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Old 04-26-2012, 10:59 PM   #1
sleater
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Not-So-Therapeutic 29 Gallon


I haven't kept fish for the last twelve years and I never was really compelled to go through the hassle of setting up an aquarium until I began lurking these forums. And so I was soon inspired to set up my own low tech planted tank. There's a space at the foot of my bed that perfectly fits a tank with a 30x12 footprint. After a rough year, the prospect of waking up to an aquatic garden seemed like just the thing to keep me on track. With that in mind, please excuse the bedframe in some of the shots.
  • 29 gallon Aqueon tank
  • 2x AGA 30" 20w t8 light strips (bulbs are probably due for a change, but the indirect lighting from north-ish facing windows probably helps)
  • Cascade 500 canister
  • Aqueon 100w heater
  • Miracle Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix capped with Eco Complete
  • hunk of malaysian driftwood
  • zebra(?) rocks
  • Anubias spp.
  • Cryptocoryne parva
  • Cryptocoryne wendtii
  • Echinodorus tenellus
  • Hygrophila corymbosa 'green temple'
  • Hygrophila difformis
  • rogue duckweed
  • 2x Paracheirodon axelrodi
  • RCS

1-10-12:

Mudtank! "This will never work."


Feeling a little better about things a few dozen water changes later.



1-12-12:

Canister is hooked up, java ferns are in, bacterial bloom is everywhere. I also added some Anubias 'nana' and H. difformis.



1-17-12:

E. tenellus goes in and I think I'd added some crypts earlier--parva and what is likely wendtii.



1-26-12:

As viewed from my bed. I also began cycling with ammonia.




I got lazy about photos after this point, probably thanks to the continuous buildup of diatoms and this ugly brown java moss I picked up in February:



4-16-12:

Side view. Nice and green with a little help from Excel.



The cardinals unfortunately came from Petsmart and are now suffering from ich, so I've bumped the temp and added conservative amounts of salt. Everyone's alive thus far and they've decimated the little bugs (daphnia?) and detritus worms that were all over the tank. Six otos were added shortly after the cardinals (Petsmart stock again, so I don't have high hopes for them.) and cleaned up the worst of the diatoms overnight. After everyone's settled in and healed up (or dead), I'd like to do a bit of rescaping, work in more Anubias plus H. corymbosa 'compacta' and 'green temple,' tame that java moss...

Last edited by sleater; 12-15-2013 at 11:46 PM.. Reason: update
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:32 PM   #2
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So this tank basically fell apart due to neglect (breakups are fun). An invasion of pond snails and gruesome algae swept through and destroyed everything in its path. The Hygrophila difformis was actually driven to extinction in this tank(!). The following is what was left in January.






Afterwards, one of the lights failed. I could have dealt with it if it was just the bulb that needed replacing, but, of course, the ballast had completely burnt out. Too depressed to fix, so goodbye foreground plants. The livestock dwindled down to a couple cardinal tetra and all the stupid snails. This is what I had in October, immediately after reintroducing difformis from my 6.6 gallon tank:





I had wanted to keep RCS from the beginning but ended up with all those fish instead because I don't know. Here is early November plus shrimp:





Later in November:







Recently:




Right now difformis is my best friend because I can continuously hack it up into ground cover, which the RCS seem to love. I pressed an API root tab under the H. corymbosa a while ago, and now the two tall stems are developing red hues up top. I think a conservative deployment of better root tabs is in order. I have no idea where to take this from here. I need to deal with the lone pair of female cards, manage the diatoms smeared all over the glass, trim flawed leaves from the older plants...
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:05 AM   #3
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State as of mid-December:



I want this to just be a great big mess of green already.
I have Otocinclus and Pangio in quarantine, as well as some java moss to incorporate somewhere somehow for the shrimplets. I'll probably restock some cards too, once the RCS are well-established.

The t8 bulbs are pushing six months now and I don't trust them at all. I'm considering a 30" Fugeray as a replacement.
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Old 12-16-2013, 02:07 AM   #4
Graeme Devine
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Where did you get your RCS from? They look nice.
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:39 PM   #5
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Beautiful!
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graeme Devine View Post
Where did you get your RCS from? They look nice.
I purchased them from ebay user shrimphobby as "super red" cherries, and that they are.
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Old 12-21-2013, 05:19 AM   #7
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I found a photo of what happened between the first and second posts!





I also got my Planted+ today and decided to try it out... after my poor fish went to bed. Look at that poor groggy cardinal in the corner.

2x 17w T8:


30" Finnex Planted+ on glass top, both switches on:



It went on the risers immediately afterwards, because wow. I'm guessing this is enough to make up for all the sunlight that grew my old carpet jungle.
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Old 12-21-2013, 08:55 AM   #8
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Nice greenery. I am striving for something like yours. My tank has some plants, but I dont have lush growth like yours. I have a dirt substrate topped with some gravel. After seeing your tank, I am thinking of replacing the gravel with some eco-complete. How many kilos of eco complete did you use? I have the same tank size.

Here is my tank journal: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=450161
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Old 12-21-2013, 06:33 PM   #9
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I used 2 bags of eco complete, which is probably something like 18 kilos. I don't think that would help you though, since I feel eco complete is far too expensive for what little it might do. The growth I have right now is probably due to these three things:
  1. Plant types--you'll notice that the dominant plants are both Hygrophila species, H. difformis and H. corymbosa.
  2. Root tabs--the corymbosa went nuts and started shooting off new stems after I placed a tab under it.
  3. Excel--I'm not sure if this is more for the plants or for algae control, but this tank doesn't quite work without a carbon supplement.

Lighting is also important, for other plant species at least, since I'm still trying to get nice growth from Helanthium tenellum under only artificial light.
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:50 PM   #10
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Well, this has worked out nicely.

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Old 01-19-2014, 10:37 PM   #11
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Tank is looking great. Nice job.
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Old 03-08-2014, 01:23 AM   #12
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I started stuffing trimmings behind the driftwood and...




Current stock:
  • Lots of RCS
  • 6 Kuhli loaches
  • 4 Pseudomugil furcatus (+2 in qt)
  • 4 Otocinclus
  • 1 Cardinal tetra

Gonna bump up the oto numbers and then maybe eventually the cardinals.
The forktails are apparently very comforting dither fish, because the last cardinal hardly ever hides anymore despite the loss of her shoal.
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