40 gal Breeder MTS tank
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:23 AM   #1
Hmt321
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40 gal Breeder MTS tank


I started this thread in the wrong place, and moved it here.

I set up my 40 gal, Mineralized Top Soil Tanks last night.

I am starting this thread to log my procedure, so I can get help if needed and so others can learn if they choose to emulate me. I am going to try and post an update weekly.

What I did before 7/19/13

The tank

I have a 40 gal breeder (dimentions are 36" wide, 17" Tall, 18" Deep) that has been set up for several years. Earlier this year I broke it down and installed a DIY natural stone background. see this thread for more info

The tank has an old Fluval 205, it is drilled for inflow and out flow. I also have a drip system that replaces approximately 12-15 gal of water per week.

My city water is very soft, KH less than 1, GH is 4. They use gassed chlorine (i remove this with a charcoal filter).

Making the MTS

About 5-6 weeks ago I went and dug up about a 5 gal bucket of top soil from behind my office. The soil was very rich/black looking. My 9 year old and I sifted the soil to remove rocks, wood, grass, seeds, acorn casings, you name it.

After the sifting I ended up with about 3/4 of a 5 gal bucket full of black soil. I flooded it with a hose, several inches over the soil. The next day I poured the water off and dried it out on a tarp in the sun.

I repeated the wetting and drying process every sunny day for about 5-6 weeks. The soil had very organic almost fecal type smell at first, and the wet dirt was very smooth and muddy. It began to loose its smell and the dirt developed a very course gritty texture after about 4-5 wet/dry cycles. After sitting up in a bucket of water overnight it would become very firm, and it held clumps very well.

I purchased some modeling clay from Michaels craft store. I shaved half of it down with a cheese slicer (it looked like potato chips) and let it dry in the sun. I then pulverized it with a wood mallet.

I added 7% clay by weight to the MTS when dry.

I ordered my plants and they came in this Friday.
Plant List:

Sagittaria, Dwarf Subulata (Sagittaria subulata) 20
Sagittaria, Chilensis (Wideleaf)(Sagittaria platyphylla) 10
Vallisneria, Corkscrew (Vallisneria americana var. biwaensis) 20
Amazon swords 2
Ocelot Sword 1
aponogeton bulb 1

Last Night

I drained the tank (it's resident is now sharing space in the 75 gal)

I mixed water into the MTS (with clay) until it had a peanut butter consistency. I dusted the bottom of the tank with crushed coral, and about a tea spoon of Epsom Salt. I also added a dusting of Murate of Potash (0-0-60) to the bottom glass.

I scooped up the wet MTS and started to spread it across the tank bottom. An even coat was 5/8" - 3/4" thick and it covered about 85% of the tank bottom. I then capped it with 1" of sand

I placed the plants and filled the tank.

here is a picture of the tank a few minutes after it was filled



Here it is after the water settled out.



Ill post in about a week or so with an update
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:46 PM   #2
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I bought a test kit and I have changed my bulbs out to 6700k, 18 watt T5.

water test results

ph 7.0-7.2
Ammonia 0.0
Nitrite 0.0
Nitrate 5 ppm

KH 1
GH 5

here is s picture before the new lights were in:


Here is a picture after the new bulbs:



I am going to take my 9 year old and net some grass/ghost shrimp for the tank.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:44 AM   #3
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The boy and I made a trip to a small bass pond on some property I have fishing rights to. We netted up some fauna for the tank:

2 dozen +/- Ghost shrimp Palaemonetes paludosus
4 Mosquito Fish Gambusia affinis
1
Swamp Darter[I]Etheostoma fusiforme

I found what I think is Water Spangles Salvinia Minima floating in the pond so I snagged some.




In winter months you can catch dozens of shrimp with every net full. I had to work to get these 2 dozen. Most of the shrimp are carrying eggs, I suspect they headed into the shallows to lay eggs.



I will set up a few buckets outside to get some Mosquito larva going for the swamp darter and the Mosquito fish.


Last edited by Hmt321; 07-24-2013 at 10:58 AM.. Reason: Content
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:06 PM   #4
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The Swamp Darter decided to pose for a picture

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Old 07-27-2013, 12:38 AM   #5
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Default 1 week update

tank has been running for 1 week

I have seen growth on everything but the Corckscrew Vals, they did look very rough when they came in.

