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Rescaping the 29g in our living room


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The photo shows looks right now. With the exception of my having already removed the chunk of mopani that was in the left side of the tank, this is how it has looked for years now, with the exception of the plants coming out of the back and the duckweed, pogostemon, and monte carlo you can see in the middle area. Definitely time for a change. The pogostemon will be moved to a different spot, of course, don't want that right there in the middle. A lot of the crypts will come out. For now, I'll drop those into the QT I just set up.

I'm waiting for the dragon stone I ordered, and I'll be ready to go to town on redoing this tank. New plants arrived from AC yesterday, and my new substrates are on hand. Just need the stone. I'm excited to redo this tank. I plan to part of the existing substrate in there as a base, as well as there being no change in the filter media, so it won't have to cycle from scratch.

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On 2/17/2021 at 5:37 PM, OceanTruth said:

That is quite the jungle! Good luck with the rescape. Hope it turns out great!

Yeah, those crypts went wild. And that's how they look after being thinned! LOL

My dragon stone is due to arrive next week. I thought it was THIS week, but alas... So waiting on pins and needles for it to arrive.

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Got the rescape done! Totally pulled everything out of there and overhauled the tank. I have a BUNCH of Crypts set aside that I can use elsewhere (not sure where yet), but I managed to did put a few back in the tank. Those things had even growth through the plastic cave decoration I had in there (visible in the right side of the image in the OP).

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how it turned out, and look forward to seeing how it looks as plants grow and fill in. Though I kept the filter and media intact (didn't clean either) and included some of the old, well-aged substrate (also not cleaned) underneath the new gravel and rocks, I'm letting the tank cycle to be sure it's ready before adding any inhabitants other than a few bladder snails I tossed in there.

Hardscape includes:
20# of dragon stone
Carib Sea Super Naturals gravel - Peace River
Carib Sea Super Naturals sand - Sunset Gold
Manzanita driftwood branches
lava rocks in media bags (under substrate in back to add height)

Submerged plants:
Cryptocoryne wendtii "green" (kept from original setup)
Monte Carlo
Pogostemon stellatus "octopus"
Bacopa caroliniana
Water sprite
Ammania gracilis
Anubias nana
Java fern

Floating plants:
Duckweed
Red root floaters

Emergent plants (coming up out of the back):
Peace lily
Creeping charlie
Wandering Jew
Devil's ivy
Arrowhead vine
English ivy
Fottonia (red)
Dumbcane (small Dieffenbachia variety)

Was so TOTALLY worth annoying my lower back, butt, and thighs to squat in the backyard for an hour cleaning the dragon stone. 😉

At this point, I'm pretty sure I know what I want to put in there, but we'll see if I change my mind by the time I can order fish online. If I stick to my current plant, the inhabitants will be cherry shrimp, nerite snails, pygmy cories, cherry barbs, and Endlers. I decided, since I'll be ordering fish online for delivery, I'm going to get things I've wanted for years but haven't been able to get locally. No more settling for the local slim pickings.

One photo shows the view from one end of the tank, so you can see all the stem plants currently pretty well hidden behind the rocks.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

I've been feeding this tank fish food every couple of days (and getting teased A LOT by my hubby about my "invisible fish"), and the water parameters have remained stable and healthy. Starting off with well established substrate under the new and a well-seasoned filter sure helps with cycling!

Added 7 cherry shrimp and 2 zebra nerite snails to this tank yesterday.

Here's the tank as it looked yesterday as I acclimated the new additions:

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That bright spot in the middle is a wad of duckweed that had gotten hung up on the driftwood below the HOB output. As you can see, I let some finer algae get established on the glass so the nerites would have something yummy to eat. I did clean the front glass this morning, but I left the rest.

Incidentally, the wide jar sitting on top of the tank and visible in the above photo is what I used to acclimate the shrimp. I tested their water before I started the acclimation process to see how different the parameters in the bag were from mine and extended the acclimation process to accommodate a rather large difference in pH, GH, and KH. The jar made that really easy.

Here are the nerites settling into their new home:

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And a few photos of the shrimp. One while they were still in the bag.

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This first one is of them in the jar. I gave them some duckweed from the tank, and they were ON IT. (The phone does weird things with photos when I zoom in, so not the best quality image.)

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And in their new environment.

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They're so cool to watch. 🙂

Edited by Dawn T
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  • 2 weeks later...

The cherry shrimp and nerites are doing well. No signs of breeding activity yet for the shrimp, but I'm keeping an eye on it. Later this week, I'm expecting a fish order. Part of that order is more shrimp (I'm hooked!) as well as a school of pygmy cories and some Endler's livebearers (2 trios).

I removed the water sprite, which was doing HORRIBLY and looked hideous (algae loved that plant, though my other plants aren't having that problem, except some of the Monte Carlo). In its place, I planted some Hygrophila siamensis 53B. The Pogostemon stellatus octopus are showing the most growth at this point. They're looking great. The Ammania gracilis appears to have finally taken hold, and I'm finally seeing growth there. The Monte Carlo? Meh. It's not losing ground, but so far hasn't gained any. The shrimp love picking at it the bits of algae on it though.

Once plants have filled in more, I'm thinking about adding a honey gourami as a centerpiece fish. I'm waffling on that, though. I've heard and read mixed reviews about their compatibility with cherry shrimp. I had originally been thinking about cherry barbs for this tank, but I'm not sure I want to go that route for the same reason as I'm waffling on the honey gourami. Any thoughts on that?

