Milq's Blundering Attempt at a 20L - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-15-2010, 05:23 AM Thread Starter
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Milq's Blundering Attempt at a 20L

After all that fuss I made last month, and the giant anti-climactic silence afterward, I think I should start my tank journal.

So last month I did a bunch of research and decided on a 10G and was supposed to have a big shopping trip. That plan fell right apart, but I did assemble some pieces and I have a tank up and running now.

Instead of a 10G, and trying to avoid a Top Fin tank, I got one of their 20 longs. Nearly brought it home on a bus the day I decided I wanted it.

I did a lot of planning before I set it up. I wanted to make sure I picked the best substrate option; minimum price, maximum benefit. Wanted to have some idea of a scape, and carefully plan which fish species and how many individuals I wanted to live in my tank. I bought my filter and I knew I needed a bigger heater and I had some idea about lights. Wanted so bad to go the Flourite Black route, but it was too expensive, so I decided on topsoil and something to cap it.

Went to WalMart, then Canadian Tire, and looked at all my options for soil, constantly groaning at the word "peat" found over and over on the backs of packages. Nobody I asked knew what I wanted or what I was doing, and I got pointed to the smallest, most ill-equipped pet store in town (after being asked if I'd tried pet stores yet. Of course I had! They didn't have what I wanted!). I went in on the very slim chance that they would have something I could use, and came out with two fish. Kind of a rescue job.

Cut to me at home, introducing a fancy guppy and a wagtail platy to a 1.5G betta tank, and quickly taking the betta out and putting him back in the plastic cup he came from the store in, because he went aggro like bettas tend to do. Of course I felt like a fool, and continuing to be foolish, I rushed to fill up the 20G with water (and I hadn't even done my fill test. Shame, shame on me.)

Anyhow, let's jump to the present and get some pictures posted, because that is the most important part.

Here are the six fish that live in the left side of the tank. I had to make a partition for the betta, because when he was in with the original platy and male guppy, he bit a chunk out of the guppy's tail when I wasn't looking (I kept a vigilant eye on them for a while, and he tricked me into thinking they were getting along. Then he did it when I went out of the room).


Same thing but with less-than-optimal lighting. Posted for good comparison between big male and female platies.


This is the section where the betta lives. He's currently recovering from fin rot. Making good progress on regrowth. I am impressed.


Full tank shot. My lighting situation is shamefully ghetto atm, but the low light will drive my tiger lotus to get taller. Not much I can do right now, anyway. Yes, the tank divider is a piece of plastic canvas. I am looking into better tank dividing solutions, and am open to suggestion (I have looked at products and DIY separators. If you have ideas from experience, I want to hear them).



Okay, let's get to the specs.

I'm not too bothered with formatting and organizing data, so

Tank: 20G long, Top Fin
Filter: AquaClear 20 (Purchased when I still thought I was getting the 10G)
Heater: Tetra, for 5-15Gs, will replace later.
Lights: CFL in a lamp with tin foil reflector (awww yeah), general ceiling light. Window always stays covered.
Substrate: Flourite Black (hooray!) over a layer of blue gravel laced with mulm on the left side, and "betta gravel" on the right (not as impressive!).

Fish:
1 Male Betta
1 Male Fancy Guppy
1 Male Orange Wagtail Platy
2 Female, uh, orange and black platy (tuxedo?)
1 Male big shiny platy
1 Female big shiny platy

I don't remember what the labels said on the tanks for the last two varieties of platy. If anyone knows specific names for them (I know there are a million different kinds of platy and they have weird names), please tell me!

Plants:
Massive handfuls of Java moss
Java fern
Tiger lotus
What appears to be "Nymphaea pubescens"
And what was sold to me as "Straight Vals"

Future fish plans:
Guppies - at least two more to keep the one I have company.
Panda cories (But maybe a different, less expensive, more active cory. Pandas are cute, but the ones at my main LFS don't move around very much, and are $13+) 3 or 4 of these guys.
Upiside Down Catfish - I saw one at Petsmart and I want to get him out of there. Also, way cool looking.
Red Cherry Shrimp - I could stand to buy them from the LFS, but if anyone has some stock available, I'd like to talk prices and shipping. The ones at the LFS are all pale. I don't know if they're sickly pale or male pale.

