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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-18-2002, 02:48 AM Thread Starter
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I always considered this 10 gallon my "learning" tank, so I'm not too upset at all the mistakes I've made (apologies to the dead fish). Soon after cycling was done, I added 6 Serpae Tetra and they are fine. I also added 3 Ottos to help the Cory with clean up.

The plants I started with I ripped out when they got mushy and started falling apart. At the time, I blamed it on the water being too high in pH and KH, but now I think that it was just lack of CO2. Right after I used that Fizz tablet, everything was good, but when I stopped after adding fish, the plants got covered with brown algae and stopped looking good.

I tore those out, then got more by mail. These new plants were starting to go the same way so I got some Flourish Excel and a mini CO2 system (by NutraFin $20 at Big Al's).

With just a couple of days of Flourish Excel, they seem better. I'll see the CO2 by tomorrow (didn't screw the lid on tight enough). The CO2 system seems reasonable, yeast based with what is probably gelatin to stablize it, CO2 resistant tubing, and insulated bottle with some sort of pressure relief and a clever bubblecounter/reactor that hangs in the tank. But, it trapped 2 fish behind it, so I have to watch out for them now.

Meanwhile, the pond fertilizer tabs I put in the gravel seem to have leaked and I have a lot of green algae on the glass (sort of long, maybe 1/4 inch long) and also some very long, very dark hairlike algae on certain plants and the driftwood. Not too sure what to do about that besides just cleaning. Mabye getting the plants growing more will help. Maybe snails.

I'm not happy with the gravel that I used to cover the Flourite and I fear that when the pH is lowered by the CO2, it will affect the KH, that may be what happened with those Fizz tablets. I tried to cover that gravel with a darker, epoxy coated gravel, but now it is too deep and the mix of stuff is a mess.

I'm hoping that the Java Fern, which has been growing and then turning black, will straighten out with the Flourish Excel, the Dupla 24 hasn't seemed to make any difference.

So, it *has* been an ordeal, but the lessons are coming quickly. In the meanwhile, I have set up a 29 gallon with a 55watt CF from AHSupply and it looks great, minimal problems except for the stupid pond fertilizer that I added, I just put in some floating anachris to try to soak some of that up. So, some algae but not too bad. The zebra danios are in that tank with 3 Ottos.

And I have another 20 gallon that I planted this weekend, still waiting on lights in the mail. Third times a charm, no pond tablets in this one! I may move the Serpae Tetras into this one and knock down the first 10 gallon so I can clean the gravel up and start it over for some other sort of fish. Or maybe for the Serpaes again, they seem so mean, I hate to inflict them on any other sort of fish. This tank is in a very visible spot but is an old, scratched tank so I'll be happy to upgrade before too long.

So, all the plates are spinning now. Let's see if I can handle the maintainance, today was a chore with so much testing and water changes. The plan is to wait one year then combine all of these into one huge tank, 75 gallons or better. I got a lead on a 125 gallon with a custom cabinet base for $250, no accessories, but I haven't gone to see it, I can't store it and am not comfortable with that big yet.

I can already see that just water testing and water changes is a pain with this many small tanks. But, it might be nice to have different sorts of fish in different tanks. I still don't even know what fish to get in the 29 gallon, as the zebras are just temporary.
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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-18-2002, 05:50 PM
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I usually enjoy having more tanks of a smaller size than one or two larger tanks. I like to try a diverse variety of fish and plants, both saltwater and fresh and trying to get them to live peaceably in one large tank can be more frustration than it is worth. Those Serpae Tetras can indeed be fairly vicious. I've had them eat the eyes out of an Angelfish many, many times its size! But their red color against the green of a lush planted tank is hard to pass by. Harlequin Rasboras are a great subsitute, then. Their coloration is just as impressive and they are as peaceful as can be.

I'm glad things are going well for you, though. It's hard to get things stable, but once you get it going, I promise there will be a lot less spinning plates and lot more sitting back and enjoying the view!

- Sam P -

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