My 30L journey

Discussion in 'Beginner Discussions' started by Hendrik Bergh, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. Hendrik Bergh

    Hendrik Bergh

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    Good day, fellow glass box enthusiasts!

    I have been in the hobby for almost a year now and have joined TASA months ago, but never made a thread about my tanks except to ask for advice. I enjoy reading about everyone's tanks and seeing the pictures and thought it's my turn to make a thread. Hopefully this will help me keep track of what has happened and as always any tips and advice are very welcome. Beware, long post ahead.

    I have a different tank that had Platys and when they starting having lots of fry (over 100!) my LFS owner sold me this tank for R100, to use as a grow out tank. I have since then scaped and rescaped this small tank several times and learned valuable lessons along the way. So using @A new day 's format, and advice. I will try and log my journey so far...

    Tank:
    It's actually just under 34L, if my math didnt fail me. I've always treated it as 30L though, because of water level, hardscape, gravel and equipment inside the tank. Its also a nice round number for dosing meds and dechlorinater.
    Dimensions: 46 x 32 x 23cm

    Hardscape:
    I started out with Black gravel and white Quartz stone. The plants were cuttings and Java moss from my other tank.
    20200725_090152.jpg
    June 2020

    I planted the plants only in the gravel but I needed nutrients in the water. After seeing MD Fish Tank's Ikebana Style scape on YouTube, I decided to try this method with plants and added more cuttings.
    20200918_101450.jpg
    Sept 2020

    I used random bowls and a teacup that I filled with potting soil and capped with gravel. This made gravel vacuuming very easy, since I could just take them out for clean up.

    Then got a great deal on driftwood (Second hand, R600 for 5 pieces) and another rescape happened.
    20201211_145054.jpg
    November 2020

    I also donated all the Platy fry to my LFS, to make home for new inhabitants.

    I added new fish and used it as a QT and then I had an Ich outbreak. After 2 weeks of meds, I cleaned the tank thoroughly and replaced the gravel. Most of the plants struggled with the higher temperature, added salt and meds and though I tried to rescue the plants I could, most didnt make it. This gave me the perfect excuse to try new and different plants. Leading to my latest rescape over the weekend.
    20210110_092858.jpg
    January 2021

    One piece of driftwood and about a cup of potting soil, capped with black gravel.

    Stocking:
    After the Platys, I got 2 Dark Knight Rams online. I wasnt planning on the tank becoming their permanent home but used it as a QT. One Ram jumped a week later and didnt make it (Think I got 2 males and he was the one that got bullied). I then got a Female Ram and 10 Ember Tetras. They went into quarantine with the Male Ram. He still had 2 weeks of quarantine to go. Mistake! I got the new fish from the same guy and assumed his water parameters would allow me to quarantine them together. One of the new fish must've had Ich and a week later both my Rams were covered in white spots. They died a few days later as well as 2 Tetras. (Lesson learned). Currently the tank is home to the remaining 8 Tetras and I've added Rams horn snails for algae control.

    Water source: Dechlorinated, tap water. Cape Town

    Filter:
    I started with a small corner filter and an air pump, but soon added a small Sunsun canister filter (75L/h) to help with the bioload as the fry grew. Recently, I added a bigger Sunsun Canister filter (180L/h) running with the smaller filter to get it cycled. I also added an airstone since I've removed the corner filter

    Temperature:
    The heater (50W) is normally set at 24. I increased the temp to 30 while treating Ich but back to normal now. With warmer days the temp hovers around 26. The heater is currently off and the temps dont seems to fluctuate.

    Light:
    It's a cheapy. Nubios LED clamp light. 8000K. Bright white. Photo period of around 8 hours a day. Longer over weekends.

    Products:
    Seachem Prime, Paraguard.
    Aquarium Salt

    Testkits:
    I've used Tetra and JBL test strips in the past. Currently I'm using Sera test strips and liquid test for Ammonia.

