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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-05-2015, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie.. Help me get started!

Ok, so I have been asking questions and trying to figure out what I need to buy for a setup.

I want:
School of neon or cardinal tetras
possibly a couple other types of tetras, maybe.. maybe not.
Pygmy cory's
Oto's.. are there different kinds?
Red Cherry Shrimp

Plants- Low/Medium light.
HC I definitely want.. unless there is something that looks like this that does better in a low/medium light tank?
Anubias
something red
various others.. not super picky.

Setup.. I am thinking I will get a 29Gal (30x12x18) and stand
-Aquaclear filters with prefilter sponge. Should I get just a AQ50? or 2 AQ 30's?
-Heater.. any recommendations?
-Thermometer
-ATI freshwater test kit
-Satellite Pro+ LED- adjustable.. which I will probably need to do.
-ADA Aquasoil... how many inches of soil do I want in the tank?
-Purigen and bags
-Flourish Excel
-Possibly Manzanita Branches.. will I need to do anything with this?

I do not want to do co2.

Questions:
1. How many fish can I do of each listed? Keeping in mind I want the tank to be reasonably safe for the RCS (I realize babies may get eaten here and there, hoping I will have enough plant cover where some will make it. I want a low-medium bioload... I do not want the tank PACKED where I have to worry more about water quality.

2. Other than the fish listed, are there any others that are or are reasonably safe with RCS?

3. How many RCS should I get to start with?

4. What order should I add the fish and shrimp?

5. Answer questions about my equipment/setup plans.

6. Plant suggestions?

7. Anything else?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-06-2015, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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Okay! I got a little excited and ordered a bunch of stuff.. my birthday is less than a week away, I gotta buy myself a birthday present right?

So... I have ordered:
29 gallon aquarium and Pine Stand
API Master Freshwater Test Kit
Aquaclear 70 and sponge pre-filters (so the AQ 70 doesn't suck up shrimp)
Satellite Pro+ LED light.. I figure I will have to mess around with intensity..
150 watt heater
glass thermometer
2 bags of ADA aquasoil
3 pieces of WYSIWYG of thick Manzanita Branches

Am I missing anything important?
I am planning on not doing Co2 and seeing how things go.

With the Manzanita Branches, if they don't sit like the way they were pictured, is there a way I can tie or glue them to make them more sturdy and stay put?

Now to figure out where to buy my plants online vs in store. And what type of plants I want. I heard Anubias can be toxic to shrimp if they munch on the roots???

Fish/Inverts:
I am thinking..
10 Cardinal Tetras
5 Galaxy Rasbora/Cellestial Danio
10 Pygmy Corys
3 Oto's
10 RCS to start with.

Last edited by New2Fresh; 09-06-2015 at 12:43 AM. Reason: editing
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-06-2015, 01:10 AM
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Sounds good to me. The light may be strong so I would plan on dimming it. As for HC, it's going to be challenging in general without CO2 and I have actually grown a really lush carpet without CO2. Reason being, the tank is fairly deep so you need higher light intensity at the bottom for HC to spread which means more light at the top, the deeper you go, possibly putting you well into high light. Or you can let it grow upwards and constantly trim, it will still spread, just more slowly and will want to grow up if not enough light.

As for the Manzanita, many anchor this by using egg crate/light diffuser material for more control on placement. You can also glue pieces together, many use gel type super glue.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-06-2015, 04:55 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by talontsiawd View Post
Sounds good to me. The light may be strong so I would plan on dimming it. As for HC, it's going to be challenging in general without CO2 and I have actually grown a really lush carpet without CO2. Reason being, the tank is fairly deep so you need higher light intensity at the bottom for HC to spread which means more light at the top, the deeper you go, possibly putting you well into high light. Or you can let it grow upwards and constantly trim, it will still spread, just more slowly and will want to grow up if not enough light.

As for the Manzanita, many anchor this by using egg crate/light diffuser material for more control on placement. You can also glue pieces together, many use gel type super glue.
Thanks!

Any ideas about what to tie moss to the branches with?
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-06-2015, 05:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Fresh View Post
Thanks!

Any ideas about what to tie moss to the branches with?
I have always used cotton thread. Some people glue it instead with super glue. The second way is easier but I always end up with superglue and moss stuck to my fingers, the first not coming off for a few days.

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-07-2015, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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Ok thanks! I will be fine gluing them! I used to glue live rock together for my aquascapes when I did reef aquariums.

