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Old 07-05-2015, 11:31 AM   #1
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Jaeroo's Planted Tank Journey

Seven months after picking up a 20g long for $22 at a petco, and after countless hours of reading and planning (but mostly reading) about everything, I finally think I am ready to give this tank a go. The idea was to make it a Walstad tank, but I'm not sure if it would be considered one anymore because of my lighting and filtration. Although, everything else is according to Diana's method. This is also my first 20g and my first "real" planted tank. (i.e. I would try out a plant here and there and they would always melt away.) So, without further adieu, here is my setup:

Lighting: Finnex 24/7 Note: I have no idea what the par is nor do I understand par quite yet. The Walstad Method calls for 2 watts per g and I know this light goes high above that, but I don't know exactly how high. That's my first concern.

Filtration: Eheim Ecco CF30 Note: Diana usually goes for internal filters mainly for water flow. I don't like the look of them so a canister works great for me. Gives out great water flow.

Heater is nothing special. Just grabbed a spare I had and it works fine. The back of the tank is painted black. Also, I have a generic glass canopy. I have a HUGE problem with it because the black strip that runs down the center of it blocks out so much light in the tank, so I have to pull the thing forward to get out of the lights way, which is a pet peeve of mine right now (no one likes a 2 inch slab of glass jutting out the front of their tank, right?).

Substrate: 1-2 inch sloped mineralized Miracle Gro Organic Potting Soil with Amaco Red Clay (for iron and to keep nutrients under the cap). Cap is a natural pea gravel. Smaller than normal gravel but larger than sand which I like.

No Co2 or liquid ferts/dosing and no root tabs.

My biggest concerns for this tank are the plants dying and the wretched algae. I dislike algae with a burning passion and it would be very disheartening if my fish had to swim in a cube of green scum for who knows how long . I'm afraid I may have too much light which will cause a bloom.

This is getting long and I want to show you pictures so I'll start them in another post. Please follow this because I know I'll need some advice from you guys later on! Thanks for reading. Super excited to finally start this tank!
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Old 07-05-2015, 11:45 AM   #2
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This sounds good so far. Most people seem to end up with a modified Walstad.

Could you turn your glass around where the front would bet to the back, I am guessing one side, front or back is wider.

Will be fun to see how it goes.

One note about algae I think will be how you use your light. Years ago now, I was reading in an aquarium book about light and algae. it was recommended to do a siesta or rest period due to how that breaks up the growth of the algae. So some thing like a timer (yours I think has that built in?), and then put it on for 2 - 4 hour periods with a gap in the middle I like a few hour gap personally. A first often there are diatoms, so far using this siesta time I have been lucky to mostly avoid those in all my tanks. As for the dark green algae types, you could do 3 split times during the day if needed for more light, or just increase the hours of light in 2 periods if more light is needed (or reduce if too much of course).

This was one very valuable thing I learned and it has been great not to have algae issues and also helped lots of people who already had algae problems.
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Old 07-05-2015, 11:56 AM   #3
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Sounds like a cool tank! You don't have to worry about plants dying, as long as you have enough nutrients, which it sounds like you do, plus that light you will be good to go. The only thing that I would worry about is algae, with high light there is a LOT of algae. Learned this the hard way with my 5.5 One thing I am going to try is DIY Co2 because this helps to combat the algae. It doesn't necessarily make it go away, it just makes it a lot harder for the algae to grow. I suggest doing this before hand so it isn't a problem later. Filtration sounds good, especially if you are only going to have a small bioload. I would definitely stick with a hood because it wild keep too much water from evaporating (definitely regret not getting a hood for my 5.5) You could go to your local Lowe's and have them cut the extra two inches of glass of that make it look bad. What is the stock going to be? Those puffers? I'm following, can't wait to see the final product!
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Old 07-05-2015, 12:10 PM   #4
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With the 24/7 you are able to reduce the intensity(to much light is aiding in the algae growth),I'd start there&consider Nils/Autumnsky's comments as well

sit in silence...
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Old 07-06-2015, 09:34 AM   #5
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Okay guys, bad news coming later. So much has happened already and I'm a little pissed at myself for it. But I'll post pictures as promised before I do an update for today. This is a step by step on what I did. Plants came in on Thursday (7/2/15) so that is the day I set it up.

