The life of a 20 gallon Quarantine Tank

mcordelia

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yesssss I finally get to start one of these :D


This is how this tank project started, about two weeks ago now:
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Some supplies for the planned 125 gallon tank, and a 20 gallon kit tank that will be the QT to serve the 125!



This was my first attempt at setting it up:
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I think @Naterjm will appreciate my fail at a stand :D Actually, the mini - bookshelf that holds the table top is quite robust (it was built by my dad way back when), but my plywood top has a little too much flex such that if you're sitting at the desk and push up on the tabletop when you get up (apparently, that's what you start doing as you get older :D), it flexes just enough that I was concerned it was going to torque the tank frame. I put a double layer of foam underneath, but then I got concerned that it was going to push up on the glass underneath, so I stopped here and headed to the hardware store.


Version #2:
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Better. Additional sheet of thicker plywood, one layer of foam. Allows me to place the tank at an angle for better viewing from my computer as well :)
yeesss, I got lazy and only wanted to do one cut on my plywood sheet, so yes it sticks out in the back. It's my office, who cares.


The kit box came with a nice picture of a tank. Using it as a background, because why not? It got ripped in a couple of places from where stuff was glued onto it. I used colored pencils to fix the rips. can you tell? :D
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Now, the fun part!!! I spent many many days (like 15min at a time) washing sand outside in the garden as long as it was above 35 degrees f. (that's like 2c for everyone else in the world). That was so much fun, but it got done. Tossed the sand in the tank, was not super careful about tossing the water in afterwards, and voila:
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Oh, a funny thing happened that nearly kept me from doing the sand that day. I had left the sand outside after I washed it, and this is what it looked like when I brought it inside to start working with it:

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yup, it froze. solved that problem by pouring hot water into it and then working it out layer by layer. Something that should have taken 10 minutes ended up taking over 30...

But, here it is today! Plants are supposed to arrive this afternoon, I'm pretty pumped!
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Hardscape you say? Nahhhh, who needs that! Just kidding, I had a piece of driftwood that had come off one of the 3ft pieces for the 125. I went to wash it, and it basically turned into this:

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so no driftwood for this tank lol. At least not yet. I have some dragon stone in the garage, but I think I'm going to wait until I see what plants I get to decide what I'm going to do in terms of hardscape.

So, that's all folks! will post more pictures once I get some plants in there, but suffice it to say, I'm pretty excited! this is a small start to a big project that will hopefully take shape fully in the next few coming months :)
 

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mrsjoannh13

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Wow - great job! I took some photos documenting the upgrade from my 10g to 20g. Maybe I'll get around to posting them one day.

I'm more excited about my next 20g which will be a sweet UNS rimless tank for my home office. I'll definitely take more photos of that process.

This is such a great QT tank. You have some lucky fish!
 

Naterjm

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That extra sheet of plywood was a great call. That will most definitely disperse some weight and help with deflection of the plywood desktop.

As it’s only being used as a quarantine tank, I think the setup should be more than fine. You’ve got the tank centered above the supports on the desk.

I would consider beefing it more if it does eventually become a more permanent fixture on the desk.

Anyways, that’s another step towards the 125! I can almost hear your excitement through the screen!

Edit: I also feel your pain about the sand and cold temperatures...

My crew and I are building a stone patio right now, spent the last three days waiting until mid afternoon for it to reach 2 degrees Celsius! That’s how we roll in the great white north, haha
 
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mcordelia

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Thanks @Retired Viking @mrsjoannh13 @Naterjm !!

You are right Nate that it's one baby step in the right direction :D I'm kind of bummed that the 125gal tank ended up on back order, but at least they are honoring the sale price on it for me still (y'all know me and my sales lol).

Also woof not a good time of year to be building a patio, but ya do what the schedule says right lol. We are getting some work done on our master bath starting in January, it's been a long time coming. I think we paid the deposit in September lol.

I am also super excited for your Xmas present Joann!! I do hope you get a chance to share pictures of the upgrade - I'm sure the fishies are thrilled!!!

The plants arrived today and I planted them, but I think I'm too tired for the night to go through the effort of writing a picture post about it lol. Will have to wait until tomorrow :D
 
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mcordelia

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I now have pictures of the plants!

In the end, it's probably for the better that I didn't do any hardscape yet, since the plants will probably take over if all goes to plan. that would be awesome since then I could transfer a bunch to the 125!

I know nothing about these plants, but here's to hoping they won't all die on me :) The root tabs of course got delayed in shipping, and I have to go and buy some liquid fertilizer probably later today when I do a grocery run. Maybe they will start growing then, I literally don't know what to expect. I keep staring at my tank being like "do I see any difference? Why aren't they any bigger?"

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Naterjm

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Just remember that some plants will go through melting leaves before they start really growing new leaves in different water parameters and such.
 
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mcordelia

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Got some flourish complete liquid fertilizer today. Didn't add it yet since by the time I got to it it was already lights out in the tank, and I figured if the plants rest at night they won't need it. Or maybe now as I'm thinking about it this is exactly when they need it, nutrients to grow or something. Oh well, one day will hopefully not make or break things. Root tabs still haven't arrived and I think I planted the tiger lotus bulbs upside down. Will have to fix all that tomorrow I guess.

Planned activities for tonight include baking sweetbread :D
 

Fish4dawin

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That’s a really good tank @mcordelia. I wish I had room for a 125 ‘-‘ but I do have a 33 which I’m super happy about. Hopefully will be getting 6-8 sterbai corys for that. Will this tank be a eventual home for fish? Or will it just be a quarantine tank?
 