I am getting so excited to get everything! It has been awhile since I have had a tank! I feel like a kid on Christmas!

I have figured out what plants I want and they should be here shortly after setting up my tank!
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-07-2015, 05:26 AM
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Yes, there are different types of otos, but you're not likely to notice a difference in care. Unless you get o.flexilis (rare, prefer open swimming areas) or o.cocama (expensive), care and feeding is about the same.

Make sure the tank is very (>3 mos) mature to have the best chance with them. Drip acclimation and bringing a blanched zucchini slice with you to pop in the bag for the way home is your best bet. Look for active fellows with round, full bellies that have been at your lfs for a while.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-07-2015, 06:19 AM
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Best to leave the shrimp till at least 90 days after the tank is started. Even though there are a few who keep them/w fish, it's best not to. Lots of fish learn to feed on the shrimp
when they molt because they are soft and defenseless at the time and give off an odor the fish can smell. But then like I said, a few keep them together.
Oto's are a delicate fish that often do not survive being caught/transported to the stores. So try to be sure they have been in the store over a week and accept that a couple may die before you get that full number of them which you want.
The Aquasoil will leach ammonia for the first few weeks so don't do fish till the tank cycles. Test it for ammonia and then once you see some wait about two and one half weeks and then start testing for nitrates. After the nitrates are there for a week the tank should be fully cycled.
Amazon sword plants are most always in any plant package. Unless you really want the other plants in it I would just buy plants from people on here. Obviously the advantage of a plant package is one shipping fee. But there are a couple of people on here whom you could get a good bit of what you want from one sale.
Started to say something about the Amazon swords. They get 22" tall and almost that
big around.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-07-2015, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamTill View Post
Yes, there are different types of otos, but you're not likely to notice a difference in care. Unless you get o.flexilis (rare, prefer open swimming areas) or o.cocama (expensive), care and feeding is about the same.

Make sure the tank is very (>3 mos) mature to have the best chance with them. Drip acclimation and bringing a blanched zucchini slice with you to pop in the bag for the way home is your best bet. Look for active fellows with round, full bellies that have been at your lfs for a while.
Thank you for your wisdom and advice! For the second paragraph are you talking about the Oto's still or shrimp?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymond S. View Post
Best to leave the shrimp till at least 90 days after the tank is started. Even though there are a few who keep them/w fish, it's best not to. Lots of fish learn to feed on the shrimp
when they molt because they are soft and defenseless at the time and give off an odor the fish can smell. But then like I said, a few keep them together.
Oto's are a delicate fish that often do not survive being caught/transported to the stores. So try to be sure they have been in the store over a week and accept that a couple may die before you get that full number of them which you want.
The Aquasoil will leach ammonia for the first few weeks so don't do fish till the tank cycles. Test it for ammonia and then once you see some wait about two and one half weeks and then start testing for nitrates. After the nitrates are there for a week the tank should be fully cycled.
Amazon sword plants are most always in any plant package. Unless you really want the other plants in it I would just buy plants from people on here. Obviously the advantage of a plant package is one shipping fee. But there are a couple of people on here whom you could get a good bit of what you want from one sale.
Started to say something about the Amazon swords. They get 22" tall and almost that
big around.
Oh I wasn't aware of this! Is it safe to put plants in there right away? Should I expect to do water changes right away? If so, how often after setting it up and what percentage of water?

I don't think I am getting any swords. I am buying HC from one person on here and a big list (like 20 species) of other plants from someone else on here!

From the sounds of it, I should be saving up for a co2 setup. Maybe I will do this while I let the tank mature more for the shrimp and Oto's.

I know I want to hold off on the tetras/galaxy raspboras until I have the shrimp already established in the tank. So, could I get the pygmy cory's a couple weeks or so after the tank is set up (providing water parameters are looking good)? So I have something other than plants to look at?
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-08-2015, 05:49 AM
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Originally Posted by New2Fresh View Post
Thank you for your wisdom and advice! For the second paragraph are you talking about the Oto's still or shrimp?
I don't keep shrimp, so I'm talking otos. Adding a bit of bleached zucchini can help you really reduce losses. I've lost two out of the last couple dozen I've purchased....one was sick and I knew it wouldn't last the day (didn't), and another got his head stuck in a pump intake I was sure they couldn't get to (added foam after).

To put how much they eat into perspective, I added this to my oto tank this evening:




Despite also having two zucchini slices in the tank, the 24 otos stripped it bare in about 2 hours.

