20H low/mid tech in a home jungle
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Old 02-15-2015, 11:54 PM   #1
cwilson
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20H low/mid tech in a home jungle


Hey all,

First some background:
I kept a pretty successful planted 20H for about 4 years or so. It was a big thick jungle of crypts and a few other easy care plants that clearly thrived. I kept the fish load low and performed minimal mntc. Not quite a year ago I moved and decided to dismantle my tank entirely beforehand. I donated most of the livestock and plants through here and went on with life. I went about 8 months or so totally tankless which was a bit of a bummer (although it really made the houseplant population explode ), and after initial setup I remained lightless for a while; my aquarium light was the *only* thing to vanish in the move, and my lack of tank budget and plethora of stubbornness to find it lead me to the delay replacing it. The lightless time allowed me to really think about what I wanted to do. A recent light purchase and *finally* some plants have brought us to the present!

SPECS:
-Tank: 20 gallon high, painted back and scratched to bits
-Filter: Fluval 205 canister... with surface skimmer!
-Light: 24" Coralife T5 24w (this was my previous light and gave me great results. amazon dropped this to below $35 and I couldnt resist)
-Substrate: about 50% seachem flourite/50% natural colored gravel
-Ferts: Flourish Excel, Iron, and root tabs. Potassium and maybe another liquid fert or two in time

FISH:
-6 neon tetra
-4 ember tetra(?)
-3 peppered cory cats
-2 baby pelcos. Not sure on type, looks to be starry night or gold nugget? These were freebies, and will be outsourced if they outgrow or cause trouble
I prefer a small fish load and think I may be 90% finished

Plants:
-red/green ludwigia (broadleaf). I had very similar to these in my verrry first tank which was overlight and under-ferted and they seemed to do well
-sword (red flame?) I had an amazon in my last tank that got enormous over time, I'm hoping this guy can be semi-easily maintained and trimmed to look good
-??? I completely forgot the ID of the plant seen on the left side of the aquarium, they seem to have opened up a bit over the last 24ish hours I've had them

I've attached some picures of my previous tank, current setup both pre and post plants, as well as some future plans.

I would love to answer any questions and get some discussion going!
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Last edited by cwilson; 02-23-2015 at 08:05 PM.. Reason: OCD
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Old 02-16-2015, 12:41 AM   #2
cwilson
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a few quick additional pics

The first is looking down "the alley" in between the large and small pieces of driftwood. I think it would be cool to grow a relatively low mntc carpet-type plant at the base on the left side of the tank, and watch the plant creep into the ally over time. Also seen are two small caves. The one in back is slightly larger, and is placed behind the driftwood for cory cat privacy and to also support the higher gravel level in the back/left. I really like how the elevation changes turned out. It looks better in person, I wish I was a better photographer...

Also are the best pictures I could get of the plecos. The two of them are oto-sized and are a thrill to watch. Although they look similar, one is slightly darker than the other. Any ID help is greatly appreciated!
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Last edited by cwilson; 02-16-2015 at 03:56 AM.. Reason: OCD
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Old 02-16-2015, 07:15 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwilson View Post
-Tank: 20 gallon high,
-Light: 24" Coralife T5 24w (this was my previous light and gave me great results. amazon dropped this to below $35 and I couldnt resist)
I can't find the light. Got a link to it?
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Old 02-16-2015, 04:45 PM   #4
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no longer on sale, sorry!

Amazon.com : Coralife Aqualight 24" Dual Linear Strip T5 FRESHWATER Aquarium Lighting Fixture : Pet Supplies Amazon.com : Coralife Aqualight 24" Dual Linear Strip T5 FRESHWATER Aquarium Lighting Fixture : Pet Supplies
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Old 02-16-2015, 04:54 PM   #5
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I see that they are the T5NO light strips. I already have them.

I am looking to get a stronger light strip for my 20G high. For I want to grow some red plants. Thinking of getting Beamworks LED Pent 24" HI Lumen. It is selling for $50. Just got to take care of some other things first.

Your ludwiga looks like it could some iron sulfate. When you run out of your liquid fert try Select Aquatics Dry Fert. You make a solution with it. Thus it last a long time. It contains: Calcium sulfate, Iron sulfate, Mag. s., Mang s, Molybden, Biotin. Since he doesn't grow red plants with it I add more iron sulfate to it. You could ask for some iron sulfate on the side since he mixes the dry ferts.

