29 gallon gone high tech - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-02-2017, 05:25 AM Thread Starter
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29 gallon gone high tech

I've been keeping this tank for years as a low tech, low maintenance, distraction for the cats. A few easy plants, school of glow light tetras, amano shrimp, and most recently a plecko.

I had a DIY duel T8 system until I was gifted a Current Satellite+. That fixture is only 20" so I disconnected one of the t8 lamps and have been running like that for about a year. Par is somewhere above 30.

This last father's day I got an Aquatek mini regulator and a paintball tank and started with CO2, something I've wanted for years. Today I'm quite pleased with how this tank is coming along. I've got Val, Anubis, Crypto, dwarf Sagateria, Lace Java, and I'm trying HC. Since rearranging when I added the Crypto, Sagateria and the HC the melt off has ceased and I'm seeing new growth on everything. The Val has been in the tank the longest and after moving 4 plants I am seeing new plants pushing up from where I cut the others out. The Val that I didn't move is about to the surface and pearling.

I am using Flourish comp on water changes and alternating iron and phos daily. Under dosing everything right now to keep it all under control. I am seeing algea...slowly cutting back the lighting duration, but the algae isn't excessive at the moment.

Thursday I'll be receiving a Hydor 240 to help the HOB Aquaclear 200 move things around a bit more. There should also be a drop checker in the box to help me with the CO2 levels.

Anyway...here's a shot from today after a mass molting by the shrimp. Must have had 10 shrimp drop their exo's today, never seen that many in one day.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-02-2017, 06:04 AM
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The tall plants are crypt balansae rather than vallisneria.
Nice set up!
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-02-2017, 06:19 AM Thread Starter
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Huh...sure enough they are crypt. Thanks and thanks.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-24-2017, 05:52 AM Thread Starter
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Three weeks later...

Just got back from 2 days away from the tank. Light triming and a water change and things are looking positive.

I've added some Alternantherum Reineckii and Crinum Calamistratum. The Crinum brought snails that I missed but I made a snail trap and have managed to catch several on leaves of the A. Reineckii. The Reineckii lost a bunch of leaves to the snails and a few melted away but I see new growth everywhere.

All of the plants are showing growth and spread. The HC has been problematic as I didn't do such a great job on the initial planting. I planted in large clumps and have had to go back and replant more than 50% whenever some got pulled up or dislodged.

Algae has greatly decreased in general. I have seen several different types pop up here or there but it all goes away with slight adjustments.

Lights are down to 8 hours a day and I'll continue to adjust downward from there. I have CO2 coming on prior to the lights and the drop checker gets nice and green early in the light cycle. pH drops by a point over the course of the light cycle. Fish and shrimp are all looking healthy. I have lots of surface agitation and I think I'm prolonging the rise to proper CO2 levels...looking at investing in another timer and limiting the amount of time that the Hydor is running.

Fertilizers...I'm dosing with Seachem products. Potassium and Phosphorus 3 times a week alternating with Iron and Nitrogen. Seachem Comprehensive on water change days. All dosing levels are well under the suggested weekly amounts but I'm increasing a little bit as the plants increase their size. I need to research fertilizers so I can learn to maximize and avoid any issues.

I'll be moving a few things around now that I'm getting a better idea on how these plants are growing.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-11-2018, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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Just over a year later and I thought I'd post an update on this tank.

Equipment changes:

I purchased a Sunsun 302B canister filter about 6 months ago. This is by far the biggest improvement I've made to the set up. I am turning over a lot of water and the increase to the flow has allowed me to remove the Hydor along with the HoB filter. The water is damn near clear and the flow is really nice. I have built a Grigg's reactor and installed it on the intake for the canister. I made a couple errors when I built it but the result is that I have removed the fine bubbles from the tank while providing more consistent CO2. The stock spray bar and intake are being used but I plan on upgrading to Lily pipes in the near future. I'll be purchasing a glass spray bar as I really like what it's doing for the flow patterns in the tank. The biggest positive outcome about using the spray bar is the increased evaporation...sounds weird I know but the result of all the evaporation is that the tank temp is fairly stable around 75f. I had not expected that to happen but I sure do appreciate the result. Here in CA the room temp gets to 90+ and the tank is staying below 80 on the hot days.

I am dosing a modified EI schedule. Potassium Sulfate and Monopotassium Phosphate are both being dosed 4 times a week to keep me in range for EI and I'm using CMS+B for the micros. I'm mixing my own solutions, that's been fun. I need to be more consistent with my dosing though, it's difficult to find time to mix the solutions in the middle of the week should they run out. I started with Potassium Nitrate but I found that the Nitrate levels were difficult at best to keep under control. I would see spikes that put me in the red and I am fairly certain that this was the cause of the Amano Shrimp die off. That happened when I was still using the HoB filter but since the Potassium Sulfate is working, I'm not going back to Potassium Nitrate. I made a huge mistake with the GH/KH at one point. I felt that they were lower than they should have been. I seem to remember 4/6 for GH/KH when I decided to try and raise that level. Barr's GH booster sure did boost the GH and my over dosing led to reading well above 80. Like I said I make a huge mistake, I was dosing it regularly as I was counting on the potassium in it to meet the K levels for EI. Dumb! Currently I've recovered to levels in the low teens for GH and KH. Probably still a bit to high but it's stable now.
Sharp learning curve for me but dosing solutions is working out. I get a bit lax on the water changes, 50% once a week but that sometimes drags to 10+ days.


HC is gone. IT was working for awhile but after a vacation, I got back and the HC was all but dead. I struggled to keep it health in the first place so I decided to clear it out. I also tried A. Reineckii a couple times, I really love that plant but I have given up trying to keep it going in my tank. Typically I would buy a nice set of stems and things would look good for a week before it all started falling apart. I would see pin holes appear and the old leaves would be sacrificed for the new growth which was always stunted. Eventually the stems and roots would rot. I'm not sure what is lacking in my set up but A. Reineckii sure doesn't want to grow.
I've added Tiger Lotus and that is doing pretty good.


15 Glow Light Tetras
16 Black Neon Tetras
1 Zebra loach...I know they need friends. This one has berated 4 others, resulting in the lone loach. I bought them to take care of the pond snail issue I had. No more snails but I'm hesitant to spend more on loaches because I can't seem to get them to live in harmony.
2 Amano shrimp

I know I have maxed out the tank for live stock since adding the Black Neons. I am a little bit crowded but since they are schooling high (neons) and low (glow lights) in the tank with lots of places to hide it's working out. The oversized canister and plant life seem to be keeping things healthy.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 05:29 AM Thread Starter
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I've been fighting bba for awhile. Mostly due to my poor maintenance but I've been keeping up for several weeks and things are looking better.

About a month ago I picked up a Standard Double LED bar, removed the DIY T5 and glass lid. I also added an inline diffuser that has been keeping the CO2 consistent and saturated during the photo period.

The plants are all growing, and I see some pearling on most of the plants. I have trimmed out a third of the plant mass and could do some more yet as there are still pockets of bba.

Recently I have seen large gas bubbles breaking through the substrate at the end of the photo period. It happens a few times every night from a couple different places. Primarily in the middle of the dwarf sag. I have been attributing this to O2 being produced by the roots. Does this sound right?

I treated with H2O2 recently and over did it. I was spot treating bba and lost track of the amount I had used. The glow lights were effected. They lost most of their color and fins were stressed. I didn't lose any but I sure came close. Their color has long returned and there are only a few dorsal fins needing some more time.
I've added a mid week small wc and that has made a difference.
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