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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey all, I loved watching the progression of people's journals on the forum, so I thought I'd start my own. I am converting my 10 Gallon Dwarf Puffer tank from plastic to planted. This forum is a great source of info and I appreciate the reviews of equipment, you guys determined my purchases! I'm really excited how things will turn out!

Tank: AGA 10 Gallon
Filter: Eheim Classic 2213
Heater: Hydor 50w Heater
CO2: DIY CO2, Cheap Glass Diffusor
Lighting: Incandescent Hood with 2x26 Watt Spiral Compact Flourescents
Substrate: ADA Aquasoil Amazonia II (9 liters)
Hardscape: 3 Pieces of Mopani Wood
Dosing: EI Method, Dry ferts for Macros, Flourish/Flourish Iron for Micros
Backdrop: Black Background

Fish: 3 Dwarf Puffers (Named Sploink, Bloink, and Doink!)
Plant Plans: HC, HM, Moss in wood, other plants to be determined. ;)

Ignore the random plants right now, the Anacharis and Wisteria are coming out for sure once ammonia levels go down and I have the plants I want.

Yay packages!


I bought 2 9 liter bags incase I needed more down the line. I got 12 free issues of Aqua Journal and The Style of ADA catalog as well! The free extras from ADGShop are awesome, I am taking Japanese in college so maybe I can read them a little. :D


Here is the tank before it was converted to planted. Poor DPs gotta go in the 6 gallon until it's safe! Theres tons of snails though, so they should be occupied.


Draining the tank wasn't too bad, I removed all decorations, then gravel, then drained the water into a bucket and put 50% back in.


Ludwigia Repens and some type of moss from a forum member, moss might be Peacock... or maybe just Java Moss... not sure yet!


Almost all 9 liters of Aquasoil are in place, filled slowly, tied moss to wood, and some random plants are thrown in for now. The Aquasoil II is supposed to be less cloudy, and compared to some pictures on the forums, or it could be the 100 ml bag of purigen I threw in prior to takedown, nevertheless this isn't too bad for the first fill!


I tried to slope it, but I think I'll need to spread the AS around some more towards the back or add more. There's about 2-2.5" in the front.

That's it for day 1!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Day 2

Day 2

My package of HC from Booger has arrived!


I separated all the HC into pretty small clumps and halfway buried them into the substrate, wasn't sure if 4x4 was going to be enough but I think it will be! Water also cleared up a lot.


There are also 2 baby Cherry Shrimp in there for fun, and will be a test if the puffers can co-habituate with shrimp... I would love to add some for algae control down the road!

I'll post a "Day 3" entry later today after another WC. Ammonia levels are at least 3.0 ppm! I was hoping for no ammonia with a cycled filter and plant mass... oh well. I also have a small layer of film on the surface, it might of been from my deteriorating silk plants from the plastic set up, hopefully will go away with time.

Feel free to add criticism or thoughts, thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Day 3

Not a whole lot has changed, water is a little clearer, and even after another 50% WC, ammonia is still at around 3.0 ppm... I might need to recharge my Purigen, and maybe bleach my diffuser, I'll have to get some bleach tomorrow.

Sorry Doink, not yet!


Day 3, for some reason the colors came out weird... it looks better in person. (Wish I had a DSLR camera!)


Hope the HC was planted okay.


Not sure what moss this is... maybe peacock, or maybe one whose name is to be determined.


I plan to get some HM and other plants hopefully soon.

Please tell me what you think, thanks for looking!
 

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HC looks good. I can tell you took your time and planted it right. Now comes the hard part - patience. Resist the temptation to move it around and replant it. My HC took a good month before it settled in and took off. Looking good! I love the puffers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks Booger, I don't plan to move it at all. ;)

I'm a big concerned with my lighting... even though it's 52 watts, if I go by the LSI method (Rex's), I don't have very much.

From Rex's site:

Low light is 12-17 LSI
Medium light is 20-25 LSI
High light is 28-32 LSI
Very high light is over 35 LSI

Surface Area of Tank x Desired LSI / Lumens of each Bulb = How many bulbs you'd need.

200 sq" x 28 / 1600 = 3.5 bulbs

If I calculate it out (200x17/1600 = 2 bulbs), I'm only at 17... which is "low light", according to this, I can't grow very many plants, especially not my HC!

I'm thinking I might need to buy a 1x36 or 2x36 light setup from AHSupply... I knew with the crappy hood and 52 watts of spirals wouldn't equal 5 wpg, but was at least hoping it would be good enough to grow most plants! :/
 

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I think anacharis and wisteria are something to retain in a tank. While you have to "mow" it once a week (particularly hornwort), I have not had algae problems since I put it in my tanks.
 

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Very nice transition. And it sounds like you have done your homework, so you should be ready for the intitial algae battle ahead. I think keeping the lights resonably low, at least in the begenning, will help you go through that stage. Hopefully you HC does not suffer to much from it.

I see the Amazonia 2 has not created much of a AS dust storm and by day 3 was practically crystal clear! You are probably the first person on the forum who posted pics of this revised blend of AS. Looks like it behaves better like ADA say it would. Now I wonder if there will be a noticeable growth difference from regular amazonia in the long run?

