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Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:49 pm
by cpardy
Really? wow that's wild. YA what I didn't know, and found this out when I was removing him from the tank to start the new setup is their spike. He had gotten caught in the net and I grabbed him (gently) and OUCH. :?

Before the onslaught of all this snow I've started with the whole set up of the tank. I've moved it into a lovely corner, away from the sunlight, and next to the sofa that barely gets used, but now it can be seen from the kitchen too when you walk in the back door. So I think it was a good move. It'll also brighten up this usually really dark area of the living room.

Then I cleaned the old tank out.. yech... I'm not usually nastied by tanks, but I realized how bad my mom was neglecting it. Talk about Black Water. yuck. I also Dishwashered the wood and it came out great, but forgot about the other driftwood pieces I was going to throw in, which just won't justify running the dishwasher for 3 twigs... lol, so it looks like i'll be boiling them.

One thing I'm trying to decided is whether I want to re-seal my tank or not. The silicone on the glass (not where the glass is butted up to each other, knowwhattamean?) is actually bubbled, and lifting off. I've had luck before by trimming them back and running a nice clean bead of silicone, wet your finger and smooth out the joint. OR do I want to just get another 20 gl and throw this one in the trash. It's seen better days, it has a chip and a few scratches. :dontknow: I donno, I really didn't want to get into spending a lot of money on this project. Especially being out of work. And then, if I get a new tank, I can't just settle on a 20gl nah.. that's be too easy. If I go bigger.. then I gotta buy more light. I bought a few home depot fixtures and am going to build a custom light hood for it. I just can't see buying something for $150 when you can build it yourself for under $50. Just the way I think. I'll probably just leave it the way it is, unless I can find something on craigslist tonight. I really want to set this up, and if it wasn't leaking before, why go crazy now, I can always upgrade later. :dancing:

I think that's it for now. I'll give you another update tomorrow

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:49 pm
by freshfish
I'd keep an eye on Craigslist, I see tanks on there all the time for super cheap. Keep in mind that the tank is one of the cheapest things to replace- yet makes the biggest mess if it should fail! :scared:

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:58 am
by oceansunltd
Hey Christina, I have a 30L with metal stand I'll sell cheap. Good shape. I also have some metaframe 29's I may sell. E-mail me if interested or call me.

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:01 am
by cpardy
Hey there OceanSunLtd, thanks for the offer. I do have to pass. AS much as I would LOVE to buy another tank in place of this 20 I started thinking about things.

1. I'm unemployed and living snow storm to snow storm with no gaurentee it'll ever snow again, so I'm trying not to spend as much.

and

2. I thought about my lighting dilemma... and if I go with a bigger tank, I also have to add more light.

I made the mistake of mentioning a new tank to my father... and now he's hounding craigslist for me. He's the kind that takes something and runs with it. Now I have a pile of printouts with his notes saying "LOOK a 55gl Saltwater tank" and as much as I'd like to try, and I love the fact that he's trying but UG!!! lol... so I'm gonna keep it simple. I'm gonna stick with the 20gl until it decides to leak on me (which I doubt it will)

SO today was set up day... me and my aching back washed the flourite and stone I bought. Then to add another texture, I washed the stone that I had already had in the tank... What I thought was all coral is actually a nice mauve colored quartz and small crushed coral. I managed to separate most of the coral from the quarts with a spaghetti strainer. It worked quite well. I don't think the little bits of crushed coral left will cause much pH problems. The mauve/pinks/purples of the quartz, mixed with natural stone in 3 sizes, plus the brown flourite made a great natural looking mix of a river bed. I was hoping it would be a little darker in areas... but it's ok.

I built up the three different layers using some found beach stones I've used in tanks for years as natural walls... and added my sweet piece of wood I bought and dish-washed last week.

So far I'm liking how it's turning off. I still don't have the height I wanted in the corners, but I'm hoping the planting will change it all. My mom is liking how it looks, and is actually interested in coming to pick out some plants with me. Which is good cause it's for HER loach. lol :whistle:

So now the tank is sitting there with water in it. What I have left to do is go to my old work and have the metal shop fab up a housing for my light fixtures. I love I still have all that stuff at my disposal, it's a shame they're not getting enough work to bring me back on. ( though they did just build the inauguaral podium and stage stuff ) but I'm not bitter. lol. I'll go over there tomorrow with my plans and see how long it'll take for them to build it. I don't want to buy the plants without the lights up and running.

I'm also surprised that there is NO cloudy water in this tank from all the flourite and/or staining from the wood. I'm so happy about that.

I do have one question though. When running my AquaClear filter, I leave the carbon sack in it with plants right? Or am I suppossed to take it out. I don't know why I'm confused about this. :think:

and and... what color background do you all suggest for a planted tank.

oh oh oh... tell me more about shrimp, they seem so cool... is it somthing i can consider to inhabit this tank?

I will post a photo of the tank to date tomorrow.

But now I'm off to bed, Night all!

