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Reboot - Freshwater Reef 2.0

2567 Views 26 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  N7QL
After having issues with my last build I broke it down. I learned a lot from that build that will help in this build.
I don't have a tank yet but I am looking for something in the 29 to 45 gallon range. I will use about an inch or 2 of soil with an inch of somewhat coarse sand on top for substrate. I will also put some rock on top of the sand layer. Hopefully this configuration will prevent me from getting into the soil layer when planting cuttings or plants that have root balls already.
Right now I have a 6 gallon tank and a 2.5 gallon. I am using those to breed ghost shrimp and mts. I also started some small greenwater cultures. I should have a tank within the next few weeks. By the time I get the tank and build a stand for it I should have some greenwater ready for ghost shrimp larvae. I am going to start an infusoria culture soon both for said larvae and for breeding neon tetras or guppies.
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I ended up getting a 45 tall and built a stand for it. I just have to make the doors for it. The tank is up and running.
This tank is dirted but not like the last tank. I just had far too much dirt in that one and it just didn't turn out like I hoped. I am using a good bit of sand though.
I decided to go with guppies and otos this time around. I might get a single male dwarf gourami as well. I also have some ghost shrimp that are doing well in another tank. They will end up in this tank once it gets a bit more established. Right now I have seven guppies in the 45 and a few plants. I have Anubias Nana which dropped its leaves within a day. The bases look almost completely dead however there are some new roots growing. I have an Amazon sword and some Windelov Java fern which are doing OK though the emerged leaves on both plants I imagine will drop soon. Then hopefully the Java ferns will propagate since I have a large piece of driftwood to attach them to. I also have some native marginal plants that will grow out of the tank. I will try to get some other natives in there also soon. I want to try water irises and maybe some grasses as well. Of course I also want totally aquatic plants like cabomba, ludwigia, and others.
I will try to take some pictures later and post them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Some pics of the tank. I also got some new marginal plants today as your can see in the second pic. I desperately need to do a 50 or so percent water change so it is the perfect time for adding plants.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Right after the last post I made I planted the plants that were in the picture waiting to be planted. In this post are pics of right after I planted everything and a picture from a few hours later. It is amazing how fast plants can take nutrients out of the tank. Today I can see the bottom leaves on several of the plants are starting to die off but they are plants that are growing above the water. I intend to add more background plants once the bottom leaves die off.
I have also added ghost shrimp from my culturing tank to this one and they are doing well. I have seven guppies and some ramshorns. There are also MTS but of course they stay mainly in the substrate. I also have an infusoria culture and a greenwater culture going for any larval ghost shrimp or guppy fry that come along.
I would love to have RCS also but I don't know that they'd survive between the ghost shrimp and the guppies. I am pretty certain my ghosties are palaemonetes paludosus. I would like to hear from anyone who has experience with keeping palaemonetes paludosus with rcs or similar sized shrimp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I messed up and posted the wrong pics so here are the pics of when I first planted everything and about four to six hours later.

