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20 Gallon Journal - My First Fish Tank


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Hi Co Op team.  I'd like to share what I've been up to and document the journey.  I've been watching a ton of aquarium coop videos (other videos as well).  Although I've been learning a lot, I've definitely made many mistakes along the way.

I started my fish tank like most people do by going to Petco and getting somethings for some fish to call home.  Prior to getting some fish I had it decorated and running for two weeks.  After that I went ahead and picked up three red eye tetras to help along with the cycling process. 

After a few days I picked up two more to at least make it a small school of five.

DSC_6091.jpg

 I fell in love with corydoras after watching a bunch of videos.  I went to a local fish shop and saw these guys.  Emerald green corys.  Water parameters in the tank seemed good so I picked up six of these guys.  DSC_6135.jpg

 After a few days I wanted to change up their scenery so I bought some driftwood.  This is where things started to get a little scary for me.  I really wish I had more patience when doing things, but I was feeling so excited and couldn't control myself.  I feel terrible because I'm sure I put these guys through a ton of stress.  I went to bed and hoped they would adjust and like their new home upgrades.DSC_6146.jpg

 Well the next day when I woke up my water looked like this.  😳 Full of tannins from the driftwood.  Not only that but when I tested the water I had a huge ammonia spike.  I did a big water change and continued to monitor water.  I felt pretty bad about things, I was worried for my poor little fish.  Stressed from decor change, big ammonia spike, and stress from a big water change.  I continued to monitor water conditions and had to do some more water changes over the next few days to keep lowering the ammonia.  DSC_6150.jpg

 Then I decided I wanted to add some live plants to the mix.  Ordered a few things from Aquarium Coop. 

Some Anubias NanaDSC_6152.jpg

 Java Fern.  I think I'm going to have to relocate this one.  It's pretty high up and I think it's going to get too much light. DSC_6154.jpg

 Cryptocoryne Lutea.  I placed two root tabs near it under the substrate.  DSC_6158.jpg

 Another anubias nanaDSC_6161.jpgI still have two fake plants in there. I'm going to wait a week before removing them just in case they're holding some beneficial bacteria.  

Edited by Elmojon
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21 minutes ago, Paul_Obermiller said:

I saw that you went from plastic plants to live plants. That's a good step. (IMO) If you change the gravel to a more natural color it will make everything look better. The wood will stand out more and so will your fish. You don't want the attention on the gravel. These are just some suggestions.

I really want to change the gravel but I feel like I'll do more harm than good.  Maybe one day I'll get a bigger tank and I'll definitely do things different. 

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Elmojon - I’d say you’re off to a good if not a bit rocky (woody?) start.  You started off strong, waiting 2 weeks and checking your water parameters.  A bit of a fumble with the wood, but you recovered nicely with water changes and live plants.  No penalty flags on this one.  Keep up with checking your water and watch your team to see how they’re doing.  You’re doing great!

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You can gradually remove the old gravel and replace it with new over the course of a few months. It'll be messy, but it'll get done! Like remove some, replace with new, wait maybe two weeks, and then repeat until it's all replaced. Lets your bacteria colony keep up.

I have done a 100% substrate replacement before, but it was only on long running, well established tanks (like a year or more old).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello everyone. Just wanted to post an update and see if I can get some feedback.

It's been about a week and a half since I added the plants. I'm trying not to think about it too much. I know the plants usually get worse when you first introduce them to a new tank, but maybe there is something I can do to improve them. 

These first three photos are of the anubias nana. Some yellowing of the leaves.

IMG_20210218_165837.jpg

IMG_20210218_165854.jpg

IMG_20210218_165917.jpg

This is the Java fern. I just placed its roots in a small hole of the drift wood. I'm hoping it eventually grows down and gets a better grip. 

IMG_20210218_165908.jpg

Then we have a crypt lutea. It arrived with the brown leaves covered in pods. Maybe they'll release and grow some more lutea. 

