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Old 07-08-2009, 01:30 PM   #1
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Location: Oak Forest, IL
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Hello from Chicago

Hello everyone! My name is Jim and I live in Orland Park, IL, a Chicago burb. I found this forum while looking for info on planting aquariums and I have to say, there are some incredible tanks here!

As for me, I've had fish for as long as I can remember. I started picking out fish for my mom's tank. I finally got a 3 gallon hex for my birthday. That led to a 10 gallon to a 20 long to a 29 and that's where I am today.

Tanks
29 Gallon

Equipment
Penguin 200B Power Filter with refillable cartridge frames, one with foam, the other with activated carbon
Hydor 200W Heater

Decor
Pea-sized pearl-white gravel with a small bag of colors mixed in
Chunks of lava rock and granite
Slabs of slate and granite
Lots of plastic plants
Amazon sword
Driftwood with some kind of plant

Fish
Striped Raphael Catfish - I've had him for at least 15 yrs
Pictus Catfish
Rubberlip Pleco - Bought him for algae control, but he's not doing his job
Oto Cat - My brother put him in my tank when he came home from college
Female Betta - My wife put a few in my tank because they were beating up her male, and I kinda liked the look.
Assorted Others - Had some trouble with fish dying recently, despite good water quality.

Eclipse 5 Gallon Hex (My wife's (Sara) tank)
Equipment
Whatever came with the tank plus a small heater

Decor
Blue Marbles
Glow-in-the-Dark Plants
A small castle

Fish
Male Betta
3 Neon Tetras
Oto Cat

I'm really looking forward to reading through this site and trying to solve my fish mortality problems. My PH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates all read fine, but I keep losing fish. I do partial water changes regularly too. I'm starting to wonder if there's something in the gravel causing it. I've found all kinds of garbage while cleaning the tank, probably stuff that got knocked into the tank while I was away at college. Anyways, I think I'm going to try for more live plants, so I need to upgrade my substrate. I've been toying with the idea of sand, but I think I'm just going to find some different gravel.

Well, it's great to be here. Thanks!
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:39 PM   #2
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I'd get sand, gravel is just a pain for me to keep clean. Welcome to AA! There's a few members on here from Chicago.
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:46 PM   #3
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Welcome to AA!

I'd second the sand suggestion. Pool Filter Sand is affordable, easy to clean and rinse, and doesn't produce much "dust" when introduced into the tank. You can also look at Flourite or Eco Complete if you get serious about plants, but sand with root tabs can work just as well.
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Old 07-08-2009, 02:29 PM   #4
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Old 07-08-2009, 02:33 PM   #5
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Welcome to the site! I just switched from gravel to sand - I will never go back! I am actually planning on swapping the gravel out in my 30g long also. I used playsand from Home Depot. It was $4 for a 50lb bag, Quikrete Premium Playsand is what it was called. You can check some pictures on my site, click My Tanks in my sig and click Media.
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Old 07-08-2009, 06:49 PM   #6
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Welcome Neighbor.

You need to go check out the amazon rift valley at lincoln park zoo its huge.

I also recommend sand but not alot of it, anerobic spots pop up quickly. maybe use 1" MAX on top of a planting substrate.

Most of your 29g inhabitants will benefit greatly from having sand instead of gravel.
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Old 07-08-2009, 07:28 PM   #7
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hello and welcome

malaysian trumpet snails will take care of any anaerobic spots or just stir the sand with a stick a bit.
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Old 07-08-2009, 07:29 PM   #8
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:30 PM   #9
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Fish, already got em, they disappear faster then they clean, my kuhlis are making meals of these things, I didnt know that kuhlis were french though.......

I am looking into freshwater clams and mussels to turn the sand.


Tank, where is OLDTOWN at? I was in Lincoln Park and Old Town yesterday but couldnt remember what street block they were on.
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Old 07-09-2009, 08:56 AM   #10
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Thanks guys! I think I'm going to make a stop after work at Home Depot for some sand.
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