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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is my first semi-large tank. I currently have a 10G planted that I will use all of the plants from in addition to the plants I have bought on our S&S (thanks TexGal!). I will also be transfering the fish from my 10G to get this 50G started while I redo my 10G with MTS and PFS.

I have my Rex Griggs style reactor already inline with my CO2 inlet blocked until I get my tank filled. Just wanted to do a bit more research before hooking it up.

The driftwood is Mopani in case anyone is interested.

Dimensions:
48 x 13 x 18 (same as 55G only 2" less tall)

Substrate:
Mineralized Top Soil topped with pool filter sand

Lighting:
2 x 24" 19W T8 factory fluorescent fixtures with 15W bulbs
1 x 48" 56W T5 Coralife Fixture with 1 28W 6700K bulb and 1 28W Colormax Full-Spectrum bulb
I may be swapping the full-spectrum bulb later per our lighting guru's advice (Hoppy)

CO2:
10lb tank with regulator, needle valve, and reactor (not yet hooked up)

Ferts:
EI dosing with ferts from GLA (thanks Orlando!)

Filtration:
Marineland Magnum 350 canister filter with DIY spray bar across top of tank

Heater:
Marineland Stealth 200W


Updated stock:
20 Rummy Nose Tetras
1 Neon Tetra
4 Tequila Sunrise Guppies
6 Ottos




Sorry for the low quality camera phone pics. I will get more once it clears up. It has only been full for about 2 hours so far.


Any and all comments are welcome.



Cloudy shot of the front



Top of tank



My reactor
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
All the plants from TexGal and my 10G are just hanging out in the tank now.

All of the plants from the 10G seem to have a death grip on the gravel from their old tank, any recommendations for getting it loose without damaging the roots too much? I tried waving them around under the water, but they just won't let it go.

I will begin planting once I get the other 2 packages I bought from S&S so I can get an idea of how many plants I will have to work with.


 

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Unless they are Ferns or Anubia's I wouldn't worry about removing the gravel, just bury it under the new substrate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
3 are Anubias and 1 is a Java Fern. Should I just cut the parts of the roots that are holding the gravel?
 

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If you will have enough roots left, the plants should recover just fine. You don't want to bury Anubias or Java Fern roots though. You should attach them to drift wood or rocks.
 

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Only separate them from the gravel if you need them in smaller clumps. That way they will never know they have been moved! :D Trimming back roots doesn't really hurt the plants you listed as they store food in the rhizomes, but if you don't need, to why bother.

How long will you have to wait for the other packages? If it's a long time you might want to just stick the other plants down temporarily so they won't grow all crooked. You'll be that much farther ahead.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I should have the other packages sometime this week so they shouldn't be that way for long. Most of the Anubias are sitting on the bottom, I guess weighted down by the gravel.

I kept those Anubias for a while in my 10G and I never knew that anubias weren't supposed to have their roots buried. I will look into how to handle them before I plant them again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
When I got home today I noticed 2 of my 4 "Mystery Snails" were lying on their sides for a long time. When I looked around for the others I found one clinging to the top of the spray bar out of the water. The other was pushed against a piece of driftwood.

I moved them all 4 together in a small group and havent seen them move since.

What could have killed them? The MTS or sand, maybe? The rest of the stock seems fine.


Stock:
5 Tequila Sunrise Guppies
4 Ottos
1 Male Betta
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I added 12 Neon Tetras and 3 more Ottos last night.

Current stock:
8 Neon Tetras
4 Tequila Sunrise Guppies
6 Ottos
1 Male Betta

This morning I had lost 3 Neons and 1 Otto. I think it was stress from being in the 1 Gal tank all day while I was at work.

I decided to go ahead and plant everything, pics below. I still have more on the way so it may change a bit soon.

I also noticed while planting that lots of air pockets were being released, so I poked all over the substrate to get rid of as many as I could. Is there a chance this has something to do with my snails dying off? And maybe some of the fish, too?







Right side




Left side
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I just lost another Neon Tetra

That makes a total of 6 fish in the last 24 hours and 2 days earlier I lost 4 large snails at once.

