15 gal GBR tank - new beginning - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2009, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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15 gal GBR tank - new beginning

Welcome to my tank thread, y'all. I have been a longtime lurker/occassional poster here and now have my own tank for everyone to see and critique. This was my idea of a 15 gallon tank made specifically for the german blue ram, probably the most colorful fish for the size and especially the price I can think of. A word of warning, I have had fish tanks my entire life, but I stink at placing plants and paraphernalia in a pleasing looking manner. I just have no eye for it. With that out of the way, I hope you enjoy, and let me know what I can do to change this for the better. Tank specs and pics below.

Lighting: I went with a coralife 24" Aqualight dual strip T-5 setup with two plant bulbs hooked up to a 7 hour light cycle. With no lid on this thing 24 watts over 15 gallons seems to be plenty of light.

Stand: This was a fun one, I couldnt find a stand for under 60 bucks and I wasnt willing to pay that much, so I just went to Lowe's and bought about 20 bucks worth of lumber and had one fashioned out in less than an hour. Did not bother painting as I liked the au naturale look.

Filter: Eheim Pimp baby! I went and found an Ecco at my LFS that was on sale and grabbed it before anyone else could. Its working AWESOME. This is my first canister filter. You can barely hear it, but at night its gentle hum across the room lulls me to sleep.

Tank: standard 15 gallon cheapo fish store tank, I wanted something with a ten gallon look, but large enough for rams, and not as big as a 20H.

Substrate: I chose SeaChem fluorite, it was the only planted tank substrate that my my LFS was carrying at the time. (the bag says you can dump it in, but after a week of waiting for the tank to clear I had to drag my entire tank outside and blast the crap out of the gravel for a good hour before I could get clear water, LOL)

Flora: Not too good at these things, but I know I have a piece of driftwood in there with java moss, 4 types of anubias on the left, some wisteria in the back left corner, two types of rotala, and finally, a couple bunches of crypt wendtii.

Fauna: a mated paid of German Blue Rams , 3 amano shrimp and 1 harlequin rasbora. (had 4 rasboras, but 3 of them went into the filter, then when I took them out and threw them back in the tank they decided to jump out at night and I found them all dried up the next day on the floor)

Maintenance: daily dosing of Excel, weekly 20% water change, bi-monthly cracking of filter and cleaning.

And as promised, pictures!


Here is the overall setup, cheapo stand included.


Do I get to become an Eheim Pimp now?


FTS as of 6/1 right before I did a cleaning and a trimming. How do you like the flow on that baby?


Here is as of 6/6 after my plant trim and replant to help fill in the back a bit.

Do you think this tank looks ok without a black background? I have some algae I am fighting off of the anubias on the left, you can see the good progression I have had with less daily light (9 hours to 7), and daily excel dosing. Hope you had fun looking, let me know what you think.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2009, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Here in a week or two I will be replacing those standard green inflow/outflow with some glassware for added minimalist appearance.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2009, 06:56 PM
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I also have a 15 gallon. Aren't they sweet? It looks good. You are off on the right foot. I don't know if cleaning the filter bi-monthly is all that necessary, but I think it really depends on the bioload. If you like the tank without the background, leave it like that. One of the main reasons for backgrounds is for aesthetics and if it is pleasing to you without it, leave it off.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2009, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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I love the 15 layout size-wise. Not too big, not too small. Granted, cleaning bi-monthly is not generally the norm for these since they can last even longer. What I generally do is crack it open to clean up one of the two sponges and thats about it. I probably wont change out media for 6+ months since I have such a low bioload. BTW, I loved your thread about your 5 yr old beta. I am a fan of them too, but none of mine have ever lasted that long.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2009, 10:43 PM
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I think that your tank looks good.. when I first started reading the OP I figured that it would be a train wreck.. nope

nice to see that someone else likes *that 70's show!*

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 12:01 AM
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I like your setup. Good job making it look nice.

As for the GBR's... have you sucessfully bred the pair with successfully raising the fry? I'm still waiting on my male ram to fully mature to hopefully pair up with my fully mature female.


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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 12:18 AM
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You don't need to be so critical of yourself. The tank looks pretty good. Few suggestions.

1. Since you have stem plants in there you might want to dose additional feet in there and dig/pressurized co2
2. Some carpet plants will work well but even the bare patch looks good
3. Use the natural light of the tank instead of the camera flash

Patience is the name of the game.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torpedobarb View Post
nice to see that someone else likes *that 70's show!*
Every weekday that show lets me relax after a long day of work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by speedie408 View Post
I like your setup. Good job making it look nice.

As for the GBR's... have you sucessfully bred the pair with successfully raising the fry?
Unfortunately, I was not expecting them to have fry so soon. I had stuck on some pantyhose earlier that week to keep fish out of my canister filter but it was restricting flow too much. My filter sounded really bad so I had to take it off. The fry disappeared shortly after that. I think the extra flow pushed them around the tank and the rasboras got all of them or just the change in water movement changed the water parameters enough to do them in. I will try to work things out next time to keep them around longer. Fewer fish this time that might be able to eat them, next batch I get I will simply crank down the filter input/output hoses as much as I can and hope they dont go near the filter intake until they are too big to fit through the screen. That or put just one batch of pantyhose around it. Last time I think I had the edge doubled over and zip-tied on to make it 4 times normal thickness.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malaybiswas View Post
You don't need to be so critical of yourself. The tank looks pretty good. Few suggestions.

1. Since you have stem plants in there you might want to dose additional feet in there and dig/pressurized co2
2. Some carpet plants will work well but even the bare patch looks good
3. Use the natural light of the tank instead of the camera flash

Sorry, I like to second-guess myself alot. Im a perfectionist and slightly OCD, so im always thinking things are not totally perfect yet. It gets on alot of people's nerves, lol.

I am considering a small DIY CO2 system, though I will have to research about it again. Last time I did it on my 29 gallon tank I kept having CO2 spikes and then the darn thing running out of CO2 after like 2 days.

As for the carpet plants, I wanted some, but you just cant find them around here. None of the LFS carry them. I asked them about it and they said their suppliers have trouble getting it too, so they never bother ordering any. I kinda like the empty spot in the front of the tank so im leaving it as-is. The fish love it and hang out there most of the time if they see me in the room.

As for the flash, it goes off even when the light is on. Cheap point and shoot digital camera and all. I just found out how to turn it off, I will update pictures later with no flash.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 03:57 AM
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Totally understand the OCD. I really think you are doing a good job. Keep it up!

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I would really like to add some java fern to my tank but I cannot seem to get that around here either. Maybe I will special order it the next time I have a day off.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-13-2009, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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As promised, my first weekly pics after I just finished a water change. I have two pics, once with flash, and one without. Please let me know which one you like better.

With flash:


And without flash:
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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RIP my male GBR. Power died for around 2.5 hours yest in a big storm. That probably killed him off somehow. I also have alot of bubbles on the water surface. Any idea what that is? My other GBR, rasboras and shrimp seem fine though. I will do a large water change tonight just in case.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 01:01 PM
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It looks much better without the flash.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-18-2009, 01:52 AM Thread Starter
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Hmm. Looks kinda washed out and run together to me in the no flash pics. Almost as if it couldnt get enough light for a good picture, but I do like the green of the tank without the flash, its alot more life like that way.
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