I never would have thought I'd have a tank I liked [plenty of pics] - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2013, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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I never would have thought I'd have a tank I liked [plenty of pics]

When I first tossed around the idea of getting back into fish keeping, I told myself that I wouldn't go overboard. I work at a fish store, so I have a million tanks to take care of already. And on top of that, I never had luck with plants, so I figured I'd just stick with artificial so I don't have to worry about anything...

...and then I stumbled upon this forum...

This will be a little "blog" about the transformation of my tank over a few weeks. So here it goes... I lurked for weeks and weeks to see what knowledge was being shared and to get an idea of how hard it was going to be if I decided to put a live plant or two in my tank. It didn't seem to be too difficult. I thought to myself, "Hmmm... there is such a thing as 'low tech'? I don't really need to do a whole lot to it... okay... Let's try this."

I picked up a clearance-priced used 15 gallon set up from our store and got to work on it. I thought I'd add a little anacharis and some decorations and call it good. But here's what I started with:





Pretty gross. I was not digging the set up. So I picked up a few plants and took out some of the gaudy fake ones. I was a little bit happier with it. I knew already that Java fern, jungle val and anacharis were my best bet if I was starting the planted end of the hobby. Here's that:





Then, FINALLY a little movement in the tank! I added 3 black neons and three diamond tetras. Within a few days, I realized that this was not going to work. The diamonds were getting to the food before my neons even realized that it hit the water. I think they were killing my ghost shrimp too. I was down to just two of my original five.

Time for a hardscape change. I was still not really liking what I saw. But this made it more appealing to look at.






Then the bulb burnt out and I picked up a new 8watt T5 Aqua-glo bulb. I really wasn't happy with what it looked like over the tank. So I thought I'd devote an afternoon to figure out what I really liked and wanted to do. I went out driftwood hunting and found a neat piece. So I boiled several pots of hot water and poured it over it to kill all the "stuff" that may be living on it. I removed the diamonds and put them in my 29. In their place I added three more black neons, two Julii cories, three amanos and my girlfriend insisted that my black neons were too boring so I let her pick out three male black jade head guppies in.

I decided to use a painter's lamp/clamp light and a 100watt CFL bulb to give a bit more light to it. The light sits about 6-8" above the surface of the water and seems to brighten things up a bit. After several days of my newly found driftwood being in the tank, I noticed the tannins making the tank look aged and stained. I think it looks really nice! Here's the final project and how I may keep it for a while:






PLEASE feel free to give me any comments or ideas that you may have. I don't want to make this a high maintenance tanks (as I have a 29 that I'm considering making a Co2 tank) and would rather keep it simple.

Thank you all for being helpful and taking the time to share knowledge with others. This is truly an enjoyable group to be a part of!

-Riley

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2013, 08:49 PM
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That looks real nice the jungle look is way nicer than the rocks.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2013, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedocta45 View Post
That looks real nice the jungle look is way nicer than the rocks.
Thank you! I agree. The rocks made it look a bit tacky IMO. I have the one rock helping to hold down my driftwood and that's it. I'll eventually take it out once it fully soaks and becomes saturated.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-19-2013, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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This Thursday I should be getting one or two red Cryptocoryne wendtii plants. I'm expecting to do well with them, but I have never had crypts, so this will be new to me. If anyone has any helpful suggestions (Especially to avoid melt), that would be great.

I just tested my parameters and they are as follows:
Ammonia - 0ppm
Nitrate - 20ppm
Nitrite - 0ppm
Hardness - 120ppm
Alkalinity - 80ppm
pH - 7.2

I am using inert gravel with root tabs from aquariumfertilizers.com
I dose macros and micros according to EI. I also have some API leaf zone. I have Flourish Excel as well, but do not plan on using it in this tank because of my Anacharis and Vals.

My light is a 100w CFL sitting above the water by 6 inches.
Temp is about 76.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-20-2013, 12:10 AM
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Re: I never would have thought I'd have a tank I liked [plenty of pics]

I'm not a fan of anacharis but that just me.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-20-2013, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mfurufuru View Post
I'm not a fan of anacharis but that just me.
I added the anacharis early to act as a nitrate sponge. I don't mind it really.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-20-2013, 12:22 AM
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Looks great. I'm sure you'll be fine tuning it anyway. Being a newbie as well, I'm learning the art of designing an aquascape is a process. Keeping posting as things progress.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-20-2013, 12:29 AM
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100 watts? Seems like a lot to me
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-20-2013, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Sajacobs View Post
Looks great. I'm sure you'll be fine tuning it anyway. Being a newbie as well, I'm learning the art of designing an aquascape is a process. Keeping posting as things progress.
Thank you! I Just added three neon tetras to go with my black neons. I've always wanted them, but been afraid to try them. This tank seems to be doing well, so I figured that I can add three now and pick up more next week. I'm trying to get a picture of them, but they don't like to hold still for me!

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-20-2013, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kyguylal View Post
100 watts? Seems like a lot to me

That's kind of what I was wondering about. I don't know how to rate CFL's. High, Mid, and Low areas. Also I wasn't sure if my tannins would make light harder to reach my plants. I have zero objections to changing the light.

The stock hood is a 12" 8 watt t5 and I just wasn't happy with my fish colors. So far it's been hard finding a variety of 12" t5's to choose from.

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Last edited by rileynapalm; 02-20-2013 at 10:18 PM. Reason: clarification
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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I recently bought 4 crystal red shrimp and added them to the tank. I ordered them from our supplier at work. One is itty bitty so I bought a floating breeder to keep them in until they get some size. They've been in there for about a week and a half now. My crypt wendtii just came in thursday, but we employees get half off our purchases on the first monday of every month. Score! I'll be getting TWO red wendtii plants, two red ludwigia, a moss ball and possibly some fish for my 29 gallon.

Oh, and All of my Anacharis has melted for some reason. Well, except for one or two stems that I have in the floating breeder with my shrimp. I'm not sure what happened, but my tank temp isn't too warm. It's only at about 74. I'll measure my parameters later today. I need help with that because I'm colorblind as heck! I need someone else to tell me what colors I'm looking at.

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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I forgot to mention, I did a water change and added the stock hood back on. The tannins looked cool, but it was getting hard for the light to really get down through the tank. The stock t-5 fixture looks fine to me again.

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by rileynapalm View Post
That's kind of what I was wondering about. I don't know how to rate CFL's. High, Mid, and Low areas. Also I wasn't sure if my tannins would make light harder to reach my plants. I have zero objections to changing the light.

The stock hood is a 12" 8 watt t5 and I just wasn't happy with my fish colors. So far it's been hard finding a variety of 12" t5's to choose from.
I'm guessing you are talking about the 100w replacement cfl.

Which is actually a 26 watt bulb, but puts out the same light as 100w incandescent.

This should grow low light plants pretty well and better than your 8w T5 imo.

If it really is a 100w cfl then that is very high light!


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