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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everybody! I'm not really an online forum person, I usually just lurk, but I'm going to attempt to make a journal about setting up my planted tank. Hopefully I will keep it up. :grin2: I tried a planted tank once before but it wasn't a very good attempt, and I gave up for a while and did some more reading. Now I think I'm ready to start again, and I've spent the last two weeks putting together my new 29 gallon aquarium which I can hopefully keep from becoming overrun with algae.

At this point it's mostly planted and all two of my fish were transferred over, one betta and one peppered cory. I also added four more corys for my lone guy. I have a few more plants arriving in the mail (Brazilian Pennywort, Staurogyne Repens, Bacopa Caroliniana, and Blyxa Japonica). I'm also really digging the foxtail I got so I may try and find more of that... not sure what the scientific name is, it doesn't look like Hornwort to me at all but obviously I am no expert! At this point it's just an experiment of what will survive in my tank, and then I will work with what grows well. :smile2:

I did a 2" potting mix substrate capped with 2" of black blasting sand. I am planning on dosing lean EI using dry ferts from NiloCG--I read that I don't have to when using soil as a substrate, but that doing so could promote the longevity of the nutrients in the soil as the stem plants would take more nutrients out of the water column? We will see how it goes; it will probably take some experimentation and mixtakes for me to figure that part out. I'm also dosing Excel daily. I have GH booster on the way because I'd like to add some shrimp in the future, and don't want them to have problems molting because I believe my GH is a little low for them.

I have a Finnex Planted+ on my tank, on four hours - off four hours - on four hours, as I've read in a few places that this can give the plants access to more carbon as a mid-day siesta lets the CO2 build up in the water. I feel like that will make more sense once I add the rest of my fauna, but I am hesitant to add anyone else at this point in time because my soil is leeching small amounts of ammonia still. I also like the siesta because then I can enjoy the tank with the lights on when I get home from work! lol I have lily pipes on a Fluval 206 cannister filter, and a small Koralia powerhead in the back.

According to my API test kit for the last two days:
Ammonia: 1.0 ppm
Nitrite: 0.25 ppm
Nitrate: 10 ppm
pH: ~6.2-6.4
KH: 2
GH: 5

I have added prime to keep my fish safe (though really they don't seem bothered; all very active and happy), but can the plants still use ammonia after binding with whatever it binds to in Prime?

If I attached them correctly, there should be a picture of my tank (water is still a little cloudy since it's new), a picture of the Corys enjoying a shrimp pellet for dinner, and the betta my husband named Pescado Azul :icon_roll trying to horn in on the Corys dinnertime.

When the tank is ready I plan to add some more fauna:
Undetermined amount of Amano Shrimp
Undetermined amount of RCS
~12 x Rummy nose Tetras
Maybe a few more Corys; they're very lively in a planted tank!

OK. I think that's it. Guess I will update some other time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you everyone! I will definitely give an update on the mid-day siesta. :) I'm pretty sure I came across it when reading about Walstead tanks?

Today I did three back to back 50% water changes to keep ammonia down as it went up to 2ppm. I'm worried that the high ammonia combined with the fluctuating CO2 levels from the more frequent water changes will cause an algae bloom, but maybe the Excel will be enough to keep on top of it. I don't want to hurt my fish by not bringing down the ammonia though. :(

I also discovered my tap water has 0.5ppm ammonia! So, it's currently down to about that after the water changes. I don't think it will be an issue once my tank is a little more mature and the soil has stopped leaking, as I am trying to do a jungle-type tank and the plants would probably be able to take care of it, but I'm not liking it right now, lol.

I also picked up five malaysian trumpet snails to help aerate the substrate since it's on the thicker side. Hopefully they won't breed out of control. If they do I may have to pick up a couple loaches in the future.
 

