_ReApEr's 29g "Evolution" [Updated every Monday][PIC HEAVY] - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-06-2009, 04:06 AM Thread Starter
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_ReApEr's 29g "Evolution" [Updated every Monday][PIC HEAVY]

Note: this is going to be my journal post. It'll be updated every Monday with the new picture and relevant information and questions. I will also write a new post for each Monday's update containing the same information.

My goal for this thread: I'm fairly new to the hobby, especially relatively speaking, and don't have a whole lot to offer to the community yet. I can, however, share my journey with my own tank and, hopefully, people can learn from my wins and losses. I hope someone, somewhere, gains something from the thread.

Description:
I started this tank in November of 2008. It is my very first freshwater planted tank and I absolutely love it. It's had its ups and downs, to be sure, but it's all part of the game. It grows and thrives, sometimes things choke and die. But the experience in its entirety is priceless.

This Week's Picture: January 13, 2010


This Week's Comments:
I'm late this week. I wanted to wait until I got the new light fixture from Catalina today so I could get a picture of the tank with the new lights over it. Unfortunately, my camera is so crappy that it doesn't even capture the huge difference. The new light fixture, even with only 2 of the 4 bulbs on for 48w, is significantly brighter than the 65w CFL fixture I had. This could pose a problem regarding algae, as I think I already had too much light. I'll look into getting some shade cloth from a nursery to fix that. Anyway, Catalina ended up making me a custom fixture which works beautifully. It sits perfect on the tank and with the 4 bulbs instead of 1, it obviously casts a far better spread of light on the tank. The moonlights are fantastic; the blue light on the Cardinals really makes them pretty at night. I thought the 12 moonlights might be a bit too much for a planted tank, but they're very mild and cast a very nice, relaxing color on the tank at night. In spite of my original frustrations, I'm very pleased with Catalina and their fixture in the end. Aside from the light, not a lot to talk about about. I'm going to let the plants sit and do their thing for a while without butchering any of them, see if they can catch up with me and fill out again. Think that's it for this week.


This Week's Questions:
None.

Tank Details as of This Week:

Setup
  • Tank: Standard 29g
  • Lighting: Catalina Custom Fixture
    4x24w T5HO; 2x10,000K, 2x6,500K; two at a time
    4 hours each set, total of 8 hours a day
  • Filtration: Eheim Pro II 2026
  • Heater: Hydor ETH 200w inline
  • Thermometer: Coralife digital
CO2 System
  • 5 pound aluminum CO2 cylinder
  • GreenLeafAquariums Primo CO2 regulator
  • GreenLeafAquariums drop checker
  • DIY Rex Grigg style 15"x2" inline CO2 reactor
Flora
  • Amazon Swords
    Echinodorus amazonicus
  • Moneywort
    Bacopa monnieri
  • Small Crypts
    Cryptocoryne parva
  • Lace Java Fern
    Microsorum pteropus 'Windelov'
  • Java Moss
    Vesicularia dubyana
  • HC
    Hemianthus callitrichoides
  • Pearlweed
    Hemianthus micranthemoides
  • Dwarf Hairgrass
    Eleocharis acicularis
  • Brazilian Pennywort
    Hydrocotyle leucocephala
  • Aquatic Clover
    Marsilea crenata
  • Mircosword
    Lilaeopsis brasiliensis
  • Riccia
    Riccia fluitans
Fauna
  • 7 Cardinal Tetras
  • 2 Neon Tetras (they think they're Cardinals)
  • 3 Bronze Corys
  • 2 Flying Foxes
  • 3 Otos
  • Who-knows-how-many Malaysian Trumpet Snails
Misc.
  • Fertilization: Estimative Index - KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4, CSM+B
  • Hydor Koralia Nano
  • Substrate: 60lbs. ECO Complete
  • Two pieces of Mopani wood


As always, all advice, comments, and criticism are appreciated!


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Last edited by _ReApEr; 01-14-2010 at 03:27 AM.
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post #2 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-06-2009, 04:06 AM Thread Starter
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Being this is the second post (first update post) and the first update is in the first post (journal post), I'm going to forgo the update and just give you some background information and history.

Well, I've had this tank up and running since late last November and it's gone through lots of changes since then, mostly recently, and I have lots of questions and could probably use lots of advice, so I'm going to start a journal here in hopes that being able to follow the tank, people can give me some good advice. The advice I'm looking for is ANYTHING. Anything anyone thinks would help the tank physically, chemically, aesthetically, what have you. I'm totally open to everything.

I recently restarted taking pictures of this tank every week, so I guess I'll start by sharing those pictures and the comments from my gallery I have for them (with the comments, keep in mind my family and friends, not familiar with tank terminology, also view the gallery). Feel free to also check out the gallery I have for it and leave comments if you so choose.

August 31, 2009

Recently had a lot of my crypts shrivel up and die on me. I don't know for sure, but I suspect the bulb in my light fixture is needing replacement. Good thing I'm looking forward to doubling the watts over the tank and adding CO2 injection sometime in the (hopefully) near future!

It was decided not to double the watts and, instead, get an Eheim in place of two AC50s.

