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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is just a stub for now. I took a quick picture of my 20L the other day so I thought I'd post it.

I will switch the 20L tank to a 29g tank when I move in a few weeks. For now, the 20L is in horrible condition. No CO2 or ferts. No scape. Just a few plants and lots of GSA.

I have a lot of work I want to do with this tank. It'll be fun to see the transformation from what it is now to what I hope for it to become. :smile:

My 20L tank's very humble beginnings.

 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm working on it, and the big day should be coming soon, maybe next week.

Right now, I'm at the stage of collecting all of the equipment I need for the tank. I almost have everything I need or have at least ordered it.

I have the injected CO2 system ready to go (pulled it from my 75g). Orlando is making the reactor for me which should come in early next week. I'm looking at getting a second XP2 filter soon. I already have a smaller UVS that would do well for this tank. I've ordered more substrate. And the 29g tank itself is finally empty of fish and plants from the move. I just need to clean it out now. I already have the stand, canopy, and extra lighting. I have new electrical outlet strips for my 75g which will let me then move the ones I'm using on that tank to my 29g.

So once the reactor comes in, I should be able to switch out the tanks and start injecting CO2. Hopefully, I can make the switch sometime next week.

I'm trying to figure out how I want to do the scape. I don't want it to be the same as my 75g, but I still like the basic aspects of that type of scape. It's also a bit of a challenge because it's more natural for me to have the focal point on the left side of the tank, but that wouldn't do well with the position of the tank in the room. I'm thinking of having the far right corner be the actual focal point with everything drifting towards the front left corner. I think that might make the best use of the smaller space.

The plants that have the reddish color in this tank are my Crypt wendtii 'bronze'. I sometimes wonder if this is the 'red' species instead of the 'bronze'. These crypts have gone wild even though I never dose ferts or CO2. I'm going to have to sell some of the extras since I have far too many to use in a scape with other plants.

I'll try to take pictures as I go so we can all enjoy the transformation. I think it's fun to see the before and after pictures when a tank is scaped.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm still dosing CO2 in my 75g. Both tanks will have injected CO2.

What I did was put the new cylinder and equipment to the 75g and hand down the older cylinder and equipment to the 29g. Once I saw how wonderful it was to have injected CO2, I couldn't NOT add it to my 29g. In a way, the 29g will be a smaller version of my 75g.

The lighting I have on my 20long in the picture above is one dual bulb Coralife Aqualight FW 30" fixture. This fixture is about a year old with one 6700K T5 bulb and one 10,000K T5 bulb. Now they're using a "Colormax" bulb in place of the 10,000K bulb. Mine went out about a month ago, and I decided to replace it with the original 10,000K bulb. So that bulb is new with the 6700K being old.

I now have two of those fixtures (the second fixture has the Colormax bulb instead of the 10,000K bulb). That's what I'll use as my brighter lighting for the 29g. It won't be as bright as my 75g, but it should be bright enough to grow what I want.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I walked over to look at the crypts, and I think one thing that's making them look like they do in pictures is because the light in the tank is making them a bit translucent so the red stands out. The leaves are not translucent, of course, but it's kind of like shining a flashlight through your hand. Suddenly, the red shows up more.

I think the best way to bring out reds in a tank is to plant plants that have a very bold red, such as 'Sao Paulo'. Now that's a red plant!

I can't wait to get the 29g going either. I have it sitting on the floor next to the 20long, empty and ready to go. I have a few more things I need to order to get it all set up, but I may proceed without those things just to get the process going.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, I'm officially starting to work on the 29g! :smile:

I've moved the 20long to another stand, have the background on the 29g, and have it on the main stand. I've added some eggcrate to the bottom and am working on the driftwood design. I'll try to take a quick picture to show the early stage of the tank.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Eggcrate is a plastic sheeting normally used as a diffuser for commercial fluorescent lights in offices. It has a network of squares.

It's used to help protect the bottom of the tank. It's more commonly used for tanks with large, stacked rocks, such as a cichlid tank, in case the fish knock the rocks down. Even though my tanks aren't at high risk, I still like to put it at the bottom for extra security. If nothing else, it makes me feel better while moving rocks and things around as I play with design ideas. Placing rocks on bare glass makes me cringe.

You can see the eggcrate in the pictures I'm about to post, especially the last one.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
And here are the first pictures of the 29g design! :smile:

Of course, I started with the driftwood. It's my favorite part of my tanks. I love having the branches rise up towards the top where I can easily see my amano shrimp on them.

I had bought the driftwood several months ago when they were first offered. I think this was one of the "branchiest" packages I've seen offered. I may have to trim out a few of the smaller branches, but maybe not.

In all of the pictures, the wood is placed further to the left than it will be in the end. I'm having to use the glass on the left to hold it in place for pictures.

