My planted tank attempt (20L) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-05-2007, 03:53 AM Thread Starter
 
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My planted tank attempt (20L)

Well I've always wanted a planted tank, but because mine was already established and happy with plastic plants I was wary. I read online and figured out how to switch it over. I took out over half the old gravel, let it sit for two days. Then I rinsed the fluorite, I didn't think it was that bad but then I realized I needed to rinse it again so it sucked. It didn't even cloud the water as much as taking out the gravel did. The I put the plants in and decorated. I had to block off part of the cave on the right because I wanted my catfish to use it. He thinks otherwise.

I know this is going to sound terrible, but I don't really know what my plants are. I just got what the guy at the store said was easy to keep and was in the low-light tank. Plus a couple others that I now know are going to be temporary at best (hah). I guess it's going to be trial and error until I get the hang of this plant thing.

Tomorrow I'm going to get better lights, inexpensive CO2 (the kits at stores) and a new heater because mine crapped out today. I'm not totally sure what kind of lights I'll end up with, but I think I'm going to do around 2-3wpg? Right now it's at 1. I was going to do DIY CO2 but it's just easier for me to get the kit with the diffuser and the tubing all in one place.

Fish:
1 Blue gourami
5 Gold Tetras
2 Gold Barbs
4 Long-finned Rosy Barbs
1 Red-tailed Black Shark
1 Striped Talking Catfish
1 Blond Rubber-nosed Pleco

Before:


Note how dull the gourami is.
After:


The gourami looks sooo much better.

What is this plant? Somehow I forgot its name in between the store and home. ><

Anyway, my fish look so much happier already. They are all swimming around happily, picking at the plants, it's awesome! The male gold tetras fins turned bright red and have been harassing the females constantly. The gold barbs and the red-tailed black shark have staked out under the drift wood. I'm hoping the talking catfish will take over the cave, but he's apparently found somewhere better to hide. I also moved my solar system poster down a few feet so it's like a background for the tank. Fish in space!

Advice? Comments? Criticism?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-05-2007, 05:11 AM
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Pretty decent start.

For background, get some dark blue or black poster board. Cheap, easy.

The plant in the last pic looks like bolbitis. You'll want to pull it from the substrate, as it likes to attach to objects, rather than root in substrate. If you leave it in the gravel, you'll actually cause it to rot.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-05-2007, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by evercl92 View Post
Pretty decent start.

For background, get some dark blue or black poster board. Cheap, easy.

The plant in the last pic looks like bolbitis. You'll want to pull it from the substrate, as it likes to attach to objects, rather than root in substrate. If you leave it in the gravel, you'll actually cause it to rot.

Thanks, I tied it to the driftwood. I don't want it to rot, it's my favorite.

My catfish still hasn't unburied himself yet. >< He did this when I got him and he was gone for 5 days. I hope he's alright.

I did some water tests and my pH is 8.5, my nitrates are pretty much non-existent and my ammonia is a little higher than it should be. I'm not sure if I should do anything about it or just wait and see if it gets better.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-05-2007, 07:35 PM
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What is your ammonia level, as that can be toxic to fish?

As for the nitrates and that I would recommend order fertilizers from RexGrigg.com. He has some extremely good prices and quality (known from personal experience). He is also on here as Rex Grigg.

125 Gallon AGA w/ Overflows
Filtration: Ehiem 2026 Filter, Dual "Ghetto" Overflow Internal Filters
Lighting: 1x96W Current USA CF - 2x96W Generic CF
Co2: Pressurized Co2 - Rex Grigg Regulator, SMS 122, and Rex Grigg Reactor.
Plants: Pogostemon yatabeanus, Foxtail, Bacopa, Egeria najas, Anubius, E. 'Ozelot Red', Ranalisma rostrata, Hornwort, Rotala Indica, Ludwigia Repens, Vals, Cabomba, Lilly, MoneyWort
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-05-2007, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
 
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I think the ammonia was about .05ppm. Which is a little high, but shouldn't be toxic according to the brochure that came with the test kit. I did a 15% water change and I'll retest it later. I'll look into the fertilizers.

