank. They don't get very big, and they will keep things tidy. Just don't overfeed, that might be the hardest part of keeping a tank. The fish always seem hungry, but they are gluttons.

Good luck, pretty soon you can fill in your middle and top levels of your tank with fishies.
Got it! Will be doing a 25% WC today and retest my water levels. I strive to do weekly WCs to, as you said, keep things more stable. I always cringe when I talk with friends who have tanks and don't do regular WCs (we're talking not even once a month).

I have a high PH (~7.5) as well as hard water too. I do have a water softener installed at my house, but it's not hooked up currently. I have to get it serviced as it was turned off when I bought the house 3 years ago and has never been used (my fault for waiting so long, just busy with family and life).

The Juliis are very fun to watch and have quite the personality. Love their eyerolling. Not very good eyesight though! I've seen them swim right by food when I know they are hungry and looking for it because they find or have found food at this time. I only feed them enough so they eat where there isn't any food remnants left over after a short time.

I'm finding the fishkeeping to be very peaceful. I'll keep updating as I go and will hopefully get some good pics to share. Thanks again for your help.
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:23 AM   #47
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Yup, I've been a big Cory fan since I was like 12 years old, and a lot of that probably has to do with their wink. Plus they do so much good stirring up the substrate and debris wherever it might be. I wanted to get julliis in my tank, but there were none in town, so I got Peppered instead. Any Cory is a good Cory.

My ph is 8.4 out of the tap, but mid 7's in the tank. I have to be very careful I have learned. Being I have a 20g, there isn't much room for error. You will find a happy medium where everything, light, CO2, stock, etc. balances out and your plants will grow slowly, you won't have a bunch of algae, and the fish will be happy. Patience, patience, and dilligence, dilligence.
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:09 PM   #48
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Yup, I've been a big Cory fan since I was like 12 years old, and a lot of that probably has to do with their wink. Plus they do so much good stirring up the substrate and debris wherever it might be. I wanted to get julliis in my tank, but there were none in town, so I got Peppered instead. Any Cory is a good Cory.

My ph is 8.4 out of the tap, but mid 7's in the tank. I have to be very careful I have learned. Being I have a 20g, there isn't much room for error. You will find a happy medium where everything, light, CO2, stock, etc. balances out and your plants will grow slowly, you won't have a bunch of algae, and the fish will be happy. Patience, patience, and dilligence, dilligence.
The blink/wink is a very nice surprise, very funny to watch. They are more than likely false Juliis since real Juliis are hard to come by and these guys were only $5 each. Either way, I like em a lot. Since I picked up this new tank I've been much more into proper fish keeping and learning about all of the different species.

Woah, that's crazy! The driftwood in my tank helps lower the PH a tiny bit, but not much. How do you get yours down so much? BTW, my tank is really low tech, no CO2 and only 1 single T8 bulb. Maybe one day I'll go full throttle, but right now, with a 3 y/o and hopefully another on the way I don't have as much me time as I'd like.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:16 AM   #49
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I was generalizing a bit, my water out of the tap isn't always 8.4, sometimes it's lower, and the water in the tank isn't always mid 7's, sometimes it's 8.0. I don't really check it very often anymore, as there isn't much I can do to it to change it much without risking a wild swing. I feel that as long as any changes aren't drastic, the occupants of the tank will deal with it. Ammonia and such are a different story.

I do have a piece of Mopani driftwood in my tank, but otherwise, I'm not sure why the tank is lower in pH than my tap water, besides maybe by having a couple plants that absorb calcium from the water in the tank.

You might not even need to add CO2 with your light. The more light, the more hassle. As long as the plants are growing slowly without dying off, it's easy. If the plants are melting or dying off like mine did last October, I found a potassium and iron fertilizer and some liquid CO2 turned things around. The fish food supplies the rest of the ferts. It really all starts with the light, but you should be low light with yours, maybe even too low. Read all you can written by Hoppy and Diana, my experience using their advice is very positve.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:30 PM   #50
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Makes sense. I don't like the idea of adding a PH lower additive. I've read that it can cause more issues than it potentially solves. I'm just avoiding any fish that need more acidic water.

I love the Mopani driftwood. I wanted to go that route, but I couldn't source a large enough piece and I didn't want to have to soak it for several weeks.

