Ah Kua Tek's First Attempt at a Planted Tank (30G) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-26-2010, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Ah Kua Tek's First Attempt at a Planted Tank (30G)

Hey Everyone,

I've always wanted to have a planted tank but never had the time and I was never at home so it wasn't practical and/or possible to have one. But now I have the time and am staying put in one place, so I thought the timing was good to have a go at it.

I don't have much experience with planted tanks, but I've had fish when I was a kid. Having said that, starting a planted tanks is a whole new ballgame to me. I don't know the names of plants nor the technical mumbo jumbo of aquascaping, but I'm learning. So please bear with me as I stumble my way through this Journal.

So I decided that a 2 foot 30 gallon tank would be a good way to start the new hobby without being too ambitious. What I have so far to go with it are:

Eheim 2243 Filter
Floredepot & Contro Soil Substrate
2 x 55W tubes for lighting

I wasn't sure what type of scape I would get, but from looking at some excellent Journals on this forum, I wanted some driftwood as a main feature along with some nice carpeting. The rest I felt would be better to play by ear.

So here's what my tank looks like just after filling it with water, placing the driftwood/rocks and planting some of the plants that I bought today.

January 26th 2010
I know the carpet plant is "HC" but have no clue about the others. If someone could help ID them, that'd be great!


This is HC with a bit of what I now know as 'pearling' after planting. I'm hoping it will carpet as nicely as I had in mind


I need help ID'ing the following 2 plants



The plants in the buckets at the back will be planted soon. Just have to figure out where I want them.

Will be getting a CO2 kit tomorrow and attempting to tie some java moss to the drift wood. Will post an update once some more progress on the rest of the planting soon.

Would appreciate some feedback (good or bad) from anyone. I'm still very new at this so any help would be appreciated.

Till next time!
Ah Kua Tek
(Malaysia)
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-26-2010, 05:02 PM
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tank looks like its off to a great start
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-28-2010, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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Today is day 3 and the minor cloudiness in the tank has cleared up. Planted 6 out of the 9 pots of plants that I got from the store. I think I've finally found out what species most of them are (I asked the store before but forgot the names immediately ). I can't believe how hard they are to remember. So I wrote them all down to keep track of what I have and what they're called.

1. Hemianthus callitrichoides
2. Lilaeopsis brasiliensis
3. Ludwigia brevipes
4. Najas guadaloupensis
5. (still have no idea)

I still haven't planted one pot each of the HC and Lilaeopsis brasiliensis yet since I want to wait to see how the ones I've already planted adapt. So far it looks OK but I guess 2 days isn't really going to show me much of a change (if any). The Najas guadaloupensis is looking a little frail in the corner. I may get that in the soil ASAP to see if that will help.

I managed to get the compressed CO2 today along with all the necessary accessories to get it set up. Am using an external 'reactor' connected to the outlet of the canister filter and it all seems to be running well at 1 bubble per second. Also got a long-term CO2 indicator, which seems to indicate that my water was already high on CO2 even before the CO2 tank was installed. Not sure why that is, but I think it may have to do with the soil and fertiliser substrate mix. OR maybe I'm doing something wrong.

Got 3 more pots of plants:

2 x Echinodorus angustifolius for the back corner(s)
1 x Tonina fluviatilis for the mid-ground area

Decided against getting any java moss for the time being. I read somewhere that they can be a pain once they're established and invading the rest of the tank.

At the moment, ammonia levels are at around 3-4ppm. So I'm not going to do any stocking until that drops to undetectable levels. I'm not usually too patient but I think the unplanted pots of plants will keep me occupied until the tank has stabilized a little. That, and frequent water changes.

Wish me luck! :
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-28-2010, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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So these are the photo updates for my last post

The pressurized CO2 system with external diffuser and bubble counter


Ludwigia brevipes


Tonina fluviatilis


Echinodorus angustifolius


This is how everything looks now after some more planting


I think the background needs to be balanced out with something. Was thinking of something with broad red leaves for the left background. Any suggestions?
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-28-2010, 06:15 PM
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you are going bad man! nice work!
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-28-2010, 06:27 PM
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looks like you're off to a great start! ludwigia brevipes is one of my favorite plants! i could never keep mine happy though...
i would let this sit for a bit and grow in

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-29-2010, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the comments. I can't wait to see what happens in the next few weeks/months. I can definitely see why this hobby requires lots of patience. I feel like I can play God for a few moments a day. Or pretend to be a scientist with the water testing and diagnosing problems that arise.

So I'm now pretty much done with buying new plants until I see what the current setup looks like once it grows in. Also, the tank is probably still cycling, which made me go and get some test kits to see how far along the process its in.


So far, the readings for the tests are as follows:

Ammonia : 2-3 ppm
Nitrite : <0.3 ppm
Nitrate : 20ppm

I'm not exactly sure what to assume from those readings but I'm pretty sure that those are not quite acceptable levels to be putting any fish in just yet. I've added some nitrification bacteria to the the tank after this test and will be testing the water again tomorrow before doing a partial water change.

Meanwhile, this is something I noticed today. I think it may be some sort of algae but it's only growing on the melting parts of my HC. I'm not even sure if it's the algae that caused the melting or the melting that triggered the algae. Probably the latter. Either way, I've upped the CO2 to 2bbs to see if that helps.