Future plant plans: - Will probably post a WTB if you guys think these are good plants to have
Dwarf Bonsai or Moneywort if it's easier to get.
Anubias Petite
African Water Fern
Cardamine
Some kind of crypt (It's inevitable)
Echinodorus "Vesuvius"
Anacharis
Hygrophila Difformis

Okay guys, tell me what you think! I am open to all comments and critiques, but go easy on me.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-15-2010, 12:26 PM
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Milq,

Just a suggestion on ghetto lighting. You can pick up a conical reflector at lowes or home depot for roughly 12 dollars. They can handle up to 150 watt's. They aren't polished, but are a bit reflective, and can help to turn your CFL into a more directed light. (Getting more into the tank).

They come with clamps, but if you have some luck, you can usually figure out how to hang them as well.

Here's what I mean.



That was 3x 23 watt CFL's with conical reflectors on a 20L. WAY WAY too much light! I think two would have been much more realistic!

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-15-2010, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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Hey, thanks crossbow! That's a great idea. I was thinking about getting a proper desk lamp to angle over the tank, I'll keep an eye out for these as well.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-25-2010, 12:02 AM
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At least you started with low light plants. The Lotus I found easy to grow plant. Just won't have bright colors with low light. You can train it to stay low by cutting all but 2 leaves. I think 2 conical reflectors would work on your tank.

Glad you decided on a 20 long instead of a 10 G. It is easier to scape and keep parameters balanced with a 20 G.

For a partitioner I read someone took the long items that binders slide in and glued them in the tank when it was empty. Then slid in xstitch sheet. Silicone for aquariums or super glue gel can be used. You have hardy fish thus you could put them in a bucket with the plants while doing this.

Perhaps on craigslist you could find a desk lamp the takes a flouresant bulb. Or save up and buy a T5NO light system.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-15-2010, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Oh my gosh, I'm sorry I didn't see this until now. I figured my tank was so newbie and ghetto that no one else was going to post.

I'm happy with my lowlight plants, except my vals melted and now they're barely a couple inches tall. I have moneywort, wisteria, red lugwigia and... something tall now. I wanted to get a simple desk lamp, because I see it work for some people, but I will try to get myself a couple clamp lamps, and build something to attach them to.

I'm happy about the 20L as well. I think I would have felt cramped just looking at a 10 gallon tank. And I would cry being so limited in my stocking options. I don't have the betta anymore, so there is no need for the partition. I'm glad I didn't do anything as permanent as using silicone to secure something to the tank walls.

I would love to buy things off craigslist, but we don't have one for my city. Kijiji on the other hand -- but I haven't had good experience with them.
My sweet sweet mother threw me some cash to go toward buying a proper hood, but I think a couple clamp lamps will do me just fine.

As for the lilies, which I meant to mention at the top, I hear they really reach up in a lowlight system, which is what I am looking for. My major reason for getting them was to have surface leaves and hopefully a flower. They're very beautiful, and I wanted something like that in my tank, without having to go all out and make it a - uh, paludarium?

Thanks a trill-billion for your reply. Sorry I didn't get to it sooner.

I'm going to do an update post later, because there have been big changes in this tank since I started the journal, and I'm feeling it may be worth it to say something about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilde View Post
At least you started with low light plants. The Lotus I found easy to grow plant. Just won't have bright colors with low light. You can train it to stay low by cutting all but 2 leaves. I think 2 conical reflectors would work on your tank.

Glad you decided on a 20 long instead of a 10 G. It is easier to scape and keep parameters balanced with a 20 G.

For a partitioner I read someone took the long items that binders slide in and glued them in the tank when it was empty. Then slid in xstitch sheet. Silicone for aquariums or super glue gel can be used. You have hardy fish thus you could put them in a bucket with the plants while doing this.

Perhaps on craigslist you could find a desk lamp the takes a flouresant bulb. Or save up and buy a T5NO light system.
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20l, betta, cories, platy, rcs

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