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Old 09-27-2018, 09:31 PM   #1
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55g planted w/ tetras

So I haven't used this account since 2011, since I was a teenager posting about my very first tank which my mom finally let me buy after much begging and a speech about responsibility... 7 years of education and several jobs later, I still have that same 20g high running now with 9 serpae tetra and about 1/4 of the anubias nana which I have grown over the years from an initial single Petco plant. Finally, finally I have the means and the space to upgrade!

Then

Now (improved somewhat in husbandry and aesthetics)

Thanks to craigslist and a wonderful retired discus breeder who was moving cross-country, for very cheap I now have:

Tank
55gallon
Filters
Marineland Penguin 330 biowheel
Marineland Penguine 200 biowheel
Heaters
Some kind of 300W and 150W Marineland brand heaters
Substrate
Half black pea gravel
Half pool filter sand
Lights
18W T8 lights x2 which came with the tank's hood

Spent the past week cleaning and testing all the equipment. Painted the back of the tank with black latex paint and started cycling.



Also picked up a good selection of driftwood that should just fit. The second image is after a water change, but these pieces are still full of tannins. The piece on top is already waterlogged and I suspect is the main culprit of the tannins so I've separated it to test. Showering is an issue right now let me tell you.



I'm planning on putting the driftwood and lots of plants over the gravel areas, mix of rooted plants + flourish tabs and driftwood tied pieces + water column ferts. I'll leave the sand free for corydoras to snuffle through as they are my favorite fish and I am definitely getting at least one little school once everything is ready. I plan to have this tank up for at least 2.5 years and would like it to be a community tank with a couple types of small schooling fish + a dwarf gourami.

Klondike the betta's 10g is right next to the 55g in "the fish corner". He's been pretty interested in all the hubub going on next door.


Questions
Lighting: I'm not looking to do a high-tech set up, but I'd like to upgrade from the T8's if I could do so without inviting too much algae. I dose liquid CO2 for my betta's high-light 10g, but I wasn't sure if this was practical for a 55g.

Heating & Filtration The previous owner used this set up for a blackwater North American fish tank last year, but before that she used it for a discus tank, hence the overkill heating and filtration. Do you think I need the 150W heater, or can I just keep the 300W? Is there any downside to 2 heaters as I wouldn't do anything with the 150W otherwise. What about both filters? I think I will try to baffle them so my serpae's aren't too bothered by the currents and I can use some of my excess frogbit.

Plants & Stocking
Ideas? I already have anubias nana and frogbit. I regret throwing out so much of my anubias now. I was also thinking of trying to wash off some of my pothos and doing that whole roots in the water beside the filter thing. For fish, the 9 serpae tetra must go in and I absolutely want some species of corydoras. My LFS also has some very pretty rosy barbs and siamese flying fish which I have been eying. I was thinking a gourami as a "centerpiece fish" of sorts? I know 55g options are limited, I'm open to any suggestions.
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Old 09-28-2018, 08:53 AM   #2
ZxC
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Lighting
1 x 48" odyssea 2 x 54W T5-HO
1 x 48" Beamswork DA-FSPEC LED
1 x 48" Fluval Plant 3.0 (best option in my opinion)

Those would be the lights I would into, all are capable of low-medium light plants. Use floating plants to reduce light from the T5's or Beamswork if needed. The Fluval offers 100% controlability.

No such thing as liquid CO2 unless you're at extreme pressures and cold temperatures But, you can use Seachem Excel or Metricide 14 as a glutaraldehyde source. Glutaraldehyde is a mild algaecide and must be dosed daily. The benefits of glutaraldehyde are 1) kills algae, 2) degrades protein / bio film on plant leaves allowing them to better utilize CO2 naturally dissolved from the atmosphere and 3) Degrades into a VERY SMALL AMOUNT of CO2 that plants can use.

Long story short, yes use Excel / Metricide 14 in a non-CO2 tank to aid in plant growth.

