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Old 02-15-2012, 08:12 PM   #1
mommabear1007
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How Not to Plant a Tank


I've got about 3-4 months of catching up to do w/ this journal. I feel the need to explain myself before I even get started on the tank. I will try to keep it short, as I am sure no one cares, so, feel free to skip the first couple of paragraphs. :-)

I love all kinds of animals- except slugs. Slugs are creepy. I am especially partial toward cats and reptiles, mainly turtles. I've had all kinds of reptiles and several red eared sliders. After I spent a long time doing research, I finally was able to keep one RES alive. His name was Tuffie. When I was 18, I moved out, and got a 55 gallon aquarium for Tuffie. I got a Mississippi map turtle, Murtle, who I kept in the 29 gallon where Tuffie spent the first few years of his life. I had Tuffie for nine years and Murtle for two...Something happened... I couldn't keep them anymore... If anyone asks, I had to get rid of them because they took too much time and money. I contacted a wild animal rescue place I found on the internet. The guy said he would keep Tuffie at the college nearby, I could come see him whenever I wanted; he assured me it would be fine. It was not fine. I cried when I gave them away, it was like putting up my kids for adoption. A couple of weeks later, when I contacted the rescue person, he told me he had given them to someone else and he couldn't give me their contact info. I asked him to give that person mine but I never heard about them again.

Their tanks and equipment stayed in my parents basement for a few years. I started working for them in their office, and my dad mentions something about keeping a fish tank in the office. No problem, I think. I have all the stuff for it already. This will be cheap and easy. (November, 2011)

I was wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. I set the 29 gallon (30 x 12 x 17) up using the larger rocks that I used for the turtles and their old filter (Fluval 104). I go to the LFS and buy some tetras and some aquatic plants. I get home and realize: the light I have isn't strong enough to grow plants. The plants won't be able to grow in the rocks I am using. The plants I have aren't even aquatic (except one annubias nana)...

*sigh*

After doing some research and asking around, I decided that a T5 AquaticLife HO fixture with the 5600K and Roseate bulbs that came with it would be sufficient enough for plant growth. I got some Ecocomplete and switched out the substrate. Added a few more plants (brazilian sword, or peace lily which may not be aquatic either, but it's gotten a couple of new leaves since I've got it so we'll see how it goes) and removed the large decoration. Also got two angelfish at some point. Things were fine for a few weeks, until I started noticing this green slime forming on the substrate.

Then it was all over all over everything. I would vacuum it out, scrub everything down, and change some of the water - and by the next day, you couldn't even tell that I had done anything. I tried blacking out the tank for a few days, but that barely made a difference. I got four otocinclus to help eat the slime - they didn't touch it. So I nuked it with Erythromycin, as I read that the slime was BGA (cyanobacteria). I bought all new media, since I didn't have anywhere to store the media I was using, and started the cycle over. Within a few days, the BGA was gone, but the water was murky, swamp-like. It was disgusting. I tried doing some partial water changes and I couldn't even tell a difference. I figured maybe theres so much dead BGA that it's murking up the water. I tore everything apart, put the fish in buckets, rinsed the substrate for a couple of hours and set it back up. I added a small in-tank filter that I had lying around for circulation. The order I placed for brazilian microsword came in and my neighbor gave me a java fern and a wisteria plant. The water was crystal clear. For about a week. At most. Back to the swampy murk. (January, 2012)

*sigh*

I spent a couple few weeks on this forum talking to very helpful people who are much more knowledgeable on the subject, and doing 30% water changes daily. There are also ugly diatoms all over everything. I come to learn that not only do I still have poor circulation, but the filter is too small. I had a larger filter (Fluval 304) in the basement that I attempted to re-use. I bought a pump that could be used in circulation mode or as a powerhead and put a more appropriate background on it. I scrubbed off the diatoms, trimmed the dying leaves, removed the non-aquatic plants, and drained as much water as I could. I tried the pump in circulation mode at first. It was definitely circulating the water. The plants were sideways from being pushed over from the current and the fishies couldn't swim. I go to unplug it and switch to powerhead mode and realize there is water all over the floor. The larger filter was leaking.

*sigh*

So I put the smaller filter back up and plan to replace it soon. I suppose I will go with another Fluval, just because I am comfortable with them, I have used them for years and they are quiet. I will just run both for a few months, until the bigger one has gotten enough bacteria in it.

As of now, the water is cloudy, and still somewhat resembling the murky crap I have been at war with for almost month now. I have two otos left, the two angelfish, and five tetras. I hate the way the tank looks. I want to actually have a design in the tank, as opposed to random plants being thrown in there wherever they fit. But I have to get control over the water quality first. And upgrade the filter. And the heater.

