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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Started putting this together a couple weeks ago. Some of you may have seen this on another website. I am going to try to keep both threads updated!

Tank - 29g aquarium (probably my least favorite in respect to ratio but it is the biggest I can fit right now)
Stand - reinforced solid wood dresser (this will be upgraded in the near future)
Substrate - Flourite black sand w/ a little peat moss and Osmocote+
Lights - Beamswork EA 80 FSPEC 0.5 watt LED
Filter - Eheim 2213 w/ spraybar
Heater - None. The room stays between 70 and 76, if anything I need a chiller in summer.

Fauna - Red cherry shrimp, probably snails, maybe Otos or habrosus cories in the distant future
Flora - Moss, Java ferns, Anubias, Crypts and maybe Vals (never tried them)

Ferts and CO2 - No ferts, CO2 or liquid carbon intended once shrimp are added. I may add ferts and excel before adding shrimp just to get the plants going, since they are all slow growers.

On to the progress...

Had to squeeze the tank into my entertainment area


Built a base for the dresser because the floor is patched oddly here and very uneven


Started the dreaded hardscape arrangement (I stink at this) This was the 12th arrangement I tried before really liking something :|


Now obviously I had to remove the wood to add substrate and I should have been soaking it ahead of time but anyway...I added a few more pieces just to get a solid idea of what it should look like when I put it back in. It will have more rocks in the base and maybe a bunch of small pieces in the bottom left in front of the left most rock or I might leave it as a big "cave".


Took it all out! Found some flourite black sand in my vast storage of fish stuff. Added some peat moss and osmocote+.


Added black paper background, flourite and filled her up.


Had a small problem with water...long story but it is being worked out as I type.


Drained it, wiped it, filled it back up! This picture shows the color difference in the background when empty and full, plus the patch job in the background is nearly invisible once wet.


Moved my soaking wood into the tank. One main piece is not sinking. Threw in some extra pieces that I know have been used before just in case that one piece doesn't sink in time.


Light arrived! Quite purple but I'm enjoying it.


This is my view from the couch.


I hope to take a trip to PA to see MsJinkzd on Thursday for a big bunch of plants, including some fast growers and floaters to fill the tank for startup. In the meantime I think all I have left to do is repaint my eheim intake and spraybar and get this wood to sink! Then I can arrange it again.

My substrate is sloped from about 1" in the front to 2.5" in the back. Think I should slope it more?

Any feedback on the wood arrangement? I don't have the artists eye.

Anyone know if there is a way to cover, replace, adjust, remove the actinics from this fixture? I do not intend to use the night light feature at all and it is a bit too blue/purple for my taste. Plus the actinics don't do anything for the plants anyways.

Thanks for looking! Questions and comments encouraged!
 

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Nice project.

I would probably want to double check the stand and tank are level once it's filled incase it shifts with the added weight of the water.

Not sure what plants you looking to get, but the 1" substrate will most likely be too thin. Go for at least 2 inches for plants. Preferably 3" or so for bigger root system plants.

I don't have an aquascaper eye either, but with that nice wood assortment you got, it would be hard to not come up with something looking pretty good :)

Probably just me, but when I see a dark/black tank with lots of driftwood, I always think of a biotope, espeically with tannins, but I would envision a different fish stocking than shrimp, otos and dwarf corys haha, but I am sure it will come out looking very nice, especially with a lot of greenery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you.

I have checked the level every day since filling cause I worried it would shift being that it is in this weird spot and on carpet but so far it is perfect.

Only plants I intend to plant in the substrate are crypts, maybe vals and they will mostly be in the back where it is 2". I still think I might add more though. Thanks.

Well, what would your stocking look like? Not that I am gonna change my stock cause I only set this tank up cause I wanted a shrimp tank again but I'd like to hear your ideas anyways, for possible future plans. :) All this wood besides one piece has been used in several tanks already and tannin are minimal at this point though.

I intend to cover 85-95% of the wood with moss and accent with java ferns and an anubias or two, then a bunch of crypts on the right maybe vals along the back...so lots of green! hehe

Thank you for your input!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wood is water logged now so I started putting the wood back together but had to stop so it's a rough draft. ;) Some pieces are literally just throw in there.


I added about another 0.5" of flourite, which was the rest of it. Scrubbed the inside down again with a vinegar solution to try to remove the haze to little avail.

I am going to PA tomorrow to get plants for this tank, and some stuff for other tanks. Woo hoo!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Took a trip to Rachel O'Leary's house yesterday and got so much stuff! Most of it it's for this tank though. But I got...5 kinds of Snails, RCS and Sakura Shrimp, Habrosus' (been wanting them for years!) and a good amount of plants. Plants are for the tank now but the shrimp will hang in a more established tank with some snails till this tank has matured more.

Ok, I added one small olive snail to this tank. He is doing well so far and eating some of the wood fungus.


