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Old 04-14-2014, 05:31 AM   #1
ChemGuyEthan
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Post number two!

I just set up a tank for my betta (just posted that tank right before this one), but it's not my first planted tank. I had a few before, but they have been taken down and most things now moved into this bad boy. I found this tank on craigslist and am quite happy with it. The tank fits perfectly in a corner of my room (go figure!).

This tank will soon become more high-tech. I hope I'm not getting over my head here...

This first picture is the tank setup, day one, about half a month ago.



I had the plants in a 20 gallon and moved them into this one. Substrate is Eco-Complete in the back, down to sand in the front. Went for kinda the beachy feel. Picked up the rocks at my LFS, I liked the ones that had the striations in them with the lights and darks and tried to kind of match them up as if there was a natural erosion between them. I initially wanted a full cliff face but couldn't find the right rocks locally, so I settled on this scape.

I have two lights, small Finnex white light and a slightly larger Finnex Planted+ placed on the back and front, repectively. I use Flourish and Flourish Excel to keep things growing, though many of these plants are basically weeds anyway, I'm looking at you wisteria and water lettuce.

BOOOOOOOM, things have grown tremendously! This picture was taken yesterday, 2 and a half weeks after setting it up.



It's already about time for a trim! I'm holding off though. I ordered a much nicer LED from Build my LED and have a CO2 tank and system ready to go once I get the new light. The LED should be delivered Tuesday so I'll trim things in a few days and get the CO2 set up. I'm pretty excited for this! I want to get some plants to go on the interface between the Eco and sand, so once I get things set up, new plants will be purchased! Any suggestions will be appreciated. I've been considering adding some glosso, looks nice I think.

Oh, current inhabitants: 12 rummy nose tetras, 5 sterbei corys, 1 opaline gourami female, 3 zebra nerites, and some of them pesky pond snails that I fish out whenever I can in attempt to keep their population down.

I haven't done much upkeep other than a water change each week. I've been letting the tank mature on it's own mostly undisturbed otherwise. Haven't noticed any algae yet, knock on wood. I'll have to clear some of the dead/dying plant matter soon though, it's looking a little bit of a mess.

Ok, that's enough. Long post and I'll keep things updated as I can with the new equipment and the trimmed plants.

Any advice, suggestions, or questions are welcomed and appreciated! I'm very new to the hobby so I'm bound to screw some things up!

Thanks for looking!
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Old 04-28-2014, 03:29 AM   #2
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Default Update 04/27/14

Well unfortunately no one had any comments...

I'll update this post anyway.

Got my new LED and CO2 setup rolling. Also decided to redo part of the scape. And finally I have begun NPK and Fe dosing in addition to the usual Flourish.

Here is the top and below the tank. The first is the Dutch planted from Build My LED, and the back is a Finnex Planted+. I'm running an oversized canister filter, the Rena XP2 rated for up to 75 gallons. I picked up the CO2 setup on CL for cheap cheap cheap, which was awesome. Just have a basic ceramic disc diffuser with a powerhead to push the microbubbles around the tank.







Here is a shot of the tank, I haven't finished rearranging plants yet, just lost steam tonight and I think the fish are tired of all the commotion.



I removed the sand in the front, I decided I don't really like that it takes up so much of the planting space in the tank. Scooping all the sand out was a bit of a chore, I don't recommend doing that while a tank is running, definitely clouded up the water. Still a little cloudy, but the filter is taking care of that.

Going to try and carpet some HC around the front of the tank. I will put in some plastic dividers to try and keep it from spreading too much, assuming it grows.

Also picked up some red ludwigia, I want to replace the wisteria. It just overgrows everything and once it gets all "rooty" on the bottom, I think it looks unsightly. I got most of it out, but left a little. I may get rid of that too. Considering getting some Val to put in for the nice wavy effect but couldn't find any today.

And more importantly, I picked up some cardinal tetras! I've had my eye out for some healthy looking ones and finally found some! The picture is a bit blurry, but I love the way they look IRL.



Alrighty, reckon I'll be done with this post. Thanks for looking.
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:01 PM   #3
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Default Update!

Hi everyone,

It's been a while now since I updated this, but I thought I'd post a few more pictures. The tank has really been through a lot in the past few months. Planting, planting, more planting, disaster, redo, planting, planting...

