29g upgrade - anubias and cories - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-03-2020, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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29g upgrade - anubias and cories

Starting a journal to track progress on our tank upgrades. We've had a 20-long for several years, cycling well, mostly planted with java ferns and crypts recently (past iterations were dominated by spiral vals with spider wood ; rotala with river rocks ; java moss, anubias and pebbles).

Stocking is not great at present: rasboras, cherry barbs, and cory cats. Probably no one has enough pals to be truly happy.

We want to build something more dramatic and intentional. We've had a bad habit of seeing something cool and tossing it in, too impatient to search out what we *really* want or too cheap to invest in it. My partner's dream has been blue rams, so we want to build something they'd like, stocking with tetras and corys until we get the cycling and algae under control, plants firmly rooted, and then maybe change the fish.

We got one large piece of driftwood - it was labeled as Malaysian but it's a bit more spidery than craggy. Plan to attach anubias and a few buce, but not so densely as to obscure the wood. We'll keep a sandy substrate, probably unplanted.

I like to keep pothos and philodendron planted through the back lid-vent of the tank to add more greenery to our home. In past tanks, it's annoyed me that the roots get tangled up in my stem plants, but I'm considering letting them go nuts since we want a more river bottom vibe. Temporarily (and also bc I need *something* to futz with while I try to let everything root) I want to experiment with constructing a moss wall along the back to hide those roots. I bought plastic canvas and suction cups; looking for the right moss. We're bored of java moss, which is basically the only thing available at our LFS. Hopefully if we decide not to keep the wall we can resell pieces of the mats. *Maybe* we'll plant some bushy stems toward the back if the moss fails.

Technical specs to come; we're waiting for a few upgrade pieces to arrive this week before we set up and I'm not yet certain which equipment will end up making the cut when we get down to installation.

Last edited by corykat.j; 02-08-2020 at 11:57 PM. Reason: project changed - re-titled thread
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-10-2020, 02:54 AM Thread Starter
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Over the past week or so, my partner and I decided not to focus *so* hard on the plan to have rams. I've really enjoyed looking at some apisto tanks, and both of us agreed that it felt sort of overwhelming to go from basically no plan to a super rigid one. So, changed the name of this thread. We're also thinking we'll skip the moss wall, and see how it looks to have a little bit of a natural look with those roots going.

Got some big work done today! Spent a lot of the morning pulling apart the 20long. Moved our fish into a spare 5gal we had, only to realize we don't have any of our old HOB filters anymore. So, until we can get everything in the 29 ready to roll, they'll be hanging out in their little condo with a submersible heater, and we'll do manual water changes.

In the midst of pulling out an insane amount of java fern and java moss last week, throwing some anubias and buce in pots around, and lots of hands in the tank getting ready for today, our cories (we think) seem to have decided they're super horny for the chaos and laid some eggs! I'm sure none of them will make it, especially since we aren't prepared to do any special feeding. But it's still kind of fun to see.



Since we just got the anubias and buce, and they came from our LFS that we trust, we decided to just plop those plants into the condo to keep them wet. Everything else that came out of the old tank (one java fern and a few anaemic crypts, plus the roots of a bunch of pothos and philodendrons that were growing out of the top) got a good H2O2 bath, a rinse in dechlorinated water, and then rested in the condo to provide a little shelter for the fishies, plus, of course, give ourselves plenty of time for other chores without worrying about their wellbeing.
While I'm on the topic, the new plants we got are:
- buce: godzilla
- anubias: nana, nancon, lanceolata, hastifolia, congensis

Been experimenting with hardscape. We bought this piece of driftwood sort of on impulse a few weeks ago, so I didn't have it with me when I went to get the rocks. I always forget how much bigger rocks and wood look at the LFS, even if you do a dry run in one of their tanks of the same size. This 29 is so. much. bigger. than the 20long. I wasn't really expecting that at all. I know I want to go back and get some more rock in this color, hopefully smaller pieces I can scatter around like pebbles. Would love some feedback on what I have so far.


I'll include a few other photos of the driftwood in other positions for comparison (I know there's a lot of glare on the glass, I'm sorry!), but I think the general position of the wood is what we like best, since it has a good vertical contrast and a little bit of a cave. The rocks could go anywhere, though as far as I'm concerned.






