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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all!

I'm new to the forum, but I've lurked for a bit. I thought I would start my tank thread first to show off what I'm attempting.

This was my inspiration


I don't have nice rocks, but I tried my similar but different (since driftwood will be my centerpiece) layout.

Full tank shot:


Close up of the 'scape:



Sorry about the glass, I've had my arms in there all day and I will have them in there more when the plants arrive so I didn't feel like cleaning it just for the pictures. The water is also cloudy because I has just finished moving things around. I also need to clean the inside of the glass.

Here is my setup:

Standard 29G Tank
Current USA 65W Power Compact 30" Dual 6500k lamps
1.5 Year Old Flourite Substrate
Rena XP2 Canister filter
DIY co2 (planned upgrade in a few months to pressurized)

Plans for the tank:

I want to grow a Dwarf Baby Tears (HC) carpet with dwarf hairgrass (Eleocharis acicularis) around the rocks and driftwood. Will have a school of cardinal tetras and/or some harlequin rasporas.

Would it be possible to keep shrimp in this tank as well? I would like to keep shrimp if possible as well since the tetras/rasporas shouldn't get large enough to consume them.
 

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Hey,

Thats great inspiration to draw from.

I will go ahead an parrot some of the advice I got in a very similar position. For the rocks, if you can get larger that would help. The hairgrass will be taller than the rocks you have.

I think you can keep shrimp without trouble with those fish
 

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29g tanks are a PITA to get a carpet going. Not saying it's impossible, but they are quite tall and the light reaching the bottom is a feat. Again, not saying it's impossible but 65W might not be enough to get it to carpet.

As far as the fish, I've heard that the rasboras will sometimes go after shrimp, but from personal experience I've never had a Cardinal Tetra go after a shrimp. They would likely go after any that are small enough to fit in their mouth so breeding them would be tough but if you get a carpet of the HC that might help increase chances of survival.

Also gotta agree with chaos up there; bigger is better. Even a carpet of HC alone would eventually choke out those rocks you have now. Your best bet would be to find a decent sized boulder and smash away at it. That way you'd have good sized rocks and they would all be the same type which is a big reason IMO why that first tank works so well.

If you haven't added any livestock, you might want to consider a dry-start for the carpet. I've had good success with dry-starting a carpet and then moving to a lower-tech level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the advice!

I really want to get a 4x24W T5ho fixture, I just don't have the extra money for another fixture right now. I do have a 24" 2x24 T5ho fixture for a 26g bowfront I don't have setup right now. I'll run both fixtures over the tank, I have a glass top so I don't need to worry about the 24" falling in...just won't have complete coverage.

I'm not entirely new to planted tanks, but this is the first time I have tried something like this. I have never had a carpet before, just anubias, vals, red tiger lotus, and a few other stem plants.

I will try to find a bigger rock, I live in the west virginia mountains so it shouldn't be tough to find a rock to smash. I'll go on an expedition this weekend to see what I can find! Everything I've read about cardinal tetras says that they like soft water and I know that limestone can make your water harder...should I try to find something other then limestone?

Its tough to recreate in a 29g because of the height and lack of depth. If I didn't already have this tank, I would probably buy a 20L...they seem to be a much nicer option for plants!

EDIT: also I just purchased a new 65W dual 6500k lamp for the light...I'm replacing a 12mo old 10,000k/6500k lamp, hopefully a new lamp (and the fact they're both 6500k...can FW plants use 10,000k light?) will allow more usuable light to reach the bottom. Also two of the legs of my current fixture broke off in a recent across the country move (to WV from Phoenix) so I have the light resting directly on the glass top without legs (lowered it about 3 inches.) hopefully that will help penetration too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My plants came in the mail today, I ordered them from aquariumplants_dot_com (spam filter blocked me cause of my low post count) because both of my LFS had CRAZY algae in their "plant" tanks...and neither of them sold either of these plants anyways.

Here is the HC planted, I have no idea if I did it right...first time ever planting this!


and the hairgrass, no idea if I did it right either!



Close up of part of the hairgrass


I decided to play it safe and put some extra light over the plants, especially while they're trying to grab hold and spread. I stuck an extra light I had on the tank just incase. There is now a 65W CFL and 2x24W T-5ho bulbs over the tank (113w or 3.8WPG). Hopefully they will penetrate enough to encourge growth! Here is my ghetto lighting job (the t5 fixture is only 24"...this is a 30" tank)


Also a FTS (again sorry about the glass...I'll get that wiped off eventually when I'm done sticking my arms in the tank)
 

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I think the planting looks fine. With HC I believe if its not floating away then its fine.

for the hairgrass I believe the idea is to keep it short, which will force it to spread horizontally. I dont have too much detail there, but I am pretty sure. Tropica, the european plant supplier has a good vid about planting that includes HC and hairgrass specifically http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44cDbR2YvK4&feature=channel_page
 

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That will be a nice looking tank, man. I'm really liking that piece of wood. Though I do agree with the others about bigger rocks, that wont be overtaken by growing and spreading plants.

Your planting seems just fine though. And I don't have any experience with CFL fixtures, but I wouldn't worry about it too much yet. I just set up a 29 for myself about a week ago, with quite a lot of eleocharis parvula, and I'm running a 30" Catalina Aquarium t5 HO light fixture with 2x24W staggered bulbs. The hairgrass is doing great too, and within two days nearly every node was sending up a new leaf. I also grow it in my 5.5g, with just a stock 14W t8 fixture, and it's been sending out runners fine. Though I only started with a bit in that tank. HC too, isn't too dependent on light; IME CO2 is more important for that plant. With too much light, you may just be growing algae.

If you can get more light to work for you, though, without any major problems, I guess go for it.

But really, nice start. I imagine it looking awesome filled in. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have gotten a HUGE brown algea (diatom?) bloom which I'm been scraping off the glass with an old credit card (can't find my razors!) also it looks as if the HC has gotten some sort of hair algea growing on it already? I have backed down to only using the one CFL light (65W) and I'm going to do some maintenace to see if I can get this sorted out!

Params:

pH: 5.5-6.0
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
GH: 6
KH: 2

My tap is GH 13, I have replaced about half the tank water now with water run through a Big Berkey water filter (tests GH 0 after running through it!).

I have a DIY co2 generator running two 2L bottles with a gatorade bottle for a bubble counter/expansion chamber. I'm getting about 1.5 bps through the system. It is being difused with a glass bell/ceramic disk difuser.

co2 recipe:
about 1.5 cups sugar
spoonful of protein powder
2 cups of old unfiltered apple juice (tastes terrible...keeping it around for the co2 until it goes bad!!)
bottle filled with water about 3/4 full

This tank has been running for about a month now, the gravel and filter were both used previously and still wet when I put the tank back up. I saw a small amount of ammonia on day 3, by day 5 the ammonia was 0 and nitrites 0 with some nitrates (tells me the cycling is completed!)


Sorry no pictures right now...

I'm still trying to find some good inert rock to add to the tank. I found a piece of sandstone, but it wasn't the right kind (melted in water) and everything else I can find seems to be limestone which I know isn't inert in water. Trying to find the right peice of sandstone/granite still for some bigger rocks.


EDIT: Thanks chaos for the link on the proper planting technique...I removed all the stone wool from my HC and put it just in the substrate partially burried by rocks. I've had about 2 peices float away but I just reburried them. It seems to have worked for the most part, leaving part of the wool would have been way easier though! Also from that video it looks like I might have to trim my hairgrass some. I've going to watch to make sure I definitely have growth before trimming it down.
 
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