29 Gallon Forest Glade - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-05-2017, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
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29 Gallon Forest Glade

This 29 gallon tank is my second aquarium since re-entering the hobby 8 months ago with a 75 gallon. No more room upstairs for an aquarium, so this one is relegated to the lower level (not-quite-basement). Initial set up/filled with water on the weekend of September 23-24, 2017.

Specs:
Tank: Aqueon 29 G
Substrate: BDBS
Lighting: Beamswork DA FSPEC Pent 30"
Heater: Fluval M series 150W
Filter: Fluval 206 canister, although it was started with, and currently retains, a Seachem Tidal 55 HOB from my 75G and a new sponge filter.
CO2: DIY baking soda/citric acid which has only been running since 10/29, nilocg Enhance before that
Fertilizer: nilocg Thrive, 3 x per week, Flourish iron every once in a while, Seachem Equilibrium with water changes, tabs in substrate
Water: mix of tap water, which is well water through a water softener, and RO water from work

Hardscape:

3 x manzanita branches
black lava rock
river stones

Plants:
2 x Amazon sword which were supposed to be Kleiner Prinz, but were substituted for unkown swords
4 x Echinodorus quadricostatus
1 x Vesuvius sword
4 x Cryptocoryne spiralis
2 x Cryptocoryne retrospiralis (supposedly)
2 x Crytpocoryne balansae
Rotala rotundifolia
Mayaca fluviatilis
several Ludwigia (any of ovalis, peruensis, repens)
Anubias nana petite
Hygrophila 'Thai'
1 extremely tiny Heteranthera zosterifolia
4 x Potamogeton gayi
Bacopa monnieri
2 x dwarf sag taken from the 75G
1 x giant hairgrass
Floaters: Amazon frogbit, Salvinia minima, dwarf water lettuce (from 75G)

Plants that melted and died almost immediately: Hygrophila corymbosa 'Siamensis', Telanthera rosefolia, and several Ludwigia.

Fauna (as of Nov. 4, 2017):
2 x juvenile female betta (1st)
3 x oto
3 x Amano shrimp
1 x zebra nerite snail
now unknown numbers of MTS (1st)
a few pond snails that snuck in on plants

I picked a 29 gallon aquarium because I already had a stand for it, would have preferred a 40B or a 33L, but considering that my DH was not really up for a second tank, I figured this was a back door in, I mean we have the stand!

I went to "large pet superstore" for cat food and thought I'd check out the bettas since I was originally going to start a 10G tank for one (oops, forgot to mention that I have a new, unused 10G with glass top, heater, internal filter, and Beamswork DA FSPEC all sitting in our bedroom!). Anyway, I saw 2 pathetic female betta fry that day, and the next, and the next, so I bought them because I was afraid they were going to die. Sucker! Thus they necessarily became the first inhabitants along with 5 MTS from the 75G. They spent 1 week living on my kitchen counter in their cups with a dwarf lettuce each while the tank cycled. I had thought that the Tidal filter that had been on my 75G for 6 months would have meant no cycle but, although I never added any ammonia, the tank did go through NH3 -> No2- -> nitrate. When the NH3 and NO2- reached zero, in went the girls.

First photo is initial planting and the second is from October 25th:
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Last edited by beckyhiker; 12-11-2017 at 01:57 AM. Reason: Change title
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-05-2017, 01:17 AM Thread Starter
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The tank has been through a large battle with brown hair algae / filamentous diatoms. I was so frustrated with taking it out every day with a toothbrush and watching micro pieces subsequently float all over the place that I resorted to using Algae Fix, which amazingly worked. I dosed twice, once each on separate days. It was algae free for a while, but now there is quite a bit of green hair algae, mostly concentrated in the back of the tank, especially in the center and right sides.

I really want to avoid using the Algae Fix again, especially because of the snails and Oto's. I've bought 5 Oto's for this tank and 2 have died, both were from the first batch of 3 I bought from my LFS. They were not in the tank when I used the Algae Fix; I'm not sure why they died, poor little guys. One died almost immediately and the other lasted almost 1 week.

