My Tank Journal Cmarsh989 - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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My Tank Journal Cmarsh989

Hey guys, have had my aquarium up and running now for 2 months now. I have been recording its progress with pictures and Will go over my first 2 months of experiences and tragedies.

I was pretty into the hobby when I was a young teenager, as much as any 13 year old can be into anything that is! I recently purchased a 5 gallon aquarium and within a week I knew that it was not enough for me. I quickly acquired a 10 gallon and a friend offered me her 30 gallon she had in her garage. This was in BAD shape and I knew it would be a big project.

I Had an outbreak of Ick in my 5 gallon, I cranked up the heater and put in salt, after several days all my fish were symptom free and i decided to leave the heat up until after a week to make sure all the Ick was cleared up. Alas I returned home and all but 1 of my fishes was dead. My wife, who was trying to help me unplugged the filter, they all suffocated.

Heartbroken I flushed my first fish friends and nursed my Black Skirt tetra back to full health. This is when I decided, I need to become a better fish owner and struck out into the world wide web! You may have heard of this wondrous place! But all was not well in the lands of trolls and e-ragers...... Misinformation abounds and I quickly learned that the reputable websites were few and far between.... I stumbled upon a virtual Eden! Could it be? A place where mistakes are forgiven and even a fish murderer such as myself could possibly be accepted. Nay, it was an illusion... So I lurked and I read, and I double checked and fact checked and read some more. Yes! These people they are like me, they are emotionally attached to their TOO!

So I signed up and began what was to become an obvious addiction. I decided it was time to tackle my 30 gallon, and I was going to do it as cheaply as possible! (rug rats are expensive folks!) I began reading about DIY projects and great ways to save money. So here without further ADO! My attempt at a great fish habitat with as much DIY as possble. A little background for those of you reading this (a large assumption I know!) I am a 26 year old father 1 baby boy (henceforth in this document referred to as MONSTER) I work for a school district in Southwest Kansas as the Computer systems operator. My degree is in Computer Science, and my only woodworking skills are the occasional project I dabbled in over my short life, and intro Shop (keep in mind, my Key/Letter holder was exceptional if I do say so myself!)

I began with a beat up shell of an Aquarium, it is old. The fake wood trim is a tribute to that. The Flourescent bulb inside was a purple color that lit about 1/3 of the tank with a weak light. At 15 watts It was woefully inadequate. The edges of the tank were chipped almost through the glass in multiple areas, and the back is covered in scratches. Im sure it will look like a show tank in no time! . I began my endeavor at the only place that carries what I need in the middle of nowhere, Home Depot. I knew I needed to do address my main issues first, and as my budget would allow, I would add on.

So I decide to tackle the big issues first.
1. The massive chips in the glass, if this thing wont hold water It probably wiill not hold fish!
2. The hideous background, I envision a heavily planted tank, lots of moss and rocks. And being the huge gaming nerd, draw heavily from Starcraft's landscapes in my mind. Xel'Naga Mountain on a plain.
(I had seen a large piece of blue Slag glass at my LFS and this was to be my focal point in the tank)

I purchase Silicone, and search around for a background, I hear a moss wall would look really great, maybe I will do that. I pick up my Concrete sand 2.75 per 50 lb bag, I pick up my bag of MGOPS and I come across the flooring section. Pieces of ceramic tile on sale...... A quick google search says the stuff is safe for fish. I pick up 10 pieces of broken ceramic and toss it in my cart. I think we are ready to start!

