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Old 04-24-2013, 10:45 AM   #1
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New South American 29 gal tank

I'm sitting here waiting for my new tank to arrive. They tell me it is on the truck.

I had a tank with fish that I lost last year when I had to move due to circumstances I could not control. Because I always had seed material in the past, cycling was a breeze. This time I have to cycle from scratch. I'm going to try the dead shrimp cycle. I have a new API freshwater master test kit all ready. I also have a 500 ml bottle of Prime.

My driftwood (manzanita) and rocks (granite river stones from the LFS) are soaking in a bucket. My driftwood already sinks and barely tints the water. I have a lot of sand washing in my very near future. I expect that to be the single most time consuming job I have to do today.

The good news about starting over is that it truly is a fresh start. I'm tailoring everything to the fish I plan to keep which are small tetras and corys. The only exact species I'm absolutely set on at this point are Gold Pristella Tetras. I saw some at the LFS and completely fell in love with them. As to corys there are so many to choose from and I think they are all wonderful. The only ones I'm not as partial to are the albinos, but only because of the color (or lack thereof). I plan on having 6 corys when fully stocked. It will be a while before I get there, though.

This will definitely be a South American tank with one small departure because though it is more Central American, I love ludwigia repens. I'm sticking with easy plants. I'm doing live plants, but my focus is not plants, it is fish.

I'll be posting pictures as soon as I have some.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:01 PM   #2
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Sounds cool and I'm looking forward to pictures. Have you given any thought to some small South American cichlids?
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:47 PM   #3
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Thanks HUKIT. I've given small cichlids a thought. If I'm ever able to get a second, bigger tank, I'd love to have a tank of African cichlids. I've got the tank up. Here is my first pic as I was filling it today.
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Old 04-25-2013, 12:01 AM   #4
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Thanks HUKIT. I've given small cichlids a thought. If I'm ever able to get a second, bigger tank, I'd love to have a tank of African cichlids. I've got the tank up. Here is my first pic as I was filling it today.
That tank is awesome! How much was it?
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Old 04-25-2013, 12:31 AM   #5
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It is a SeaClear from Petco online for $157. Thanks for the compliment. I'm a real acrylic tank fan.
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Old 04-25-2013, 02:26 AM   #6
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Goodluck! I'm very excited to see your progress for this!

Have you looked at False juli, violet, or orange lazer cories? I'm absolutely in love with Pandas myself but they aren't as intriguing (just really adorable) as some others out there
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:28 AM   #7
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Goodluck! I'm very excited to see your progress for this!

Have you looked at False juli, violet, or orange lazer cories? I'm absolutely in love with Pandas myself but they aren't as intriguing (just really adorable) as some others out there
Ty Oohitsae! I had Julii (or so they were labeled) in the past and the were totally adorable. I'm really open and since the cories will go in last, I'm going to spend time at the LFS just observing. Your suggestions are definitely intriguing.

More progress today. All major components of the tank are assembled. I've got a simple hardscape in place. I held back 10 lbs of the sand I had and I think I'm going to add a little and build up the back just a bit more today. This sand washed quite nicely, though of course I'll turn off the filter and let it settle when I add more.
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:57 AM   #8
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My plants arrived yesterday afternoon. So far so good. I got them planted and put in the Flourish root tabs. Don't laugh, but the last time I had live plants it was in a ten gallon tank with incandescent lights and no fertilizers except for fish waste. This tank is still low tech and I'm not sure how the plants will do, I'm also not sure that my arrangement of them is very artistic. They ended up pretty symmetrical. I found out that 12 inches front to back is not much to play with. But I'm leaving them in place and giving them a chance to establish. I can't see a lot of uprooting and rearranging to be a good idea at this point. They look pleasant enough and I like that there is some life in the tank. The hardscape alone was pretty but oh so dead.

Speaking of dead, I put in my dead shrimp so the cycling has officially started. First water test will be in three days. I'll see what is going on then.