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mcordelia

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Thanks! Time will tell, I figure if I do a month or so of quarantine for each type of fish that I plan to add, then it'll be like 5 months before I need to think about that :D
 

DAnCSF

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Now wiay a minute I thought the 20 gal was a quarantine tank? your GT tank makes me feel like a slkum loard LOL I just use a Costco tub, box filter and heater LOL...no gravel no plants no nothing...just like some of our overpriced San Francisco apartments :eek:
 

DAnCSF

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Got some flourish complete liquid fertilizer today. Didn't add it yet since by the time I got to it it was already lights out in the tank, and I figured if the plants rest at night they won't need it. Or maybe now as I'm thinking about it this is exactly when they need it, nutrients to grow or something. Oh well, one day will hopefully not make or break things. Root tabs still haven't arrived and I think I planted the tiger lotus bulbs upside down. Will have to fix all that tomorrow I guess.

Planned activities for tonight include baking sweetbread :D
You know you're a fish nerd cus you said plant rest at night...and here I thought the just stay planted all the time....little did I know they actually do laps when we are not looking LOL....
 
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mcordelia

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so, an update here.

Basically took a page out of @ClownLurch 's book and after I got the plants planted and the root tabs buried, I did one last water change, added some flourish complete, and went on holiday :D Only downside was that I didn't have a timer for the light (well I do, it's just lost in the basement somewhere and apparently my frantic searching at 1am the day we were supposed to be leaving did not yield results, weird how that works...). As you can guess, I had continuous nightmares of coming back to a green/brown stinky bucket the whole time I was gone.

HOWEVER, upon my return, I was pleasantly surprised!!! check it out:

after being gone for 18 days, with 24/7 lighting (!!!) there was only a moderate algae explosion :)

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I haven't done anything to the tank other than top off the water level, since I wanted to show you the status in all its gory glory. Yes, I get it, there's algae, but this is not the stuff of my nightmares!!! I also added some flourish complete yesterday, that was ok even without a water change right?

Here are some detail shots:

From the side:
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The vals are also still hanging in there, surprisingly enough. They were pretty chilled on delivery and I basically trimmed them down to a nub after all the original leaves died, it will be interesting to see if they have enough energy to grow enough roots to get to a buried root tab and recover themselves, or if this is their last hurrah.
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Tiger lily bulbs are also doing well! This is the better looking one of the two, the leaves are looking a bit translucent so we will see what that means in the long haul, but I grew something from a bulb so far! so excited! I know @eatyourpeas you said something about this not being planted in the right location - I totally trust your expertise on that so I think maybe this will be a good candidate to move to the 125 once it's set up, since based on pictures it seems to turn into a relatively large plant overall.
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Duckweed also grew some crazy roots while I was gone! I know people hate on duckweed and I probably will hate it eventually too once I figure out how to actually do this planted tank thing, but for now I'm just excited that stuff is growing! It seems like the key is to have some "shelter" for it from the current, turns out I had a plant that came uprooted and that seems to have turned into a nice area for the duckweed to latch onto and grow. I think the double benefit there is because its only one thing for them to anchor on to and the rest of the top has relatively high flow, it seems to keep the majority of the surface clear from floaters so that'll also be interesting to see develop.
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and now finally, for my questions:
1) I seem to have a section of bluish-green goopy-looking algae in the smack-dab middle of the tank bottom, this isn't cyano is it? just want to make sure I don't have any "baddies" going on in the tank.
2) the bacopa (I think that's what it is) lost all its original leaves, and grew new, smaller, leaves at the tips of the stems and at the bases of the plants. It's an "interesting" look to say the least. Will the mid sections grow back, or should I do something to make them look less awkward? Some of the bacopa in the middle have brownish leaves where the new leaves have grown in, I don't know if that's due to just discoloration from algae or if there's some kind of nutrient imbalance? Or could it have been due to the 24/7 lighting and they will adjust as I decrease the light?
3) tank obviously needs a cleaning, but I'm thinking just gravel vac, water change and window cleaning for now. Should I expect the algae to not be a problem with a reduced lighting cycle, or have I now "sown the seed" for an algae problem?

Here's a picture of the blue/green algae for question 1:
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@Essjay you think this is enough plant load that a silent cycle is considered "ready"? There's obviously also some decomposing matter in the tank from the bacopa leaves that came off (and probably ended up in the filter) while I was gone. I haven't tested the water params which I know is the real answer since there is kind of an ammonia source in the tank from the dead plant stuff, but from a visual perspective, you think this is good or should I also add something like hornwort when I put in the first inhabitants? The first fish to go in are going to be 10 black skirt tetras, and maybe a snail.

Still trying to decide between mystery and nerite snails... Hubby wants mystery, but apparently they're "not as good" at eating algae at mystery snails are, but it's not like I (knock on wood) have a high algae load at the moment (and hoping it will resolve with the more reasonable lighting period haha), so maybe a mystery snail will be fine?

Thanks for reading, looking forward to any and all feedback!!! Happy new year!
 

Essjay

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Hmmm, not sure. I would rather see a lot more of the surface covered with floating plants or some fast growing stem plants with lots of leaves - think anacharis or hornwort - or something like sword plants
 

eatyourpeas

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It looks like BGA, so you can remove it and cut down on the light period. More floating plants will win the nutrient battle against the BGA, so @Essjay has a valid point beside the aesthetics of a beautiful canopy.
 

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