September 7, 2009

Used a different camera this time because my Tour was being lame. Anyway, nothing new happening. I ordered all the stuff for a massive upgrade and should be getting it all this week. The tank should change quite dramatically over the next 2 months or so.

September 14, 2009

Well, there's definitely some noticeable growth here, and the reason for that is that I ghetto-rigged the CO2 line into the filter intake so it would take the bubbles of CO2 and chop them up into tiny little bubbles. It seems to be working, along with the new light bulb, 'cause things are growing and I'm noticing lots of bubbling plants. YAY! Tomorrow, I get the last of my shipments and there'll be no more ghettoness!

September 21, 2009

Big changes this week! Swapped out the two AC50s for an Eheim Pro II 2026, the stealth 150w for a Hydor ETH 200w inline, added CO2 injection via an inline homemade CO2 reactor. The growth is already evident in just a week's time. I imagine it's going to be explosive in the relatively near future.

September 28, 2009

Crappy quality picture? No, I have green water! Ugh! Don't know if it's due to the tank adjusting to all the changes, or if it's due to all the new bio-media in the new filter, or if it's due to a nutrient imbalance, but I'm suspicious of the latter. I'm ordering a CO2 drop checker from GreenLeafAquariums.com (BEST supplier of CO2 systems and such, by the way). That should help me rule out the possibility of too little or too much CO2 in the water. From there, we'll have to see. Aside from the green water, the tank is doing FANTASTIC. Through all the crappy water, you can still see how much the plants, moneywort especially, have grown. All the bright green at the top of the moneywort is brand new growth from within the last two or three weeks. Spectacular. All of the bubbles you can see in the photo are actually from the plants photosynthesizing. It's called "pearling" and they're doing it like crazy, despite the green water cutting some of their light. The bubbles you can see in the photo are probably a quarter of the bubbles you can see in person. Once I get the green water under control, I think I'll start hacking away at some of the moneywort and letting it grow anew to eliminate the dirty leaves. Stay tuned, the next month or so should be pretty interesting!

October 5, 2009

Obviously, the green water is still plaguing me. It's actually gotten much worse. Yesterday was about a 90-95% water change, and it's still that green. I did just get my GreenLeafAquariums drop checker, and I was injecting way too little CO2, so maybe it'll improve. I also changed the spray bar configuration yet again to increase the speed the water comes out of it, but that meant that I also lost the surface agitation. The negative side of this is that I'm now getting a proteinous buildup on the surface, which cuts light to the plants. So, now, I'm planning on buying a surface skimmer, but I'm going to head over to plantedtank.net for some input on that. Same as last week, I'm still planning on slowly starting to chop the moneywort once I get a hold on the green water. This stuff is growing out of control, starting to bend over at the surface. I'm looking forward to that, it should make a significant difference.


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post #3 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 06:42 AM
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Lights are the engines, so why not trying running them 5hrs until algae start subsiding then increasing an hour every week?

Are you using ferts?
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post #4 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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I had increased the lights, but I cut those back again. I'm trying increasing my CO2. I'm also doing daily 50% water changes in hopes of overcoming the algae.

I do dose, EI.

Thanks!


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post #5 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-13-2009, 05:45 AM Thread Starter
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This Week's Picture: October 12, 2009


This Week's Comments:
Well, I'm now doing daily 50% water changes to combat the green water. The picture is taken directly following one of said changes, hence all the bubbles. I'm also just beginning to push the CO2 levels to the fishes' tolerance limit, so hopefully the extra CO2 will help out. Otherwise, nothing really new this week besides from the usual evident growth. Hopefully I can get this green water tackled soon, because the moneywort is in serious need of trimming. One of my bronze corys just died on me. That probably isn't due to the CO2 pushing, though, because he's been looking like he was dying for a few days now. Which leads to my question this week.

This Week's Questions:
When I grabbed my dead cory out of the tank, he was almost rock hard around the front of his body, his head, and his fins. He died very recently as he was alive just a few hours ago. Is this hardening indicative of something I should be concerned about infecting my other fish? Does anyone know what might cause that?

Tank Details as of This Week:

Setup
  • Tank: Standard 29g
  • Lighting: Single Satellite Compact Fluorescent fixture with 65w dual daylight 6700K/10000K bulb.
  • Filtration: Eheim Pro II 2026
  • Heater: Hydor ETH 200w inline
  • Thermometer: Coralife digital
CO2 System
  • 5 pound aluminum CO2 cylinder
  • GreenLeafAquariums Primo CO2 regulator
  • GreenLeafAquariums drop checker
  • DIY Rex Grigg style 15"x2" inline CO2 reactor
Flora
  • Amazon Swords
  • Moneywort
  • Small Crypts (species Cryptocoryne parva, I think)
  • Java Moss
Fauna
  • 7 Cardinal Tetras
  • 2 Neon Tetras (they think they're Cardinals)
  • 1 Bronze Cory
  • 2 Albino Corys
  • 2 Flying Foxes
  • 3 Otos
  • ~8 ghost shrimp
  • Who-knows-how-many Malaysian Trumpet Snails
Misc.
  • Substrate: 60lbs. ECO Complete
  • Two pieces of Mopani wood


As always, all advice, comments, and criticism are appreciated!


