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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I had a 20g long awhile back, maybe about... mmm... 4 years ago? Sadly, when I finally got it up and running smoothly (bought fish from Petsmart and had a tank full of ick, lost a handful of fish and almost all of my neons) I had to move. I would have taken them with me, but the... situation was less than ideal and I took them to a local pet store in hopes of them finding a new home.

Now, we'll be living in this house for at least a year, but most likely more and even if we did move, we'd be moving in town, so I could literally plop the fish in a bucket, drive 10 min to the new place and set them all back up within the hour. I'm super excited to have a tank again, it's such a beautiful piece of nature and the sound of the gentle filter flowing is very calming, as much as watching the fish.

So I'll be keeping you guys all up-to-date on the going-ons of the tank while I proceed to cycle it and add things to it.

SO! To start things off:

My LFS had these amazing red and white rocks that I decided to really showcase in this tank. What I didn't expect was to find tiiiiny fossilized plant matter on the rocks. It's super cool and makes this tank even more special. I loved fossils, dinosaurs, etc. as a kid and I still do to this day! So to have some potentially prehistoric pieces in my tank just makes me jump with joy. I also found a few cool pieces of driftwood for my bristlenose <3 (I love bristlenose plecos... so of course I need 1 in my tank)

Some pics of the rocks because they deserve some love. Links because there's a lot and I don't want to super flood my first post with a ton of images @[email protected]
http://imgur.com/eYRxO8k.png
http://imgur.com/5fJjd7F.png
http://imgur.com/XG4OohF.png

Close-ups of the fossilized plants. You can only see them when they're wet.
http://imgur.com/d1V47Jh.png
http://imgur.com/kl6YdCm.png
http://imgur.com/OmWUI9n.png
http://imgur.com/crfMRrT.png
http://imgur.com/BcQwBWu.png
http://imgur.com/5cTgLTf.png

Day 1: Water test. I'd like to think Aqueon is capable of making a fish tank, but I still gotta test it!


Why yes, that is a cinderblock stand haha. The tank is sitting on 2 planks of pine wood to even out any pressure points that may be present. Gotta love soft wood!

Day 2: Adding substrate!

Yeaaaah... this house doesn't have a hose. Yeah... so I got to bend over 2 5g buckets and rinse gravel by hand with a fish net, getting up about every 8 rinses to get fresh water. Not as clean as I'd want it... but gotta make do with what I got haha.

Day 3: Scaping attempt

Still cloudy as you can see, but the rocks and driftwood are in. At this point it's sitting waiting for the equipment to arrive.

Day 4: IT'S HERE!

Picked up my filter and light, as well as went to the LFS to get a glass lid and Prime.

Day 5: Heatin' up!
As of now, my heater arrived, as well as the heater controller, and my thermometers. I've begun the cycling process, dosing ammonia to 4ppm. Now I sit and wait.

For those of you who are curious about my tech:
AquaClear 50
100w Cobalt Neo-therm heater
Inkbird Temp-controller for said heater
Finnex Planted+ 24/7 LED light fixture
Zoo Med AquaSun Aquarium Timer for said light
x2 RISEPRO aquarium digital thermometers

My fish will be being fed:
Repashy: Community Plus for the majority
Repashy: Morning Wood for the pleco (yes... funny name Repashy, you're hilarious)
As well as a mixture of frozen foods that I will mix in with the gel so they get a yummy complete diet all in one <3

My planned stock:
x6 Nanus Cory Cat (Corydoras nanus)
x1 Bushy Nose Plecostomus
x6 Praecox Rainbow (Melanotaenia praecox)
x6 Rummynose Tetra (Hemigrammus bleheri)
x2 Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid (a pair, m/f)

Substrate fish, 2 schooling fish, and in this case 2 focal fish. My LFS can get me any fish I want and all these fish are fairly common.

Yes my tank has FOUR thermometers in it if you include the internal reader in the heater LOL. What can I say, I like to make sure I'm as accurate as possible.

