First Planted Tank - 20G w/ Trilobite Fossil
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:23 PM   #1
send2steph
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First Planted Tank - 20G w/ Trilobite Fossil


This is my very first planted tank. In college (20 years ago now) I had several tanks, but all with plastic plants and city water. Now I've got very hard well water and kids!

My 10yo daughter and I set up this tank today because, well, it's Good Friday, the plants came, we're home all weekend, and we wanted to get started! (Even though the water is not ideal yet.)
  • 20g garage sale tank
  • sitting on an old hand me down microwave cart
  • lighting is currently the existing "kit" light that came with the tank from (likely) Wal-Mart, but I have a retrofit kit coming from AHSupply.com
  • CaribSea substrate
  • Plants are a LiveAquaria.com standard Aquarium Plant Pack
  • Stick is from an Oak tree from our yard. Soaked for a few days in the tub, picked the bark off, then ran through the dishwasher to sterilize.
  • Three rocks also from our yard/drive, also ran through dishwasher.
    • One is a really flat piece, almost like slate only white.
    • One has fossils throughout including an imprint that seems to be either snake or fish scales or something similar.
    • The third is a trilobite fossil.


(After about 2 hours.)


(Yes, you can see me and my daughter in the reflection.)


(What do you think the fossil imprint is?)


(We found this trilobite in our driveway gravel one day.)


Here's hoping it stays looking this nice and the water evens out so that we can put some fish in after a few days.
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:28 PM   #2
Hilde
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Welcome to the forum.

You started with a good size tank. For it is easy to find a light for it. My favorite light is the Coralife T5NO. The T5 lights at home depot are probably T5NO (normal output) if they are 18w. Another alternative is to hang a T5HO 24w (high output) above the tank. Hyzer bought 1 at hydroponics store with a reflector.

With the light you are looking at you will probably need to inject Co2. Research threads by Hoppy about par before you put it above your tank.

All the plants but the mirro sword you can grow with the light you have. I would start with an 8hr period for a week then increase to 10hrs to avoid bad algae problems. A digital timer would be quiet. I have found them cheap on Ebay but can be bought at home depot. Also the micro sword is the only plant that will need Co2 replacement like Seachem excel. The anacharis plant is sensivitive to excel. The cryptocoryne plants may melt but usually come back. They could use some Seachem root tabs. Cheapest at link, for no shipping cost. Seachem Equilibrium (1tsp weekly) would benefit all of the plants.

I think you should get more anubias from members of this forum and APC.

For fish to start with check out Pet Smart for their dollar sales.

Beware this can become an expensive hobby. It has for me for I am always spending on it.
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Old 04-02-2013, 05:31 PM   #3
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Those fossils are sweet!
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:17 PM   #4
send2steph
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Thanks guys!

Thanks for the tips on the plants Hilde - especially the crypts as they are "melting" and I didn't know what was wrong with them. The Sprite is going CRAZY! Uncurling new fronds every couple of days.
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:42 PM   #5
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So, I have a goldendoodle (dog), and lately, I've been spending quite a bit of time sitting on a chair in front of this tank just staring at it. The poor dog is jealous of a tank. He tries to get between me and the tank to get attention. I just caught him with his paws up on the stand looking in the tank... trying to figure out what the attraction is, I guess. Will have to watch that one. Definitely do not want 20 gallons of water all over my hardwood! LOL
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Old 04-07-2013, 01:39 PM   #6
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We added some Cardinal Tetras (6). After a couple days, they seemed to be doing fine and the water was testing okay. We took our existing stock from our 2.5 gallon (2 algae eaters and 4 guppies) and added them to the tank. On a trip to Wal-Mart, my daughter fell in love with a betta and so we added him as well. At lot to add at once, but so far so good.

Now today, I wake up and find only five Cardinals. Searching for the Betta and find that he's got something sticking out of his mouth. So, apparently he ate one. They've been together for a few days and I've been feeding freeze dried blood worms - so you'd think he would have been not hungry.

I'm going to get a pic to see what you guys think I need to do with this Betta. Does he need to go in the 2.5 gallon by himself? Do I need to try to catch him and pluck the remains from his mouth? Photo coming soon.

Oh, the excitement of a "natural" habitat...
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Old 04-07-2013, 01:45 PM   #7
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Okay, he got it down or out in the time it took me to get the camera and write that last post, so the fish is not in distress at least. As to his future home... what do you think?
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by send2steph View Post
Now today, I wake up and find only five Cardinals. Searching for the Betta and find that he's got something sticking out of his mouth. So, apparently he ate one.
That reminds of what happened with my 20G tank which I left with friends when I moved out of town. It had a lot of guppies and 1 male Betta. He left them alone and swam on the bottom. When he died they replaced him with another male Betta. That 1 ate all of the guppies. You never know how they are going to react with other fish. I find if I stare at them in their cup and they avoid eye contact they are docile.

Last edited by Hilde; 04-07-2013 at 02:01 PM.. Reason: text
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:15 PM   #9
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The tetras and even the guppies are all schooling a lot tighter this morning.

Sigh...

Guess I'll need to get that 2.5 back in shape and prepare for a capture and release.

In the night tonight, after the "glare" is gone, I'll have to post an updated pic. I can't believe how much these plants have grown.

Last edited by send2steph; 04-07-2013 at 02:18 PM.. Reason: plant growth
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Old 04-07-2013, 03:04 PM   #10
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Congrats on finding two fossils in your backyard!
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Old 04-07-2013, 03:37 PM   #11
send2steph
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Default Daytime pics anyway

Got to playing with hubby's new work camera.





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Old 04-07-2013, 03:44 PM   #12
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I find fossils so fascinating! That's awesome that they were so close to your home.

I like your setup, but sorry to hear about the issues with your Betta! Almost seems like each and every one has a different personality lol
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