Rebuilding an old abandoned 29g

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Sorry... It's just that we have both kids home from school and my mom visiting, so it's been busy at home! I will post updates soon!
Just to inform you mon ami that the trouble with the chocolate guramis already began, they really don't like any trouble at all with other fishes but are also quite agressive to each other, is so a provervbal fish of the most dificcult to hold, so if you want to have a happily aquarist's life don't buy any Chocoguramis for your new tank. (y sigue pasándotelo de chumichurri con la familia hombre!)
 
Over the past few days I've (slowly) "reengineered" my filter as mentioned in a post above. My main goal was to do away with Eheim's media basket, which in the 2213 is just a single large basket. It's not very useful, and all it does is take away from the filter volume. There is a lot of dead space all around the basket and eliminating it increases filter capacity by over 30%.

One advantage the basket does have is that it creates a small gap between the bottom of the basket and the bottom of the canister. This is where the filter inlet is located, so the gap ensures water isn't blocked as it enters the filter and is distributed evenly throughout the media. To replicate that gap I took the basket's lid and with the help of pruning shears and some silicone I made a spacer that will sit at the bottom of the filter. Here is the basket and lid before my modifications:
IMG_20211229_121342__01.jpg

And this is what I did to the lid:
IMG_20211229_121457__01.jpg

That notch near the front is for the inlet. I left the plastic handle in place to make it easier to pull the spacer out during maintenance.

I also said in a previous post I wanted to change the order Eheim recommends for the media. I want all mechanical filtration before the Biohome, to keep the Biohome as clean as possible. From from bottom to top I will have Eheim's "Mech" ceramic cylinders as a first very coarse mechanical filtration, followed by 3 layers of increasingly fine poret foam (10ppi, 20ppi, 45ppi). I would have liked to add polyester batting on top, but it would have been squished flat by the Biohome on top of it, so I used a felt pad to polish the water instead. This is what it will look like once stacked inside the canister:
IMG_20211229_121822__01.jpg

(I put the ceramic cylinders inside a bag of the plastic netting that supermarkets use to pack oranges and grapefruits, just to make maintenance easier).

I will put 1kg of Biohome media on top of this (also inside plastic netting) as the last step in my filtration. The good news is that the poret foam can easily take the 1kg on top of it without compressing.

This is what it looks like with all the media in the canister:
IMG_20211229_123650__01.jpg

A little over half the filter volume is the biomedia. I tried this with the basket and didn't have enough space to fit everything. Without the basket I have room to spare!

Next I will hook all the hoses, filter and heater back up. I still have family in town so it will be slow going, but I will post once I do.
 
I know it has been a long time since I posted... I apologize for the absence. "Life" got in the way of my project (started a new job, among other things) but I'm happy to report that I eventually got it finished. After putting the filter together as above, everything sat untouched until the start of this year. Then I got my act together! I added sand to the tank (3" of pool filter sand from Ace hardware), filled it (no leaks!) and cycled it (fishless cycling using ammonia), which took about a month. I then added a piece of mazanita driftwood. It was too big to boil it, so I actually baked it in the oven at 250 degrees for 30 min to kill anything that might be lurking. I attached it to some slate to keep it from floating, and put it in.

Then I got a bunch of plants. I first tried my LFS but wan't impressed so I did not get much, and just bought the rest online. I added horwort, cabomba, s. repens, some monte carlo, and two plants from the LFS I cannot identify (and the LFS did not know either :rolleyes:). I have an irrational aversion to snails, so I wanted to pre-treat, but was reluctant to use bleach or any harsh chemical. Instead I learned about "reverse respiration". I don't want to post links to external websites here (not sure what the etiquette is?) but google it -- it works incredibly well, and all it requires is tonic water (if it is permissible I can post links here, just let me know)! It gets rid of snmails, snail eggs,, parasites, even algae. They plants were treated and went into the tank about a week after the driftwood.

I started adding fertilizers (using Estimative Index dosing) and have been getting some very nice growth and zero algae, sao I'm very happy with EI. If anyone is interested I can post my "recipe". I don't use CO2, so I use Seachem Excel instead.

I kept dosing for about a month. I added ammonia every third day to maintain my cycle. Then I added fish! My stocking plan will eventually be:

- 10 rummynose tetras
- 10 ember tetras
- 10 endler livebrearers
- 6 venezuelan pygmy cories
- 2 otos

In case you are wondering, I am originally frokm Venezuela and all these fish are from rivers back home :) The endlers, in particuar, only exist in 2 remote lagoons/lakes at home and nowhere else in the world. So all endlers you can buy, originally came from one of those two lagoons.

I started with the rummys, embers and otos, which I added to the tank this past friday. The endlers will follow in about a month (I will get them in a couple of weeks, and quarantine for a month). The cories will follow at some point later.

So, after a VERY long journey full of procrastination, I finally got the tank going! I now will also try to remain more active here! Picutres will follow in a moment
 
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Hey Badger! Great to hear from you! I apologize for being absent for such a long time. I started a new job, and it has kept me busy (in a good way)! I am hoping to be more active going forward.