    Food:
    I make my own gel fish food (Mostly veggies, suspended in gelatine). I also feed TetraMin flakes as well as small frozen foods as treats (Daphnia and Cyclops).

    Plants:
    Currently: Anubias Barteri
    Amazon swords (Not sure what type)
    Heteranthera Zosterifolia (Star grass)
    Hygrophila Polysperma
    Rotala Rotundifolia
    Hydrocotyle Tripartita
    Cryptocoryne Wendtii Brown
    The Crypts are slowly melting but I'm already seeing new growth.

    Fertilizer:
    I dont use any ferts. The tank has about a cup of potting soil (baked and sifted), capped with black gravel.

    Algae:
    Just white fluff on the driftwood but the snails will sort that out. Nothing else at the moment.

    PH:
    My tap water's PH is around 6.4 and stays the same in the tank. I'm not too concerned about the PH being too low (should I be?), as long as it doesnt change.

    Ammonia:
    I was under the (wrong) impression that Nitrate and Nitrite levels are indicative of Ammonia levels. So I've only started testing for Ammonia a few months ago. No spikes that I noticed and levels remain at 0.

    Nitrites, Nitrates and Water changes.
    When I had the Platy fry, I had to do a WC almost every second day to keep levels down. Especially when they got bigger. Now that the tank is no longer over stocked, its only necessary for once a week. I test my water once a week and do a WC accordingly. I usually add a quarter teaspoon of salt to every 10L of water that I change.

    Future Stocking Ideas:
    I'm trying not to over stock the tank (again) since it's so small, but I would like a couple more Ember Tetras. Some of them seem shy and I think a few more will help them come out of hiding. I also have my eye on Blue dream Shrimp. Just want to make sure about water parameters after cycling the new filter, before making an expensive mistake.

    Long one! Thank you for reading, if you've made it all the way down here.



     
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  3. A new day

    A new day Moderator

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    Great job on the scape @Hendrik Bergh , tank looks beautiful :thumbup:

    I love how your thread already captures a lot of learning and progress. Will add more thoughts later, hope others chime in too!
     
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  4. Nirvashen

    Nirvashen

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    love this scape looked really awesome with the wood coming out the tank
     
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  5. Reedfish

    Reedfish Moderator

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    Looks really good.
    Well done :thumbup:
     
  6. A new day

    A new day Moderator

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    Sounds as if you’re totally on the right track now. Sho I’ve had to learned the hard way myself about quarantining :confused:

    Interested to know why you’re adding salt with every wc?

    pH stable at 6,4 is fine especially for the tetras, if you see it dropping you can add 1/2 teaspoon of crushed coral to the filter to help buffer. You live around the corner from me so safe to assume your water is soft like mine.

    Upping the school of ember tetras by 3 or 4, and adding neocaridina shrimp sounds good! Not overstocking goes a long way to achieving balance in the tank and making it all just so much less stressful in the long run.

    I’ve heard some folks complain that they struggle to see their blue dream shrimp against a dark substrate as they just blend in too well.
     
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  7. Shabir

    Shabir

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    Hi @Hendrik Bergh.

    I love how in detail your post is and your tank is absolutely stunning. With regards to quarantine, I've suffered that same fate a long time ago and to be honest nothing feels worse.


    @A new day it seems you're quite the inspiration around here hey.

    I would also like to know why you add salt. I thought plants can't tolerate salt
     
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  8. OP
    Hendrik Bergh

    Hendrik Bergh

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    Thank you everyone.

    @Shabir and @A new day. Regarding the salt. A LFS owner once told me he puts in a handful of salt in with every water change. Even in his tanks at home. He said it helps with gill function and promotes "slimecoat" production. I was never good at science but a "handful" is not a measurement I remember and I wasnt going to kill everything that I had going. So I went on the internet...

    Fresh water should be less than 1000 ppm. I add a 1/4 teaspoon to 10L new water. My kitchen scale sometimes weighs that amount of salt as 1 or 2 grams. So heres my attempt at math. I worked on 2g salt to 10L water. This is 200mg/L or 200ppm.

