40B GBR tank - A rookies journey - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-29-2018, 03:38 AM Thread Starter
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40B GBR tank - A rookies journey

Well...been 3 years since I first attempted to do a planted tank. Bought the CO2 stuff, lights, tank, filter, substrate and life got in the way before I was able to start it up. Finally settled in a bit and picked up my tank/equipment from my parents house so the fun begins!

Plans for this tank are to keep a harem of German Blue Rams and create a scape close to the natural environment. Although black water and leaf litter is more their style this will be set up in the living room and I can hear the constant comments "your water is dirty" from anyone who comes over. I will also be putting in a few schooling fish but not sure which yet...cardinal tetra or rummy nose tetra were on the list but it could change.

So...here we go.

40 Gallon Breeder compliments of Petco's $1 gallon sale. Also an ok metal stand that I built some insulated skins for. The wife in training will be staining this in the next few days. Hopefully the foam boards will cut down on any noise the filter may put out.


I had bought this light off ebay 3yrs ago. No idea the brand but has 4 T5 HO bulbs and 3 sets of night lights. Back in the WPG era this would have given me about 4wpg. HOWEVER....I was feeling fancy.


And picked up this nice Finnex Planted+ CC ... ya know...to impress the lady.


Cleaned up the tank, leveled the stand and painted the background. Also put some of the equipment in place. SunSun 304b canister filter, 10# Co2 bottle and what I believe is the Milwaukee setup (2 gauge regulator, milwaukee actuator, some needle valve and bubble counter).


Was all set to build a reactor for Co2 but came across this in my equipment boxes. Aqua medic 500 reactor and Rio+ 90. Is this still a good setup? If I remember right I had a normal diffuser on order with aquariumplants.com and they called and recommended this setup instead.


Picked up a versa top today and ordered quite a bit of bushy manzanita to try and get a tree fallen in the water look. Hoping by the end of the week I can have a hardscape I'm happy with and can get the quickrete PF sand in there and decide my plant stocking options. Trying to figure out a "controlled chaos" look. Something with plenty of hiding and open sandy area for the GBRs to frolic but easily able to see and enjoy the fish.

Vin

Last edited by Functional; 01-30-2018 at 01:38 AM. Reason: pictures added
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-30-2018, 12:16 AM
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That's going to be cool! I would personally get it set up and running and cycling asap. GBR's are not a fish that does well in anything less than a fully cycled stable tank. The C02 dispersion sounds fine. It will have the added benefit of not reducing flow from the Sunsun. I have a 304B running the reactor on one of my 75 gallons. It dramatically reduced the flow.
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-30-2018, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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Yes I plan on having this fully cycled and going to get some schooling fish in there for a few weeks after cycle (going fishless cycle) to make sure I've got my balances right with everything. Also would love to find a private breeder if possible...I have a really good "local" (1.5hrs away) fish store that stocks really nice ones but cant beat straight from the breeder.

Going to try and avoid reducing flows on my canister as much as possible. Going to pick up some clear or black acrylic tubing soon to make some DIY spray bar and intake parts.

Edited the first post...small status update (versa top and manzanita ordered) and added the photos. Flickr didnt want to cooperate and had to switch to imgur.
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-31-2018, 06:18 PM
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hell yeah I am fallowing this one as am in the process of setting my 1st planted FW 40br as well so i'll join you on the journey!

wife in training...haha love that add in my list of words.

i was also thinking of the sunsun 304B but might do a sump not 100% sure yet.

was thinking the 24/7 finnex CC can you post more pics and a quick write up/review/ thoughts.
so lets see your hard scape. you doing the DSM or wet?
substrate?
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-01-2018, 02:28 AM Thread Starter
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Haha well good luck to you! I've been non stop reading/researching for weeks (again) and still getting information overload.

Not sure yet on DSM or Flooded method. Trying to figure out what my hardscape will look to start planning out my plant stock and then I'll see if the DSM will benefit or not.

Also realized I do not have the 304B when I was loading up the media trays last night but I have the 302. A bit less gph than I would have liked but with the fish I'm planning on keeping liking slower moving waters I'm going to give it a shot and if I need more I'll just throw another 302 on it.

Also just saw a triple red apisto and am torn now between GBRs and Apistos...in the end it has no impact on the tank layout since its the same enviro.