Here is one about a month from the last post.


I had switched to an inline diffuser.

Fast forward another week...


Fast forward another 2 weeks or so... I got a monster ray and was seeing what it did for the colors. Plants were long due for a trimming.


And then came the melt.... Disaster struck and I lost about all the fish and all the plants...

Here's the tank after buying a bunch more plants and some wood.


Fast forward 2 weeks. Added a black backing, looks better. Plants are really growing in again. Added some cardinal tetra, amano shrimp, and otos. You can see the wood is growing some interesting things on it... oh, and some java moss, haha.


And finally here it stands as of yesterday. Most of the white fuzz is gone now and I'm getting the tank more to where I'd like it to be for what it is. Removed the swords, they were just taking over the tank. Got some monte carlo I want to try in place of the dhg. Moving the dhg over in front of the repens maybe... Still haven't decided if I'm going to change out the rocks or not.


Any suggestions are always welcome and thanks for looking!



-Below are the juicy details-

40 gallon corner (I think it's technically 36 but I'm an optimist)
Rena XP2 filter with spraybar attachment
Jager 75W heater
Pressurized CO2 with inline diffuser
Additional powerhead cause getting flow right in this tank is a pita...
Lighting is two 6500K dutch planted LEDs from BML (one 24 inch on the front and one 18 inch on the back) The front is on tank mounts so about 3 inches from water, dimmed to 75%. The back one is suspended about 10 inches above water and full power.

EI dose with dry ferts, NPK 3x a week and CSM+B every other day, 40-50% water change a week.

Flora: (more or less in order of back to front)
ludwigia sp rubin
water wisteria
mini myriophyllum
staurogyne bihar
limnophila repens
hemianthus umbrosum (giant baby tears?)
lobelia cardinalis
hygrophila corymbosa compacta
hygrophila araguaia
a couple different anubias (a few nana petite and another I'm not sure of)
blyxa japonica
staurogyne repens
eleocharis parvula (I believe so, anyway, sold as generic dwarf hair grass)
fissides fontanus
java moss

Fauna:
about a dozen or so cardinal tetras
same number of otos
about 6 amanos
a few bladder snails...
looking to add some german blue rams, I think
Maybe some more amanos and/or other kind of tetra
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:27 PM   #4
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tanks looking nice

I think you might want some of your stem plant species groupings to fill out a little more but its going places for sure
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Old 07-25-2014, 03:06 AM   #5
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I'm fairly convinced this tank is cursed...

First we have the H2O2 overdose, my mistake.

Now I've been having issues with a CO2 regulator since the weekend. I was fiddling with it yesterday and there was barely any flow no matter how much I adjusted the needle valve. The outflow pressure was also fluctuating by 10 or 15 psi so just all sorts of problems. I barely had the needle valve open last night but the working pressure was initially set to 55 psi (still with the flow problems). I didn't think anything of it this morning before the CO2 clicked on, but apparently the problem corrected itself...

Cause what do I come home to after work just now? Gassed fish. Excellent. I can't find all the cardinals, but there were about half of them at the surface along with most of the snails (bladder, not an intentional addition, haha). I can spot 3 amano shrimp on their backs with their legs twitching, they also look slightly blue in color. Some of the cardinals are clearly dead as they're just belly up among the plants.

I did about a 30% water change and moved my spraybar up so it's spraying along the surface.

I just can't even handle this tank and all its problems right now. Very frustrated. I just emailed the regulator manufacturer earlier today to find out what's going on. (I don't think it's water in the regulator as I have two check valves in place)

If anyone knows a better way to revive my animals, let me know. I'm not keeping my hopes up for the amanos that are twitching, but there is for sure one that seems fine and most of the cardinals seem to be springing back to life. For now I'll just wait and see.
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Old 07-25-2014, 01:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChemGuyEthan View Post
I'm fairly convinced this tank is cursed...

First we have the H2O2 overdose, my mistake.

Now I've been having issues with a CO2 regulator since the weekend. I was fiddling with it yesterday and there was barely any flow no matter how much I adjusted the needle valve. The outflow pressure was also fluctuating by 10 or 15 psi so just all sorts of problems. I barely had the needle valve open last night but the working pressure was initially set to 55 psi (still with the flow problems). I didn't think anything of it this morning before the CO2 clicked on, but apparently the problem corrected itself...

