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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-31-2016, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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First time 29g (help highly needed)

OK I've had tanks for years, though I've usually stuck with mbuna tanks which are nothing but sand and rocks, but I've decided to start up again and to try something new. A 29g(30x12.5x18.5) planted tank! The original inspiration was the Black Lake from Harry Potter, so I apologize in advance for not going the "natural" route because at the moment it does look quite cartoony.


.
So far I have for hardware:
  • Marineland penguin 150 HOB filter (150GPH flow rate)
  • Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light Plus Moonlights 30in
  • Jetsu adjustable glass 100watt heater




So far I have for substrate/plants:

  • CaribSea Flora Max Planted Aquarium Substrate 24lbs
  • 1 Java fern on coconut shell
  • 1 Windelov java fern
  • 2 dwarf Hair grass
  • 3 moss balls
  • 2 "moss arches"
  • 2 green cryptocoryne (I think)
  • And some red plant I can't remember the name (yeah finding out they were a bad idea lol but they were a gift)




So far I have for occupants:

  • 7 Neons
  • 4 triple red apistos




I think I'm only managing killing the plants I have and I'm finding mixed messages in my research... I've never had much trouble before, but I've mainly used Java fern in my rocks...
What I would LOVE would be to learn how to get the hair grass to coat the bottom, or to figure out a better plant that will do it.


So here it goes for the major questions:

  1. How in the world can I figure out if I have enough light or not? I've read for "low tech" it's good to have a PAR value of "10-30". Now I have spent a few days trying to research PAR levels with lights and I was about to find an image stating the PAR for the Finnex Ray2 30in, and although it is not the Planted+, I haven't been able to find any true numbers for the Planted+, but I Think it'll put me in borderline Midlight, which might still be ok.
  2. Originally I was dosing with Flourish Excel every other day, but I noticed that when I did (the directed amount) I would lose a Neon the next day, so I bought API CO2 Booster to try instead. Could it really be this additive that is killing the fish or is it just coincidence? Just tried dosing again (the recommended amount) and lost more fish, so I will not be using either of these additives again!
  3. For my plants I picked a specific "panted tank substrate" (the only one I could find) and I've used some Flourish tabs under the bulk of my plants as well as the carbon additive, but all I've managed to do is grow this brown algae over my plants and apparently kill them as well.




Ok I will admit I know absolutely nothing about what I am doing, but I have been trying to do as much research as I can, but I've hit a wall with some of this lingo that all the sites are throwing around, so I figured I better buckle down and just ask the people who do it.


I have a shipment of more plants coming that I got pretty cheap just to try out, but I have a feeling it might come around to bite me...


Here is the list:

  • Alternanthera reineckii
  • Cabomba caroliniana (Green Cabomba)
  • Ceratophyllum demersum (hornwort)
  • Hemianthus micranthemoides (baby tears)
  • Hygrophila difformis (water wisteria)
  • Ludwigia glandulosa
  • Ludwigia repens (creeping primrose willow)
  • Myriophyllum (watermilfoil)
  • Rotala nanjenshan


If there is anything I've left out please let me know and I'll add it if it'll be more help. As I've said I'm basically starting for square one and looking for a new project, so I am more than willing to learn and try new things. I just need help figuring out just what those are.


EDIT: Ok tomorrow I am planning a 20-40% water change, scrub down the glass (starting to get an algae bloom), and rescape the whole thing! I think I've gotten a better idea for the plant placement now that I've been doing research the past week.





Tank so far: Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
BettaBettas and BettaBettas like this.

Last edited by AmayaOkami; 09-01-2016 at 11:51 PM. Reason: Added changes for research
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2016, 12:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmayaOkami View Post
I've decided to start up again and to try something new. A 29g(30x12.5x18.5)

Substate
CaribSea Flora Max

Plants
1 Java fern on coconut shell
1 Windelov java fern
2 dwarf Hair grass
3 moss balls
2 "moss arches"
2 green cryptocoryne (I think)

Here is the list of plants arriving:
Alternanthera reineckii
Cabomba caroliniana (Green Cabomba)
Ceratophyllum demersum (hornwort)
Hemianthus micranthemoides (baby tears)
Hygrophila difformis (water wisteria)
Ludwigia glandulosa
Ludwigia repens (creeping primrose willow)
Myriophyllum (watermilfoil)
Rotala nanjenshan

So far I have for occupants:
7 Neons
4 triple red apistos

Major issues:
1.Originally I was dosing with Flourish Excel every other day. I lose a Neon. Could it really be this additive that is killing the fish?

