Serenity - 20g low tech
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Old 05-11-2014, 03:35 AM   #1
newsushi
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Serenity - 20g low tech


My wife and I started Serenity during the first week of March 2014. Serenity is our first freshwater aquarium, and named because it helps us unwind at the end of the day. My favorite part is the gentle swaying of the crypts in the current.

Thanks for looking.

Serenity as of June 2, 2014:

image

Equipment:
Tank: 20 gallon
Filter: Fluval AquaClear 50
Light: Finnex Planted+ 24-inch
Circulation Pump: Hydor Koralia Nano 240
Heater: Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm 75w

Hardscape
Substrate: CaribSea Eco Complete + API Laterite

Flora
Anubias Congensis
Anubias Nana
Cryptocoryne Wendtii Green
Cryptocoryne Undulata Red
Cryptocoryne Wendtii 'Tropica'
Cryptocoryne Parva
Cryptocoryne Crispatula 'Balansae'

Fauna
4 Guppies (3 female, 1 male)
6 Threadfin Rainbows (2 female, 4 male)
2 White Cloud Minnows
3 Otocinclus
10ish Ghost Shrimp
10ish Cherry Shrimp

Last edited by newsushi; 06-03-2014 at 12:48 AM.. Reason: update
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Old 05-11-2014, 04:08 AM   #2
westerlies
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looks good! i like the driftwood.
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Old 05-11-2014, 04:15 AM   #3
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I could be wrong but that dwarf hairgrass needs a co2 source in order to thrive. I had it in my low tech 55 gallon and completely withered within 2 weeks even with high light. Also I notice the splashing from hob filter on the surface you might want raise the water level in order to minimize that a bit so plants can utilize if any co2 in the water. Overall that's a beautiful scape I love those crypts

Last edited by Agent69; 05-11-2014 at 04:18 AM.. Reason: Auto correct
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:02 AM   #4
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Very nice. The name is fitting.
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Old 05-11-2014, 03:50 PM   #5
newsushi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westerlies View Post
looks good! i like the driftwood.
Thanks! We were very lucky to get that driftwood. I had gone to the LFS to replace a broken part and the driftwood guy was there making his annual delivery (apparently this one guy supplies the vast majority of driftwood to local stores in the eastern US and Canada!) This piece really caught our eyes.

IMG_2336

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agent69 View Post
I could be wrong but that dwarf hairgrass needs a co2 source in order to thrive. I had it in my low tech 55 gallon and completely withered within 2 weeks even with high light. Also I notice the splashing from hob filter on the surface you might want raise the water level in order to minimize that a bit so plants can utilize if any co2 in the water. Overall that's a beautiful scape I love those crypts
I'm pretty sure you're correct with regard to the dwarf hairgrass. That was the first plant I bought for the tank before I knew anything about CO2 and light requirements. It's never thrived and will probably be removed to make way for something else soon. It's also been a constant maintenance battle as the guppies like to uproot it and watch it float around in the current.

I didn't realize the splashing from the filter would rob the water of significant amounts of CO2. The good news is that photo was taken at the end of the week before doing maintenance, so it was about 2.5 gallons low on water. Maybe I'll start doing more frequent water top offs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_Chad View Post
Very nice. The name is fitting.
Thank you.
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Old 05-21-2014, 07:35 AM   #6
newsushi
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Serenity as of May 10, 2014:

image

Equipment:
Tank: Top Fin 20 gallon
Filter: Fluval AquaClear 50
Light: Finnex Planted+ 24-inch
Circulation Pump: Hydor Koralia Nano 240
Heater: unknown

Hardscape
Substrate: CaribSea Eco Complete + API Laterite

Flora
Anubias Congensis
Anubias Nana
Eleocharis Parvula (Dwarf Hairgrass)
Cryptocoryne, Wendtii Green
Cryptocoryne, Undulata Red

Fauna
3 Guppies (3 female)
3 Threadfin Rainbows (1 female, 2 male)
2 White Cloud Minnows
3 Otocinclus
6ish Ghost Shrimp
6ish Cherry Shrimp
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Old 05-21-2014, 08:07 AM   #7
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Serenity as of May 20, 2014:

image

Changes:
  • Removed Eleocharis Parvula (Dwarf Hairgrass). Not only was it not thriving, but the guppies also constantly uprooted it.
  • Added 3 more Threadfin rainbows (+1 Female, +2 Male)
  • Added 5 or so more Ghost Shrimp
  • A ghost shrimp successfully gave birth, but we're not sure whether any survived the initial feeding frenzy.

