New 20 gallon tank reno project.
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New 20 gallon tank reno project.

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New 20 gallon tank reno project.
Old 03-28-2013, 04:44 PM   #1
JDM
 
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New 20 gallon tank reno project.

I am tackling the office tank which should prove interesting as it is in a 24hour operation center.

I checked out the setup today. I've seen the tank all the time but never really paid too close attention to it.

I found the box of chemicals, testing kits, fertilizer and treatments... wow. pH up, pH down, melafix? pH neutralizer, cycle starter, clarifier, and a few other things. The heater is in the box too. The room is kept at around 70F all the time so it's not bad, just a little cold. Thick thick layer of nasty gravel with some sort of plant gravel mixed in.

Taking some water home to test today as the test kits were partial and really old.

I need to rehome a huge pleco. There is one oto cat, one cory of some form that I don't recognize, a few false rummy nose tetra , I think and a few harlequin rasbora... that aren't halerquin rasbora... or even rasbora for that matter. There are two plants of unknown descent.

This will be a test of my luck.

I'm debating how much I want to work with what is there against starting from scratch with a sand buildup. I will see if the fish are going to work if I just bump up their numbers... but 20 gallons and three schools doesn't sound ideal in my mind without overstocking the tank to get the shoal numbers up... but I can't see it without three unless I go with a species tank... something small to get the numbers up to 20.

Without doing any research I might go with pygmy hatchet fish , corys and oto cats for a three species setup... plants of course. I expect the water to be softer than home (how could it not be?) One of my swords will get re-homed, I need more real estate back home. Perhaps the store can take the extra fish.

Initial list of stuff: new light bulb, it's a T8 18". New test kit... don't need the GH/KH. I'll donate my unopened bottle of prime. Flourish comprehensive. Sand (if I go that way, I think I need to for the corys). heater and thermometer.

I'll post some pics once I get along... oh, I dropped in some of my overage dwarf hygrophila today... a little extra green even spruced it up a bit.... There are at least a dozen stems in there and some short floating pieces. I'll need to change out the light soomer than later I think.

Jeff.
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Old 03-28-2013, 04:49 PM   #2
 
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Good luck! Are they okay with you changing it? I really hope you can find someone to take the pleco. What kind of fish are they if not rasboras? O.o

Really glad that you'll be able to make it a much nicer home for the fish! Poor cory is probably as lonely as can be ;(
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:21 PM   #3
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Well, it's sort of my business so I could just come in and do it. It's mostly a matter of time to do it. A tear down with live fish needs to be taken to a certain point in the same day.

I'll play fish ID once my Internet is back up.

Jeff.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:18 PM   #4
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I just ran some water tests.

2dKH
16dGH
6.8 - 7.0 pH

Odd, but being town water, not surprising. Also, I don't know how long this water has been since last change.

I can't do much if there is ammonia or nitrites at this point so I only checked nitrates. 80ppm.... uh oh. I need to check the source water, forgot to get a sample, but I figure I will do a water changed tomorrow as it is not going to be anywhere near that level.

That explains why the fish are so drab looking.

Jeff.
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Old 03-28-2013, 10:37 PM   #5
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Fish IDs from the office tank project:

5 Serpae Tetra
1 Oto Catfish, I am surprised it's alive given the high nitrate levels.
2 False Rummy Nose Tetra
1 Pepper Cory
The Common Pleco who has outgrown this tank a long time ago.

Surprisingly they are not a bad mix as far as water parameters go... it's a little hard and a little cold but no worse than other "working" environments.

Hop over to the fish forum as I asked for some suggestions... link below...

Read more: The 20 gallon reno fish ID and query
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDM View Post
I just ran some water tests.

2dKH
16dGH
6.8 - 7.0 pH
New test today.

4dKH
11dGH
7.4 - 7.6 pH
40 nitrate (down from 80)

I had asked if 3 50% water changes could be done over the long weekend as I was not going to be able to go in... It looks like only one was performed. I wonder what was driving the GH up and the KH down.... Seems odd. I'm not fond of the shift in pH but at least the nitrates are lower to compensate somewhat.

Now I can at least expect that softer water fish may be suitable, although I didn't manage to grab any of the town source water to test, I'll do that tomorrow. I predict, if a 50% change was done, that the hardness will come in around 6dKH and 6 or 7dGH. The pH may settle around 7.8, although it could stick at 7.6.

Jeff.
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:32 PM   #7
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4dKH and 10dGH after the 50% water change today.

PH 7.6 and nitrites down in the 10 to 20 range. I'll plan another large WC on the weekend, get those nitrates right down, get the water back to its normal range. I found out today why everything was so out of whack, there had been no changes since early December.... I'm surprised there were any fish left.

Everyone commented on how much cleaner it looks now and the fish are not so skittish and all I did so far was add some plants and have someone change the water a few times. The fish are using the plants for cover and are colouring up a bit. The rummy nose actually have a nicely coloured nose and the tetras don't look so pale. I didn't get a good look at the Cory.

Mr Pleco will likely be heading out tomorrow, if not, then Monday.

My single species idea didn't go over as well as it thought it might. It was thought that it was a 30 gallon so there should be lots of room for variety... but variety didn't survive very well the first time around. I think that I'll have to wow them with a splendid fish shoal.

Jeff.
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:12 PM   #8
 
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Maybe I'm just weird but 'variety' always irks me a bit. I kind of max out at 3 species, after that a tank can start to look 'jumbled' IMO, with so many different fish. When I look at a tank I don't want to be distracted by so many different colors, patterns, shapes, etc. But that's just me, haha.

I'd stick with either one large school/shoal, or a smaller school with some sort of substrate fish.

What about going the route of some kind of micro fish? They're a lot more sensitive to water params though, but that's as far as my knowledge goes :p

I'm so EXCITED for when we get some pictures of the Now/Later stages!
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jentralala View Post
Maybe I'm just weird but 'variety' always irks me a bit. I kind of max out at 3 species, after that a tank can start to look 'jumbled' IMO, with so many different fish. When I look at a tank I don't want to be distracted by so many different colors, patterns, shapes, etc. But that's just me, haha.

I'd stick with either one large school/shoal, or a smaller school with some sort of substrate fish.

What about going the route of some kind of micro fish? They're a lot more sensitive to water params though, but that's as far as my knowledge goes :p

I'm so EXCITED for when we get some pictures of the Now/Later stages!
I might bow to upper and lower fish, I do like Cory's and cats but was trying to keep the whole setup simple to deal with. To me, one single species should be easier as there are no intra species issues... I think I said that already... and more fish in a shoal the better for the fish and its only a 20 gallon. We are going from 5 species to whatever I end up deciding on.

Anyway, I'm preaching to the choir here so I'll stop.

I forgot to take an overall picture of before.... But I haven't changed much yet so I'll try to get one in. I doubt I can get it dark enough to get a good shot so you'll just have to put up with the reflections.

Jeff.
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:53 AM   #10
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Here's a shot of the tank "sort of" before. The reflections are unavoidable.

I added all the green stems in the middle... some are floating already as there were more... a plastic plant has been removed in the last water change I see.

I have no idea what those long narrow leaf plants are, I know that I have seen them in my searches but I can't recall what they might be.

Gravel will become sand.

The backdrop will be changed for black.

Many more plants will be added.

You can sort of see the pleco in the right corner hanging off of the glass.

The tank isn't bad looking or anything, it's just one of those "once you know" things that makes everything that is wrong stand out.

Jeff.
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