Nate's 29g Bedroom Tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-30-2018, 07:02 AM Thread Starter
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Nate's 29g Bedroom Tank

Hey everyone, I'm so excited to finally be starting this. A huge thanks to everyone that has contributed to this wonderful community - I've learned so much from you guys! A special thanks to @burr740 for his micro thread as I probably wouldn't have started this without Joe giving me that extra push to do a journal.

First, a little bit about me, and then to the fun stuff - the tanks

I currently live in the Portland area with my wife and two little kids who seem to be sick more often than they are not. I work as an Information Security Architect which keeps me pretty busy, and the rest of our time is spent volunteering for our church, supporting our foster care families, and other services within our community. If you happen to live in the area and are passionate about making an impact in our community, hit me up with a PM! Also, I'm always ready to give away plants to anyone that happens to be in the area

On to the tank(s)... I currently have 6 active tanks, down from 9 over the summer, and I'm working on shutting down a couple more by the end of the year as we get more involved in other things. Hopefully that means I can focus more time and energy on the 29g in our bedroom. Other than that, I have a 20 long, a 10 gallon rimless, 2x 6 gallon Marineland Portraits in the garage and a Spec V at work. The Spec V and 10 gallon rimless will get a few highlights here and there in this thread, but the main focus will be the 29.

A quick list of details and history on the tank:

I set this up during the summer of 2017 to replace a 20 long that had a seam that looked like it could fail at any minute. The equipment that was brought over is as follows:

Lights: 1x Finnex 24/7 Planted Plus (original) for 8 hours per day
Filter: Eheim 2215 with the media it comes with plus Seachem Purigen
Substrate: Black Magic Blasting Sand
CO2: Aquatek Mini on a 24oz Paintball Tank with a DIY Griggs Reactor
Heater: DIY Inkbird ITC-1000 Temperature Controller keeping temps at 74F
Fertilizers: EI Package from Nilocg along with my own GH booster made from CaSO4, MgSO4, and K2SO4

The first couple of months seemed to be going OK, but everything kind of slowly started not doing well. I chased a lot of things like CO2 where I jumped to a 1.4 pH drop, changed out the DIY Griggs for an inline atomizer as I hit it's limit, doubled up on ferts to almost 2x normal EI, and increased micro's as well. I even switched to RO for a couple of months all of which seemed to only slow down the losses but not really fix anything. In the end, the solution was adding more light...

After about 9 months, I was finally on to something! I now run this tank with 2x Finnex 24/7 Planted Plus since the original one's IR blaster burned out and left me with a light that could only run on max. My wife missed the 24/7 feature, so we picked up one more and leave that running in the 24/7 mode while the second one is 100% brightness for 8 hours per day. Everything has been looking mostly good, and I've been slowly fine tuning the fertilizers ever since. I still had several plants that looked pale to me, and it kept bugging me that something wasn't quite right. Finally, I had a terrible mix of CSM+B that was the last straw - it's like it had no Fe in it at all.

That's where this journal is going to start. I will work on editing this post to show photos starting when I contacted Joe to get custom micros going as I feel that changing to DTPA Fe alone made a pretty noticeable difference. I dosed just DTPA Fe for a couple of weeks until I got my milligram scale, and then after that switched to my mix which I'll post with the pictures.

And yes, lots of weird projects going on in there. I'll be cleaning some of those up soon

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-09-2018, 05:29 AM Thread Starter
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Still need to find time to round up some shots over the past couple of months to show a little progression, but really quick, I figured I'd drop a plant list, water parameters (at least targeted parameters), and dosing regime along with a few updated pictures. Also discovered my spray bar must have slightly rotated causing a little more surface agitation than usual and less CO2 flow reaching the substrate. Fixed that today, so it will be interesting to see the changes over the next week

Here's the plant list, and yes, I have a collectoritis problem

Floaters
Amazon Frogbit
Dwarf Water Lettuce
Silvinia minima

Stems
Blyxa japonica
Limnophila Aromatica
Heteranthera zosterifolia
Lobelia cardinalis
Ludwigia repens
Ludwigia repens 'super red'
Rotala rotundifolia
Rotala nanjenshan
Rotala wallichii
Bacopa monnierii
Staurogyne repens
Ceratopteris thalictroides