Some info on our equipment:
- We've been using a eheim 2213 canister filter for a few years now and we like it a lot.
- We also have a finnex planted 24:7 light bar that we like. We've been procrastinating on building a hanger with conduit and raising the light a little bit. We'll do that our next available weekend.
- We plan to add an in-line heater, but when we got to that point today we realized we bought the hydor 200w heater for 16mm tubing, and the filter runs on 12/16mm.... yeah.... so we're taking a little break until we can think about how to exchange it. Unfortunately we bought it a long time ago, hoping this upgrade was going to happen then, and even if we could remember where we got it I'm sure the return/exchange date is well past gone.
- Upgraded our pipes from the green plastic ones that came with the filter to jardli stainless steel lily pipes. This might be the single most exciting decision I've been allowed to make on any aquarium project ever.
- I also bought a new jardli co2 bubble counter/diffuser combo. I suspected our old one was wearing out a little bit, but when I tried to clean the ceramic I broke it.

Anyway, please don't judge me for all the dumb mistakes we're making today! Just being humans over here; but I figure if I admit the stupid things I've done I'll be less likely to make the same mistake again later. I hope.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Just after my last post, we decided to fill the tank to let the filter run and see how our temporary submersible heaters were going to do on that much volume. Holy cow this takes a long time with the 5gal bucket we've been using.

Eggs died/hatched/were eaten overnight in the condo. Bummer, but not unexpected.

On Monday I dropped the water level back down to work on plants and the hardscape. In previous tanks we had a soil layer under our sand/gravel, which made agitating the substrate a real PITA. But it's not so fidgety this time with only pool sand, and we're trying to cut ourselves some slack on the layout if we need to make adjustments later. I lifted the driftwood out of the water and tied buce and anubias to it using cotton sewing thread. I figure I can cut it once they get established/it will rot. I had to position some of them in weird ways to avoid cutting them with the thread. I know they'll grow in and look better soon(ish... they are slow-growing types, after all), but I'm not 100% content. All that was before realizing I can just superglue the stuff down (thanks again, @Chlorophile!), so I'm trying to decide if I'm going to want to pop it back out and get them situated a little more "naturally."

Placed some root tabs under the substrate along the back wall, and planted the crypts around the wood toward the back. The java ferns we had left had good root bundles with our old gravel in it, I decided to leave all that intact and plop it down in the corner to get something faster-growing in the mix.
Worried about algae. I think we did a good job cleaning off everything we're reusing from our old tank, but we had issues with this in the past. I know we are going to need more plant mass quickly to out-compete. Looking for some floaters temporarily; my understanding is they can use a lot of nutrients, and they'll be easy to remove again once we get going with the stuff we really want.
Right now all our plants are roughly the same color/texture. Going to post in the plants section about red options without dosing specific nutrients. We did get a new fertilizer I think will be easier to use than our old system, but we aren't at the level where we are likely to regularly test the iron content and adjust it. Realizing today that we like the look of a lot of epiphytes, but realistically in this size tank for our skill level we're going to need to add some stems, also.

Filled the water back up Monday afternoon along with some excel and flourish, did a 60% water change in the condo. Water is still pretty cloudy, but I'm going to post anyway to show how the hardscape is looking rn.


Set up the CO2 Tuesday morning, since there was only going to be a 3-hour window with no one home. We didn't have the fish in there yet, but wanted to have a good eye on it to tweak the levels as needed. The regulator we have works well as a regulator, but the margin between too little and too much has typically been very small. Honestly, though, I think I nailed it. our drop checker was right on for a 12-hour window, and I was planning to be home all day Wednesday (today) so we decided to put the fish back instead of doing another condo water change. Everyone seems happy so far, if not a little overwhelmed by all the room for activities.

Re: heater issue. We had considered using some barbed tubing adapters, but there's so little space in our cabinet I was afraid we'd end up having to kink the tubes to get it all to fit, plus double the joints means at least double the possible failure rate. Plus, the cost of the supplies for doing that project was over half the price of a correctly sized heater. So that should be arriving today. Purigen arrived yesterday. We'll install both this evening.