I silicone up my seals in the tank let it cure and fill it with water! SUCCESS!
Next, the background how Do i want to make this look, i know I want moss so i need space for it to grow! I decide broken pieces and I want it to look like "The Shattered Plains" (I am a book nerd, The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson excellent Novel check it out) I set out to work several hours later I am satisfied by what I've created.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 10:35 PM
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Very neat idea. Just curious but did you do this because of the massive chips in the glass?
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-07-2013, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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No, I did this because of the myriad of fine scratches on the back of the tank. and wanting a nice look. The chips I siliconed in, they were mostly on the edges of the tank. The primary surfaces are only cosmetically flawed.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-07-2013, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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I buy all my LFS's plants which totals 2 bunches Anachris and 1 bunch Hornwort, I order some DHG and Micro sword off Aquabid and plant it in my sand/potting soil substrate. I know that Amonia and Nitrates are going to wreak havoc on my fish If I don't get more plants or get a filter. So I decide DIY time! I read up on all sorts of DIY filters

I decide on a moving bed filter of sorts, but youtube only shows how to make them out of 20 oz. pop bottles and I'm thinking something MUCH grander. I run to walmart and look at all the containers I can find! I settle on a 2 liter bottle of soda thinking that The shape would be a larger version proportionally and SHOULD work. WRONG no matter how much I try I cannot get the Media to rotate! This will cause Anaerobic bacteria and that is bad. I don't know this for certain but its an eventuality I would rather not tempt.
I try re purposing a 100 Disk holder, No dice. I decide to research further and look for something with a longer neck and It strikes me OJ bottle, the fancy ones! I run out and buy a bottle of SimplyOrange OJ (I have to drink it of course, the sacrifices I have to make for my fishes )

I add in the the Airline tube add my media and VIOLA! floating filter......
I try adding a suction cup! VIOLA! floating filter......
Frustrated I pile rocks on top and precariously perch it in the upright position... SUCCESS! I think....

Several days Later, floating filter, rock smashed plants.

I decide that I'm going to fill a bottle with sand and tight it to bottle, but another snag! Frustration abounds I go down stairs to repurpose something from the fridge. My wife gives me the disappointed headshake.... I am robbing her house blind for my fish tank! ALL IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE! I come up with a lemon sack, lots of holes, plastic It would work really great to grow moss around my filter to hide it! SWEET! This will work great. Rubber band viola no floating filter! Working beautifully! Im not satisfied with the water current in my tank though. So I purchase a Powerhead from my LFS (another weekly allowance gone on my fishes!) and add a sponge to the bottom intake. My hope is to someday in the nearish future get enough plants to get rid of the filter and just leave In the Powerhead + sponge.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-07-2013, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Pictures of Filter

Here are pictures
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-10-2013, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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Update!

I got some plants from Aquabid, Java Moss, Giant Hairgrass, Jungle Val. Found some Dwarf HG and Micro Sword. I planted them all. I attached the moss to some of the ceramic tile on the back. also put some on my filter and around some rocks in my Xel'naga formation! It is not complete but my vision is starting to come true and im very excited! I took some runners from the GHG, Micro Sword and replanted them in a little 5 gallon with 5 wpg light. I will post new pictures once a week to show the growth!
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-11-2013, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
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Java Moss

I already have new 1 cm growth on my Java Moss. Im pretty excited with the growth. I was told it was really slow but it seems like it came on strong for only being in the tank several days. I re-homed my Black Skirt Tetras to a 300 gallon community tank. he now has a small school of friends! This brings my fish load closer to where I want it. I need to finish the 5 gallon plant tank cycle for my Beta!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-31-2013, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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Update, Riparium?

I moved my lights further up, and added some partially immersed plants in some hanging baskets. The Peace Lilly is about to BLOSSOM! I also lost a couple fish. My Algae Eater decided to take a jump. and due to some poor oversight I lost one of my Black neons got stuck in my plant basket and dried up. (family emergency had me out of town for a week). I got a pair of Gouramis, very pretty powder blue with red accents. Im excited!
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-06-2013, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Update

Had to remove some problem fish, my Loach and my Chinese Algae eater. I took that opportunity to do a small rescape. My growth has really taken off the past month and the Micro-sword has crawled across the entire tank. I removed the Lilly from the tank and put it in a smaller tank. Currently housing a small swarm of snails. Worked out a 2 dollars per snail deal with the LFS so they get to stay. Im pretty happy with where this is at! My 40b has finished Cycling and I stocked it with 5 Buenos Ares Tetras. Going to move the 9 Black Neon tetra's from this 29 to that as they are getting too big. Quite a bit overstocked atm.
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