68L HighTech Style Planted

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xxBarneyxx

xxBarneyxx

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So water test tonight.

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: Somewhere between 2 and 5ppm, who knows the colours look the same to me :)

Added 2ml of ammonia to bring it back to 3ppm.
 
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So testing tonight ammonia and nitrite are both zero.

Pretty sure I can consider this tank cycled (or at least eating ammonia and nitrite quick enough).

Doing another full dose of ammonia tonight and will check tomorrow to make sure it zeros out.

Nitrate is still around 30ppm. Need to get a couple of 25l containers to store some lower nitrate water up.

Lots of new growth showing on the new plants, think most of the melting is done now. The small bits of crypt I just wedged in the wood are growing new leaves.

Some brownness on some of the background plants. Think it's a combination of the last clinging bits of hair algae and a bit of diatoms. Will most likely work itself out as the new growth comes in.

Been trying to take daily photos so will probably add a few growth comparison shots later.
 
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Few photos from today. Starting to fill out quite a bit. You can tell the difference between the old growth and new growth on the background plants were the older leaves are a bit more diatom covered.

Haven't really done much clean up or maintainence in this tank other than removing the hair algae at the start. The last time I tidied anything up in here was when I planted the new plants so it shows how much better the hair algae is now.

Also ignore the nasty looking watermark on the left hand side. The tank is very slightly off level and the rim on that side isn't sealed so likes to wick the water out the tank. Before I get fish in I will do a complete drain and relevel the tank and seal the rim.

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Right in the middle of the wood in the last picture you can see a tiny crypt leaf. This is growing from a little shoot that was maybe 5mm long that I wedged in there. There are maybe 4 or 5 more that I wedged into different spots and they all appear to be growing well.

Even though the tank is probably cycled it will most likely be awhile until we get fish.

I have 2 cats and one of them keeps fighting with the cat next door. A couple of weeks ago she got a minor wound on her neck that I could take care of myself. She had been wearing a soft collar to stop her licking it. A annoyance for her but no big deal.

Come home on Monday and see her on our bed with no collar on. Then notice she had a 2inch by 3 inch ragged tear in her chest.

We have no idea how this happened while she was kept inside. Can only guess she scratched at herself that hard to get the collar off it was self inflicted. The collar wasn't snagged on anything and sitting in the middle if the room. No blood on anything around the house other than where she was laying.

Anyway 2 trips to the vets, 16 stitches and £600 later and we are now super skint for the foreseeable future. This is the second time she has cost us a big chunk of cash because she can't get along with other cats. Unfortunately it also means she is going to be an indoor cat from now on, which I'm sure she is not going to be happy about as she loves being outside. Better than her getting herself killed though I guess. Bloody good job she is cute.
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The clothing is just to stop her getting to her stitches. She is not amused at all.
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Well testing 24 hours later, ammonia and Nitrite are both zero so I consider this tank ready for fish now.

Just need some fish...
 
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Well after looking at local suppliers I have decided against Dwarf Gouramis. The only place I can get them locally is pets at home and they didn't exactly know where they came from so I think I will just pass.

I have been looking at Honey Gourami's though. There is someone local to me selling one of the redder variants that have been locally bred. Just waiting to hear back if they have 1 male and 2 females still available.

Gave the tank a good clean and a trim. Until now I have avoided cleaning the glass too much. There is always a certain amount of diatom growth in a new tank and I would prefer it to be on my glass than on my plants. Now things are become more stable and mature though I will start keeping it a little cleaner. Some of the plants I'm not really liking too much but at this stage I'm just going to let it all grown in and will move/replace bits slowly later.

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Baby crypt in the middle of the last picture is growing pretty quickly. Doubled in size and grown an extra leaf in less than a week. Root is about double the size too.

Gif of the first 44 Days of this tank (from setup until today)
Start until 24th Nov.gif
 
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First fish are in the tank. 10 lampeye tetras (killifish). My daughter fell in love with these fish, I wasn't keen to begin with but they have grown on me. One of those fish that are really pretty when you look up close at it. They also stay pretty small which is good for this smaller size tank.

Will try and get some photos later when the lights come on.
 

Tacocat

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Oooooh an aquascape! It looks really nice already, but maybe adding a java fern to that one wood would make it so much better. That or an Anubias.
 
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Oooooh an aquascape! It looks really nice already, but maybe adding a java fern to that one wood would make it so much better. That or an Anubias.
Thanks.

Yeah going to let it grow in a bit now. There is a ton of crypts attached in and around the wood so they should fill it out quite a bit eventually. An anubias would be nice though.
 

