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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
***UPDATES on 2nd page*** So I've had this tank up and running for 3 months now. I decided I'd post the whole journey so sit back relax and enjoy.

20H Tank(and some fish) I got from a friend welcomed me back to the hobby after many many years of absence. I used to bread tetras as a kid. Never had any plants. Another friend convinced me to dive in head first.

Light: Finnex Planted Plus 24"

Filter: Biowheel 150

Substrate: Mr. Aqua Aquasoil

Flora: Anubias Nana
Anubias Nana Petite
Jungle Val
Cabomba(RIP)
Dwarf Pennywort(RIP)
S. Repens
Amazon Sword
Brazilian Microswords
Java Fern
Blyxa Japonica
Assorted Bacopa variants
Christmas Moss
Japanese Moss Ball
Alt. Reinecki
Hygro angustifolia
Some other stems and a crypt

Fauna: 1 Boesmani Rainbow
2 tiger barbs
1 Buenos Aires Tetra(RIP)
1 Leopard Cory Cat(RIP)
1 Blue Paradise Gourami(RIP)
2 Nerites
2 Otos
2 Dwarf Gouramis
2 Amano Shrimp

01/27/14: Initial Setup



My driftwood was still floating. The next day some minnows were added for cycling purposes.



FTS of what my initial "scape" looked like:



01/29/14: Cabomba losing its leaves.






02/01/14: I add S. Repens, Anubias Nana, Amazon Sword.

Water parameters: pH 6.4, Ammo 4ppm, Nitrites .25ppm, Nitrates 5-10ppm.



Val is melting.



Closer shot of S. Repens. Cabomba still looks bad.


02/09/14:
Everything seems to be growing. Cabomba is making a comeback, although the bottom leaves are not.



And the first diatoms appear.



Water parameters: pH 6.0, Ammo .25ppm, Nitrite 5ppm, Nitrate 0ppm

02/17/14: Did someone say Jungle Mish Mash?!?

A fellow board member and long time friend RAK'd me with all kinds of goodies. There are no fish in these pics because the Friday prior to leaving for his place I did a water change and forgot the Prime. Never again! But he was kind enough to give me a few shrimp to play with until the fish I was being given arrived.







Shrimp!



Water parameters: pH 6.0, Ammo 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 40.

03/09/14: the friend who gave me the tank was moving out of state so he had some fish to give me as well. They were given to me on 02/27/14, but here's the first pics I took. As you can see, the Boesmani is quite large and probably too big for this tank. And you can notice I added some Christmas moss to the driftwood.



Blue Paradise Gourami



Water parameters: pH 6.0, Ammo 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 20. My parameters stabilized here and this is where they sit currently.

03/14/14:

Growth looks good. I believe I was using Excel at this point but can't remember. What's left of the cabomba is looking pretty good. All fish are healthy. I added the Nerites and Otos at some point around this time to deal with algae.



Blyxa is looking good. Sorry for poor quality pic. Should've turned off the filter. You can also see the crypt in this pic.



03/24/14: Weird white dots appear around the substrate. I'm assuming they're eggs of some sort. Any help IDing would be appreciated.



03/28/14: I do a cleaning and water change to prepare for a weeklong trip with nobody to supervise the tank. I put one of those slow release food tablets in there hoping that will suffice. The cabomba is on it's last leg and I end up removing it on my return.

You can see those white dots if you look closely.





*BONUS* 03/30/14: the friend who gave me the tank and fish got a new tank in his new place. Say hello to Chuck Norriss.



I return April 4 to a tank full of live fish. And a tank full of algae. It seems those slow release tablets might promote such things. Oh well. I do a 50% WC and Excel treatment and everything is ok. BUT, I have to move apartments on 04/12/14. This would prove to be a challenge. Most of my plants are doing well. But the s. Repens has seen it's better days and the microswords are just meh. It's not spreading. It collects all sorts of mess and I generally am getting tired of it. It's not doing what I wanted it to do. I should mention that I have not trimmed the plants at all. I'm sure that has something to do with it. All of the fish survive the move, but I believe my Blue paradise Gourami got a bacterial infection because her stomach got very large and ended up dying 04/20/14. A couple days later I got the male/female pair Dwarf Gouramis. I'm a big fan of them. And yesterday I woke up to my Cory with one eye bulging out of his head. He did not look well, was swimming erratically, and died later in the day. Not sure what could've caused either fish to suddenly come down with something and die. My water parameters are extremely stable. I didn't end up taking any pics of them while they were in these states so that's not helpful. All the other fish seem to be doing just fine though.