Heating and Filtration
I would use the single 300w. But it would not hurt to run both and have 1 as a backup. I would be more worried about them being stuck ON instead of being stuck OFF. Run both filters for sure, I cant see them being over powerful for tetras, or most fish at that. Your frogbit will find a spot in the tank, no need to worry about it being blown around.

Plants and Stocking
This is really a personal preference thing.
But, I would say these plants would / could work:
Background
Rotala rotundifolia
Myriophyllum mattogrossense
Cabomba caroliniana
Myriophyllum tuberculatum
Cryptocoryne balansae
Lysimachia nummularia
Ludwigia Repens
Bacopa caroliniana
Nymphaea zenkeri
Nymphoides hydrophilla 'Taiwan'

Midground
Bacopa monnieri 'Compact'
Alternanthera reineckii 'Mini'
Crinum calamistratum
Aponogeton crispus
Echinodorus ozelot ‘red’
Blyxa japonica
Lobelia cardinalis
Amblystegium serpens
Bolbitis heudelotii
Anubias nana
Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘green’
Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘brown’
Cryptocoryne lutea
hygrophila corymbosa ‘compact’

Foreground
Hydrocotyle tripartita 'japan'
Cryptocoryne parva
Crypt Lutea 'hobbit'

For fish:
All of what you said will work.
Look at:
Dwarf neon rainbows
More serpea tetra
Pseudomugil rainbows
Celestial Pearl Danio
Dwarf Emerald Rasbora
Any cory cats you like
Oto cats
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Old 09-28-2018, 12:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZxC View Post
Lighting
1 x 48" odyssea 2 x 54W T5-HO
1 x 48" Beamswork DA-FSPEC LED
1 x 48" Fluval Plant 3.0 (best option in my opinion)

Those would be the lights I would into, all are capable of low-medium light plants. Use floating plants to reduce light from the T5's or Beamswork if needed. The Fluval offers 100% controlability.

No such thing as liquid CO2 unless you're at extreme pressures and cold temperatures But, you can use Seachem Excel or Metricide 14 as a glutaraldehyde source. Glutaraldehyde is a mild algaecide and must be dosed daily. The benefits of glutaraldehyde are 1) kills algae, 2) degrades protein / bio film on plant leaves allowing them to better utilize CO2 naturally dissolved from the atmosphere and 3) Degrades into a VERY SMALL AMOUNT of CO2 that plants can use.

Long story short, yes use Excel / Metricide 14 in a non-CO2 tank to aid in plant growth.

Heating and Filtration
I would use the single 300w. But it would not hurt to run both and have 1 as a backup. I would be more worried about them being stuck ON instead of being stuck OFF. Run both filters for sure, I cant see them being over powerful for tetras, or most fish at that. Your frogbit will find a spot in the tank, no need to worry about it being blown around.

Plants and Stocking
This is really a personal preference thing.
But, I would say these plants would / could work:
Background
Rotala rotundifolia
Myriophyllum mattogrossense
Cabomba caroliniana
Myriophyllum tuberculatum
Cryptocoryne balansae
Lysimachia nummularia
Ludwigia Repens
Bacopa caroliniana
Nymphaea zenkeri
Nymphoides hydrophilla 'Taiwan'

Midground
Bacopa monnieri 'Compact'
Alternanthera reineckii 'Mini'
Crinum calamistratum
Aponogeton crispus
Echinodorus ozelot ‘red’
Blyxa japonica
Lobelia cardinalis
Amblystegium serpens
Bolbitis heudelotii
Anubias nana
Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘green’
Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘brown’
Cryptocoryne lutea
hygrophila corymbosa ‘compact’

Foreground
Hydrocotyle tripartita 'japan'
Cryptocoryne parva
Crypt Lutea 'hobbit'

For fish:
All of what you said will work.
Look at:
Dwarf neon rainbows
More serpea tetra
Pseudomugil rainbows
Celestial Pearl Danio
Dwarf Emerald Rasbora
Any cory cats you like
Oto cats
Thanks for the suggestions! I think I might do the Beamswork as I'd like not having to worry about bulbs with an LED unit, but the Fluval Plant is a bit out of my budget. I wanted some floating plants anyway so that'll block the harsh light.

