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hoa's first high tech tank - 30 gallon

1378 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  hoa101
Updated 11.08.2009

10.19.2009 - Just before new plants arrival and first major trim.

10.09.2009 - Starting out.

-------------------- Original Post Updated for Accuracy -----------------------

Hi, I thought I'd start out on the forums by getting a tank journal going for my first high-tech aquarium. I learned everything about how to handle it from It has been running for a few weeks, but I am only now getting all the flora and fauna together.

Tank: AGA 30 gallon 36"
Filter: Eheim 2217
Lighting: Nova Extreme 79w T5-HO - getting giesemann bulbs soon
Heater: 150w
Substrate: Flourite Black Sand
Chameleon Drop Checker
Pressurized c02
Hagen Mini Elite Diffuser

EI Dosing Regime

For now, I am treating the tank as a "learning" tank. I am planning on a 90g as my main tank, but first I need to buy a house!

R. Rotundifolia
Ludwigia Repens
Ludwigia Glandulosa?
Didiplis Diandra
Heteranthera zosterfolia
Hemianthus micranthemoides
Alternanthera reineckii
Echinodorus tenellus

9 Rummy Nose Tetra
2 Apistogramma agassizi
3 Otos

----------------------- Original Photos ---------------------------

Now for some pics! Hopefully the plants continue filling in well so I can get a better scape.

Acclimating the Apisto's earlier today

What a handsome little chap. I love these guys.

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This will turn out well. Remember, scissors are your friend, and stems love scissors:)
Beautiful apistos! And a nice plant selection, that should be a nice tank.
Those Apistos are gorgeous!
Thanks for the kind remarks! Things should shape up even better once I get the Ludwigia in there.

I'm looking for a little advice from some veteran apisto caretakers. I managed to feed them by giving my rasbora some hikari micro pellets, then dropping in a bunch of frozen (defrosted) bloodworms. The Apistos sortof roamed around the bottom, pulling the bits off the substrate or plants, etc.

People have said that rasboras are too aggressive of eaters for things to work out easily. Will the apistos come to the surface to get flakes/pellets once they are less shy? I can always take the rasboras back to the LFS and get something that would work better.

The main problem is that dropping in all those worms results in overfeeding unless they find every piece. Maybe the solution is to get off my butt and order some amanos.

Thanks for any help.
Your tank really started out very nicely. How you like the Flourite Black Sand?
I really want to see how it looks when the plants fill in and when there are more fish. Good job!!
The sand seems okay. It was that or Eco. Might try the Eco next tank. It is fairly easy to plant in, and doesn't seem to have a tendency to "compact". The granules are not uniformly sized, and most are probably as big as pool filter sand.

Rinsing is very important. I probably overdid it, but my water was clear within 30 minutes of filling, so it paid off. I used a bucket, a bath tub, and a pillow case filter. A hose might have worked better, but the maintenance man would have strung me up.
I had to pull out the Nanjenshan today and removed all the melting leaves - almost 75% of the stem. I don't think shipping this plant did it any favors. Hopefully they recover and live to catch up with the rotundifolia that is starting to take over the tank already.
So, thought I would finally update.

First, scaping in a 12" wide tank is horrible. WAY too narrow. I am kicking myself for not getting a 40 breeder. Live and learn I guess. For a learning tank, this will do.

Things have changed quite a bit in any case. The HC was removed due to being overcome by algae. Instead I will propogate chain swords and pull them out as they get too big.

I determined that my lights were simply too close. I have moved them to 24-25" above the substrate, which is still probably around 60 PAR at the substrate (estimate - reflectors aren't as good as catalina, tek, etc). Algae problems have been nil since then.

I added some new plants and am in the process of growing them out. The background plants are not really "background" just yet. Should take another couple months of pruning and growing to hit the tank's peak. The DD is about due for a trim, as it is outgrowing the Ludwigia behind it.

Rummies are my favorite fish yet. What an amazing bunch to have in a small tank! They never quit from dawn till dusk. I am salivating at the thought of a large school in the 90g I am planning to get eventually.

Another bonus, I have not lost any fish despite people saying how hard they and the otos can be to acclimate.

Here are a couple additional pics.

Ludwigia and DD

Oto! His poor tail needs some time to grow back yet.

These guys are so great, but nigh impossible to get a good picture of. I need to acquire a remote flash.

Male Aggie. He is so fierce! He thinks he can take me...

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