Currently I'm considering ordering Cory cats for this tank and some kind of small schooling fish, probably Lamb Chop Rasboras (T. espei). I just know that after the upstairs 75G, I'm not going to put in cichlids. I love them, but I think that the Betta girls will be more than enough attitude for the 29. And I'm tired of having to replant ripped out plants every few days.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-05-2017, 02:25 AM
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29 Gallon

It looks great! Glad to see another 29 on here (I'm getting the feeling they're more rare than I thought). Can't wait to see how it develops
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-05-2017, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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It looks great! Glad to see another 29 on here (I'm getting the feeling they're more rare than I thought). Can't wait to see how it develops
I think because they are so tall compared to the footprint maybe? I see a good number of 20 longs on here with the same dimensions other than height. It's funny, but when I look at the tank from the front it looks small, but when I have the top off and I look down into it it looks big.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-05-2017, 03:25 PM
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Looks nice! I'm constantly battling with myself about the bettas some of the large pet stores, but I already have 3. I also have a 29 gallon and just noticed the other day how large it seems from certain angles. How do you like the Seachem Tidal filter?
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-05-2017, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Looks nice! I'm constantly battling with myself about the bettas some of the large pet stores, but I already have 3. I also have a 29 gallon and just noticed the other day how large it seems from certain angles. How do you like the Seachem Tidal filter?
I like the Tidal filter for a number of reasons:

1. The inside is just a large opening with a basket, so you can put in whatever media you want.
2. It has a skimming function and you can adjust how much water you want to come in from the surface vs lower in the water column.
3. You can adjust the flow.
4. It self primes.
5. It's not noisy.

Cons for me:

1. I originally bought it to have as a secondary filter on the 75G, but because of the lip on the Aqueon 75's, it never sat down all the way, so there was a water fall going into the tank making lots of bubbles which got stuck under plant leaves. I had to stuff the exit with sponges to slow it down.
2. Although it has flow control, I can't make it as slow as much as I would like, so even on the 29G where the lip isn't a problem, I still have to stuff sponges into it.
3. The adjustable intake flow control wheel thingy is low on the filter, under the water, so if you want to adjust it, you have to stick your hand in the water. Also, there is no marking indicating which direction to turn for skimming or under water only intake. I, at least, can't really tell which is selected.

I haven't had any other HOB to compare it to for years, but from what I remember, I would definately recommend the Tidal, especially if you are looking for good flow.

As for the bettas, I hopefully will be able to stick to my plan to never look at them again in these large stores, they look so sad and sometimes are dead. The 2 girls get along fine, so I'm hoping to luck out that a sorority of only 2 will work in this instance. They were such tiny fry when I bought them.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2017, 01:11 PM
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Quick question on the Tidal (I have the 55 and 75). Which prefilter are you using?

On my AC filters I use the Zoomed for the 501 turtle filter. I haven't tried to fit this on the Tidal, but the Tidal intake is so much wider I'm not sure it will fit easily.
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Originally Posted by SueD View Post
Quick question on the Tidal (I have the 55 and 75). Which prefilter are you using?

On my AC filters I use the Zoomed for the 501 turtle filter. I haven't tried to fit this on the Tidal, but the Tidal intake is so much wider I'm not sure it will fit easily.
I'm sorry, but I can't answer your question. I just asked my LFS guy if they had pre-filters and when I told him for what filter, he just handed me one. It did have some kind of cheesy no-name wrapping around it, but that has long been thrown away. It was a tight fit, but obviously it's on. I'm sorry that I couldn't help.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2017, 03:52 PM
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The tank has been through a large battle with brown hair algae / filamentous diatoms. I was so frustrated with taking it out every day with a toothbrush and watching micro pieces subsequently float all over the place that I resorted to using Algae Fix, which amazingly worked. I dosed twice, once each on separate days. It was algae free for a while, but now there is quite a bit of green hair algae, mostly concentrated in the back of the tank, especially in the center and right sides.
I agree on not using Algae Fix long-term. I have a 29-gal as well. It's heavily stocked and heavily planted.

You have a lot of light from what I have found on your Beamswork (PAR values I found are 111 at 12"). That will drive your plants to grow and there must be enough CO2 and nutrients or they will starve. This makes a perfect environment for algae.

Can we get some measurements on your water parameters? All of these kits are available on Amazon. Ideally, I’d like to see:
- NO3
- PO4
- GH and KH
- Iron (because of the well water).
- CO2

The NO3 and PO4 will give us an indication as to whether or not you are getting enough ferts. I like the Salifert NO3 kit and the API PO4 kit.

The GH will tell us if you have enough Ca and Mg. If your tap is going through a water softener, that usually means that the Ca and Mg are stripped out and replaced by sodium (which is not good for plants). Most softeners have a by-pass on them where you can get the non-softened water. That would be better, assuming your well water has good parameters. It would be good to have it tested but, if you don’t want to do that, the GH tests and iron tests will, at least, help (some well water is high in iron). The RO water will be low (if having any) on Ca and Mg as well. I like the API GH/KH kit (two in one) and Nutrafin iron kit.

