The "I have no idea what I'm doing" tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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The "I have no idea what I'm doing" tank

First time keeping fish...even a carnival gold fish, so why not go with a planted tank!?

I wanted to start this journal for anybody that has no idea what they're doing to follow and find out what it's like to have no idea what you're doing but hopefully be successful in starting up their own planted tank.

After spending the first 3 weeks researching things, I've set my tank up with the following equipment:

75G tank
Penn Plax Cascade 1000 (Purigen, bio rings, coarse & fine sponges)
SunSun JVP-101 800 GPH Wavemaker
Koval 156 LED Aquarium Light (which I don't know if it's going to be good enough but we're going to find out)
Eco-Complete & Lava rock for substrate
Aqueon 300W Heater

On The Way:
GLA Regulator to go co2

Ferts:
Osmocote
Nilocg Liquid NPK+M

Water:
A little bit of RO
Softened Water and Hard Water
I tested my hard water and had a PH of 8, 9KH, and 17GH
I tested my soft water and the PH went to about 7, 8KH, and 3GH

I did a 50% water change when it was all hard water and put in about 3 gallons of RO (because that's how much my RO tank holds) and the rest soft water. When I retested it was at about 7.3 PH, 9KH, and 14GH.

I have no fish in the tank as I'm just starting and waiting for the cycle, but I'll tweak it a bit more down the road. I think I'll have to dial down the water softener to let a few grains of hardness through and go that way.

One area where I failed to research much in was plants. I just bought whatever wasn't too expensive:

Anacharis
Myrio Green
Cryptocoryne Wendtii
Ludwigia Pervensis
Ludwigia Repens
Java Fern
Hair Grass

Things that I've learned so far:

I saw that adding lava rock under the substrate would help with using massive amounts of the expensive stuff so I threw it in the bottom. The place that recommended this said to keep it in bags. I wanted to be a cheap ass and save $20 so I didn't do it. If you go this route, KEEP IT IN BAGS.

While trying to plant I keep hitting the rocks because they're spread out making it difficult to plant the plants.

I also went a bit crazy with the plant ordering (see the picture). Because I'm having difficulty planting, I've kind of just spread it out all over the place.

So there's that. Let's see if I manage to kill everything in the first week or two. Fingers crossed.



As of 6/1/2017:


As of 6/19/2017:


As of 7/19/2017:
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Last edited by DangerDonkey; 07-19-2017 at 08:21 PM. Reason: syntax
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 06:43 PM
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There is no one single way to start nor run a tank so it does get interesting to just jump in. Nothing wrong with sink or swim as long as one is able to come back from getting slammed by things we don't expect.
What's the old saying? It makes us stronger--if it doesn't kill us first!
Best of luck and keep posting.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-23-2017, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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A week or so has come and gone. I've still have just been sitting around waiting for the cycle to complete.

I measured ammonia and nitrates a few days ago. Ammonia is still at 4ppm, but nitrates are at about 2ppm.

I didn't touch the tank for about 4 days since I was out of town. Several plants were uprooted. I think I'm going to have to forego the wave maker. The flow is crazy with it on. Anybody need one or want to trade for a weaker one?

Some of the plants have started to grow a bit, there's definitely growth coming from what I think was the Ludwigia Repens. The anacharis isn't looking too good though...most of it is turning brown and is looking like it's melting.

I found some more rocks over the weekend to throw into the tank. Tonight I'm going to do a 50% water change and change the landscaping around. I also bought some moss because I want to cover the manzanita with it.

Tank today:


Moss is growing after only 2 days:


Ludwigia Repens (I think) already showing some significant new growth in only a week:

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-01-2017, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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I did a bit of rescaping after my last post. I scored a few more rocks so I decided to add some scenery to the right side.

My ADA regulator finally came in yesterday and I got that set up last night.

I'm still not getting much root growth. There's a corner of my tank that seems like everything planted there is dying in. The only plant that really looks good is the anacharis.

It looks like I have some diatoms on the plants and some black beard algae growing on the manzanita branch but otherwise everything looks healthy enough.
I also tested the water last night and had my nitrites and nitrates off the charts. I performed a 50% water change and this is where I was at today around noon after dosing up to 2ppm ammonia this morning:



Looks like I'm in the nitrite stall phase right now.....the most frustrating part D:

pH is swinging by about 1 point from night to day, most likely due to the co2.