I got a new heater, fully submersible this time. And I was going to get all new lighting but we had 3 left over 24in fluorescent fixtures, so I'm going to make a bracket to connect them all and hang them a few inches over the tank (so that all parts have light). It should put me around 2.6 wpg. I also got the CO2 kit, but I'm going to wait until I have the new lights set up to put that together.

My male rosy barb got his lovely colors back and more vibrant than ever. I wonder if this is due to the plants or the broken heater w/inefficient temporary replacement. I'm going to try keeping it a little cooler than I usually do and see if it stays that way.

What's the consensus with carbon in filters?
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-05-2007, 11:02 PM
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With your high pH, ammonia and nitrites will take a much more toxic form than they would in an acidic pH. It's to be expected that there should be a little burp in the cycle when you pull gravel, but it looks like you put the same gravel back over the flourite, so hopefully it'll be a short burp. Just make sure you keep ammonia and nitrites down where you have them, no more than .25ppm of either would be ideal if not 0ppm, do partial water changes daily as needed to achieve those numbers and you should be good to go in week or so when the bacteria recolonize to proper proportions, and your fish should be ok, too. If you don't already use Seachem Prime as you conditioner, it's a great help in times like these as it neutralizes amm and ni, keeping it somewhat safe for inhabitants while allowing the biofilter to consume it all, just don't rely on it alone to keep numbers down, it will still allow them to build up to dangerous levels that it can not fully handle, but it will make your water changes safer for a longer period of time. Stuffing more plants in there will also help big time.

The tank looks good so far, I agree that looks like a bolbitis.


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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-05-2007, 11:02 PM
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You're not going to have nitrates in you water when you have detectable levels of ammonia. Since you rinsed part of the gravel, you're probably going through a mini-cycle. Until that ammonia is converted to nitrite and then nitrate, you won't have any nitrates in your water.

How new are the bulbs in the fixtures that you have? Fluorescent bulbs aren't known to support a whole lot of plant growth (especially older ones), despite the wpg.

Also keep in mind, that carbon is typically the limiting factor for plant growth in most aquariums. The sooner it's hooked up, the better off your plants are going to be.

You don't need to run carbon in your filter - planted or not. For planted tanks, it's been shown to actually remove some trace elements that you plants need. For non-planted, it doesn't really have any benefit unless your water smells funky (something else is seriously wrong) or you are removing medication after treatment.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-05-2007, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks!

There were some old bulbs, but I got new ones. Supposedly they're for plants and seem to put out most of their light where the chlorophyll wants it. If I take the carbon out, what should I fill the little filter baggie with? Some of those high surface area pellet things?
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-05-2007, 11:36 PM
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Exactly, those are great for increasing the biofilter if needed, or else it's a good place to keep the seeded pellets to help with cycling new tanks. I replaced my carbon bag with Aqualcear biomax pellets.


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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-05-2007, 11:58 PM
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Hello silver nitrate, Your tank looks good for a first try. Don't let plants intimidate you, they're easier to keep than fish in some cases.

That plant you forgot the nae is most likely Bolbitus or an Aquafern, if it is the latter, it's not aquatic.

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
 
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I made the bracket for my lights. It's not the prettiest thing in the world, but it does work. My dad helped me wire it so that it only uses one cord. All I need now is a timer with a ground. I cut a piece of Plexiglas to fit the top of the tank.



Even without the new lights on yet, things are already growing! There are new leaves, roots and the moneywort has already reached the surface. It's so neat to have this actually work for once!



I moved my favorite plant and it seems to be doing better. I don't know about the Java Fern though. I need to clean my glass ><
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 08:58 PM
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The light doesn't look that bad at all. Any plans on adding a reflector? You could probably find some aluminum sheeting, cut/bend and slip it in behind the bulbs, would probably improve usable light energy by about 100%.


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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 08:58 PM
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Looks pretty decent. When I used fluorescents, I lined the ballast (just the part directly behind the bulbs) with waterproofing repair tape. The non-sticky side is aluminum, and helps reflect more light into the tank.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-07-2007, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
 
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Well I now have the lights and CO2 set up. The CO2 hasn't reached the water yet, but that should be happening within the hour. How long should the lights be left on?



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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-07-2007, 10:57 PM
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Somewhere around 10 hours on is good, I do 8 or 9 sometimes on a few tanks. I would probably move the lights down some, especially if those are just standard fluorescent tubes.


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