40 Breeder, low light - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 03:48 AM Thread Starter
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40 Breeder, low light

I shouldn't have spent the money on this, but I was eyeing it up on Craigslist for a couple weeks, and finally emailed the guy with an offer. He wrote back saying one of the lights didn't work, so I ended up with an even better deal. Although I would prefer the light worked, so I didn't have to invest in another one so soon.

It is in very good shape, and is very clean. Although I haven't filled it yet to see if it will hold water, the silicone looks to be in very good shape.

Anyway, this is what $80 got me. It has a very thick glass cover, and the stand is very well made and sturdy (heavy!) It came with some gravel and rocks from Lake Superior that I love the look of. I have to test them and see if I should use them. My water is hard enough without adding to it.
It also came with a cheap hob filter (whisper I think) and a few power heads. At least one of them works, as I tried it out in my 55.
The light is a dual fluorescent light, and they aren't working. I tried replacing the starters, and that didn't do it. I don't think it is the bulbs, as the lights will flicker just a tiny bit, but won't turn on. I am going to get a new bulb to try anyway though. If that isn't it, I will have to look into lighting right away.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 03:58 AM Thread Starter
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I got this tank to replace my very sorry 20 gallon.

It has been a catch all tank for quite some time, and it has a total of 15 watts of light. The only thing that will grow is that anubias, and it is very slow.



It will be housing an 7-8" Raphael catfish. (I really should measure him.) I have had him like 11 years, and it is about time he got enough room to live.
I am not sure what else I will be putting in there for fish yet.

The plan right now; (this might change of course.)
I am planning on having a low light set up.
I am going to try out some mineralized top soil, and cover that with gravel.
For now I will just be using a magnum hot hob canister filter, and I might add that whisper for good measure.

For plants I am thinking lots of crypts, and some anubias, and of course some java fern, as I have tons of it.

Not sure about the hardscape. I love driftwood, but I will have some rock in there too, as it is easier to make a cave for the raphael out of rock, and I have some nice rocks. I will have to see how it turns out.

Today I bought some window tint from the auto section at Walmart. I am going to try putting that on the back of the tank and see how it looks. If I don't like that, I might just paint the tank.

It will be a while before the tank actually gets put together, as I have to soak the soil, ect.

Comments and ideas are welcome!


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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 04:06 PM
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I am going to try out some mineralized top soil, and cover that with gravel.

I might just paint the tank.
Oh, my, you got my dream tank, for what I spent on a 29g with metal stand.

The gravel to cover dirt needs to be 3ml. I found that hard to find outside of pet stores, which charge to much. You could put a thin layer of pool filter sand over it, and then gravel of choice. My favorite for topping is river sand. It has a nice brown color and only need sifting of bigger particles.

I painted back of a tank and I regret it. Not easy to remove. Now I just tape fabric on the back with Gorilla tape. So cheap, easy to change and so many varieties.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 04:13 PM
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Examples of tanks
Oldpunk's 50G


Rhaethe's with river sand



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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Hilde! I didn't realize that I would need sand or something so small if I used mts. It makes sense, I just didn't think.
Shoot, now I have to re think this. I supposed I should test the gravel I have now first, maybe I couldn't use it anyway. It looks so natural and pretty though...

I really like that second tank. I need to find a nice piece of driftwood.


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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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Have you used sand? I put some in my 10 gallon, and I am not in love with it so far.


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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 04:45 PM
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Have you used sand? I put some in my 10 gallon, and I am not in love with it so far.
Yes! I have used play sand, pool filter sand, and river sand as is in the picture. I love the river sand. It needs very little rinsing and never looks dirty.

Found to keep dirt under sand when filling with water best to put a piece of plastic over the substrate. Then remove when near the top.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Where do you get river sand?


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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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I am thinking maybe I should just wait until summer to try making the mineralized top soil. I have room in the basement, but I also have cats and kids, and that could get real ugly. It is too cold in the garage to do it out there. I will have to think about it.


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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 03:42 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, so all sense left me, and I started in on the MTS. OMG, what a mess! I am going to continue on, because I am crazy, but I am sure this will be the last time trying this inside the house. lol
I got a bad bag of top soil also, as it is more wood than dirt. By the time I am done, I might have enough for the little 6 gallon I have. I got it from Home Depot. I think I will go to Menards tomorrow and pick up a second bag.
Or maybe I should just finish it and use it in my 6 gallon, and forget trying to make enough for the 40 right now.