The mosquito fish are eating flake food. They are also displaying mating behavior. The shrimp are also eating, but i have not seen any deposited eggs (I am not sure i will)

here is a picture of the tank after the water settled out a week ago:




here is the tank after a week:

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Old 08-02-2013, 01:37 AM   #6
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Default Week 2 Update

A day early on my weekly update. I am going out of town tomorrow.

Picture of tank at set up 7/20


Picture of tank today 8/1




Growth Overview:
I am seeing lots of die off of pre-set up plant growth. I am seeing good growth on the Sagittaria, Chilensis (Wideleaf)(Sagittaria platyphylla), the Ocelot Sword has put out new leafs, the dwarf sags have also put out a smaller amount of new growth. The growth of the corkscrew Vals is less pronounced but it is there, the plants were in poor condition when planted. The amazon swords have pushed out new growth as well.

Fauna Overview

All the female mosquito fish are gravid. All shrimp and fish are eating, and losses have been minimal.

Test Results

Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate- 5ppm

PH - 7
KH - 1
GH - 5



Other

I will be starting a danphia magna culture next week. I have a mosquito culture going outside and what I think are scuds just showed up in it. I may try and grow them as well.

here is a picture of the future daphnia farm. The white bucket with the light is the green water farm. About 4 gal of tank water, and air stone and 1 teaspoon of miracle grow. The walls of the bucket are turning green but there is no algae bloom as of yet.

The clear containers are going to hold dual daphnia cultures. They are 2 gal clear plastic containers with screw lids. Ill drill the tops and add an air line to it.

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Old 08-02-2013, 07:50 AM   #7
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Your tank looks amazing! I have a 40 too and I didn't remember how big it really was till I saw just plants in yours! Cheers man, looks great.
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Old 08-10-2013, 12:56 AM   #8
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Default Week 3 Update

Picture of tank 7/20



Tank as of today:




Growth Overview:
Pre-set up die off continues.

I have seen a spike in the growth of the cork screw vals this week.

The Dwarf sags seem to be in a holding pattern.

The wideleaf sags have a good amount of new growth, and the old leaves have died off considerably, I think this is good.

The swords are all putting out new leaf growth.

Fauna Overview

Shrimp and Gambusa continue to do their thing. There is very little aglea growth left in the tank at this point. The amazon swords had a thin skin of algae on them (barley noticeable) the shrimp have taken it off nicely.

Test Results
I will spot check Ammonia, and Nitrite

Nitrate- < 5ppm

PH - 7
KH - 2
GH - 5



Other

I have started a Danphi Magna culture to feed the gambusia and swamp darter.


That is 2- 2 gal plastic containers. I am feeding them activated yeast right now. My green water farm was a failure, i grew algae on the side of the bucket. The water was crystal clear. I ordered some green water spoors for $3.00, on aqua bid, ill try again.

I may take the boy next weekend and catch some Blue Spotted Sunfish and Pygmy Sunfish for the tank. (the intended star attraction for this tank)

I had my cabinet guy build a new hood for the tank, it should be ready next week. I will get the light a bit higher off the tank water (about 5", it is 3" now)

Feedback

Thanks for the support Phougi. I would love to see pictures of your tank.

Last edited by Hmt321; 08-10-2013 at 12:58 AM.. Reason: My bad spelling
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:24 PM   #9
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Default Week 4 Update

Tank at set up:


Tank at week 4:


Growth Overview:

All the pre-set up growth on the Cork screw vals is dead and the new growth is coming in nicely.

The wide leaf sags do have new growth but slower. More pre-set up growth dieing off.

The dwarf Sags are in a holding pattern, starting to see pre-set up growth die off.

Amazon swords are getting tall.

Not much change in the Ocelot sword.

Fauna Overview

I added some fish this week.

4 blue spotted sunfish, all about 1"




2 more swamp darter, one posed for me eating some frozen blood worms:




I also caught a mystery shiner, I thought it was a black stripe top minnow, they were everywhere:




Test Results
I will spot check Ammonia, and Nitrite

Nitrate- < 5ppm

PH - 7
KH - 2
GH - 5

Other

I got a new hood, picking the light up off the water surface to about 5".

Also, my danphi culture went foul, i probably over fed them. I did a 100% water change and gave the containers a scrub. I am now feeding much less. I put 10 ml of water in a jar and add 1/ tea spoon of activated yeast. I then feed the danphia 4 ml of this liquid. They seem to eat most of it in a 24h period.
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Old 08-24-2013, 01:13 AM   #10
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Default Week 5 Update

Tank at set up:


Tank as of week 5



Growth Overview:

Cork Screw vals are all about 3" tall, old growth has completely died off.

