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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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Looks very nice.... Looking forward to seeing this tank evolve.
 

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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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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.

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...
 

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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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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.
TPT should start a sticky of stuff like this. I'm so sorry all this stuff happened to you but you've got the dedication to pull through.

I just used water in the bubble counter.... is there an advantage to the oil? I can definitely see the disadvantage.:icon_eek:

Your luck will turn around soon!
 

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Wow Vicki, I'm so sorry to hear about all of your troubles! And especially the fish losses, it's always hard.

But you are also right that it's a learning experience, we've all made mistakes and learned from them, it's just a part of this hobby unfortunately. I'm glad you see it as a learning experience and are willing to move forward and not give up though, because I bet this tank will be stunning when it's done! :)

I really can't wait to see updated pictures! It sounds like things are finally starting to pull together which is good to hear! :)

Also, let me know if you want any Endler or hybrid females, I'd be more than willing to pass on my guppy female to you as well :)
 

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Boy Vicki, I check out for a week or so and come back to your tank's issues. SO SORRY!!!! What a pain. Sometimes life just seems to throw it all at you at once!

On the other hand. Love your driftwood. It's gonna look fantastic! Don't wait until everything is perfect to post a px. What's so neat about these journals is seeing the beginning and the growth. The tanks are never finished.
 
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