First timer: low-tech npt tank after 1 week
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:21 PM   #1
Sagat
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First timer: low-tech npt tank after 1 week


Before Christmas, I decided to take the plunge and put together my first planted tank. I knew I wouldn't be able to leave it alone, so I timed it so that everything was assembled shortly before we started travelling and then left it alone for 7 days -- I was worried about burning my plants, so I only had the light on for about 10hrs a day.

After a week, water params are still zero across the board, with a pH of about 7.5. 30KH and 40GH. The water measured 80F, even though room temp is about 72F and the tank hasn't had a heater in it.

So far, most of the plants are slightly less green than I left them, with some brownish leaves on some of them. One of my balansaes biggest leaves has turned to mush, though the smaller ones seem to be doing ok.

Currently, there's a giant rock in the middle of the tank holding the driftwood down, that I hope to eventually remove. I also bumped the light cycle up to 12 hours.

On a side note, I decided to plant one in each front corner of the tank, partly because I thought it'd frame the tank nicely, and partly because I wasn't confident I'd be able to provide a good enough environment for them to thrive.

Any advice is welcome and thanks in advance!

(More pictures in my profile here)
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:37 PM   #2
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nice tank! i like that large piece of driftwood on the right. you said water parameters are 0 across the board. are you dosing with ammonia to cycle the tank? if so, you should be reading some ammonia numbers.
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Old 12-28-2012, 05:27 PM   #3
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It's a good start! I see you have plant species aplenty in there. You'll find that the more you play around and experiment with plants, the quicker you'll narrow down your likes and dislikes. Good luck!
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Old 12-28-2012, 05:34 PM   #4
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You know, it didn't occur to me to put anything into the tank. I'd assumed that I'd be getting ammonia out of the MGOCPM.

I'm pretty excited about the plants I have. I built it to house bettas (either my male or a bunch of females), so I tried to stock it with as many plants native to SE Asia as I could.

I have to go to my LFS today, so I'll look into either getting some ammonia to dose the tank or some fish.
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Old 02-09-2013, 06:24 AM   #5
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Wow. It's been a long time since I updated this... The last one didn't go through because it was too big, and then I never got around to figuring out why.

It's been an interesting two months...

First month:
  • I started noticing little white bugs hopping around the water and eventually figured out they were copepods.
  • White spot algae showed up and then disappeared.
  • Learned for the first time what it means for plants to acclimate to their environment. It was extra fun discovering how many different leaf forms H.Difformis has.
  • Learned that after you take the metal band off your plants, you're supposed to separate them out for planting.

Second month:
  • Discovered how fragile otos were in the first week.
  • Had my endler livebearers get stressed to death by the betta
  • Had enough growth that I could turn my 29G into a planted tank with cuttings
  • Removed my betta temporarily to make him forget his territory and try to bring some peace for the harlequin rasboras that replaced the livebearers
  • Had my betta develop clamped fins from what now seems to be slime disease.
  • Had my harlequins ALSO develop slime disease a few days after removing the betta and finally pieced together what was going on in my tank.
  • Had something in my tank (probably the MTS) churn up all of the wood chips in my MGOCPM so that instead of decomposing underneath the sand cap, they're doing so on top of it. :/ It looks cool, though, so I've just let it do it's thing instead of trying to submerge it back under the cap.
  • Discovered what scuds were!

Today
After dropping their leaves and growing ones better suited for my tank, my plants have all really taken off. The tank's being lit by dual coralife 6700K lamps, but I'm noticing that having the fixture rest on the lid is causing the plants in the front half of the tank to stretch back towards it, especially the C.Wendtii in the front-right of the tank.
Egeria Najas: The new growth has leaves that are at least half as long as they were when I bought it and twice to three times as curly. What causes this? I can't seem to find any information on it, or I'm plugging in the wrong terms to search for.

Echinodorus tenellus: This did ok for the first few weeks, but now all three plants are yellowish and growing slow. they also aren't as rooted into the substrate as I expected them to be. The only thing I can think of is that I picked spots to plant them that weren't as rich in potting mix as the other areas in the tank.

Echinodrous parviflorus: This was doing pretty well for awhile, but you can see the big brown, translucent spot on the biggest leaf. The new growth is coming in kinda pale. It's possible it's rooted in mostly sand and I've considered straying from my low-techiness and fertilize it.
Challenges
At this point, it seems that the advice "if the plants are healthy, everything else will follow" to be pretty much on target, but I haven't yet attempted to treat fish in the tank. Instead, I chickened out and put them into a quarantine tank where I dosed them with aquarium salt to help them heal through opportunistic infections that are the result of stress. I need to do alot more reading on treating sick fish in a planted tank, so that when it eventually happens, I'm not frantically looking for information at the last minute.
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Old 02-09-2013, 06:28 AM   #6
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Default Two weeks

Shots of my tank at the two week mark:
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Old 02-09-2013, 06:31 AM   #7
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Default 6 weeks

Built a moss wall to cover up the ugly sawed off back of the driftwood
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:22 PM   #8
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It's looking good! Theres definitely a lot of learning to go with the first planted tank. Sorry about your fish getting sick! I made a lot of mistakes before finally figuring it out. It will start getting a lot easier

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Old 02-09-2013, 06:55 PM   #9
PeterN1986
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What filter are you using? Your water looks tea-colored in all your shots.
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Old 02-09-2013, 07:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterN1986 View Post
What filter are you using? Your water looks tea-colored in all your shots.
Probably tannins from the driftwood. Nothing some some fresh activated carbon cant clear up in a week or so.
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:26 PM   #11
Sagat
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Yup.

It didn't bother me and my betta seems pretty happy with it. Since the height of the tank isn't very high, I figured it would be ok to leave it.

If I use activated carbon, do I need to be worried about losing any anything? I did some water changes to help with the tannins since that seemed to have minimal impact on beneficial things in the water column (minerals et al)
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