*sigh*

I might have missed a few details, or put the details I do have in the wrong order, but, basically, that's the gist of my first adventure in planted aquarium keeping.
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Last edited by mommabear1007; 04-17-2012 at 03:21 AM..
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Old 02-15-2012, 08:22 PM   #2
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Meh, I can't figure out how to use the attachment manager either. I wanted to put the pics in the order they should be in the story. But I can't. So. If this works:

swampy murky yucky stuff

slightly less swampy murky yucky stuff

getting better

most recent

PS I am awful with cameras.
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:25 PM   #3
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The bottom picture is the best and Im glad to see you switched out that background! So far so good!!
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:41 PM   #4
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I care! I'm sorry to hear about your turtles, and the bad experiences you've been having so far.

I'm certain that it will get better, especially with all of the knowledgeable people around here.
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Old 02-16-2012, 02:54 PM   #5
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Yay! Glad someone cares :-)

And thanks, I have a strong will when it comes to this tank. I'll figure it out eventually
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Old 02-16-2012, 03:12 PM   #6
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In the first few pics, what is that green lance like plant that has the white stripes on each leaf?
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:02 PM   #7
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Don't despair! I've been at this over two years now and still battling some of my own monsters! It's a never-ending battle but it does get better. And when it does get better, you'll start making problems up so you can keep coming back at it

I know that's what i do!

But it's never cheap...

*sigh*
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:16 PM   #8
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You'll be fine- you're doing better than most by keeping the fish alive this far! I'm happy to see you've found a good resource too!
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyguylal View Post
In the first few pics, what is that green lance like plant that has the white stripes on each leaf?
dracaena sanderiana is the white and dracaena variegatus is the gold. they're also known a ribbon plants and lucky bamboo and they are not aquatic. the one w/ the bamboo stalk is growing in a vase w/ rocks and seems to be doing ok. i put the other two in pots with potting soil and i've been noticing the leaves yellowing i really do like them as houseplants and hope i can keep them alive.

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Old 02-16-2012, 04:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkian View Post
Don't despair! I've been at this over two years now and still battling some of my own monsters! It's a never-ending battle but it does get better. And when it does get better, you'll start making problems up so you can keep coming back at it

I know that's what i do!

But it's never cheap...

*sigh*
lol, making problems up don't need to.

the worst part is waiting
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morselchip View Post
You'll be fine- you're doing better than most by keeping the fish alive this far! I'm happy to see you've found a good resource too!
well, I've killed two otos and two tetras so far, so...

I am pretty impressed with the ones who have made it through all of this tho. Also impressed with the plants. They've been moved so many times and covered in diatoms and yet some of them seem to be doing really well.

And yes I am very grateful for this forum, and to HD Blazingwolf who has been most helpful and patient with me
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:46 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Manda0922 View Post
The bottom picture is the best and Im glad to see you switched out that background! So far so good!!
really?! i thought that was worst... yes the coral background looked ridiculous, but I already had it and thought it looked better than nothing, with all of the tech stuff and this horrid flowered wallpaper in here.

im afraid that the black is making it look even murkier and the diatoms are really noticeable on it. i want to make one w/ slate and moss someday. maybe. oh, the possibilities!
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:33 PM   #13
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MY TANK WATER IS CLEAR!!!!!!

Super excited.

Got the new filter set up Sat., did a large WC, and it's been crystal clear since. Plan to do 10% WC every other day for a week, 50% at the end of the week, then every two days, then every three, etc, until I am just at 50% every week.

Got a couple of new plants (cryptocoryne parva) and two pieces of malaysian driftwood. Boiled the driftwood for an hour and a half or so and will soak it for however long it needs to. One piece I'm going to break into pieces to make branches and attach to the other piece to make it look as close to a tree as I can. Once it's ready I will put in an order for weeping moss.

I'm so excited to start working on the aquascape and not have to worry about the water quality. I'm hoping that I've finally got it so that the water will stay clear and I won't ever have to see that murky crap in there again.
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Old 02-27-2012, 08:56 PM   #14
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Well the tank water is still clear, which is definitely good.

I spent a lot of time cleaning/trimming/changing water yesterday and noticed a lot of green spot algae :'(. Also something that resembles BGA on the substrate.

And the marbel angel, Cornelius, has a red gill on one side and his eyes are red. He's also been kind of aggressive toward Elyria, the gold angel fish. They used to never leave each other's side.

So I'm still pretty worried :/
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:23 PM   #15
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Hhmmmm... Don't know what's going on with Cornelius' eyes and gill, but what are your water parameters? I have only had two occasions to worry about aggression, but both times it was pretty obvious. Your angels are obviously young (no older than 4 or 5 months) and it could be that you just got two male angels. One of which may be a little more aggressive than usual. Therefore one is dominating the other, now that fishy-puberty has kicked in.
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