So when folks bring home starving otos from the store (as most are), it's not surprising to hear that most die off within a few days or weeks. There isn't as much algae in most people's entire tanks as is on that one rock (I grow them separately).

So people get a bit of algae, get a few otos, and most say the tank is clean the next day. Few people bother to feed the otos directly, so what are they supposed to do?

Lovely fish, highly recommended, but consider feeding them directly rather than making them scavenge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Fresh View Post
I don't think I am getting any swords. I am buying HC from one person on here and a big list (like 20 species) of other plants from someone else on here!
Not all swords are created equal, some will stay small. I'd pick up an e copy of 101 best aquarium plants. It's one of my favourite go-to resources, and having it on my iPad has let me sidestep quite a bit of questionable lfs advice.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-08-2015, 08:05 AM
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Your own "style" will dictate the number of plant types, but lately on here the regular
thinking is towards just a few types in a tank. A "Dutch" type tank is an obvious exception to that. Example of Dutch tank.
http://cdn2.bigcommerce.com/server54...0.1280.jpg?c=2
This leaching of ammonia is normal for ADA aquasoil(and lots of dirt subs) but you can use that to cycle the tank instead of adding ammonia.
I wouldn't do any water changes till the cycle is done if using the ammonia from the aquasoil for the cycle. The plants will use it also so no reason not to plant. Just no
fish/shrimp till cycled. Once the tank is cycled the aquasoil likely will take longer than that to stop leaching the ammonia, but then the bio-bacteria are living off of it so it gets used as soon as it's produced by the soil. Eventually this will stop and whatever bio-load caused by your fish etc will be what those bacteria live off of.
I'm telling you about the number of types of plants in one tank but like I said it's up
to you. As you can see I also have lots of types in one tank. I think 14 types in this one.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/im.../pg_12001e.jpg
http://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm
If you choose to get injected CO2 be aware that the plants will grow much faster and
require trimming as often as once a week. You will need to learn to balance the ferts/light/CO2 or it doesn't work properly. CO2 is transferred to water through contact/w it just like Oxygen is so you don't "need" to add it. It's a choice some people
make to enhance plant growth.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-08-2015, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamTill View Post
I don't keep shrimp, so I'm talking otos. Adding a bit of bleached zucchini can help you really reduce losses. I've lost two out of the last couple dozen I've purchased....one was sick and I knew it wouldn't last the day (didn't), and another got his head stuck in a pump intake I was sure they couldn't get to (added foam after).

To put how much they eat into perspective, I added this to my oto tank this evening:




Despite also having two zucchini slices in the tank, the 24 otos stripped it bare in about 2 hours.

So when folks bring home starving otos from the store (as most are), it's not surprising to hear that most die off within a few days or weeks. There isn't as much algae in most people's entire tanks as is on that one rock (I grow them separately).

So people get a bit of algae, get a few otos, and most say the tank is clean the next day. Few people bother to feed the otos directly, so what are they supposed to do?

Lovely fish, highly recommended, but consider feeding them directly rather than making them scavenge.

Not all swords are created equal, some will stay small. I'd pick up an e copy of 101 best aquarium plants. It's one of my favourite go-to resources, and having it on my iPad has let me sidestep quite a bit of questionable lfs advice.
Oh okay, how many Oto's would you recommend for a 29 gallon? 1 or 2?
I will have to look up how to blanch zuchini, how often do you feed them this? Can I store the rest in a freezer? And how do you feed them directly? and with what? Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymond S. View Post
Your own "style" will dictate the number of plant types, but lately on here the regular
thinking is towards just a few types in a tank. A "Dutch" type tank is an obvious exception to that. Example of Dutch tank.
http://cdn2.bigcommerce.com/server54...0.1280.jpg?c=2
This leaching of ammonia is normal for ADA aquasoil(and lots of dirt subs) but you can use that to cycle the tank instead of adding ammonia.
I wouldn't do any water changes till the cycle is done if using the ammonia from the aquasoil for the cycle. The plants will use it also so no reason not to plant. Just no
fish/shrimp till cycled. Once the tank is cycled the aquasoil likely will take longer than that to stop leaching the ammonia, but then the bio-bacteria are living off of it so it gets used as soon as it's produced by the soil. Eventually this will stop and whatever bio-load caused by your fish etc will be what those bacteria live off of.
I'm telling you about the number of types of plants in one tank but like I said it's up
to you. As you can see I also have lots of types in one tank. I think 14 types in this one.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/im.../pg_12001e.jpg
http://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm
If you choose to get injected CO2 be aware that the plants will grow much faster and
require trimming as often as once a week. You will need to learn to balance the ferts/light/CO2 or it doesn't work properly. CO2 is transferred to water through contact/w it just like Oxygen is so you don't "need" to add it. It's a choice some people
make to enhance plant growth.
Hmm... that is a good point. Maybe I'll look at my list and try to narrow it down to fewer plants. Although, I do want more than just a few plants since I am just starting out and I want to see what will grow and that should narrow it down for me as well..