Everything else
Java fern 'windelov'
Anubias barteri
Anubias nana (regular and petite)
Bolbitis heudelotii
Sagittaria subulata
Cryptocoryne (Wendtii 'green', beckettii? and spiralis)
Marsilea minuta
Hydrocotyle tripartita (japan)
Eriocaulon cinereum
Dwarf hair grass 'mini'
Half dozen varieties of bucephalandra

Mosses
Fissidens fontanus
Fissidens nobilis
Vietnam
Subwassertang


I use the EI package from Colin which includes CSM+B. I have had outstanding batches where growth was amazing, but then I had a couple of bad batches over this summer that seemed to really suck. I saw what others were doing in the micro fert thread, and I finally pulled the trigger. Here's my micro mix that I'm using currently (Joe posted this somewhere in that thread):

DTPA Fe (11%) - .15 ppm
MnSO4.H2O - .05 ppm
H3BO3 - .045 ppm
ZnSO4.H2O - .05 ppm
Na2MoO4*2H2O - .0015 ppm
CuSO4.5H2O - .002 ppm
NiSO4.6H2O - .0005 ppm

So, the weekly totals look like this for what I'm dosing:

Macro: 24 NO3, 15 K, 6 P (front loaded)
Micro: .6 Fe, .2 Mn, .18 B, .2 Zn, .006 Mo, .008 Cu, .002 Ni (3-4 doses per week)
At water change: 14.3 Ca, 3.3 Mg, 20 K (from CaSO4, MgSO4, and K2SO4)
Totals: 25-30 ppm NO3 per week, 30-40 K, and 4-6 P

That gives me about 2 dKH, about 6 dGH, and temp is set at 74 F.


I have an estimated 25 gallons of water in the 29 when factoring in canister filter and tubing, and I change roughly 17-18 gallons once per week (so around 70% I guess).

First picture is a couple days ago, then the last is tonight where changing the spray bar caused so much pearling that the blyxa came loose. Also, it appears the Erio were struggling a bit, so we're shedding some leaves but new growth looks great.

Last edited by natemcnutty; 12-10-2018 at 05:47 AM.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-10-2018, 03:23 AM
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Tank looks amazing! So many different species! I am curious about your acrylic panels that you have you mosses growing on. Where did you get those from?


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-10-2018, 05:05 AM Thread Starter
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Tank looks amazing! So many different species! I am curious about your acrylic panels that you have you mosses growing on. Where did you get those from?
Thanks! They are actually the leg stands from the Chihiros A series lights I have on other tanks (I use the metal height adjustable legs for them instead). I just used a suction cup and fishing line to make it.

On the far left, the buce ledge is a piece of polycarbonate that I cut and used 3x suction cups plus some fishing line to make.

On the filter intake, I 3D printed a couple of moss ledges that attach to the tubing, and the Xmas moss next to the acrylic ledges are on 3D printed ledges as well.

I'm planning on 3D printing some edging soon so I can keep the marsilea and DHG contained better.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-11-2018, 07:45 AM Thread Starter
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Saw this this morning. I guess the Blyxa really liked the sudden flow of extra CO2...

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-13-2018, 03:17 AM Thread Starter
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Couple quick photos. I was relying way too much on trimming and replanting good stems before. Felt embarrassed sending off bad stems in the RAOK, so I gave out the best I had assuming everything would recover well...

Let's just say I was definitely not getting good CO2 for quite a while. Specifically, check out the difference in the L. aromatica and R. rotundifolia over the past couple of days!

FTS of this morning vs tonight, then the highlights.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-18-2018, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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Quick picture update. Blyxa have good roots but still won't stay put. They're pearling so much the just wiggle lose from the sand...

Moved the blyxa and saw the fissidens Fox mat is floating, lol. Definitely overdue to trim and wire up some new mats.



Erio are getting a little better. I think I need to add more sand as they are starting to lift out. Either that, or it's time to cut the hearts :-/

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-24-2018, 06:13 AM Thread Starter
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Decided to slightly up Mg by an extra 1/32 tsp per 10g. Started to see intervienal chlorosis on S. Repens and a couple others. Other than that, hacked down the L. Repens and trimmed all the fissidens nobilis and fox. New platform of polycarbonate in the back with new mesh. Not really liking the look, but I'm planning on moving them to the garage tank once growth has started up well.

