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Hello everyone,

I've been meaning to create a journal on my 29 gallon aquarium and my experiences with it, but I just haven't had time recently, as I am constantly bombarded with homework, tests, and projects in school. As you can probably infer, I have a little period of rest right now from school, which is why I am creating my journal now.

Anyway, I've done something similar to a journal in my introduction where I covered my journey through the entire hobby, so I thought that maybe I would do a more in-depth story with pictures and only about one aquarium. Hope you guys don't mind the read...

Okay, so it started out with me getting my 29 gallon started up and cycled for a couple of weeks.

Setup: I added in pool filter sand as the substrate (I had never tried this before previously I used gravel in my 10 gallon), because I knew Corydoras would love to sift through the sand. For hardscape, I originally included only a few river rocks, but soon later added in some driftwood from my pre-existing 10 gallon. Lastly, I added in a couple of plastic plants I had used in my first setup, and a Java fern grown in gravel, now planted in sand. In terms of equipment for this tank, I originally started with an airstone and a cheap hang-on-back filter from a 10 gallon aquarium kit, as well as a cheap heater from PetSmart. I increased the filtration later on as I get more fish. The original stocking for the aquarium was all the fish from my 10 gallon aquarium (not including the male guppy that had passed away a day before I transferred the fish), meaning a pair of peppered cories (Corydoras paleatus), two albino females (C. aeneus), one Venezuelan male (C. venezuelanus, I didn't know he was different from C. aeneus at the time which is why I only have one), and two Endler's livebearer males (Poecilia wingei), along with a number of Assasin snails (Clea helena) of all sizes.

Here is me first releasing the fish from my 10 gallon into their new 29 gallon aquarium.

1254314886_Stage1ReleasingtheFish.png.95cbd417087befa3d82c18af670f8f7e.png

Soon after their introduction, our last guinea pig Samuel passed away, so my parents allowed me to get more fish to compensate (also simply because the tank wasn't at all full, and needed something that would eat algae). I bought a school of five pygmy cories (Corydoras pygmaeus) (also not to eat algae, simply for my enjoyment), and my little sister wanted a pleco, so she chose out a female bristlenose pleco (Ancistrus spec., maybe Adolichopterus?). With the purchase of the bristlenose pleco came a tiny little guppy (Poecilia reticulata) fry that had made its way into the bag. We added this fry into the 29 gallon as well. Also I added an Amazon swordplant shortly after.

After a while, algae started to rapidly take over in the aquarium. Specifically whatever kind of algae this is:

1571469268_StaghornAlgae.png.0fa454e192be9c6e54c6e5ada1338e0f.png

I think it's staghorn algae so that's what I am going to call it for now. So I introduced three Amano shrimp from my LFS in order to combat the algal bloom. They immediately got to work on the staghorn algae covering the driftwood, and soon the driftwood was completely clear. Unfortunately, one shrimp jumped out of the aquarium (I don't even know how there is a good lid, and even though it has a space for the filter and stuff, I don't know why a shrimp would jump out, because the other two stayed in the aquarium), and I was not at home when this happened, so sadly this one did not make it. Anyway, they ate all of the mystery algae.

At this point, my pair of Corydoras paleatus were beginning to breed, laying eggs which I scooped out and put in a small 1/2 gallon container right next to my aquarium. This container was aerated with an air stone, but otherwise had no other equipment. This first batch of eggs all grew fungus all over it, and I was heartbroken, until a week or two later, right as I was about to throw the container away, I noticed a tiny little baby fish in the container. I put him into the 29 gallon aquarium because I had no other aquariums ready. He made his home under the rock caves that I constructed near the air stone.

But soon after this problem came the bloom of hair algae and black beard algae, the former covering the Amazon sword and plastic plants, while the latter took over my driftwood and Java fern. My guppy fry, which grew up and happened to be a female, then had babies with my male Endler's, producing many hybrid fry.

In this stage, I also added a MarineLand Penguin Bio-Wheel 150 Power (hang-on-back) Filter made for 30 gallons. Although I have heard bad reviews for it, it worked for me because it was just and had a decent amount of space inside of it to add sponges, cartridges, or filter floss (I started with the cartridge that came with the kit and then switch the media later on). Also, I added an intake sponge over the intake of the filter so that no fry would get sucked up and also so that algae and plant leaves and things like that would not clog the filter.

