Dr. Who meets Atlantis - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-02-2019, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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Dr. Who meets Atlantis

Hi Planted Tank People! Recent Lurker, New Poster.

I have not kept fish for about 15 years, so I am really starting from ground zero. In the past, I have had 10-gallon, 32-gallon, and occasional betta tanks. I've never had more than a few live plants in my community fish tanks. The main focus has always been fish. This time, I want to focus on the entire eco-system.

I have been keeping a journal and doing online research. The Planted Tank forum has been really helpful, so I am going to share my journal. Despite serious reading up, I have made a few mistakes already. Embarrassing, but I canít get helpful advice without full disclosure, right? So here I am owning the whole experience online.

So.....my re-entry into the fish-keeping world is an ambitious undertaking to say the least.

My build:
75 gallon standard Aqueon tank
Penn-Plex Cascade 1200 canister filter
60% eco-complete 40% standard black gravel
Resin rocks/wood with my take on a Dr. Who disaster landing (hahaha)
Fluval Aquasky light

I purchased my initial plants online in a kit:

anubias barteri
anacharis
java fern
rosette sword
cryptocoryne wendtii brown

I set my tank up on 10/10/2019. I purchased pure ammonia on 10/12/2019. I checked the label and the manufacturer data sheet online to validate. I was still nervous about using it, so I started with a very small amount--thankfully. Mistake 1. The ammonia formula has some surfactant.

100% water change and lots of cleaning laterÖ.

Bottom line here:
Anarcharis melted down completely. The other plants had various shock levels from the initial change in environment followed by the scrub down. The Crypt and Micro Sword seem to be fine. The anubias is struggling though I have hope it might recover. The java ferns have some brown spotting, but remain green. One rosette sword is shooting new leaves. The other has some functional leaves, but no new growth.
I stated dosing with Dr. Timís ammonia on 10/17/2019.

On 10/30/19, I added a few more plants:

ludwigia repens
brazilian pennywort
dwarf hairgrass


Things are mostly coming along with bacteria, but like everyone else with a new tank, I struggle with patience. I dumped a bottle of Tetra Safestart Plus in 11/1/2019. I have a daily API testing log. Current tank numbers (11/2/2019):

Ammonia: 3 ppm (roughly between 2-4 ppm)
Nitrite: .25 ppm
Nitrate: 5 ppm
Tank PH is pretty stable at 7.6
Current cycling temperature: 80 degrees

Finally, I ordered some ThriveC and put a half dose in the tank. Not sure if fertilizer is the right move, but the brown leaves on the anubias and java fern with no detectable growth have me worried. There is mixed-messaging on fertilizing during cycling, so weíll see if this ends up being a mistake or not. It's an art AND a science?!?
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Last edited by celticfrog42; 11-07-2019 at 01:07 AM. Reason: Adding tank photo.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-02-2019, 04:59 PM
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Donít fret too hard, weíve all made mistakes in this hobby, itís how we learn and improve!

Personally Iíd dose during cycling, sure the plants can get nitrogen, but what of phosphates, potassium, sulfur, and micro nutrients? Being that you arenít going with the dirted method, I think dosing is a good idea for you.

Any pictures of the tank? The description sounds intriguing.


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-02-2019, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Tank Photos

Here are some photos from yesterday. I don't have an active flickr or photobucket account. The shared links are from amazon photo for now.

Full tank:
https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared...rGtgQ2uOIBiUr2

Left Side:
https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared...Fv-Tb3fO4UVTcU

Center:
https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared...JgdShxidJIg42o

Right Side:

https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared...TuWWNZdTF6C8eS
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-02-2019, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by celticfrog42 View Post
Here are some photos from yesterday. I don't have an active flickr or photobucket account. The shared links are from amazon photo for now.

Full tank:
https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared...rGtgQ2uOIBiUr2

Left Side:
https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared...Fv-Tb3fO4UVTcU

Center:
https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared...JgdShxidJIg42o

Right Side:

https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared...TuWWNZdTF6C8eS


That looks like itís going to turn out awesome! I had to show my wife because sheís a big time Dr. Who fan lol


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-03-2019, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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Not too much going on right now. I have some visible new growth on the pennywort even though a few leaves are still melting from the initial planting shock. A little melt, but nothing that looks too crazy for the dwarf hairgrass or ludwigia repens. I don't see new growth yet, but I am not really sure what healthy growth looks like for these two plants.

The oddest thing to me is the ammonia readings.
Date PH Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate
10/25/2019 7.6 5 0.75 2.5
10/26/2019 4 0.5 0
10/27/2019 4 0.5 0
10/28/2019 4 0.25 0
10/29/2019 7.6 4 0.37 0
10/30/2019 4 0.25 0 (50% water change; added plants)
10/31/2019 7.6 3.5 0.13 0
11/1/2019 3.5 0.5 2.5 (Added bottle of Tetra SafeStart Plus)
11/2/2019 7.6 3 0.25 5
11/3/2019 3 0 5

I dosed the tank up to 5ish ppm on 10/25. It has not fallen below 3 (between 2-4 ppm on the API test) since then.