2. All I've managed to do is grow this brown algae over my plants
Are you just loosing Neon Tetra? They are a bit sensitive. Just cut down on the dosing.

Brown algae is normal for a new tank.

Hemianthus micranthemoides and Ludwigia repens need Co2 injected to adapt to the light. Ludwigia glandulosa will probably not grow with that light

What ferts are you going to dose? CSM+B and Iron chelated are some that would be helpful.

The dolls are amusing! Think they need bathing suits.

Last edited by Hilde; 09-02-2016 at 12:38 AM. Reason: added
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2016, 12:43 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilde View Post
Are you just loosing Neon Tetra? They are a bit sensitive. Just cut down on the dosing.

Brown algae is normal for a new tank.

Hemianthus micranthemoides and Ludwigia repens need Co2 injected to adapt to the light. Ludwigia glandulosa will probably not grow with that light

What ferts are you going to dose? CSM+B and Iron chelated are some that would be helpful.

The dolls are amusing! Think they need bathing suits.




Well I started of with 11, and lost 1 the same day (I figured it was the travel and stress). I did the initial dose of Excel a few days before the fish, so I didn't think of it. I decided to start with dosing every other day, so the next day I dosed and then that night I lost 2 more. I was kind of worried about it, so I skipped two days and tried and the next day I had lost another (though my heater hadn't come in and the water had gotten down to 68 because didn't realize my bf had turned the a/c way down ><) I was still worried so I quit dosing and my apistos had come in so I wanted to give them a couple of days to settle. Well this morning I got back to dosing and just got a text that now one of the apistos are dead. Granted it could all be coincidences, but I really don't want to risk it anymore...


As of right now the only fert I have are about 10 flourish tabs under the substrate. I'm still trying to catch up on all the different ferts out there @[email protected] and now I'm worried about the fish as well.


And I had a feeling a few of the plants won't work, thanks for the heads up! I was getting mixed reviews on the Hemianthus micranthemoides. I figured I was going to lose some, but it was a decent deal for the pack since all I have near me are chain stores.


I am finding myself wanting to learn the CO2 and I'm trying to read up on the DIY sets, but I'm getting more frustrated with the lingo lol I have spent days on here and google, and I'm getting even more into it, so this might be a hobby that stays. I love that it is all new and it's something to learn.

EDIT: Good to hear about the algae (I was worried at first it was going to kill everything) I haven't picked up any cleaners yet since all I have close are common plecos. I'm bouncing between shrimp and/or oto cats. But tomorrow I'm using it as my excuse to do a complete over hall ^^

Last edited by AmayaOkami; 09-02-2016 at 01:05 AM. Reason: I can't spell... >>
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2016, 04:25 AM Thread Starter
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OK, so good update! I just got home and after having an intense staring contest with my tank for 20mins I have discovered that all 4 apistos are alive and well! Also noticed that my moss arches ate gaining a bit of green back! Honestly no idea what kind of moss, but I want to say it might be Java moss. Well anyway, tomorrow I'll be cleaning everything up and do another water change and reorganize. I'll add new pics when I'm done
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-03-2016, 02:15 AM
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I am finding myself wanting to learn the CO2 and I'm trying to read up on the DIY
I tried the DIY Co2 systems. This is the only 1 that I have heard works. To me it is a waste of money for you have constantly buy citric acid for it. Also you have to check it many times.

A good Co2 system cost between $150 and $300. Here is a thread on what others have spent. I figure using a 24oz paintball tank I will be refilling it 4xs a year at the most. Cost will be $28.

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I have discovered that all 4 apistos are alive and well!
You must be doing something right for they are sensitive to poor water conditions
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-03-2016, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilde View Post
I tried the DIY Co2 systems. This is the only 1 that I have heard works. To me it is a waste of money for you have constantly buy citric acid for it. Also you have to check it many times.

A good Co2 system cost between $150 and $300. Here is a thread on what others have spent. I figure using a 24oz paintball tank I will be refilling it 4xs a year at the most. Cost will be $28.