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Question about the small ammonia? Is it possible you are being confused by the way Prime " locks up" the ammonia? It is my understanding (subject to correction!) that Prime deals with chloramine treated water by breaking the bond and then coverts the ammonia to ammonium. Ammonium is far less hazard to fish, considered safe but the test kits we use will show it as ammonia. So you can get a false ammonia test if you have chloramine treated water. Always low levels but still showing, perhaps?
I go this way with tanks and fish. If it is something that I feel remotely possible to harm the fish, I deal with it as a priority and then for algae, I just kind of assume there will be some and I will deal with it. Can't say that it is something I plan to ever fully avoid as it is kind of like the flu. I get it, so I deal with it! I would not want to risk that pretty blue boy just to avoid an algae fight!
I might want to do some extra to get those shiny white roots down under the sub a bit more. Tricky enough to dig a small trench with one finger and tick them in while using another finger to cover them? A bit easier at times is to hold them down while trickling a bit more sub on top.
I like to use a soda bottle with the bottom cut out and filled with sub so that I can get it down to the bottom and use a finger to let it out where/when I want it. That avoids the big dirt cloud if I do it slow and easy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Question about the small ammonia? Is it possible you are being confused by the way Prime " locks up" the ammonia? It is my understanding (subject to correction!) that Prime deals with chloramine treated water by breaking the bond and then coverts the ammonia to ammonium. Ammonium is far less hazard to fish, considered safe but the test kits we use will show it as ammonia. So you can get a false ammonia test if you have chloramine treated water. Always low levels but still showing, perhaps?
I go this way with tanks and fish. If it is something that I feel remotely possible to harm the fish, I deal with it as a priority and then for algae, I just kind of assume there will be some and I will deal with it. Can't say that it is something I plan to ever fully avoid as it is kind of like the flu. I get it, so I deal with it! I would not want to risk that pretty blue boy just to avoid an algae fight!
I might want to do some extra to get those shiny white roots down under the sub a bit more. Tricky enough to dig a small trench with one finger and tick them in while using another finger to cover them? A bit easier at times is to hold them down while trickling a bit more sub on top.
I like to use a soda bottle with the bottom cut out and filled with sub so that I can get it down to the bottom and use a finger to let it out where/when I want it. That avoids the big dirt cloud if I do it slow and easy.
That is a possibility with the Ammonia--it's been a while since I've looked into how Prime works. But, then I think my tank would not have tested lower right after a large water change if it was just the Ammonium showing up, correct? And it did go down to 0.5 after my change (which is what my untreated tap water tested at)? Maybe I'm wrong though, it's been a long weekend :laugh2:

I will try poking the roots down some more tomorrow though, thank you for the advice! :grin2:
 

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Yes, on the long day! Just a heads up on the testing and maybe getting a false item to worry when it is just kind of one of those things to not worry too much if we get the good bacteria working, it tends to take care of it and we don't see it. Sometimes, I feel like I get too nervous at things that I should just roll with.. but I do read lots of folks who get a small ammonia reading and it seems to be from the ammonium, rather than a true ammonia reading.
thing to store in the old mind sometimes.
 

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Thank you everyone! I will definitely give an update on the mid-day siesta. :) I'm pretty sure I came across it when reading about Walstead tanks?

*SNIP*
NuclearMuse, I recently finished reading Walstad's treatise - you are correct, she does advocate the mid-day siesta. This is to allow a CO2 rebound when the tank is dark. She recommends a 5 hr lighted - 4 hr dark - 5 hr lighted cycle for a total of 14 hr regimen for good growth. I plan to put my tank light on a timer to achieve the cycle.

Looking forward to seeing your results!

Best regards!

CB
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well I've rearranged things a little bit over the last couple weeks, and have been doing water changes about every other day to keep ammonia and nitrite down. Ammonia now reaches 0 24 hours after a water change, nitrites are high now so the cycle is getting there!

All of the water sprite in my tank now are baby plants that I got off the ones I purchased, and they're much greener and healthier than the mother plants. I planted a few along the back so I'm waiting for them to grow in now. I left 4-5 little babies floating at the top for my betta, he loves to sleep in them. Also I have a friend who's inheriting my old ten gallon so I'll probably give her one or two of the floating guys for her tank.

I added 3 more cories last week, so now I have 8. I thought one died a couple times but s/he's apparently just unsociable and great at hiding because I saw all 8 swimming about after today's water change. They're so cute, they like to swim against the current by the powerhead like they're racing.

I have some really minor diatoms and BGA. I moved powerheads etc. around so I *think* I improved circulation enough to head off a big BGA outbreak, and dosed some extra KNO3 to see if that helps. Hopefully my tank will finish cycling soon so I can get some ottos in there to help clean up the diatoms.

I added a Chilensis, and another red tiger lily. My first one is HUGE now! It puts out a leaf every other day!!

I also replaced the big chain sword on the left with two of its runners (there were at least ten :surprise:) because getting in there to prune old melt was the worst. So far they're doing well.

Hygrophilia was in the emersed form I think because it melted reaaaaaally bad. But I see new leaves and roots on 2/3 (one I had to pull out because it just discintigrated lol) so I'm hopeful! I put a few Blyxa in but it just discintigrated into a huge mess, too... :( Sad, because I really liked the way it looked. I have one stem of S. Repens that held on though, and it's got cute little new leaves at the very top, and some roots!