Don't mind the gold fish in there. I have a co-worker who has an oscar and cichlid at my office. He feeds the Oscar the goldfish and told me to toss the goldfish in there and the cycle is a myth. He's an idiot but I just said whatever and took it.

Surprisingly the gold fish is still alive after about a week of being thrown in. He's pretty stupid and doesn't venture near the top of the tank where the flakes are but waits until the float by him as they sink. Maybe he'll starve....maybe the nitrates will get him. I don't know.

What I do know is that ammonia was at 4ppm and I thought he was going to be gone by the evening but alas he has become more and more active.

Here's some pictures:


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Last edited by DangerDonkey; 06-01-2017 at 11:33 PM. Reason: i don't know how to words
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-02-2017, 12:23 AM
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Excessive ammonia can burn plants.
I would try to not go over 2ppm of NH3.


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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-02-2017, 12:42 AM
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For a "no idea what the hell I'm doing" tank I think it looks great! cant wait to see it find its balance. Keep us updated
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-02-2017, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
Excessive ammonia can burn plants.
I would try to not go over 2ppm of NH3.
Hmmm...maybe that's why some of the plants don't look so good. Either way, I'm floating from around 0 - 2ppm when I dose now. Some of the plants look like they're bouncing back so that's a positive.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-02-2017, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerDonkey View Post
I'm still not getting much root growth. There's a corner of my tank that seems like everything planted there is dying in. The only plant that really looks good is the anacharis.
The plants might be going through an adjustment period. I have found dosing Brightwell Aquatics FlorinAxis helps the plants to adjust. You can find it on Ebay and Amazon.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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Another week(ish) down and quite a bit has happened.

Pretty much all of the ludwigia repens and ludwigia pervensis is dead and/or dying. Alot of the growth that I showed it previous pictures was actual growth, but the stem beneath it all died/melted away. I lost a whole lot of leaves I found a bunch of floating plants that looked alive but with dead stems, so I just pulled it all out.

The anacharis is growing like crazy though. Enough for me to have to trim and replant.

My cycle appears to have completed so I bought a bunch of fish as well.

Here's what the tank looks like today:



Here's what the ludwigia is looking like. There are black holes in the leaves. I've been EI dosing nilocg nutrients but it doesn't seem to help any:




Sorry for the blurry pictures but all of my myrio green has shed its needles from the bottom half of the plant. I'm getting no root growth either with several specimens...I think those are going to go soon too



But the fish seem happy.

They respond to me when they see me walking by. They aren't scared of my arm when I'm digging around in the tank. I've even held some food underwater and "hand" fed the few that are daring enough to get close to the hand monster.



The fish lineup is as follows:

3 Dwarf Gourami's
3 Blue Gourami's
5 black skirted tetra
5 white skirted tetras
5 glass tetra that I didn't know when I bought them but I guess they're injected with dye
3 Kuhli Loaches
3 Panda Cory Cats
3 Siamese Algae Eaters
4 oto cats
10 fancy guppies
2 balloon rams
1 immortal gold fish that my wife refuses to let me get rid of
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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I took out almost all of the dead/dying stuff out. I was surprised to see some of the ugliest looking mostly dead stuff had some new root growth so I did keep a few plants that I was going to toss.

Either way, I did a complete rescape and added a few more plants. If the new additions survive then I might try to add some ludwigia back into the tank.

I also bought a Beamworks FSPEC light to go with the KOVAL light that I have. I'm hoping that not enough light was the reason why the ludwigia didn't have a good time. CO2 got a bump up as well to help with the new amount of light in the tank.

I figured out that I have two ultra pregnant guppies and just bought a hatchery tank. For some reason the males only harass the largest female but leave the other one be. I didn't get to sex them and unfortunately I have 2 females to 6 males.

I think I might have killed a couple of eggs that I found. I thought it was just some osmocote that was laying on the surface of the substrate. They crushed and had a milky substance in it. Not sure if they were in fact eggs or old osmocote but they were amber looking and almost transparent. I'm not sure what in my tank would have laid those but I'm sure the gourami's would have eaten whatever hatched anyway.

