My messy "low tech" tanks (photo heavy) - Page 4 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #46 of 433 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JJ09 View Post
Another reason to not worry about feeding them while you're gone- if the algae-eating fish find nothing better in the tank, they're more likely to eat the BBA.
That is a very good point

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post #47 of 433 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Nothing much to report on. All fish are doing well for now.
Just got done with a water change in the betta tank. His eyes are looking better. Still has the white spots, but they're not as pronounced as before.


This little sword is trying to hang in there. Its roots aren't very big so it keeps getting uprooted whenever I do water changes. It's trying to grow new little leaves though. lol


Red flame sword in the 125 has grown some nice new leaves


Also the stems coming from the 2 sword plants have finally sprouted some baby plants!


125 is looking a bit rough though. Lots of algae just everywhere and there's some not so healthy sword leaves popping up. Not sure if it's just old leaves that need to be trimmed or a deficiency. Need to add more root tabs soon.

40g is looking ok.


The val seems to have taken to it well. Haven't seen it melt back yet. Also looks like the SAE may be slowly taking care of the black beard algae too. Remember how covered the anubias was? It's almost free of the BBA now. Still some of it on the wood, but meh... so long as it's not on the plants

I'm not going to bother cleaning the sides of the tank when I do water changes this weekend. Leave something for the fish to peck at while we're gone.

And just b/c... my messy tray of dry ferts. Cheap and easy to use. I used to put tank water in to the bottle and shake it all up that way but meh. I now put them in dry, shake the bottle and then distribute.
touch of sky and touch of sky like this.

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Last edited by lisals; 02-16-2018 at 05:07 PM. Reason: added pic
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post #48 of 433 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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We got back from our trip yesterday afternoon. Most of the fish are ok, but the gourami in the 125 died. Didn't find it until this morning.
Noticed that it was looking unwell right before we left (figures). Bloated and looked like it was on the verge of pineconing. I gave it an epsom salt bath before we left and while doing a water change, but it didn't help it obviously. Was hoping that it was just constipated and would poop while we were gone, but guess it was something else.

Thankfully it looked like it hadn't been dead for too long. Maybe a day at the most, so at least it hadn't completely polluted the water.
Still need to do a water change though. Not feeling well.. think it's just exhaustion. Disney trip is all fun and games for the kids.. not so much for the parents lol.
I'll try to get some new pics up soon.

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post #49 of 433 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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No huge updates. Just felt like I needed to post since I hadn't in a while.
Tanks are doing ok.
5g betta tank is being attacked by diatoms. Not the brown algae stuff, but the stuff that looks like debris on everything. Like I had fed the tank too much and all the uneaten food is settling on everything.
Pretty sure it's b/c the filter intake is getting clogged with plant debris so the flow isn't where it should be.
Did an emergency water change yesterday due to my youngest wanting to feed the betta scrambled eggs and a crayon and tried cleaning off the filter. Worked for about 2 seconds before the rest of the litter that I didn't get out got stuck on the intake. I'll get the plant tweezers and pull off what I can.

I also moved the struggling sword plant and put it in to the 40g. Not sure why it wasn't doing well. Hopefully in the 40 it will do better.

40g is doing fine. Going to try tidying it up a bit this next water change. It's not looking terrible, I just want it to look a little cleaner. Not really sure how to achieve that though without getting rid of any plants. We'll see what I can do.
The SAE hide all the damn time. I see them for a split second in the morning when the lights come on and then they disappear. Is that normal?

125 is doing ok but is in desperate need of a cleaning. I guess sword plants get their sister stem at certain times in the year? That's the only thing I can think of b/c there's one in the 40 and then almost all of the ones in the 125 have them now. I don't have room for more plants dernit!! lol Looks like the tiger barbs are snacking on some of the new leaves... maybe the pleco at night too.


No updated pics.. these are from before our trip. I've just been lazy. I'll get some when I do a water change this weekend though.

