20g high adventure: anything's possible
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Old 04-12-2012, 03:50 AM   #1
youknowho
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20g high adventure: anything's possible


Setup:
Tank: 20g tall
Filter: Penguin 150
Lighting: 2x23W CFLs in 8.5" reflectors
Ferts: Dry dose EI
CO2: None
Substrate: Coarse sand

I bought this tank late last year before I even knew about planted tanks. It started as a simple Marineland LED 20 kit with fake plants, coarse sand substrate, and african dwarf frogs. After a few months I came across pictures of Takashi Amano's tanks and the goal for this tank completely changed to... a planted tank! Before throwing all of the details at you I'll provide a (crappy cell phone) pic of the tank:



I've been slowly trying different plants as I go. Right now I have anubias, crypts, microsorum, and a couple of unidentified plants. As much as I loved having the frogs I made the mistake of mixing them with fish, and feeding became such a challenge that I reluctantly traded them in. I now have green neon tetras, a pair of guppies, nerite and malaysian trumpet snails, and amano shrimp.

After finding TPT and doing A LOT of reading I realized that the included LED lights were not going to keep these plants alive. Soon after I got a smoking deal on a Marineland Reef LED light, which Marineland's site recommends for live plants. My experience with this light was... To Be Continued
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Old 04-12-2012, 04:00 AM   #2
tbonedeluxe
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Nice looking tank! The cell phone pic looks like
high quality to me.Think about adding a background to your tank.
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Old 04-12-2012, 04:05 AM   #3
iRun
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Very nice!
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Old 04-12-2012, 04:16 AM   #4
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Thanks guys! tbonedeluxe it's funny that your avatar is of a german blue ram. They were the fish that I mixed with the frogs and made feeding them difficult. They were so brave that they'd swim up to the frogs that were chewing on bloodworms and steal them right out of their mouths! The GBRs went to a friend's tank after that .

I'd like to add a background to this tank but it is on the side of my desk at work (that's my messy desk behind the tank). I really like being able to glance over at the inhabitants when I need a break, and the tank faces the rest of the office where co-workers like to take a look too. For future pictures if I remember I'll put something behind the tank so there are fewer visible distractions.
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Old 04-15-2012, 10:00 PM   #5
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Time for an update! I finished the last post mentioning I'd switched to the Marineland reef LED light and I'll continue there. LED lighting really appeals to me for its efficiency and simplicity so I'd decided to stick to LED lights when I went to replace this kit's stock lighting. Marineland's site recommends the reef LED light for planted tanks (this was before they announced their upcoming plant LED light), and I found a great deal on the light on Craigslist so I grabbed it.

The results weren't very good. Plants were hanging on, but started wilting over time. The light is in the wrong spectrum for plants and the blue lights encouraged algae growth. A week into using this light I had my first signs of green spot algae in the tank. I learned that high light and low nutrients can cause algae so I picked up Brightwell Florin Multi at my LFS and started dosing it twice a week, in addition to inserting Flourish tabs into the substrate (I really wish I could start this tank over with dirt substrate). So far this hasn't made a noticeable difference.

I researched yet another LED light replacement for this reef LED and didn't find a light that would be long enough to be the sole light source for this tank. I read A LOT about DIY LED lights and decided that I didn't want to sink the time and effort into it right now, and I may change tanks in the future so tailoring a DIY setup to this tank didn't appeal to me. While reading lighting threads I stumbled across CFL lighting and decided to give it a shot. I started with 2x13W 6500K bulbs in 8.5" shop lights sitting directly on the glass above the tank. After a week the plants started to slowly perk up and I decided to try 2x26W bulbs to see the difference. I'm not dosing C02 and know that this is high light for this tank, but I couldn't resist trying it out.