I had a significant plant die-off (anacharis melted and dropped needles), so I have been assuming the ammonia is coming from plant decay. I probably waited way too long before pulling out the melted plants because I hoped it would come back. Can anybody confirm this thinking is logical?

I have had nitrites on and off, but as you can see it rises up to between .5-1 ppm on the API test color chart and then declines. Today, it was 0 again. Not too worried about nitrates. Several of those 0 readings may have been slightly above 0 (slightly orange reading) and I am consistently getting 5 ppm now.

My inclination is to continue being patient and assume there just aren't enough ammonia-consuming bacteria yet. I am open to any insight more experienced keepers may have.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-03-2019, 06:56 PM
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Given your high amount of ammonia, Iíd let it sit until youíre seeing .5-1 ppm of it, along with nitrites and nitrates. If your nitrites are low when this happens, dose more ammonia. If nitrites are high, leave it until nitrites are low as well.

As soon as you can dose say 2 ppm of ammonia and a day later, you have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, you should be good to go for fish.

Plant melt in new tanks is perfectly normal, I wouldnít fret too much.


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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-03-2019, 09:33 PM
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I am pretty sure that all you need to do in order to get everything to be perfect is to add a figurine of a small girl sleeping on a suitcase....
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-04-2019, 12:34 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by varanidguy View Post
Given your high amount of ammonia, Iíd let it sit until youíre seeing .5-1 ppm of it, along with nitrites and nitrates. If your nitrites are low when this happens, dose more ammonia. If nitrites are high, leave it until nitrites are low as well.

As soon as you can dose say 2 ppm of ammonia and a day later, you have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, you should be good to go for fish.

Plant melt in new tanks is perfectly normal, I wouldnít fret too much.


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Thanks, I will take that advice!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by edothas View Post
I am pretty sure that all you need to do in order to get everything to be perfect is to add a figurine of a small girl sleeping on a suitcase....
I will keep my eyes open for something appropriate.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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I have baby java ferns!!!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/185347...57711647069142

https://www.flickr.com/photos/185347...7711647069142/

My original 3 java ferns were struggling with the new tank adjustment. I added some ThriveC last week and just sat back and waited. One of the plants sprouted these brown roots on most of its leaves and is just covered in baby plants. The other 2 plants have settled down a bit and I think they are adjusting fine now.

In other news, the aquarium cycle finally seems to be moving forward. Today's API tests:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/185347...7711647069142/

My tank is still generating more ammonia than it processes, but the nitrites and nitrates both have movement, so I am hopeful things are finally moving along.

Last edited by celticfrog42; 11-06-2019 at 11:49 AM. Reason: Image links were corrected
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 01:01 PM
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Cool, another member from the Old Dominion!

Just a heads up, the flickr links appear to be set to private. Will need to be switched to "public" or something like that (not sure how it will be worded) Also, you can "insert image" with the picture icon on this site and the pics will appear instead of links. Takes some clicking to initially figure out, but your pics will get more views this way. I will sometimes click "Go Advanced/preview post" and tweak things few times until my posts appear the way I want them to, then click submit. Hope this helps, looking forward to seeing more of your tank
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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Cool, another member from the Old Dominion!

Just a heads up, the flickr links appear to be set to private. Will need to be switched to "public" or something like that (not sure how it will be worded) Also, you can "insert image" with the picture icon on this site and the pics will appear instead of links. Takes some clicking to initially figure out, but your pics will get more views this way. I will sometimes click "Go Advanced/preview post" and tweak things few times until my posts appear the way I want them to, then click submit. Hope this helps, looking forward to seeing more of your tank
Thanks, @KayakJimW. You are right, I really don't want to click on image links, so I can't imagine others will either. I haven't posted on a board with image hosting in quite awhile, so I have to do some setup to share in a functional way. I will continue to play with the feature until I can share the pictures within the posts. For now, I have updated the permissions on the photos.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 01:24 PM
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Nice, I can see them now. Java ferns are such cool, underrated plants. They are hardy and so get labelled as beginner plants, but aren't necessarily easy to keep looking good all the time. And the way they sprout those babies is pretty unique
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-08-2019, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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Currently in the Nitrites Spike phase of the cycle. Ammonia is near zero the last 2 days (between the 0-.25 API color reading) and nitrates is steadily rising. I dosed ammonia to .5 and 1 ppm, respectively to keep the ammonia bacteria alive. Nitrates is up to 40 ppm this morning. We are out for some family fun tonight, so I will do a water change tomorrow morning to dilute the Nitrites/Nitrates. I am hoping the cycle will complete, so we can get fish next weekend. I am like a kid in a candy shop right now, so tamping that excitement down a little.

I am weighing my stocking options now. I have a post in the fish forum where I floated my initial ideas.

Not sure about the cross-posting etiquette at this forum. Do people prefer to link over to other threads or is it better to just post the details inline?

