55g Diary, a lesson in impatience and poor planning - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-26-2007, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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55g Diary, a lesson in impatience and poor planning

I used to be a member here 3 years ago but when I put in my email address to get my user name and password it didn't recognize it so I start anew. anyways. I got up to 5 tanks back ranging from 125g - 29g but haven't had done anything since then.

I went to my parents for Thanksgiving and after a few hours of digging around their garage I came home with just about a complete set up for a 55 gallon aquarium which I want to hold discus at some point.

I've started with peat substrate with a layer of sand covering it. The rocks are petrified wood which I bought about 7 years ago and was very happy to see that they still existed.

I can't find the tabs which have my plant names but I have two crinium bulbs, 2 melon swords, 1 amazon sword, 4 tall grassy plants, the tall one with narrow leafs in the middle and then a small unidentified asian plant to the left.

I was impatient and overstocked to start so I'm going to need to do a good job monitoring things along with probably dailey water changes for the 1st week.

I bought 3 small clown loaches because I've always wanted to have them but I suspect I'll probably trade them in at some point do to size and wanting to do shrimp which I didn't know they will eat when I bought. So first mistake right there. But my local fish store is really cool so it won't be a problem.

I also got 3 rams and 4 Ottos. everyone but one of the ottos (who just tonight has started looking listless) is doing well.

My big problem right now is getting my PH down. It's at at least 7.5 (I tested my tank water and tap water both were high). I bought some neutral PH regulator tonight but that has been ineffective so far. I suspect it's pretty hard. So I'll need to get something

for lighting I have two helios full spectrum T5's and a brackets for a third but my fish store only has actic blue available. The plants are giving off lots of air bubbles but I'm not sure if it's due to the water change I did this morning.

All in all I should have went slower ,I know better, but hopefully I'll get through these next two weeks and everything will settle in. I'll look to add more plants later this week.

Really hope the otto pulls through

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-26-2007, 01:26 AM
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Sometimes it's better to just close your eyes and randomly throw stuff in the tank... It would look more natural than this setup... Unless you want to go the opposite direction where everything is super structured... Make it more structured/organized.


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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-26-2007, 01:52 AM
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Don't use PH adjusters you will do more harm to your fish than good.The best way to lower Ph is by co2 and or peat in the filter.


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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-26-2007, 01:52 AM Thread Starter
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mistergreen,

Yes I prefer the structured, organized route (out of the aquarium hobby as well). I think it will turn out though and I'm happy with it so far but we'll see I may scrap it and try your close eyed method at some point.



All,

How much surface agitation should I have? I have a under the tank canister filter with a multistream outflow (ie long tube with holes length wise) that sits about 1.5 inches below the water's surface creating a mild agitation.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-26-2007, 02:13 AM
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Originally Posted by jeremy in OR View Post
mistergreen,

All,

How much surface agitation should I have? I have a under the tank canister filter with a multistream outflow (ie long tube with holes length wise) that sits about 1.5 inches below the water's surface creating a mild agitation.
I'm not seeing anywhere saying you are injecting C02--so I'm assuming You are not. That said, the more surface agitation the better--it will help maintain the low 1-5ppm atmospheric C02 level. You may be able to pull it off with the 2x T5's (54w each?), but you will probably want to hold off on adding the 3rd T5 until you are ready to add C02....


Bottomline is: Do You like your tank? If so--that's all that really matters!

HTH


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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-26-2007, 02:55 AM Thread Starter
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Sigh

this is what I get for taking short cuts



it struck really quickly, I mean amazingly quickly. I noticed the rams color seemed pale and they seemed to be breathing rapidly. plus my poor otto crooked. Sure enough I ran a test and based on the PH and temperature (according the calculation supplied with the kit) the ammonia levels were sky rocketing.

I immediately did a 80% water change and we'll see were things are in a few hours.

The Rams color is amazing right now! so that seems to be a good indicator.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-26-2007, 03:06 AM
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I may have missed it, but did you even let the tank cycle before stocking it?
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-26-2007, 03:16 AM Thread Starter
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Gundy,

Let's call this a lesson to us all.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-26-2007, 03:21 AM Thread Starter
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I'm not seeing anywhere saying you are injecting C02--so I'm assuming You are not. That said, the more surface agitation the better--it will help maintain the low 1-5ppm atmospheric C02 level. You may be able to pull it off with the 2x T5's (54w each?), but you will probably want to hold off on adding the 3rd T5 until you are ready to add C02....
I asked because the Ottos seem to every once in a while shoot to the surface like a missle and then right back down plus my plants really seem to be producing alot of air bubbles which surprised me with only two lights so I thought the Co2 levels might be high.

I suspect now it was caused by my ammonia spike.

I would be looking to add a DIY co2 along with the 3rd light strip
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-26-2007, 03:31 AM
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Welcome back to The Planted Tank.

As a previously experienced aquarist, I'm sure you know that nothing good ever happens when you rush things in this hobby!?! Of course, we've all been there, as it's very difficult to curb excitement and enthusiasm for a new project. I also think this hobby has a much steeper learning curve than a lot of others!

It seems that most of the plants you listed for your tank are slower growing varieties: bulb plants and rosette plants (swords). However, now that you already have those sensitive fish one of the best things you could do is stuff the tank with a lot of quick and easy growing stem plants to help suck up the ammonia and minimize the cycle. Ie.: Bacopa, Heteranthera, Hygrophila, Ludwigia palustris or L. repens.

Keep up the careful monitoring and H20 changes, too. Good Luck and "We're pulling for you."
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-26-2007, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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so as I mentioned I picked up the tank,stand and all the equipment from my parents garage (my dad and I both had may tanks going 3 years ago) for a filter I found a magnum canister 350 which I set up. Well when I woke up in the morning I noticed the tank was missing about an inch and half of water and my carpet was wet!

After many towells and lots of blow drying I got everything cleaned up and made a quick trip to petsmart where I picked up a new filter. I hated buying direct as it was so much more expensive than it would have been online but it is also much quieter!

what will happen next?

Had to go to woek so I'll see how the ammonia levels are doing tonight
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-27-2007, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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Checked the water and the ammonia levels are still very high so it will be another close to 100% water change tonight. the fish appear to be doing well and the Rams are looking good.

I fed them 1/4 cube of frozen krill which they seemed to love
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-27-2007, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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Here's a poor picture of the Rams. It was taken with my phone. I have 2 males and 1 female and it one of the males looks to be courting the female. He saddles up next to her andd starts doing this vibrating thing. Her behavior is interesting. She seems to act interested for a brief moment, doing a similar dance but then she will break it off and swim away, leaving him to pursue or chase the other male off. Very fun to watch.

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-27-2007, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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Here is the right side of the tank.

I want to get some sort of fast growing, dense plant to fill in behind the rocks, the back corner and hide the heater. I really like the naturul cave that the front rock creates and also like the striation and color of the rocks but I think covering it with some mid growing, fern type plants will make the whole piece look better.

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-27-2007, 09:12 PM
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Nice setup!

I like the petrified wood the best.

When I started doing my tank, I just added a bit of plants every once in a while, until it got to the point I was satisfied with. I also added livestock bit by bit on the way. I'm still doing that right now.

This way, I can have an excuse to go to the LFS all the time and buy stuff, and I also have a lot of time to think about how I want to make the tank look / changes. I don't do CO2 or lots of lighting, only some dry ferts once every two weeks, so everything is slow growing.
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