Also been tearing myself up over how to move the water in this thing. Been looking at lily pipes, spray bars (horizontal and verticle) and duckbills. Thinking of a custom vertical spray bar in the left back facing towards the front 1/3rd with the return right next to it. Holes will be about 1-2" from the substrate and about midway up the tank with one angled hole to give slight ripple to the surface. It will either be this or a duckbill I think...I'm not a fan of how far the Violet Lily pipe sticks into the tank, clear or not. As for the intake I've been looking at one on amazon...lily pipe with a floating skimmer in once package.

Anyway...the real reason y'all are here...pictures.

The WIT painting the corner pieces for me. 2 will get tac nailed with some construction adhesive onto the sides of the front piece and 1 on the back corner of each side piece. This will hide the uneven corners and make it look more put together.


This is the back of the panels. the 1x2s fit snugly against the top and bottom rails to maintain mounting height and are wide enough to prevent side to side movement. I also put on some magnets to the top part to make sure its sucked against the metal stand and doesnt accidentally fall off. Foam board is to just cut down on any noise since this is in the living room.


And just the front panel mounted up to the stand to show color against the tank.


And here is the scape I'm sitting at right now. Going to let this sit and see how I like it over the next few days. PLEASE...if you have an advise or critiques please voice them. The manzanita was a lot less bushy than I expected...but he its from amazon and still a good looking piece. The rocks I tried to line up as if they had split in places or broke at fractures...well see if you guys see this too or not.




And for those curious on the Planted+ CC heres a few pics...and if I can manage to put up the video of it on Demo Mode of the stock 24/7 mode.

The mounts, a panel locks into this side and has 2 clear screws to clamp on a rimless tank.


The channel on either side of the light, seems you can slide the legs all the way to the center if needed.


This is the receiver for the light to work with the remote. Unfortunately this is on the right side of the light when the Finnex badge is facing towards you and the receiver/remote need line of sight to work well. So I had to spin the light around to put the receiver on the side facing the couch. Im just going to mount this on the wood side panel with some velcro.


And the video on Demo mode...lets see if this works. (edit...couldnt get it. here is the link to go see it)
https://i.imgur.com/5fxZ88I.mp4

Vin
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-01-2018, 04:44 AM
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Looks like your off to a good start. I would suggest trying to add way more wood than that. Dwarf cichlids such as GBRs, especially when kept more than a pair at a time, need a lot of line of sight breaks and hiding spots. Otherwise you're going to end up with bullying, which can definitely result in deaths. I know you didn't expect the wood to be quite that small. If at all possible, I'd see if you can get some more to add to it.

As far as finding local GBR breeders, I'd suggest searching for fish/aquarium/aquatic plant clubs in your area. I definitely wouldn't be surprised to find some around there. My local clubs have been a huge help in providing access to people keeping and breeding a wide variety of fish species. While I see you mentioned some of the popular tetras, I'd also suggest checking out some of the less common species of schooling fish that are available. I'm a huge advocate for not going with the ever present Cardinals, Neons, Rummynose or several of the other often used Tetras. There are so many different species of fish out there that are readily available through a network of breeders or quality sources, like The Wet Spot. If tetras are the fish for you, maybe check out Green Neon Tetras, they are a nice subtle, yet striking fish, just one of the different tetra options out there. I'm a huge fan of Pencilfish, actually, I don't own a single tetra and haven't for several years. Some of the Pencils are just as easy to keep and don't suffer from many of the issues that some tetras suffer from over breeding. A couple of the ones you might check out would be the Dwarf Pencilfish (Nannostomus marginatus), as well as Beckford's (or Golden) Pencilfish (Nannostomus beckfordi), they are both available as tank bred fish so you don't have to start with the wild caught specimen. Of course, all of this is just suggestions from my own preferences.

As mentioned by The Dude, CO2 injection really does make things easier. Even if you don't go with high levels of injection needed for high tech. I've got a tank that I don't run anywhere near the 25-30ppm level of CO2, but it has just made the plant growth in the tank far more stable than prior to adding CO2. Along those same lines, starting with a long photoperiod is a super common mistake. Many tanks don't need more than 6hrs of light per day, and increasing that to 8-12hrs is just asking for problems. It is much easier to start with a shorter photoperiod and slowly increase it(and everything that goes along with it) over the next 6 months as the tank becomes more established than to start out at 8-10hrs and be dealing with major algae problems after two months.

