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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm super excited to start up my new journal! Since both tanks are on the same rack/stand I'm going to do a dueling tank journal. The top tank will be more low-tech running off a sponge filter and heater. The bottom tank will have all the bells and whistles that were on the 20 long.

First lets get into the rack. I knew I wanted a 2 tank rack but didn't want to go the standard route. I don't have the tools, skill, or time to make this, BUT my father did. Best birthday gift ever!!! I used this photo for inspiration. I believe they are from the Greater Seattle Aquarium Society.
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My old tank stand was shoddy at best. Having a proper cabinet that is closed in the back makes a big difference when I comes to sound. The tank was never loud before, but now it's quite.
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Starting with the bottom tank the equipment list is:
  • 29 gallon tank
  • Pressurized c02
  • 2x Fluval 3.0 24" lights
  • Inline 300w heater
  • Ink Bird controller
  • Inline c02 reactor
  • Black Diamond blasting sand. Mix of fine and course
  • Dragon stone
  • Manzanita driftwood
I'm using most of the plants that I had in the 20 long (my original tank) for the bottom tank. I don't love the scape but I wasn't overly concerned about it. I tend to adjust as I go instead of sticking to a strict plan. As the plant grow and fill in it should be easier to decide where stuff goes.

Top tank equipment list:
  • Sponge filter
  • 30" Finnex planted+
  • 100w heater
  • Black Diamond blasting sand. Mix of fine and course
  • Dragon stone
The top tank has most of the same plants, but grown without c02 or higher light. I'll try to get a full plant list at some point.

The top tank was setup a few months ago to get cycled and established. It's a mix of the plants from the bottom tank. Most seem to be doing ok, but a big difference in growth compared to the high tech tank. I didn't put any thought into plant placement, just trying to get a bunch of plants into it. As I enjoy the tank I'll figure out what I want to do.

Here are the tanks on initial setup. Everything is still a mess but will be worked out soon!

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Very nice! The "inspiration" tanks are from Aquarium Zen in Seattle, by the way. Super lovely store and worth stopping by if you're in the area.
Thanks for the correction! I had the state correct at least haha. I'm jealous of the west coast you folks have all the best shops. NJ is lacking in that department, at least around me.
 

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That photo from Aquarium Zen was my inspiration as well (got to see it in person in Dec). I really wanted something along that setup, but I had spent enough on other facets of my FishNook. So, In the end, I put up quick racks that are doing the trick.

I like that you imitated his look to the extent possible (Steve has HOB filters, so no need for a lower cabinet like you had).. I had a similar issue as I wanted a centralized system, so I needed something in a lower section. (It's good that you just went two high... I went three and it's a bit of work to care for that top row of tanks).

Anyway, that floating look is fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The tanks are doing pretty well.

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Top tank has decent growth minus all the crypt melt. I was expecting that as they seem to always melt on me when I move or bother them. New growth has started to pop up though. Hopefully they come back quick!!

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Bottom tank has been growing really well. I'm getting a little BBA on the driftwood but it's not spreading much. Leaning towards the dirty filter causing it. The filter was past it's scheduled maintenance, but I didn't want to clean it before setting up the "new" tank. Now that the tank has been running for 2 weeks I felt it was safe to clean so I took care of that this weekend.

I have been dosing ferts based on my previous tank size of 20 gallons the past 2 weeks. I was thinking about uping the dose to 30 gallon levels but wasn't sure. I don't want to go too heavy and cause issue, but I also don't want to under dose. Decisions decisions!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Get ready it's a long one, but i'll post the pics first.

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bottom tank

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top tank

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male peacock gudgeon

I have to say I am loving the extra height on these tanks. The 20 long is nice because you can blast light into the tank, but I didn't get to enjoy the stems fully. By the time they started to look nice it was time to trim.

I'm still dosing EI based on a 20g tank volume and haven't had any issues that I can tell. I get some hair algae on the substrate below the lily pipe but I don't think it's due to a lack of ferts. Maybe lack of flow?

