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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tank: 30g glass Hex

- 1" organic top soil (from Home Depot)
- Fiberglass screening (thanks to a tip from PT)
- Natural play sand sloped approximately 1" in the front to 2"+ in the back

Heater: 200W (came with the tank) - set at 78 degrees - I plan to replace it at some point; I want one with outside thermostat control (Any suggestions for a specific model, gang?)

Lighting: 3 fluorescent bulbs totaling 45W (will increase to 60-75W once plants are established)

Decorations: driftwood and rocks

- Limnophila aromatica 'purple'
- red Crypt. wendtii
- green C. wendtii
- Hygro 'sunset'
- Hygro 'Roraima' (I haven't been able to find much online about this plant)
- Bacopa australis
- Rotala rotundifolia
- unknown Val (species not yet IDed - leaves damaged by Ca deficiency? - waiting for new leaves to grow so I can ID species)
- Echinodorus vesuvius
- E. tennelus - regular
- Duckweed
- unknown Amazon sword

- 2 lyretail swordtails - pale yellow color with some striping apparent at times; I still need a color ID on them
- 3 bronze Corydoras aeneus - youngsters
- 4 albino Corydoras aeneus - youngsters
- 3 ~1.25" bristlenose plecos (being grown out in this tank - will move into a larger tank later)

The fish were just added mid-May. I'm planning to move some of my RCS in as soon as the plants are established and I can thicken them up a bit so they'll provide some protection from the fish.

I haven't made up my mind yet what other fish I'll put in there. I'm considering dwarf gouramis (the original variety), cherry barbs, rummy nose tetras or bloodfins. I can't get any of those here (haven't seen them anywhere locally), so I'll have to mail order them at some point down the road.

Some of the plants were put in about 2 weeks before the first fish. The remainder were added Saturday, May 10th. For the first week or so, I noticed the red Crypts melting. I figure all these plant species may not do well, so I will remove the ones that don't and fill in with the ones that do.

I've got a small internal filter dropped in until I'm sure the plants are taking off. That will be moving out before too long. It sits well below the water line so there's no surface agitation. In addition, I had an HOB on the tank (visible in the photos), but it doesn't contain any filter media. It was strictly for nighttime oxygenation until the plants are established.

Dumby me, I didn't soak the driftwood prior to putting it in (NEVER trust someone who says driftwood is ready to use and doesn't need to be soaked first), so I'm doing water changes daily to help get the tannins out of the water. Ack…. (I've since gotten some MUCH nicer driftwood through one of the forums, but I think I'm going to use it in new tanks I'm planning rather than redo this one at this point.)

Whole tank and surrounding area.

As an aside - the little plastic tub in the left of frame of the above shot is my quarantine "tank". I was having a lot of trouble finding a 5g tank locally, so I got a little Rubbermaid container that has actually worked out quite well with a little filter added to it. ;D Currently living in that is a bunch of RCS with Anacharis, Java Moss and some assorted extra plants I will be moving to other tanks soon I hope. Of course, I have since found 5g tanks locally (like the one I set up for my office). Go figure.

As you can see, the water was still heavily discolored. I took these photos on 05/28/2008 and am just now finding time to post them. I've made a couple of changes since then.

1 - The floating plants are spares I left floating until I could get them situated elsewhere. I actually removed most of them and put them into my new 5g office tank (posted in the Nano section).

2 - I have removed the HOB completely. I wasn't using it, found I didn't need it anyway. So out it went. The internal filter is still in place for now.

3 - Added a male betta on 05/28/2008.

Plants seem to be doing well thus far, except for the Limnophila, which has completely melted away. All the C. wendtii have recovered from their melt (reds only, green never showed melt) and have new growth popping up. I'll see if I can get some more photos later this week to show how some plants are growing. :)

BTW, the Hygro 'Roraima' is currently growing very slowly, but I think I need to move it. It's lurking under the shadow of one of those big vals, and I think it might grow better if I move it toward the front a bit.

Oh, and I found a baby swordtail in there the other day. Growing like a little weed and doing well. :)

This was the first tank for which I've tried topsoil under sand, and I'm not sure I like it. In the past, I used clay kitty litter under sand and really liked that. Decided to try something new this go around. I suspect part of the "tannin" problem is actually nutrients leaching from the topsoil (not prepared properly by me I don't think as is it supposed to do that?). Time will tell. I continue to do water changes - 10-30% depending on time available each day. I try to at least do 10% each day, and have actually done a couple 50% changes. But generally I do no more than 30%.

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41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Due to the same issue with the top soil that I had with the 5g office tank, I broke this tank down Thursday, June 12, 2008 afternoon.

Tank: 30g glass Hex
Substrate: 1-2.5" mixture of play sand and clay kitty litter with some Osmocote; covered with about 1" sand alone
Heater: 200W (came with the tank) - set at 78 degrees - I plan to replace it at some point; I want one with outside thermostat control
Filter: HOB with filter floss (temporary)
Lighting: 3 fluorescent bulbs totaling 45W (will increase to 60-75W once plants are established)
Decorations: 2 driftwood, rocks
Plants: red Crypt. wendtii, green C. wendtii, Hygro 'sunset', unknown Val (species not yet IDed), Echinodorus augustifolia 'vesuvius', E. tennelus, Duckweed, unknown Amazon sword, Willow Moss, Flame Moss
Fish: 2 female lyretail Neon swordtails, 3 bronze Corydoras aeneus youngsters, 4 albino Corydoras aeneus youngsters, 3 ~1.25" bristlenose plecos (being grown out in this tank - will move into a larger tank later), 2 female Marigold swordtails, 1 male betta

As you may have noticed, I changed the plants a bit. Added the two mosses and removed some stem plants. The Limnophila I originally put in there melted away to nothing. The bacopa and rotala have been moved out to another tank for temp holding until I set up their new permanent home.

Also, I added a big driftwood branch I really like that I didn't have when I did the first setup. In addition, I removed the internal filter in favor of the HOB alone. Didn't need both, and I can change out the filter media in the HOB easier, so I opted to use that one while I need the filter still. It will go away completely once plants get established.

My elbow slipped off the rim when I was pouring the second jug of water in and stirred up some clay in a nasty way. It only took about 48 hours for the cloudiness to clear up.

WTS right after setup:


About 48 hours later with fish back in the tank:


View from the couch:

View from my chair:

View from left front panel (between full front and chair view) (left as you face it):

There it is, good as new and even better.
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