20 gallon transition - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-17-2017, 03:06 AM Thread Starter
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20 gallon transition

This is a 20L that started off as a 20H dirted tank that had a terrible outbreak of BBA which caused the redo, see the beginnings here:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12...ll-dirted.html

This tank has had its share of ups and downs, even a time of just using plastic plants (how horrible!)

January 21, 2016 - I began this tank with no dirt, just pool filter sand as the substrate and using Seachems Flouish tabs. I moved the original 2 swords, 6 chain swords, and water wisteria from the 20H and bought an additional 22 bacopa stems along with a banana plant. Added 7 neon tetras and 2 cory catfish.

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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-17-2017, 03:23 AM Thread Starter
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February 7, 2016 - Purchased some red ludwigia to add some color contrast to the tank. Been dosing Excel regularly to help with the remaining BBA still on the leaves of the wisteria and swords. I also had been using the Fluval Aquasky LED fixture in combination with their dusk/dawn timer. Its not a bad combination, the ramp up/down for lights on/off occurs in 'steps' so you can see the change in lighting in increments. Sometimes its more noticeable then other times.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-18-2017, 07:22 AM Thread Starter
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Between February 2016 and May 2016 I had a nasty algae bloom that took over again.

The algae covered the sand and you could pull up mats of the stuff - like cemented slabs of algae and sand. The algae on the leaves got stringy and waved in the current. The deco log got covered in brown algae that needed scrubbing to remove. It became a constant battle of repetitive water changes and cleaning that never seemed to end.

In May I finally had enough and tore the tank apart - remaining plants and sand went. I replaced with a thin layer of sand and used some old plastic plants. The tank stayed that way through the end of July. The fish did keep their distance from the plastic plants as I'm sure they were hard and uncomfortable.


During this time I did miss the look of live plants, and I'm sure the fish missed them too. Also, I couldn't find any pictures during this time as I'm sure I was too annoyed at the tank to be bothered.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-18-2017, 07:43 AM Thread Starter
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August 2016 - I decided enough with the plastic plants.


Dirt was the way to go again. The root tabs gave mediocre growth and the water wisteria never showed any good growth with them. I used a thin layer of Miracle Grow and some leftover topsoil and covered with a good layer of pool filter sand.


For plants I went with a nice assortment of stems, no swords this time. The plants included:

Water wisteria
Dwarf hygrophila
Magenta water hedge
Rotala indica
Rotala rotundifolia
Anubias
Java Fern


I also added a single cherry barb to bring some movement to the tank as the neons and glow tetras really didn't move around too much.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-18-2017, 07:59 AM Thread Starter
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I decided to start using DI water for my water change water instead of using the tap. I also kept with the fert dosing.


I didn't do too much trimming - just let the plants 'jungle out' on their own.


Pictures are: Aug 30 - Sept 10 - Sept 15 - Nov 11

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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 02:47 AM Thread Starter
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April 10, 2017 - I started to rearrange my plants so to keep things more organized.


The wisteria was relocated all to the left side of the tank and allowed to fill out that area completely. The dwarf hygrophila was put in the front center (I let it grow out of the top of the tank before cutting it down and replanting). The rotala was moved to the right side of the tank.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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June - I started to thin things out a bit. I also started to limit how high some of the plants were getting.


I also picked up 4 more cherry barbs between April and June to bring the total to 5. They are very active and bring a lot of movement to the tank.


Tank pictures: June 11 and June 19

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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 03:18 AM Thread Starter
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So far the tank has been doing very well - no major algae outbreaks. I have been maintaining my fertilizer additions on a consistent basis and keeping with weekly water changes. I think in the past not keeping up with the ferts and water changes led to most of my previous algae problems.


July 5th picture
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 03:31 AM
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I like the light, ferny look of wisteria. It doesn't grow well in my tank, for some reason...
hey if you were near me, I'd give you this baby cherry barb I have, and yours would be six! They're fun fish.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 03:49 AM Thread Starter
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If your wondering about the decorative tree stump always changing shape - its the same log but when it starts to get a brown algae dusting on it I remove it and place it in a bucket of diluted bleach for a few hours to clean it off. Works much better then trying to scrub it as I used to. I then put it back in a different way to change things up a bit.


July 11 - decided to pick up one of my long time favorite plants - a sword. Yes, a sword is crazy to get for a 20L since the height is only 12 inches high, but with Petco's $1 a gallon sale going on I also picked up a 29 tank. 18 inch height is better - and I will have to deal with the extra height when working in the tank but I miss having sword plants so it will be worth it.