About the CO2, oops I guess I've been thinking about it all wrong. I've been using Seachem Excel for my 10g, which as you've said has helped a bit with algae and a small plant growth boost. I should probably do a bit more research into the actual chemistry behind it. I'll look into what quantities they sell it in once I get to that point.

I'll probably take out the 150W heater after all as it's suction cups just do not want to stick to the tank. It'll be a good backup.
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Old 09-28-2018, 12:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZxC View Post
.

Plants and Stocking
This is really a personal preference thing.
But, I would say these plants would / could work:
Background
Rotala rotundifolia
Myriophyllum mattogrossense
Cabomba caroliniana
Myriophyllum tuberculatum
Cryptocoryne balansae
Lysimachia nummularia
Ludwigia Repens
Bacopa caroliniana
Nymphaea zenkeri
Nymphoides hydrophilla 'Taiwan'

Midground
Bacopa monnieri 'Compact'
Alternanthera reineckii 'Mini'
Crinum calamistratum
Aponogeton crispus
Echinodorus ozelot ‘red’
Blyxa japonica
Lobelia cardinalis
Amblystegium serpens
Bolbitis heudelotii
Anubias nana
Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘green’
Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘brown’
Cryptocoryne lutea
hygrophila corymbosa ‘compact’

Foreground
Hydrocotyle tripartita 'japan'
Cryptocoryne parva
Crypt Lutea 'hobbit'

For fish:
All of what you said will work.
Look at:
Dwarf neon rainbows
More serpea tetra
Pseudomugil rainbows
Celestial Pearl Danio
Dwarf Emerald Rasbora
Any cory cats you like
Oto cats
Yeah, know plants are really down to personal preference and what happens to be for sale but I appreciate the suggestions! I've pretty much just been reading up on what my LFS has and what's currently up on aquabid, but some of your ideas I haven't read up on yet so I'll keep an eye out.
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Old 09-29-2018, 06:56 PM   #5
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Replaced the lid on the tank with a Lowe's DIY sliding glass lid. People are so clever for figuring this out.


I ended up ordering the 48" Beamswork DA-FSPEC LED as suggested after all, should be in by mid-October so I guess I'll hold off ordering plants until closer to then. Not really exciting, just cycling an empty glass box and soaking a tub of driftwood right now.

I determined that it is indeed the one 18" piece of driftwood below that has 90% of the tannins. I told myself that when I moved the tetras out of the 20g to the 55g I would take the 20g down, but now staring at this wood I'm high-key tempted to try a blackwater tank with the 20g...


It seems a shame to take down a perfectly functional tank I've had going for 7 years. Ahhh, not even done with the current "new tank" and already planning the next set up.
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Old 10-01-2018, 08:20 AM   #6
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Looks good. Seachem Purigen will take care of any tannins if you don't want them
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Old 10-02-2018, 12:00 AM   #7
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Impatient, spent an hour sawing the 40lb piece of wood down to fit and stuck it in the tank with 20 lbs of rock holding it down just to get it out of my tub. Will probably adjust it's placement when it sinks... in 6 months. The tank's making some ominous creaking noises and I'm not sure if it's just the heater clicking on and off or the glass. Tacky halloween window gels on the bottom because why not.


Also tried washing off my pothos and sticking their roots in the water with some fertilizers. Thought it looked pretty but if they start dying they'll go back in the dirt.


Tested the water today and nitrites are just starting to show after 1 week, probably won't have anything new to update for at least 2 weeks when plants and lights get in. Unless the creaking turns out to be the glass and I wake up to a broken aquarium and 55g on my floor.
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Old 10-02-2018, 01:14 AM   #8
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Just FYI, I have the Beamswork EA FSPEC, which is a step down from the DA. Works great for me and I'm growing plants quite well.
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Old 10-02-2018, 05:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Just FYI, I have the Beamswork EA FSPEC, which is a step down from the DA. Works great for me and I'm growing plants quite well.
Great to hear! I checked the order and realized I got the EA instead of the DA by accident, that would be why it was $15 cheaper than I originally thought I guess . Glad it should work well!
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