The dwarf saggs continue to be unchanged. They do appear to be putting out roots, I do not uproot them with a siphon hose as a vac the sand.

Amazon swords are very tall, and putting out new leaves

Ocelot sword is gaining height I think.

Algae is gone, I did scrape some from the front glass, it was almost invisible.

Fauna Overview

All the fish come to the front glass for food when I am close. all are fat and healthy.

They are living on a staple of blood worms and flake

Test Results

Nitrate- < 5ppm

PH - 6.9
KH - 2
GH - 4

Other

I am still struggling with the Danphia culture
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Old 08-24-2013, 02:46 AM   #11
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Great tank. Keep up the good work. I really like the wild critters that you can catch and have in your tank. Really neat!
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Old 08-31-2013, 12:36 AM   #12
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Default Week 6 Update

Tank at set up:


Tank as of week 6



Growth Overview:

Cork Screw Vals are putting out good growth.

The dwarf Sags are in a holding pattern, no real change in them.

Fauna Overview

Fish are doing fine, very active.

Test Results

Nitrate- < 5ppm

PH - 7
KH - 2
GH - 4

Other

The Danphia culture is coming back, there are thousands of them, but they are very, very tiny. you almost cannot see them with the naked eye.

Feedback

Thanks for the support David4039. American natives make great aquarium fish. I have been keeping them for years.
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Old 08-31-2013, 04:25 AM   #13
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looking good!
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Old 09-07-2013, 01:15 AM   #14
Hmt321
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Default Week 7

Tank at set up



Tank today


Growth Overview:

The dwarf sags have finally decided to send off some sister plants, I have about 5-6 new sprouts that were not there a week ago. I am pretty jacked up about it.

The aponogeton bulb does not seem to be kicking out the type of growth that I would think.

Slow/steady growth on the cork screw vals, and wide leaf Sags.

The amazon swords look amazing,

I am getting some algae growth on the glass and back wall, nothing over whelming. Perhaps the disappearance of the grass shrimp. I am thinking about a Siamese algae eater or 2 if push comes to shove.

Fauna Overview:

Well, my fish seem very... horny.

The mosquito fish have been going at it for weeks now. The females becoming gravid, and then not. I have seen a few fry but they are quickly snapped up by the other tank residents, and the Gambusa themselves.

The blue spots are all colored up, two of the largest are male and they do a weird type of synchronized swimming. It is not really aggressive. (i have had to separate larger breed sunfish to keep them from killing each other) I tried to get a video capture on my iphone, but you can't really see anything. I'll work on it.

The swamp darters are very bold, they investigate my siphon tube when I vac the sand. I sucked a cork screw val out of the sand last night, when I when to re plant it the swamp darter was inches from my hand "investigating"

below is a link to a short video of the darters, note that the blue spots keep a respectable distance from the glass while I am that close.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/rvxk4rv6zk...2019.51.30.mov

Grass shrimp are gone. I saw several last week. I have not seen one at all in the last 10 days. The top minnows, or the blue spots are probably the culprit.

I saw a snail two days ago. 1st one i have seen. I put some of the Water Spangles in a 5 gal bucket i use to grow mosquito larva out side about a month ago. There are tons of snails in that bucket, so i think it came in on that. Sunfish and darters eat snails like crack, i have never relay been able to keep them in my native tanks..

Test Results:

Nitrate- < 5ppm seemed lighter than before

PH - 6.8
KH - 2
GH - 4

Other:

Danphia culture is doing ok. I can see them with the naked eye from 8-10' away now. When I change the water in the culture, I siphon it through a sock to catch the danphia and feed it to the fish.

Feedback:

thanks for the support j03yYunG
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:28 AM   #15
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Default Week 8

Tank at set up




Tank today




Growth Overview:

The dwarf Sag's are really growing fast all the sudden. I have about 8 new sprouts. The ones from last week are over 1" long.

The amazon swords both have leaves touching the surface.

The ocelot sword is holding its own.

Fauna Overview

About the same, I enjoy watching these active fish.

Test Results

Nitrate- < 5ppm

PH - 7
KH - 2
GH - 4

Other

Danphia culture is doing fine.


Feedback

no reply's this week

just for S & G's I will start to track views

view so far:709
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