Poor gourami before the trip when I gave it an epsom salt bath.


This plant... whatever it's called actually pearled after a water change

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post #50 of 433 (permalink) Old 03-15-2018, 02:15 PM
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Eggs, oh dear. I've fed boiled egg yolk to a fry before, but scrambled would be bad. I hope it wasn't greasy. Sorry about your poor gourami. Ever thought of selling, trade or roak your baby swords?
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post #51 of 433 (permalink) Old 03-15-2018, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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They were a little greasy, but I think I got most of it out. The kids have also dropped dog toy stuffing (which just floated), junk mail, and scrap paper in to the betta's tank now. My 1.5yo started this and my 3yo I guess thought it was a great idea to keep going. SIGH.
He also decided to put his leftover cereal in to my 5g hex on the dining room table..... and another crayon :\
Of course that gave my husband some snarky remarks on how I should just take it down and get rid of my other tanks too.
Yeah, he got some side eye for those comments. He literally does nothing for the tanks. I do all of the maintenance, so not sure why he's so against them... well.. other than me wanting to buy more fish rofl

I would be up for selling, I just don't have the energy to take packages to the post office. My 2 youngest drain my energy and havent quite mastered how not to act like rabid badgers in public yet :P I would like to try to sell to the LFS, but /shrugs... I dunno.
We'll see what happens and what I feel up to doing.

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post #52 of 433 (permalink) Old 03-15-2018, 06:07 PM
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Sorry, I forget if it was mentioned, do your tanks have lids- ? Might keep little hands out. That's a tough age it wasn't so longer ago I was there, too. they just want to do everything, huh. And get into it all.
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post #53 of 433 (permalink) Old 04-02-2018, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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It's been a while!

So I FINALLY got around to doing water changes. I hadn't done one since the one I did right before our vacation.
I'd like to blame it all on illness (bc my kids keep me sick and tired 24/7 lol), but nah.. there was a lot of laziness involved too lol.

Fish all seem to be ok though and looked to really enjoy some good fresh water.
The tanks REALLY needed their glass cleaned though and the algae is starting to want to take over which I'm not thrilled about, but it's my own fault.
Hopefully I can get it sorted out again.

First up is a photo of my bamboo roots! Decided to get rid of the jar (which I haven't done yet), so pulled up the bamboo to plant in the little 5gal hex.
Really cool. Wasn't expecting it to have all of this. I can't get it planted right in the 5gal. It doesn't have a nice thick layer of substrate like the jar did.

Oh well.. hopefully it'll do ok.

40g is having a BBA problem. Determined not to use the metricide in it. Hopefully the SAE will keep it under control. Hair algae has decided it wants to come back again too.
Also, a lot of the crypts have melted. Not sure why since I hadn't messed with them in a while, but meh...
I still need to figure out something with this tank. Right now the moss is taking over the right side of the tank. It's the giant mass you see plus it's growing all over the heater and everything behind it.
Funny how I was afraid that it wouldn't grow then BAM here I am a couple months later wondering how to control it from taking over lol.


And bonus... the pygmy cory was out and about and decided to rest on one of the osmocote pellets that came up. Look how tiny it is!


The 125 is doing well for the most part. Still having a battle with BBA or it might be green spot... or a combo of both probably.
Ended up pruning a lot of sword leaves with the stuff on it. I think it's spot algae b/c it wasn't furry.
Anyway... it needed trimming anyway. Needs more but didn't want to do too much at once.

Still looks good from afar I think

Am having a problem with this sword though. The leaves are coming in crinkled looking and also slightly twisted. Anyone know what nutrient deficiency is causing this?

Thought I was dosing everything that they needed, but apparently not.

The sister plants on all of the swords are looking good though. Some have tiny roots, but some don't have anything. /shrugs Not sure if I'm supposed to keep them on until they get longer healthy roots or if they'll develop after being trimmed. I'm not in any hurry to trim though since I have no plan on what to do with them.



