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Derek’s build thread

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Hey all,

Staring this thread. I am just getting back in to the hobby. I have kept saltwater in the past, but decided freshwater, and freshwater folks are more my speed! 

I am going to start with a 20 Gallon long. Well..... 2 20 gallon longs to be specific (more on that in the future). My first one however is going to be set up like this:

20 gallon long tank planted tank. (I just picked up an embarrassing amount of tanks at a recent half off sale)

hygger Amazon programmable light (I debated getting the flu all 3.0, but ultimately decided that if this amazon light can give me 70% of the fluval I’ll save the $100 for now)

HOB filter I have from before, hot rodded aquarium Co-Op style. Also planing on adding a sponge filter for quick cycling any other tanks. 

eheim Jager 50 watt heater


Stocking List:

Plants! Probably go to LFS and decided at that point which ones.

8 Harlequin rasboras

6 Kuhli Loaches

6-8 of another school (Endlers?)

1 betta

Malaysian trumpet snails

possibly a wood shrimp or bamboo shrimp.

I was going to wait a little bit, but the half off tank sale got me hooked. 

I’m planning on cycling with plants.

I have attached a picture of the empty glass box, a lot of supplies are still in storage/on the way.

Im excited to bring you all along with me.




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I set up the tank dry today. Backing put on, hardscape and decorations (all picked out by my children) placed. Ready for plants and water! The light and other equipment should be coming in this weekend or early next week. Excited to get this going


Edited by Goosedub
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Update. Went to LFS. Bought some plants:

Bacopa, Anubias, Cryptocorns, Java Fern, and Pogostemon. He also has pink flamingo Crypts but they haven’t started propagating... hoping to get some when they are for sale!

Also, the light never came so I bought a stingray 2 at my LFS, which I’m actually really happy with.

Anyway.... I made the mistake of taking my wife with me to the store to pick out plants... and she fell in love. She looked at me in a way that I can’t refuse and we came home with this gorgeous Koi Plakat Betta. His name is King and he is a bit Cantankerous. I have watched a lot of videos on sexing bettas and I am 87% sure he is a male. If anyone would like to comment on this I would be much appreciated.

So now I have to do a fish in cycle with a $40 collectors betta. Luckily the owner of my LFS has sent me home with some used filter media. I am also dosing Seachem stability. I’ll be monitoring parameters judiciously. I really don’t foresee too many issues as I have the filter media and he is a small fish in a 20 gal tank.

We are so taken  with him we are thinking of getting a female to breed them. Which means my whole plan for a planted community tank may be put on hold. For now and for a while it’s just one fish in a big tank.

thanks for looking




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  • 2 weeks later...

It’s been a couple weeks set up and running. No major catastrophes. 

the Betta has some red marks behind his gills. I just went on vacation and had 0.5 ppm ammonia before leaving. I did a big water change. He fasted for 4 days and when I got back he had a few red marks on him and I got  brown algae bloom. Checked ammonia and 0.25ppm. I’m thinking he got a little stressed by the big water change followed by a fast. I’m going to have to keep an eye on him closely.

also, I have not been fertilizing my plants due to concern of nutrient spikes and I think In not fertilizing, I actually have inhibited the work they can do. 2 pumps of easy green today and I’ll see where it gets me. Also dialed the light cycle back to about 7.5 hours.


I set up a quarantine tank. It’s been running for a good week now. I have been feeding it. I transferred some water and filter material, added a sponge filter and fake plants. It has about 0.5 Pom ammonia right now also. I’m patiently waiting on this little tank to cycle so I can start quarantining some Kuhli loaches. 

pictures attached



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Tested the water again today. Ammonia is at 0ppm with no nitrites and no water change! This is a glorious day!  I really think I errored in not fertilizing the plants sooner. Nitrates were still a little low at 10ppm, so I gave another pump of easy green to keep those puppies working!

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Battling Diatoms. I came back from vacation and had a bloom. I cleaned it up a bit and turned down my photo period from 8.5-7 hours. Well... today a whole bunch more diatoms. Gonna go the other direction now. Upping the light to 9 hours.

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10 hours ago, ChemBob said:

I'd give it a few days after an adjustment before I'd make another one. In my experience, my tanksneed a few days before they reach an equilibrium after a change. 

Good thought. I can back 4-5 days ago. Cleaned things up a bit and it was steady for a couple days, then bloomed again so I thought I should change it. I’ll leave it at this light cycle for a good week before I make up my mind.

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Went to the LFS yesterday intending to buy Kuhli Loaches. As most things happen in this world, my plans didn’t work out the way I planned. 

I took the whole family to the LFS with me. We came home with 5 Sterbai Corys and 2 super red Bristlenose Plecos. I’m retrospect, I think it was the right decision. They are in quarantine and doing very well. Love watching those little ding dongs waddle through the bottom of the tank.

Also added 6 Malaysian Trumpet Snail to the main tank. 




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  • 2 weeks later...

5 corys, 2 super red Bristlenose Plecos completed QT. Took the meds fine. Everyone is settling in to the display tank. 

I was concerned about the Betta accepting roommate, but he is indifferent to them. He isnt even possessive over food. More often I find him moping around laying in the Death Star or at the bottom of the tank.




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  • 1 month later...

It’s been a while since I updated this thread. MTS hitting hard. I have now set up another 20 Long and another 10.

The 20 long is breeding endlers at the moment and housing 2 BN Plecos.

The 10 is housing some new fish I got on aquabid. I am super excited about these platies. I have included a picture of what they are supposed to look like, and what they look like currently. They are a Variatus platy that is blue with spots and yellow fins. I have never seen a fish like this so I am super stoked to play with them and hopefully further develop the strain. I hope they look close to the picture when mature or I may have been duped :p.



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7 minutes ago, Colu said:

Those look like a wild type variatus I saw recently in video  from a lake in Mexico




I think they are the same! Where did you see the video? I have just never seen a Variatus with this coloration. The ones on your pictures look awesome

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  • 2 weeks later...

Alright.  So I did a thing…

I decided to try am experiment. My 20 L display tank is well established. It had hundreds of snails in it. So I decided to move Biscuit the pea puffer in to see how things go.

So far things have been going really well. Biscuit and King (My Betta) had a square off when Infirst put the pea puffer in the tank. I think King was just checking him out, and Biscuit backed down. Ever since, they have mostly avoided each other and Inhave seen zero aggression from either of them. I have been watching very closely for the past few days since going in. 

I love these 2 fish and hope they continue to get along. They both just kind of roam around and stay out of the other’s way. No chasing at all. Let’s hope it stays that way


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