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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey, long time lurker but I feel I guess I will finally post my tank. Initially I had only .75 wpg!! I had tons of troubles growing stuff period, some stuff did slowly, but I finally upgraded to 2.5 WPG in October and recently added CO2 a week ago. There are a lot of things I wish were going better but learning the hard way is the best way to learn! The tank has been up since last Spring and has been moved from my home to college apt. once so far (will move back during summer). Just started using Hagen CO2 and hoping this will make things better for me. As the pics show, I'm suffering with some BBA, but with my new SAE and CO2 I hope it starts to go away! Without further to do, specs and pictures!

Size: 20 Gallon High
Substrate: Flourite + Sand, I only used one bag of Flourite + Sand, I wish I added less sand and more flourite, but oh well... It really mixed together as well, but it seems to provide a natural look.
Filter: Aqua-Tech (Came with Aquarium package from Wal-Mart)
Heater: All-glass Aquarium (Again, came with package)
CO2: Hagen Bubble Ladder + Mix (Will use DIY recipe when this runs out, or if I get sick of it and want more bpm)
Fish: 3 Yo-Yo Loaches, 3 Platys, 2 Guppies (going to donate to fish store soon), 1 Sword Tail, 2 Otos, 1 SAE, various fry soon to be transferred/eaten by fish. :p
Plants: Jungle Val, Anacharis, Java Fern, Radican Sword, Cryptocoryne Wendtii? (need confirmation!), Dwarf Sagittaria, Hornwort, and a pitiful Melon Sword.

PICS!

Tank before Java Fern + Sagittaria,


Tank after new plants, took out half of the hornwort and threw it away, I plan to trim the Sagittaria eventually, unless I just wait for runners and then remove the big ones. Advice?


Close up on crypt.


Picture of a pitiful Melon Sword, should I toss it? It's gotten a little better since the CO2, but I don't even know if I have room for it anyways.


Close up on Radican Sword.


Close up on Anacharis, it keeps shooting off roots, but has been growing great after my new light/CO2.


My thoughts:
1. The Jungle Val probobly shouldn't be in such a small tank as 20g high, but I kind of like the look and for now I'll just keep trimming (it grows so fast).
2. All that Anacharis grew from 2 pitiful little pieces after I got my new lighting, that stuff really can bounce back.
3. The Radican sword is a new addition as of less than a week, it really is quite small to be behind my driftwood, but if it grows correctly I'm sure it will be TOO big possibly in the future.
4. I am thinking of removing the hornwort for good, it may be blocking my light for other plants making it a slower process, I do like this particular hornwort though, it seems to be a really nice variety that I don't see in stores around here, I got it from back home.
5. That driftwood is huge! The size of it might be whats making it hard for me to come up with a design for the tank, but I am gonna try to make it work, at least my tank will be unique... :p
6. Sand is the biggest PITA, I'd recommend any newbies to planted tanks to NOT use sand until they are more experienced and use Aquasoil, Flourite, Eco-Complete, or something similar first.

Definitely not show quality, but I'd like to make it better. Suggestions greatly appreciated! I am not dosing anything yet (waiting for CO2 to stabalize), but I have Flourish and Plant Glo Iron, I plan to buy root tabs in the future.

Thanks!
 

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A couple of thoughts on your scape... Add more substrate and slope it up, front to back to increase the since of depth to your scape. It does not have to be fluorite but try to find something that is similar in color and grain size. Try positioning your driftwood vertically. Although it looks like it may be a tight fit. If it will not fit vertically position it more toward the back of the tank and deeper into the substrate. I would toss the melon sword and trade in the radican sword in for some moss, anubias and/or more java fern and attach them to the driftwood.

and on the ferts... Get that CO2 up. Try using two bottles with staggered starting times to smooth out the ups and downs of DIY CO2. You are going to need some macros (NO3 and P). Read the stickys in the Water Quality section and Rexs Guide for some quality info.
 

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Wow your Anachris took like that to the 2.5 wpg. If my plants grow anything like yours when I upgrade lighting then I will be so happy. I agree about swapping plants, adding substrate, and rearranging the driftwood. You got such a great start with plants and CO2 I think that it just takes some designing to get this tank up and running.
 

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Have you had any problems with sand getting sucked into your filter? I have sand in my convict tank and i was getting sand in my filter a lot and then it would stop not a good thing. i piled up a bunch of gravel under the intake and i haven't had any problems since =] Just wondering if i am the only person that has had this problem
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thanks for the replies.

Clone: Thanks for your advice, I dunno but to me that driftwood seems like it would look kind of funny standing up, but I will put it in the substrate deeper now. The loaches/otos all like to sleep/hide unerneath it so that's another reason I've left it somewhat above the substrate. Also, the driftwood will not sink unless it has a piece of slate attached to its right underside, even though it's been in the tank almost a year. Why should I trade in the Radican? I'm curious for your reason. NO3 = Nitrate... P = I assume Phosphate. For more CO2, I should start a second DIY setup? I thought just one would suffice. Thanks for your advice. Will order from gregwatson's when the site starts working for me...

James: It will, a good deal of the stems grow 1-2 inches overnight! I recommend you have CO2 going as soon as you get your new light, I had a huge algae boom from my new light and you can still see some of the aftermath.

typically: Haven't had any sand in my filter. I researched which type of sand to buy from stores like Home Depot and I think I picked a good grain size. Then again I got flourite all mixed in so that probably keeps it down. =p
 

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I had a radican sword outgrow my 58 gallon. You can leave it in, for now, but keep in mind that its time in that tank is limited.