Cause what do I come home to after work just now? Gassed fish. Excellent. I can't find all the cardinals, but there were about half of them at the surface along with most of the snails (bladder, not an intentional addition, haha). I can spot 3 amano shrimp on their backs with their legs twitching, they also look slightly blue in color. Some of the cardinals are clearly dead as they're just belly up among the plants.

I did about a 30% water change and moved my spraybar up so it's spraying along the surface.

I just can't even handle this tank and all its problems right now. Very frustrated. I just emailed the regulator manufacturer earlier today to find out what's going on. (I don't think it's water in the regulator as I have two check valves in place)

If anyone knows a better way to revive my animals, let me know. I'm not keeping my hopes up for the amanos that are twitching, but there is for sure one that seems fine and most of the cardinals seem to be springing back to life. For now I'll just wait and see.
Could it have been EOTD (end of tank dump)? When was the last time you filled the CO2 tank?
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Old 07-25-2014, 02:16 PM   #7
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Could it have been EOTD (end of tank dump)? When was the last time you filled the CO2 tank?
Nah, I just got it filled over the weekend. It seems like this is a problem when I first hook up the regulator. The last time I filled the cylinder I had the fluctuating pressure thing, but that went away within a day. This recent issue with the flow/pressure stuff has been going on since Saturday.

Earlier in the week my drop checker has been blue the whole time cause the flow wouldn't keep up, then yesterday it did the opposite...
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Old 08-22-2014, 02:00 AM   #8
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Sorry to hear about the problems. You have to push through though! I'm really liking this tank. I like the denseness you have going.
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Old 08-22-2014, 02:52 AM   #9
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Tank looks like its really looking nice. Except for the fish lol. Would love to have mine look like this but Im keeping to low tech for now
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:40 AM   #10
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Sorry to hear about the problems. You have to push through though! I'm really liking this tank. I like the denseness you have going.
Yeah, thanks! I still think there's something else going on with this CO2 setup, it seemed fine, but I've already run out of CO2, in less than a month. Considering the last fill-up lasted about 4 months, something is still wrong. Gotta have a leak somewhere, just gotta find it... In the meantime, I've got no CO2.

I've let it grow into a jungle lately. I was gone for a week and really busy the past week after and the week before I was gone, so it's sat unattended other than a couple water changes the whole time. I just picked up some different driftwood. I decided I don't like this stuff, it still has some white fungus stuff on it, which concerns me. Gonna do a massive overhaul this weekend, so new pics will be forthcoming.

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Tank looks like its really looking nice. Except for the fish lol. Would love to have mine look like this but Im keeping to low tech for now
Thank you. Most of the fish have now been replaced. Got more amanos, ottos, and cardinal tetras. And the gourami is still kickin'.
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Old 08-22-2014, 06:46 AM   #11
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Yeah, thanks! I still think there's something else going on with this CO2 setup, it seemed fine, but I've already run out of CO2, in less than a month. Considering the last fill-up lasted about 4 months, something is still wrong. Gotta have a leak somewhere, just gotta find it... In the meantime, I've got no CO2.
Make up a mixture of diluted washing liquid and use a spray bottle to spray around all the threads, fittings and anywhere there could be a leak. It sounds like it would be a pretty substantial leak, so it shouldn't be hard spotting bubbles expanding.

I'm a refrigeration tech and we use this method quite a lot when searching for leaks. I've heard that Windex (Australia's brand of glass cleaner) works really well for this purpose, so if you've got glass cleaner laying around, give it a go. Apparently it's a good consistency (non-diluted) for forming bubbles.

Last edited by Dan110024; 08-22-2014 at 06:48 AM.. Reason: .
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Old 08-22-2014, 02:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan110024 View Post
Make up a mixture of diluted washing liquid and use a spray bottle to spray around all the threads, fittings and anywhere there could be a leak. It sounds like it would be a pretty substantial leak, so it shouldn't be hard spotting bubbles expanding.

