26 gallon Bowfront planted by CanadianMatt - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-06-2010, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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26 gallon Bowfront planted by CanadianMatt

Alrighty folks, I'm new to the forum but to keep myself entertained during the waiting game I wanted to do a Journal of my progress as well as be more active in the community.

About myself, well I'm a 28 year old Male living in Chicago and I have wanted to have a really nice aquarium for years. Now that I've lived in one place for 2 years and don't appear to be going anywhere it seems to be a good time to get my start. I am a newbie but I have spent the last month or so reading websites, articles, books, and reviews and I'm feeling pretty good about everything. Experience of course is the best teacher so here we go!!!!

I went out and bought everything I needed to get started. My goals was to stay under the $500 mark for my first tank at least initially. I went with the Aqueon 26 bowfront kit package that includes the hood, heater, and filter. I know this isn't the ideal way to get started and everyone says you're wasting your money doing it this way but for me I think it's a good way to get started as I'm very impatient. I know, patience is very important in this hobby. Well, I got it anyway and it was on sale for $99 dollars at Petsmart so the way I see it I'm out what $40 dollars when I replace the heater and filter and lights for better equipment.

Okay so yes, I have every intention of making this my money pit for the next few months. Lets get this tank established first though and then we'll talk equipment. Next step, setting it all up....
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-06-2010, 10:24 PM
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If you aren't going to run a CO2 system, $500 is a ton more than you need to spend.


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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 04:27 PM
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I wouldn't go out replacing the heater or filter just yet. They may not be the best but they can be more than adequate depending on your plans. Wait until you decide on a set-up and the inhabitants.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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Incredibly progress has been made. Shopping was fun and there were a few unexpected finds. Of course I did purchase the Aqueon 26 bowfront kit with the quiet flow 30 filter yadda yadda. That of course isn't the fun part, that's just the required stuff. We here in Chicago have a few amazing choices for aquarium stores, Old Town Aquarium is fantastic and very reputable, and Aquarium Adventures in Hoffman Estates is the super store you always wanted for your fishy friends. I have a place in my neighborhood as well but I have found they over charge for everything so it will be an Emergency backup only.

Our first find was the background for the tank. The company is Universal Rocks and these backgrounds are so realistic. They are a bit expensive but I do like it better then the painted black background.

I also found some great pieces of wood and have been boiling them for the last 24 hours even though the directions said 15 minutes. The Tannin was leaching out like crazy for a long while so I'm really glad I took the time to thoroughly rinse them.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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So I got everything ready for the tank and started designing my aqua scape. I am going to use restraint and hold off on adding plants and then fish for at least a week to allow the tank to cycle and get the water safe and happy. It is so damn hard to be patient and take all this slowly.

I should also mention I'm a photographer so I will likely have tones of pictures to show off. I got everything set up to perfection and I got the water in the tank with the filter running yadda yadda.





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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 01:58 AM
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Nice START!

Guess I am going to have to be patient too!
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 02:06 AM
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Looks good so far! What type of tank are you shooting for?


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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 02:13 AM
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l was gonna ask a question but someone already did *cough cough fastfreddie cough cough*

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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 02:14 AM
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Love the background! I'm in Bolingbrook, a western suburn of Chicago, check out my tank some time.


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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 02:29 AM Thread Starter
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I'm going for a community tank with mostly all small fish, under 2 inches full grown. So Tetras or Guppies or something like that. Ideally I was going for muted colors in decoration and bright colored fish. I will probably add about a dozen or so small community fish and then gather my clean up crew of cherry shrimp a pleco or an otto and maybe a snail though I'm not the biggest fan of snails, especially those unwanted creatures that come along in the plants.

As for plants since this is my first tank and I do have visions of a larger tank in the future I am going to stay low light in this one. I'm actually a big fan of the way Hornwort looks and would like to find a ground cover plant that doesn't require to much light. I will be doing a lot of research this week on low light plants for my tank, of course any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 03:14 AM
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Well, I find the plants listed in the sticky of the low tech forum a bit daunting, but that is a place to start.
Anubias (all types), Java ferns and mosses, Hygrophila difformis and polysperma, many crypts, and Echinodorus sp. are a few of my favorites. I really got a lot of joy from an Echinodorus Bleheri I had for a LONG time that I passed on to a friend. I think everyone should have one at least once.

Hope this helps. Keep us posted.

I think the #1 mistake most people make, whether high tech or low tech, is starting out with too much light. Keep that in mind. There are many more important factors to your success other than having a big fancy super bright T5HO. Be conservative in your lighting, and in your photoperiod.


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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thus far not much going on with the tank. The waiting game has begun! All looks good thus far except I can't get my timer to work properly even while following directions so I'm going to have to find a better one. Actually the really easy to use timer, ya know the one with pins you push and pull to get the time are awesome but the one I had made a lot of noise and since this is in the bedroom I do not want to hear "tick tick tick" all night long.

My efforts to get all the tannin out of my drift wood was about 95% successful. Thankfully my tank doesn't look like tea water yet but I am seeing some yellowing. I will do a water change when I put the plants in but for now I don't want to disturb anything. I had high hopes that 24 hours of boiling and soaking would have illiminated the problem. Oh well!

As for plants, I made an order on liveaquaria.com yesterday just to get started:

Cabomba
Micro Sword
Moneywort
Water Sprite
Dwarf Hairgrass
Four Leaf Clover

I know that they aren't all "low light" plants but I tried to stick to things that were at least moderate to low light. I think the Dwarf Hairgrass is probably my favorite though. So I will probably be planting my tank on Thursday evening and then I will update with some more photos.
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 10:26 PM
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i have dwarf hairgrass in my 10 gallon that is doing great. It has 40 watts t8 with no reflectors. it's also a 24" fixture so i get some light spill on the sides.

4 * 8 * 15 * 16 * 23 * 42

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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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I've been kinda lazy at getting an update on here but things have been progressing nicely. I got my plant shipment in from liveaquaria.com on Thursday evening and got to planting. I actually had to scape the tank twice. The reflection of the bow front and water just mess with you when your tank is half full and you're trying to get everything in the right place. So the first attempt was okay but left a lot of little things I didn't like so I had to go in on Friday and take the water out and change a few things. It's looking good but I still see a few opportunities for improvement so I might swap a few things around again in a few days.

No fish yet but I am pretty sure I'm going to get some platties in a week or two. Everyone at the fish store keeps telling us to get Danios and Barbs because they're sturdy fish but I honestly don't like the look of em and I'd hate to have to put them through the torture or going back to the fish store and going to meet the other fish in the sky. So I'm hoping after 3 weeks of fishless cycling the platties will do just fine. From what I've read they are pretty sturdy fish themselves so I don't know why the fish store doesn't put them on the same list as the Danios.

That's about it for now, of course I also have pictures of the progress.

Plants being unboxed



The Tank on the first try not the second:



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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 09:41 PM
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Awesome! That background is so sweet!


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