I also plan to add a CO2 tank this week. Originally I wasn't going to, buuuuut I've decided I'm going to go for it because I think I have a lot better understanding of how to use it now. Though it's clearly still going to take some trial and error. I work right next to an AirGas and I talked to them last week so I think I'm going to do a 5 lb tank with an inline diffuser. I ordered a regulator off Amazon ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07C6HKTN6/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 ) and I am hoping it will work out. Couldn't bring myself to spend that much on the GLA regulators.

I also got some hefty wire and a velcro strap to secure my CO2 tank because I have cats and house rabbits, and I don't need anybody knocking it over and creating a high speed rocket and crushing/gassing themselves to death. :icon_eek:

"It's gonna be low maintenance," I said. "Don't want the plants to grow too fast!" I said. But I really just want to try all the things, and CO2 gives me another toy to play with. :grin2:

P.S. - pardon the glare from the lamps in the picture. And the chunk of GH Booster that clumped and landed in the sword :laugh2:
 

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Looking good. CO2 isn’t my thing - I’d just keep going as you are. I understand the desire to play, though. Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I got my CO2 tank all hooked up last weekendd. I think I've got it tuned to a pretty good range--my drop checker is almost yellow (though I haven't moved it around the tank much; I've been mostly going by the fish's reaction). But I may try increasing it a little bit again next weekend while I'm here to watch them, and move my drop checker to another side of the aquarium.

I added 7 Otocinclus to the tank 8 days ago, and 5 are still alive! I thought that I'd lose more since people are always saying that they are hard fish to keep. They hang out on my driftwood a lot, and really helped clean up some of the diatoms on my glass and some plant leaves. So hopefully, I'm not speaking too soon and they will continue to do well!

I also added five Amano shrimp this last Saturday and I believe they're all still alive... And they're a lot less shy than I thought they'd be. They aren't scared of anything and just waltz around my tank cleaning up as they go--I'm hoping they'll hang out in my foxtail and clean it up a lot because it collects detritus really easily. Although I really don't like how the "high tech" foxtail looks as much as the whispy little low tech growth it had when I bought it. I may look into some other feathery plants to try out and see if there's one that has a similar look that I enjoy.

My Chilensis is doing great--yesterday I trimmed off all the longer old growth and just left the new. It also has a LOT of runners near it, so I'm enjoying those sprout and watching them fill in. The chain sword on the right also had quite a few runners (4?) that I cut off and gave to my friend who just started her first ever fish tank. Now the swords on the left are sprouting runners too! We'll see if the Chilensis or the chain sword takes up the space faster, I guess!

I moved one of my red tiger lotus's to the back left, and the really sad Pennywort I ordered has really taken off. It started off three weeks ago as about two leaves! It's been pearling quite a bit, too, which is nice.

I've got an EI schedule down now that I'm using CO2:

Sunday after water change: GH Booster to a GH of 5
Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday: KNO3 1/4 Tsp. - K2PO4 1/32 Tsp. - K2SO4 1/16 Tsp.
Tuesday/Wednesday/Friday: 1/4 Tsp. CSM+B - 1/16 Tsp. Fe

So far it's been working well. I saw some pinholes in my Pennywort and started dosing the extra K2SO4 and haven't seen any new ones since.

I also added a wavemaker that alternates two Hydor Koralia Nanos (240 GPH) every minute. It provided some extra flow on the bottom of my tank and cleared up all the small spots of Cyanobaceria that had popped up (probably along with the CO2 and upping Nitrates).

Also have an intake sponge now because I want to try and get some RCS breeding in here. My betta will probably get some fry, but as long as a few make it I'm okay with that. He's pretty chill though and I think I have enough plants that the adults will be fine.

In other news I'm pretty proud because when I pulled up the red tiger lotus to move it, it had some really great looking roots! :)

I'm hoping to add a few more easy plants randomly as I find them, and see what I like the look of and what I can keep alive. I think if I added the Blyxa and S. Repens again it would make it this time since my tank is more stable now, but I'll just see what's available locally for now. ^_^

P.S. - Yesterday I learned the answer to a question I had... the bottoms of stem plants will not keep growing like the tops will, except for side shoots! So I'll have to get rid of the bottoms I kept slowly, by trimming off the side shoots I get and planting those as tops :laugh2: Oops!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Looking very nice!

Makes me wish I had mine up and running already... still got a bit to go as I collect the needed bits and pieces...

CB
Thanks! I really like the collecting bits part of setting things up though. There's so much anticipation in that stage!! (Unless I'm at work. And then I am collecting information about studies and it's just a stressful nightmare, actually lol)

Just a quick update, I added 3 new Otos (acclimating now lol), and a mystery fish! If anyone wants to try and ID it, I have another thread posted because I'd really like to know what he is. lol.
 