With your high light, it is critical to have high CO2 to keep plants healthy and algae at bay. Longer term, a CO2 injection system would be far better than a DIY approach. When I ran a DIY, I could never achieve high (30 ppm CO2) values and it was highly erratic. The instability of consistent output alone is good for algae. I like drop checkers for CO2 monitoring. They are cheap and will tell you if your CO2 is at a good level, provided the indicator solution is correct. I recommend the Fluval drop checker and Fluval indicator solution (two in one). If we can determine that your KH is at least 4 degrees, you could also estimate CO2 levels based upon how far pH drops from no-CO2 in the tank (at least two hours after CO2 shut off) and full loading of CO2 (at least two hours after turned on). A one-point drop indicates good CO2 levels. However, the DIY will make measuring difficult.

To start, I would dial back the photoperiod to 4-6 hours (less is better) until you can get some of these tests. I would also dose Flourish Excel. This will help add carbon, where the DIY CO2 may falter. Excel is also an algaecide, but not as bad as Algae Fix. I’d start by dosing the max recommended by Seachem three days in a row, then see if the hair algae begins to die. Then dose according to directions to maintain carbon levels.

Last edited by Deanna; 11-06-2017 at 03:55 PM. Reason: add
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2017, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by beckyhiker View Post
I'm sorry, but I can't answer your question. I just asked my LFS guy if they had pre-filters and when I told him for what filter, he just handed me one. It did have some kind of cheesy no-name wrapping around it, but that has long been thrown away. It was a tight fit, but obviously it's on. I'm sorry that I couldn't help.
No problem - thanks
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2017, 04:17 PM
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Nice tank! Really curious to see how those plants develop. Good luck with the algae!
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2017, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by SueD View Post
Quick question on the Tidal (I have the 55 and 75). Which prefilter are you using?

On my AC filters I use the Zoomed for the 501 turtle filter. I haven't tried to fit this on the Tidal, but the Tidal intake is so much wider I'm not sure it will fit easily.

There are tons of generic sponge prefilters on amazon. I bought these to fit on my Aquaclear 110.

https://www.amazon.com/LTWHOME-Pre-Filter-Sponge-Fluval-Aquarium/dp/B00J5Z44OE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1509989019&sr=8-1&keywords=prefilter&dpID=31w2r0io5TL&preST=_SX300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2017, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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I agree on not using Algae Fix long-term. I have a 29-gal as well. It's heavily stocked and heavily planted.

You have a lot of light from what I have found on your Beamswork (PAR values I found are 111 at 12"). That will drive your plants to grow and there must be enough CO2 and nutrients or they will starve. This makes a perfect environment for algae.

Can we get some measurements on your water parameters? All of these kits are available on Amazon. Ideally, Iíd like to see:
- NO3
- PO4
- GH and KH
- Iron (because of the well water).
- CO2

The NO3 and PO4 will give us an indication as to whether or not you are getting enough ferts. I like the Salifert NO3 kit and the API PO4 kit.

The GH will tell us if you have enough Ca and Mg. If your tap is going through a water softener, that usually means that the Ca and Mg are stripped out and replaced by sodium (which is not good for plants). Most softeners have a by-pass on them where you can get the non-softened water. That would be better, assuming your well water has good parameters. It would be good to have it tested but, if you donít want to do that, the GH tests and iron tests will, at least, help (some well water is high in iron). The RO water will be low (if having any) on Ca and Mg as well. I like the API GH/KH kit (two in one) and Nutrafin iron kit.

With your high light, it is critical to have high CO2 to keep plants healthy and algae at bay. Longer term, a CO2 injection system would be far better than a DIY approach. When I ran a DIY, I could never achieve high (30 ppm CO2) values and it was highly erratic. The instability of consistent output alone is good for algae. I like drop checkers for CO2 monitoring. They are cheap and will tell you if your CO2 is at a good level, provided the indicator solution is correct. I recommend the Fluval drop checker and Fluval indicator solution (two in one). If we can determine that your KH is at least 4 degrees, you could also estimate CO2 levels based upon how far pH drops from no-CO2 in the tank (at least two hours after CO2 shut off) and full loading of CO2 (at least two hours after turned on). A one-point drop indicates good CO2 levels. However, the DIY will make measuring difficult.

To start, I would dial back the photoperiod to 4-6 hours (less is better) until you can get some of these tests. I would also dose Flourish Excel. This will help add carbon, where the DIY CO2 may falter. Excel is also an algaecide, but not as bad as Algae Fix. Iíd start by dosing the max recommended by Seachem three days in a row, then see if the hair algae begins to die. Then dose according to directions to maintain carbon levels.
Hi, thanks for your helpful input. I actually do have all the kits, I just didn't think of posting the information in the journal. Currently, I'm at work, but I know the NH3 and NO2 are 0ppm. I believe upon last testing, the NO3 was 20ppm, GH was 4, and KH was 8. I don't remember the Phosphate level. I will recheck some of these later when I get home and post the results. I do add Seachem Equilibrium to up the GH because I've had stem plants melt in both of my tanks.