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The driftwood pieces I had floating in these pics have been removed in favor of smaller pieces. I have also added some rock and small pieces of sticks that have been submerged a while. I will take some new pics soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
As expected my Amazon sword has started dropping its emerged leaves but it is growing a new leaf. There are a few of my native plants doing the same with any leaves below the water line.
I was fortunate my wife was checking out Craigslist and found someone who was giving out starts of ludwigia repens rubin. He gave me two decent sized plants. Much to my surprise there was a 1/4 inch or so of cabomba with a tiny root. There were even two guppy fry that looked female to me but I will look at them closer during the day today.
I ended up doing some additional aquascaping and while there is more to be done I already like the looks of this tank than any I have had thus far. As part of the aquascaping I ended up moving the Amazon sword a bit. Pics will be coming later today or tomorrow depending on how busy things get.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The hardscape is done but I am looking to add more plants over time. The ones that need to emerge are dropping their leaves below the waterline but they are doing great above the water. Some aren't doing as well though. I will pull them out and replace them with cabomba once it grows enough to take cuttings from. The same with L. Repens. The sweet flag is doing well and it is starting to produce runners. The fish and shrimp are doing well except for one guppy that hugs the bottom. I do 10% water changes each day as well as 50% changes once a week. I plan to get a few more guppies eventually as well as some more ghost shrimp. I might get a dwarf gourami down the line but it isn't carved in stone.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Last night I had a guppy die. That's the bad news. The good news is that the two baby guppies that hitched a ride with my L. Repens are doing great as are the other fish. The plants are doing well and I am seeing new branches on some of my native plants (which I still need to identify) and some are producing new babies. Now the lighting in this build is decent but it won't keep reds, golds, purples, etc. This weekend I will be getting a Viparspectra v300 that when combined with my Beamworks DA 6500k should give great PAR compared to what I have now. I was able to get one light held for me but I just found out I will be able to get a second one if the current owner will hold it for me as well. Each light has a 2'x2' footprint at 24" off the bottom. The tank is 24" tall so it will work out nicely. I will build a canopy to attach the lights to. I also have an idea that may or may not work but I am all about experiments. I have started culturing cyclops, ostracods, scuds, and the like. My idea is to build a space in the canopy for a mini fuge that I would top off from the tank I am culturing them in now. I would run a drip line down to the main tank which hopefully would be full of the aforementioned creatures. My hope is that the fish get some live food and that I could get at least a small population started in the main tank. The fuge/reservoir would have to be small though so that if worst came to worst and the whole thing emptied itself into the tank there would be no mess to worry about. So here's to hoping I can get the second light from the owner. She had three as of last night and whatever happens I will get one for sure. I didn't think I would get the money for two of them in time for Saturday but I got it much faster than I anticipated. Once I get the light(s) I will update this journal and post some pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I knew I would face it sooner or later but hair algae is starting to get established. It is only on my ludwigia repens and Amazon sword. The other plants have little to none. I assume it is due to the fact that part of the plants without gha are emerged so they get more co2 and light than the plants that are totally submerged. I have plans to get co2 soon. I have a 10 lb cylinder already. I just need the regulator, tubing, and diffuser and that will be taken care of. My current lighting is a single beamworks DA 6500k 52 watt led bar. I keep the whites on for 8 hours and the blues on about 12 hours. We have an issue with our van though so I might not be able to purchase the lights after all. If not it isn't the end of the world. It may actually be a good thing because whatever is causing the bloom has to be addressed first. I have been researching the EI method and I will likely use it for this tank. I know that either too many nutrients or not enough nutrients may also be the culprit or at least a culprit. I only have 8 guppies, about 10 ghost shrimp, and a dozen or so snails of various types. This tank is a 45 gallon. It is dirted but only a little bit in front with about an inch or so toward the back and along the left side of the tank. I have a good bit of sand on top, especially where there is more dirt. I don't have the tank heated since it stays at 74 degrees even with the air on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I got the viparspectra lights on Saturday and began building the canopy to house them. Today is the first full day with the new lights. I knew they would make a difference but my plants are pearling again and more than I have ever seen. The algae has stopped pearling for the most part though there is a swath of algae under the center brace that is still pearling but not like it had been. If I am getting this result without co2 I can't wait until I do get it. I will get more pics later but this pic is the most dramatic. Incidentally this plant is not algae covered. It has hairy leaves and stems. Snails practically live in this plant though they don't seem to nibble at it. The brown spots on the leaves are snail castings. I will be doing my weekly 50% change Wednesday so all the snail castings will be cleaned off of them then.


