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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
It has been a very, very long time since I have had a proper tank. I had honestly forgotten that I even had an account here until I tried to make a new one (whoops!).

I have had a few tanks over the years with varying degrees of success (and a few colossal failures), but this is the biggest tank I have had yet. I had been agonizing over whether or not I should set up a tank and had a double whammy happen: the Petco dollar per gallon sale and LiveAquaria clearances.

So here we are >:)


The plan is to have a pretty low tech (and maintenance) tank, but done right this time. I didn't go top of the line or anything, but I also didn't cut corners. I figured if I am going to do anything, I should at least do it right. And with a little whimsy.



Flora/Fauna

Flora (so far, will be crypt dominant to crypt exclusive)- crypt wendtii (x8), crypt balansae (x5)

Fauna (planned)- red cherry shrimp (x15 to start), celestial pearl danios (x24), bristlenose pleco (x1), nerite army (x5)


....Get it? Bloods and crypts? (I couldn't help myself)


But on a more serious note, both the shrimp and the CPD are species I have wanted to keep for a very long time now. CPD are just SO neat in person, pictures don't do it justice. I may go with something else instead of the pleco, but that's TBD. I am totally open to suggestions!


Equipment and Scape

Tank- 29G Petco special

I see a lot of hate on the internet for the 29 due to the height and the lack of depth. I went for it over the 20L for the extra water volume primarily, but want the height too. The additional water should help it stay stable and the height should reduce my need for trimming :biggrin:.

Filter- AC50 and a tiny, unbranded sponge filter (keeping it cycled for quarantining)

Lights- Current Satellite Freshwater LED+

Heater- Marineland 150W

Hardscape- Malaysian driftwood (x3 sad pieces), unknown spider-esque wood (x1), river rocks (20lbs)

Substrate- Eco Complete and Caribsea Sunset Gold mix (20lbs each)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
A Comedy of Errors (Tank Set Up)

Take it from me: don't set up tanks late at night.

Ultimately, everything turned out fine, but it was a rough night (in no particular order):

  • I put the handle on my glass lid on the wrong side... oops
  • I didn't measure clearance on anything before filling the tank. Thankfully, everything fits behind the tank, but I did manage to block 2 of my GFCI plugs
  • Trying to fill from a bucket and hose is almost impossible (and takes forever). It's just easier to use a gallon jug since I can't get additional height easily. I foresee a python in my future.
  • Another reason to fill with a jug: I won't keep hitting the un-waterlogged driftwood and knocking it out of place
  • This will be the last stand I ever assemble myself. Despite all reviews saying it was easy, it took me multiple hours and swearing

Plants came in Friday. Crypt melt is looking pretty ugly currently, but I am hoping they all pull through. I was seriously impressed with the quality from Liveaquaria. I got a gift certificate from them that paid of all the plants so far from my equipment purchases which was nice.

Cycle is coming along too, which I was seriously doubting for a bit. Ammonia is dropping, nitrite is off the charts, and nitrate is starting to appear. I am hoping to be able to add fish by Black Friday so I can take advantage of sales.

Pics to come as soon as I can figure out how to add them LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #3
First FTS here. Water is super cloudy still.

Don't mind the sponge filter in the corner, this has since been put back on the floor. The ornament was a special request so it stays. It's growing on me.

Cycle is going well. Ammonia was at .25 PPM, Nitrite off the chart, and 20 PMM Nitrate. I will check the pH tonight and do a water change if it's dropping.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
We finally have life!!!!!

Livestock came in on Wednesday and have been settling in for the most part. Stocking is officially as follows:

- 28 Celestial pearl danios

- 5* Nerite snails (down from 7)

- 1 Albino longfin bristlenose pleco (now known as Dave)

- 30+ Sakura cherry shrimp


Everyone looks good for the most part, except the snails (of all things).