I'm super excited that I found a new LFS. They opened up 7 months ago and are only about 15 minutes away from me! They had a nice selection of fish, hardscape, and decor. Plants were in sad shape unfortunately. Still super stoked to have a non bigbox shop to go to.

I picked up a pair of peacock gudgeons and 5 more pygmy corys for the lowtech tank. I ordered 6 pygmy cory cats and only had 3 survive so now they have a solid crew. The gudgeons are so neat looking and seem to be adjusting well to their new home. Hopefully they don't full decimate the cherry shrimp population, but I did see them hunting already. No biggie if they do as the bottom tank is crawling with them now.

I finally have my dry ferts dialed in so why not switch it up? HA! On an impulse I picked up a Jaebo auto doser. I haven't set it up yet but need to find a good recipe for the fert mix. Anyone have a thread or site they can recomend?

My though are this:
Test the doser to see how accurate it is. Once I get an idea on how many ML I get per 10x pumps I should be able to figure out what is needed to mix. Would mixing only 100 ML of ferts be a bad thing? I say 100 because I assume having a little extra juice would be better than not enough. Don't need it running dry. Am I totally off base?

Can I use any bottle to mix and dose my ferts? I have some seltzer bottles that are 500ml. If I don't need to buy a specific container for this it would be ideal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I finally got around to setting up my auto dosing pump. The calibration was fairly straight forward with the help of some youtube videos. Figuring out the proper dose was the hardest part for me, but with the power of math I think I got it right haha. I ran only the micro bottle for the first week as a test. I had already front loaded my macros before I setup the pump. It seemed to work properly so I setup the macros this week.

I added 2 weeks worth of EI ferts to 500 ml of distilled water. 1 bottle for micro and one for macros. I'm hoping that making a more diluted solution I can avoid mold growth in the bottles. Time will tell...

I bent some rigid acrylic tubing to make dosing delivery tips. Took a torch to the piece and bent it a little, torched again and got to the shape I was looking for. I made a couple extra incase. Incase what? I don't know, but having extras is rarely a bad thing. I also used some rigid tubing in the bottles to help keep the intake at the bottom so i don't get air in the lines.

The top tank is really coming along nicely. Slow but healthy growth from the plants I have in there. The bacopa seems to really enjoy the setup. For sure growing better than the rotala that is looking kind of sad. Guppy grass and pearl weed have also started to establish and are looking good. They both took longer than i was expecting to adjust to the water. A dwarf tiger lily bulb was added 2 weeks ago that now has about 15 leaves on it! Fingers crossed it doesn't get too big.

A couple weeks ago I had a battle with green water in the high tech tank. Not sure what caused it but my guess is the rescape. All was fine till then. I picked up the small version of the green killing machine. Ran it for 2 weeks and it cleared up. Hopefully it doesn't come back now. Thought it could have been from a couple of the loaches dying in the rock pile but I saw them all out the other night.

Pics to come!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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FTS of the top tank.

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Enjoying the brine shrimp buffet

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This is my first time keeping golden pencil fish. They are interesting little guys! I've noticed that one of the 6 recently got a darker coloration. I was somehow able to snap a pic of two of them together. I'm guessing one is female and the other is male but haven't found any info of which is which.

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pump dosing tip

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tip installed

I'll see if I can get a shot of the bottom tank tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Plants and tank seem to be fine with my auto dosing schedule. It's been running for over a month now. I even setup the 3rd pump to top off with fresh water daily for evaporation. I did notice black stuff which I assume is mold in one of the lines this weekend when I setup a new bottle of ferts.

I raised the lights on the bottom tank last week and increased the light intensity to compensate. I feel like i'm getting decent growth but some plants are getting leggy. One more week with the lights at this setting without algae troubles and I might bump up the intensity more. Hopefully the more intense light will give me more compact growth. Hurry up and wait!

