Low tech 20 long streambed - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-15-2015, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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Low tech 20 long streambed

Hi everyone!

I bought this 20L during the dollar per gallon sale. First it was to be a 5 gallon, then I realized they weren't covered under the sale and soon enough it had been reasoned up to a 20 long.

It's dirted with MGOPM with a very thin cap of sand I had lying around to hopefully weight the dirt down a bit and a thicker layer of gravel on top. As you can see there are some tannins in the water but it's not too bad. Still early in the cycle, too. I'm maintaining ammonia around 2 ppm but no nitrites yet.

Hardware
-Aquaclear 50 HOB, planted
-100 watt aqueon pro heater
-Current Satellite Plus light, planning on doing a DIY arduino controller


Flora
I have a big order of plants in from Planted Aquariums Central- more on that in a moment- but in the meantime I threw some hornwort in there hoping to co-opt a little bit of my LFS's beneficial bacteria and to keep organics down while it gets established. I also got a single green C. wendtii as PAC was out and a really nice looking anubias coffeefolia.

The plants I ordered:
-Cryptocoryne parva, spiralis, undulata, and red wendtii
-Bacopa caroliniana
-Nymphaea stellata

I am on the market for some Staurugyne repens which they were also out of.

The HOB is planted with anubias hastifolia, pothos, a grass I bought emersed at petco... something japonica (not blyxa), and that purple plant which I had around the house.

Fauna
Undecided. Strangely I went into it wanting a south american biotope but ended up getting mostly asian plants. My LFS stocks snow white zebra danios that are absolutely gorgeous and I am thinking I will get a nice school of those (6-7) along with some small cories (or loaches?) and a couple of otos. Eager for any suggestions though!

Okay enough of that... on to the pictures!

FTS


From the top. Currently running the lights on full red, we'll see how the growth is. Might add in some blue. Sat+ gives me too many options!


HOB. The anubias lost its smaller leaves but I think it's acclimating. The picture doesn't do it justice- I am seriously considering doing more riparium type stuff because I love the look and it really adds some height to this rather short tank.


Planting plan. Was originally planning to get some ludwigia repens as well and I kind of forgot while placing my order. Oh well, the bacopa should grow in to fill the while area.


Bonus shot of my existing anubias, betta, and shrimp tank which is now on my desk.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-18-2015, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
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2 small updates:

My plants shipped today! Hoping to be able to plant thursday or friday.

Measured .5 PPM of nitrite today. The cycle is progressing!

I want to do lots of water changes to get rid of some of the tannins but on the other hand I don't want to disrupt the cycle too much. Gotta find a good balance.

My tanks:
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-21-2015, 05:20 AM Thread Starter
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Got the plants today! Big shout out to Planted Aquariums Central, they were very nicely packaged and overall looked awesome. Nice big portions of each plant, too- I was only expecting one bulb and got two!

I drained the tank while I worked on prepping the plants. Unpacked them, rinsed them off in water from the tank, got all the rock wool out as necessary, etc. I split the parvas quite a bit and ended up splitting the undulata as well since it was freaking huge!

Then I got to planting. I'd say it went pretty well and I love the result. I took some pictures but even though I have a nice smartphone (galaxy s4 mini) it takes crap pictures. My husband has an iPhone and I will take pics to share tomorrow. I really think I need to dig out my rebel and take some real pics eventually!

So anyway, I will share this picture of the plants, even if it looks awful.



So people can get an idea of how much they sent that is:

2 - crypt parva
2 - crypt spiralis
1 - crypt wendtii red
1 - crypt undulata
1 - bacopa caroliniana
1 - nymphaea stellata (the two bulbs)

Stay tuned for some tank shots soon.

The cycle is progressing well, it tested at 20 ppm nitrate yesterday so all the players are in place. I really think using filter media from my other tank made a huge difference. After I did the near 100% water change this afternoon I added 1 mL of ammonia and I'll check the params tomorrow. Would be nice to see 0 ammonia 0 nitrite but I don't think I'm quite there yet.

I've parsed my stocking plan down a bit and it's looking like:

10-13 neon or ember tetras
5-6 pygmy or habrosus corys
2 otos
a couple of nerite snails
a pair of either german blue rams or apistogramma cactuoides

Not all at once obviously. Thinking I will add the corys first or maybe the tetras.

My tanks:
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-21-2015, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Ok! Finally got some good shots. The angle is a bit funny on some of these because my curtains were getting reflected onto the glass. I suppose I could take my pictures in the evening next time.

FTS


Hope the bacopa does well in the corner- it's a bit lower light right here. Might need to move things around if it doesn't thrive. I'm also not 100% sold on the rock formation but just living with it for a bit to see if it grows on me. I brought the rocks back with me from our last trip to Alaska and it's nice to have a piece of home in my tank.


The crypts they sent me are wonderfully healthy and full looking.



That fuzz is so gross, I can't wait for it to go away. I do love all the caves and crevices, I think my eventual rams will love it.


And finally, because I loved it while researching when people would do this, here's a key to the plants. Probably need to view it at full size.

My tanks:
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Last edited by pseudomonas; 02-21-2015 at 07:07 PM. Reason: glitch duplicated my post for some reason?
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-23-2015, 07:00 AM Thread Starter
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The parvas are melting a tiny bit, thinking it might be from damage while unpacking and planting. I've trimmed the leaves that are melting and it looks better. Meanwhile they're also putting on new leaves so I'm not too concerned.

