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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Current Tank Specs:

- 29 gallon glass tank
- Handcrafted stand and canopy
- Pool filter stand substrate
- Found driftwood
- Two 26w 6500k CFLs
- Aquaclear 70 filter
- Petco 100w heater
- Petco power head (unsure of details)
- DIY CO2 (two 2-liter bottles, diffused via power head)

Current Flora:

- Java moss
- Windelov java fern
- Amazon frobit
- Crypts (C. wendtii green and red)
- Jungle val
- Water wisteria
- Water sprite
- Pygmy chain sword

Current Fauna:

- 5 otocinclus (Otocinclus vittatus)
- 7 kuhli loaches (Pangio kuhlii)
- 2 dwarf puffers (Carinotetraodon travancoricus)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
February 6th, 2012: Introduction to the tank!


Here's a full shot of the tank. It's nothing too special yet. I apologize for the glare from the window.



The beautiful stand was made by my talented pap out of scraps from his woodworking shop. It's Frankensteined out a few different types of wood. He's not happy about the piece that goes horizontally under the drawers, but it was the only piece of scrap that fit. I don't mind it at all.

The drawers are very nice and hold food and other small supplies. The cabinets beneath them are designed to hold two buckets and larger tools/supplies.




My first project was a lighting upgrade! My dinky light that came with the aquarium hood just wouldn't cut it, so I dug out an incandescent hood from an old 10 gallon tank in my mom's attic. I hacked it up myself to fit (kinda) over my hood and screwed two 26w 6500k CFLs in there. It just kinda lays there for now, but my dad is working on a DIY light to hold 3 bulbs.






I received my AC 70 filter just last week! I was so excited! I chose this filter because puffers are known to be quite messy, so my filtration will be generous. I hooked it up by myself and chose to leave the carbon out in favor of a chunk of filter floss (rinsed polyester batting from my craft room). I love it!




I also set up a DIY CO2 bottle. I used one to start with. I will add another next week and refresh them on alternating weeks to keep the CO2 steady. Nothing too fancy here. Just a bottle with standard air tubing (and a check valve) that I put right in to the filter intake.






Also this week, I did my first scape! I purchased a small pack of plants from someone on the puffer forum that I frequent. I'll be able to get more soon! See the first post for the current plant list.



The forest:


The hidden cove (even though it's not hidden yet):


The mountain:


The... I don't have a good name yet:



Are crypts supposed to lay down like this, or is it because I just got them and they aren't feeling at home yet?






That's all for now. I'm waiting on an order of ferts from RootMedic. They should be here before the weekend, and I couldn't possibly be more excited!

I'm also on the lookout for inexpensive plants from my wishlist. Hornwort, water sprite and wisteria for now.

Thanks for looking. Any and all comments, questions, and critiques are more than welcome. This is my first adventure and I want to make sure that everything is as perfect as I can make it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I just realized how bad the water looks. It's perfectly clear! It just looks weird from my power head. I have it set to spew bubbles for Mabel. She loves them.

(Plus all of the crap that I need to vacuum up!)
 

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Looks good so far. If you are still looking for more water wisteria (hygrophyla difformis), let me know. I may have some in a week or so.:icon_smil
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you both for the feedback! I really appreciate it. I know that I can get better! I'd really like to fill in the back especially with some thick stuff for the puffers to hide in (and maybe to cover up the unsightly plumbing)!

Hedge: Hopefully this spring! It all depends on how soon I can get my hands on some taller plants for the back and have them grow in nicely. The general rule for keeping more than one DP is that if you can see the back of the tank, it's not planted enough! That's partially why there isn't a background yet.

Cableguy: I am still looking! Do you think that a nice bushel of that would look good at the right side of the tank in front of all the plumbing?
 

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Thank you both for the feedback! I really appreciate it. I know that I can get better! I'd really like to fill in the back especially with some thick stuff for the puffers to hide in (and maybe to cover up the unsightly plumbing)!

Hedge: Hopefully this spring! It all depends on how soon I can get my hands on some taller plants for the back and have them grow in nicely. The general rule for keeping more than one DP is that if you can see the back of the tank, it's not planted enough! That's partially why there isn't a background yet.

