FastFreddie's 24g- back to Square 1 - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-17-2008, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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FastFreddie's 24g- back to Square 1

Hello all! I'm new to the site and new to planted tanks, though this is my second.

I started this tank 9-8-08, and I've resisted posting since then to take time to read up and avoid posting beginner questions, but as it stands I am very much a beginner and definitely need some help, as this is a very complex hobby to the average person.

I got the tank for free. A friend of mine knows a wholesaler who gave him (for FREE) a few nano cube returns with claims of leakage. We have both filled our tanks (his has been up for 2 years) and experienced no leakage at all.

I think there were a lot of consumer returns due to overfilling in order to achieve water levels up to the trim on top of the tank. The problem is solved by purchasing the so called "modular surface skimmer" (a small grate that blocks the overflow) now provided with the new models, which raises the tank level, and drops the water level in the sump area. As it stands, even with the surface skimmer in place, dipping a hand in to plant something will cause the water to overflow when not careful. The trim on the top of the tank really should be at least 1" thicker to avoid this problem.

But, no complaints, as I mentioned the tank was FREE to me and costs about $249 in my local petstore. I transfered the fish and gravel from two 10 gallon tanks I had.

So, here are the specifics, pics, and my questions:

SIZE: 24 gallons

LIGHTING: 2x 36 watt 6500K compact flourescents ( I swapped out the 10,000K/Actinic combo) Does this equal 3 watts per gallon?

SUBSTRATE: Pea gravel- I will be swapping this ASAP. Of course I set up first, and then read how important substrate is. It will be a pain, but it sounds like a swap out is a MUST!

FILTRATION: Factory overflow 3 stage filtration

FERTILIZATION: So far I've added my first dose of Flourish and Flourish Excel at the bottle recommendations last night 9-16-08

INHABITANTS:
4- Black Skirted Tetra
3- Harlequin Rasboras
1-unknown Angel Fish
1- Clown Loach
1-Unknown Cory
1-Head and Tail Light Tetra
2- Phantom Tetra
1-Unkown silver fish with cool yellow and black dorsal fin and orange tail

PLANTS: HELP ME ID THESE!!!
Java Fern, Wisteria, 4 "assorted swords" , and others I don't know.

I'm not sure what type of plants I have and help with this would be appreciated!!! My local store really does not promote planted tanks.

Here are the pics from setup on 9-8-08. More to come since my rescape last night!!
Please read questions at bottom! Thank you in advance for all help!









MY QUESTIONS:

CO2:
Is this a must in the tank with this much wattage and these plants? I have a HAgen DIY unit with bubble ladder, but I would prefer not to use it. I am reading a lot of people say EXCEL can substitute for this. Is that correct?

DOSING: I have Flourish and Flourish EXCEL. What additionally will I need?

SUBSTRATE: What brand should I use? How deep in back and front of tank?

LIGHTING: With the 2x36 watt 6500K lighting, how many hours should I run the lights? Is this 3 watts per gallon (24 gallons) or am I calculating wrong?

AQUASCAPING: Last night, I moved the swords to the middle and broke up the stem plants into groups of 3 and moved all wisteria and unknown green stuff to the back, and Java Fern right to the front. It feels a bit crowded right now, but I would like to keep adding plants. What would be a nice grassy ground cover that will grow well? I had something called baby tears in my 29 gallon, that grew really well, but I don't see them in our local store anymore.

PARAMETER TESTING: What do I need to test for and is there a good Master test kit for planted tanks as well as a good SIMPLE resource for what these test results mean? Info seems to be so scattered across the web.

BUYING LIVE PLANTS ONLINE: Is this common and what are some worthy sites?



I thank anyone for a response, and even if no one sees this but me, hopefully this will be a good place to look back and see my progrees on the tank.

Happy growing!!!
Freddie


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Last edited by fastfreddie; 11-10-2008 at 01:43 AM. Reason: New info
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-20-2008, 11:29 AM
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Stunning Freshwater setting of your nano cube. I love it.
Wattage is correct 3 wpg technically.
You could go with a full co2 setup if you wanted to initialy cost though is a factor and the learning curve needed to research this. I have these @ http://www.co2-canisters.com

Excel however is an awsome product and i love it and use it in some of my smaller nano cube tanks here and it does a great job @ inhibiting algae.

