18 gallon work-in-progress, setup April 26th, 2009 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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18 gallon work-in-progress, setup April 26th, 2009

The tank, as of 20 minutes ago. A bit fuzzy from the change over (everything was in a 20 gallon High), lots of junk floating around. I already added the Bolivian Ram back to the tank. I know people might freak about this, cycling and whatnot, but I did not clean the filters or the gravel during the change over. All I did was add new water, as I do ever week. I'm not worried, and you shouldn't either.

Anyways, specs.

Lighting: 1x 15watt T8 bulb
1x Flora Grow light, think it's a T8 as well, but I can't read it.

Filtration: 1x AquaClear 20
1x Aqueon 10

Dosing: 10mL of Nutrafin Plant Gro, pretty much a knock-off, much cheaper version of Excel. Once daily at present

Substrate: Flourlite Dark, 20lb bag. Eco-Complete, 20lb bag (note: about 5lbs of each went into my Eclipse 6)

Plants: Amazon Sword
Dwarf Sag
Java Moss
Water Lettuce
Narrow Leaf Java Fern

Livestock: MTS
Pond Snails (I pick these out to feed to my puffer when I see them)
Ramshorn snails
Bolivian Ram
Female Halfmoon Betta (Crimson)

Uhhh... yeah, I think that's about it for right now. Got a photo period of about 12hrs going on right now and we'll see how things progress.
The tank is 30" L x 12" W x 12" H making it 18.7 gallons empty. I think with substrate, fish, plants, and equipment, it will probably be in the range of about 15 gallons.

Prospective Fauna List::
Ottos, 3. Can be replaced by nerite(sp?) snails. Just want some form of algea help.
Apistos,Triple Red

Now, the real debate. To turn this into a sorority tank of female bettas (I currently have 2), or into just the general live-bearer jungle. I just sold the last of my platys on Saturday. I can easily get some nice guppies from my boyfriend. I also have a bolivian ram (male) of which I could make this a showcase tank for him. But I also love the look of a Cockatoo Cichlid and would then rehome the Ram.
I am completely in love with Apistogramma bitaeniata. But apparently, they're not the most forgiving of the apisto family. So I think I would wait before investing in them. My second choice, and more beginner friendly fish is Apistogramma cacatuoides. They have a much more forgiving pH range (6.0-8.0) whereas the first is like... 6.5-6.8
My water is 7.0 so I really don't want to be adding chemicals to make it "perfect" The cacatuoides are also apparently the easiest of the apistos to breed. So... yay? I'll probably go for the triple red strain, which seems to be the most common (and the most beautiful IMO) so, I do believe I have my stars.

I'll probably get a trio of corys & ottos and about a dozen or so dithers, cardinal tetras. Then again, that might be an over-whelming amount of red in the tank. But I think with the green of the plants, (red and green are contrasting colours and look awesome together) and the dark sand, it should all work out in the end.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 11:26 PM
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Ah, the difficulty in choosing what direction to take a tank in terms of fish. I say go with the apistos if you've never had them before. Adding CO2 will decrease the pH and make the cichlid a little happier.... but how soft/hard is your water? Most fish are more forgiving when it comes to pH than hardness.

I think your game plan overall sounds good. I would skip the cories though. Flourite is a very sharp substrate, and it can harm the barbels on cories. And those barbels dont grow back. You may have had good experience in the past, but I wouldnt risk it. I guess since you mixed it with Eco, its not all shards of clay shrapnel...
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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Tank as of 8:20pm, April 27th. Two angles, much clearer since things have settled.

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