Cableguy: I am still looking! Do you think that a nice bushel of that would look good at the right side of the tank in front of all the plumbing?
It would look good. That stuff will grow like a weed in your tank too. You can also look into some other stem plants as well. Myrio mattagrossens is another good one that will fill in the back nicely. Hygro sp. angustifolia would look good. Pretty much any Hygro you could get your hands on. You can also look into taller crypts and stuff like that. There are a ton of plants you can do. Shop around a bit and keep your eyes open wide. Lol. Start looking at all the taller tanks on here. Good luck and keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Got some Jungle Val from "travisk" and I couldn't be more excited! The plan is to put that at the back of the tank as a background. When that fills in, I'll see experiment with different papers for the back of the tank and see what looks nice.

Cableguy, I wrote all of those down so that I can watch out for them! Tell your wisteria to grow so I can snag some of it!
 

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Got some Jungle Val from "travisk" and I couldn't be more excited! The plan is to put that at the back of the tank as a background. When that fills in, I'll see experiment with different papers for the back of the tank and see what looks nice.

Cableguy, I wrote all of those down so that I can watch out for them! Tell your wisteria to grow so I can snag some of it!
Lol. For sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I got home from dinner this evening and took a seat in front of my tank to feed Mabel and take nightly inventory of the goings-on in there.

Lo and behold, what do I see? A dozen little java fern plantlets staring at me! That's right... the java fern at the far right of my tank, in front of the heater and below the power head, has teeny tiny plantlets sprouting on her fingertips. I am SO excited!

But it doesn't stop there... oh no. Two new leaves poking their little heads out of the sand in the middle of my two crypts! The other leaves are starting to perk up, too.

It has been roughly two weeks since I've had everything planted in the tank, and 4 days with CO2. Everything is greener, growing nicely, and my water is crystal clear. Mabel loves to play in the moss, too.

My ferts and jungle vals should be here this weekend. My next update will be a bunch of pictures with the vals in their new home!
 

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Wait until the java fern plantlets reach about 2 inches. The leaves I mean. Then pull them off gently and tie them to something. Then trim off the mother leaf. If you don't, it will rot away anyway.
 

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Trim off the places where the plantlets were, you mean?
You should be able to pull them off pretty easily. If the leaf that you take them off of is turning brown, then you should trim the leaf off, if not you can leave the leaf. If you wait long enough, they should come off without a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I think I'll do my first RAOK soon, then! Try to help out someone just starting out like me. I know it's a common plant, but someone has to need some!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
My jungle vals came in the mail today and I am SO thrilled! They are amazing! I'm waiting for the water to clear up after all of my digging around before I take pictures and give a full update.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Here we go! Second official entry in my tank journal!

Full shot of the tank, even though I neglected to turn the ceiling fan light on for better lighting. (Also, I finally hung the new painting that my grandma made for me for Christmas, between the ones she did last year. But that's another story.)





As mentioned earlier, this week's changes included planting my new jungle vals! I planted them as a wall along the back of the tank. I really like it!





You may have noticed something different about the tank. Aside from the lovely new wall of vals, of course. I decided that I wasn't happy with the driftwood in the middle of the tank. I found a rock that makes a nice little cave to replace it and moved the ferns and moss to the rock instead. I like it much better! It's also another place for puffs to hide.





I feel like my plants are really enjoying the CO2. Both of my crypts have sprouted new leaves! I only have a picture of one, though.





And the moss on this pot has really taken off!





My ozelot sword is another story, though. It is SO fragile! There was a bit of a siphon-related accident. A leaf got sucked in and did some real damage! I wonder if it will heal. If not, I'll just have to hope that new leaves come in soon!





Anyway, that's all for now!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I am getting so antsy regarding this tank! Itching to get my ferts delivered so I can feel like I've really "started", but I've also been putting a lot of thought into a background.

By the time everything is filled in the way I want it, I don't think too much of a background will be apparent, but I do want something. I don't like black or the standard dark blue, but I did see a light blue that I liked.

I'll get the paints out this week and do a few experiments on paper to hold up at the back of the tank. I'm thinking of some sort of color graduation. Dark bottom to lighter top. We'll see!
 
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