I started off wanting to create a leaning design from the back/right to the front/left, but then I found the branch on the left and loved the way it curved over.

Trying to get the branches glued together in the form I wanted was a bit of a challenge, but the final results came out pretty close to what I wanted.



The position of the tank in the room makes it's main display to be somewhat offset to the left. So the overall design will be more closed on the back/right and more open towards the front/left.



This angle starts to show the branches on the far left piece a little bit better.



While playing with the various pieces of wood I have, I stumbled into this piece that I think looks cool at the base of the main wood. I'll have to raise it up so it's not completely blocked by plants, but I think it adds some character to the overall wood design.

The rock is in there mainly to hold the wood in place, but it is one of the rocks I may use in the final design. I don't have any fancy rocks so the regular bullnose rocks will have to do.

 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you! There are actually 3 branches glued together to make the main DW display with a 4th branch at the bottom.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you all for the nice words! :smile:

The CO2 reactor arrived today so I'm ready to go. The only thing I don't have is the CustomFlo kit for the intakes and outtakes, but I can proceed without that for now. I may just paint the XP2 gear black and let it go at that.

Karackle, thanks for the mention of the stand color! It is actually one of those Sedona stands by Perfecto. I went back and forth on getting it for over 6 months, but I finally decided I would give it a try. What brought me to get this particular stand is it was the only one I could find that fit a 29g and had a matching canopy!

https://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/group/2035/product.web

It's not going to win any awards for quality or looks, but it's definitely a nice looking stand. I really like the overall look when the canopy is on. I don't like the canopy design, but it works.

I'll get a full shot of the stand and canopy later. I tried to find a real life picture of it all over the place, but couldn't find it. So I want to be sure to put one online for others.

The stand does not have a rim to cover the bottom black rim of the tank, but they gave a square piece of wood that you put over the tank to hide the trim. If you look closely, you can see I don't have it centered yet. I'll do that just before I start adding water.

Here's a picture of the stand with the canopy:

http://www.elmersaquarium.com/image_mfg/105 Perfecto 30 Sedona Red Oak.jpg
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I debated for what seemed to be forever on whether to get the red oak or black color. I like the red oak that I selected. It's a bit garish on the red, but it gives that "furniture" look rather well.

I need to trim off the bottom of the driftwood "tree" and attach it to some slate so I can finally begin to water log it. Hopefully, I'll get that done tomorrow.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Update! This has become my problem child... err... tank. Where to begin... I think I'll write this in sections.

Driftwood that refused to cooperate:

First, gluing and screwing the wood in place didn't go so well. I'd get one part done, but when I'd get it in the tank and start to place the lower pieces of dw with it, I'd end up messing something up. So out it came. And back in. And back out. Each time, I added screws, tie wraps, regular JB Weld and even Waterweld. I finally got it in place. Not quite the way I wanted it, but I gave up out of exasperation.

At this stage, I was able to get the tank up and running with one of my two XP2 filters. I added new substrate at the bottom (to thicken it up) while putting the old substrate on top. I let all the mulm come right on in. After settling for an hour or so, I turned on the filter and let it work on the water. I could then put the fish in.

Things looked pretty good at this point. I got the electrical wiring the way I wanted, moved over my other filter, and had the CO2 with the pH controller running. All seemed to be going well.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Bubble counter fluid:

Having blundered the CO2 earlier, I was left with an oil slick of bubble counter fluid. While it's not supposed to be harmful, it is unsightly. So I wanted to at least get out what I could.

I decided to try to get some of it out by using the python as a skimmer of sorts. So I skimmed off the top, added water, skimmed it again, on and on.

During this time, one of my guppies (my original mama) swam into the python. She was only about 6" into the hose, but nothing I did could get her to go back. She would just swim further and further down the hose. So I decided, fine. I'll see if I can push her back out by reversing the water.

Next thing I knew, the water exploded along with my mama guppy who was now decapitated. :( At least it was fast so she didn't suffer much.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Bubble counter fluid again:

I let things rest for a couple of days and then decided to try to get some more of the bubble counter fluid out using the python again. I also sucked up some floating leaves while I was at it.

When I finally decided I had done enough of that, I pulled out the python, but instead of sucking the water in, the water started to come back out. Now that's not right.

I started to yell for my husband to turn the water off when it started going back down like it was supposed to. I shrugged it off.

Well, let's just say I figured out what had blocked the hose. Another guppy lost.

I later found a 3rd one in the sink. I don't know how long it had been in the python hose (days).

And then I found a 4th one floating in the tank.

And then a 5th one got sucked in, but came out alive. Well, for a couple of minutes that is. It was pretty much skinned alive. I put it out of its misery.