And just enjoying my barbs. The black ruby barb males were really showing off during the water change and just looked stunning. Wish the photos did their coloring justice. Such a dark red/black color.


And look at the green barb too! And all the others... just surprised I got a good sharp picture of them all since they wouldn't stop moving lol.

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post #54 of 433 (permalink) Old 04-06-2018, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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All is not well with the fish. Looks like funky mouth tiger barb that I thought was recovered enough to at least eat is in fact dying. Getting thinner and looks like it's having trouble swimming right too. Wiggling instead of smooth movements.
If I can catch it, I'll put it in to the floating tupperware container.

Also... I want to set up a temporary tank to grow out all of the swords that I have coming in. Hubs suggested that I should sell them, but I'd want to grow them out a bit and make sure they have nice big healthy roots.
Maybe get a clear storage bin and some terracotta pots to plant each one in and then put it outside for light. Well... when it gets warm enough.
We definitely don't have room inside for anything like that. Heck, when I get new fish, I'll have to put them in to the 5g hex for quarantine b/c there's no room to set up an actual quarantine tank anywhere lol. Oh well... work with what ya got right?

Oh and I bought some calcium tablets for the plants. Posted another thread in the plant section here and it was suggested that maybe it's a calcium problem. Looked up info on our tap and it does appear that we have kind of soft water and with me not doing regular water changes or dosing, I'm sure that contributed to that sword growing funky.
Hopefully the tablets will help along with getting back in to doing regular water changes.

And finally... I REALLY want to do something different with the 5g betta tank. It desperately needs a nice piece of wood or something in there. It just looks too bare with only the plants. Hopefully I can find something decent for not too much money.

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post #55 of 433 (permalink) Old 04-06-2018, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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And one of the SAE is dying in the 40g. Seriously..... seriously??? Couldn't catch the barb, but I did catch the SA. Not difficult when it's laying on its side.

And that poor barb does want to eat, but seems like it can't again. Really need to invest in some clove oil so I can humanely euthanize. I hate seeing these fish suffer.

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post #56 of 433 (permalink) Old 04-07-2018, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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And the filter in the Betta tank died. Really?? What else could go wrong. Sigh...
My 3yo likes turning off the power strip and the filter motor seems to have overheated and burned out when I turned the power back on. Noticed that the betta's tail is also a little frayed so I put him back in to his mesh cage in the 125 until I get things sorted.
Took an emergency trip to PetSmart for a new filter. Bought a topfin one and learned they have a lifetime warranty with receipt so that's cool at least.
Have the new filter going with some new added bio pellets and an old sponge from the 40. Also put in some shrimp pellets for the ammonia and whatnot.
Checked water parameters and ammonia and nitrites were still ok, but will see what happens with the new filter in there. I'm sure a mini cycle will start, but hopefully it won't last too long.

Also ordered 2 small pieces of Malaysian wood off Amazon lol. I'm sure it won't be what I'm invisioning in my head, but oh well. It will be going in to the tank no matter what.

Just not happy with the 5 g in general and hoping the wood will help. Think I'm going to add more plants too. I dunno... We'll see what happens 🙂

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post #57 of 433 (permalink) Old 04-08-2018, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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I feel like a crappy Oprah.
And this tank gets algae! And that tank gets algae! And THAT tank gets algae! You all get ALGAE!!!!!!!!

I mean.... just look how ridiculous...

I'll be doing water changes during the week sometime. Hopefully I can suck out a lot of it. Sheesh.

And my betta and the poor SAE in their respective little 'cages'.
Betta is fine in his and sae just isn't doing well.


The dojo loaches were thrilled when I got the betta cage back in to the water. Not even 2 seconds went by before their weird little butts were wiggling between it and the glass. Their old sleeping spots lol.
Gawd I love those fish!

Got the 2 pieces of wood in this morning unexpectedly. Not like the best looking pieces, but I did something with them. I don't think it looks too bad.