I had one apparently DOA nerite (wasn't immediately obvious) and have lost another already. The remaining 5 look rough, but are so far still alive. 2 seem to be springing back okay, 1 a bit iffy, and the final two look like they probably won't make it. I'm honestly surprised since snails have been described as indestructible. I certainly have enough pond snails to pick up the slack.

No fish loss in the tank, although I do have one very skinny danio as you can see. I've seen it eat and have seen no signs of parasites so I'm hoping it pulls through. I did lose one shrimp last night, however. No ammonia or nitirite have been present when I tested today and yesterday so it seems like shipping stress.

The pictures don't capture just how tiny these fish are. Most of the danios are smaller than the adult shrimp (1/2 inch maybe)! They look like tiny, tiny trout. Dave is only about an inch or so too. The tank looks pretty empty honestly.

The shrimp are the true stars of the show. They have done a wonderful job so far in clearing all the hair alage and other gunk that has accumulated while cycling. I cleaned it up a bit before introducing the livestock, but there was still plenty of morsles to be had. I have a small cube that might just get set up after all for even more shrimps.

I suck at FTS, but the plants are coming along. I ordered some Java ferns with my fish that I am procrastinating on gluing to the wood. The crypt wedntiis have all pretty much shed their old leaves for new growth. The balansae have gotten browner and more ruffled. I am tempted to start absolutely stuffing this tank with crypts or other stems vs waiting for growth. It's probably good for my wallet that I don't have a good local fish store.
 

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I have a similar set up - a 29 jammed primarily with crypts. Never heard the 29 getting a bad rap. you C. balansae will certainly appreciate the height.

Looks good - keep up the good work!

Roy
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks! I appreciate the kind words. I look forward to it filling in.

Unfortunately, my #@$&ing filter decided to stop working.

Last night it started clicking loudly, but intermittently. I didn't think to check water flow until this afternoon. Of course, water flow was basically a trickle and the clicking was more consistent. I tried everything I could think of to get it to work right to no avail. I can't see anything visibly wrong with the impeller. I might play with it some more before I completely give up all hope.

I quickly bought a Marineland biowheel filter tonight which seems to be alright. It's kind of loud but it holds a massive amount of bio media. No ammonia or nitrite spikes thankfully, but I did a ~10% water change just in case. If I didn't have the secondary sponge running I'd probably be in trouble.
 

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Lost another big shrimp this morning and nearly had a heart attack when I started checking everything. My temp probe read 86 degrees!!!!

So of course, I panicked. I unplugged the heater (which wasn't on) and took the lid off which brought it down to 77 in less than 5 minutes. So I am thinking the original reading was way off. Regardless, 77 is too warm for my danios so I did a slightly cooler water change.

After all this, I noticed Dave was looking a little rough. He has a bit of redness by his vent but it doesn't look like columnaris (thanks for that heart attack, internet). I am not sure he is eating, however. I put some blanched kale in so hopefully he goes for it. He was for sure eating a few days ago. I think he might be getting outcompeted for food. The danios and shrimp are suprisingly aggressive with food. I'll have to start feeding at lights out.

Tank is still showing zero ammonia or nitirite despite these debacles, so I hope we're not dealing with something more serious.

The snail count is also officially down to 1. Out of everything, it perplexes me why I am having trouble with nerites of all things. This tank is all kinds of topsy turvy. I can't keep nerites alive, the allegedly shy danios have turned into aggressive food hogs (along with the shrimps), and the pleco is being intimidated.

I may make the trek this weekend to a local guy with fish to get more plants and maybe shrimp. He is the last hope for trying to get anything local. We have multiple excellent salt water stores here but nothing for fresh that's decent.

Anyways, thanks for coming to my TED talk
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Well Dave is no longer with us. I found him belly up this morning behind my filter intake. RIP.

To add to the fun- I am pretty sure the danios have ich (and that is I guess what took Dave). I am seeing a few with a white spot here or there. I am in the process of cranking up the heat now. I am debating on if it's smart to try treating in this tank or a quarantine tank. I really don't want to fry my shrimp or my plants.
 
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