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Old 01-17-2011, 11:58 AM   #1
Cloverdale
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Freshman Planted Aquarium


First Steps

Finally, it seems my boys are old enough to *somewhat* be around a tank without complete fear of them knocking it over - so off on my planted aquarium journey I go.

Saturday - Went back to Pet Co and purchased the deeply discounted 26 gallon, all-glass, bow-front tank I had my eye on! It came with the hood, filter and heater - all for $75!! I took it straight home and cleaned it and set-up the empty tank. Heater and filter seem to work, but the light doesn't so I will have to get a new bulb.

Sunday - Headed over to Aquarium Outfitters where they were extremely helpful, and although I only went in for substrate, I came out with substrate, gravel, a new bulb, filters, thermometer, Stress Coat, plants and of course, plant supplements. Got home, rinsed the substrate and gravel and began filling the tank. Of course, it was a cloudy mess from the substrate, but I was expecting this, so we are all good. Unfortunately, I replaced the bulb and the hood still doesn't work, so I suppose tomorrow it is back to Pet Co we go. I certainly hope that they can replace the unit, because I went ahead and planted my two water sprites and red wendtii.

Monday - Water is cloudy, but I was told to expect that. I do feel bad for the little plants who will have no light to speak of today, but they are tough. Here's hoping they pull through!
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Old 01-17-2011, 01:48 PM   #2
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what is the light you are using? is this going to be low light or highlight?
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Old 01-17-2011, 02:17 PM   #3
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Might want to check the ballast on the light, it's the more likely cause of a light not working. Jiggle it a bit, maybe check the connection.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:14 PM   #4
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Welcome.

take the light back if you just bought it, deeply discounted or not you bought a new light from a retailer, you shouldnt have to play with it / get a new bulb to get it to work

if you have a clamp on work light that can be used to get some light on the plants till the real light is sorted out.
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:24 AM   #5
Cloverdale
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A big props to Pet Co. I called down there and explained the situation today. The aquarium guy didn't know what they would be able to do for me, but suggested I come down while the general manager was there. So I did, and he had already spoken with the general manager who gave him the green light to swap out my light bar for a new one!! Sweet!

Now if my water would just clear up. It is still cloudy.
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:28 AM   #6
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Lesson #1 when using new gravel/substrate= use a dinnerplate to pour the water onto so it doesnt stir up any cloudyness from the substrate. It will settle in a few days tho, no biggie.
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:21 PM   #7
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Today - light in in operation! Water is looking better, still a bit cloudy but I assume it is some kind of chemical imbalance. I did do a lot of research before setting this up, so I used a serving platter when pouring in the water (it still got debris floating, but the substrate/gravel didn't move around). I did order a water testing kit, so I will enjoy the plants and slighty cloudy water, praying they live, until I get said kit.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:32 AM   #8
Cloverdale
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Question

So I couldn't hold out for the test strips I ordered in the mail, so I stopped by PetSmart and bought some. It seems I have incredibly hard water. So - now what? Everything else seemed fairly in line with the colors in the acceptable ranges. Do I need to empty the tank and refill with purchased water??
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:32 AM   #9
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You could start mixing your tap with distilled till you get the right amount
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I sell plants but not green thumbs, sorry.
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:21 PM   #10
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What kind of substrate did you go with? Some of them (ADA) really soften the water.
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:54 PM   #11
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I wouldn't mess with your water parameters. Work with what you have. Once you get your liquid test kits post your results. Chances are excellent that you won't have to do a thing, other than perhaps avoid a few of the more sensitive livestock species.

What type of light fixture do you have?
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Old 01-21-2011, 02:24 PM   #12
Cloverdale
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Smile Update: Fish In habitants

First, you all are a super smart, helpful group of people, and I thank you!

So - water condition. I took your advice and relaxed about the hard water (after some further research that a lot of the fish I wanted actually prefer slightly hard water). So Wednesday, I took a sample to PetSmart (just to be safe) and they gave me the big thumbs after. After scouring the tanks, we picked a Silver Molly and two Dalmatian Mollies. The best news - it is Friday and they are still alive!! I even think the Silver one may be el preggo - we shall see.
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Old 01-21-2011, 03:09 PM   #13
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Adding fish to a tank less than a week old isn't always the best idea. Mollys are pretty tough so maybe they'll be fine. Worst case they die and it helps cycle your tank faster...

Another great lesson to learn is if you walk into a Petco/PetSmart be very careful about any advice the employees give you. When they did the water test did they ask how long the tank had been running or what the water source was to fill the tank before saying it was safe for fish?
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Old 01-27-2011, 01:17 AM   #14
Cloverdale
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Thumbs up One Week Check-In

So far, so good. Today is one week with the fish in tank and they seem to be doing fairly well. I did a 20% water change Sunday and about a 40% water change this evening. Amonia is very low (although I know we want it to be 0) and all other tests come out pretty balanced. The mollies seem pretty happy on the fish flakes with occasional seaweed and bloodworms. While I don't think I will be getting any more fish for a bit, I am seriously considering a few more plants as now it seems two of the three girls are pregnant. I have have filled my 26 gallon tank with the purchase of 3 fish!!
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:28 AM   #15
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this tank is about a week old and your doing a water change already!? you need to let the tank peak in ammonia and nitrates and let them come down...then you do a water change. thats when you know that the cycle is over. hold off on water changes right now and wait till it spikes...get it tested weekly if possible then see what you should be doing
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I sell plants but not green thumbs, sorry.
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