Looking forward to seeing how things progress. Good luck!
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-01-2018, 05:28 AM
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I do like the scape! but I also think more wood in needed. I went out and collected some today soaking it now to see how it goes. I dont know much...well anything about discus fish so cant be to much help other than offering some excitement for your project!
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-01-2018, 01:18 PM
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It looks pretty awesome just the hardscape, but I think it will disappear for the most part once plants start filling in especially since you'll be injecting C02. I would add another branch to that manzanita for sure and maybe some more in the foreground. Your choice of plants will obviously have some impact, but regardless high tech means that they'll eventually get pretty lush.
As to Apisto's... Yunite and CoralBandit on here are the only people I would buy GBR's from if you want to keep them for more than a couple months. Apisto Caucatoides are much hardier, but I would still likely go to Apisto Dave for those. Unless you have good quality stock locally. I could only get the Gold Triple Reds. I DEFINATELY wouldn't buy GBR's locally though. Also consider that the tank will need to be much warmer for GBR's. I think 82* was what CoralBandit said. I would love to try GBR's again. GBR's, Cardinal Tetras, and Sterbai Corys is a timeless mix.
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-01-2018, 01:43 PM
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Looks Like a nice set up! I too like the wife in training! Had a good chuckle. Yours seems more receptive to the hobby than mine! The dirty tank any time someone comes over. I've got tiered of explaining that is what the tank is supposed to like. I just now say yea got to work on that. I have to agree with the others, more scape! If your going with the harem idea there is probably going to be loving going on. Do you have acceptable spots that the GBRs are going to lay eggs? Is there going to be a safe place to run and hide, when a lovers quarrel breaks out? Looking forward to following along on your journey!
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-03-2018, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
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haha she is receptive for now! I kind of hit her hard with the obsession late in the relationship and now shes stuck! Wait until we get a proper house and I try and shove a 200gallon in there.

I've decided with either Apistos or GBRs I'll just source them from online. I found Apisto Dave and a few guys breeding good stocks of GBRs and for the "show piece fish" it will be worth it.

Alright....This is kind of my last attempt until I either buy more manzanita and fill in the left side more or I ditch the manzanita and buy some Malaysian wood. I will likely end up buying another one of these manzanita branches and cut it up, add some to the left and make the right bushier. Plan is to have it lush in the back and trim back about midway through the tree branches so you still see some of the features and hopefully create the "caves" that either species needs/likes.

So first I needed some more sand but not 50lbs worth of a new bag. I'd seen some pictures of CarbiSea river sand and figured it would darken up the PFS a bit and give some nice variation in grain texture.

PFS only


PFS and Caribsea


Now the scapes...

Scape 2





Scape 3





Also have this piece of wood in another tank I can rob but I'm not sure how 2 different kinds of wood would look...not sold...but its an awsome piece with the knots not withered away but the rest hollow. The cory loves it. (tank is getting plants shortly)


Again trying to create something great for apistos/gbrs ...need some good cover for them if any lovers quarrels break out and they need to rent some space somewhere else in the tank. So thoughts?

Vin

Last edited by Functional; 02-03-2018 at 03:44 AM. Reason: added text
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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-03-2018, 04:18 AM
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Could be wrong, but I believe a fellow forum member @Coralbandit breeds GBR’s. Also, check out Jeff Michaels with Aquatic Clarity or Pure Fish Works for sourcing Apistogramma. They always have a wider selection than Dave and frankly the last fish I got from him weren’t all that great.

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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-03-2018, 10:09 AM
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I like the set up..Rams aren't as hard as everyone says IMO ,but what do I know ? I add terra cotta pots ,broken , whole ,sideways and upside down for the apistos...The rams get pot bottoms for spawning trays..
I have GBR /EBR and will shortly be offering my first cross of EBR/GBR for sale .They are 4 months old now.
I have had over 8 pairs of rams in a 40b before[ ram ranch !] and breed them a whole season like that just pulling eggs !
I have a couple Apistos and a good connection who lives near wetspot...
Lots of rams and apistos out there and they are great fish..
Maybe look into Pelcicachromis Taeniatus Molowi ? I have young @ 2+ months of those now with more coming !
The females of this fish are beautiful and they are still uncommon so will add that extra pop to the tank IMO.
I don't mix fish but done properly I see no reason besides temperature that you could not have both apisto and rams or maybe all 3.
Again I don't mix but have had LARGE numbers of all 3 in same tank so set up and maintenance are the only real issue I see?
My sales are listed below in my sig...