I'm definitely not going to be adding CO2. I'd like to keep the plant growth relatively low, so I don't have to worry about trimming maintenance. Also, higher tech tanks don't appeal to me because above the plant maintenance, it's an even higher level of maintenance and monitoring requirement which I don't have time for at this point in my life. I have started adding some fert after each water change to help provide the plants with any missing nutes. I've also considered the API CO2 booster, but am waiting to see how the plants react with the fert first before adding anything else. I'd like to know how each additive helps individually.

Thanks again for all of the info and advice. I'm definitely open to learning.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:27 AM   #51
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Quick update, tank is running really smoothly with no further setbacks. It's currently stocked with 5 silver hatchets, 6 juliis, 1 oto and 1 assassin snail. The tank needs some more plants which I'll be picking up this week. Between the juliis and the hatchets there isn't a whole lot of color, so I've decided to try my luck with CTs instead of the RMTs. Pics to follow...
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Old 03-06-2013, 05:24 AM   #52
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Great to hear your tank is stable, it's a wonderful feeling when that happens.

Just a quick thought on Mopani wood, it doesn't need to soak for weeks. It is naturally heavy so it sinks right away. I soaked my piece for a week, changing the water daily, and have had no issues since adding it to my tank. It didn't even grow any white fuzz. My only complaint is all the pieces seem to be small and chunky, I'd like to find a thinner piece around 16" long.

I'm looking forward to your pictures.
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:29 PM   #53
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Thanks for following the thread and for the advice. Definitely feels good to finally have the kinks worked out!

I found someone on another fish board who basically creates their own decorative "trees" using fallen dead oak tree roots and affixes moss to them. They are seriously amazing looking, so I've asked him for one and am excited to put it in my tank.

As you can see from the below pic, it's a work in progress and needs some more landscaping. The tree will go between the 2 pieces of driftwood and then I will be adding some more plants. Some hornwort or similar to the rear left and some low profile grass to the front right and maybe a little in the front left.

Older, but higher quality pic:



Crappy quality pic from today:



The tank now has 5 silver hatchets, 6 juliis, 1 oto, 1 assassin snail and the LFS just gave me 14 guppy fry for free, so we'll see how that turns out. I'm sure I'll lose several of them, but if they look nice I may keep them. Otherwise I'll let them grow and trade them in for some CTs.
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:07 PM   #54
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I went to my LFS to pickup some red ludwigia and anacharis, which I did, but on my way up to the register they had this BEAUTIFUL male betta that caught my eye. The icing on the cake was the bettas were on sale, so I picked him up along with the 2 new plants. Here's a pic of the tank with the new plants and the betta. Like my last one that fell to an untimely and sad death, when I first put him in he is flashing at his reflection in the tank as you can see in the pic. In 1-2 days I'm sure he'll stop, but I definitely admire his beauty when he does flare. Also, something weird happened after I put the new plants in. I thought the first assassin snail I got a couple months back had died because I hadn't seen him for about 1 month, so I went and got another one to help keep the (bad) snail population down. Well, low and behold this morning when the light goes on I see BOTH!!! He must've had a nice loooooong nap! A little while later I noticed that the two are intertwined and am curious if they are mating, fighting or what? Pic below.




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Old 08-09-2013, 05:39 PM   #55
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I'm having some issues with my plants and think it has to do with the poor lighting currently being used. The water levels are great, I dose both a liquid fert and CO2, so I know they are getting proper nutes, so it has to be the lighting. I've looked into both LED and Dual T5 HO options and am looking for some advice as to what would work better for my setup. Options below...

Option 1: LED
30" Freshwater Bright LED by Beamworks 3rd Gen
The Beamworks Freshwater Bright LED fixture provides a high quality, energy efficient light fixture that replaces the typical single tube fluorescent light. Use the 10000K white LED during the day and the Actinic Blue 460nm LED during the night. The Beamworks LED is a sleek and contemporary light fixture that will make any other aquarium light look boring. Long lasting LEDs with no bulb replacement required.
Extendable brackets - 30"-34".
Super energy efficient freshwater aquarium lighting. No bulb replacement required.
Features:

Dimensions - 28.50 x 5.00 x 1.00
Brackets add 0.65" in height
Includes 99 LEDs
1700 Lumen
Super energy efficient .20 watt LEDs
90x 10000K LEDs
9x Actinic 460nm LEDs
Uses 26 watts
Slim and contemporary light design
2 mode on / off function for day and night use
Extendable bracket - 30"-34" max extend
Extendable bracket - 75-85 cm max extend
Non-corrosive powder coated aluminum housing
Splash guard
110V - 220V