Not exactly my first project, but I'm doing something new and ambitious-for-me.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-13-2020, 02:23 AM
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Originally Posted by corykat.j View Post
Just after my last post, we decided to fill the tank to let the filter run and see how our temporary submersible heaters were going to do on that much volume. Holy cow this takes a long time with the 5gal bucket we've been using.

Eggs died/hatched/were eaten overnight in the condo. Bummer, but not unexpected.

On Monday I dropped the water level back down to work on plants and the hardscape. In previous tanks we had a soil layer under our sand/gravel, which made agitating the substrate a real PITA. But it's not so fidgety this time with only pool sand, and we're trying to cut ourselves some slack on the layout if we need to make adjustments later. I lifted the driftwood out of the water and tied buce and anubias to it using cotton sewing thread. I figure I can cut it once they get established/it will rot. I had to position some of them in weird ways to avoid cutting them with the thread. I know they'll grow in and look better soon(ish... they are slow-growing types, after all), but I'm not 100% content. All that was before realizing I can just superglue the stuff down (thanks again, @Chlorophile!), so I'm trying to decide if I'm going to want to pop it back out and get them situated a little more "naturally."

Placed some root tabs under the substrate along the back wall, and planted the crypts around the wood toward the back. The java ferns we had left had good root bundles with our old gravel in it, I decided to leave all that intact and plop it down in the corner to get something faster-growing in the mix.
Worried about algae. I think we did a good job cleaning off everything we're reusing from our old tank, but we had issues with this in the past. I know we are going to need more plant mass quickly to out-compete. Looking for some floaters temporarily; my understanding is they can use a lot of nutrients, and they'll be easy to remove again once we get going with the stuff we really want.
Right now all our plants are roughly the same color/texture. Going to post in the plants section about red options without dosing specific nutrients. We did get a new fertilizer I think will be easier to use than our old system, but we aren't at the level where we are likely to regularly test the iron content and adjust it. Realizing today that we like the look of a lot of epiphytes, but realistically in this size tank for our skill level we're going to need to add some stems, also.

Filled the water back up Monday afternoon along with some excel and flourish, did a 60% water change in the condo. Water is still pretty cloudy, but I'm going to post anyway to show how the hardscape is looking rn.


Set up the CO2 Tuesday morning, since there was only going to be a 3-hour window with no one home. We didn't have the fish in there yet, but wanted to have a good eye on it to tweak the levels as needed. The regulator we have works well as a regulator, but the margin between too little and too much has typically been very small. Honestly, though, I think I nailed it. our drop checker was right on for a 12-hour window, and I was planning to be home all day Wednesday (today) so we decided to put the fish back instead of doing another condo water change. Everyone seems happy so far, if not a little overwhelmed by all the room for activities.

Re: heater issue. We had considered using some barbed tubing adapters, but there's so little space in our cabinet I was afraid we'd end up having to kink the tubes to get it all to fit, plus double the joints means at least double the possible failure rate. Plus, the cost of the supplies for doing that project was over half the price of a correctly sized heater. So that should be arriving today. Purigen arrived yesterday. We'll install both this evening.
Looks good!
if you don't want to pull the wood out you can apply the superglue to the plant and then dunk it in and press it for about 10 seconds and it will hold!


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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 08:13 AM Thread Starter
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Looks good!

if you don't want to pull the wood out you can apply the superglue to the plant and then dunk it in and press it for about 10 seconds and it will hold!
Game changer! I was actually trying to figure this out today, bc we got a new bunch of buce, but various forums on planted tanks were divided on the effect of water on CA and/or super glue. Thanks!

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Not exactly my first project, but I'm doing something new and ambitious-for-me.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 08:20 PM
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Game changer! I was actually trying to figure this out today, bc we got a new bunch of buce, but various forums on planted tanks were divided on the effect of water on CA and/or super glue. Thanks!

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
Water is a catalyst so it makes it react quicker, the glue will form a skin on it right away when you dunk it but when you press it against the wood it will burst the skin and attach. You don't have terribly long to work with though and if you change your mind it'll leave a white spot on the wood.
Just go for it!


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