Here is the thread:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...llon-tank.html

And, here are my initial stocking thoughts along with a summary of modifications I am making based on advice offered:

Key Considerations:
My TEEN is actually interested, so I want to incorporate his input. He requested swordtails and kuhli loaches.
I want a community tank with some color.
I have never kept Gouramis and this fish will be the "showcase" fish for this tank.

Initial Stocking Plan:
5 x Cherry Barb (Puntius titteya)
5 x Kuhli Loach (Pangio kuhlii)
3 x Blue Gourami (Trichogaster trichopterus)
10 x Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi)
4 x Panda Cory (Corydoras panda)
1 x Swordtail [Male] (Xiphophorus hellerii)
3 x Swordtail [Female] (Xiphophorus hellerii)
6 x Leopard Danio (Danio rerio)

I do not want to overstock. Using AquaAdvisor to do some validation.

Modifications (based on feedback);
Swap out danios for another to swimmer option due to temperature mismatch. Looking for ideas. Bloodfin Tetras?
Increase neon numbers (12?)
Increase cory numbers (6-8)?
Not fully set on the best gouramis to add, but still like them as centerpiece fish; current plan is 1 male and 2 females, but quantity and mix will change based on the type.

First fish will probably be swordtails and cherry barbs. I am monitoring the swordtail feedback on that thread, but will need to make up my mind soon on that one.

Loach and cory additions are planned down the road. I had hoped the plant carpet might offset the potential substrate issue. I have planned to leave the front of the tank open (free of plants and hardscape) to maximize viewing. Will look into adding some sort of black sand in that area before stocking these fish. My substrate isn't super deep, so rather than remove what I have I may just Move it around to support a good-sized sandy section on the left center part of the tank.

Nothing is set in stone--just enjoying the planning stage for now and gathering information.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-09-2019, 04:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by celticfrog42 View Post
Not too much going on right now. I have some visible new growth on the pennywort even though a few leaves are still melting from the initial planting shock. A little melt, but nothing that looks too crazy for the dwarf hairgrass or ludwigia repens. I don't see new growth yet, but I am not really sure what healthy growth looks like for these two plants.

The oddest thing to me is the ammonia readings.
Date PH Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate
10/25/2019 7.6 5 0.75 2.5
10/26/2019 4 0.5 0
10/27/2019 4 0.5 0
10/28/2019 4 0.25 0
10/29/2019 7.6 4 0.37 0
10/30/2019 4 0.25 0 (50% water change; added plants)
10/31/2019 7.6 3.5 0.13 0
11/1/2019 3.5 0.5 2.5 (Added bottle of Tetra SafeStart Plus)
11/2/2019 7.6 3 0.25 5
11/3/2019 3 0 5

I dosed the tank up to 5ish ppm on 10/25. It has not fallen below 3 (between 2-4 ppm on the API test) since then.

I had a significant plant die-off (anacharis melted and dropped needles), so I have been assuming the ammonia is coming from plant decay. I probably waited way too long before pulling out the melted plants because I hoped it would come back. Can anybody confirm this thinking is logical?

I have had nitrites on and off, but as you can see it rises up to between .5-1 ppm on the API test color chart and then declines. Today, it was 0 again. Not too worried about nitrates. Several of those 0 readings may have been slightly above 0 (slightly orange reading) and I am consistently getting 5 ppm now.

My inclination is to continue being patient and assume there just aren't enough ammonia-consuming bacteria yet. I am open to any insight more experienced keepers may have.
I did a fishless (sort of) cycle with my 20L "quarantine" tank my ammonia was stuck at 5 though my nitrites started rising. I did enough of a water change to get it down under 2, my fish showed up the next day, 7 corys, the day after that I was at 0.5, the next day ammonia was at 0.0. I dodged a bullet. Point being you may have better luck cycling if you keep the ammonia around 2. That's what I plan to do when I get my 75 gallon tank started.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-10-2019, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Happy update today! I have Ammonia near 0 ppm and Nitrite at 0 ppm!!!

The nitrites had been off the charts on Thursday and Friday morning, so I thought I might be headed for a cycle stall. I planned to do a big water change on Friday night to bring down nitrites back on the charts and reduce the nitrates. Unfortunately, we ended up with a boil water order after a city water main broke. I was able to change out 7 gallons yesterday with boiled water. My Nitrites were back on the charts (2 ppm) and the nitrates were about 40 ppm. I dosed ammonia back up to 1 ppm. Imagine my surprise this afternoon to see ammonia and nitrites both at 0 ppm?

Today, we received the water all clear, so I did a 25% water change to bring down nitrates again. Hoping for zero readings for ammonia/nitrite again tomorrow!

Plant Update:
Ludwigia repens appears to be doing well. Loads of new growth. Still not sure about dwarf hairgrass. I adjusted the light above the the hairgrass to see if that makes a difference for it--it is the highest light plant in my aquarium. Pennywort keeps melting at the bottom of the plant, so I am letting those stems float for now. It has some new growth, but the original leaves are not holding up well. Monitoring it to see how it goes.

Attaching some pictures for anyone interested in seeing the plants. Water is a little cloudy right now--pictures were taken right after the water change. Fingers crossed--the nitrogen cycle is almost done!
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