My advice on the CO2 is to start one bottle then two weeks later (give or tank a few days) start the second bottle. That way as the first bottle is at the tail end of its peak production the second one is just warming up. By the time the first bottle is bottoming out the second should be peaking. Search the DIY section there are good threads with photos on how to set it up.

Regarding the fine sand. Once you start moving things around all of the fine sand will find its way to the bottom of the tank.
 

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James: It will, a good deal of the stems grow 1-2 inches overnight! I recommend you have CO2 going as soon as you get your new light, I had a huge algae boom from my new light and you can still see some of the aftermath.
I have a DIY CO2 unit now. My plants are growing very slow lol. I think they are just acclimating themselves so I am going to leave them. I cant wait to get my ADA Aqua Soil.
 

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everyone has to start somewhere, stick with it
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hehe I've had this tank for almost a year and I'm still hardly anywhere. Originally I wanted it to be low-tech, without CO2 or adding any ferts. Basically, this is pretty much now my learning tank, somewhere down the line I'll get another (when I'm probobly out of college...) and have it be high tech.

Clone: Ok thanks, yeah it probobly will get too big, I think I'll leave it in here until it gets too large, then possibly trade it in for other plants. Thanks for clarification on the CO2 instructions. I'll probably get some more flourite and put it all towards the back, having the front part of the tank more sandy.

badren: Thanks!

PS: Does anyone know what type of Crypt that is?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Update: 2/1/07

I thought I'd show you an update on the progress I've made. I've moved the driftwood back and farther down into the substrate, the fish are kinda pissed they no longer have a cave :p. I bought another Java Fern and re-arranged them around, trimmed and threw out a lot of anacharis, hornwort, and jungle val that was either covered in algae or just growing weirdly. I know it's not a HUGE update, but I thought I may as well post it. I plan to get more flourite for the back (I tried to slope it as much as I could currently) and just let that dwarf sag take off.

Tank Shot (Kind of from below, but the tank is in a hard spot to photograph)


Dwarf Sag


New and Old Java Fern (New one's leaves aren't the best but I am sure they'll get better)


Here's some bonus shots of one of my little Yo-Yo loaches sleeping on its side.


"I'm awake, I'm awake! I'm not dead!"
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Big update.

Well, I made a lot of changes and I feel like it's coming together a lot better now. Here's what I've done.

- Moved hornwort to another tank.
- Trade in the Radican sword and threw out the Melon.
- Changed from crappy pack-in filter to a Filstar XP1!
- Placed Seachem Flourish tabs near plants.
- Started dosing EI dry ferts. KNO3 1/8 tsp , K2SO4 1/16 tsp , KH2PO4 1/16 tsp 3x weekly
- Flourish and Plant Gro Iron 3x weekly.
- Used a DIY recipe for my CO2 mixture. (anona's)
- Took out and trimmed the Dwarf Sagittaria.
- Took off the small Java Ferns and attached them to the driftwood.
- Added an Anubias (Barveti?) and Didiplis diandra (I read that this needs high light, but I've noticed it has grown since I've gotten it.)
- Flipped the driftwood over and removed the slate.
- Moved the ladder by the outtake to hopefully distribute CO2 to the whole tank better.
- Gave the guppies away.



Still needs growing into, but I think its 1000% times better than before.

Here's some extra pics of the inhabitants.

"Frank" and a Red Platy


Red Platy


Big yo-yo loach saying hi!


Medium and small yo-yo loach.


Little SAE hard at work.
 

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Making some marked improvements, nice job. I love your yo yo loach :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Updates.

Alright, things have changed a little. The Didiplis diandra melted and died, seems like a pretty hard plant to grow (it probably didn't help that my loaches are so boisterous). I planned to not use the Dwarf Sagittaria and gave most of it away, but decided to put it on the right front corner instead of the Anubias (the Anubias started growing algae on the leaves due to direct exposure to the light and probably not enough CO2). I put in some Dwarf Hairgrass for the foreground instead since it seems to like a fine substrate and it has started to spread. I replaced the dead Didiplis diandra with a very small (4" long) piece of Wisteria which has now grown to be quite large.

I need some advice on what I should replace the Jungle Val. with. I was thinking maybe corkscrew val possibly, but that also might be too big. The Anacharis looks nice, but grows way too fast, and I'd possibly like to replace it with something else as well. Anyone have any ideas?

Well, here are the pics!

Wide tank hot.


Slightly closer shot.


Crypt. Undulata (I know for sure now!) Tons of little runners are growing now.


I put the Anubias to the left side of the driftwood, but I'm not sure if it's the best place for it to be, maybe I should place it farther to the right? Maybe even ditch it?


Anacharis looking darn good. I just threw out about 3x what you see here, and have a 5g filled with it...


Little Java fern plantlets growing very slowly.


The Wisteria piece I got was in a partial submerged form, and it's not finally growing quickly in it's emersed form.


Thanks for looking, and as always advice is welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
KNO3 1/8 tsp , K2SO4 1/16 tsp , KH2PO4 1/16 tsp 3x weekly
2ml Flourish, 2ml Flourish Iron 3x weekly

I have been getting some GSA on the glass every week, and some GSA (I think) on my driftwood as well, is that due to the lack of nutrients? I've been dosing kind of light in fear of algae, should I up my macros? I only add 1/8 tsp of KNO3 because of my high fish load (4 platies, 1 swordtail, 3 yoyos, 1 SAE, 2 Otos)

It could also just be since it's close to the top, it's getting a lot of light making it look more yellow?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
PerfectBlue: Thanks, it's an AGA 55w 24" Strip. Bought from Big-Als Online.

jebarj90: Heh well, it is taller than my aquarium can fit it in. But yeah it could look pretty nice in a higher aquarium.
 
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