Cycle is held up on the nitrite->nitrate stage. We're going into the city next weekend to shop and I'd love it if it was ready then, there's a fish store there that carries pygmy corys.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-27-2015, 01:26 AM Thread Starter
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Still taking a bit more than 24 hours to go from 2ppm ammonia dose to 0 nitrite but it's pretty close. Some algae is starting to grow plus the fuzz on the driftwood, I decided to introduce the first animal occupant: Gary the snail, a transplant from my other tank. Gary is a zebra nerite snail.

Gary may need some help so I am thinking about picking up a couple of otos tomorrow as well.

My tanks:
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-27-2015, 01:45 AM
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Nice job planting! Let the waiting game begin.

I'm not the biggest fan of danios, but definitely support the cory idea. The three species of small corys are absolutely adorable (c. hasboras, c. hastatus, and c. pygmaeus).
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-27-2015, 02:37 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I would really like to go South American- corys, neon or ember tetras, and rams. However my pH is rather higher than I wanted, 7.6. The dirted substrate and driftwood doesn't seem to be helping, but I think I may do DIY CO2 as well so that should help. We'll see.

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-27-2015, 02:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pseudomonas View Post
Thanks! I would really like to go South American- corys, neon or ember tetras, and rams. However my pH is rather higher than I wanted, 7.6. The dirted substrate and driftwood doesn't seem to be helping, but I think I may do DIY CO2 as well so that should help. We'll see.
I've had embers and rams, both I really enjoyed having. I don't think 7.6 is too high, but I'm just guessing.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-27-2015, 05:34 AM Thread Starter
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I'm pretty sure the tetras and corys will be fine, but I don't think it will work for rams. Plus corys don't care for temps as warm as rams like.

I might do apistos instead.

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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-27-2015, 05:47 AM
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Quote:
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Gary is a zebra nerite snail.
That made me laugh, tank looks good will be awesome once everything really fills in. Suggestion for fish would be Kribensis, they look beautiful in a planted set up especially when in breeding colors...A pair would probably limit other inhabitants quite bit though as they can be damn aggressive when guarding fry.

They prefer softer water but the breeding pair I had before was in pH 7.6+.

There also might be some ram breeders out there that have some that have been acclimated to higher pH over a few generations (worth a shot if you really want rams)

Look forward to seeing your tank progress!

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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-01-2015, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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During our trip to the city yesterday I had hoped to pick up some excel, but nobody stocks it anywhere! I may get some API CO2 booster in the meantime but I would eventually like to do DIY CO2. I've had quite a bit of algae- mostly diatoms which I know is pretty normal for a young tank. Just ugly haha. I'm also going to cut back on light.

On to the successes. I actually found some tissue cultured S. repens at petsmart. It looks really healthy so fingers crossed.

Our last stop was at a really awesome LFS. The lady who runs it told me that people call her the fish nazi sometimes because she won't sell a person a fish she knows wouldn't thrive in their setup. She doesn't sell goldfish or bettas at all. When I mentioned that the cories would be the first inhabitants of the tank she asked me all about my tank- how old, parameters, etc. It was really refreshing. Plus she had some fish I had only ever seen in pictures which was really cool.

She didn't have pygmy cories, only habrosus which is fine with me. I like the look of both of them and I kind of knew it was going to have to be whatever one I could find. In fact I had heard habrosus are more fun to watch. I got six, plus 2 otos.

So far I am completely smitten. I love these cories and a huge part of me wants to scrap the rest of the stocking and just have a huge school of habrosus cories. They are the cutest little fish I have ever seen and so fun to watch. Out of the six all are less than half an inch except one which is about half to three quarters of an inch long- since he is so much noticeably bigger than the rest I have named him Boss.

When I kept otos in the past I always found them to be rather boring and aloof. However these otos are great! They follow the cories around and have colored up very nicely. I think they're going to get fat in my tank with all the algae!

On to the pictures...

I am liking this rock arrangement much better with the S. repens in.


I thought the crypt parva was tiny! The cories are difficult to photograph as they never stand still for a minute. This pic isn't in perfect focus but I love that you can see them hanging out.


And of course, here's Boss, leader of the cories. They all seem to swarm around him so I think he was rightly named.

My tanks:
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-01-2015, 05:46 PM
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You should definitely try this. I've had it on my 50 gal for more than a year now and has never let me down. http://www.amazon.com/AQUATEK-OF-CALIFORNIA-Regulator-Mini/dp/B008TJCPSY all you got to do is go to a sports store like Dicks and buy one or two paintball tanks. Refill is like 3-4 dollars if I remember correctly. 2 24oz tank lasts me almost 2 or more months. When I first did diy co2 I hated it.



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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-01-2015, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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I'll look into it more- might be a tough sell to the ole man after all the expenses of the tank so far, but I suppose I just gave him permission to spend $300 on a new guitar so I might have some karma built up.

Question on that regulator- is it one that you can hook the solenoid up to a timer so it shuts off when the lights are off? That seems to be the most worrysome thing to me with DIY. Don't want to gas my fish at night.

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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-01-2015, 10:15 PM
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You will have to buy your own timer and plug it into it but when the timer shuts off, the co2 will too.



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