What can be causing this?

tested params:

pH - 7.0
Ammonia - 0
Nitrites - 0
Nitrates - 0

The only thing I can think of is the substrate, but my 10G is using MTS from the same batch as my 50 and the same PFS.


Edit: Temp has held stead between 76-77 F and the tank gets 6 hours of light max per day.
 

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Were those new fish from the pet store? Delicate fish like otos and neons are apt to just up and die with a move, especially if they start with less than optimal health.

What is your water temperature?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Current temp is 76.6.

The ottos were all in my 10G at the office, but spent about 6 hours in a 1G "temp tank" when I added the new Corys to that tank. The Neons made the same trip, but were new from the pet store.

But the guppy didn't; nor did the snails so I had kinda counted the "stress killed them" theory out. I made sure to acclimate them very slowly because they had been acclimated to the 1G tank already and I didn't want to stress them further.


Edit: just to add, I kept an airstone in the 1G almost the whole time they were in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Another Neon bites the dust. Total death toll = 7 fish and 4 snails.

It has to be something in the tank, right? could it be hardness??? GH/KH or something? I don't know anything about hardness.

This is the first tank I have set up with this tap and my tank at work with identical substrate and similar fish is not having any die-off at all...
 

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how long have your tank been running? Where did you buy the fish? did you quarantine the fish? how did you acclimate them?

Sorry for bombing you with questions but they can help determining whats wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The tank had been up for just over a week when the fish began acclimating.

They acclimated over the course of 3 1/2 to 4 hours. The first 1/2 hour was just temp matching, then I introduces a small amount of tank water (10-10%) and every 1/2 hour or so after that I added more tank water in increasing amounts. At the 3 hour mark I emptied the bags and added almost 100% tank water.

Fish came from Petco, no quarentine :(

Edit: Please, ask questions, critique, point out the error of my way. All input is welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
As of this morning there are only 3 Neons alive and one of those isn't looking too good. I am still looking for 2 of the bodies.

The remaining 6 Ottos seem fine.

I use Prime to dechlorinate and I do not use ferts or CO2 yet, that was supposed to happen in a week or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I noticed that all over the substrate were small "swollen" humps, so I went to smooth them out.

When I touched the humps lots of bubbles came out, some of them actually had very large pockets of air. When these bubbles hit the surface they kinda stunk. It wasn't sulfur but it was similar.

I also took out what appeared to be cyanobacteria. It was about 1/2" around and I pulled it out with the sand underneath in one scoop.

Is it possible that I have bacteria growth creating pockets of gas? These pockets were not present before.


I also found the other Neons body while doing this, so the death toll is now at 9 fish with number 10 on his way out the door.
 

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That's a very nice tank you got there!

Sadly though, what you are describing is actually, your substrate going anaerobic...The best course of action I can recommend is tearing the tank down and starting over with gravel or a very thin layer of sand you stir every few days or week...

HTH,
Kenny
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks, I spent a lot of time planning and researching before actually setting anything up. I am starting to think that sucking it up and just paying the cash for a brand name substrate would have been a better idea. Or maybe just straight PFS and dry ferts right off the bat.

I made a thread with a pic and vids of the bubbles thinking that was the problem after researching air pockets.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/g...0-air-pockets-substrate-killing-my-stuff.html


If it doesn't go away soon (with MTS and poking) then I may just be tearing the whole setup down. Unfortunately, I have a 10G at the office with the exact same substrate setup and if I must tear them both down I will have nowhere to house the fish in the meantime.
 

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Diana Walstead - who wrote a book about MTS tanks (basically)... recommended not using sand as it increases the chance of exactly this happening... especially if there is a lot of organic matter in the soil (which is like junk food to bacteria and hence results in high demand for oxygen).

Best to cover the soil with no more than 1.5" of gravel.

Sorry for your losses.

I learned this the hard way too... but have set up tanks with soil that have done really, really well by following diana's principles.

using sand makes it really hard for gases to exchange - unless you have a lot of crypts and amazon swords day one which root very quickly and their roots help to stop the soil going rotten.
 
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