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Well I messed up last night and while things have stabilized it cost me the ghost shrimp in my main tank and about half my snail population. It may yet cost me two guppies I got as hitchhikers with my L. Repens "Rubin ". I decided to spot treat the stubborn hair algae areas on the hardscape since trying to take it out and redo it would have totally crashed the tank. I got aggressive with the h202. I used a turkey baster and hit the large rocks that make up the "hill". I had the filter off during the hour after I started the treatment. About 30 minutes after I restarted the filter I lost two shrimp. I watched things for a couple more hours and the other 4 shrimp, all the fish, and all the snails were acting normal, including the baby guppies that were born yesterday morning. This morning I got up around 7:30 and found all the shrimp moving erratically, the snails dropping off the glass and rocks, and one of the two hitchhiker guppies semi-gasping and hugging the ground. I did the quickest 50% water change ever. As of now the two hitchhikers look better but they are not 100% yet. I still have some of my snails left which is good. I have a couple other tanks I can pull snails from thankfully. I also have a tank dedicated to breeding ghost shrimp so eventually I will pull some from there. The adult guppies don't seem to have been fazed and the babies seem well though a few got eaten it seems. I am down to 6 babies from the 11 that were there this morning. At least the hair algae is dead. It was getting into everything even with manual removal, leaf pruning, etc. I let my impatience get me and while the losses were nowhere near what I thought they'd be; any loss of life is serious to me, especially when it's my fault. I will go back to the general h202 treatments that were working safely though not for a few days at least. As a rule I don't feed heavily for the stock I have but once in a while I do feed extra for the sake of the inverts. Like maybe once every week or two. Co2 is sorely needed in this tank. I am working feverishly to get it done. I have tried diy co2 and I know it is almost worse than no co2 at all. That said I will look into it again in case there is a way to make it more stable than when I last tried it.
 

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Well I messed up last night and while things have stabilized it cost me the ghost shrimp in my main tank and about half my snail population. It may yet cost me two guppies I got as hitchhikers with my L. Repens "Rubin ". I decided to spot treat the stubborn hair algae areas on the hardscape since trying to take it out and redo it would have totally crashed the tank. I got aggressive with the h202. I used a turkey baster and hit the large rocks that make up the "hill". I had the filter off during the hour after I started the treatment. About 30 minutes after I restarted the filter I lost two shrimp. I watched things for a couple more hours and the other 4 shrimp, all the fish, and all the snails were acting normal, including the baby guppies that were born yesterday morning. This morning I got up around 7:30 and found all the shrimp moving erratically, the snails dropping off the glass and rocks, and one of the two hitchhiker guppies semi-gasping and hugging the ground. I did the quickest 50% water change ever. As of now the two hitchhikers look better but they are not 100% yet. I still have some of my snails left which is good. I have a couple other tanks I can pull snails from thankfully. I also have a tank dedicated to breeding ghost shrimp so eventually I will pull some from there. The adult guppies don't seem to have been fazed and the babies seem well though a few got eaten it seems. I am down to 6 babies from the 11 that were there this morning. At least the hair algae is dead. It was getting into everything even with manual removal, leaf pruning, etc. I let my impatience get me and while the losses were nowhere near what I thought they'd be; any loss of life is serious to me, especially when it's my fault. I will go back to the general h202 treatments that were working safely though not for a few days at least. As a rule I don't feed heavily for the stock I have but once in a while I do feed extra for the sake of the inverts. Like maybe once every week or two. Co2 is sorely needed in this tank. I am working feverishly to get it done. I have tried diy co2 and I know it is almost worse than no co2 at all. That said I will look into it again in case there is a way to make it more stable than when I last tried it.
Last I looked into DIY co2, I wanted to try citric acid and baking soda. Sounded more stable to me. After a few attempts of other methods I ended up with compressed co2 though. So I never did get to try it. But I am thinking about trying it anyway on a shrimp tank that I got started. It would benefit a lot from a little co2 as it's a 10g tank. I'll watch this thread to see how your DIY co2 goes plus I really like the tall tank thing you have going. I want to see how someone else does it.
 

