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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks,
This is my first planted tank. Our family had a small aquarium when I was a kid about 25 years ago, but my mom mostly took care of it. I guess it's a semi-reintroduction to the hobby.

The setup:
tank - fluval 45 gallon bowed
filter - fluval 207 canister
heater - some fluval automatic thing
light - fluval plant 3.0
co2 - co2art regulator and diffuser
substrate - 50/50 mix of sand and fine gravel
ferts: flourish, flourish excel, iron

This tank started up on the wrong foot. I purchased everything including plants on Saturday June 26. Unfortunately, the stand was missing a bunch of hardware, standoffs, etc, so I wasn't able to get it set up. I had to let the plants overnight in mixing bowls full of tap water until the LFS opened on Sunday to get that resolved. I think they payed the price in melt for this misstep, as you'll see below.

Sunday July 27 - Minutes after getting the tank planted and filled, it's a bit cloudy and bubbly:
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Friday July 2 - Melt sets in, anubias and these beansprout looking plants get hit the hardest by far. I trimmed the worst of it after this photo, not being sure what else to do:
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Wednesday July 7 - New life. I'm being swarmed by hundreds of hitchiking snails. I decide to dose the tank with copper. It's mostly effective. There's also this weird little fish thing that appeared out of nowhere, it seems to enjoy cruising in the current. Unfortunately he didn't survive:
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Sunday July 11 - not much happening. Decent plant growth, snails are somewhat diminished though it seems that the copper did not affect the eggs:
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Sunday July 18: More growth. The reds are starting to pop, and the trident is growing in really thick. I also added some monte carlo. You can also see that the beansprout things are starting to recover a bit - still quite a bit of brown near the roots but there is plenty of new growth. I have hope that it'll make it. I also added 7 neon tetras today:
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Thursday July 22 - Just posting another growth pic. The tetras are happy, and lots of these plants are starting to come into their own. I'm hoping to get to the LFS on Saturday for some shrimp and nerites. There's a bit of brown dust algae that tends to collect on the logs and plant leaves. I noticed that it dissipated quite a bit after my first 50% water change last week, but it's coming back again. I'm planning to do another 50% change before introducing more livestock:
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Goals: I would like to get a lush carpet, and moss covered logs. For livestock, I'm looking to stock several shoals of micro fish, as well as a bunch of nano shrimp and some cool looking snails.

As a newbie, I would really appreciate any criticism or feedback on the tank so far. Thanks for looking!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
As an aside, I would also like to replace the unsightly black hoses and filter inlet/outlets with glass and clear hosing. I'm just not 100% sure if regular tubing will fit into the fluval quick disconnect block on the canister. Also open to more aesthetic heater options. The heater is necessary as my tank and office is situated in the basement of a 100+ year old home - it gets cold down here in the midwest winter. Though, it may not be worth it, as the rimmed tank and cover is somewhat unsightly in general compared to the beautiful rimless ADA stuff folks here are running.
 

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Do you have a treatmeant that is working for removing the snails? I had to ditch all my snails after treating my planted shrimp tanks for planeria.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Do you have a treatmeant that is working for removing the snails? I had to ditch all my snails after treating my planted shrimp tanks for planeria.
I used seachem cupramine. Do note though, that this will NOT be compatible with your shrimp. As far as I know, this kills all inverts, including shrimp. It worked quite successfully at first, but I didn't get all the eggs, and thus I have more (though way less) snails in my tank. I don't believe it's effective against fertilized egg sacks. They suggest you remove the copper with either carbon or their proprietary cuprisorb (which I bought but didn't use because tested levels were zero after a week). What I did was pull the carbon element out of my canister, dosed it, waited a week, tested for zero, and then added new carbon.

I think if you have an established shrimp tank, you would want to run cuprisorb or similar in your filter for a few weeks to make sure the substrate is free and clear before re-introducing the shrimp. Seems high-risk all-in-all though. I was lucky to only have plants at the time, so I wasn't too worried. I've also been squishing snails every time I walk by the tank :/
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Tank is looking good. You should add like 15-20 more neons!
Thanks! I'm really enjoying it so far.

Update Sunday July 25 - I went to the LFS and picked up 4 amanos, 20 red neocaridina, one vampire shrimp, and two zebra nerites. It's so fun watching the amanos cruise all over the place, and the neos hanging around everywhere in the foliage.