The substrate btw is pea gravel from Home Depot. I was trying to find DARK gravel to show off my rocks and bright fish, but couldn't find it for the life of me. Walk into Home Depot and they have some nice dark grey pea gravel for $5 for a 50lb bag. I bought 2 because I wasn't sure how much i'd need... I have a 50lb bag of pea gravel sitting in my living room xD


Yes it will be planted. My plants should be arriving tomorrow. The sucky part is I have a delayed orientation for work I need to attend tomorrow that's practically all day long, so I probably won't be able to pick them up from UPS till after 4pm. POO!

But here's my plant list, most plants are clippings, about 5 clippings per purchase:
x2 Anubias Barteri coffeefolia
x2 ROTALA WALLICHII
x2 Ancharis narrow Leaf
x2 Hygrophila corymbosa Siamensis
x3 PROSERPINACA PALUSTRIS
x3 Brazilian Pennywort (gotta have me some pennywort, I looooove pennywort)

It's quite a bit of plants, but I really want a full background and I also ordered based on the expectation that I'll either have a few clippings that don't make the trip or melt and die in the tank.
 

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i'd say good luck with maintenance, cause weekly water changes are going to be fun with all the plants and having a python to get rid of the poop.

I personally would get rid of the rummies and have around 8 rainbows in there, rummies normally occupy the lower areas which having a pair of cichlids does not make it a 'safe place' in terms of breeding time. but thats me.

Otherwise, looking good. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Heh it's something I'm used to. Last tank I had, lived in an apartment on the 3rd floor, so my water changes were also done via siphon and 5 gallong buckets, granted in that case water was dumped and re-added via the bathtub, but in a 2 story house like we have now... my tub is upstairs, no go. But we have a small 'backyard' so I can dump the water out there and just fill the buckets up by the kitchen sink. Not the easiest of ways for sure, but I make do with what I got heh.

Interesting bit about the rummies. I never noticed before, but looking at some quick videos on youtube I am noticing they are certainly staying in the lower bits of the water column. Indeed, not a smart idea for the cichlid pair. Hmm.. pooey, as I do very much love rummies, but I also love the look and personality of the cichlid. Looks like I have a choice to make if that does truly tend to be an issue. I'll certainly have to ask around for sure. Not sure if I should give it a try and monitor (every fish has their own personality of course, the cichlids could indeed be fine with the rummies) or skip. Should I order them, the LFS would certainly take them back if I came to them and said "hey this fish isn't working in my community."
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Plants are in.





Don't really have room sadly for the hydrophilia ;-; I tried it various spots and it just made the tank look WAY to crowded and actually messy. The guy also gave me a TON of pennywort, more than I thought I was getting so I have a bundle of like 8 clippings that have no home. I'm hoping my LFS will take them and give me something for em'. Be it actual cash or store credit. If they will, I'll trim the pennywort in my tank. It's a bit too long haha
 

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Yeah, many dont think so, but they more 'bottom' dwellers. I personally think it will be an issue, and not only that but visually will seem out of balance since most of the fish will be in the lower layers.

(can confirm, have rummies myself)

Cichlids when breeding can be highly territorial, so minimising any aggression in such a small tank would be wise. If it was a 40g for example, then it could work since you have a larger floor space.


BTW, aunbias do better if tied onto the wood/rocks
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I've been told that the rainbows would end up worse than the rummies, even though they occupy a higher water column, they go crazy when there's any kind of food in the tank and would treat possible fry the same way?

I'd like to prevent all my fish from sitting in the bottom layers.

If i did go with the preacox rainbows instead of rummies, would I be able to get a shoal of 8-12 without crowding the tank? It's been advised I drop the pleco as well, as it will become the same issue, it will cause unneeded stress on the female. Not that I have any intention of purposely raising the fry, if they survive. they survive, if not then yeah, but many who keep the apistos highly recommend I keep the pair, rather than just doing a lone male, as the interaction between the two is what really makes them interesting to watch.