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Well I messed up last night and while things have stabilized it cost me the ghost shrimp in my main tank and about half my snail population. It may yet cost me two guppies I got as hitchhikers with my L. Repens "Rubin ". I decided to spot treat the stubborn hair algae areas on the hardscape since trying to take it out and redo it would have totally crashed the tank. I got aggressive with the h202. I used a turkey baster and hit the large rocks that make up the "hill". I had the filter off during the hour after I started the treatment. About 30 minutes after I restarted the filter I lost two shrimp. I watched things for a couple more hours and the other 4 shrimp, all the fish, and all the snails were acting normal, including the baby guppies that were born yesterday morning. This morning I got up around 7:30 and found all the shrimp moving erratically, the snails dropping off the glass and rocks, and one of the two hitchhiker guppies semi-gasping and hugging the ground. I did the quickest 50% water change ever. As of now the two hitchhikers look better but they are not 100% yet. I still have some of my snails left which is good. I have a couple other tanks I can pull snails from thankfully. I also have a tank dedicated to breeding ghost shrimp so eventually I will pull some from there. The adult guppies don't seem to have been fazed and the babies seem well though a few got eaten it seems. I am down to 6 babies from the 11 that were there this morning. At least the hair algae is dead. It was getting into everything even with manual removal, leaf pruning, etc. I let my impatience get me and while the losses were nowhere near what I thought they'd be; any loss of life is serious to me, especially when it's my fault. I will go back to the general h202 treatments that were working safely though not for a few days at least. As a rule I don't feed heavily for the stock I have but once in a while I do feed extra for the sake of the inverts. Like maybe once every week or two. Co2 is sorely needed in this tank. I am working feverishly to get it done. I have tried diy co2 and I know it is almost worse than no co2 at all. That said I will look into it again in case there is a way to make it more stable than when I last tried it.
Sorry to hear about the loss but I think a lot of us have been impatient at least once. :( The only thing you can do is move forward and learn from previous misstakes :) Thank you for sharing your journey and I must say your tank looks great! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you. I have since divided the L. Repens into 7 different pieces and replanted them. I also rearranged things a bit and pruned dead growth. I will post a pic once I get a chance.
 

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I almost forgot to post this but there is good news however small it may be, but there are actually still 9 babies not just 6. I know there will be plenty more but Still I want these to make it. Both hitchhikers are still alive as well. I will be pricing co2 cylinders today. I know I should go for the largest cylinder I can afford but what sized cylinder would last a high tech 45 for a year or even 6 months? If anyone can let me know I'd appreciate it.
 