Ideally, I don't want to add co2, but people keep acting like I will need to do co2 for most plants. I would like to avoid spending the money, and energy that goes into balancing all this with co2 and ferts and have a simple setup. But I don't want just super slow growing plants like anubias. But I dont want to do co2 plants and have to be trimming constantly either. Hmm.. I guess I will see how things go with what I bought and make adjustments as needed.

I bought a current satellite pro+ and plan on adjusting it to a lower level of light. But something that will grow a wide range of plants. Should I aim for about 40 par at the bottom? (that would be low-medium light right?) and then it would get higher from there for taller plant.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-08-2015, 06:04 PM
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Oh okay, how many Oto's would you recommend for a 29 gallon? 1 or 2?
I will have to look up how to blanch zuchini, how often do you feed them this? Can I store the rest in a freezer? And how do you feed them directly? and with what? Thank you!
Very easy, just bring a pan of water to boil, drop the slices in for 30 seconds or so, then freeze them. I do a whole zucchini at a time, put layers of slices between parchment, and unthaw as needed. My tank goes through a slice every day/couple of days, you might be fine to do so once every 3-4? Just take it out if it looks to go moldy. Mine never last that long, but a few might not finish it in time.

You can judge when to supplement them based off of algae buildup, but keep in mind there are a few algae types they won't or can't touch (ie, the really tough green algae on the glass is tough for them to rasp off).

Slices in my tank go in on a bamboo skewer, you might want a less visible option.



I never like to see less than 3 in a tank since they're such social little fish:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-rMCZ3eVeI
That said, you'd probably find there isn't enough algae alone in most tanks your size to keep them really fed as a trio. Depends on the growth in your tank, in the end.

Lots of people buy them to control an algae problem which rapidly goes away...followed by the otos. If you want to keep them, great! If you want them for algae control alone...maybe?
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-08-2015, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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I can do that thank you!

Here is a peak at what will be going in the tank plant-wise... and hopefully stay living... If not, it helps narrow down the number of plants.

A rough plan on how I plan on arranging it, it might not make sense, but in my head it makes sense.. lol.

Background Left to Right:
Hygrophila difformis (Wisteria) - 3 stems.. or at end
Alternanthera reineckii 'Ocipus' - 7 stems
Hygrophila corymbosa 'Siamensis - 2 stems
Ludwigia repens 'Atlantis' - 4 stems
Rotala rotundifolia 'Singapore' - 3 stems
Rotala sp. 'Nanjenshan' - 2 stems
Proserpinaca palustris - 3 stems

Bacopa caroliniana - 3 stems
Rotala indica (true) - 7 stems
Lindernia rotundifolia 'Variegated' - 3 stems

On Branches:
Christmas Moss - golfball- 1

Midground Left to Right:
Heteranthera zosterifolia (Star Grass) - 3 stems behind anubia if this will grow taller, otherwise in front
Anubias nana - 1 plant

Helanthium bolivianum - 3 plants. Middle, in front of tall stem plants

Staurogyne sp. 'Low Grow' - 3 stems In front of Bacopa type plants on right, but not blocking side view

Foreground Front to Back:
HC all front foreground 3x5- 2
Eleocharis sp. 'Belem' (true)2x2 - 2 border around HC


What do you guys think? See any problems?

I also ordered osmocote+ root tabs, GH booster and some cholla wood pieces for the future shrimp to hide in as well.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-23-2015, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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The tank has been up and running for about 1 and a half weeks!

Here are some pictures:
Just added water and soil.. very cloudy 9/14
The next morning 9/15
Trying to add manzanita branches that I glued and got a slate for.. need another slate piece.. 9/15
Later that day, went out got a new slate piece and glued it, then planted rest of plants 9/15
Next morning 9/16
Sunday 9/20 plants are starting to grow!
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