You didn't mention why you chose the "II" instead of the "I"? Can you give us some details about your water parameters (PH,GH,KH), out the tap and in the tank with the soil?

Good start and does puffers look really cool! :)

JP
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
June 6th, Day 5

Thanks for the comments guys!

Couple days ago I threw in a bag of Zeolite to help the ammonia be removed faster... still very slow. :/ I also got my AH 36w set up instead of my 2x26 CF Screw ins, even though the screw ins = more watts, this seems better. I also threw in a buncha Cherry Shrimp and 1 Amano (I think it's an Amano, maybe male cherry?)

MrJP: I thought I was going to be working with hard water but it turns out that the water from the bathtub is softer than tap at home. Plus I read the horror stories of the Aquasoil dust clouds, so I thought I'd give Amazonia II a try. I hear it contains less "black soil", so Amazonia II might not be as good as #1, we'll see. Someones gotta bite the bullet!

Nihongo: Ya it doesn't look so hot right now. It might of been better to have waited til everything was established for a bit. Theres a bunch a couple cm below the soil, so I think it should come back eventually. Once I get my paycheck I'll go grab some Excel, I already spent all my spare money on equipment! Old CF Spirals were 26w 6500k, new bulb is 36w (2 strips) 6700k from AH Supply.

Digsy: I wouldn't worry too much about the parameters. If you get healthy ones they should be fine in a range of water conditions. Once acclimated they actually get pretty hardy, just make sure to treat for internal parasites if you can. Check out www.dwarfpuffers.com if you haven't already. :)

I unfortunately only have strip test kits (Jungle Labs), but over multiple testings my values are around this.

Water Before:
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
GH (Hardness): ~25 ppm
KH (Alkalinity): 200-300 ppm... sorry I can't make a good call.
PH: Around 8

Water In Tank 6/6:
Ammonia: ~3.0 ppm
Nitrate: ~ 10 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
GH (Hardness): ~25 ppm
KH (Alkalinity): ~180 ppm
PH: 7.8-8

I'm also dosing EI for a 10 gallon tank macros and micros alternating, I'm doing daily WC so I doubt much is in it, from what I read Tom Barr said to dose @ day 1.

KNO3: 1/16 tsp
KH2P04: 1/32
K2SO4: 1/32
Flourish: 2 ml
Flourish Iron: 1 ml

From my understanding, my PH should be lower... test kit might not be accurate, or maybe it's still in the process, beats me. Still doing 50% water changes daily. There is a little hair algae (probably from ammonia?) and some yeast snot before I installed a gas seperator, but other than that... it seems to be not too bad. Everything appears to be growing besides the HC, but let's hope that will change in a couple weeks. :) PICTURES!

Here's my tank as of 10 minutes ago with the new AH Supply light, just did a WC but it's generally this clear. For some reason my camera either takes the picture really blue or really green, it's not this green in person (no green water yet...!) Don't mind the exo-skeleton. :p


I think this is an Amano, different body structure than my adult cherry shrimp.


One of 5 baby cherry shrimp I got from a very nice forum member. :)


My adult female Cherry Shrimp, I'm pretty proud of this shot. :D


Another CS shot.


Thanks guys! Sorry for the long post.
 

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The tank looks great, I hope the HC kicks in, I've never been that lucky.

FYI, adding things like zeolite or whatever to remove ammonia might only make the cycle last longer since it is stealing nutrients from perspective bacteria that should be there doing the job, in a way it's sort of confusing nature and prolonging the situation. Bio-spira is the only add-in thing I believe works at speeding a cycle, but I am still all about the seeded filters from heavily stocked tanks.
 

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Where did you get your HC from? I got mine from AquaSpot and most of it was rotted out. I still managed to plant 3 tanks with what was good. Its been 3 weeks and its growing like crazy. It took a little over a week for it to settle in then it took off. I keep a school of 7 Dwarf Puffers in my 20g and I tried ghost shrimp to start off with but they eat em up. So I have a ton of cherry shrimp and only one tank that they might survive in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I currently have what seems to be a hair algae problem, only algae really. It's very thin and easy to remove, but still worrys me. Might be from the excess ammonia?

jaidexl: Hmm, maybe. I just saw that some of the forum big wigs recommended using it. I don't think I'll recharge it, my shrimp seem fine. It does have the previous HOB filter cartridge before it was planted, but might not be enough. I might get some bio-spira if things don't improve in a week or so.

fishmatty: I got it from Booger on the forums. It's not his fault though, when it arrived it looked fine. I might of planted it too small... tomorrow will mark the 1 week date. Let's hope it will come back!
 

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As long as there is ammonia, a tank will cycle with zeo in it or not. I suppose my reasoning is that I prefer to ignore tanks completely when they cycle and let nature do it's thang (which I can do fishless since my tap has 3+ppm amm, 2ppm nI). I suppose it would only be a problem if it was continuously used and then somebody throws a big fish load in when the bac colonies weren't given a chance to strengthen to their max capabilities. I guess my point is, you could possibly lower the size of the bacterial colony in your seeded filter by restricting their nitrogen uptake with zeolite. I honestly can say it's just an assumption of mine that it will make the cycle longer, no scientist here, I could be totally wrong. In theory, I suppose it will soak up what last bit the bacteria hasn't got to yet and make it a safer place for shrimp in a bit less time.

