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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

Last weekend I tore down my 30 gallon to make room for a new species (for me). The this will be the first time I have kept the species and from doing some reading, research, and talking with the breeder I am doing a set-up I have not done before.

2020/07/19

Here is my old (15+ years) 30 gallon tank (36"X12.5"X16.75" high). Note the scratches on the glass showing years of use! Thank goodness most of those scratches disappear when water is added.


After cleaning the heater and canister filter I added four (4) Osmocote Plus "00" root tabs. Based upon my experience with the 45 gallon which showed residual ammonia for about 2 months when I used one root tab per 2 gallons I decided to go stingy this time. There will be some species of plants in this tank but the fish will be the primary consideration.


I covered the four tabs with a handful of sand substrate to keep them from shifting and added the rest of the sand substrate.


This is the first time I have used sand as a substrate in a tank and I went with HTH Pool Filter sand which is made from crushed quartz, contains no shells to effect water hardness, and is definitely white! I am not a fan of white substrates because they can show all the detritus and other stuff but I want to keep this tank clean and pristine as possible.


I put in a total of 50# of sand which is one bag. It cost me $9 including tax. This gave me sufficient for 2-1/2 inches in the back of the tank sloping to 1.5 inches in the front of the tank; an average depth of 2 inches. I did not wash or rinse the sand first, it went straight from the bag into the tank.


2020/07/20
Next come the filling. I could have done the three (3) gallon bucket and made eight or nine trips up and down the stairs but I chose to use my weekly water change hose instead. I put down wax paper and a dinner plate to minimize disturbing the substrate during filling and added the water slowly.








This is how it looked when filled before turning on the filter.


I set the heater for 83 degrees and took some tap water readings for a benchmark, then called it a day.

Tap Water
pH = 7.0 (degassed 24 hrs)
dKH = 2.0
dGH = 3.0
Ca = 20 ppm
Mg = 0.9 ppm
NH3 = 0.00
NO2 = 0.00
NO3 = 0.00

And here is the equipment list:
Aqueon 30 gallon aquarium
Aqueon glass top
Fluval 2.0 LED fixture (36"-48")
Marineland C-220 canister filter (two sponges; filter floss; bio-balls X2 trays; Purigen)
50# HTH Pool Filter Sand (crushed quartz) 2-1/2" back / 1-1/2" front
Osmocote Plus root tabs ( 4 each "00" size)
Inline CO2 diffuser
Fluval CO2 drop checker with 4.0 dKH indicator solution
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you @Michael

Hi All,

2020/07/20
The tank is currently at 85 degrees and the water had started to clear. The drop checker is medium green and with 4.0 dKH indicator solution that means I should have about 30 ppm of CO2.

I decided to add a few plants that came out of the previous 30 gallon set-up. I added two pieces of Malaysian driftwood to the tank. One piece had an established thicket of Microsorum pteropus 'Windelov' and the other had a not fully established thicket of Microsorum pteropus 'Trident'. I also added 17 plants of Eriocaulon sp. 'Vietnam' to the center area. How are these plants going to do in 85 degree temperatures? I guess we will find out!

30 gallon 24 hours after filling
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi All,

2020/07/24
So with a temperature of 85 degrees this is definitely a warm water tank. Did you ever wonder what species would do well at a temperature in the mid-80's? How about with high temperatures and very, very lean dosing of nutrients? I did so I grabbed a bunch of plants from my emersed plant bank and one species from another tank and planted them along the back of the 30 gallon. This is what they looked like when I planted them.


All of the plants are cuttings without roots, so what did I plant?

1) Persicaria sp. 'Kawagoeanum' (from stems growing submerged in another tank)
2) Myriophyllum sp. 'Guyana' (cuttings from emersed growth in plant bank)
3) Hygrophila serpyllum (cuttings from emersed growth in plant bank)
4) Oldenlandia salzmannii (cuttings from emersed growth in plant bank)
5) Limnophila rugosa (cuttings from emersed growth in plant bank)
6) Ludwigia sp 'Red' (cuttings from emersed growth in plant bank)

I am curious to see what species can adapt to the 85 degree temperature and which ones will not. The light level measured at the substrate (through an Aqueon Versatop) is [email protected] measured with an Apogee MQ-510 PAR Meter.

Here is one of the shelves of my 'plant bank', just a bunch of species I grow emersed because I don't have enough tanks to grow them submerged. Many are 'uncommon' (i.e. not common in a LFS) and not always available on the forums.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi All,

2020-07-25
When I started the tank I seeded the Marineland C-220 filter with some detritus from one of my HOB filters on another tank to kick-start the nitrogen cycle. Today I added a couple more plant species and three (3) fish to ensure the nitrogen cycle starts and maintains well. I added an Otocinclus, a Siamese Algae Eater (aka SAE / Crossocheilus oblongus), and a 'runt of the litter' Corydoras aeneus. The Otocinclus will eat any diatoms which seems to be fairly common with out soft water. The SAE will eat any hair algae that seems to show up in my tanks during the ammonia portion of the nitrogen cycle, and the Corydoras will stir up any detritus so the canister filter can remove it. If they get hungry I'll add 1/4 of an algae wafer just before lights out.