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post #6 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-13-2009, 03:30 PM
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Hey i just found your thread i just started a 29 gallon a week ago but im to indecisive so last night i tore it all down after running into some problems. Im wishing i would have got a thirty gallon now due to longer lenght and less height but becaue of the stand im sticking with the 29 its a deep tank however. ill be following your thread to see how things go there is not much on 29g ill get my details and pics up as soon as i get it back up and running probably tonight or tomorrow. good luck
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post #7 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-13-2009, 04:14 PM
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I too have a Satellite Compact Fluorescent fixture with 65w dual daylight 6700K/10000K bulb over my tank. I don't feel it has enough red photons in it so I added a Aqua-glo bulb. You those bulbs start loosing their photons at 9 months. If you decide to replace it cheapest buy is at Catalinas. If you want to replace it best option is a Nova light fixture here
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post #8 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-13-2009, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tolson83 View Post
Hey i just found your thread i just started a 29 gallon a week ago but im to indecisive so last night i tore it all down after running into some problems. Im wishing i would have got a thirty gallon now due to longer lenght and less height but becaue of the stand im sticking with the 29 its a deep tank however. ill be following your thread to see how things go there is not much on 29g ill get my details and pics up as soon as i get it back up and running probably tonight or tomorrow. good luck
What kind of lighting do you have for your 29? Chances are, it's fine. The issue I have with the height of my tank is just that it is a little tricky, sometimes, scaping so that you get some interest in the top half. I am unhappy with my wood right now, looking to perhaps find some manzanita. If you're interested, though, I also have the gallery in my sig which includes an early photo journal of the very beginnings of my tank, kind of interesting to see.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilde View Post
I too have a Satellite Compact Fluorescent fixture with 65w dual daylight 6700K/10000K bulb over my tank. I don't feel it has enough red photons in it so I added a Aqua-glo bulb. You those bulbs start loosing their photons at 9 months. If you decide to replace it cheapest buy is at Catalinas. If you want to replace it best option is a Nova light fixture here
I'm being told on other boards that 65w is likely sufficient to grow the majority of what I want in my tank. Still, I was considering upgrading, but it'd be to a Catalina 4x24w T5HO fixture. That thing is sexy and I hear lots of good about their fixtures. Before making anything better, though, I've decided I need to get things right first. That includes the green water. I'll have to check their prices on bulbs, too, 'cause I've been ordering from DrsFosterSmith. I know the bulbs start crapping out around 9 months, learned it the hard way. Put a new bulb in, though, and everything went crazy. Fun stuff.

Thanks, guys!


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post #9 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-13-2009, 09:34 PM
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just FYI, i had a case of the green water in my 20H so i bought one of the UV lights from petsmart, the 9 watt, and 3 days later it was perfectly clear. I didnt change my routine at all just added the light.


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post #10 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-13-2009, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I'm trying to avoid spending money on a sterilizer because they aren't very useful in a planted tank. I might ask my LFS if they rent them, though.


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post #11 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-14-2009, 12:13 AM
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John, whom has a thread on mineralised substrate, had green water in the beginning. It seems as long as the plants aren't affected all is okay. Eventually the plants take over the space of the algae.

Doing research I found that the T5 HO bulbs last the longest of all bulbs. The downsize is that you have to inject Co2 with them. Thus when I give my mom my tank I will get her a Coralife T5 unit. I don't think she would like my diy fixture.

The PC fixture sits on legs and so much light goes out, so I made a metal hood to go around it.
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post #12 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-14-2009, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _ReApEr View Post
The issue I have with the height of my tank.
I feel the same way. I bought the 29 gallon on an impulse at LFS. Eventually I will add a nice high hill to plant clover on. It is barely growing on the bottom. I was thinking of going down to a 20 gallon, since it is the same length, but I like the view of the 29 gallon tank. It is just difficult scaping in it.
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post #13 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-14-2009, 09:19 PM
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I would add more fast growing stems to soak up some of those nutrients
Don't just add more...pack that sucker with stems!


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post #14 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-14-2009, 09:44 PM
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hola amigo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coltonorr View Post
I would add more fast growing stems to soak up some of those nutrients
Don't just add more...pack that sucker with stems!
I agree, I was at the LFS the other day to ask questions and left with like $20 worth of stem plants after being told about what the guy called "plant attack." By adding a LOAD of new quick growing plants at one time you can combat the algae problem as they will soak up nutrients rapidly. On top of that they can be great backround plants and since they are constantly growing they are easy to cultivate.

This is actually my first post ever, strolled across this journal and I will be following...what are the odds that the first thread I click on is a 29G with green water issues (dealing with the same thing right now).
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post #15 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-14-2009, 09:55 PM
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Your GW is at a pretty nasty stage. Even with regular water changes its going to stay there for a while and your fauna might get affected with regular water changes.

Expanding on fast growing stem plants like ludwigia, rotala etc. will help starve the algae. CO2 affects most algae breakouts but not GW (at least in my experience).

if you can and want, a UV would be a good investment.

Patience is the name of the game.

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