I added scarlet temple, Ammannia Gracilis, and some Bucephalandra "Green Wavy" to the bottom tank.Red dwarf lily bulb to the top tank. Not sure how dwarf that lily is though haha

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both tanks

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top tank

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bottom tank
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Switched the stone on the bottom tank back to dragon stone last month. I'm letting plants fill back in before I rescape the bottom tank. I'll be swapping the wood from the top tank to the bottom, bottom to top so both tanks will look different soon enough. I picked up a crypt pink flamingo last week and am somewhat nervous about moving it so soon after planting in the tank. I've had crypts melt on me before but they didn't cost this much $$$! Once it gets established I'll feel better moving it.

Bottom tank:
I adjusted my lights last week and have noticed better growth on the stems. I was ramping up the light for roughly 2 hours before I hit my max brightness. While it was appealing to me I don't think the plants agreed. I now have a ramp up of 30 minutes. With this change the stems have been growing more compact. Going to keep it this way until the rescape. The back left of the tank is already looking nice after a heavy trim last week.


Top tank:
I added an internal filter to this tank about a month ago. The corner box filter wasn't cutting it alone. For the most part the tank is in good shape. Needs a good trim and has a little hair algae but it's in good shape overall. It'll get some love when the driftwood gets swapped.

Property Water Purple Plant World

View from the couch

Plant Green Botany Nature Leaf

Top tank

Plant Plant community Light Botany Leaf

Bottom tank
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Doing maintenance over the weekend I saw 3 fry in the top tank. They don't stand much of a chance in there luckily I was able to scoop one and put it into a little 2.5g I have setup. It's been in the 2.5 for a few days and has survived so hopefully it'll grow enough to go back with it's parents. Whoever they may be ha! Could be the pencil fish or the peacocks, my guess is pencil fish.

The super red is in the bottom tank. Picked it up last month when I finally found one locally. It seems to be enjoying the tank and hasn't messed with and of the pants... yet. Speaking of plants the pink flamingo put out a new leaf so I think it should survive. These expensive plants sure make the hobby more exciting, or something like that ha. I couldn't imagine how the reef guys feel as all that stuff is 10x the cost of "expensive" freshwater plants.


Top tank after a trim
Plant Rectangle Natural landscape Lighting Organism


fry guy
Organism Water Terrestrial plant Plant Plant pathology


The sucker of the tank
Plant Terrestrial plant Organism Scaled reptile Wood


Stop taking pictures of me!
Plant Terrestrial plant Organism Fawn Aquatic plant


Fresh growth on the pink flamingo crypt!
Plant Terrestrial plant Insect Grass Terrestrial animal
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
V1 bottom tank has been taken down. V2 created 10-9-2.

Couldn't hold out any longer! I have been struggling with cloudy water from the start of this tank. My thought was the substrate was too fine and when you add a couple kuhli loaches, cory cats, and a pleco something is always going to be routing through the substrate. It was better when I would add filter floss to the canister but it would clog and reduce flow quickly. My remedy, remove the sand.

Did a major trim on the tank and saved the best stem pieces. Drained water into two 5 gallon buckets and put any rocks or wood that had plants on them into the buckets. Caught most of the fish and shrimp but some were stubborn. Ended up draining the tank down enough to move the sand from one end to the other. Reducing the critters escape options. This was the most tedious part.

Fluid Rectangle Gas Bumper Handwriting


CaribSea Super Naturals Zen Garden
CaribSea Super Naturals Snowy River
CaribSea Super Naturals Peace River

Got all the sand out and rinsed out the tank.

Started with some large gravel (nickel sized) I had leftover from garden projects. Put about an inch worth on the back half of the tank so to reduce fancy gravel usage. Started with the snowy river followed by the zen garden and topped with peace river. This is the first time I've used brand name or aquarium specific substrate in awhile. The peace river is very nice. Wish I got 2 bags of that instead of the snowy river.

Got it planted and filled with no issue. Took about 3 hours of work start to finish. Not including cleaning the gravel and clean up.