Algae aside, at least one of my plants seems to be happy.


Updates tomorrow on the water tests.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-29-2010, 05:58 PM
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the last pic is a fantastic picture with the new growth and releasing the oxygen. good stuff. sounds like you are in the middle of the cycle i would do a water change

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-29-2010, 08:41 PM
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I never take a test but I had the same problems like every one :P
testing water in not for me!
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-31-2010, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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Water testing isn't really my thing either, but since I've already burnt a hole in my pocket on all the big ticket accessories, I figured I might as well make sure things don't come crashing down in the near future because I got lazy.

So did a 50% water change yesterday and got a cooling fan for the tank since the water temperature was hovering at around 30 degrees Celcius. Living so close to the equator does has its drawbacks. So far, the cooling fan has managed to cool the water temperature from 30 to 26.5 in the last 12 hours, so that's a major improvement and I'm sure the plants will appreciate the relief from the heat.

While at the LFS picking up the fan, I couldn't resist the temptation of getting a pair of Ottos as my first additions to the tank. They're actually kinda cute in a weird fishy way. I figured that a pair aren't really going to do any harm at this stage and they'd probably help speed up the cycling process. I've also been adding nitrification bacteria on a daily basis to help with the buildup of beneficial bacteria.

Here's a photo of one of the new critters. Doing what I guess they usually do - chilling out on a leaf.


Feel free to comment on anything good or bad.

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-01-2010, 08:35 PM
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I'm sitting by the window reading your post, is snowing, it's about a -2 C degres.... lol ..... it's a real jungle outside!
good thing to buy fans for aquarium, in our country we buy heaters! lol
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-03-2010, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mumushummus View Post
I'm sitting by the window reading your post, is snowing, it's about a -2 C degres.... lol ..... it's a real jungle outside!
good thing to buy fans for aquarium, in our country we buy heaters! lol
LOL. Fans are just the beginning here. Since the weather here is constantly hot and humid, there is a huge market for chillers that can bring the temperature way down by means of a thermostat. Unfortunately, they come with a massive price tag - about half the price of my ENTIRE setup at the moment! Enthusiasts here use chillers mainly for saltwater setups.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-03-2010, 03:23 AM Thread Starter
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Today, a week after setting it up, the tank looks UNBELIEVABLE.

Unbelievably BAD, that is. All the plants are still there and none of them seem to be suffering terribly from the acclimation process. But hair algae has started to become a problem, which I've read is quite common in new tanks. I did notice it a few days ago, but more recently, it seems to have exploded in the last few days. It grows more noticeably overnight when the lights are out. Each morning, once the lights go on, the strands have grown about 2 inches or more. At the moment, CO2 and lights are on for about 10 hours a day. I'll be shortening that to 6 hours a day to see if that makes any difference. I've also bought a pair of Rosy Barbs to help. Initially, they went straight for the hair algae but I have a feeling that the algae growth is outpacing the Rosy Barbs' consumption. We'll see how that goes in a few more days but here are a couple of shots of the monster hair algae.





Am going to try out Seachem's Flourish Excel as well.

Thanks for having a look.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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The hair algae now seems to be retreating quite noticeably after shortening the photoperiod to 6 hours a day and adding the 2 rosy barbs to the tank. Although, I believe it's more because of the photoperiod reduction. The rosy barbs only seem to nibble here and there and one of them has become extremely dominant over the other. Not sure if the dominance is a common issue with these fish, but he/she gets much more feeding in while the other is forced to hide in the corner amongst the E. angustifilius fronds.

I do plan on adding some schooling tetras and am a bit concerned about the vivacious nature of the barbs disturbing the behavior of neons/glowlights/rummynoses. I may remove them later to a smaller tank when the tank has grown in a little and when I decide to add the tetras. Meanwhile, trying to be patient while the tank finishes cycling.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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The tank seems to now be cycled, with barely any ammonia or nitrites. Things added during the last few days have been a Red Tiger Lotus and another plant which I do not know the name of. The Tonina has doubled in length over the last week and so has the Ludwigia brevipes. Still not much progress on the HC carpet nor the Lilaeopsis brasiliensis. I thought the driftwood looked a little bare, so I found some Taiwan moss attach to it. And today saw the addition of the tank's first school of tetras (Silvertip tetras). Took them home to see what they looked like in the tank and I'm now sold on getting more of them later. Sorry, no photos of them yet. They're a little too quick for the camera.

So this is what the tank looks like today, approximately 2 weeks after setting up.


A closer look at the Red Tiger Lotus


I couldn't find the name of this plant anywhere. The LFS said that it was a new plant and even he didn't know the name of it. It has really pretty leaves with white outlines and red stems. Quite a stunning contrast among the darker and richer green surroundings. Does anyone know the name of it?


A closeup of the intense pearling from the Red Tiger Lotus. Never seen pearling like that before.


Got a pair of Yamato/Amano shrimp as my first ever shrimp to see how easy/difficult it is to keep them alive. So far so good, but then again, it's only been a day.


Finally, an angled view of the tank as of the end of today's photoperiod before putting the tank to bed. Everything seems peachy.


Feedback is more than welcome. I'd hate to be the only one posting on my thread.

Till next time!
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