These nerites seem terribly lazy, one sat in pretty much the same area eating, and the other crawled around a bit on one of the logs. However, this morning they were both just laying on the bottom on their backs. I hope they're alright..

Unfortunately, one of the neos didn't survive the transition, found him belly up on the substrate this morning. Some shrimp have been picking at the body here and there, but not very aggressively. Do you think I should remove the corpse from the tank, or just let nature take its course?

The vampire is in hiding, haven't seen him once since I put him in the tank. I even went rooting around in the hardscape this afternoon but I STILL couldn't find him. Hopefully I didn't do more harm than good.

Edit: I forgot to add, 2 of the neos are pregnant, so that's great! I might be a shrimp-dad before too long. I need to look into making the filter inlet shrimplet-safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Update Thursday August 5 - The growth here is getting pretty outrageous. Might be time for a trim, but I don't really know what I'm doing, it'll probably end up looking like a homemade haircut... The monte carlo is starting to fill in pretty well up front. I'm also getting some really nice reds near the top of the water column on a few of the plants. Also the java fern in the center looks like it's growing a baby on the top of one of the leaves. Can I just clip that off at some point and plant it elsewhere? Kinda weird, lots of the leaves on that one have roots stringing out from them.

Some of the stems are a bit leggy, wondering if I should consider upping my light duration or something. I have a pretty steep curve with a 15 minute ramp up and down, max light is on for 6 hours with the following mix, which was selected more or less arbitrarily:

  • pure white 100%
  • cold white 100%
  • warm white 80%
  • pink 84%
  • blue 11%
One of the neos let her shrimplets go, I thought I saw one, but haven't seen any of them since. Before that happened, I wrapped the filter inlet with some filter foam sheet and tied it with rubberbans. Very unsightly.. I think the nerites are dead. I put them in specific spots before leaving on vacation for 4 days, and they're still there.

Heading to the LFS tomorrow for some more livestock, I'm not sure what they have, but they're supposed to be getting some new stuff.

Still no sign of the vampire shrimp.

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Update Sunday 8/22

Neither of the nerites made it. The LFS said they had some problems with that particular tank, not sure what to say about that, a bit disappointing.

I've done some trimming, and replanting of trimmings. I'm thinking about trimming the monte carlo on the left side, as it's growing pretty thick, and I'd like to propagate it around a bit more to get a nice carpet going. I'm also thinking about ripping out that horrible plant in the front-center. When I bought it, it looked like bean sprouts embedded in a mesh of roots and wires, however due to the melting described in my first post - it looks like crap. Thinking I might just remove it and try to transplant some monte carlo clippings there instead. Really I'd like to get a nice, short, red, shrub type plant for a centerpiece there, but we'll see. The green stems on the left and right are still pretty unruly. I think I'd like to replant over time with something more reasonable, but as of now they seem to provide a pretty good hiding spot for shrimplets, which leads me to my next point.

It seems as though 2 of the shrimplets have survived, they are growing and seem happy. I've also seen about 5 molts, not sure who made them, but something is going on.

I've also introduced 6 harlequin rasboras (my wife calls them raspberries, which always gives me a chuckle). What didn't give me a chuckle, though, is that one of the more erratic ones jumped out of the tank while I was cleaning the canopy. I put it back in quickly, but the next day I found it floating with a bunch of shrimp having a buffet on its corpse.

Still no sign of the vampire shrimp - no ammonia spike, but with all the shrimp in here, that doesn't necessarily seem like a good metric to gauge whether or not it's died. These guys eat the molts over night.

I have some new livestock inbound - 10 blue bolt caridina, 2 bamboo shrimp, and one gold mystery snail. I would like to supplement current numbers by adding 3 more neons and 5 more harlequin rasboras. After that, I'm not sure, still trying to figure out the ins and outs of who will play nice with one another, particularly with the shrimplets. I'd love to find a shrimp safe loach, but I'm not sure that exists. Otherwise, I really like the look of CPD. As an avid trout fisherman, these look a lot like an ultra micro version of a brook trout. However, the shrimp status seems.. dubious. Pygmy cories are another option, but with all the shrimp, I feel like the bottom layer is pretty full and I'd really like something that hangs out high in the water column.

Additionally, I've stopped using excel after reading about potential irritation effects. I've started a new fert regimine using APT complete, and ditched everything else, so we'll see how that goes.

Anyway, enough rambling, here's a current pic:
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