I did not watch Rachel pick out or pack up my plant order so it was like Christmas!


Some rather large needle java ferns


Nice big, healthy, clean anubias nana


Surprise chunk of bolbitis!


Some unknown crypts, maybe wendtii, that she's had growing for years


Unkown plant


Moss...maybe Christmas she said, haven't examined it yet


40+ leaves on this anubias petite


Get to try not to kill this little gem!


Unknown tissue cultured moss. Bright green and fairly dense


Tank planted! All done, right?


Ok not really. Today even was consumed by my water problem so only a little time to work with plantsl. The wood is in shambles till I remove it to tie moss on, then I will finish connecting all the wood. This is still just general ideas, mostly wanted to get the crypts planted. Thinking the Buce would be happiest on the curvy wood to the right of the fern. With the spraybar positioned on the left most "wall" it will be the best place for flow and light.





Tomorrow is another busy day, will get as much as I can done. I've spray painted the input and output, that will be ready tomorrow night. I have to figure out how I want to get the spraybar on the left side of the tank when the filter is on the right side (hose or PVC).
 

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You must be good friends with Rachel, those are some nice sized portion of plants!

By the way, not sure if there was a typo or not, but RCS and Sakura shrimp (Sakura is usually just a coloration grading term for high quality/solid colored Neos) are both Neocaridinas, and so they would interbreed. Now if they are both Red Neos, it won't be a problem as a (Fire) Red Sakura shrimp is just a higher quality RCS. But if it's a orange or yellow sakura, interbreeding with the RCS will result in wild/brown offspring. If you meant CRS for Crystal Red Shrimp and not RCS for Red Cherry Shrimp, then the Sakura and CRS wouldn't crossbreed, but CRS do need softer acidic water.

Do you know if those rocks are altering the pH at all?

Good progress so far. I'm following along.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You must be good friends with Rachel, those are some nice sized portion of plants!

By the way, not sure if there was a typo or not, but RCS and Sakura shrimp (Sakura is usually just a coloration grading term for high quality/solid colored Neos) are both Neocaridinas, and so they would interbreed. Now if they are both Red Neos, it won't be a problem as a (Fire) Red Sakura shrimp is just a higher quality RCS. But if it's a orange or yellow sakura, interbreeding with the RCS will result in wild/brown offspring. If you meant CRS for Crystal Red Shrimp and not RCS for Red Cherry Shrimp, then the Sakura and CRS wouldn't crossbreed, but CRS do need softer acidic water.

Do you know if those rocks are altering the pH at all?

Good progress so far. I'm following along.
Thanks for following along! An audience helps make a journal worth while. :)

They are huge right!? Not really good friends but have been a loyal customer since her days on the forums, plus I brought her lots of shipping supplies. ;) Butter her up! lol

They are both red Neos, just different grades, yes. Sorry I did not phrase that properly.

The rocks have been tested and used in other tanks. No affect on pH or hardness. Which is good cause my pH and hardness are plenty high enough!

Average tank results with well water after iron filter, which I ran PVC only water lines for the eliminate copper lines for my aquarium use.
pH - 8.2
TDS - 115
KH- 9
GH - 9

My iron filter is broken at this moment so I have to use water softener water for the time being, ugh. But it should be fixed tomorrow!

EDIT: Btw you never told me what your suggestion for stocking this type of tank would be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
So after a bit of delays and very slow postal service I finally got my wood mossed and the majority of plants attached. Please don't mind the random plants, just stuck em in somewhere for the time being.





Obviously still needs some work. I very surprisingly ran out of moss that's why some areas are untouched. I have some fissidens and subwrassertang which I didn't intend to attach to the wood but may now that I have some empty areas. Also a bit of anubias to add. I am killing the java fern perfectly, as always, and the crypts are going through their adjustment period.

Edit: The shrimp in the holding tank are doing very well. Have a few berried low grade RCS and all the female sakuras are saddled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I demand an update please!
So sorry to keep you waiting! lol I fear the wait might not have been worth it. :|

Test results yesterday before WC.
pH - 8.2
KH - 10
GH - 9
TDS - 150
Temp - 76
Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate - 0

Plant by plant update. All photos taken after WC and the water is full of micro bubbles and "stuff", please pardon it. I just attached all the pics cause it was giving me trouble!

Moss - 4hrs of tying wasted when the thread all broke. Oddly the moss only lifted from the wood but did not float away. Didn't matter cause 95% of the moss died and as it died hair algae started. A few sprigs are still attached and alive (with HA in them) except the fissiden did really well even covered in HA!

Crpyts - Have changed so much from their original form. This happens to me all the time, it looks one way in my friends tank and totally different in my tank. Oh well, I still like it but it doesn't look as cool and is getting taller and taller, blocking the wood. Got them and placed them there cause they were nice and short. :(
There are 2 baby crypts already which is in record time for me!