Next week, going to cut the Erios in at least half for the two big ones. Roots are too big and are lifting it out of my sand...
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-04-2019, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Well, we left to celebrate Christmas in Alaska for two weeks. I was pretty worried about lack of dosing. I did have someone come by once every 3 days and feed fish and do micros for me, and I think everything worked out OK.

Funny enough, the Erio I was planning on cutting when I got back decided to split itself before I got back... Not sure if this was a stress response or a good thing.

Anyway, I got a wonderful RAOK from Nate, so I'll add a second post sorry detailing that. For now, here's the before we left, after we got back, and after cleaning the glass.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-04-2019, 10:48 PM
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Very nice. i enjoyed reading about your tank


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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-05-2019, 04:31 AM Thread Starter
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Very nice. i enjoyed reading about your tank
Thanks! I'm not sure if I'm doing it in a format that makes sense, but I feel like photos tell a better story than I can most of the time

I had promised an update and another RAOK, but my daughter started throwing up after lunch. We're guessing it was something from the airport or airplane

A huge thanks to @elusive77 for the RAOK. I thinned out a ton of plants in maintenance last night (in my QT until RAOK goes out) and put in some mermaid weed, purple cabomba, AR, spiral Val, tiger Val, and a couple other things. Still need to glue buce to some wood, but there's not enough free time in the day

Anyway, here's what it looks like now. I'll rearrange a bit once a few things are sold, given away, or grow out and get healthy.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-24-2019, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
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Alright, time for another big update. I wouldn't say the tank crashed, but many plants definitely started a revolt... Almost 5 weeks with only 2 water changes takes a slight Mg deficiency to really bad places. On the plus side, I got a new tank up and running and have a dozen Blue Bolts and a half dozen PRL's in it. Super excited - we'll see about a separate journal for this.

To keep this post shorter, I'll link to the thread here where Burr and Quag helped me identify a Ca/Mg/K issue (mostly Mg) I've been having: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/s....php?t=1285581

What I didn't dive into there is how off my measurements have been. I bought a nice milligram scale when I started doing custom micros, but I kept using spoons for everything else. I can't believe how far off some of my measurements were compared to Rotala Butterfly. For example, 1/2 tsp of MgSO4 was 60% of the weight it said I needed.

I'm not sure if the spoons are to blame or the granule sizes of the minerals (or my improper use of said spoons), but CaSO4 was off 25% and K2SO4 by 10%. I'm now also dosing 1/2 the K2SO4 I was *targeting* before, and Joe is tempting me to try adding no additional K2SO4 (maybe in a couple weeks buddy :p). Here's my current weekly totals now with at least some level of higher accuracy than before:

24 NO3, 6 P, 25 K (10 K from K2SO4)

Anyway, the turnaround has been remarkable. The roots on the floaters are the biggest thing I've noticed because the water lettuce is approaching 16" in length... I've not had this since I switched from Nilocg's GH booster (which was obviously measured right...) to making my own, but for some reason, I blamed it on how often I remove floaters.

Most stems are turning around, Anubias and Buce are putting out crazy amounts of leaves, and stems are starting to upright themselves and get better coloration. Super excited for where this is going, and I'm tentatively planning a smaller RAOK this weekend if I can get more insulation. Hopefully this will give back a lot of what elusive sent me

Here's some pictures!
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-25-2019, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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Well, it's been a while and the tank has been done well even despite my lack of maintenance these past few weeks. We had two trips to the ER in a period of 4 days, one due to a systemic reaction to medication for my wife and one most likely due to orthostatic hypotension for me... Fun times :-/

Anyway, have to keep this short and sweet. Based on Joe's feedback, I decided to fully drop K2SO4, so my accumulation targets are now 24 NO3, 6 P, and 15 K. My weekly water changes are now adding 15 Ca and 7 Mg, then I add 16 NO3, 4 P, and whatever K is from those.

Here you can see the mess that the tank had grown to...

Here's some photos photos now that it has been cleaned up. You'll notice I pretty much lost an Erio and really hurt some others. Cut them way back and hoping the better spot will revive them.


Pulling up some crypts ripped up my DHG carpet, so I've stuffed it in a pot for the time being. Should have a 20 long ready for it in the next day or two.


Lastly, the Blue Bolts are doing well. Haven't lost any of the new PRL, but I may or may not have lost one BB. Every time I count, I find 9 and no 10th. No biggie as the others seem very healthy and should be getting close to saddles in the next two weeks
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