I filled the 40 up to make sure it is holding water. So far so good. I will let it stand overnight, and drain it in the morning.


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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
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Some sad news. The Raphael catfish died. I must have jinxed him by buying a new tank for him. He had a very bad case of ich. I am not even sure how he got it. I bought 2 small goldfish and added them to his tank well over a month ago, and the ich just showed up the last few days. The goldfish are not showing signs of it. The only thing I can think of is that the goldfish brought it, and the tank was cooler so it repressed the ich. I figured out that the heater was broken, and replaced it just over a week ago. Then the ich showed up. I had just put a sae in there a bit over a week ago also, but he was from my other tank, and there is no ich there either. He died yesterday, and the cat was dead today. I was treating with salt and higher heat, as I was trying to avoid medicating him being a catfish. The ich was looking better, but yesterday I could tell he was in distress, so was going to go to the store and get some meds today. Too little too late.
My husband thinks I purposly didn't treat him so he would die. (He was half joking when he "accused" me of this, but still. :P
I will admit that I am actually relieved he is gone. It was hard to plan stocking with him, but I was doing what has worked for me in the past. We had him so long that it was worth having him around.


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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 12:50 AM
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Sorry to hear about your SAE and catfish. Those feeder goldfish are notorious for carrying harmful things, especially ich. I added a couple to feed my perch and wound up killing two clown loaches. I tried the salt and temp raise and it seemed to worsen the situation. I followed guides for this treatment method and everything.

In my experience, the best treatment for ich is still Rid-Ich or something like it. I have had good results with an amount slightly under the recommended dosage. Catching ich in it's free-swimming stage is important, so continuing treatment for the recommend time is important. Oh, and treat fish in a quarantine tank because it dies the silicone blue.

I'm never buying feeders from a large pet chain again.


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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 03:37 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Hyzer,
I am never buying fish from a chain store again. At least not until I get a quaranteen tank. That wouldn't have mattered in this case though, because it has been a month. *sigh* I am not sad about my sae. He was chasing my other fish, which is why I moved him. He left the goldfish alone though.

I have used the higher temp salt method before, and it worked like a charm. I think I caught it quicker that time though. This poor guy was covered. I guess I learned my lesson. If it that bad, medicate.
My plan is to re-home the goldfish. Now because of the ich, I will keep the 20 set up for them for another month or so before I do. I don't want to pass that on. :P I suppose I could turn the 40 into a goldfish tank, but I just don't love them.
I would like to have a pond someday.... I like them in ponds.


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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 03:15 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I am on my third (and final) round of drying the MTS. I think you are supposed to do it 4x, but it looks really good, and I have to be clever while it is drying, because one of my cats already used it as a toilet. I am not surprised, but I was hoping... There were muddy paw prints around it when it was wet, so I thought maybe they had learned their lesson and stay away from the mud.... no such luck.

I was wrong about the one bag not being enough. It doesn't seem like it is enough when it is wet in the tote, but when you lay it all out, it does. And that is even after losing about 15% of it to kitty messes. So, I should be good.

I couldn't fix the light, so I have this coming... SolarMaxHE2 I also ordered a 125watt Jager heater from them.

I also have this coming from manzanita.com. I am not sure if it will fit right, but we will see. I am not sure what is wrong with me, lol. I just spent $40 (after shipping) on a branch.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-27-2011, 02:09 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I changed my mind and soaked and dried the dirt one more time, as I wasn't happy with the texture. The last time did the trick I think.

I got the light and heater, and I also got my expensive stick. lol It fits! Not sure how I am going to put it in exactly, but it is very pretty! I ordered some plants from sweetaquatics.com, and am waiting for them. Today I picked up some 3M Colorquarts Tgrade for a cap on my MTS, so now all I need is the plants.

Oh, and I think I decided that I am going to try making this a low tech, and am going to make my water softer by cutting it with R/O, and hopefully not have to change the water so often. We will see how that goes. I still haven't decided what I am going to get. I think maybe a pair of rams. Or, I might put my kribs in this tank, and get the rams for my 55.


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