Jump to content

6mo Progress on 1st Ever Planted Tank


Recommended Posts

This is my 1st attempt at any kind of journaling so if it's too long let me know for future attempts.
I have been keeping fish off an on for the majority of time since the about 07-08. I got pretty good at it. I've kept 5-7 different setups in a couple different tank sizes in that time with the most recent ending last summer when my Lace Catfish died just before it's 5th Gotcha Day. Around that time I was in a big slump in interest. After 5 years the Lace, named Nubbers because it only had 1 Ventral fin from the get go, was 9+ inches in a 29G and was kind of aggressive about sharing that space. It's only other tankmates that it would allow were 2 Sterbai corys. It would fight any other additions, even if it was a 3rd Sterbai. It was basically alone in its tank for 2 years and hid most of the time. 
Around the end of this tank setup I coincidentally found ACO on the youtubes. I also changed jobs recently and my new job as a machinist left some idle time between cycles and my boss had given me the Wi-fi to watch TV. I was instantly hooked on the ACO content and spent the next month or so watching just about every video (excluding live streams) going back about 3 years of posting. Live streams only about a year old. I decided I was going to try again and do plants. So at the start of August I began again. It was a very anxious process, and kind of tricky to figure out at first. Lots of plants died or removed because I didn't like the way they looked when planted together. I decided to put some Neon Tetras in the tank at first because worst case scenario, it's a cheap fish I wouldn't be sad about killing (and I killed a few) as compared to another big fish that is expensive and fascinating. I've always liked big fish because I like to see their bodies move as they swim. 
Long story short I now have learned why people love nano fish, that is the current inhabitants, and nothing is going to change that. I have learned about sponge filters vs HOBs, plant lights and LEDs vs T8s. Different advantages/disadvantages of the various chemicals and foods and more. Basically I learned that the way I've always had tanks was not the way I like doing things and I didn't actually ever put much thought into what the fish wanted. I don't have an LFS so I have always been a big box hobbyist. I consider this change and new knowledge like a level up in my skill for fishkeeping.
It has been 6 months since this new setup of new equipment, and everything else, with live plants and nano schools has been going and it is amazing! This knowledge, and ACO, not only re-kindled my love of the hobby but has surpassed any previous peak of interest including when I first got fish when I was 12. It's not just about the fish, it's a whole ecosystem in a box, As someone who has grown up to be eco-friendly lifestyle, and can see how climate change in the future will, and is currently, affecting the day to day life of everyone and everything being able to maintain an ecosystem of my own is a big deal. It's easy to see how a small change can damage so much, and how long it takes to recover from said damage. It's also incredible to find yourself meeting the point of relative self-sustainability in a tank setup. 
I still miss having a 9 inch beast, which is still small by any monster fish standards but it's bigger than the average fish. I also at one point had a standard pleco get to be about 10 inches in a 14G before I had to get rid of it. At the time I was a believer of "a fish will only grow as big as the tank allows it" Now, though, seeing a school of tetras or corys swimming together and weaving around plants is a very different, and also incredible sight. I actually sit and just watch my tank more than I have in years. I'm even slowly drawing up plans to set up a second tank. Having multiple tanks has never even crossed my mind before but it's exciting. All plans are also on hold until the winter ends so I can build and stain a nice stand to hold both and the equipment. Plus, if holding out for a bit means maybe a new ACO version of something launches then it is worth the wait ha

Sorry this was so long. If you read this far, thank you, or if you got bored and scrolled down to the image then here is what you came to see: The set-up. There is a bit of algae remaining after a long battle with it but that's okay. Algae occurs in nature too. On the shells it is fine, but I still plan to try and fight it off the gravel.
Here is my 29G
Equipment: Fluval 3.0 that peaks at 32% for about an hour with a pretty linear sunrise and sunset giving about 9.5 hours of light total.
2 ACO sponge filters. 1 didn't provide the amount of flow I wanted and if I was adding another air stone may as well make it a filter. Powered by the USB nano pump and Ziss never clog stones. Heater is a standard 100 W Tetra or Marineland brand
I feed Xtreme Krill flakes, pellets, and wafers. I have the Easy trio but don't use it very often. Easy Green once every 2-3 weeks. Root tabs and Iron once every 5-7 week if that. Frits Complete to dechlorinate.
Plants: From left to right an anubias Nangi on some Terracotta pots and oyster shells from the local river. I've had the shells for like 7 years. You can't actually take shells from the river but I didn't know that then. In the center some Brazilian Pennywort and 4 Crypt Luscens. Right 1.5 Lotus Lily Bulb Plants. I say 1.5 because I only bought 1. Shortly after planting the bulb a very tiny bulb split off and I decided to plant it to see what happens. They both took root. The baby had a small amount of large leaves and it in the very back corner. In front of it is the big bulb which has grown to be a veritable jungle and is sending up its 8th pad. They are now growing at a rate about about 5-7 days per pad. By the time one surfaces the next is starting to sprout. It's nice because I've had no luck floating plants.
The fish: It is "Overstocked" with 9 Black neons, 3 Regular neons. Its been hard to get regulars for 6 of each so I'm slowly switching to just 1 school of 12 black neons. There's also 4 Emerald Corys that live on the right, 6 Kuhli Loaches living in Shell City and 2 Reticulated Hillstreams. I can only get fish from petco and I have tried adding a 3rd 4 times and they keep dying within a day or two. My tank is too different or they haven't had food in too long to be saved or something but it's expensive to keep failing at that. The 2 don't really fight since the lily has really taken off making line of sight blocks.
I put overstocked in quotes because it's not hard to keep up with. The plants and sponges keep it good. I test 1-2 times per week and only need a 10% bi-weekly water change for the nitrates. Keeping the pH from dipping is slightly harder but with that many fish and not many water changes it is expected. The water changes I am doing keep it around 7.2.
Its VERY hard water. Neither the ACO strips or the API master kit can tell me because the color is off the charts. It is almost a pinkish-purple on the ACO (300 is purple) and 300 on the Api is a bright red and mine comes out wine colored. Buffer stays up, no ammonia, nitrites, or chlorine. It is very stable right now. The thermometer which is positioned across the tank from the heater reads 74-76. I lost a few regular neons suddenly a couple months ago but haven't had any deaths since then, and I had removed my powerhead then as well. I think there was too much flow and it was causing problems.
Thank you for coming to my ted talk ha Comments and Criticism are welcomed
No description available.

No description available.

No description available.

Edited by Blaha
More Pictures
  • Like 1
  • Love 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tiger lotus and pennywort I love them. Your tanks are very beautiful. I get the most out of the journals and love reading so I read the whole thing and loved it. I have slowly migrated to nano fish and corydora throughout my fish keeping. I used to love watching the bigger fish but the interaction and drama of small fish in larger tanks has completely captivate me. Thank you for sharing I enjoyed it!

Edited by Guppysnail
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...