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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This tank has been in the planning stages for almost a year. I have been slowly acquiring the necessary items and think I've finally got what I need. The biggest thing that has changed is the tank size. All of my planning has been for a 40 gallon breeder, but yesterday got the opportunity to purchase a first generation ADA 90p for quite cheap. I will be picking the new tank up today. There has been quite a bit of discussion recently about this tank in the posts on my rack journal.

Important Preliminary details, with a few thoughts or concerns added as I go-

Tank: ADA 90p, 48 gallons, 90cm x 45cm x 45cm or 36" x 18" x 18" depending on your country of origin so you don't have to google the conversion, like I do all the time. Math sucks.

Filter: I had planned to use an Eheim 2215, but now I'm not sure if this isn't too small for the new tank. I know the 2215 has enough media surface area for the 90p, jusdt not sure if I will need more flow.
Considering an Eheim skim350 surface skimmer. If you have one how much

Heater: Just realized I don't have one, there will be one. I almost always go with in oversized heater.

Lighting: I've not really decided on this yet, but it will almost certainly end up being one of my existing lights. If I decide I need more light, I will probably end up buying a cheap LED that isn't really a plant light but will add some brightness to the dark tannin-stained water. With that being said, my options are a 30" Coralife dual lamp T5HO, 24" dual lamp T5HO, or two 18" BuildMyLED. Honestly I probably will add a non-planted LED that I can run for a longer photoperiod than the plant light since this tank won't be super planted.

I was leaning toward the 30" T5HO, but I think Coralife was the only company to build a 30" T5HO and then not very many of them! The bulb availability freaking sucks. The fixture currently has two 6700K bulbs in it, but I'm not sure these are still available, as last time I looked, I think the 10,000K was offered. I definitely don't want to use 10,000K bulbs on this tank!

I will probably start with one of the lights I already own and then switch them around to see what I like best.

Substrate: Sand, most likely pool filter sand as I have a 50lb bag that has barely been touched. I was talking to the owner of my LFS recently and he mentioned having seen people having issues with high phosphates in tanks with PFS as the substrate. I haven't searched for info on this, anyone have any experience with it?

Hardscape: Manzanita, and lots of it! The goal will be to create a large number of line of sight breaks and areas allowing fish to be able to hide from each other easily. The larger number of female Apistos that I may be aiming for means that the number of sight breaks will be dramatically increased.
The tank will also include several of the small terra cotta/clay caves and "huts"

Plants: The plan is to go with relatively easy low light species of plants, though not specific to a certain area, region or even continent. Swords, crypts, val, and dwarf sag are all likely species along with a few Hydrocotyle species, and a number of floaters. Star Grass may be an option as well. I'm trying to stick with root feeders as I don't plan on any real dosing. The tank will not be heavily planted, I would expect that it will end up being moderately planted.

Current Plants as of 11/2/17:
Echinodorus angustifolia 'Vesuvius'
Echinodorus parviflorus 'Tropica'
Echinodorus peruensis
Echinodorus sp. ‘Xingu’
Echinodorus uruguayensis 'Red'
Helanthium quadricostatus
Helanthium tenellum ‘red’
Heteranthera zosterfolia
Hydrocotyle leucocephala
Leopard Val
Red root Floaters
Dwarf Sag

Livestock: I've been through a couple livestock plans for this tank but have pretty much narrowed it down. The most recent list came after the previous list was cut down to help support better odds of successful breeding for the Apistogramma species. This discussion is in my tank rack journal. I'm not sure the new, larger tank size is enough to really warrant an increase back to the original list. I will post both of them as I am still open to thoughts and suggestions.

