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First tank; 40b dirt

1254 Views 5 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Exie
Alrighty, this is my first tank journal so bear with me :)

MY equipment is a 40 gallon fat tank, originally purchased because 55 gallons are too narrow, and I figured I wanted something wider.

Then I decided I wanted to emulate a hill stream for loaches. Silly me, I could sure use a narrow tank for that :p

So anyways, not only is this my first tank, its also a budget setup. I'm going to be attaching a sump via DIY PVC overflow. The sump will be a 20 long tank with DIY filtration and glass work.

RIO 2500+ sump return
Fluval U3 pump x2
Fluval stainless steel heater
Bag of Miracle Grow Organic Potting Mix

Not much of a list, eh?

Anyways, I'm doing a controlled cycle with Great Value pure ammonia, and will maintain a tank temperature of 82 degrees, lots of surface agitation and oxygenation. Trying to maintain 5-7 ppm ammonia.

This is what it looks like when you don't leach tannin out of your potting soil :p I guess I'm going to have red tank water until my ammonia cycle is completed.

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I never "leached any tannins" out of the dirt before tanking it and your right that's a lot of tea in that box LOL.
Rooted plants in large numbers from day one are a first order of business playing in the dirt. Floaters are also on my new tank list. Any plants at all in the tank?

Just my opinion but I would change water down to the gravel cap, refill and plant that sucker! Using a cycled filter 8/10 NPT's started here have shown no cycle ammonia or nitrite readings at all. Nitrate readings on a test took months with a full stock load to test positive.

Just as a planted tank is a different method from a fish only tank so is NPT.
I only have a few token plants from a 10 gallon that I tried a few months ago, and don't have the budget to start planting yet. So I'm just going to stick to a controlled cycle :p
Well I decided to stop fighting the shape of my tank; I'll do my east asian biotope at a later date in a tank more suitable in dementions.

For now, i've stocked with...

1x male beta
3x cory
x2 catfish??? were supposed to be 2 more cory
2x blue spot gourami
8x neon tetra
8x emperor tetra
1x glo-fish (again, wasn't supposed to be there)
1x bottlenose pleco
481x garden snails

A friend from dfwfishbox (my local website) gave me a bunch of plants from a tank of his where a filter died. They're a little melty (trimmed that right off!), brittle, and covered in red/brown algae... but they were free!

I'll post pictures in a bit. Any recomendations on more livestock for this tank? The beta will be removed to a 10g soon.
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Currently just running some shop lights with a wet/dry sump that has a DIY pvc skimmer.

Bala shark x2
panda cory x1
green laser cory x3
baby clown loach x3
small school (~9) black neon tetra
blue spot gourami x1
chinese algae eater x1
rasbora x3
serpae tetra x5
some kind of catfish... x1

I'm trying to fish out all of the tetras and chinese algae eater to take to my work. Since I work at a LFS, I get fish at cost.. and trade-in at cost. So I can basically swap the fish. I want to go with some micro fish, not sure which, to replace the tetras. Also will drop the gourami eventually so I can get shrimp and pygmy cory. I might get a school of tinwini danio, or I might just buff up the rasbora school.

Getting a Milwaukee ma957 co2 system by the end of the month; and some real attachments for my pump return (right now its using a suction structure from an internal filter lol). I've also been looking into AI SOL Nano lighting system; it seems pretty amazing.

Anyways, picture time!

Full tank shot

Left side... some plants have spots because I trimmed dying stems - removed the rot - and replanted the leaf. Roots are growing, but slowly.

Right side. Jungle on one side, mountains on the other with some Texas holy rocks. I'm not proud of the scape, but the fish seem to love changing sides and exploring. This also makes it really easy to play with the rocks; the fish love it when I relocate even the smallest stone.

This is my first gourami, I've had two others. They both died for various reasons, and now the original just hides in his caves, staring at his reflection. Poor guy is probably depressed.

Top of the water... no agitation, but plenty of oxygen in the water. I'm running about 500 gallons per hour circulation. Once I have more obstructions in the tank, I'm picking up circulation pumps. Also, very clear :)

Aaand the sump. Its off to the side for easy maintenance. I use R.O. with "Planted Fresh" buffer. The sump dumps onto a bag of Purigen, through the pre filter media, onto the box of bioballs, then underneath is a small bag of carbon. In the return I just have a bubble wand (pumping out O2 "rated" for a 125 gallon tank) and the pump.

Sorry for the dinky phone pictures. It's all I have; I'll learn to use it better but can't guarantee much without a nice lens
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Ultimately, I'm going to tear this tank down, add some glass work to turn it into a sump with an in-line refugium, and move it to the bottom. It's stand is a rack designed to hold two tanks. Then, I'm going to buy a 65 gallon tank (same foot print) and put it up top with ADA Aquasoil. Hopefully I'll have this accomplished by the beginning of summer.
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