I'm very happy with the way the tank is starting. I have one fish that got sick today (I created another post for it) and might not make it, but everyone else appears to be doing well, and the plants are growing nicely.

There are two things I did/am doing with this tank that I did not do the first time around. One is EI dosing, which I am very happy with. Lots of plant growth, yet zero algae. The second is this "reverse respiration" method to treat plants before adding them to my tank. I don't know why this is not standard practice! It's cheap, easy, incredibly effective at getting rid of snails, parasites and algae, yet actually beneficial for the plants. I came across it with a google search about pre-treating plants and cannot understand how this is not broadly used or known. I was skeptic at first (sounded too good to be true) but I can vouch it is as good as the creators of the technique claim it is.

Edited to add: I see you've retired as a moderator.... glad you are still around. Is Slap still moderating?
 
Hey Badger! Great to hear from you! I apologize for being absent for such a long time. I started a new job, and it has kept me busy (in a good way)! I am hoping to be more active going forward.

I'm very happy with the way the tank is starting. I have one fish that got sick today (I created another post for it) and might not make it, but everyone else appears to be doing well, and the plants are growing nicely.

There are two things I did/am doing with this tank that I did not do the first time around. One is EI dosing, which I am very happy with. Lots of plant growth, yet zero algae. The second is this "reverse respiration" method to treat plants before adding them to my tank. I don't know why this is not standard practice! It's cheap, easy, incredibly effective at getting rid of snails, parasites and algae, yet actually beneficial for the plants. I came across it with a google search about pre-treating plants and cannot understand how this is not broadly used or known. I was skeptic at first (sounded too good to be true) but I can vouch it is as good as the creators of the technique claim it is.

Edited to add: I see you've retired as a moderator.... glad you are still around. Is Slap still moderating?
I believe @Slaphppy7 is still moderating. Haven't seen him around for a while, though, now that you mention it.
 
I'll keep an eye out for him, then!

Sad to say my sick rummy did not make it. :( Fingers crossed it wasn't anything contagious.
 
Hey Goldie, great to hear from you again 👋
 
Hey Slap! Glad to be back, and hope to stick around this time. Happy to see you are still moderating.

As for my tank I need to thoroughly clean my qt tank this weekend and then I'll order the endlers, which will go into the tank next. They are the only fish coming from a different supplier, so I will quarantine them before adding them, specially given my experience with the rummy I lost this week.

Btw, slap, you are responsible for me having rummys. The first time I saw them was in a photo you posted of your tank waaaay back when, and I immediately decided I wanted some. That was about 6 years ago I think... Worth the wait!
 
It has been almost a week since my Rummy got sick, but everyone else in the tank seems to be happy so far. It seems I dodged a bullet, thanks to the quick advice of Colin_T and GaryE.

The first iteration of this tank had a few Otos. They did really well (even bred a couple of times!) so I decided I'd try again. The first time around I tried feeding them zucchini a few times, which I know others here do successfully, but my Otos never learned that those slices were food -- I tried them raw, blanched, and tried leaving them in the tank for a couple of days -- they never showed any interest. So, this time I figured I'd try other foods and started with slices of cucumber. In the first attempt the cucumber went untouched. I removed it after 48 hours, waited a day and tried again. At some point, the otos realized this thing was food, and they have been attacking the cucumber with gusto ever since. Here is a picture I managed to take of two of them, you can see they have made quite a dent on the cucumber slice! In about 24 hours the only thing left is the skin.

otos feeding.jpg


Tank lights are now off, but tomorrow I'll take a picture of the tetras. The rummys and embers are both schooling really nicely, which I expected, but it's still fun to watch. What I did not expect is that every now and then the embers and rummys school together, and move in one big group. When it happens it is really fun to watch.
 
I figured it was time for a quick update.

After losing that first rummy, I did watch the fish closely for a while which made me notice that one the other rummys had a somewhat larger belly... I know females are fuller-bodied, so I assumed this was a female. I then noticed that evening that other rummys were chasing the one with the larger tummy, so I guessed (wishful thinking?) that maybe the one with the large belly was indeed a female and she was carrying eggs. Just in case I skipped feeding for a day, but she (?) continued having a large belly. Late last night her belly had gotten noticeably larger, and she was not swimming with the group, but was hanging quietly next to the Amazon sword. I started fearing it could be dropsy, so this morning I woke up early to set up the QT. Well, to my happy surprise, her belly is back to normal and she is swimming again with the rest of group. So either he/she had just eaten a lot and needed a big poop, or maybe she was indeed carrying eggs and they are now somewhere in the tank. I don't know what rummy eggs look like but I will see if can find them before they get eaten! Either way it is a huge relief to know this was not another sick Rummy.

My otos are doing well and have nice, pearly tummies. I stopped feeding them cucumbers a couple of days ago because they were not touching the diatoms that started growing on the sand. I want them hungry to they go after the brown stuff LOL. Will otos eat diatoms growing on the sand? I know they do go after diatoms on glass and other surfaces, but not sure they will eat them off of the sand.
 

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