So my original plan for stocking the 40b was:

2 pairs of Apistogramma urteagai

~25 Nannostomus trifasciatus - Three-lined Pencilfish

~15 Carnegiella strigata - Marbled Hatchetfish

2-3 L066 Hypancistrus sp. - King Tiger or Scribbled pleco


Now I think it is going to be closer to this:

2 males & 4-6 females of Apisto. urteagai

~25 or less Nannostomus trifasciatus - Three-lined Pencilfish

Along with one of the following options:

2-3L066 Hypancistrus sp. - King Tiger or Scribbled pleco- preferably a M/F combo
OR
10-15 Otocinclus

I'm sure most of you are not familiar with Apistogramma urteagai as it is a fairly uncommon Apisto species. A. urteagai is in the A.-regani-Group, resticulosa -Complex. Which from what I can find means that the males should be opportunistically polygamous. Species within this complex are small, <2.25inches for a max size. There are quite a few pictures of the fish I have currently in the previous linked rack journal, which can also be found in my signature. This Apistogramma will be the main focus of this aquarium. At this point, I'm willing to minamize the number of other inhabitants in order to make the Apistos happy and increase the chance they spawn. It is entirely possible that I change that in the future and just go for an nice heavily stocked blackwater community tank. As I stated in a recent post, I'm not trying to be an Apisto breeder, beyond as just a hobbyist but I enjoy seeing how the Apistos act throughout the spawning and raising fry stages. It would just be a bonus if I end up with a few fish to sell or trade with friends and other hobbyists.

Pics will be up as soon as I pick up the tank,
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Saving this post for prudent information and junk, bc that's what all the cool kids do, or some stupid ish.


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EDIT: I figured out what I need to put in this post... The details of how the tank has ACTUALLY been set up.

Here are the tank setup details as of 11/21/2017

Tank: ADA 90p, 48 gallons, 90cm x 45cm x 45cm or 36" x 18" x 18"

Filter: Eheim 2215, as well as an Eheim Skim350 surface skimmer

Heater: Fluval(?) 300W, will be replaced by a Hydor 300w inline at some point

Lighting: Flexi-M 36" dual lamp T5HO, Giesemann Powerchrome Aquaflora & Midday bulbs

Substrate: ADA Amazonia capped with Pool Filter Sand

Hardscape: Manzanita, and lots of it!
As well as two Cobalt Aquatics Apisto Huts and two Cichlid Huts.
Wide variety of Aquatic Botanicals: seed pods, leaves, stems and such. Mostly from Tannin Aquatics.

Plants:
Echinodorus angustifolia 'Vesuvius'
Echinodorus parviflorus 'Tropica'
Echinodorus peruensis
Echinodorus sp. ‘Xingu’
Echinodorus uruguayensis 'Red'
Helanthium quadricostatus
Helanthium tenellum ‘red’
Heteranthera zosterfolia
Hydrocotyle leucocephala
Leopard Val
Red root Floaters

The Apisto/Cichlid Huts are covered in peacock moss but have been hidden from view.


Livestock:
Otocinclus x 15 - not 100% on the species, I'll have to take a better look
Caridina multidentata x 2 - Amano Shrimp

This is the current plan for the rest.

2 males & 4 females of Apistogramma urteagai - I currently have these fish in a different tank.

12 Nannostomus mortenthaleri- Red Coral (or Red Arc) Pencilfish - These have been ordered from Arizona Nature Aquatics

10 marbled hatchetfish
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Johnson18's ADA 90p Blackwater Apistogramma Tank

Well, for some reason Tapatalk won't let me edit the first post. Actually, it doesn't show me anything but the last comment about the pics, which I added as an edit moments after the original post. Since the second post is saved for some unknown specific junk, I'll post pics here. Followed by some more random build and scaping thoughts.



So I didn't go pick up the tank today. No worries, I'll pick it up in the next couple days. My back has been killing me all day, it wasn't worth it to push myself to go pick up the tank.

Here are some pictures for those that may not be familiar with the fish I'm wanting to keep.

Apistogramma urteagai - A-35


Nannostomus trifasciatus- Three Lined Pencilfish

I've currently got one, yes just one, of these, it is in with my Dwarf Pencilfish. I've had quite a bit of time to watch it & I can't wait to have a bunch of them!



This is NOT my image, used from google. My single fish looks just like this though.

L066



Also not my image.

So for "aquatic botanicals" I have a whole bunch of stuff from Tannin Aquatics, 50 XL Indian Almond Leaves I just received, small IAL I buy from my Killifish club & alder cones I buy from the Killi club as well. I will have to constantly refresh my supply of these as the items begin to breakdown in the tank.