1107143683_Stage2AlgaeBloom.png.47e705d2df50b4d5f7afaff514ee1292.png

Soon, my Corydoras paleatus started breeding again, and laid about 30 fertile eggs. I used the same process for these as last time, and amazingly, all 30 hatched. I added them into a breeder basket in the main tank. They did fine for a couple of weeks, but then I noticed one or two had died under the frame of the box. So I decided to release them into the main tank, as I was afraid all would meet the same fate. Honestly, I think it would have been best if I just kept them in the box. After a couple of days, I never saw any of them anymore. I think that they might have, 1) gotten eaten by the other fish in the tank, but I don't know who could have eaten them I only had Endler's livebearers, cories, Amano shrimp, and a bristlenose pleco at the time, 2) died of disease, or 3) they died of starvation and not being able to compete for food. Fortunately, three of the 30 survived and I began to see them later on as they got bigger.

So at this point, I was really upset and just wanted something new. I finally got my parents to allow me to get plants (ordered off of Aquarium Co-Op they took a lot of convincing though because they were afraid of me getting pest snails that would take over like the trumpet snails in my 10 gallon). I ordered a Cryptocoryne wendtii, Vallisneria, dwarf hairgrass (Eleocharis), and a dwarf aquarium lily (Nymphaea stellata). After this I went to my LFS to get Cabomba caroliniana, two Siamese algae eaters (Crossocheilus siamensis) for the still going hair algae problem, and a male pearl gourami (Trichopodus leeri). Also picked up my first Repashy to try it out as well.

Soon, my aquarium was nice and green, and I added a black background for viewing purposes. I also decided to add more filtration (the water was pretty cloudy) so I ordered an Aquarium Co-Op sponge filter meant for 10 gallons (I had ordered this for my 10 gallon aquarium but wasn't using it at the time).

1115759448_Stage3PlantedAquarium.png.0a41bebfeaee07678d2c911196980edb.png

After keeping this setup and stocking for a while, and while the guppies/endlers kept having more babies, I noticed my tank was way overstocked. The gourami was being aggressive toward the cories during feeding, the Siamese algae eaters were constantly fighting, and the bristlenose pleco was always chasing the other fish away from the food on the bottom (she, unlike the gourami, would just charge straight at whatever she felt wanted to take her food, even if they were half the tank apart. This meant baby cories, the gourami, and even the Amano shrimp). So I started by removing a large school of guppies (I took out the ones I wanted to breed) and added them to my newly restarted 10 gallon to start a colony. I removed my disintegrating Cabomba and put it in there as well (I never can seem to have success with this plant someone please give tips). Later, due to continued aggression, I moved both the pearl gourami and one of the Siamese algae eaters into the 10 gallon as well for temporary holding. They are still in there now, and aren't too big yet, so I plan on moving them or getting them a new home once they get bigger. 

Anyway, my guppies continue to have babies in the 10 gallon, but the ones in the 29 are not old enough yet, so they will soon. I added in water sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides) in place of the Cabomba, and it is growing well along with the dwarf aquarium lily and the Cryptocoryne wendtii.

881534453_Stage4PlantedAquarium.jpg.5ab08ca40bb95c52d39ae8ef27b81191.jpg

My goal with this setup is to create a nice "jungle," where there are a lot of plants covering the back and sides of the aquarium, with many different species of fish of different shapes and sizes all thriving together. Right now, it doesn't look too good though. Despite the plants that are growing well, algae is taking over the glass walls (I think green spot algae and some other type). In addition, the Vallisneria in the back doesn't grow anymore, and the Amazon sword that I had originally put in the tank several months ago has gotten smaller and smaller (it was propogated underwater at my LFS), and now is looking green and brown. The hairgrass is growing okay. Any suggestions on what to do with these current problems would be well appreciated.

Also, I thought I might add that the bristlenose pleco died just a week or so ago, probably due to internal parasites that might be causing the fish in both my 10 and 29 gallon to scratch themselves on the substrate. I am ordering the medications (API General Cure I heard works well) now, and so far no one else has died yet.

Anyway, I thought I might include a few pictures of the fish in the tank at the moment:

Here is a pair of Amano shrimp on their favorite driftwood. The female has eggs, but I heard they don't hatch in freshwater. But if anyone has hatched Amano shrimp before, please give advice I want to try and hatch her eggs.