Option 2: Dual T5s
30" T5 Dual 48W - Plant 6500K version
Excellent for freshwater and planted setups. Or supplement lighting for your existing system.
Features:

Dimensions - 29.50 x 5.00 x 1.70
Supports 2x 24W T5 HO fluorescent lamps
Standard T5 sockets
Extendable bracket - 34.00" max extend
Quick disconnect ballast
Non-corrosive powder coated aluminum housing
Acrylic splash guard
Reflector
CE Certified
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:07 PM   #56
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On my low tech 29 I have a 30 inch zoomed aquasun dual t5ho suspended about 8 inches above my tank and I think it is the perfect amount of light. Another benefit to hanging it is you can adjust it up and down to fine tune your light.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gootz View Post
I'm having some issues with my plants and think it has to do with the poor lighting currently being used. The water levels are great, I dose both a liquid fert and CO2, so I know they are getting proper nutes, so it has to be the lighting. I've looked into both LED and Dual T5 HO options and am looking for some advice as to what would work better for my setup. Options below...

Option 1: LED
30" Freshwater Bright LED by Beamworks 3rd Gen
The Beamworks Freshwater Bright LED fixture provides a high quality, energy efficient light fixture that replaces the typical single tube fluorescent light. Use the 10000K white LED during the day and the Actinic Blue 460nm LED during the night. The Beamworks LED is a sleek and contemporary light fixture that will make any other aquarium light look boring. Long lasting LEDs with no bulb replacement required.
Extendable brackets - 30"-34".
Super energy efficient freshwater aquarium lighting. No bulb replacement required.
Features:

Dimensions - 28.50 x 5.00 x 1.00
Brackets add 0.65" in height
Includes 99 LEDs
1700 Lumen
Super energy efficient .20 watt LEDs
90x 10000K LEDs
9x Actinic 460nm LEDs
Uses 26 watts
Slim and contemporary light design
2 mode on / off function for day and night use
Extendable bracket - 30"-34" max extend
Extendable bracket - 75-85 cm max extend
Non-corrosive powder coated aluminum housing
Splash guard
110V - 220V

Option 2: Dual T5s
30" T5 Dual 48W - Plant 6500K version
Excellent for freshwater and planted setups. Or supplement lighting for your existing system.
Features:

Dimensions - 29.50 x 5.00 x 1.70
Supports 2x 24W T5 HO fluorescent lamps
Standard T5 sockets
Extendable bracket - 34.00" max extend
Quick disconnect ballast
Non-corrosive powder coated aluminum housing
Acrylic splash guard
Reflector
CE Certified
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:16 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben! View Post
On my low tech 29 I have a 30 inch zoomed aquasun dual t5ho suspended about 8 inches above my tank and I think it is the perfect amount of light. Another benefit to hanging it is you can adjust it up and down to fine tune your light.
Thanks Ben. I'm actually leaning towards the LEDs just because the bulbs won't ever need to be replaced and I can just put the ballast directly on the tank. Hoping to make a decision soon, so any other thoughts from you or any other members is much appreciated.

Edit: After doing some more research, these LEDs @ 0.2W won't be sufficient enough for plant growth. All show, no grow haha. Rather than spend double for the LED I think I'll just go double t5.

Last edited by Gootz; 08-09-2013 at 09:54 PM.. Reason: after further research
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:22 PM   #58
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I was thinking about doing LEDs too when I was setting up my tank but after doing some research like you did I found out that a 29 is just too deep for most LEDs. Although you will have to eventually replace t5 bulbs they last almost two years so it is not too bad and they aren't very expensive.
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Old 08-09-2013, 11:22 PM   #59
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Quote:
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I was thinking about doing LEDs too when I was setting up my tank but after doing some research like you did I found out that a 29 is just too deep for most LEDs. Although you will have to eventually replace t5 bulbs they last almost two years so it is not too bad and they aren't very expensive.
Looks like our research has both uncovered similar info leading to the same conclusion.

How'd you hang your dual t5 fixture? Do you have any pics of your setup? Curious how it looks and how it lights up the tank.
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Old 08-10-2013, 05:47 AM   #60
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The Zoomed light fixture comes with cables to hang it, which is one of the reasons I bought it. The only thing you have to do is buy a couple of hooks to screw into the ceiling to hold the wires but other than that everything is included. The hooks should cost less than $10. Right now I don't have any pictures of my tank but with the light hung about 8 inches above the tank, it covers everything and there are now shaded areas on the sides of the tank.
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