SAE and Corydoras


I checked the PAR level today, with the water clearing even more the light intensity is [email protected] I am running the Fluval 3.0 on a split photoperiod of 09:00 - 11:00 and 19:00 - 21:30 for a total of 4 -1/2 hours of light per day.

I also added a Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Green Gecko' from the previous 30 gallon set-up and some Bacopa colorata from my emersed plant bank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi All,

2020-07-30

Well it has been a week since the last update. The fish are doing fine as are the plants. The tanks is clear and the PAR level increased to [email protected] now that the cloudiness is gone. I did a 33% water change this week, dosed 4.5 ml of Seachem Comprehensive twice and glutaradehyde (Excel strength) Initial Dose (4 tsp) once. The water parameters after the water change were:
pH = 7.6
dKH = 2.0
dGH = 2.0
Ca = 15 ppm
Mg = 0 ppm
NH3 = 0.25 ppm
NO2 = 0.0 ppm
NO3 = 0.0 - 5.0 ppm

I don't know why my pH climbed this week, my CO2 is actually higher (about 40 ppm) is it possible the HTH sand is not totally inert? I added 2.0 ml of Muriatic Acid to the tank and that dropped the pH to 6.4 after 24 hours. I will monitor the pH for the next couple of weeks and see if it creeps back up. The fish didn't show any signs of distress.

It looks like the species fish will be arriving soon. In the meantime the plants seem to have settled in fine. The Persicaria sp. 'Kawagoeanum' has a couple of new leaves showing good color. The Myriophyllum sp. 'Guyana' seems to be a slow grower but there is one new leaf and it seems to be larger than the emersed grown leaves. I added some Eleocharis sp (possibly robbinsii?) to the tank that was growing submerged in my 75 gallon and I trimmed down. The other emersed grown stems I added a week or so ago are also showing new growth and looking healthy. The Ludwigia sp. 'Red' isn't showing any red coloration but with [email protected] it may not show color until it gets very near the surface (if at all).







 

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It's super cool to see someone else in the Seattle area participating in the hobby! Every time I'm having an issue with water paramaters (due to our soft as hell water), I read up on your fixes! I'm super excited to watch what you do with this tank!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi @CadyMai,

Actually there is a large contingent of aquarium hobbyists / plant growers in Seattle. Our local club, the Greater Seattle Aquarium Society is over 40 years old and when there isn't a COVID-19 thing going on we meet monthly at Seattle Pacific University. Since the virus we have been having Zoom meetings (with speakers) once a month. Check us out at: https://gsas.orgWe also have three FB pages, an 'open' once for announcements to the public and two closed ones. One is a 'Buying and Selling' FB page and the other is for sharing aquarium hobby stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi All,

2020-08-03
I know it is not time for my weekly update on how the tank is progressing however the species arrived yesterday afternoon with a few friends. I drip acclimated them for about an hour, waited an additional 1/2 hour, and the introduced them into the tank. They even brought some friends with them that they grew up with, three (3) Corydoras sterbai. For the first couple of hours they huddled together in a corner and then they started to explore the tank. I lightly fed them some frozen bloodworms about an hour before 'lights out' and they all seemed to eat.

Today they are much more active and bravely exploring the tank so I grabbed this picture. I know that the 30 gallon is just temporary for these seven fish and in the future they will become the inhabitants of my 75 gallon. -Roy
 

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Beautiful tanks as always Roy! Really cool discus, I've never seen those types of discus before. Is it a wild coloration?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi @neilshieh,

Good to hear from you! Yes, these are first generation from the wild ones collected in Peru. The color of the adults is much, much nicer than the juvies in the photos. -Roy
 

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When you said the temp was 85, I tried to think of anything besides discus that liked water that warm. Drew a blank! I love wild type discus and look forward to seeing more photos as they mature.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi Michael,

This is my first time with Discus, I hope it goes well. Did a lot of reading and research but that doesn't always equate into experience. -Roy
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi All,

Well the discus have settled in for a week now and so far no surprises or issues. My only concern is that these guys may eat me out of house and home!

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi All,

Here is what has been happening in the tank since I added the discus.