476966666_AmanoShrimp.jpg.3d2209d017cbce2ef547159ed92b9810.jpg

Corydoras attacking Repashy: Community Plus

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So currently, my conditions are:

  • Equipment: Nicrew 30 Inch Light, MarineLand Penguin Bio-Wheel 150 Power Filter, Aquarium Co-Op 10 Gallon Sponge filter (powered by Aqua Culture 5-15 Gallon Air Pumo), 6 inch airstone (powered by Tetra 20-40 Gallons Air Pump), Some kind of heater I forgot the brand
  • Plants: Vallisneria (2), Cryptocoryne wendtii (2 plus new plants from runners), Dwarf Aquarium Lily (1), Dwarf Hairgrass (1), Amazon Sword (1), Java Fern (1 large, plus many smaller plantlets planted in different spots), Water Sprite (1).
  • Fish and Other Livestock: Albino Corydoras (2), Peppered Corydoras (5), Pygmy Corydoras (5), Venezuelan Corydoras (1), Guppy/Endler's Livebearer Hybrids (Around 20 of various sizes), Siamese Algae Eater (1), Amano Shrimp (2), Assassin Snail (Many).

So that's my journey with this aquarium so far. As I mentioned earlier, I want a bit more variety in my fish species, so I plan selling some of the guppy/endler hybrids and assassin snails (or moving them) and stocking the aquarium with a couple other different peaceful fish, like tetras (I like rosy tetras, cardinals, diamonds, lemons, black neons, and pristellas), rasboras (maybe the micro rasboras?), minnows (white clouds), or other Corydoras (I know that would probably be too many bottom dwellers though, so maybe only a friend for the Venezuelan or albinos, or more pygmy cories so they school in the middle instead of taking up more room on the bottom). I also like Bolivian Rams, but I know they get pretty big and act like a gourami so not suitable for my community. So if you guys have any ideas on which other fish I could do in the aquarium, go ahead and give your suggestions down below.

I'll make sure to give updates on this aquarium in the future.

Sorry for the long read, but if you did make it this far, thanks for reading!

Edited by CorydorasEthan
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14 minutes ago, quirkylemon103 said:

what do you do for maintence 

I change water (25-30%) and gravel vac every week. I don't dose any fertilizer, or have any CO2. I scrub the glass panels occasionally (once every two weeks or so), and clean out the intake sponge on my hang-on-back filter every week. I don't clean the sponge filter very often, because all the pygmy cories that sleep behind there start to freak out if I move my hand too close to it.

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Just now, Tami said:

if you don't dose fertilizer how are you feeding your plants?

 

I like to just let the fish waste allow the plants to grow. I think that is why the Java fern and Cryptocoryne grow so well, as they are both near the area where the peppered cory family and the school of pygmy cories always sleep. I heard root tabs could be useful for Amazon sword and Vallisneria, so I might try that out.

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Just now, quirkylemon103 said:

have you ever seen your pygmy cories eat something? mine are still healthy and fat(aside from the one that didn't have friends for a couple months) but I have only seen mine eat twice

Yeah I hardly ever see them eat but sometimes I will see them nibble at a pellet I drop near the back of the aquarium. Mine are pretty fat too (especially the females).

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This morning I noticed my SAE nipping my cories during feeding (why does everyone have to pick on the cories during feeding?). I am planning on moving him or giving him back to my LFS. Of course, this would be after I treated the tank for parasites (coming Monday hopefully I ordered it online). So do you guys think I could go with one of these stocking options (given that I will treat the internal parasites and get rid of some guppies and assassin snails later on):

 - I am looking for a small algae eater that is also peaceful and eats algae on the walls. I think a group Otocinclus might be the ticket. An added bonus is that they might school with my pygmy cories.

 - Also, do you think I could add a group of schooling fish? I was thinking a group of smaller tetras like the pristella or cardinal, or micro rasboras from the genus Boraras (like pygmy rasboras, chile rasboras, exclamation point rasboras, etc.).

 - Okay, last question. My female albino cories and male venzuelan cory always try to lay fertilized eggs, but the eggs are never fertilized. I was thinking I could get another albino cory (male) and one more venezuelan cory (female) for the tank so that they can actually breed successfully. Would this be okay given the stocking level in my aquarium?

Of course, all of these probably could not all go into the aquarium. I'd have to choose only one option or maybe two at most. I'm thinking of the first option, and maybe the third later on, but that may be too many bottom dwellers. What do you guys think?

