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Gumbo's Tank Journal


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Hello everyone, I previously had a 20 gallon long walstad tank that I posted a little bit about on this forum, and unfortunately it ended in a horrible disaster as I had a three-way problem with guppies dying at progressively younger and younger ages, duckweed taking over an killing a bunch of plants, and pest snails overrunning the tank, then all dying and fouling the water. I got so tired of looking at it and depressed about the whole thing that I wound up dismantling it and put the tank in storage, setting up a completely different cube tank to play with instead (will add some pictures to the thread later).

I also had a 29 gallon a co-worker had given me, and I decided to set it up with a bunch of the remaining plants from the Walstad tank apocalypse.


I used some "Top Fin" branded gravel that was extremely dirty, I spent a long time washing it repeatedly and still clouded the water a fair bit upon filling. Plants include bacopa, dwarf sagitarria, cryptocoryne lucens and c. parva, hydrocoytle leucephala and tripartita "Japan," valisneria, and Amazon frogbit. I'm pretty sure most of these originated from the co-op but I haven't bought from them exclusively. I can't remember what came from where at this point. Not a Walstad or "el natural" this time, just gravel and root tabs.



It cleared up nicely when I added the filter, a Top Fin Pro 50. I decided to get one after a few posts on here and a few videos on Youtube about it. It is as good or even a little better than my Aquaclears in my opinion. I had access to cycled filter media so in the fish go. A few espei rasboras from another tank I had (they rest of the group have died of old age), some neon tetras, then a clown pleco and cherry shrimp that surived from the previous 20 long.

Here it is a few weeks later with a black background added:



When I did my aquascaping, I didn't realize that my right piece of wood poked out of the water up top, and I liked it so much I didn't want to change it. This required some improvisation when I cut the lid for the tank:



Some pothos trimmings added to the filter, since it already has the hole in the top anyway:



So now I am waiting for the plants to fill in a little more, and I will be adding some more livestock-definitely some more neons, and then maybe honey gourami or some other kind of tetra-emperor, rummynose? I had considered dwarf cichlids like apistogramma or rams but I wonder if they would do better on sand, and I would be concerned about shrimp being picked off as well. Thanks for looking, more to come. I plan to keep this thread up better than my previous one. I was reluctant to post about my miserable failures so I kind of let the last one die without much updating- I am expecting this one to go much better.

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On 12/10/2021 at 1:51 PM, Guppysnail said:

Wow that looks stunning. I can’t wait to see it mature and grow. I have had tanks that just went progressively sideways. It happens appreciate it for the learning experience. 

Thanks, in hindsight I probably should have documented it and posted it here as an educational aid but it was just too depressing. I gave what surviving guppies I had back to the store and it felt terrible to do so.

On 12/10/2021 at 3:55 PM, Beardedbillygoat1975 said:

Really good triangular composition and use of materials, plants etc. Great job. The wood sticking through the top made me laugh with my coworkers all giving me looks!

Thank you, sometimes you just have to improvise. 😂

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  • 1 month later...

An update to this tank:


I had to edit it a bit to make things easier to see, not the best picture in the world. Everything has grown in pretty well. I've made a few changes with regards to wood and plant placement as I mess things up during tank maintainence and then can't get it back in place correctly. Additons to the plants include Anubias nana petite, Anubias coffefolia, and a Crinum that outgrew a smaller tank I had it in. I have also added a group of 3 female and 1 male (I think) golden platies of some kind. I can't remember what they were selling them as. 


This is literally the only time I have been able to get one in focus at all. They don't really sit still at all. I do enjoy how easy they are to see from across the room. The neons have to turn just the right way for their stripe to "flash" in the jungle-y lighting. You can also see my tripartita Japan floating away.



The shrimp go nuts when I add some BacterAE to the tank. There is a mixed population of cherries and wild type neos.


I'm really digging the platies. My water is fairly soft so I have added crushed coral to the HOB as I know I am too lazy or absentminded to remember to keep up with dosing mineral additives.

I am pretty happy with how this tank is developing. The pennywort doing so well in the back brings to mind ADA's tank "Green Heaven," albeit a dollar store version. I have another tank that is a work in progress that I will post some pictures of soon. Until then, Kvothe the Betta says hello.


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Thanks. Kvothe's tank used to look like this: 


Unfortunately I have had to do some rearranging and renovation and only had room for a 10 gallon instead of the larger footprint of the cube tank. I will put some pictures of it up soon as well.

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