Needle leaf Java Fern - Dropped a lot of it's leaves and replaced them with adjusted leaves, not babies but new leaves. Also always happens to me. More leaves still dying but I figured I'd just leave it alone and let it work itself out. Looks good though!

Anubias - All doing OK. Nothing major to report, could be doing better.

Last but not least, the Buce! It is alive which is more than I thought would happen but better than that it is doing really well! It's at least doubled in number of leaves.

Inhabitant update

Shrimp - My filter broke without me knowing it and I lost most of the shrimp. 2 or 3 regular RCS left.
They were hiding cause I was disturbing them so pictures are particularly bad lol.

Snails- I have zebra, olive and horned nerites which are all still doing well. I also have bladder, rams, mini rams and MTS so yeah pretty much every "pest snail" and they are also doing well! ;) No population explosion though and I like snails so it's all good!

Although the pics don't show it their shells are really healthy which makes me very happy. Especially the MTS cause they always have white pitted shells but these guys are pristine, he is in the back of the group shot and you can tell he is not white at least. I did add the MTS on purpose from my other tank BTW.

FTSs - Really poor cause of the WC, sorry guys. All different settings and setups (one light, 2 lights, with floaters and without)


It's so empty! I don't know if I will try re-mossing the wood. Maybe it's just too soon to think about going through that trouble again... But man it looked SO good with the moss! I will get more shrimp once I am sure I have fixed the filter issue (so far so good though). Should I get standard RCS or get a higher grade?

Besides the death of the shrimp and moss I am pleased with the tank so far. It is meant to be a super low maintenance tank and it IS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Update!!!

Love this journal sm, I cant stop re-reading it lol great tank !!
Thanks! That means a lot!
Sounds like you have gone though a little bit of some havock....

Tank still looks great though, do you plan on re mossing the wood?
Thank you. Always a little bit of havoc with my tanks, lol, but this hasn't been TOO bad. I will re moss at some point. Probably not as much as the first time cause I will have to do it IN the tank and that's a pain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just a few pics from tonight.


~One of my zebra nerites, you can see a shrimp in the background too.

~Floaters from underneath (This is the side where they move around, the other side is packed!)

~Just a couple rams

~Pretty sure these are a guy and a gal cause they are in this position often and I have lots of nerite eggs. Apparently I must have left water marks on the outside of the back of the tank...apparently! lol

~Shrimpy

~And I lied! I actually have 3 crypt plantlets! :D You can see all 3 is this picture too, just noticed that!


That is all. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
A little behind on updates. Can't seem to figure out an easier way to embed pictures so it makes me slack on updates. Drag and drop does not work for me. But it's a low tech tank, things move slowly so you haven't missed much. :)

On 9-9-16 I added some C. Nurii, affinis "metallic red", hudoroi and balansae leftover from my huge plant package for my 58g. All are doing pretty well but I am noticing a general lack of growth in all plants, need to increase my stocking soon for some added natural ferts. Pictures are just a couple days old so most of the crypt melt is over.

Affinis lost all it's brown/red color but looks good otherwise



Nurii is doing better than I expected


Need to get updated pictures of the others.


Buce is still pretty happy but old leaves are yellowing a little.


Fissiden is not so happy. Full of hair algae, floater roots and maybe a crypt baby even. I am getting some amano shrimp to take care of the hair algae.


Little group shot. Not a clear picture of him but it shows how nice and red one of my male shrimps is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I got 17 new sakura grade cherry juvis about a week ago. All seem to be doing well although it is hard to say if any have died cause there are lots of spot for a tiny body to hide in there. But I see quite a few and they look great! The plants are really starting to suffer/starve so I added a little KN03 yesterday.

Poor attempt at a group shot


One of my old males in front and a new saddled female in the back (sorry she's so blurry)


Fairly clear shots of one of the new females

 

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WOW Myswtsins!!!

You have a VERY NICE 29g SHRIMP TANK HERE as well as the 58g too!!! I am SUBSCRIBED to BOTH NOW!!! I to have VERY HARD tap water, but mine is even more to the extreme than yours! Ph 7.8-8.4, kH 15-25dGh I stopped adding at 25 drops, But a gH of only 2 or 3 dGh, abd finally a TDS of 540-650 is normal!!!! Of coarse when I hand you a shovel and you try to dig anywhere in my 3/4 acre lot you get about 5 or 6" down and you run into pretty much solid lime stone!!! So that pretty much explanes everything about the local water!

But I have a 3 stage pre-filtered (set up for Chloramines in hard water/high TDS) R/O system that can get that down to 12ppm in 95*F summer water and 4ppm in 80*F and below temps! I keep 35g of pure R/O water on hand at all times in a Brute Food Grade Trash Can that is circulated w/a 300 gph power head I use to pump water into buckets with as well. The trash can has a float valve installed for the R/O cut off so it stays full.