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13 hours ago, CorydorasEthan said:

 - I am looking for a small algae eater that is also peaceful and eats algae on the walls. I think a group Otocinclus might be the ticket. An added bonus is that they might school with my pygmy cories.

 - Also, do you think I could add a group of schooling fish? I was thinking a group of smaller tetras like the pristella or cardinal, or micro rasboras from the genus Boraras (like pygmy rasboras, chile rasboras, exclamation point rasboras, etc.).

 - Okay, last question. My female albino cories and male venzuelan cory always try to lay fertilized eggs, but the eggs are never fertilized. I was thinking I could get another albino cory (male) and one more venezuelan cory (female) for the tank so that they can actually breed successfully. Would this be okay given the stocking level in my aquarium?

You could add a couple otocinclus to help with algae, and they very well could school with the pygmy corys.

With corydoras it is usually better to have more makes than females, I try to have a ratio of at least two males for every female. It helps with fertilization of eggs to have more males. It is possible for your albino and venezuelanus corys to spawn together and produce fertile eggs, I would recommend to move one of them out of that tank and get a few more of whichever species you decide to keep and try to spawn. Hybridization in corydoras is usually frowned upon just like it is by rainbow fish keepers.

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On 2/13/2021 at 8:42 PM, Tami said:

I love my Otos and they do a great job on biofilm and brown algae, not so much with the green algae though.  I also have pristella, they were spawning all the time until one suddenly died.  Very active and fun to watch.

Stocking is confusing to me since it is dependent on so many things.

Thanks for the advice! Were you able to hatch pristella tetra eggs?

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UPDATE: I moved the two vallisneria plants that weren't doing well over to the other side where the Java fern, water sprite, dwarf lily, and crypt wendtii are thriving. Hopefully, they will start growing taller soon, and then I'll decide where to plant them permantately (I also plan on getting root tabs for them and my Amazon sword, but I'm going to wait until I need quite a few things from Aquarium Co-Op until I order them).

284829550_29GallonPlantsUpdate1.jpg.7ee8cee499a21246c6eb7136e170f0ab.jpg

The absense of the vallisneria in that one spot has left a great empty space in the back on the tank (left corner). What would be a plant that I could grow there? Here are my preferences:

  • Low to mid light requirement.
  • Easy to care for.
  • Tall growing. Something that provides a lot of cover.
  • Preferably not a stem plant, I have bad luck with cabomba and moneywort (I'd be fine with water sprite, but I already have one in the tank, and I want something different).

218073762_29GallonAquariumUpdate1.jpg.8971961b76a37b29f624285ebb289994.jpg

Internal Parasites: By the time the General Cure arrived, I've noticed the fish are still acting normal, but only occasionally rub themselves on the sand (to scratch probably). Do I still need to dose the General Cure? I am worried about doing so because I heard if you dose too much, or dose at all when they aren't sick, it may have negative consequences on their health. Any thoughts on this? I'll post something in the disease section on this too.

Aggression: My Siamese algae eater is getting aggressive during feeding, so I'll move him to a separate tank or find him a new home. Might give him to one of my LFS because I don't know any other hobbyists that live in my area. I'm going to get a group of otos instead to clean up the algae.

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

UPDATE:

Here is a video of the tank two weeks ago:

Even after I treated for parasites with General Cure, the fish are still flashing. Thankfully, they show no signs of parasites and I have not had any deaths. I am getting a test kit later today at my LFS to see what might be bothering them.

I got some otos and a green cory (I think it's another Venezuelan), and all are healthy and active. The otos are tiny (smaller than I expected), and I need help with identification, so I'll post a topic in general to find what type they are. They don't seem to eat much algae, but they are probably too small to eat a significant amount yet. The new cory (I think it's a female) will hopefully spawn with the male I already have so I can have another chance at raising cory eggs. My female peppered cory doesn't seem to be interested in spawning anymore, so any advice for me on that?

I've moved my two Vallisneria plants near the back of the aquarium again next to the bubble wall. I put some gravel over on that side of the tank so that they would grow better, and so far I have around 6 runners. They still don't grow very tall, and I still need to get fertilizers, so maybe they'll grow taller then. I will order ferts as soon as I can, I just haven't had the time or money yet.

The "dwarf" aquarium lily is not so dwarf anymore, and is blocking out a lot of the light with its many huge lily pads. I plan on changing it up so that the crypts can get some light. Also, does anyone know how to propagate dwarf aquarium lilies?

