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Hello all.

First a bit of background. I introduced my daughter (now 13) to fishkeeping when she was 5 with a guppy tank. She took to it nicely, and after moving cross-country six years ago I set her up with a 29 gallon P. scalare breeding tank, with swords, vals and a. ulvaceus to offer plenty of egg-laying surfaces. We witnessed plenty of spawnings (unfortunately no fry made it to adulthood) and she was rather enthralled with the whole thing until the breeding pair both died about a year ago. I tried to get her interested to seek out new species, or start again with Angels, or maybe another type of cichlid, but she found other hobbies and stopped regular maintenance. I would do most of the work anyway, but we were soon overcome with the worst case of green water I have ever seen. Nothing would work to clear it up - no light, new plants, massive water changes, even flocculents and chemicals. Nothing. (Strange because phosphate levels were near-zero but it was still Shrek-land in there.) So this summer when she was away for a few weeks I took the tank out of her room and emptied it out, and set it up downstairs where I could maintain it myself more easily.

I kept the black "generic gravel" substrate that we've had in there for years, and some of the annubius (nana and narrow-leaf) and crypts that we had in there forever, and the driftwood. I picked up some petite annubius on volcano rock, set it all up with a Nutrafin CO2 cannister with ladder diffuser and 65 W HO fluorescent and let it cycle for three weeks or so with the HOB Whisper filter with the same media as before.

The levels all looked great so I added 4 X otocinclus and 4 X ghost shrimp (three of which died immediately but the fourth is doing fine.) On Sunday I happened to be in a part of Long Island I don't often get to with a couple hours to kill so I checked out a new lfs that got some good reviews on Google. I picked up some glossostigma, HC, Nesea "Golden", and two apogeneton bulbs - a. madagascariensis and a. ulvaceus (both long time favorites of mine.) I did a bit of aquascaping and it is starting to come along. The bulbs are really dong great - it's not a high tank so I may have to move them to a different tank soon.

I think I need a big beautiful rock to stick right in the rear center, perhaps covered with Java fern or something else leafy and spready. The rest of the new additions are doing OK with the notable exception of the Nesea, which has basically gone straight downhill. I've been scraping the front and side of the tank but leave the green and brown algae on the rear glass to give the otos their food. I've never been successful at getting a carpet to spread on my substrate, so I'm hoping that between the glossostigma and HC I'll have success.

No idea what animalia I will add to this mix yet - probably a bunch of cherry shrimp and white clouds, neons or rummy nose but might be swayed by the kids to get something more exotic.
 

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