Bump:
You must be doing something right for they are sensitive to poor water conditions

Thank you for the links! I'll start looking them up this weekend. I kind of have to wait a bit on anymore big purchases >> might have over extended myself at the moment lol But yes all four are nice and healthy and were swimming around all over the place yesterday after the water change lol




New update!
http://i.imgur.com/XFMEXwY.jpg my plants came in! Definitely more than I had expected...



http://imgur.com/1cFA2y1 I decided to take everything out and do a complete change. Also trying the slope idea. I figured it might help the reds by putting them closer to the light...



http://imgur.com/O0d6fxA here's hoping everything doesn't die overnight! I'm kind of worried because some of the new ones have gotten kind dried out... So towards the end I was more worried about getting them in the water over where to correctly place them. I'll give them a few days before I start redecorating again.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 06:53 AM
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I tend to tell people whom want to start a planted tank to stick to anubias, ferns, and mosses for they are the easiest and cheapest in the long run. You get some colorful red plants and then you have think about ferts and Co2.

Until you get Co2 try Excel alternative Metricide 28 glut 2.5% or Metricide 14 2% glutaraldehyde Metricide or Cidex. Not cidex odt.

Excel has 1.5% Glut. A quart is approx $25 on Ebay. At dealmed.com 1 gallon $18.20. shipping $9.99

Formula for solution is:
glut = (1.5 x container)/ cidex glut%
glut = (1.5% * 100ml)/2.5%.
500ml bottle = 300ml of 2.5%(Metricide 28) + 200ml of water

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I decided to take everything out and do a complete change. Also trying the slope idea. I figured it might help the reds by putting them closer to the light...
I am uncertain if that slope will level out in time. Perhaps you can push some slate into some areas to keep it from leveling out.
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Last edited by Hilde; 09-04-2016 at 07:32 AM. Reason: ADDED A PICTURE
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-08-2016, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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Well things were going pretty well for the first couple of days. The fish were really enjoying the new plants and swimming all over the place, but as I'm quickly learning, it didn't last long :/ I already knew I would lose a bit of the plants , but so far they are holding out better than I had expected. I've lost maybe 1 or 2 stems per group, but I'm seeing a bit of growth on some. Right now the plants are quickly becoming last on my list though...


I ended up losing my male apisto, but by a freak accident >< He ended up getting stuck on the filter, and as pissed as I was, that wasn't even the worst part... Luckily it turned out one of the juvie "females" colored up over night and is now quite obviously a male, so there was a silver lining there. I picked up a few more neons and got the number up to 10. I also got a timer for my light and have scheduled 6hr on/6hr off/6hr on (though I usually have this as my moon light just so I can observe everything for a bit when I get home from work) I also have a group of shrimp coming either tomorrow or Saturday to help with the algae growth. I might end up picking up some snails too since I just don't feel a 29g is enough room for otos or even a BN pleco.


Well I thought things were going well so I started dosing Excel again, and once again I lose 4 fish over night! 3 neons and 1 of my female apistos! Is it possible I've gotten a bad bottle of Excel? I know everyone swears it is safe, but there is no way all these losses or just coincidences... I've decided to give up on ferts/CO2 altogether at the moment. If the plants die, at this point I don't care, I just don't want to lose any more fish... I feel I'm just being cruel now.


I know in the batch of plants I got quite a few are going to die, but I'm noticing there are a few doing pretty well. Some of my Alternanthera reineckii (I think it is) still have bright colors and new leaves, some of my Ludwigia repens (I honestly don't think this is what it really is, but the only thing on the list that matches) are having decent pearling. And surprisingly some bulbs I forgot all about have grown like a foot over night! As frustrated as I'm getting with all this, I'm trying to sit back and learn from it all. I feel like I'm back in grade school with a science experiment. I'll admit it is irking me how I've had tanks before and never had a problem with my fish, but this one I can't seem to keep any alive. Maybe it's my LFS just has bad stock. I very rarely buy from them, but I just don't see the point of getting tetras off of aquabid when they are in town.


I know I will be rescaping the whole thing with better plants, and I'm doing more and more research of the low tech plant lists, but I'm trying to give everything time to settle before I tear it all up again. My whole thing was at first I didn't even know what kind of plants I even liked or how to find any that "go together". I feel like a bull in a china shop, but I've always learned better with hands on than just reading about it.


