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Discussion Starter #1
Things are moving right along on my new 20G tank. For full details in all the build steps see the full journal at http://canaquaticgardens.wordpress.com. After sorting out the lighting fiasco with the DIY light fixture the algae situation seems to have stabilized. The brown hair algae wasn't getting out of control and maybe even was receding a bit. Of course, the crpyts are melting to various degrees but I have learned not to sweat this, they will come back. I've also added some didiplis diandra to the background and moved a couple things around. I had to take the didiplis out of the 70G because it was getting overrun. I think I will still add some Pogostemon Stellata once I get around to trimming my 10G. Here's the tank as it stands right now:



My original plan was to have this as another plant/shrimp only tank but I got a nice big gift certificate to the LFS and I couldn't resist getting some fish. In the tank right now are 12 cardinal tetras, 3 otoclinus affins and 12 ghost shrimp. I lost one oto on the first night but in my experience that is to be expected with otos. I absolutely love the cardinals in there. They really stand out against the sand and green of the plants.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
All the details are at the blog, including the build order and dimensions.

http://canaquaticgardens.wordpress.com/2009/08/29/20g-long-journal-diy-light-fixture/

But here's a pic...



A nice shot of the a couple of the cardinal tetras in this tank:



Had one croak today. Was stuck on the bottom, upside down and still alive but only able to swim upside down. Also, had lost his red colour around the tail area. All others appear to be OK. Any thoughts?
 

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That's a neat scape. The chaotic arrangement of elements looks much more like the kind of habitat that you would really see at the bottom of a lake or stream than most aquarium scapes.

Can you try to adjust your camera white balance some more? That full-tank shot is quite yellow.

Hey I think you have this journaled over in the ukaps.org forum too.
 

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Someone else whom made a cover for a big tank with the CFLs said that they get hot and need a fan. What about in your cover, do they get hot? Are you certain that you don't need a fan?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks. I'm going to be taking some more photos tonight. There are a couple new species in there but the brownish algae on the tank bottom has increased. I am thinking the photo period is too long, any thoughts?

Hopefully I will get a new tank shot up tonight. This pic is about a week old now.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Update Sept 9

I've added the long awaited pogostemon stellata from the 10G into this tank to the middle right side. The brownish algae on the substrate that is closest to the light seems to still be spreading, although at a different rate to the setup with the 500W spotlight. I've reduced the light on this tank from about 9hr to 7hrs. Might have to go a bit lower depending on how things go. I realized one of my DIY CO2 canisters was leaking at the cap of the yeast container and wasn't delivering anything to the tank so that has been replaced. Hopefully this is the resolution to my algae problem.



There is also a new crypt on the back pane towards the left side. Not sure what species it is though. Anyone have any suggestions? I'm having trouble getting the exposure on the camera right so that the top of the stems don't look super bright white and the tank doesn't look to dark. I think this may be underexposed. Anyone else solved this problem?
 

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A nice shot of the a couple of the cardinal tetras in this tank:



Had one croak today. Was stuck on the bottom, upside down and still alive but only able to swim upside down. Also, had lost his red colour around the tail area. All others appear to be OK. Any thoughts?
Perhaps they are going through and adjustment stage because of difference of gh from place you got them and your place. A little calcium sulfate would help with that.

Oh, brown algae is normal in a new tank. Unless it smothers the plants I wouldn't worry about it.
 

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What is your ph?

Logically thinking there is probably an electrolyte imbalance.
Limestone releases calcium carbonate. For people high doses of calcium carbonate leads to low magnesium levels.

Magnesium sulphate would be better. Epsom salts is magnesium sulphate. Perhaps 1/2 teaspoon weekly would help.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have some epsom salts. I've always heard salt in planted tanks is bad but I may give it a try if I see anything that concerns me with the fish health. Not sure of pH. I'm fairly hands off when it comes to testing on the smaller tanks. Kind of run the them and hope for the best a bit. The CO2 injection etc would lead me to believe I am high 6s for pH, maybe low 7s. Tap water is high 7s.