Other things of note:
Plans:
  • I need something to plant in the space where the dwarf hairgrass used to reside. I want something small (suitable for foreground) that's also low maintenance. I'm strongly considering Cryptocoryne Parva.
  • I'm also looking for something to plant behind the driftwood as a background plant. I also want this to be a slow growing plant that requires little maintenance. I really like the look of Vallisneria Americana Gigantea (Jungle Val), but they grow too quickly and spread too vociferously. Instead, I'm strongly considering either Cryptocoryne Spiralis or Cryptocoryne Balansae.
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Old 05-21-2014, 01:09 PM   #8
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Crypts are great they'll be fine with that lighting, but the mini HG definitely needs co2 and med light at the very least.
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Old 05-21-2014, 03:51 PM   #9
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I like it!!! Looks great!!
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Old 05-29-2014, 04:48 AM   #10
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Serenity has been experiencing GH and KH creep. We've battled against high KH and PH since the tank's infancy, but I thought I’d solved the issue months ago once I decided to forego the use of tap water and use only distilled water + Seachem Equillibrium and acid/alkaline buffer for water changes and top offs. After a random test tonight, however, it appears high GH, KH, and PH are back. There’s certainly a chance that human error is to blame for this - I could have erroneously added twice the additives to a batch of distilled water - but there’s also a couple of potential culprits in the tank: a slate tile weighing down the driftwood and a dozen or so brown-and-black striped river rocks.

I’ve decided to remove them both from the tank. I’ll put the rocks in a bucket with some prepared water and make a control - a second bucket of the same water with no rocks added - and test them both after a week. If the rocks are causing the creep I probably won’t put them back in the aquarium. The slate won’t be going back in regardless since it should no longer be needed to weigh down the driftwood.

The most negative aspect of this - or at least the aspect that makes me the most apprehensive - is that to get the slate out I will have to disturb most of the substrate and probably uproot half of the plants. Here's to hoping I don't crush too many (any) shrimp or fish.

Last edited by newsushi; 05-31-2014 at 12:21 AM.. Reason: edit
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Old 06-01-2014, 05:21 AM   #11
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Got a shipment of plants: Cryptocoryne Parva for the foreground (middle), Cryptocoryne Wendtii 'Tropica' for midground (left), and Cryptocoryne crispatula 'Balansae' for the background (right).

image


Serenity as of May 31, 2014

image

Changes:
  • Removed brown and black striped rocks and slate tile weighing down the driftwood due to possible GH/KH creep. Did a moderate rescape while the tank was torn apart.
  • Added Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm 75w heater.
  • Added Cryptocoryne Parva to the foreground.
  • Added Cryptocoryne Wendtii 'Tropica'
  • Added Cryptocoryne crispatula 'Balansae' to background
  • Added 5ish ghost shrimp
  • Added 5ish red cherry shrimp
  • Added 1 fancy male guppy
  • Added a black plastic background that looks terrible in real life but not terrible in photos ... interesting.

Other things of note:
  • My fertilizers arrived but I haven't used them yet. I knew I was going to be messing with the substrate and figured that would stir up junk into the water column. I'll probably begin dosing fertilizers next week after everything has calmed down.
  • I bought some
    aquascaping tools aquascaping tools
    and they've already improved my quality of life. I can't imagine how much longer it would have taken to plant all of that without some good forceps.
  • I've been battling slightly cloudy water for several weeks now. I've tried Seachem Clarity and had absolutely no success with it (My filter should move 200gph, but the tank stays cloudy for days after use). I replaced my carbon with Seachem Purigen yesterday. Obviously the water is still cloudy, but I did tear the tank apart less than 24 hours ago. Any tips for getting crystal clear water would be appreciated.

Plans:
  • Thinking about getting a heater controller as insurance against a possible heater malfunction.

Last edited by newsushi; 06-01-2014 at 03:53 PM.. Reason: different full tank shot
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Old 06-03-2014, 12:47 AM   #12
newsushi
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A few photos from this evening:

Red cherry shrimp on the driftwood:

image

Overhead shot:

image

And a full tank shot:

image

The Purigen may be helping some, but I'm still not satisfied with the water clarity. Rinsed out the filter floss on the filter intake and in the filter body. Not sure what to do now.
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Old 06-03-2014, 01:23 AM   #13
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Looking good. I used the Purigen as well and water looked amazing a few days later. That's also if you can leave the tank alone and not mess around with the plants too much though.

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Old 06-03-2014, 01:26 AM   #14
180g
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nice!
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Old 06-03-2014, 03:21 AM   #15
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gotta love crypt tanks! yours looks awesome, and hope to see it truly take off. c.parva takes a little while to establish but slowly will start filling in for you.
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