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I almost forgot to post this but there is good news however small it may be, but there are actually still 9 babies not just 6. I know there will be plenty more but Still I want these to make it. Both hitchhikers are still alive as well. I will be pricing co2 cylinders today. I know I should go for the largest cylinder I can afford but what sized cylinder would last a high tech 45 for a year or even 6 months? If anyone can let me know I'd appreciate it.
Sooo many varables ...
I get about 2 months with a 5 pound bottle on a 45 gallon tank, so I think you are getting about the right amount of time. CO2 isn't expensive, it is just inconvenient to get. That is a good reason to use the biggest bottle that will fit where you put it.
20# seems reasonable.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
After pricing different size cylinders it turns out that a 5 lb cylinder would cost 90 bucks empty. The 20 lb cylinder would be 165. I think the 20 pounder is a no brainer. However by the time I get everything I need for the whole setup it will be 300 bucks. Fortunately I can get the cylinder, regulator, etc over the next couple of months. I hope they will do the test and that it passes but this cylinder is ancient. I have had it almost 3 years now but I suspect it's at least 20 years old. It has many stamps on it but it is not in any format I could find online. The person I spoke to said he would be able to tell whether or not it would work by looking at it. I assume he meant whether or not it would be worth the hydrostatic testing. We shall see but if all goes well I can get the test and get it filled for 50 dollars. That would be huge honestly. I am going to get a single stage needle-valve regulator first so I can see if there is still gas in my cylinder. I got it for 10 dollars because it supposedly had no gas in it but I turned the knob slightly and I got a hiss so there is still some gas in there. How much is another story. If the pressure is low I will have to get it refilled sooner rather than later. I won't risk an eot dump just to save 50 bucks. Either way I hope to have the whole thing up and running by New Years Day including the 20 lb cylinder. Hopefully I will have co2 started around the first week of October. In the meantime I will be lowering the photo period the tank is getting. Hopefully the new babies will produce a good amount of co2 once they grow up. There are only nine right now but there is a second female who should give birth any time now. I did some research on diy co2. I was hoping there was a new method that was stable enough to make it worth trying temporarily but there isn't. Hopefully between the reduced photo period and the (slightly) higher amount of co2 from my baby guppies and soon to hatch baby snails I will be able to get the algae under control and still get healthy plant growth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Unfortunately my pregnant female guppy died rather unexpectedly. Thankfully she hadn't been dead long when I found her. On a positive note my two hitchhikers are doing real well. They are swimming together again like they usually do rather than hanging out on top like they were. All the other fish are doing well. The snails are doing well also. I bought two ghost shrimp to put in the main tank and though I didn't see them tonight they were doing good last night and I believe they are in hiding. I will be getting more once I see these two are doing well for a while, say a couple weeks from now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
I decided to divide a few of my plants. I did a bit of rearranging as well. I moved some of my shorter plants toward the front. I also took my Windelov Java ferns and attached them to a rock much like one would do with coral frags. I knew some babies were growing on the dying leaves but there were at least 6. I left most of the babies attached to pieces of the leaf they came from. Things in general look good as far as fish health goes. I have several guppies that had fin rot when I got them but their fins are growing back. Plant wise it doesn't look like much yet but I already have some ideas I am working towards. Let's just say even the rocks will have plants when all is said and done. I covered the large rock that the Java fern rock is sitting on. The idea is to black out the algae under the sand and also give me a place to grow some shorter plants. I might even try some moss on one of the larger rocks. The pictures I attached show the current state of my tank and the Java fern rock. BTW the reddish color in the pics isn't as red in person.

Water Vertebrate Light Pet supply Organism
Plant Vertebrate Natural environment Window Purple
Light Plant Purple Organism Pet supply
Plant Purple Organism Terrestrial plant Underwater
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Tonight I dipped a few more plants and took one out that was headed south. Many of my plants are cuttings from marginal plants. In some cases they were already rooted even if only slightly. The grasses were well rooted and are among the most successful non-tropical plants in this tank. The plants I dipped got divided and replanted. They had a lot of algae on their leaves but they had plenty of good, new roots. The dip lasted about 3 minutes. The solution was 3 parts water and 1 part h2o2. I also replaced my dead female guppy. This one is a silvery white with black and orange dots on her body. Her body is highly reflective. She seems to particularly reflect the blue in my lights. I got my water tested today. My nitrites were just detectable but I did a 33% water change. I will get it tested again soon. No detectable ammonia thankfully and everything else was where it needs to be. As far as co2 goes I took a closer look at my 5 lb cylinder and I am not sure it will pass the inspection. There is a good bit of rust on the neck and I don't doubt there's corrosion in the threads. I might just skip trying to get this cylinder tested. That's 50 dollars toward the 20 lb cylinder and everything else I need to get set up. The good news is that I just scored some water lettuce which I will pick up this afternoon. That will both shade my non-floating plants a bit and take care of excess nutrients, hopefully to the point of out-competing the rest of the algae. It may be worthwhile to use diy co2 as well once the tank is shaded by the water lettuce. I will try to get the regulator at least this month. I will still try to get the 20 lb cylinder asap. Even if I have to wait until January or even February at least the plants I have should be really healthy. As for DIY co2 I will do a yeast/sugar mix and possibly gelatin. I will also try something I read about online that should keep the diffuser much cleaner. The article calls for the standard 2 bottles then calls for a third bottle filled with water. The bubbles from the 2 bottles go through the water leaving the residue in the water and not in the diffuser. Now the article also calls for citric acid/baking soda. I will try to find a link to the article and post it if it isn't against the plantedtank.net tos.
 
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