I think Sagittaria subulata and Hydrocotyle would be some good carpet plants for your tank.

Looking forward to your progress.
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Old 02-17-2015, 04:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilde View Post
Your ludwiga looks like it could some iron sulfate. When you run out of your liquid fert try Select Aquatics Dry Fert. You make a solution with it. Thus it last a long time.....

Thanks for the heads up, I'll be sure to grab some iron and potassium quick. I'll do some research on dry fert options as I go through the bottles, but I just want to get back in the grove of things with the way I did before.

I had some ludwigia in a tank that was in hindsight way over lit and under-ferted. Overall it did ok back then, but I need thriving plants this time around!
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Old 02-21-2015, 02:33 AM   #7
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Quick update:

Today I got some flourish iron, root tabs and an additional bunch of ludwigia. It's a lot bigger than the first bunch! I had a few leaves of the initial plants die off, but everyone that's left is doing well. I broke up 1 root tab a bit for by the ludwigia, and put two up by the others.

Before....
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After!
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New FTS
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It's proving to be a chore planting those guys on the right with such little gravel. I should be able to get some more on Sunday to build up the ludwigia area and the back/left.
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Old 02-21-2015, 06:18 AM   #8
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Crypt parva might be a good foreground plant to look at as well.

Also someone correct me if I'm wrong but AFAIK ludwigia is a stem plant, it takes its nutrients from the water column so root tabs won't help. Your sword would love them, though.

Anyway, looks good!
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Old 02-21-2015, 04:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Also someone correct me if I'm wrong but AFAIK ludwigia is a stem plant, it takes its nutrients from the water column so root tabs won't help. Your sword would love them, though

oops! I was tight on space back there anyway so it was only chunks of a single root tab I broke up that was put in. As I fill in the left and possibly a future carpet I'll use the remaining tabs. I should still have 6-7 left

I'll look into your crypt suggestion. I had some larger crypts in a previous setup (pictured in post #1) that just exploded population-wise, hopefully I can get the same results.

Thanks for the kind words!
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Last edited by cwilson; 02-21-2015 at 04:10 PM.. Reason: OCD
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Old 02-21-2015, 06:25 PM   #10
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HELP!!

so this morning I noticed that there seems to be low oxygen levels? One of the neons was at the surface and I noticed the cory cats make dives up to the surface for air... which is a very rare occurrence

Any ideas?? I have a small air pump and a wood block aerator stuck on for a quick fix, but it would be great to know what happened or how I could correct this.

thanks everyone!
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Old 02-21-2015, 06:40 PM   #11
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Corys will dash to the surface even in well-oxygenated water, but the tetra's are probably a good indicator. An easy fix would be to either aim or move the powerhead upwards so that you can see it wrinkling the surface with its flow. Surface agitation is your friend!
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Old 02-21-2015, 07:12 PM   #12
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I have the surface skimmer for my filter which has proven to be enough over the years usually... I ended up replacing the skimmer when I set this tank up. Oddly enough it seems like I less hose this time(?) and the surface skimmer now only has like 1/2" evaporation flex room. Unfortunately I've been a little preoccupied with life stuff, and I think I just had it too low for a bit too long.

I'll leave the bubbler on for a tiny bit more just to help my mind. Thanks for the info though!
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Old 02-22-2015, 07:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwilson View Post
HELP!!
so this morning I noticed that there seems to be low oxygen levels? One of the neons was
Do a 30% water change!!
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Old 02-22-2015, 07:46 PM   #14
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I really like the multi-teired hardscape.
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Old 02-27-2015, 01:06 AM   #15
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I got a bit more gravel to fill in the back corners. I pulled out some existing to mix which will help it look consistent. It also resulted in a 15% water change. I also ended up re-weighting the small driftwood. I actually really like the way it came out, it looks more like a big piece that is partially buried.

The ludwigias are growing tons of roots and everyone else is starting new leaves. Some of those sword leaves have gotten huge!!

And fwiw, I haven't seen any more oxygen issues. also a few new pics!
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Last edited by cwilson; 02-27-2015 at 02:16 AM.. Reason: rotatin' pics!
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