@Hilde I bookmarked that CO2 kit you linked me and am working on getting everything to try that. Is there a link you can send me that explains to dosing for the CSM+B and Iron chelated? Sorry if this is a stupid question, I tried looking for it on the site and I wasn't finding much of anything.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Well after doing more research, I think my water might also be a problem... It is ph of 8 and very hard (though I'm not sure of the exact measurements) So for now I'm giving up on the fish and just going to focus on the plants. I got a few Aponogeton bulbs coming and two pieces of spider wood I'm soaking at the moment. I've ordered the PPS-Pro Fertilizer Package with 2 x 500mL Fertilizer Dispensers as well as the Iron Chelate. Can excel be dosed with these without issue since it is for the carbon? What days should it be dosed with?


I'm going to try just focusing on the plants and set up to get that chemistry under control before adding anything else. I have access to a Di system at work, but with 10-15g a week it would be a real pain and I know it's not the best for the plants >< So far my hairgrass is hanging in there, but I might think of switching to either Sagittaria subulata, staurogynes repens, or Marsilea quadrifolia for the foreground. Any thoughts?
I was also thinking of either getting some swords or val for the background and use my java ferns, java moss arches, and Aponogeton for the midground for now. Try to keep things simple for now.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-18-2016, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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Ok so I've decided on a complete overhaul. After testing a few different theories, I think the dolls might have been causing an issue with the water as well since after about a week of taking them out everything seems to have suddenly flourished. I'm still not completely finished with it, as I still have a few more bulbs coming, but I think it is getting better. Somehow 2 neons are still alive, as is my lone female apisto. I also have about 5 shrimp that are still around. I got pissy when I couldn't find any the other day, but turned out they were all hiding under one of the moss balls. >< I'm going to wait another week or two before trying to get anymore fish. I have 3 snails coming the end of this month, though I'm now a little worried as all of a sudden there are now three already in the tank and they have cleaned the whole place. I'm impressed considering they are only about the size of a nail head.



Updated full tank shot (ignore the little guy hanging out front >> I forgot to move him)



I picked up a bit of Staurogyne repens on sale. I think I'll have to move it all a bit closer together, but I didn't have the time since I was supposed to have left for work when I got the package...



Ok I know this isn't the best picture, but I got a few bulbs of aponogeton madagascariensis for less than 10$ so I figured I'd go and give them a try. I wasn't really expecting much, but after planting them in the substrate they grew this much over night! I'm hoping they can hold up at least enough to fill out the empty space.


I have a couple of aponogeton undulates coming as well for the other side of the tank. As things are dying off I'm taking them out and just replacing them with bulbs since that seems to be the main thing I can grow lol. I've started dosing with the PPS Pro kit today and will keep an eye out to see how well that does. I need to figure out a decent schedule on dosing while making sure it still works without hurting the fish anymore than I already have.


I also need to cave and get a black background since the that one isn't anything like what I was expecting and now that the algae is gone and it can be seen I really need to fix it!
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-24-2016, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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Updated tank picture:



I've been soaking the spider wood for about 2weeks and tied my java fern Windelov to them to get them higher off the substrate and more into the water column. I've tossed out a few more plants that I just wasn't feeling and planted 6 Aponogeton ulvaceus in the back right corner.


I've been dosing ferts all week and have seen NO MORE DEATHS! I can only conclude it was the killer dolls. I HAVE seen a pretty big spike in growth rates considering I'm not injecting Co2. Some of which being a sudden boom in snails... I have about 3 that are a decent size and about 100 micro babies all over the place. So I've decided in going to try out some dwarf puffers. My lfs has some for about 4$ a piece. They are pure freshwater, only get about an inch long and LOVE snails. There is a lot of mixed feelings I'm finding online about them with other fish, so I'm going to try to see how they get along with another quad of apistos. If they don't work out I have a 15g column tank I originally got for my mom I can turn into a puffer tank since she is wanting something smaller for her seahorses.


Updated picture of my Madagascar lace:
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-25-2016, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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My new babies! My female apisto isn't as excited as I am. She's not happy sharing her tank, but a bit of blood worms has EVERYONE happy!








Look! The littlest one is smaller than my shrimp! Yet already got its jaws on a few baby snails. I've got another quad of apistos coming this week. I'm hoping that with all of them being new it'll prevent any territory disputes for a while and it'll have enough fish to hopefully calm down the pissy female
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