Anyway, that is what I am currently using to setup a 10g for some Neos, Blues that have reverted back to wild colors, to use as algae eaters in my Sword tanks when I get a big enough colony established in the 10g! And I was unsure of how I was going to go with a Hardscape with the plant list We have to work with! And my I say You have done it BEAUTIFULLY!!!!! I know you are having the normal new tank growing pains! WE all have those, but just hang in there, and I can really see this tank growing into some thing VERY SPECIAL!!! With the Crypts framing that wood you have setup, and the NL Java on the Wood filling in with the Bruce here and there blending with the anubis petite! Then the Shrimp are looking good too!!! I have been looking at my mostly clear/brown with a few with a blue tint shrimp, and then I see yours, even the normal grade, and WOW!!! They REALLY POP against that dark substrate!!! Thank You for all the really good Pics, and INFO you have put here for us!!!

Can't wait to see and hear more about your GREAT TANKS!!!:proud:
Drew
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
WOW Myswtsins!!!

You have a VERY NICE 29g SHRIMP TANK HERE as well as the 58g too!!! I am SUBSCRIBED to BOTH NOW!!! I to have VERY HARD tap water, but mine is even more to the extreme than yours! Ph 7.8-8.4, kH 15-25dGh I stopped adding at 25 drops, But a gH of only 2 or 3 dGh, abd finally a TDS of 540-650 is normal!!!! Of coarse when I hand you a shovel and you try to dig anywhere in my 3/4 acre lot you get about 5 or 6" down and you run into pretty much solid lime stone!!! So that pretty much explanes everything about the local water!

But I have a 3 stage pre-filtered (set up for Chloramines in hard water/high TDS) R/O system that can get that down to 12ppm in 95*F summer water and 4ppm in 80*F and below temps! I keep 35g of pure R/O water on hand at all times in a Brute Food Grade Trash Can that is circulated w/a 300 gph power head I use to pump water into buckets with as well. The trash can has a float valve installed for the R/O cut off so it stays full.

Anyway, that is what I am currently using to setup a 10g for some Neos, Blues that have reverted back to wild colors, to use as algae eaters in my Sword tanks when I get a big enough colony established in the 10g! And I was unsure of how I was going to go with a Hardscape with the plant list We have to work with! And my I say You have done it BEAUTIFULLY!!!!! I know you are having the normal new tank growing pains! WE all have those, but just hang in there, and I can really see this tank growing into some thing VERY SPECIAL!!! With the Crypts framing that wood you have setup, and the NL Java on the Wood filling in with the Bruce here and there blending with the anubis petite! Then the Shrimp are looking good too!!! I have been looking at my mostly clear/brown with a few with a blue tint shrimp, and then I see yours, even the normal grade, and WOW!!! They REALLY POP against that dark substrate!!! Thank You for all the really good Pics, and INFO you have put here for us!!!

Can't wait to see and hear more about your GREAT TANKS!!!:proud:
Drew
Thanks Drew! Big compliments there! I'm so glad to know the effort I put into updating a thread like this is appreciated and I hope people get something out of it. I'm not trying to have some award winning tank (cause I can't do that lol), I just want a healthy tank of happy plants and critters but I love your vision! ;) Thanks for subscribing and commenting.

Yikes, your water is way crazier than mine but I can relate. Warning - the following paragraph is just a long rant about my water history, feel free to ignore. :) I have fought with my well water for years! Too much iron - installed a water softener but that's bad for fish. Tried numerous other solutions(while just trying to find the problem too) so finally got RODI unit which did solve my aquarium issues but then I wanted a 5,000g pond and an RO unit wasn't gonna work. Installed a whole house iron filter which worked great for awhile then stopped removing all the iron and went through hell trying to problem solve that one WITH the company (which was confused but VERY accommodating). Ending up having the get a new expensive head for that and had to redo all the plumbing for it, ugh! But now I think I've FINALLY got it the way I want it, iron filtered well water through PVC only plumbing (avoiding copper) right out of a tap...well it is cold only and at about 54F that is a bummer but I can't have everything! :D I use my 55g RO barrel (in my living room!) to pre-warm the water now.

Back to the tank!
I put an amano in a couple days ago hoping he would eat some hair algae but nothing yet. Maybe I will try a different amano, maybe this one just doesn't care for it. :) I counted 13 out of about 20 cherries tonight, again all different sizes so I hope they are all doing well, I know they LOOK good. Gonna try grooming the front crypts to train them to be shorter. I'd like to add some moss back to the tank but I think the hair algae will just infest it and I have no clue why it died the first time. I mean who kills moss!? lol And I killed the easier mosses but kept the fissidens alive, while being infested with algae though. Pretty much killed the bolbitis too. :(
 
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