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Looking really good. Great choice on the lampeyes such an under rated fish IMO - only thing is in a bright tank like this its easy for the 'lamp' to get missed. Might be nice to let the floating plants fill in and the stems to go a bit jungly.

Wills
 
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Looking really good. Great choice on the lampeyes such an under rated fish IMO - only thing is in a bright tank like this its easy for the 'lamp' to get missed. Might be nice to let the floating plants fill in and the stems to go a bit jungly.

Wills
Yeah "jungly" is definitely the style my planted tanks tend to go, some might say "overgrown mess" but I prefer to call it a "natural" scape :). About 1/3rd of the surface is covered with floating plants at the moment and I generally let it get to about half the tank covered.

Considering I didn't like the lampeyes when we first got them I have really grown to love them. Especially now they are settling in a bit and starting to colour up more.

We have also got 6 peppered cory's on Wednesday. Unfortunately before I even opened the bag I noticed one was "floating" more than swimming and couldn't seem to keep level. I don't have a spare tank so sadly had to put him in and hope it had just swallowed a lot of air during transfer. Today it has been on its side at the bottom of the tank a lot and has now disappeared somewhere into the plants. I "think" they others are ok but they are small and are mostly digging around the back among the plants so can't do a head count.

Other bad news is that when I put the lamp eyes in I switched my CO2 off. Since then one of my background plants has died off and I have a ton of algae coming in (mostly staghorn with a little hair algae). Switched the CO2 back on again today so I expect it will probably get back to normal in a week or so. The background plant is the one of the right and I was planning on getting rid of that anyway.

I have seen this before when using CO2 and ADA aquasoil. Remove the CO2 and staghorn algae springs up all over. Its odd because I have had two tanks with basically the same setup in the past except for one with CO2 and one without. Both where fine until I remove the CO2 then you see algae, in theory both tanks should have been the same at that point. I guess the plants get used to having the CO2 there and when you switch it off the plants growth gets messed up enough to let the algae grow. No idea why its always staghorn either, guess it creates just the perfect niche for it as for me CO2 issue always equals staghorn.

My carpeting plants are also doing pretty badly. I think the biggest issue is that I retro fitted the light into the existing hood. This puts the light right at the back of the tank. Once you get a lot of floating plants in the way there is not that much light hitting the front. I think I'm going to make a new hood in the not too distant future so I can have the light more central. I might even add the Ni-crew LED back in and run both lights for a bit.
 
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Quick update.

We had lost at least 2 of the peppered cory's. I was keeping a close watch on water parameters and never saw any fluctuations. I'm pretty sure it was an issue with the fish before I even got them. We did get a replacement for them 2 but I can't tell if there are still 6 in there or not.

I have seen at least 4 all together at the same time that looked healthy but they just spend too much time rooting around the back of the tank to count them all together.

Lampeyes are doing really well. When we first got them they would hide anytime anyone went near the tank. Now they are a lot less timid.

We also got a bunch of Ramshorn snails. With just the lampeyes and cory's in I was worried about food being missed and rotting away. The Ramshorns should take care of that along with any dead leaves and hopefully the algae. I haven't been doing any kind of in tank maintenance while I let the new fish settle in.

Talking of algae this has starting sorting itself out again now the CO2 is back on. The plant on the back right is still looking rough and my carpeting plants are not doing well either. I do really need to get the light more central and maybe a little higher up. I haven't been dosing anything either so might need to start with some K, a little PO4 and some trace ferts. The ADA soil and nitrate in my tap water should take care of the rest but the ADA soil in my experience is low of potassium.

I also have a new leak on the tank. I sealed the plastic rim on the edge where it was wicking water from the tank and releveled the tank before I put in fish. Now it is leaking down the front glass....

So list of jobs to do:
  • Remove plastic rim and seal around the whole edge of the tank.
  • Remove the background plant and move a couple of the other plants around.
  • Have a trim up.
  • Build a new hood so the light can sit a little higher and more central. Maybe add in the Nicrew light I have spare as well.
  • Order some Freshwater Isopods.
  • Get some Potasium Sulfate. I would normally use Potasium Nitrate as the main source of K but given that my tapwater already contains nitrates I don't want to add more.
TLDR - Had a few minor issues which are mostly self correcting. Don't buy fish from Pets at home. I have some DIY and tank maintenance to do :)
 

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Looking great, Barney! This could almost be a "Dutch" style scape. It's so fun to see these scapes develop. The gifs are a really cool idea.
 

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