First Planted Tank 20 Gallon - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-18-2020, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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First Planted Tank 20 Gallon



Posting up here to keep track of my 20 gallon long all on the same site as all my other records. Currently dealing with a pretty nasty hair algae (? [long white strands propagating prolifically]) and decided to pull the trigger on keeping track of this stuff in a centralized location. I'd post a picture but to be perfectly honest I'm a little embarrassed at how rudimentary my scape is. I wanted to go for a river-like appearance and am having second thoughts. Started this tank a month or so ago as a quarantine project/tax refund goodie waste and am working on getting things dialed in. I've listed the tank specs below for my records:

Substrate:
- Fluval Stratum with pool filter sand cap

Fertilizer
- Twice weekly with Seachem Flourish
- Seachem root tabs; ~20 placed intermittently at mid-level in the substrate

Tech
- DIY CO2 feeding into the filter
- Finnex+ Planted 24/7; running MAX at 6 hours/day
- Seachem Tidal 35 filter; stock filter media running at max water flow; introducing purigen when I can afford it

Plants & Decor
- Anubias
- Amazon Swords
- Pigmy Swords
- Creeping Jenny
- Water Wisteria
- Dwarf Baby Tears
- Natural Cholla Wood
- Natural Gray Flagstone

Livestock:
- (3x) Peppered Cory Catfish
- (2x) Emerald Cory Catfish
- (10x) Yellow Shrimp set to arrive Wednesday, 20 May

Feeding Regimen:
- Alternating shrimp pellets and brine shrimp; fast on Sundays

Maintenance:
- Rinse filter in tank water once a week
- 30% water change once a week (or as needed for nitrates)

I've started injecting CO2 and reduced the lighting to 40% and will see how that goes when combined with manual removal. The tank does get a little filtered natural light in the morning so I've been running the aquarium light starting once that subsides. After injecting CO2 I've started to notice my baby tears exploding so I must be doing something right. I know keeping an aquarium is all about chemistry and getting things dialed in, but sometimes it's hard to look at. Easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff to deal with. I try to keep my chin up by remembering it's always going to be a project - that's what pets are after all.

I know shrimp don't generally eat filament algae but I'm hoping they'll get after the miscellaneous biofilm to clean things up a bit. We'll see how things go.

"What we learn to do, we learn by doing." - Aristotle (385-325 BCE)

Last edited by WaterWelder; 05-21-2020 at 03:28 AM. Reason: My computer is an idiot and auto-corrects correct words
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2020, 03:23 AM Thread Starter
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Shramp friends came in a day early, which is always a pleasant surprise. I got ten of the neocaridina davidi var. yellow from an online site recommended to me by folks on the forum. I was lucky to get 'em. Apparently I got the last few in stock. They got to work right away and knocked out a TON of the algae on the rocks and decor. They seem very happy. No DOA. Hair algae removal continues apace, which I expect will subside once I get a regular bit of CO2 going on and balance my variables. Water parameters remain stable at 0 ppm NH3, 0 ppm NO2-, <10 ppm NO3-. pH is still at 7.8; will monitor fluctuations as drop checker (Nilocg) changes colors.



I did have an incident with one of the emerald corys. He started freaking out. Don't know what his deal was, but the poor guy was breathing heavy and doing barrel rolls across the substrate for a few minutes. Killed the CO2 and he seemed to recover pretty quickly. Strange, because I wasn't running any heavier than usual. Drop checker read nil. Will monitor.

Also got a shiny new 5# CO2 canister for my birthday (albeit a couple months early.) The welding shop was very accommodating and picked one out of their stock or me that's basically brand new; shiny and unscuffed. It's a nice piece of hardware I bought outright.



Regulator comes in on Friday - an AirGas Y12-244D dual-stage regulator that was only used as a model unit in a water laboratory. Couple that with the postbody kit courtesy of @Bettatail in the sale threads. S/he was and is very helpful and also included instructions for setup. Very excited to get my first high-tech rig up and running.

"What we learn to do, we learn by doing." - Aristotle (385-325 BCE)
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2020, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Day 1 of shrimp keeping and the "hair algae" is all but gone. Maybe it was actually stag horn. Who knows? I did have a mishap with a couple of my shramp buddies and lost a couple into the HOB overnight (D'oh!). After finding an ancient post from @crazie.eddie I improvised a protective cover out of a spare net to put over the intake, then secured with a rubber band until such time I can dream up a more permanent solution.



After some research, I've decided with the plants and stock I have to only run CO2 during the photoperiod with an hour beforehand to bring up concentration. This might change in practice, but that's where it stands right now. Regulator comes in tomorrow, then another 24 hours before pressurizing to let the thread lock cure.
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"What we learn to do, we learn by doing." - Aristotle (385-325 BCE)
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2020, 07:28 PM
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Looks like a nice start. When you're ready, you might want to bump the catfish to 5 or 6 of each species. They're happiest in larger groups of their own kind. (Just not sure if those species get too large to do that in a 20-l...)

As for hair algae, that's usually the big problem I face when starting a tank. Have you considered putting in some Amano shrimp? They're pretty good at eating it.

----
2x20-longs, one heavily planted. Platy rancher. They. Won't. Stop. Breeding.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2020, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by irishspy View Post
Looks like a nice start. When you're ready, you might want to bump the catfish to 5 or 6 of each species. They're happiest in larger groups of their own kind. (Just not sure if those species get too large to do that in a 20-l...)