Soil is 1 inch sloped to around 2 inches in the back and pulled away from the sides so soil won't be seen:


Placed DW:


Planting and filling:


Couldn't get a picture right after but it was pretty foggy. This was taken 7/5/15:


The tank had been cycled before hand so I decided to add five lambchops (7/4/15) after the water had cleared. I tested for Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates before hand and they were all 0 so I thought 'hey, this is great! they'll do so well!'. (please see next post)
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Old 07-06-2015, 10:00 AM   #6
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So, like I said before I tested Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates and they were all 0. I added 5 lambchops after drip acclimation. When I first put them in I noticed that two of them looked like they were losing parts of their fin. I'm guessing that it's fin rot? They acted fine otherwise. I found one of them dead this morning. Can fin rot kill them overnight? I don't know what else this could be.

The one with fin rot on it's tail is still alive, and the one that has it on it's dorsal fin is dead:


I couldn't get anymore pictures of the one that died. The one that's still alive is very active and I managed to get two decent pictures:




The spots on both fish (while the one was alive) didn't get any bigger or look different. I never even thought to check the PH and it looks very high. I think this may have put extra stress on the fish that caused it to die overnight but I'm not sure. I have no idea how to lower it. I've heard of peat moss and I already have DW, but is there anything else I could do to fix this? I was thinking about doing a water change when I get home. Maybe 20-30%?

These are the test results from this morning of my tank water (7/6/15):


I also tested my water straight from the tap and it also looks very high. I was going to test the tap in the high ph range but didn't have enough time to.


I guess I was just too excited to keep from adding fish. I never thought to keep the BB going with my Ammonium Chloride solution until I knew what was up with my tank. Ugh, I hate this. So now I'm currently down to four lamb chops. I was thinking to put the other fish that is still alive (hopefully he'll still be by the time I get home) in a 4 g tank I have going and treat it with Melafix? It's supposed to treat bacterial infections which I think my fish has. I don't know if this helped or hindered, but I put stress coat and stress zyme into the 20 before I left. It just really sucks to see something die after so much studying and careful preparation. Not careful enough I guess. Help is much appreciated.
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Old 07-06-2015, 10:46 PM   #7
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Just first off, so sorry you are having this experience. It is one I have experienced too. My situation was Columnaris, it looked the same with those little patches/spots.

Please post in unhealthy fish so you can get people who will be better focused on healing sick fish.
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Old 07-06-2015, 11:04 PM   #8
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Stress will exacerbate the illness. The info around it is all over the map. Bottom line, it is a gram negative disease and there seem to be 2 variations, one which kills like a wild fire and another that kills a lot but if treated sometimes some can be saved. Consider researching Kanamycin.
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Old 07-09-2015, 03:40 PM   #9
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Ok, I will post in the unhealthy fish thread later today. Yesterday I found another lambchop with a milky film over his eye. I decided to move them all to the 4g and dosed 2ml Melafix. We'll see how they do. In other news, I moved plants around and took out some. The tank looks more bare now but I think it'll look better once it grows in. Also, I thought I should add a plant list.

Plants:
Coffeefolia (doesn't really look like it)
Anubias Nana x3
Tiger Lotus
Cabomba
Mint Charlie
1 unknown (looks like Anubias Congensis)
Brazilian Pennywort x2
Dwarf Aquarium Lily
Rotala Rotundifolia
Ludwigia Repens
Chilensis
Amazon Sword
Lemna minor (Duckweed)

Currently dosing tank with Ammonium Chloride until I get my fish situation figured out. Also, I don't think my ph is as big of a problem as I originally thought it was. I've done some reading and many people have kept many different kinds of fish in ph as high as 7.5-8.4 with success (mine currently being 7.8). I read that (most times) the reason the fish may not be doing well in its new tank is not because of the quality care you're giving it, but the quality care that the fish were given in the previous tank(s) before being added to its new tank. Thoughts on this? Seems legit to me. I definitely do not think this was even partially my fault now that I've done some reading.