For the CO2 I can tell you that I do have a drop checker with the Fluval indicator solution in it and it is placed on the opposite side of the aquarium from the diffuser. The solution has been turning a yellowish green on most days. I guess it's not in the photos that I posted because they were taken prior to me setting up the DIY system. The nilocg Enhance that I add is, like Excel, a liquid carbon additive. That's what the plants were living off of before I finally got around to setting up the CO2. I have a "real" CO2 system with regulator etc. on my 75G, but putting one on this tank will have to wait a little bit. I actually think the citric acid/baking soda works really well. I used to use it on the 75 when it was first set up and I actually had my poor fish gasping on the surface one day. I will measure the pH tonight with the CO2 still running and then again before bed once it's been off for at least 2 hours.

Thanks again, I'll post results later.

Bump: Photo from Sunday, Nov, 5th
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2017, 07:56 PM
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OK. It looks like nutrient levels are good, so that shouldnít be holding the plants back. Although, it would still be interesting to see if your well water is high in iron. Around my area, those with wells often have iron off the charts.

If you havenít done so, you may find it useful to confirm that your ferts are being dosed according to EI by putting them into the calculator at Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Nutrient Dosing Calculator.

That leaves the CO2. As you know, from your 75 gal, itís much easier to control and maintain high CO2 levels required by high light by using the non-DIY CO2 system. I would try to push the CO2 higher (dc into yellow), if you can, and watch fish for signs of stress, then back off slightly. The problem is in regulating it with a DIY system. Iíd be concerned that youíd constantly be up and down with it. Do you know how consistent you can get it?

As your plants become healthy, with high CO2, the algae should eventually come under control. In the meantime, you can try an increased dose of Enhance (missed that you were using Enhance). Like you, I like a lot of light to see my fishies, but that usually means hair algae until plants are thriving (can still appear now and then). So, I hit it with glut (Metricide), but I do a single dose of 1 ml /gal of Metricide, which is 3 TIMES the highest recommended dose (it would be about 1.6 ml / gal of Enhance). Any hair algae I treated this way turns orange in about 3 days as it dies. I now apply this treatment once / week as a preventative, plus it adds the carbon for the plants. This is much better than Algae Fix. In a 29 gallon tank, that is 45 ml of Enhance all in one shot the day after a water change, then no more during the week.

No harm has ever come to my plants, fish or amanos with this dose and, I think, itís because itís a one time weekly hit. Since Nilocg recommends 15 ml in a 29 gal tank after a water change (just like Seachem), you can see that 45 ml is a big dose. If you donít want to try this, you would be easily safe dosing 15 ml three days in a row, then see if the hair algae disappears. If not, increase the dose after the next water change, but just one dose per week once you move beyond the directions.
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-07-2017, 02:46 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, so I tested several parameters in the 29G, as well as for some tap water that I have aging and water from an outside spigot which I let sit for about an hour first. The water from the outside does not run through the water softener.

Here are the results (I couldn't get my table to paste in):

The numbers are in order H2O in 29G, from kitchen tap, from outside spigot. Again, sorry, I can't get in any kind of spacing.

pH 6.6/7.0 (w/w/o), 6.8, 7.2,
NO3 20ppm, 10-20ppm, 0ppm,
Phosphate 2.0ppm, 0ppm , 0ppm,
KH 10⁰, 11⁰, 12⁰,
GH 9⁰, 1⁰, 13⁰

Look at how the GH takes a hit from the water softener, it goes from 13 down to 1. I amazed the the GH reads 9 in the 29G though, my 2 prior readings were 3 and 5. I didn't really think that I added that much Equilibrium!

I'm also surprised by the pH readings, especially from the tap and spigot water, although possibley I should have let the spigot water sit overnight before testing it for pH, it probably isn't degassed. Usually pH readings for our water are from 8 to 8.2. I've no explanation for the aged water, although it is from a closed 1 gallon container, maybe not enough air exchange for proper degassing?

Lastly I see that the aged water that came from out kitchen tap has 10 to 20 parts nitrate, wow! Maybe that's partly why the nitrates are always so high in my 75! Do water softeners add nitrates to water? Either that or nitrates are leaching from my container because the outside water has zero nitrates.

That makes me want to switch to only using water sourced from outside, but the GH and KH are too high. Although I guess I could make it work if I up the amount of RO/DI that I use?

Sorry, I'm too tired to think about this any more tonight. Oh, and I do have a Seachem iron test kit, but I'll have to pull that out in the near future; I've not used it yet but I remember that it seemed complicated.

In other news, I ordered some cory cats and T. espei today. They are to be shipped Wednesday for Thursday arrival, yay!
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