I also have a whole bunch of dried palm fronds and seed pods. These come from my Mediterranean Fan Palm in the back yard. I posted a thread about them a while back.





I'm still not sure how and where I want to use these. They are of the size that they could become overly dominant quite quickly in a tank of this size. I may have to end up sending them to the guys with the 75g blackwater tanks.

Thoughts on Wood:
I thought I had some pictures of the manzanita from when I collected it off a friend's property. It will take some time to fit it all in the tank. Currently, there is one of the three pieces sitting in the 40B in my garage & it takes up at least 2/3, if not 3/4, of the tank. The other two pieces are sitting elsewhere. I'm hoping to go back down to my friend's house to collect a few more pieces for several other tanks but I'd also like some smaller pieces to work with for this tank.

I will probably tie the pieces together with fishing line or zip ties so that all the pieces stay in their desired locations. I may even consider using some of the light diffusing milk crate stuff to attach the wood to under the substrate to better keep the wood in place no matter what happens.

Plants:
The more I think about plants the more I want to that the plants I use are able to grow well in decent substrate and proper nutrients. I guess what I'm thinking about here is using either a plant substrate or soil such as MGOPM in certain areas of the tank. This would allow me to create areas where the plants would do well. I think might be nice as it works to ensure that the vals in the back or the dwarf Sag on the edges of the front do well without having to take years to fill in an area in low light, low nutrients. It is still just an idea. What do you think?

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Picked up the tank yesterday! It looks pretty good, needs another wash. Thank you to Ben at Arizona Nature Aquatics for hooking me up with his ADA display tank from the old store location. I still can't believe I picked this tank up for what I did. I'm gonna spend more picking up a couple more 20's at the $1/gal sale for my rack. Ben was just glad that the tank was going to someone stoked to use it rather than to someone who was going to flip it for more money.

Unfortunately, it's still sitting in the back of my car, where he loaded it for me. I messed up my back pretty bad this weekend working. I've basically done nothing but stretching and ice all week, plus see my PT. I'll try to get some pics after I finish a biochemistry exam this morning, which will be the second class I've been to all week. The first was a biotechnology exam. I am not even going to try to get work done on this tank this weekend.


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Picked up the tank yesterday! It looks pretty good, needs another wash. Thank you to Ben at Arizona Nature Aquatics for hooking me up with his ADA display tank from the old store location. I still can't believe I picked this tank up for what I did. I'm gonna spend more picking up a couple more 20's at the $1/gal sale for my rack. Ben was just glad that the tank was going to someone stoked to use it rather than to someone who was going to flip it for more money.

Unfortunately, it's still sitting in the back of my car, where he loaded it for me. I messed up my back pretty bad this weekend working. I've basically done nothing but stretching and ice all week, plus see my PT. I'll try to get some pics after I finish a biochemistry exam this morning, which will be the second class I've been to all week. The first was a biotechnology exam. I am not even going to try to get work done on this tank this weekend.


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pics?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Since I can't move the tank by myself right now, you get pics in the back of my messy ass vehicle.







Like I said, it needs another bath. But overall is in decent shape.



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I would definitely go bigger than the 2215. I have one on my 24g cube and I still use a nano powerhead for co2 dispersion. Maybe get the 2217?
 

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I am in Phoenix 1/month for work- looks like I should plan a trip down to Tucson to see Arizona Nature Aquatics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Picked up an Eheim Skim 350 and a heater at the auction today, both for this tank. Along with the second trio of Apistogramma urteagai.

I was given an Eheim 2213 for free by another member. I might look at how I can switch around filters now to free something else up. Honestly, I just can't afford to pick up another 2217 right now. I've always over filtered my tanks so it is odd to be trying to scramble to put something together. I may consider swapping the impeller of the 2215 out for a 2217 impeller to boost the flow slightly.