This last week I increased the PAR from [email protected] to [email protected] on Tuesday and then on Saturday I increased it from [email protected] to [email protected] (all measured at the substrate level).
I did a 50% water change yesterday making sure to match within 5 degrees the new water with the tank water. I added 3/8 tsp CaSO4 (3 ppm Ca / 0.4 dGH); 3/16 tsp MgSO4 (1.04 ppm Mg / 0.25 dGH); 3/16 tsp K2SO4 (7.5 ppm K)

The water parameters today are:
pH = 7,2
dKH = 2.0
dGH = 4.0
NH3 = 0.25 ppm
NO2 = 0.25 ppm
NO3 = 10 ppm

The ammonia level remains stable and I attribute the not before seen levels of nitrite and nitrates to the addition of the discus and the large amounts of food they consume. I will likely do a second water change on Friday and check the water parameters again.

Here is an overall view of the 30 gallon


The Trident Java Fern (Microsporum pteropus 'Trident') is doing well and looking good. The Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Green Gecko' has put out more leaves in the last couple of weeks than it did in the previous 3 months, I think the substrate feeding is having a positive effect.


Here is an overall view of the center of the tank. The Eriocaulon sp 'Vietnam' is growing although slowly with no signs of algae on the leaves. In fact, I haven't seen any algae whatsoever on the glass or plants since they were planted.


Here is a shot of some of the plants I am experimenting with along the back glass. These all come from my emersed plant bank and were planted July 30th so they have been in place about 11 days. This picture shows the Myriophyllum 'Mini' and the Bacopa colorata. Note the top leaves are noticeably larger on the 'Mini' compared with the lower leaves that were grown emersed. The same is true of the B. colorata but it is difficult to see in the picture. Also notice the top leaves are starting to show some pinkish coloration.


The Limnophila rugosa has put out several new leaves and is starting to look 'bushy'. The Ludwigia sp 'Red' has gone crazy (arrow) it must have 10 new nodes and the new submerged leaves are 5X the size of the emersed leaves. The leaves are green likely due to the low PAR level I have been using but the stems are growing toward the top and with the higher PAR I would expect to start seeing some normal color.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi All,

Time for another weekly installment!

2020/08/13

Today I did a 6 gallon water change on the tank.

2020/08/16

I took ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings again today, they were:
NH3 = 0.25 ppm
NO2 = 0.00 ppm
NO3 = 10 - 20 ppm

2020/08/17

Today is water change day. I changed 50% of the water in the tank (approximately 12 gallons) and did a light vacuum of the substrate in the front to remove detritus and the top layer of sand was looking a little dingy. I added 3/8 tsp of CaSO4 for 3 ppm of calcium, 3/16 tsp of MgSO4 for 1.0 ppm of Mg, and 3/16 tsp of K2SO4 for 7.5 ppm of potassium. I also added 15 ml of Excel/glutaraldehyde for carbon molecules. The fish all ate well about an hour afterwards on San Francisco Bay Brand freeze dried tubifex worms (FDTW). I took some pictures of the tank as well, here they are:

The full view


The C. wendtii 'Green Gecko' added another leaf this week. The 'Trident' is doing well


The Persicaria sp. 'Kawagoeanum' is not doing well, the leaves are small and not well formed and the growth has slowed. On the other hand the Myriophyllum sp. 'Guyana' continues to grow well with about 4 nodes (1") of new leaves.


Another shot of the Red Spot Green Discus (RSGD), they are almost always schooling


Not much noteworthy on the rest of the plants other than the three small sprigs of Ludwigia arcuata are showing new submerged growth and the Limnophila rugosa is branching at the bottom.


Lastly, the Ludwigia sp. 'Red' continues to grow quickly, however [email protected] at the substrate and [email protected] at the tip of the tall stem is not yet creating red coloration, however the stem is starting to branch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hi @Michael,

As a side note I should say that this is the second tank I have set up with basically no water column dosing. I am using 'inert' substrates (Safe-t-sorb in the first one; HTH Pool Filter Sand in this one) with Osmocote Plus root tabs and supplementing the tabs with a couple doses of Seachem Comprehensive twice a week for additional micro-nutrients. In both tanks I am getting minimal if any algae on the glass, hardscape, or plants. Hmm, does water column nutrient dosing increase the likelihood of algae?

Both tanks have the same LED lights they had when water column dosing and the same photoperiod. Interesting. -Roy
 

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Roy, I'll disagree with you on a detail. Safe-T-Sorb has no nutrients but it is not inert. It's cation exchange capacity allows it to absorb nutrients and hold them until plant roots can absorb them. I agree with you that a lean water column helps to discourage algae.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi @Michael,

Sorry, I should have clarified 'inert' in that it doesn't contain macro-nutrients with the exception of potassium. It does contain a host of secondary and micro-nutrients. I have used STS since 2011 and have been a strong proponent of it for planted tanks as an excellent alternative to most other substrates out there with the possible exception of ADA Aquasoils. But there is a huge price difference.

https://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/substrates/82245-soilmaster-turface-alternatives.html
 
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