As for hair algae, that's usually the big problem I face when starting a tank. Have you considered putting in some Amano shrimp? They're pretty good at eating it.
Thank you! 've been out of the hobby for a few years and am re-learning some things.

The schooling tendencies are something I've noticed. The emeralds stick together a lot but school with the peppered from time to time and vice versa. They seem to be pretty happy together. I've thought about upping to five of each breed once supply chains for fish are reestablished and my LFS opens back up. Basically everyone is out of everything, even online. When I have the room for it, I plan on getting a much larger tank and will probably put all 10+ in that.

I did look for the amano shrimp, but same problem with stocking. Not a lot out there. They would look very nice though and do a good job of cleaning up. These are things I plan on doing proactively with my next tank.

"What we learn to do, we learn by doing." - Aristotle (385-325 BCE)
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-22-2020, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Regulator finally came in today and I have to say it's a pretty solid piece of equipment. I had to do some jerry-rigging at first but quickly figured out where I was going wrong. After two trips to the local welding shops I got this bad boy rigged up with only a moderate amount of cursing and re-setting fittings. Two beers later I'm a very happy camper. Currently I'm trying to think up a way to either feature the canister and hardware as an aesthetic component or mask it. It's a little too wide when standing abreast to put between the tank stand and the couch to display the gauges. Perhaps I'll put a ficus tree or some such foliage in that gap. I won't be able to see the tank as much from just sitting on the couch, but we'll think on it some.

Shrimp Update: I absolutely panicked today thinking that all but one of my shrimp disappeared. How could they have possibly? I even made my filter shrimp safe! Turns out a happy side-effect of wrapping the intake of my HOB was that the shrimp found a safe, low-current location behind the intake in the netting to lay their eggs and munch on debris. They've been back there all day. I'm glad they found a place they feel safe. If I wind up escaping down the road I'll have to actually provide them a safe place to chill that the corys can't get to.

All-day class tomorrow but I plan on having CO2 up and running by tomorrow afternoon. Also going to remove this [redacted] anacharis once I get the motivation. Don't know what it is about this stuff but I'm sick of looking at it.

"What we learn to do, we learn by doing." - Aristotle (385-325 BCE)
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-23-2020, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by WaterWelder View Post
Thank you! 've been out of the hobby for a few years and am re-learning some things.

The schooling tendencies are something I've noticed. The emeralds stick together a lot but school with the peppered from time to time and vice versa. They seem to be pretty happy together. I've thought about upping to five of each breed once supply chains for fish are reestablished and my LFS opens back up. Basically everyone is out of everything, even online. When I have the room for it, I plan on getting a much larger tank and will probably put all 10+ in that.

I did look for the amano shrimp, but same problem with stocking. Not a lot out there. They would look very nice though and do a good job of cleaning up. These are things I plan on doing proactively with my next tank.
Emerald corydoras (Corydoras splendens) reach from 3- 4 inches in the aquarium. I have a group of 8 in my 180g that are 5 years old. They are all between 3.5-4 inches. These guys get big. May need to wait until get a bigger aquarium to add to the group.


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-24-2020, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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Emerald corydoras (Corydoras splendens) reach from 3- 4 inches in the aquarium. I have a group of 8 in my 180g that are 5 years old. They are all between 3.5-4 inches. These guys get big. May need to wait until get a bigger aquarium to add to the group.
That's good advice. I always get nervous about them having enough room. I think what I have right now is more than enough without being too overstocked on the floor of the tank. It seems like no matter how much I read up on stocking, there's always a surprise or a d'oh! moment around the corner
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-24-2020, 01:51 PM
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That's good advice. I always get nervous about them having enough room. I think what I have right now is more than enough without being too overstocked on the floor of the tank. It seems like no matter how much I read up on stocking, there's always a surprise or a d'oh! moment around the corner
Yes, I know. This hobby has a lot of moments like that.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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After getting my CO2 rig all hooked up and testing connections I've started to inject today. There's no notable difference as of yet in the way the plants are reacting, or the algae. There's a little bit of pearling on the swords but other than that nothing interesting. Dwarf HC started perking up but that might just be my imagination. I've got my gas diffusing through a wooden airstone that's under the filter intake. Drop checker never changed color throughout the day so I'll up the diffusion from .75 bps to 1.25 bps. Good news is the bubbles get caught on the net I used to shrimp-proof the filter, which is a semi-happy byproduct. The bubbles stay in contact with the water for a greater duration that way. The stringy stuff that was floating across the tank like a spider web is nearly gone but I still see some hairlike strands growing kinda fuzzy on plant leaves. Dosed today with Flourish to make my stem plants happy since I'm low-stocked and my nitrates are low. Tested today and have 0 ppm.

Now for the bad news. I have what appears to be BGA growing in the first inch of substrate in the layer of pool filter sand. I don't see it anywhere else except against the glass under the substrate. When I wiped it with my finger, it came up as a greasy blue-green color. I keep telling myself one thing at a time. I don't know how it would have been introduced. The plants I had were set up quite a while before I started seeing this stuff. I'm going to keep an eye on it and try to nip it in the bud. One thing at a time though. Patience is the name of the game. I'm trying so hard to stay optimistic about this and keep up with it.

"What we learn to do, we learn by doing." - Aristotle (385-325 BCE)
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