It didn't go well . The staghorn started to melt under the high light and I got an algal bloom in the water. I switched back to the 2x13W lights and added carbon to the filter as well as an anacharis plant to clear up the water. I also planted a barclaya (lower-left corner) to add some red color to the tank, but so far it is only green... For some more color I added four red cherry shrimp. They've unfortunately died off one by one over the past two weeks . I wonder if the Amano shrimp harassed them to death. Here's what the tank looks like now (with paper taped up as a quick background):

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Old 04-16-2012, 12:31 AM   #6
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I'm running LEDs made by Adana and things seem to be going pretty well, BUT my tank is only 12" high. I almost got that marineland reef light, pretty glad I didn't, after what you've said.

That dw is seriously cool.
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Old 04-16-2012, 12:37 AM   #7
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This should real good once you get everything worked out and grown in.
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Old 04-17-2012, 05:51 AM   #8
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Thanks guys. I checked out your tanks and they're nice! iRun I hadn't seen that Adana light when looking for LED lights. I'll be very interested to hear how it works out in the long run.
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Old 04-19-2012, 05:42 AM   #9
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This tank has changed a lot in the last few days. I read (okay quickly skimmed) Diana Walstad's book and took away a few points, one of which being that every tank is different as are the plants in it. The same combination of plants will have varying degrees of success depending on the tank, so the best thing you can do is try a bunch of plants! That is exactly what I did.

I got these awesome plants from OVT with the goal of filling in the tank and adding a greater variety of color. I moved the driftwood in line with the golden ratio and then started planting away. Here it is right after planting and before the dust has settled:



I dosed dry ferts the next day (Monday) but sadly some of the plants have started wilting and struggling. The ludwigia is doing the best overall, the other three are in various states of decline . If I had to guess the reason I'd say there isn't enough light for how densely planted the back line is. Some of the shortest (and shaded) water sprite is dead, and that plant is a very quick grower. I could dose ferts again, but I used this nutrient calculator for the EI/low-light weekly dose so I thought it was enough... No CO2 and no plans to add it. I'm open to suggestions!
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Old 05-07-2012, 01:31 AM   #10
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Let's get the bad news out of the way first. A lot of the new plants died. Compared to the picture I put in the last post right after planting, you can see how much the plantings have thinned out as they've gone to plant heaven:



The good news is that the L. repens is holding on and I still have some color in the tank:





Some of the L. repens is even pearling!



The even gooder news (I couldn't resist) is that I figured out what was wrong with the tank and causing the plants to wilt and die. I didn't have enough light (2x13W 6500K spiral CFLs) or ferts. I've upgraded the lights to 2x23W 6500K spiral CFLs and am going to start a regular (not low-light) EI dosing regimen. Hopefully it's not too late for these new plants as they were beautiful when I got them .

There have been some livestock changes since the last post. My female guppy passed away after giving birth to lots of fry over the course of a few days. On the bright side she's survived by ~7 babies that are going strong! I also bought a dozen red cherry shrimp and added them to the tank. For the first week I was lucky if I could find two of them in the tank, but they're gradually acclimating and are now starting to socialize:



The school of green neons continues to be happy and healthy, these guys have really been hardy in this tank:

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Old 06-06-2012, 05:08 PM   #11
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Not much to update right now, but that's a good thing! This tank is slowly stabilizing after switching to EI dosing for medium light. Over the past two weeks since changing my dosing I've had a tiny fraction of dust algae on the glass that I used to. My barclaya is growing like gangbusters, though it has yet to turn red... The water sprite and anacharis are also growing very quickly and I'm getting more red color out of the L. repens. I had thread algae on the L. repens that refused to go away so I added a siamese algae eater. Thread algae was gone in a couple of days .

Barclaya:


Also added marsilea minuta to the foreground:


The tank currently:
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Old 08-31-2012, 06:27 PM   #12
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My adult male guppy really became a nuisance, chasing every single fish away from food (or where it thought there might be food) and even killed off all of the male guppy fry in the tank. My red cherry shrimp were hiding most of the day and even though they were saddled they weren't getting berried.

I decided enough was enough with the guppies and sold them to my lfs. Within a week I now have multiple berried rcs in the tank! The shrimp are much more lively and social in the tank and my green neons don't hide like they used to. That male guppy turned into quite the tyrant... Next time I have my camera at work I'll take new pictures and update.
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