When I said gH was 5.5, I actually meant kH. gH in the past has been higher, can't remember the exact value though.
 

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Here is info on electorlytes for fish. It is the gh I read that applies to fish, for gh is measure of calcium and magnesium.

Here info on modifying water.

Some plants, anarchin, can melt when salt is added. I don't see and salt sensitive plants in your tank. Here epsom salts recommended in a planted tank.

Limestone is know to raise the ph high.

Also Neon Tetra are not hardy fish as they use to be.
 

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Had one croak today. Was stuck on the bottom, upside down and still alive but only able to swim upside down. Also, had lost his red colour around the tail area. All others appear to be OK. Any thoughts?
I assume that you just recently got them?
I usually have a few cardinal tetra die off a few days after I buy some. When I started buying them, I would get them as soon as the LFS got them in, but that was a mistake, seeing as how nearly half would die due to transport stress over the following week or so. Now I wait until they've been at the LFS for a while to weed out the very weak ones. Even so, I usually plan on one out of every 5 of 6 not making it. The ones that survive become full red and beautiful, and live long lives.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I feel like this tank is starting to settle in now. The brown diatoms are starting to recede slowly. The stems are growing like weeds already and the hairgrass has filled in pretty well. The marciliea drummondi is filling in the left corner now too. The HC has been growing a bit of late as well, but more up than out so far. I have been a bit negligent with he DIY CO2 upkeep so upping the CO2 will probably help out. I'm posting a couple angles of the tank here for some slightly different perspectives.



 

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Discussion Starter #18
I haven't touched this tank in any way since the last update (except for pulling rogue riccia strands transfered over to this tank from the didplis diandra). The stems are growing really well and the hairgrass has really thickened up and is sending out plenty of healthy runners. The blyxa japonica has done quite well too and the marcilea drummondi is ready to be culled back a bit. Here's the tank as of Sept 29:







There has bee some growth of cladophora algae in the last few days, mainly around the front center of the tank. I think the water circulation in this tank is a bit too low. I'm probably going to add a 2nd HOB filter to this in the next few weeks. The diatom algae has continued to recede and hopefully the otos will have it all eaten shortly.

When I first started this tank I was expecting a lot of crypt melt. I have only had a couple plants lose a leaf or two since the startup and all of them seem to be growing now. I'm wondering if the key to minimizing crypt loss is keeping the water parameters the same. Almost all of them came from the 70G tank and water from the 70G tank was used to start this up. The substrate was all new but neutral pool filter sand. CO2 was fairly high, like the 70G, with 2x 2L pop bottles of DIY CO2. This might be an interesting experiment to try and duplicate if I ever move some crypts around again.
 

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There has bee some growth of cladophora algae in the last few days, mainly around the front center of the tank. I think the water circulation in this tank is a bit too low. I'm probably going to add a 2nd HOB filter to this in the next few weeks. The diatom algae has continued to recede and hopefully the otos will have it all eaten shortly.
You have low ph with limestone? Usually you have a high ph with limestone. Perhaps there is an abundance of another chemical used in treating the water. I think 1tsp of calcium sulphate daily for a week would help balance things and get rid of the algae. That is the hardest type of algae to get rid of from what I have read.
I'm wondering if the key to minimizing crypt loss is keeping the water parameters the same.
Crypts are know to melt when they are moved.
 

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Looking great! The tank is filling in quite nicely.

I didn't realize that you had so many ghost shrimps. They are a bit territorial from what I've read, less is more. I've seen mine get aggressive towards each-other but one backs off in the end. If you are having problems with them, they are probably from fighting. If one is freshly moulted it could get killed by another.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/myfish/176-Ghost_Shrimp__Glass_Shrimp_Palaemonetes_spp.html
 
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