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:24 am
by freshfish
I think more people run planted tanks without carbon than with. Personally, I run with. In a planted tank, the live plants actually provide the majority of the "chemical" filtration- so you can definitely go without carbon. (I actually use Seachem's Purigen more than carbon these days, since it's a chemical media that can be regenerated and used over and over... but it's certainly not essential.)

As far as shrimp go- it totally depends on what species of fish you stock versus what species of shrimp. The majority of fish will eat any shrimp they can fit in their mouths, but some are more aggressive "hunters" than others...

IME barbs and loaches are NOT a good mix with shrimp :crying:

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:19 am
by cpardy
Well here it is, without the water.

Image

Bummer on the shrimp :::grumbles about that loach::: :rant: I am invisioning the tank with at least 15 cardinal tetras or neon tetras, I'm still really not sure which I like better. A handfull of those busy little siamese alge eaters I like... and I'm thinking that might be it. Though a German ram might be a nice addition but I know nothing about them.

Talk to you all soon, off to Mystic Scenic Studios with the plans for the light hood in my hand. It's gonna be spiffy, nice shiny metal :dontknow:

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:35 pm
by cpardy
I've done it! I've come up with a simple way to make a nice hood for my 2 under counter flourecent fixtures. A drainage gutter. 8) Simply cut it to the desired length, buy the left and right end caps and drill some screws into the top to mount the fixtures into. They're deep enough, won't oxidize. AND if your crafty you can paint them to match your tank. For the reflective surface on the inside, go to your local autoparts store and buy some chrome paint before you put the fixtures in.

The fixtures I am using is a GE model 10185 with the switch on the side. Two of these fixtures will fit in side by side. If you need more fixtures, just build a second one and butt it up back to back and bolt together (using stainless steel nuts and bolts)

Versitle and cheap... gutter only costs around $9.00 for 10ft And the 22" long fixures are around $14.00 ea and then you just have to swap out the bulbs according to the wattage your looking for.

Hope this helps anyone! :cheer:

Buying plants tomorrow :)

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:35 pm
by freshfish
Love the DIY- you go girl! :thumb:

Do you know what diameter those bulbs are? T8 or T5?

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:53 pm
by cpardy
Its a T8. One little addition to the instructions. IF you want 2 bulbs cut a piece of wood, 1/2" x 3 1/8" x (how ever long you cut the gutter to - 1/8") Screw this into the flat surface (or liquid nails) which will be the inside top of the hood. Make sure it is sealed with primer and paint to resist moisture. ( I used a piece of melomine surfaced shelving piece from home depot, and just lathered the sides with silicone before I put it in )

I know, it's getting confusing now, if anyone's interested I can sketch up a how to layout ;) Off to paint!

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:13 am
by Crazygar
I love initial layouts. Go for it! Good job on the DIY project.

Gary

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 4:29 pm
by cpardy
Working on those layouts


Ok, so yesterday I went too Uncle Neds and bought some plants. I went in planning on only spending $40.00 I don't know what went wrong. :crying:

Here's what I bought:
Though I don't know which is which, he just wrote the names down for me.
And I can't really read his writing so I need your help!

Aponogetan Ulvaccous Caporoni Madagascar
Egoria Pelasa Anacharis
Crinum Calostratum
And some other Crinium (he wasn't sure and put a question mark there)

One of the plants that looked like fine grass had a tag that says Micro Sword on it. I got two of those.
There were also a couple of other plants stuck to the Micro Sword which were sorta extra's I'll have to get some good pics of them so you can help me identify them.

I hope they stay happy in the tank. Once I can get the water to settle a bit from planting, I'll post a pic.
How long does it usually take them to grow a good hold into the substrate, it seems some like to float up and out of it. :( And I'm afraid once I put the loach in, everything will be floating.

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 6:57 pm
by freshfish
Aponogetons are bulbs, and very lovely plants. It sounds like he maybe gave you an assortment of them? They can be a little finicky, though (especially the Madagascar Lace).

This is A. ulvaceus:
Image

This is A. madagasarensis:
Image

This is A. capuronii:
Image

Anacharis is a very common aquarium plant, grows very quickly and a very low-maintenance plant:
Image

There are a bunch of species of Crinums as well (a lot are terrestrial), most have beautiful flowers. If you google them, I bet you'll be able to find a good ID for yours.

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 6:59 pm
by freshfish
Oh I forgot to add- a pair of tweezers is VERY helpful when planting. Grab the roots or crown of the plant very gently, and insert at a 45% angle, this should help keep the plants down and in place.

You may want to wait a while before adding the loach though- give the plants a little time to settle in.

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:38 pm
by Crazygar
Wait to put in fish period. This will give the plants plenty of time to take root and grow. Once that happens (about 3months) you can start adding fish in slowly. Add your bottom dwellers last.

Gary

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 8:21 pm
by freshfish
3 months? :scared:

I'm not quite that patient... though I do wait at least 4 weeks. Personally, I stock with inverts first, before adding fish. And I usually add algae-eating fish before the rest- if there's algae that needs to be taken care of.