I am planning to build a stand for the 29. I also want to try out mineralized soil instead of using Miracle Grow and plain old topsoil this time. I read that mineralized soil doesn't have early decomposing problems that plain dirt has. I'll start a new journal for the 29 when I get started on the stand - will probably wait until the weather cools down a bit before starting that project.



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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 05:32 AM Thread Starter
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JJ09 - I may get a few more cherry barbs when I start the 29 but for now I think I'm close to my limit on fish load, but thanks for the offer! And your right, they are a fun fish.


The wisteria is a great plant and has soft leaves so I notice the cherry barbs love to swim all in them. Maybe you just got a sick wisteria? Everything else in your tank really shines!
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-22-2017, 04:16 AM Thread Starter
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In the past I have always done my plant selections from whatever was local to me (Petco, Petsmart) but I considered trying an online option for more diversity. Today I received my order from Bamaplants.com. I am very impressed with the condition of the plants and the manor in which they were shipped - double insulated along with temperature packs, everything individually sealed and packed in newspaper.


My order included:


Egeria najas (narrow leaf anacharis)
Myriophyllum pinnatum (green foxtail)
Nymphoides aquatic (banana plant)
Cryptocoryne wendtii
Aponogeton undulates
Aponongeton crispus





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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2017, 03:59 AM Thread Starter
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Received the last of my Bama Plants order yesterday - a water sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides). The pieces they sent me were very big and long. Let them float for a day and planted them this morning. Also did a 30% water change this morning to help clean out all the debris from the original plant order and had the chance to move some things around. Cleaned the filters and replaced the floss also.


Unfortunately, I had 2 fish losses this past week - one of my Cory's started looking bad last Friday and was gone by Saturday morning then just last night one of my neon's was laying on the bottom. This morning no movement. I haven't lost any fish in a long time so 2 in a week is puzzling. The other Cory is doing fine and the small school of neon's are also doing fine, so maybe an isolated incident. Tested basic parameters before water change and no major changes: amm 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5, pH 7.0, KH 3, GH 4. I'll be watching the rest to make sure all are doing fine.

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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-31-2017, 04:54 AM Thread Starter
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Today I decided to remove the decorative tree stump - it was taking up too much space that I needed for plants. I've had it since 2015 but I think I may opt for something a bit thinner, possibly spider wood. I also did a minor water change (5 gallons) and trimmed some plants and cleaned some algae build up near the bottom edges of the tank, as well as cleaning the sand up - it was getting a bit cruddy.


I used the freed space for trimmings of the dwarf hygro (Hygrophila polysperma) and the Rotala rotundifolia. I also made equal trimmings out of the water sprite and replanted them - now their not reaching across the top of the tank any longer.


The Crypt wendtii melted 2 of its leaves but the last one is green and looking good. I have it in the front corner and will leave it there to grow. Most of the green foxtail (Myriophyllum pinnatum) stems lost their thin leaves but I have a few that are doing well - I'll see what they want to do. The anarcharis, banana plant, and both Aponongetons are all doing extremely well.


I decided to skip the 29 gallon idea - the more I thought of the same footprint as my 20L (30"X12") I want something longer. We are moving to a new house sometime in Nov/Dec so I have time to decide. I also made a snail order from ebay - 5 each: Ramshorn, Malaysian Trumpet, and Tadpole (Bladder) snails. Should be here on Tuesday.


Some tank pictures. Before the tree stump removal (7/29/17) and after (7/30/17):



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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-04-2017, 06:22 AM Thread Starter
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My snail order came Monday and everything arrived alive and no problems. After doing a short acclimation I put them in the tank and watched them speed off in all different directions. They have been doing a good job on cleaning the little algae that was on the bottom leaves of some of the plants.


I've always had snail clean-up crews in my reef tanks so I'm hoping I won't regret this decision as their freshwater counterparts do have the reputation for being incredible multipliers. I've seen a build up in snail droppings but when I do my top off water I concentrate in the back areas to get it circulating and taken care of by the filters. I may add a powerhead to help with the circulation in that area.


Did a test of my water to see if any changes:


pH 7.4
KH 6
GH 6.5
nitrite 0 ppm
nitrate 5 ppm


I've started to do a mixing of DI and tap water - 1:1 ratio to help bring up my pH, KH, and GH a little bit.
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