The water parameters continue to remain stable in this tank. I'm adding Easy Green every week or two and feeding the shrimp a small amount about 3 times a week.

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The Endler's livebearers arrived today. I ordered six and received a few extra. 😁 One of the females dropped babies in transit. Everyone arrived alive and active. I got them acclimated and put into the tank. Decided not to quarantine them since they were going into a fish-less tank. I'll try to get photos tonight after they've settled in and the room is dark enough for tank photography to be easier.

Cories and shrimp are supposed to be here Saturday, according to package tracking. I'm hoping they'll show up a day or two sooner like my last order of plants did, but we'll see.

I also received the betta for my new 5g tank (shown in another thread) and the Gambusia mosquito fish for my other 29g (well-established tank with a few other fish already present, so the new guys went in quarantine).

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No, they're just sticking up in there. I ended up shifting one of them to one side, as it was blocking access too much to the prefilter on my HOB. That's part of the reason I didn't mount them in place. I wanted to make sure I could move them in case I needed access to some area they might be blocking. Good thing, too! Getting to that prefilter would've been a nightmare if they'd been unmoveable. LOL

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  • 2 weeks later...

The male Endler's started with fin rot, so I moved them to the quarantine tank, which was already being medicated with the right meds, due to dealing with an issue with Gambusia that were already in there. Both improved quickly, became more active and got their appetites back. They'll be staying in there until I'm ready to remove everyone from quarantine.

I received more shrimp AND the cories I was expecting. One of the 6 cories vanished overnight, and I haven't seen him since, despite looking everywhere for him. The other 5 are doing well, though. Overnight, all the shrimp vanished (both established and new), and I'm like what the heck?!? Finally found them hiding in various places around the tank, going about their business. Breathe.

The 4 Endler girls are doing great. I haven't seen any sign of the babies I put in there with them, but there are a lot of hiding places they could be staying in, due to the dragon stone and plants, so I'm just watching and waiting to see if they reappear. They might've been eaten, so not holding my breath while I wait.

I'm having to dose the tank at least twice a week with Easy Green to keep nutrient levels up. The fish load is SO low right now that the plants keep the nitrates at 0 without the EG. Hair algae decided to take up residence, which is annoying, but I'm not worrying too much about it. I just swirl and remove it with my pinseers when I'm doing any plant maintenance or glass cleaning. Though I'm tempted to add more fish, I know Endler's are like guppies, and I'll end up a thousand in there before I know it if I'm not careful. LOL So Easy Green and I are buds on dealing with that tank right now. 😁

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Woohoo! Mysteriously vanishing cory #6 reappeared with his schoolmates this morning! I thought for sure he was a goner, since I've only seen the school alternate between 4 and 5 individuals since I added them to the tank about 3 weeks ago. But all 6 are present and accounted for!

Also, seeing more shrimp molts, and the girls are so big! Love watching them. Most are cherries, but there are a few oddballs in there, since I got a mixed color batch last time to include. So every now and then, one of those different colored ones put in an appearance, which is cool.

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7 minutes ago, Dawn T said:

Woohoo! Mysteriously vanishing cory #6 reappeared with his schoolmates this morning! I thought for sure he was a goner, since I've only seen the school alternate between 4 and 5 individuals since I added them to the tank about 3 weeks ago. But all 6 are present and accounted for!

Also, seeing more shrimp molts, and the girls are so big! Love watching them. Most are cherries, but there are a few oddballs in there, since I got a mixed color batch last time to include. So every now and then, one of those different colored ones put in an appearance, which is cool.

Glad to hear about the reappearance of the cory, they're good at hiding when they don't want to be found. Are they getting enough food down there at the bottom?

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Yep. I "overfeed" the tank to make sure, so plenty reaches the bottom for them, as well as the shrimp. I also drop in pellets for bottom feeders a couple of times a week. Since ammonia and nitrites stay at zero, and I can't get the nitrates to even hit and stay at 10 without Easy Green help, I'm not too worried at this point about overdoing the food in the tank.

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  • 3 months later...

This tank is continuing to do great! I haven't had to do any water changes in a couple of months (and that one was accidental, due to a stupid I did with the HOB filter that ended up overflowing - OOPS!). Every Saturday, I do testing (with AC test strips - LOVE THEM!), do top offs with dechlorinated tap water, and do any other maintenance that's needed - like trimming plants and filter maintenance.

The Pogostemon stellatus "octopus" has really settled in beautifully. I trim it every couple of weeks.

The Hygrophila siamensis 53B has FINALLY gotten established and growing well now.

The Ammania gracilis has been REALLY slow to get established but is holding its own, so I'm just being patient and trying to keep the Pogostemon from shading it too much.

There are both cherry shrimp (multiple colors) as well as Amano shrimp in the tank, plus I added more Endler males (scarlet). I dose the tank with Bacter AE once a week and drop shrimp food of one sort or another in the tank at least every other day.

I recently added a pair of golden blue-eyed long-finned bushynose plecostomus to the tank. BIG name for a little fish. LOL The two are easy to tell apart, since one is solid golden while the other has a couple of black spots on him. The pleco pic below is from when they were still in quarantine.

Pgymy corydoras herd (he he) is active and doing well.

All of the inhabitants of this tank are small, and it's an adventure to sit and watch all the various activity and try to spot individual varieties of fish, or even individual fish.

Latest pics are below. 🙂

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