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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-15-2009, 04:18 AM Thread Starter
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New Pics!!! My 20 gallon journey (56K)

03.22.10 UPDATE
Check last post for new pics!

Hi! I'm posting this to get feedback from you folks and share my passion for the hobby with like minded individuals. I've been reading many of the posts and following the good advice to get to where I am now. I'd had a 10 gallon tank for a few years now, but every time I added plants they'd just whither away. I decided it was time to get serious. The first image is my ten gallon after I added better filtration (new Fluval 205), lighting, and plants... It didn't take me long to upgrade tank sizes:



I wanted to add more plants and more fish but I'm living on a relatively tight budget, so I figured out the least expensive upgrade for me was to go with a 20 gallon high tank. The 65w 24" coralife light fixure was on sale at Dr's for $42 + shipping, and I bought the Marineland tank brand new for $40. Initially I wanted to make a "super substrate" mixing laterite, eco-complete, flourite, and peat - but the advice I got here was to keep it simple, so I decided on 100% eco-complete. I haven't used a heater since I tried salt water many years ago, and I wasn't going to get one until we recently had a cold night here in Florida and my water temperature dropped to around 70. I decided on the Marineland Stealth at 100 watts. DIY Co2 came soon thereafter, and a Hagen Elite seemed a good way to get it going. I've already fought off cloudy water with a UV sterilizer, and took care of the diatom infestation with Ottos and shrimp... Just tonight I took out the carbon in the filter and added Purigen and Peat in pantyhose. So, without further ado, I'll post the first pic which is what it looked like right after I set it up:

11/04/2009:



then I got a couple more plants:

11/15/2009:







12/18/2009:


Here are the details:

CURRENT AS OF 12/26/09

EQUIPMENT:
20 gallon High Marineland aquarium
Fluval 205 Canister Filter
Marineland Stealth 100W heater
40 lbs Eco-Complete
ADA Aquasoil Amazonia Topsoil layer
65w Coralife PC
Hagen Elite Reactor
DIY Co2
Hydor Koralia Nano
Flourish Excel
Flourish Comprehensive Supplement
Seachem Flourish Tabs

FLORA:
Anubias on driftwood
C. Balansae
Dollar weed from the lawn outside
Bronze Crypt
Red Crypt
Glossostigma
Cabomba Caroliniana
Red Tiger Lotus
Blyxa Japonica
Aponogenton Crispus
Ludwigia repens

FAUNA:
1 Male Crowntail Betta
1 Female Crowntail Betta
5 Harlequin Rasboras
5 Neon Tetras
3 Otto
~10 Ghostshrimp

So there we have it I'm looking to add more plants, I like to get a red stem plant and am researching that one. I'll end up with more Dwarf Baby Tears for sure... I'd like to get one of those fancy Red Pencilfish, and some RCS shrimp. Any comments/suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you for looking.

- Whiskeyfox


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Last edited by Whiskeyfox; 03-23-2010 at 02:55 AM.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-15-2009, 04:52 AM
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Would you be talking about these fancy red pencil fish?
http://bubblesaquarium.com/fish_Pencilfish.htm

I like the bronze crypt. I use eco complete in my 20 gallon to. I put root tabs in the substrate with it and have noticed growth improvement. Mostly with the swords species, but maybe the crypts will like them to. Tank looks good.


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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-15-2009, 12:51 PM
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I really like the scape you put together. The layout works well.

Some suggestions: If you divide the glosso and/or HC, it will spread and create a lawn much more quickly. Also, it looks like you have some kind of algae problem and it may have killed off your wisteria (which looks like its melting?). I would try to figure out the root cause of the algae. With 3wpg of light, maybe your DIY CO2 is not adequate or needs replacement? Also, are you dosing macros? Flourish and Flourish Excel don't provide the necessary N P and K for a planted tank.

Overall, nice job.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-15-2009, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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Frosty,

Thank you for your kind comments... The stuff on the Wisteria is the remnants of the Diatom infestation that the ottos and shrimp are still working on... I do see new growth on the Wisteria - I think it's twisted the way it is because of the strong current from the canister filter that flows in that direction... I do plan on buying the powders from ebay for the micro/macro nutrients (i forget whether the powders are called "micro or macro") as soon as i get some more funds built up - should be another week or two.... As for dividing the glosso/HC - no way, I can totally see what a huge mess that's going to be. My plan is to just buy more plugs and let it take it's time, I'm in no hurry there. And I looked at your 10g journal, and really liked the evolution that went on in there. I suspect mine will follow a similar course as time goes on.