By now, I'm getting really worried. I've used my python for over a year with guppies and had never had anything like this happen. I could understand it happening when I was using the python as a skimmer, but so many guppies?

Saddest of all is that I not only lost my original mama guppy, but I also lost my female ender. :(
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Just when you think it's safe...

Okay, got everything stabilized and decided I had better get back on schedule for my water changes and ferts.

Did a 50% water change. Gave the bottom dwellers and amanos some sweet potato and turned off the lights.

The next morning, I woke up to dead fish. :icon_cry:

9 out of 11 of my amano shrimp were dead, scattered all throughout the tank.

My Pelvicachromis taeniatus 'Nigerian Red' that I was going to trade in for a new male Kienke was dead.

And one of my chain loaches was dead.

I cleaned out the dead bodies and tried to figure out what went wrong.

The only thing I can come up with is CO2 poisoning (although, the living fish were not gasping at the top). My convoluted idea is that the pH was artificially dropped by the new driftwood in the tank. So when I adjusted my pH controller, I was already starting out with a lower pH than I should have.

So when I did the water change, I removed the water with the lowered pH from the wood. The new water then came in with a higher pH which the pH controller then lowered back down to the setting I was using. Only this time, the lowered pH wasn't a combination of the driftwood and CO2, but just CO2. Thus, overdosing the CO2.

I did a 50% water change making sure to add oxygen into the tank and raised the pH setting on my pH controller.

The fish have survived overnight with that, but I don't think they are all well. One of my chain loaches is very pale which is not a good sign. I'm not sure if the other fish are okay or not. When you start looking for signs of problems, everything suddenly becomes a sign.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Leak:

Having performed an emergency water change to lower the CO2 in the tank, I finish it all up and turn the filters back on. All is well. Right?

Nope.

A couple of hours later, I realize that the water was about 1" lower than I had filled it. Uh oh! :icon_eek:

Yup, a leak. I had not secured the quick disconnect on one of the filters properly which caused it to leak. I couldn't see the leak because it was in the back corner.

No problem. Fixed the cause of the leak, cleaned up the water and fired the filter back up. Worked great!

Umm... problem. The water has caused the cheap stand to start splitting at the bottom. The corner now has a 1/4" gap while the so called "wood" is curdling on the outside at the bottom.

No! :( I had worried about the stand, obviously with good reason. So while I've had the stand for only about 2 months, I need to replace it. It clearly won't last.

So now I'm watching Craigslist.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Looks very nice.... Looking forward to seeing this tank evolve.
Gotta love those ninja moments! :hihi:

Thanks for the nice words. I hope to see it evolve, as well. Not a good start, but these things happen. Live and learn!
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Yikes... seems it's one of those 'when it rains, it pours' time periods, isn't it?

I hope my bad luck hasn't been rubbing off... :icon_frow
You don't have bad luck to rub off onto anyone. It's all just part of having a planted tank. The initial setup period is often the most difficult. And although the 29g is an upgrade from my original 20Long, switching it from dim lights, no CO2 and no ferts to double the light, EI ferts and injected CO2 is basically the same as starting a whole new tank.

Lessons learned:
  • Put a screen over the python to prevent fish from getting in.
  • When setting a pH controller on a new setup, move the pH downward very slowly, allowing for a normal week of maintenance to pass before attempting to set the lowest possible pH.
  • Follow proper procedures when using equipment so you don't blow your regulator, releasing a ton of bubble counter fluid into the tank.
  • Always double check canisters for leaks within 5 minutes whenever you've messed with them.
  • And going cheap (stand) isn't always the best value for the money. Good deals are great, but always ensure the quality is able to withstand normal use and abuse.

This is the process by which experience is gained. I will do better to not repeat my earlier mistakes. I'll make more mistakes, but, hopefully, with each one, I'll learn better so I can do better.

But, yeah, the rain has been pouring lately on this tank.

Also, good news on the fish. They seem to be doing better tonight. I'll still be watching them closely, but I think the original problem that killed so many has been fixed.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Oh wow, I'm not really sure what to say. I recently spent about a week sulking over the loss of my favorite pleco, but this sort of puts that "crisis" to shame. I'm very sorry for all your losses, that can't be an easy thing.
I'm so sorry about your pleco! You obviously loved him very much. And it's not sulking, but mourning. I think it's healthy to grieve over the losses of our favorite pets.

Regardless, I'm still eagerly awaiting pictures and I fully expect to be dazzled by this tank. Your 75gal remains my inspiration for a larger tank in the future. Think I saw an update on that one, actually...
Thank you! I don't know how dazzling it'll be, but I am looking forward to getting both tanks the way I want them.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #35 ·

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Thanks, Po0gs! I have a lot of work to do so it's going to take awhile, but that will just make it that much sweeter when I finally do get things in order.

Also, welcome to TPT! :smile:
 
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