Maybe just me [I have manzanita ] but your wood looks like sandblasted grapevine IMO ? Most manznita has very skinny trunks and less of the color I see...I could be wrong ?

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Pictures of some of my fish;
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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-07-2018, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
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Well I did some deep thinking, kept flip flopping on doing a biotope for an apisto/gbr or a nice plant colorful "half" dutch style scape and decided to just do both haha. Going to setup the 10g for a mini dutch style with few fish and some shrimp.

Ended up reading through ALL of Nlewis' 40b journal and the apisto photo thread and decided to pretty much go in the direction his tank went. Found out about the Tannin supply place and feel more confident/relaxed about creating plenty of hiding spaces if I use some of those pods they sell, may also throw in some LIGHT leaf litter. Only request from the WIT was a few red plants are thrown in there. I'm sure the Amazon has one or 2 I can include in it. Going to order up some wood today (getting rid of all the rocks/wood in the tank currently) and pick up some of the Tannin pods/leafs. Going to pick up a sand sifter...after staring at the tank for 2 days I'm starting to hate the Caribsea river rock sand I mixed in with the PFS...ya live and learn

For stocking I'm thinking:
6 Emperor Tetra
10 Cardinal Tetra
3 Apisto Cacatuoides (2f, 1m) (either tripple or super reds)
3 Apisto trifasciata (2f, 1m)
3-5 Otos
2 Corys

OR.....
6 Emperor Tetra
10 Cardinal Tetra
1 Apisto Cacatuoides (1m) (either tripple or super red)
1 Apisto trifasciata (1m)
1 German Blue Ram (1m)
3-5 Otos
2 Corys

Provided enough pods/caves does this stocking sound about right for a 40b? Debated a few angels instead of the Emperors but I don't think the 40b will really give me the proper height needed for them. Hatchets would be cool too but I think the mid/upper levels will be too crowded and have too similar a body shape to the Emperors.

Anyway this is where I'm at...Coralbandit's success with keeping so many GBRs from killing eachother in a 40b gives me hope I can pull off these stockings and Nlewis gave me a good scape direction (although probably not intentionally). Going to start coming up with a list of plants I might use next.
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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 06:24 PM
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hows the tank coming?
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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by underH20garden View Post
hows the tank coming?
Not much to update on just yet, come tuesday/wednesday I'm flooding though so something should be expected then. I didn't like the compromises I started coming up with from my original idea so I ripped everything out of the tank and started fresh.

Changed out the pebble/sand mix and went straight PFS. Picked up replacement hosing/spraybar/intake for the SunSun. Couldn't even buy hose for what the whole kit cost so figured I'd see how it ran first then modify my spray/duckbill as needed. Ordered 2 new larger pieces of actual spiderwood, 150 osmocote + tabs, co2 drop checker, 250 purigen, Thrive + liquid fertz, pods/leaves from Tannin Aquatics and of course....panty hose! (for the purigen, was a fun convo with the WIT when I asked her to pick me up some...man is she in for a fun ride)

Was going to mix my own fertz but Thrive+ had great feedback and for $20 I'm covered for half a year with no hastle. Figured I'd start with this then mix my own once I started getting a feel for different plant needs

Ordering a Hydor 200 heater tonight, placed all my equipment in the tank and didnt like how cluttered it started looking.

Currently have the Aquamedic 500 reactor/powerhead but am worried about how well it will circulate the co2 rich water in the tank. Going to run the reactor just above/next to the Canister intake and hope it sucks up the Co2 rich water and out the spray bar for better distribution. If im not satisfied with its performance or I cant cover up the equipment well enough I'm just going to buy a second SS302 canister and do a DIY Griggs or Cergs...run all my foam/polishing in one and all my bio media in the other.

Wood isnt due until the 20th so plant selection is on hold until I get my hardscape and pods positioned and I can better visualize what I have to work with.

One plant I KNOW I have to have is a Red Tiger Lotus...or 2. Its one fine looking plant. Thanks to Nlewis for showing his off in his blackwater, I'm hooked.

Ran a water test on my 10g that just completed its cycle and its looking pretty decent for apistos or GBRs.
PH 6.3 (no co2 injection)
KH 1 or 2 (was a weak possible green with 1 drop, good green with 2)
GH 3 (might need a pinch of GH booster at water changes)

Far cry from when I lived in NY with a PH of 8.4 out of the tap.

Vin
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