Today:
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Last edited by DangerDonkey; 06-19-2017 at 09:32 PM. Reason: words
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 09:53 PM
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Your tank is looking pretty good in my opinion. Starting up a new tank is painful and it can take months to really stabilize. I normally add some wisteria in new tanks to get everything balanced and then remove it and start with the plants that I want. Are you wanting to do any carpeting plants? The only one Ive ever tried is Monte Carlo and it grows very easily and its really nice looking. Also... from what I remember gold fish eat plants...
The tank will settle. Don't let the initial growing pains get you down. Once it settles and you get the lighting and C02 dialed in youll be able to grow anything you like
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-20-2017, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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I'd like to carpet and the hair grass that's in the front there is what I was hoping would carpet but results have been less than optimal. I haven't been able to find any carpet plants at a reasonable price. Not at any local LFSs or even online. Any suggestions?

That gold fish is unfortunately required to stay in my tank now because it was the one that was supposed to die. Apparently the superstition goes that if you remove the thing that wasn't suppose to live but did, it's bad luck or something.

The wife has grown attached to it too. He's now known as OG Goldie.

I actually have more of a problem with the gourami's picking at the plants. They pick and pull up the hair grass every so often. The goldfish just mows the substrate all day long eating poop and detritus then spitting it out, that's pretty much it.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2017, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Disaster!!! Disaster everywhere!`

Well, a whole lot of terrible has happened in the past two weeks.

First off we'll start with the fact that I added another light. This was already a high tech build and I had a decent light (The Koval from the first post) and after seeing clownplanted's tank/PAR rating on a beamworks light thread, I thought adding another LED light was the smart thing to do.

What a terrible ass mistake that was.

I didn't notice that clownplanted had a dimmer installed and well, I just plugged it in and let it go.

48 hours later and the entire tank went from crystal clear and green to completely covered in brown.

Research tells me this was a diatom bloom.

All of my green plants are now brown as hell. I did a bit of research and figured out that CO2 was probably too low. I was at about 5bps so I cranked it to 3094308 bps. The first day everything was fine....the diatoms stop building so much and whatever I wiped off was still mostly green. The next day I almost gassed the whole tank.

One unlucky ram got sucked and stuck to the intake of my filter and got some scales pulled off him.

Now he has a few white growths on him.

Is this ich?






No other fish have any spots....and if I know anything about ich then I know I need to get him out now before those spots explode right?

Anyway, there were two occasions where I almost gassed the fish and the diatoms were slowing down, not reducing. I gave up on the second light and am running a single again.

New plant growth isn't turning brown with diatoms anymore, but there is a algae that needs to be dealt with. I got 3 flying foxes, another oto cat, 8 nertite snails and since I found some ghost shrimp for 50 cent a piece, I got 3 of them.

My TDS is at like 700 so I figured they would die but 48 hours later and they're still swimming along.

I also bought a silicate and phosphate tester and I don't know what is considered high on them but I'm at a point that I just bought phosguard and am going to run it for a bit to remove whatever silicates and phosphates I may have in the water.

Here's a few pictures of the brownness:

You can see the snail trail there on the rock:


My substrate is now coated in brown and no longer completely black.


After a good rubbing down of the leaves. Some of this stuff just refuses to come off:


I guess this was a good learning experience.....now i have a generally better idea of what I'm doing but my tank looks like sh!t now.

Last edited by DangerDonkey; 07-05-2017 at 10:30 PM. Reason: added some words
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2017, 10:47 PM
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One unlucky ram got sucked and stuck to the intake of my filter and got some scales pulled off him.

Now he has a few white growths on him.

Is this ich?
No that is not ich. It is a fungus. API makes a good med for it. Sign up with amazon with a new email address and try the free 30 day prime. Just don't forget to cancel before payment is due and you will be saving cash.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2017, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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No that is not ich. It is a fungus. API makes a good med for it. Sign up with amazon with a new email address and try the free 30 day prime. Just don't forget to cancel before payment is due and you will be saving cash.
Have you ever used it before?? Reviews are saying it can stain your plants/rocks/ and could cause adverse reactions to other fish?
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