FTS as of 04/20/14:



The blyxa isn't doing so hot either, but I've reinstated an Excel regimen so that should help. Now that I'm all settled in the new place, I hope to nurse everything back to vibrant life. Still have those white dots. And here's a pic of my male dwarf gourami.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
:hihi: I forgot to ask...does anyone know why my Val is not growing at all? The guy in the store made it out to be the fastest growing, easiest plant to deal with. As have numerous posts on this site. I don't get it. Since the initial melt and trim, it has stayed pretty much exactly the same. No growth at all. I should mention I'm currently on a seven hour light cycle split into two photo periods. I've been dosing with Excel. I do not dose ferts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So this morning, I woke up, fed my fish, waited 5 minutes then dosed the daily one thread of Excel. When I got out of the shower my Buenos Aires Tetra was swimming erratically and didn't look good. I didn't notice anything wrong with him during feeding time, but then again I'm half awake when I do that. His belly near the gills was red(inflammed?) By the time I was ready for work, he was belly up. I don't understand what's causing the fish to die. I find it odd that they're croaking one at a time. This is now three fish in a week and a half. Any guidance would be appreciated. :help:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, all of the fish seem to be doing well now. Hopefully the deaths are behind me. I added some root tabs last night to try to spur some growth in some of the more stubborn plants. Planning on adding paintball CO2 setup soon, and going to start dosing ferts using EI method.
 

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Don't bury your anubias, attach it to an object like driftwood.

My american val took a while to get going, now it looks good.

I'd suggest a bunch of tall stem plants at the back- ludwigia is good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The rhizome of the anubias nana is above substrate. I thought that was what mattered. Basically, I have the roots weighed down by a small lava rock. I definitely need some more stems. And I'm thinking an overhaul in general, plant-wise. The bosemani is awesome. I'd like to get a larger tank for him though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thought I'd share a couple pics of my emersed setups. Nothing fancy.

HC, Bacopa, Anubias nana petite, some stem lol


HC(not going well in this setup), Anubias nana petite, java fern


I've got a beamworks led on both for 12 hours a day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So I recently received a RAK from thebuddha of a lot of Hygro angustifolia as seen below.


And here's the tank after planting. I did a cleaning and water change the next day, so hopefully they'll acclimate well. Hoping for some fast growers to take the place of my jungle val that doesn't grow at all. Well, it does grow runners but it doesn't grow tall. I left it in as well to see how the two compete.

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm overdue for an update. Here's some plant pics. I was battling algae as you can see, but a modified one-two punch did the trick.












Oh and I think these guys also helped. Two Amanos from the LFS.

 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So I decided to go the CO2 and ferts route. My GLA order and Han Aquatics order in boxing are below. The Han order was for my newly setup shrimp tank(journal soon to be posted)



The suspense!


Christmas in June!


The setup was relatively easy, so I won't get into that unless anyone has questions.













I got some of the glassware from a friend, but other than that it's all GLA. I'm happy with the quality of everything, though I'm not sure the needle valve is holding a bubble count. I'm holding off judgement for another week.

And FTS as of 06/09/14.

 

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what is the thing attached to the co2 tank in the 11th picture?? Is it a valve and solenoid in one?? Im looking for something for my tank im not too happy with the regular valve I have, would prefer something that I can set and forget.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
what is the thing attached to the co2 tank in the 11th picture?? Is it a valve and solenoid in one?? Im looking for something for my tank im not too happy with the regular valve I have, would prefer something that I can set and forget.
It's the GLA Atomic Regulator v3. Solid piece of equipment. Easy enough to setup. I'm on the fence with the needle valve. Either its not holding a bubble count or I'm a noob at dialing it in and counting bubbles....or both ;-) I'll be posting my thoughts on it this weekend.
 
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