- Whiskeyfox


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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-15-2009, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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So last night I decided to strap the co2 line to the hagen elite reactor using zip ties to sort out a slight kink i had... I disassembled the unit and noticed some mucous on the tip of the connector i had in there to retain the hose. I was wondering why i had reduced gas spurt... anyways, first thing this morning i added a gas exchange chamber using my empty 250 mL Purigen jar. I also added plumbers tape to the threads of both bottles for a more airtight seal. The setup looks more professional now!



For anyone who is curious, the Co2 Bottles are a water bottle from Walmart, it's 2.2L, has a handle, a wide mouth, and the hole I drilled at the top fits exactly inside the sippy stopper. They cost $1.97 each.

- Whiskeyfox


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Last edited by Whiskeyfox; 12-19-2009 at 03:00 PM.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-15-2009, 03:30 PM
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Very nice! You seem to be off to a good start. I agree that you should take the HC and the glosso and spread them out a bit. The glosso should only be like 1-3 nodes in each clump, and the HC should be in clumps about the size of a dime or smaller. When you do this, and plant them in a "checkerboard" fashion, a carpet won't take long at all to achieve.

Other than that, great start!
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-15-2009, 03:47 PM
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ya both of those will spread like wild fire if they get what they need for nutrients and light. and id like to see how the HC spreads in the eco- complete, thats what i have and i have been wondering if it will root itself alright.


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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-15-2009, 04:19 PM
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Very nice!! I hope your bettas will play nice. I've never mixed males & females.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-15-2009, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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they are from the same breed, the same store, nearly the same color. they've been together in the same tank now for about 2 months. i'd say they're in love with each other.

- Whiskeyfox


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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-16-2009, 01:15 AM
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That's sooooo cool! Maybe I might do that one day. I really miss my red betta, so I might get a color coordinated pair.

Have they spawned yet?

You bought them from a store? Like WM or something or a petstore. I just am wondering if I could do this!
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 03:15 AM Thread Starter
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I bought them from one of our local Petco stores... They have this area for Bettas and they sell 5 different varieties... The Half-moon are the most expensive selling for like $17 bucks or something... There was a beautiful blue half moon, but i wanted one that wasn't just a solid color. Here is a picture of them together:


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Last edited by Whiskeyfox; 12-25-2009 at 02:57 AM.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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Today I added a Hydor Koralia Nano to help diffuse the Co2, and get at some dead zones in the tank for better circulation.



I love the extra movement. I am very glad i settled on the nano, i think the Koralia 1 would have been too much and too big. I also added a 2nd check valve this time to the line coming up from the gas exchange chamber. I am now getting a solid 2 bubbles per second because water is no longer siphoning back into the airhose.

- Whiskeyfox


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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-26-2009, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanksgiving day picture, again with horrible iphone pic


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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-01-2009, 02:46 AM Thread Starter
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Here's another update... Added more plants... The glosso is taking off well...



Pardon me while I ramble a bit:

the Cabomba is a darker green than most of the other plants i have in there... To me it gives it more of a foresty type look... i really like it.

I've been looking around everywhere for a killer piece of driftwood... ebay, aqauriumplants.com... still haven't found "the one." Someday, when i get the perfect piece of driftwood, I'll rescape the whole tank and take out the rock cave and anubias/driftwood piece.

I've got some Blyxa and Red Lotus coming in the mail, that'll be a nice addition...

Eventually I'm gonna remove all the Anachris and Sword plant.

About that piece of rock, I believe that it is keeping the pH up in my tank. I figured with peat in the filter and Co2 running 24/7 that my pH would drop... Alas! This is not the case. I have a consistent pH of around 7.2-7.5 I'm thinking that rock is leaching something into the water... Thing is, I've had that rock in various aquariums for over 8 years now, I would have figured that any negative elements would have seeped out by now. I suppose I could take the rock out for a few days and retest the water to see what happens... at any rate, it's a gonna go into another tank as soon as i get that elusive driftwood piece.

- Whiskeyfox


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Last edited by Whiskeyfox; 12-19-2009 at 03:01 PM.
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-11-2009, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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I finally got a real camera! Panasonic Lumix DMC-T3Z. Here's a full tank shot in 16:9 format, taken on 12/10/2009:
(As you can see, I did a rescape and removed the Anachris and Amazon sword...)


- Whiskeyfox


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Last edited by Whiskeyfox; 12-26-2009 at 04:05 AM.
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