So as of now my only dead-set fish are:
x2 Dwarf Cockatoo cichlid
x8 False Julii Corys

I'd like to have a x12 of some type of top-dwelling shoal that won't become an issue for the cichlids. No one is concerned with the corys, so i think they'll be ok.


PS. yes about the anubis... but I don't have anything to tie it with hahah
 

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i personally think that the BN would do better than a shoal of cories. As long as you have numerous hiding places, BN rarely patrol the tank like a group of cories would. IMO, you would have more success with the BN.

As for the rainbows, I've never kept them. But, most fish at feeding time can turn into a frenzy of 'lil piranhas'... From what I gather about apisto breeding, the fry normally stay within a cave until old enough that they are of a sizeable size that the rainbows shouldnt view them as a food source. You might lose a couple, especially if they happen to wander off but I personally think a number should make it. The dwarf rainbows that you suggested would work well, and yes they shouldn't be too much of an issue.

Most friends that breed and keep CPD recommend to keep them at a lower temperature than most tropical fish, so IDK if they would be appropriate to this set up. They also recommend to keep them in tanks with a bit of flow, which isnt the ideal habitat for most SA fish, which come from slow to stagnate bodies of water.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
When all you can do is just sit back and watch as one of your most anticipated plants just melts away (Proserpinaca palustris). -dies-
 

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Discussion Starter #13


More nitrites. Still waitin' for the 'trates (my tap naturally has 5ppm of 'trates). Making sure to watch that ammonia carefully so I don't starve my bacteria.

I suspect by the end of next week I should be good to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
cut my lights back from 7-7 to 10am to 4pm to hopefully kill the algae that's beginning to grow on my rotala. Once it's gone I'll increase my light from 10am to 6pm and that will give the tank 8 hrs of light. My fault with the algae as I was having the lights on fo 12 hrs (7am-7pm), its the same time that my reptiles' lights come on so I kept the same time, but soon realized that they should only be on for about 8 hrs LOL. OOOPS!

I'm picking/shaking it off as I can, but the rotala doesn't even look phased by it. I'm getting TONS of bright red 'buds' shootin out of the stems so that's good.

My mermaid weed as they call it(Proserpinaca palustris) is just barely hanging on. A LOT of it melted away. i snipped the healthy looking tops off most of them and replanted, I'm hoping they take root but it's not looking too good. There are 3 full stems of it left that have sent out roots. They're not looking too hot either, but I like to think that the development of roots will help them bounce back.

The pennywort is going bonkers, lots of new leaves, more new leaves than ones that are dying back. I'll have to remember to keep it in check heh.

I plan to pick up another nice piece of driftwood either tomorrow or wednesday (prob wed.) that I'll tie my Anubis too (it's currently in the substrate).


My nitrates are starting to climb, ammonia is almost being cleaned out in a 24hr period. No drop in nitrites yet, but it's comin'. This tank is getting a BIG cleaning after my cycle is done omg. It's so nasty. Thats what happens kids when your 'house' has no hose to clean the gravel with and you need to do it by hand it buckets. LOL!

Once it's fully clean I'll run it for a week dosing ammonia, just to make sure the bacteria bounce back after the deep clean before adding fish. I know ya' shouldn't super vacuum substrate, but there's so much DIRT balls in it right now that if you just bump a rock, a giant cloud of debris flies up into the water @[email protected] So it's getting sucked.

On another note... there's duckweed hiding in my pennywort... >_> I will find you... and when i do... I will kill you.
 

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Oh sounds like fun. I currently keep my tank on a 12hr period, and been doing fine. It really depends on the light itself, the tank, and the surrounding environment. Hopefully 8 hrs has a better success...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I think its because my plants still haven't acclimated so they aren't using as much nutrients as they usually do, plus I have a very nice light that produces tons of light and it's on a shallow tank so I think the combination of those 2 things caused the algae. We'll see how the tank goes for the next few months, if the algae remains absent I'll start increasing the light again hr by hr and see what happens. :p
 
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