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Nice plants, only change I would make is to keep tall plants to the rear of tank as they are hiding all that nice wood. You will likely see a big change in the next 6-9 months as the tank matures. I started having algae problems at this time and tinkering w/water chemistry did little good. I now use Tetra Algae Control and everything is fine.
 

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Hi everybody! I'm not really an online forum person, I usually just lurk, but I'm going to attempt to make a journal about setting up my planted tank. Hopefully I will keep it up. :grin2: I tried a planted tank once before but it wasn't a very good attempt, and I gave up for a while and did some more reading. Now I think I'm ready to start again, and I've spent the last two weeks putting together my new 29 gallon aquarium which I can hopefully keep from becoming overrun with algae.

At this point it's mostly planted and all two of my fish were transferred over, one betta and one peppered cory. I also added four more corys for my lone guy. I have a few more plants arriving in the mail (Brazilian Pennywort, Staurogyne Repens, Bacopa Caroliniana, and Blyxa Japonica). I'm also really digging the foxtail I got so I may try and find more of that... not sure what the scientific name is, it doesn't look like Hornwort to me at all but obviously I am no expert! At this point it's just an experiment of what will survive in my tank, and then I will work with what grows well. :smile2:

I did a 2" potting mix substrate capped with 2" of black blasting sand. I am planning on dosing lean EI using dry ferts from NiloCG--I read that I don't have to when using soil as a substrate, but that doing so could promote the longevity of the nutrients in the soil as the stem plants would take more nutrients out of the water column? We will see how it goes; it will probably take some experimentation and mixtakes for me to figure that part out. I'm also dosing Excel daily. I have GH booster on the way because I'd like to add some shrimp in the future, and don't want them to have problems molting because I believe my GH is a little low for them.

I have a Finnex Planted+ on my tank, on four hours - off four hours - on four hours, as I've read in a few places that this can give the plants access to more carbon as a mid-day siesta lets the CO2 build up in the water. I feel like that will make more sense once I add the rest of my fauna, but I am hesitant to add anyone else at this point in time because my soil is leeching small amounts of ammonia still. I also like the siesta because then I can enjoy the tank with the lights on when I get home from work! lol I have lily pipes on a Fluval 206 cannister filter, and a small Koralia powerhead in the back.

According to my API test kit for the last two days:
Ammonia: 1.0 ppm
Nitrite: 0.25 ppm
Nitrate: 10 ppm
pH: ~6.2-6.4
KH: 2
GH: 5

I have added prime to keep my fish safe (though really they don't seem bothered; all very active and happy), but can the plants still use ammonia after binding with whatever it binds to in Prime?

If I attached them correctly, there should be a picture of my tank (water is still a little cloudy since it's new), a picture of the Corys enjoying a shrimp pellet for dinner, and the betta my husband named Pescado Azul :icon_roll trying to horn in on the Corys dinnertime.

When the tank is ready I plan to add some more fauna:
Undetermined amount of Amano Shrimp
Undetermined amount of RCS
~12 x Rummy nose Tetras
Maybe a few more Corys; they're very lively in a planted tank!

OK. I think that's it. Guess I will update some other time.
Wow! that looks nice. How I wish I could have my tank set up that way. I'll be looking forward to your updates.
 

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Tuned in for this one. You've done a heck of a job so far and I'm right there with you on the connections bits and pieces for a new tank. Also one of my favorite parts. Looking forward to seeing how everything progresses in the updates

-James

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Comparing the tank pictures to my current plants, I can definitely see a difference in the Foxtail's growth when it gets shaded too much by my Water Sprite! It's taking over the top of the tank currently and the Foxtail has more space between the leaves, and the Red Tiger Lotus in the front is completely shaded and putting out leaves much more slowly now. So this weekend it's time to do a big trim!

Also one of my new Otos has fin rot and I guess I didn't notice it when I brought him home. :crying: So I've got some Pimafix coming from Amazon and hopefully s/he'll make it.

Last thing that happend was exciting, one of my shrimp molted and left a pretty awesome exoskeleton behind in perfect shrimp shape. I got a cool picture of it. :laugh2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Not too much to report... did a water change and swithced some things around. Decided I had too much driftwood and I wanted more plants on the left side instead. It looks a little bare now, because the wood took up so much space, and I'm not sure about how I placed the plants... I can always put it back if I change my mind though, and it should look better as the plants grow in!

I also did a really big trim because the water sprite was taking over my tank, and I wanted to replace all the old stems of Foxtail I had so I was only growing the tops. I might go pick up some RCS later today, but for now I am lazing around because it was a very long week at work.

Here are some pictures of before my trim and after I moved everything. And some of my fishes, who are all doing great :)
 

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