Besides that, I'm still figuring out what I want to stock it with. Hopefully the lambchops pull through because I really like them so I was thinking about getting something that goes well with rasboras. I was thinking a gourami or two but would like to see some more unique combos. What I would absolutely love is to have a red tailed shark but I've read they need 40+g. They are known to do well with lambchops too. Any ideas?

Looking forward to replies! I'll post a picture of the rearranging I did later tonight.
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Old 07-10-2015, 02:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaeroo View Post
Ok, I will post in the unhealthy fish thread later today. Yesterday I found another lambchop with a milky film over his eye. I decided to move them all to the 4g and dosed 2ml Melafix. We'll see how they do. In other news, I moved plants around and took out some. The tank looks more bare now but I think it'll look better once it grows in. Also, I thought I should add a plant list.

Plants:
Coffeefolia (doesn't really look like it)
Anubias Nana x3
Tiger Lotus
Cabomba
Mint Charlie
1 unknown (looks like Anubias Congensis)
Brazilian Pennywort x2
Dwarf Aquarium Lily
Rotala Rotundifolia
Ludwigia Repens
Chilensis
Amazon Sword
Lemna minor (Duckweed)

Currently dosing tank with Ammonium Chloride until I get my fish situation figured out. Also, I don't think my ph is as big of a problem as I originally thought it was. I've done some reading and many people have kept many different kinds of fish in ph as high as 7.5-8.4 with success (mine currently being 7.8). I read that (most times) the reason the fish may not be doing well in its new tank is not because of the quality care you're giving it, but the quality care that the fish were given in the previous tank(s) before being added to its new tank. Thoughts on this? Seems legit to me. I definitely do not think this was even partially my fault now that I've done some reading.

Besides that, I'm still figuring out what I want to stock it with. Hopefully the lambchops pull through because I really like them so I was thinking about getting something that goes well with rasboras. I was thinking a gourami or two but would like to see some more unique combos. What I would absolutely love is to have a red tailed shark but I've read they need 40+g. They are known to do well with lambchops too. Any ideas?

Looking forward to replies! I'll post a picture of the rearranging I did later tonight.
RTS needs a big tank, mine was almost 7" and in a 72G, she used all of the bottom 1/3 of the tank zooming around like it was a race track. One problem with a 55 or 60G is it is only 12" and 13" wide. The wider space is valuable for the shark. They are often aggressive, so if you can find a mature shark, one that is a couple years old you might be better off. And aggression is often increased when there isn't enough territory for the shark to call their own. Hope that helps (for you in future tank planning.)

Lots of clean water for your fish with the poor eye.
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:32 AM   #11
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Great to see you are finally doing this tank I've been watching out for it.

Sorry it's turned sour quickly it can happen


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Old 07-10-2015, 04:45 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ImACoolguy View Post
Great to see you are finally doing this tank I've been watching out for it.

Sorry it's turned sour quickly it can happen


Caleb
Thank you. At least my plants are hanging in there. Gives me a little hope that things will get better.
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Old 07-10-2015, 09:28 PM   #13
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Regarding the glass top hinge creating a shadow, one solution i read about is to remove the hinge, cut it down to two 2" hinges (save the rest of the hinge for later use), reattach the glass panes. Works just like it used to but without the shadow.
Well, I tried that the other night. I used a drywall taping knife to pry the glass from the hinge. Got the first pane off (took quite a bit of time). Halfway through the second one the glass pane snapped in half 😕 I removed the remaining piece. Luckily, I had an old pane of glass from an old top so I used that when I reassembled it.
So far it's been working fine. It was worth it been a BIG pain to do.



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