I'm a refrigeration tech and we use this method quite a lot when searching for leaks. I've heard that Windex (Australia's brand of glass cleaner) works really well for this purpose, so if you've got glass cleaner laying around, give it a go. Apparently it's a good consistency (non-diluted) for forming bubbles.
I used the diluted soap the first time I set it up. For some reason I didnt use it this last time despite the fact I suspected a leak. I guess I thought I fixed it...

I work in a lab and use compressed gases all the time so I'm familiar with leak checking. Might go through the whole system and replace some or all of the tubing too.
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Old 08-25-2014, 06:52 PM   #13
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So after letting the tank grow into a horribly messy jungle out of neglect... I then had the CO2 tank empty and couldn't get it filled for a few days after I noticed it was empty. It must have been out for a while cause I had the blyxa and s. repens start melting away (most upset about the repens cause it was making a lovely dense pocket in the corner).

Anyway, tore the jungle down, moved all the inhabitants into my 12 gallon long. I lost the gourami at some point recently, which was also disappointing... The cardinals are good though, they seem to enjoy having the length of the 12 long to swim back and forth in.

Drained all the water, took out some of the eco, piled the rest up in the back, added a bag and a half of Amazonia, got some new driftwood that I like more (the old stuff still had white fuzz on it and smelled terrible all of which concerned me as it's been in there over a month now). Also added some different stones (san sui, or glorified lava rock , that I got for cheap). Wrapped some moss around the wood and strapped down some anubias as well. Planted the stems in back, kept them short so they can really grow in before needing a trim. Blyxa J in the right corner and hygro compacta in the left. Hoping to get a little patch of crypt parva interwoven with hydrocotyle japan on the left as well. Got some AR mini in there too. The right is planted with what I could salvage from the S. repens, hoping that will fill in again. Finally there are some random crypts planted among the wood.

Here is a pic as it was last night, still pretty cloudy from the fill-up. Sorry I didn't get a picture of the jungle or the process. I just kinda dug in and got my hands dirty right away. I think once the stems grow in in the back it won't look sooo...barren, haha. Might add some HC as I am due for a trim on the 12 long.



Those larger tan rock are just to hold the wood down for now. It wasn't too floaty as I boiled the ends, but better safe than sorry for now. Probably still get some tannins too as I didn't have a pot big enough for the whole thing.

So for now, I just have to be patient. I think the CO2 issue is figured out, replaced all the tubing and rechecked all the connections and the bubble rate seems to stay pretty consistent now. I'll have to keep an eye on it, but at least for now there are no fish to gas, haha.

Anyone have a good suggestion for a different way of attaching moss? There are parts of the would that are concave and so the string doesn't hold the moss firmly down, I'm afraid it's not going to attach and just float away in the current... Any ideas would be appreciated.

As always, thanks for looking!
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Old 08-26-2014, 05:55 AM   #14
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Well, to anyone who's curious, I determined the cause of my CO2 problems: faulty check valve. I had bought some new check valves and put one on this line and another on my 12 long. I don't have a problem with the one on the 12 long, but clearly this one. I figured this out by first checking for leaks, which I didn't find any, then by systematically swapping pieces out until the problem returned. I guess this must not open correctly so I turn up the working pressure, but then it finally pops open and a huge burst of CO2 shoots out. This was likely causing my bubble rate/pressure issues. After swapping that out, the pressure and bubble rate are holding steady. So I guess that was it, lesson learned, check all your equipment and always have spares around, haha.
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Old 09-02-2014, 05:36 AM   #15
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A little update here, one week in.

Started noticing the CO2 fluctuating again... now I'm wondering if it really is something wrong with the regulator...

Anyway, no fish yet. Still cycling that Amazonia.

I've moved some things around. Added a bunch of blyxa japonica to the right corner. This was all tanken out of my Fluval Chi that had overgrown. Good for me in this case, haha! The AR mini is doing well, and the hydro japan has already rooted...I know cause when I went to move it, it'd already set in place, haha. Thinking about switching where it sits with the crypt parva as the hydro will grow much faster and can wrap around some in the corner better than the parva, thoughts? The big open space in the front is ready and waiting for some HC that I bought from a guy on another forum. The fissidens has died back a little, maybe it doesn't like the high ammonia? Hoping it pops back. And as you can see, the stems are doing what stems do, that is grow fast.

Thanks for reading!

Here's the pic, still a little cloudy from moving things around, but not too bad.
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