    I've been doing it for a while in both tanks and havent seen any negative effects on the plants, fish or snails. It apparently also helps with osmoregulation, and I thought every bit helps to keep them healthy. Please beware. Salt does not dissipate by itself and can only be removed by doing water changes.

    When it treated the Ich out break, I added 1 tablespoon to the tank and could see the plants melt after the first week of treatment.

    What do you think? Am I wrong in doing this?
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021
  9. Amakawa

    Amakawa

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    I dont see the benefits of adding salt to a tank personally. When treating ich without the use of meds, cranking up the heat gradually until around 30 for a week or so always worked for me. This, coupled with extra water changes is my go to method. Granted this is dependent on the temp tolerance of your fish. Most can and will handle the increased temp. Just be sure to add an airstone or increase surface agitation for oxygen exchange.
     
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  10. A new day

    A new day Moderator

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    Yeah I agree
     
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  11. HugBug

    HugBug

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    I love all the different versions of the tank.
    So cool having so many opportunities to try new things
     
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  12. Andreas V

    Andreas V

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    The tank on November last year looked absolutely amazing. And the crypts look so good in the new tank. Well done
     
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  13. OP
    Hendrik Bergh

    Hendrik Bergh

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    Good day

    Just a small update

    Firstly, I want to thank @A new day, for gifting me new plants and mosses, last week. I went to her home and only wanted a piece of fissidens and Baby Tears but she surprised me with extra plants, which included floating plants, and other mosses. If you ever get an invite from her to go and visit, you should definitely treat yourself. She is a lovely and kind person and her tanks is a sight to behold. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you again!

    New Plants:
    Vallis Nana
    Pearl weed
    Baby Tears
    Salvinia
    Duck Weed

    I still need to add the moss. The driftwood is kept from floating by a stone that's taking up space where I want the moss. I bought 2 pieces of spider wood on Sunday that I'm also soaking. Thinking of attaching moss to the spider wood before adding that to the tank

    Moss:
    Fissidens
    Christmas
    Java
    Cameroon

    2021-01-18_09.47.41.jpg
    2021-01-18_10.20.19.jpg
    Currently

    I also got 10 Blue Dream shrimp over the weekend. They seem to be happy. Swimming around the tank and not paying any attention to the Ember tetras. They are juvies (around 1 cm) and still need to colour up.
    2021-01-18_10.22.08.jpg

    Over the weekend, I went looking for more Ember Tetras, but only saw them at one store. They were tiny and a few had Ich. I didnt want to play that game again, so I left without buying any. Hopefully soon...

    Thank you and hope you have a great week!
     
  14. TheGrissom

    TheGrissom

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    Tanks are looking good.

    Just on the plants - duck weed you are going to hate. It speads quickly and is a pain to get rid of. Same with java moss. Once its established in your tank you will never get it out. Not that thats a problem if you like it.

    You should try breeding your own ember tetras - its not difficult. You have the moss, you just need a breeding tank (mts :D) and you are good to go. Its very satisfying breeding and raising your own fish
     
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  15. HugBug

    HugBug

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    The tank looks awesome!
    I think @Lucky01 had Ember tetras for sale last time I was there. He's in Kuilsriver.
     
  16. A new day

    A new day Moderator

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    Was lovely meeting you @Hendrik Bergh and the tank looks great!

    Agree with @TheGrissom about the duckweed that came mixed with the baby tears, see if you can get rid of it and keep only the salvinia
     
  17. OP
    Hendrik Bergh

    Hendrik Bergh

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    Thank you @TheGrissom and @A new day. I'm liking the duckweed at the moment but keeping an eye on its growth. Also dont want it to get out of hand...

    @HugBug thank you for the advice. I bought my previous Embers from @Lucky01 and got 4 more Embers from him yesterday. He is a very nice guy and also has great looking tanks!
     
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  18. MariaS

    MariaS Moderator

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    Looks absolutely great @Lucky01

    Love the detailed way in which you have started and continued this thread
     
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