As you can see from the anubias to the right, there is still a lot of algae in this tank too. I put in one stem of cabomba. Hoping it helps to suck up any nutrients away from the algae.
Still not happy with this tank. I mean... I'm sure once the plants are healthy again, it will look better, but it's just so bleh.
I have an idea... but we'll see if I can actually accomplish it lol.

Oh and I messed up. SIGH!
Was doing a water change in that tank and needed to add a little more water so I could suck up more gunk.
And I forgot to add Prime! Thankfully the filter wasn't on so whatever bacteria was in there was still ok, but I guess I probably just killed all or most of whatever was in the tank. Awesome :\

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post #58 of 433 (permalink) Old 04-08-2018, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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Alrighty... so... my plan is to add dwarf sag to the 5g. Going to keep the anubias, cabomba and the crypts in the left corner, but take out all the other plants and hopefully be able to grow a carpet of dwarf sag on the bottom. Going to readjust the rocks and wood as well.
Only getting a small amount of dwarf sag, but hopefully they'll arrive here healthy and hopefully they'll do well in the tank. Not sure why they won't, but pfft.. with my current luck... they could all die off and I'll be back at the beginning wondering what the heck to do next.

Also have a plan for the grow out tub. Just need to go out and purchase everything.
Shouldn't be too expensive. Going to get a clear storage bin w/ lid, pots, organic potting soil and maybe some gravel or small pebbles or something. I don't think that will matter too much though since it's just plants so don't have to worry too much about keeping the water pristine.
I wanted to put this out in the backyard on our picnic table, but one of our dogs is SO destructive. Would not doubt that he would completely chew threw a bin. But I'm willing to give it a try.
Then, just have to figure out what to do with the plants. Maybe sell them to LFS or maybe sell them here if people are interested.... and if I can muster up the energy to take 2 toddlers to the post office with me which just... ugh... even thinking about that makes me groan lol.

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post #59 of 433 (permalink) Old 04-08-2018, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry... posting a lot! lol
Finally feel like I'm getting out of my aquarium funk (even if I'm having some trrouble atm) and just wanted to post while I have a quiet minute alone.

Checked water parameters in the 5g hex and boy.... still a LOT of ammonia in there. That's kind of surprising since it's been set up for so long and I really only add water when it gets low.
Did a big water change to help get rid of some of the ammonia and to clean the tank up a bit. LOADS of algae all over the place. Still a bunch that I couldn't get out.
Took out about 98% of the water and surprisingly the plants in the tank are doing pretty well. Whenever it's ready and we have the funds... the tank is going to make some shrimp very happy



Oh and I found a video of someone using a baby pool to grow out plants. Think I may eliminate the pots to save some money. Their swords didn't grow well in it though and I need to figure out something to keep the dog from destroying it.
I'll post pics whenever I start getting all of the items. It's still a little too cold right now to set anything up though, but that's ok. I think a lot of the swords need a little more time on their stems.

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post #60 of 433 (permalink) Old 04-09-2018, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Few things bought


The bags of pea pebbles were only 2.50 each and the soil was $6. Could've just gone with non organic and get something cheaper, but meh.
After watching more videos on outdoor grow out containers... decided against clear tubs and will be going for something solid colored and dark. Haven't purchased those yet, but not in too much of a hurry while we wait for the weather to warm up a little more.
Spring time here is all over the place and temps can fluctuate a lot. Probably won't be able to set anything up for another 2 weeks at least.
Also need to buy some stakes and some kind of mesh and/or shade cloth too.
I'm excited to see how the plants do. I'm worried about the heat when temps rise, but hoping that shade cloth will help. Will probably have to do daily water changes too to help cool things off.

Would love to be able to put some fish in the tubs too, but have nowhere to put them after being done/over winter and don't want to have to set up an air pump outside for anything lol. Oh well. Just plants is good with me.

Will be putting all of those extra sword plants I'm getting along with some ludwigia and whatever else I want to experiment with So excited!

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