Plants online check out Don @ www.Freshwateraquariumplants.com or Robert @ www.aquabotanic.com last check both were very good dealers of quality plants

Marc
http://www.jbjnanocubes.com
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-20-2008, 11:31 AM
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Oops forgot to comment on the substrate , Eco complete i like as it is not as messy as flourite and not a pain to set up. Carib sea makes it and it is nice an dark
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-10-2008, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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Well my first attempt didn't work out so well. Almost all of my plants got covered in algae. I kept up with weekly 50 % water changes, but I think I just had too much light pumping (3wpg), and didn't have enough nutrients, CO2, or plants for that matter, to support all the light.

So here we go. I gutted the 24 g :



I took all of the leftovers and transferred them to this 10g. :








I found these rocks yesterday. The store called them Zebra Rock. Does anyone know if they're safe for a planted tank?



Now the plan is to start out with some new substrate in the 24. Maybe eco-complete or aquasoil. I'm having a hard time choosing when half the site LOVES ADA AS and the other half cusses it up and down.

I'm going to just burn one lamp for a while cutting the wattage to 1.5. I think I'll try a diffuser for my CO2 instead of this bubble ladder. I'm also going to order all new plants, and really get the 24 rolling right before I swap the fish back over. Maybe the 10 g will entertain me until I get the 24 back up.

Thanks for any comments! I only got one on the first post. Thanks Marc!


More pics to come with the setup!


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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-10-2008, 02:21 AM
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Zebra Rock is perfectly safe for a planted tank.

But you should transfer the fish into the 24 ASAP...

The Angelfish will get stunted in the 10 gallon, and so will the Clown Loach. Actually, the Clown Loach grow up to a foot long, maybe a little less and don't belong in a tank less than 75 gallons when they're adults.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-10-2008, 02:27 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZooTycoonMaster View Post
Zebra Rock is perfectly safe for a planted tank.

But you should transfer the fish into the 24 ASAP...

The Angelfish will get stunted in the 10 gallon, and so will the Clown Loach. Actually, the Clown Loach grow up to a foot long, maybe a little less and don't belong in a tank less than 75 gallons when they're adults.
Whoa! a foot long? Thanks man. I appreciate the heads up on the zebra rock too. I'm hoping to get the 24 back in action by this weekend. I've had the angel and the loach for about 3 years mostly in a 29g.


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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-10-2008, 02:47 AM
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Well yeah loaches grow slow...but look at these pics:



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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-10-2008, 02:51 AM Thread Starter
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Hooolllyy Loaches!! They look like little pigs


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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-10-2008, 02:53 AM
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Yep, they are

Good luck with the tank Can't wait to see it!

The only bad thing with AquaSoil is that it leaches ammonia for the first couple of days, and it clouds whenever you disturb it.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-10-2008, 03:12 AM Thread Starter
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Man Zoo,
you're 10 g is sweet. I'm going back to your journal to throw some props your way.
and since you threw up some super cute kid pics, I'll give you the closest thing I've got to a very immature ADHD child of my own. Meet Jack:



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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-10-2008, 04:20 AM
 
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I'd get you a few more loaches since they enjoy groups alot more Other than that, good luck with the tank.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-10-2008, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deftec View Post
I'd get you a few more loaches since they enjoy groups alot more Other than that, good luck with the tank.
Thanks deftec. I prob will. Will a few of these guys really help with a snail problem or is that a myth? I don't think the snails are a problem, but I do notice holes in the leaves of my swords occasionally, which could be from malnutrition too I guess!


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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-10-2008, 06:17 PM
 
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I don't think it'd help the problem, but it will help his loneliness lol. You'll notice when you get some more that they'll be more active/playful.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-12-2008, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Got my new substrate today! 2 20lb bags should be plenty to add some height to the back of the tank. Now I just need to decide whether to try some terracing or just go for some gradual slopes. It's really hard trying to plan a cube when you're used to dealing with rectangles. Any pointers?





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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-16-2008, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
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Well, the 24 g is getting put on hold a little while. I used the eco complete for a 29g I setup today.
ZTM, , I'll be moving the angel and the loach over as soon as the 29 is stable. In the meantime, I'll probably keep the 10g temporary tank up for a while for fun. I ended up liking it a lot.


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