When I'm trying to keep fish and things safe, I use Prime or Amquel Plus while keeping the ammonia and nitrites down below 1 or 0.5ppm. With your light load I would imagine water changes wouldn't get too bad trying to do that.

Be wary of where you get Bio-spira from if you decide to go that rout, the stuff is garbage if it stays warm for too long, and there are specific parameters and whatnot like pH that supposedly are a factor. I tried it twice and it didn't work, had to ship it through four states, it might have worked one time, but it was the fourth week of the cycle already so it's hard to say what happened. I have however heard enough stories of super fast cycles with it to know I did something wrong or the stuff went bad during the trip here. On my 65gl I just setup, I ran a canister for it on a ~heavily stocked tank for a month while I gathered parts, lights etc. I made sure to feed the fish like crazy and never touched the tank. That canister along with plants cycled my 65gl in a week and a half, on the day it brought the ammonia and nitrite from my tap down to zero, I threw a fish in it, then one more after a week and so on, no waver in stability ever. You're on day five, right, with a seeded filter? I would personally give it a little more time rather than dump money into Bio-Spira.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's day 6 today. I noticed that there were a bunch of dead Ludwigia Repens leaves near their roots, I didn't do a good job of planting and planted some leaves into the substrate as well. Cleaned that up and planted them better.

Actually, I think now the algae is staghorn and not hair algae. I'm guessing it's due to ammonia. My Redsea CO2 Tester shows up "green", but I'm going to measure my parameters today and 24 hours later to see what it's really like. Right now CO2 is at 30 bpm, when I first installed the bubble counter I was at 1 bps, not bad for DIY CO2!

Theres a LFS around here that sells their Bio-Spira and have a special fridge just for the product. Pretty cool, but I will wait for a couple weeks (when I get my paycheck) if things aren't better. (I seriously doubt I will have ammonia in 2 weeks)

I feel like I should post a picture, but nothings really changed. :p

Btw, does anyone know what that clear shrimp is?
 

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Be wary of where you get Bio-spira from if you decide to go that rout, the stuff is garbage if it stays warm for too long, and there are specific parameters and whatnot like pH that supposedly are a factor. I tried it twice and it didn't work, had to ship it through four states, it might have worked one time, but it was the fourth week of the cycle already so it's hard to say what happened. I have however heard enough stories of super fast cycles with it to know I did something wrong or the stuff went bad during the trip here. On my 65gl I just setup, I ran a canister for it on a ~heavily stocked tank for a month while I gathered parts, lights etc. I made sure to feed the fish like crazy and never touched the tank. That canister along with plants cycled my 65gl in a week and a half, on the day it brought the ammonia and nitrite from my tap down to zero, I threw a fish in it, then one more after a week and so on, no waver in stability ever. You're on day five, right, with a seeded filter? I would personally give it a little more time rather than dump money into Bio-Spira.
It certainly sounds as if you experience with BioSpira has been both positive and negative. I myself have used it successfully on 4 different occassions with excellent results. Of course it was only a 10 min. drive from the lfs where I got it to home and they gave me a cold pack to ensure its temp. I dumped it in and dumped in 20 Harlequin Rasboras and didn't lose a single one for over a year! Of course I was using pressurized co2 and the pH was around 7.0 when normally it would have been 8.0 but it didn't seem to affect its performance; the only noticeable difference was there was a slight clouding affect each time its introduced. (Which presumably suggests that its working to absorb and ingest the ammonia)...for me there WAS no cycle. It instantly worked each time I've used it...FWIW...
 

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If only they sold it close to home then it would be worth it to me. Buying and shipping it overnight cost me about $60. :( I did double and triple doses to try and get that magical 3 day or less cycle I've heard so much about.

Casty, after reading around I realise that people are using zeolite to combat new tank algae, that makes sense. I guess i never thought of that since algae is another thing I like to ignore, I've never had a huge battle with it though, other than BBA before pressurized CO2 came into the equation, and I usually ramp up my ferts slowly rather than go head-strong from the start, whatever works for each person I suppose. Anyway, I see where your reasoning is now, I always saw that stuff as a band-aid for other issues, but it has an obvious reason here.

does anyone know what that clear shrimp is?
Looks like a Caridina species to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Algae Asdfghjkl:"

GRR! This algae turns out to be worse than I thought. Clado I am thinking... It isn't too spread out yet and I'm doing daily removal of what I can w/o damaging plants. Hopefully the shrimp in my tank will eat it, even though only one is an Amano Shrimp... I bought excel and am dosing that as well, hopefully that will kill it in time... Clado probably came from plants I got on the forum. :/ I really should of waited to buy the HC until my tank was balanced out, oh well live and learn.

Good news today I finally see a drop in ammonia and a rise in nitrites and nitrates.

Pics of algae, clado right?







 
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