IMG_20210218_165940.jpg

I put two root tabs under the crypt lutea. And I did two pumps of easy green when I first added the plants and I did two pumps of easy green two days ago when I did a water change. 

I have a 12 watt fluval aqua sky light that runs on it's pro preset which runs 12 hours on and 12 hours off. 

Edited by Elmojon
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9 minutes ago, kammaroon said:

I think you have the Java fern and crypt the wrong way round in the last two photos. The small plant on the wood looks like a crypt and the plant in the substrate with long leaves, some of which are brown, looks like a Java fern.

Ha! That's what I thought, but I went with what was labeled on the plants when they arrived. I thought my "Java fern" looked smaller than everyone else's. I guess I should rearrange things and plant that crypt into the substrate.

Edited by Elmojon
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On 2/8/2021 at 8:47 PM, Elmojon said:

I fell in love with corydoras after watching a bunch of videos.  I went to a local fish shop and saw these guys.  Emerald green corys.  Water parameters in the tank seemed good so I picked up six of these guys.  DSC_6135.jpg

Nice looking tank! Corydoras are the best! Looking closely at them, they might not be Corydoras aeneus, but they might be a more rare, closely related species. Maybe a variant of the venezuelan cory? It is hard to tell since they are not fully grown yet. I look foreward to seeing how this aquarium progresses in the future!

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  • 4 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Hey everybody. Little update.  I picked up a few plants. 😁. We got a patch of java moss, some dwarf hair grass, and a vallisneria.  My anubias nana didn't do so well. I think maybe too much light.

IMG_20210308_085526.jpg

There was also another big change. Swapped my substrate and took out one of the pieces of driftwood. Took out my neon gravel and I'm trying eco complete.

IMG_20210308_085624.jpg

Here's everything planted. I have some root tabs under the dwarf hair grass and shoved one into the vallisneria pot. 

IMG_20210308_100853.jpg

We'll see how things grow. I'd love to have a nice carpet one day. Maybe will have to experiment with co2 but we'll see. It's all a learning experience for me.

IMG_20210308_100922.jpg

Edited by Elmojon
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  • 4 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Little update. Nothing much going on. Fishies just being fishies. Back wall of tank is a little dirty. Did a water test and we're at 0 nitrites, 0 ammonia, and 20 to 40 ppm nitrates.

IMG_20210406_170605.jpg

The Java fern is sprouting some new leaves. Will these fall off and grow large like the original plant?

IMG_20210406_170615.jpg

The vallisneria has some leaves that look great and some not so great. There is something right next to it that looks like a new plant growing. I can't tell if it's a new plant or it's part of the original plant.

IMG_20210406_170635.jpg

Most of my dwarf hair grass unrooted and got stuck in my filter. I might order more crypts.

IMG_20210406_170651.jpg

The Java moss lost a lot of its green color.

IMG_20210406_170714.jpg

Anyone know what's happening here? Im getting some strange colors on this part of the driftwood.

IMG_20210406_170708.jpg

Edited by Elmojon
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16 minutes ago, Elmojon said:

Little update. Nothing much going on. Fishies just being fishies. Back wall of tank is a little dirty. Did a water test and we're at 0 nitrites, 0 ammonia, and 20 to 40 ppm nitrates.

IMG_20210406_170605.jpg

The Java fern is sprouting some new leaves. Will these fall off and grow large like the original plant?

IMG_20210406_170615.jpg

The vallisneria has some leaves that look great and some not so great. There is something right next to it that looks like a new plant growing. I can't tell if it's a new plant or it's part of the original plant.

IMG_20210406_170635.jpg

Most of my dwarf hair grass unrooted and got stuck in my filter. I might order more crypts.

IMG_20210406_170651.jpg

The Java moss lost a lot of its green color.

IMG_20210406_170714.jpg

Anyone know what's happening here? Im getting some strange colors on this part of the driftwood.

IMG_20210406_170708.jpg

The stuff on the driftwood looks like some type of algae.

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