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I've got a 2215 running on my 45 for the last 9 months/year and its' been no problem as regards filtration/flow . I don't have it overstocked with fish , though . Also it's a low tech tank , don't know how much a reactor would slow things down .
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I've got a 2215 running on my 45 for the last 9 months/year and its' been no problem as regards filtration/flow . I don't have it overstocked with fish , though . Also it's a low tech tank , don't know how much a reactor would slow things down .


Thank you for this info!! I'm not planning anything here but low tech. So definitely no reactor! I'm guessing that in the long run, this tank will be more on the side of moderate to low stocking levels versus heavily stocked. I'll probably leave out the plecos.


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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Where are we on this??


Well, the tank is at least out of my car and sitting on a dolly in the garage. lol.

I see my pain doc today, hopefully we can come up with some better options for my pain management. It would be nice to be able to do the stuff want to do, such as set up this tank or work on my 55, along with the stuff I NEED to do like school and work. Due to my pain levels I just had to drop 7 units, which puts me at only taking 10. I guess now that I've done that I'll definitely have some free time if we get my pain under control.

I have decided that I will be using the Eheim 2215, and Eheim Skim350. The 2215 has been running on my 55 as a second filter for more than a year, so I don't expect a super long cycle. The cycle will be increased some as I have decided that I will be using a small amount potting soil in specific areas, such as the back and sides, in order to get good growth of some plants like vals & swords.

I've been reading more about the biotopes of the streams and oxbow lakes in the Rio Madre de Dios area of Peru, where Apistogramma urteagai are from. While I DO NOT plan to have this be a biotope(bc matching fish sounds tedious, & I want pencils not Tetras), it actually kind of fits what I want to do with this tank.

https://news.mongabay.com/2005/11/exploring-freshwater-fish-habitats-in-the-rainforest-of-peru/


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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I will be doing my best to get this tank started over the weekend. I'm getting a bunch of plants from a friend & just placed another order with @Bartohog (who is my go to plant supplier!) which will mostly go into this tank.

I have decided to shoot for something similar to the oxbow lake biotope described in the link posted above. I will be planting leopard Val all across the back of the tank. Moving forward along each side will be a mix of swords, mostly E. parvoflorus & Echinodorus/Helanthium quadricostatus(I've seen both names, can't find which is the proper one.) The swords will fade into maybe some dwarf sag or Lilaeopsis brasiliensis. I may lightly plant across the front of the tank but I don't plan to place dirt under the soil as I will on the back & sides of the tank. I will also have some stargrass available as well as a little Hydrocotyle leucocephala to use in the tank.

I fully plan to still use botanicals. I've got a wide variety of seed pods, leaves, cones, and such. I will also be using a number of "Apisto huts" in a couple different sizes. I'll probably cover them in whatever moss I have extra of at the time, probably peacock or Java.


I've still gotta come up with a cheap yoga mat to chop up for the tank to sit on. I have a decent idea as where to get one.

The Apistos are really starting to look great. Putting on some decent size too. I'll do my best to get some new pics during meal time today. I thought I had some but they're all a few weeks old at least.





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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
This is great! Im doing a 60p Apisto tank!


I've got a brand new Mr. Aqua 60p that I need to set up. It will almost certainly house Apistos as well. Although, it will not be blackwater. The 20 gallon high tanks that I recently grabbed will be used for Apisto breeding/fry raising. They will mostly be a lot of leaf litter and not much in the way of plants. I look forward to seeing your 60p!


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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'm excited to see this set up. I am going for another round of nerve blocks on Monday. I refuse to kill myself popping those pain pills, but the nerve blocks don't last long.


Hope the nerve block works for you. I usually had more luck with the nerve block than the epidural injections. I hate having to take, and rely on pain meds. For me it is between pain meds, or not being able to get out of bed, sit upright in a chair, and basically be able to participate in my own life. I've done multiple epidurals, nerve blocks, been going to physical therapy for 4 years straight, pain management, and a major(L3-L5) back surgery. We've definitely tried it all, and now increasing to stronger meds is the option I've been left with. The goal is to be able to continue to build the muscle back up post surgery. I'm in my early 30s, I definitely don't wanna be on this [censored][censored][censored][censored] the rest of my life. Best of luck to you with your own back issues.


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