Speaking of low tech, I have no real plant equipment yet. I planted by lowering the water level and using my fingers. Anyone got any suggestion on sources and kinds of planting tools? I'm thinking some forceps and scissors would do it for now, but suggestions are welcome.
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:05 PM   #9
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Wow! I like it a lot.
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Old 04-27-2013, 04:21 PM   #10
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Thanks for the kind words, Cichlid ism!
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:43 PM   #11
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Just an update here. With the dead shrimp method, I have some grey stuff growing in the sand. It is just a few small patches and I'm not overly concerned at this point in a new tank. Also the water is slightly cloudy. The ammonia level is up to .50 ppm on day 3. I expect so see it continue to go up. Just as a baseline, I tested nitrite and nitrate today. Both were 0 as I would expect. I'm not going to test them again for a while. I'll test ammonia in another three days. pH is pretty high at 7.8 so that is a good thing at this point in the cycle. Plants look pretty good. There are a few brown margins on a couple of the sword leaves, but considering the shipping and transplant everything is looking on track for now. It's pretty much a process of keeping the aeration and heat up a bit while watching and waiting for now.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:49 PM   #12
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You seem to know what you are doing, and I don't have any suggestions really. I cycled my 20 gallon high about 2 months ago, it is also a south american biotype, but it is not planted
My stock is in my signature, but I plan on getting a bolivian ram within a month or two to finish of my stock, with maybe a snail or 2 in the near future (I have a major brown algae problem).
Good luck, I love it and will be following.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:46 PM   #13
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It's really looks good so far. Do you have any plans to paint the back black, as that would really complete the setup?
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:08 PM   #14
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Looks good..wish you the best of luck with everything!
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:59 AM   #15
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You seem to know what you are doing, and I don't have any suggestions really. I cycled my 20 gallon high about 2 months ago, it is also a south american biotype, but it is not planted
My stock is in my signature, but I plan on getting a bolivian ram within a month or two to finish of my stock, with maybe a snail or 2 in the near future (I have a major brown algae problem).
Good luck, I love it and will be following.
Thanks for following. It is nice to connect with someone else who is into the South American bio type.

As to knowing what I'm doing, I just read the articles and posts here. The fishless cycle article here is excellent. Of course, it recommends against the shrimp cycle. I have a number of reasons I wanted to try it, including but not limited to possbly needing to go out of town on business for a few days during the process. I've sure been spoiled all these years that I had seed material for the cycle.

I've had brown algae (diatoms) in the past. That was an unplanted tank, too. I've found that shortening the hours my lights were on and the tank hitting an age of six months or so resolved it for me. I won't be surprised to have some this time, too. To me, it is just part of a new tank. Best wishes on your tank!
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:16 AM   #16
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It's really looks good so far. Do you have any plans to paint the back black, as that would really complete the setup?
Thanks for the suggestion. I've thought of that. I wish I could just have invisible cords, heater and filter. If I went with a background, I probably would buy the black on one side and blue on the other stuff that they sell on the roll by the inch at all the chain pet stores here. In fact, the tank I have can be bought with a black or blue acrylic back for just a few dollars more and I opted not to.

I'm hoping that the plants will eventually soften the look of the equipment. I like the idea of a freestanding "cube" of water. But yes, the equipment somewhat ruins that illusion.

As you can tell, I'm a little conflicted as to which look I'd prefer. The background stuff is cheap enough to try at some point. I've even thought of making my own. I've also thought of making something using a natural woven fiber. Ideas abound on the web.

So my thought on a background, including black, is a definite maybe at this time.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:17 AM   #17
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Looks good..wish you the best of luck with everything!
Thanks for your kind thoughts. I appreciate it!
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Old 04-30-2013, 03:08 PM   #18
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I put a black background on my tank, and I really like the look, although I see what you mean about the floating cube of water. The fish actually like a background because it feels more secure, whereas without a background they feel insecure, like they are in open water, with little refuge from predators. When I put mine on, the fish freaked out for a day, then settled in and looked better than ever. I strongly recommend a black background, worst case scenario, you hate it and wasted $5.
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Old 04-30-2013, 03:41 PM   #19
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Thanks for that insight, Fishperson. You make a good case for it!
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:11 AM   #20
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Here my latest pic. I'm just using my phone and its difficult to get the exact angle but the plants are definitely growing. The Ludwigia stopped shedding leaves. The bacopa is sending out new shoots. The ruffle swords have grown, especially the one on the left. The dwarf sagittaria has started sending new leaves up. Very happy with the plants. Ammonia holding steady at 1 ppm. I wish it were a little higher, but this is the dead shrimp method so it is what it is. No nitrites, but it is early.
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