The Java fern has been rapidly reproducing as well, so I have moved some leaflets/small plantlets onto the driftwood log.

The main Java fern has died off on one side, probably due to it being buried in the sand. I will be puchasing a driftwood log for that end of the aquarium as well so it has something to attach to. This log will also serve as a hiding area for my still very-shy pygmy corydoras, whom I plan on getting some more friends for today.

I am selling off some of my guppy/endler hybrid males today as well at my LFS, because I have around three males to every one female right now. I might also sell my siamese algae eater, as it gets a little aggressive during feeding.

I also thinned the layer of sand/gravel on top of the 6-inch air stone, and now it has a lot more flow. Four juvenile peppered cories and one adult male really seem to like it:

I will be posting pictures on the tank later today, after I go to my LFS.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed, and thanks for reading.

Edited by CorydorasEthan
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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

UPDATE:

While, I went to my LFS and sold eight guppies, but I couldn't buy anymore fish for myself. I am glad I didn't though, because I just got my water test strips yesterday. Here are my results:

First Test:

  • Total Hardness (GH): 150 ppm
  • Nitrate: 100
  • Nitrite: 0
  • Chlorine: 0
  • Carbonate (KH): 0
  • pH: 6.4

290778245_TestStripvs_Key.jpg.a82d7a5b5e4ffc43e59ff78f14eba551.jpg

Second Test (after water change):

  • Total Hardness (GH): 150
  • Nitrate: 75
  • Nitrite: 0
  • Chlorine: 0
  • Carbonate: 40
  • pH: 6.4

773850677_TestStripResults04-06-2021(secondtest).jpg.0a6f348994d7e95770fb58827751421a.jpg

Apparantly, based on two tests, I have a very low pH. I assume this has something to do with my tapwater. The thing that confuses me is that my fish have been thriving in these conditions. The endlers do very well. Though I have noticed my cories are not spawning anymore. Any suggestions on how I should address this?

I noticed my nitrates are very high as well. This is odd since I have quite a few plants in the tank. I have also had no deaths since my bristlenose pleco died a couple of months ago. Some other members on the forum mentioned more plants, which I will get. What else should I do to combat this nitrate problem?

Lastly, is it okay to have such low carbonate (KH) levels? I read an article by Aquarium Co-Op that if I have too low of a KH, that my pH will crash. Is this the case with my aquarium? If it is a problem, what should I do to counter it?

Anyway, here are a few pictures of the tank currently:

179432200_JungleAquarium4-6-2021.JPG.3e96589e403520d60244f2d111ba6df4.JPG

1633877572_Guppy-EndlerHybridswithPlants.JPG.5138a9311c0fc2f2dcc1b68f427e1774.JPG

1736770504_FemaleVenezuelanCorywithHairgrass.JPG.d3867733ae914569e48da05938b8834d.JPG

I hope you enjoyed the read. Thanks in advance for any answers that you might have to my various problems.

Edited by CorydorasEthan
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I would use an API master test kit instead of the strips. It's quite a bit more accurate. You can also combat the nitrates with water changes. I read that you're doing 25-30% weekly? 

https://aqadvisor.com/ use this site, put all your fish and tank/filter information. It might tell you that you need say... a 40% weekly change instead or possibly a different filter based on how many fish you have. 

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3 hours ago, Alainn said:

I would use an API master test kit instead of the strips. It's quite a bit more accurate. You can also combat the nitrates with water changes. I read that you're doing 25-30% weekly? 

https://aqadvisor.com/ use this site, put all your fish and tank/filter information. It might tell you that you need say... a 40% weekly change instead or possibly a different filter based on how many fish you have. 

Thanks for the help! I am looking into trying out different test kits, but I have to save up some money before I get the API Master Test Kit first.

Currently, I have a 10 gallon sponge filter and a Marineland Penguin Bio-Wheel 150 (rated for 30 gallons) for the tank. I have increased the surface area (for beneficial bacteria) by adding plenty of filter floss and sponges inside in addition to adding a pre-filter sponge. I have been using Aqadavisor, and it says I need to water change a bit more than 30% weekly (of course, I rounded the number of endlers down, because I have so many, mostly tiny babies). Over the past few weeks I have been adjusting my water change schedule accordingly. My only problem is with plants. I have quite a few of them, but (based on the results) they don't seem to be helping with my nitrate levels. Will adding fertilizer to help them combat nitrates?

Thanks again!

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