Water Plant Plant community Vertebrate Green


This is the tank 2 days after the setup. Still a little cloudy but much better than it was! Next filter cleaning should help with that. I didn't want to take out the substrate and clean the filter at the same time. The canister had maintenance done about 2 weeks ago so it is well seeded with BB. I wasn't worried about putting the fish and shrimp right back into the tank because of this.

Plant Vertebrate Leaf Wood Organism
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Bottom tank is filling in nice. Found a baby noodle the other day when I was enjoying the tank after feeding. I wonder if there are more??

The ferns are establishing nicely now. Buce seems to be growing slowly. Anubis golden has been putting off new leaves and looking even more golden than when I got it a couple months ago. The pink flamingo crypt has been putting off new leaves and didn't melt back too much. Think i'm in the clear with that one!

I've had to thin the blyxa about once a month. Love the plant but it fills in quick!

I'll try to get some shots of the top tank tonight and update soon. They little fry is growing quick! It's for sure a goby.

FTS
Plant Plant community Green Botany Pet supply


baby!
Plant Plant community Botany Leaf Terrestrial plant


shrimper enjoying the plants
Plant Water Flower Terrestrial plant Aquatic plant
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I reinstalled the dosing pump on the bottom tank over the weekend. It's dosing 20ml of the following solution. This solution was made based on EI dosing amounts for 29 gallon tank.

KNO3 1.34g 3x a week - 4.02g per week - 16.08g per month

KH2P04 262mg 3x a week - 0.786g per week - 3.15g per month

K2S04 1.83g 3x a week - 5.49g per week - 16.47g per month

CSMB 336mg 3x a week - 1g per week - 4g per month

add 25ml excel to each bottle to stop mold


Original plan was 34ml a day but after a replant and thinning out of plants I backed it down to 20ml a day. The above would be full EI dosing for a 29 gallon. I realized that I backed down my dry dosing to roughly half the full EI dose over the past few months. The 20ml is probably close to what I would normally dose.

The dosing pump has 4 heads so I'm also doing a 150ml water top off daily. Evaporation this winter has been surprising.

Other changes:

Lights now have a full power peak at 4:30 pm. This adjustment was made a few weeks ago and I saw only positive results so I'm going to leave it for now. If I get an algae breakout with the adjusted dosing I will back it down again.

I've seen more baby kuhli loaches squirming around in the foreground plants. I've got a few generations in there at this point, multiple sizes seen. Will be interesting to see how many are in there when the tank gets torn down eventually.

My co2 regulator setup was from an old kegerator, and I felt it was the last piece of my setup that was not up to snuff. So I purchased a new setup from CO2 art the PRO-SE Series. Out of the box and in the setup with ease and seems to be holding steady.

The regulator was swapped out roughly 2 weeks ago and boy oh boy has it made a positive change. Super steady bubble count and no leaks. I'm curious to see how long a 5lb tank last me now. I was using a full tank in about 3 months with the old one. I stuck a piece of tape on the bottle when I opened it to see how long it lasts.

Photos by the weekend!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The plants like to grow faster than I post haha!

2-7-22
Plant Organism Terrestrial plant Rectangle Pet supply


The java fern is starting to get out of control now. That will be the next thing to get a big trim. I pulled the bacopa from the front right corner finally. It paired nice with the SR but was growing quicker than I wanted. Scarlet temple seems to do much better after it's been sitting in the same place awhile. The corner is filling in nice, but slowly.

Over all I'm happy with the auto dosing. I don't have any deficiency problems, algae seems to be decreasing or at least not getting worse. Peace of mind when I'm gone for 2-3 days. I checked the fert bottles a few days ago and didn't see any mold so I think that is all sorted out now. Wondering if it's worth trying full strength EI dosing now? Maybe I'll make an adjustment Saturday after the water change.

The auto top off uses roughly 1 gallon a week. I broke up the top off to two periods during the day. Hopefully putting less stress on the pump.

Plant growth is strong, but with more nutrients..... these things will be growing out of the tank in a day! Not sure if' I need that, but I'm curious to see what this tank can do now that I have a feel for it.
 
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