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Diving in headfirst

Discussion in 'Introductions and Greetings' started by Jared, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. Jared

    Jared New Member

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    Hello all,

    Up until a few days ago I had never owned an aquarium, let alone grown aquatic plants. But then I saw my first Amano aquascape and I knew I was hooked. Now I'm growing 4 species of plants with CO2 and 2.4 watts/gallon and marveling at my lovely school of tetra and my feisty Amano shrimp. I've got a lot to learn and I'm looking forward to receiving the collective wisdom of this forum.

    Please have a look at my current setup and give me some input, keeping in mind that I am an absolute newb-fish.

    [​IMG]
    Starting Point: 10 gallon tank, Lumino DX 24 watt, Nutrafin CO2 System, 6 Brass Tetra (Hemigrammus armstrongi), 6 Silver-Tip Tetra (Hasemania nana), 3 Amano Shrimp (Caridina japonica), 3 pots Dwarf Hairgrass (Eleocharis parvula), 1 Variegated Dracaena, 1 Syngonium sp., 1 Unknown grassy plant, 3 Rocks

    Thanks!

    -Jared
     

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  2. SamH

    SamH New Member

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    Hey there, I'm new too. A full tank photo would be good for a sense of scale. Firstly, I'd take the hairgrass out of the pot and split it into bunches of 4 or 5 blades, perhaps giving them a trim down to 2".
     
  3. Jared

    Jared New Member

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    SamH,
    Thank for your input. Today my hairgrass got a haircut. I haven't removed it from the pots yet for 2 reasons: 1) my fish seem stressed at the moment so I'm trying not to disturb them too much; 2) I'm not sure where to plant it!

    I would be grateful for any suggestions on the layout of my plants. It seems like a big step to plant the hairgrass, especially considering how difficult it was for me to plant the other, larger plants.

    Next time I'll take a photo of the whole tank.

    Regards,
    Jared
     
  4. Jared

    Jared New Member

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    Here's a post-haircuit, full aquarium shot:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. SamH

    SamH New Member

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    If you're not going to have any foreground plant like Glosso or HC, then the harigrass would be great at the front.
     
  6. Jared

    Jared New Member

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    I would like to get some Dwarf HC for the front. My LFSs are all out at the moment. :( What about the plants in the back corners. I'm thinking of getting rid of them. Also, do you think the main rock is too big for this tank?
     
  7. SamH

    SamH New Member

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    This is just my opinion and what I'd do if it was my tank. First I'd smooth out all the gravel and then have it sloping from front to getting higher at the back. I'd ditch the plant on the left but keep the round leafed one at the back right. Split up the Hairgrass and plant that at the back and plant the whole front with HC.

    That rock in the middle is a good size, the other two might be dwarfed by the plants though so try and elevate them.

    Thats just IMO though.
     
  8. Jared

    Jared New Member

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    Thanks for your suggestions! I like to get other peoples' opinions and try out new ideas. I'll post a picture when I have made the next round of changes. I have just ordered some Dwarf HC on eBay. There are 2 plants on the left - one looks like a low green grass, and the other, in the back left corner, looks a little like bamboo. Which one would you suggest ditching?
     
  9. permafrost

    permafrost New Member

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    hi Jared!
    have you done anything to cycle your tank prior to getting your fish?
    If not, there's probably ammonia building up in the tank at the moment, produced by the fish's waste. Ammonia is toxic to your fish, which might be the reason they look stressed as you say.

    I'd carry on daily water changes if I were you for a while and would invest on a test kit for ammonia and nitrites to know where i'm standing.

    You've got too many fish for such a small and newly set up tank anyway. I'd also consider keeping only one shoal of tetras. if you can return the other fish to the shop.

    Finally, i'm not absolutely sure but I think the dracaena is not an aquatic plant really, so it might be ok in the tank for a while and then melt away. Please correct me on this if i'm wrong.
     
  10. Jared

    Jared New Member

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    permafrost,

    Well, my fish population has been reduced, albeit involuntarily. I've lost all but one of the Silver-tipped Tetras, and that one is not happy. I had the water tested yesterday at my LFS: pH:7.2, Ammonia: 0, Nitrite: .25 Nitrate: 5.0. I'm wondering if the problem was pH shock - the local tap water is apparently 8.6, and I used RO water when I filled my tank. I bought and used both Nutrafin Aqua Plus and Nutrafin Cycle at the recommendation of my LFS. Tank temperature is hovering in the low-mid 80s.

    You're right about Dracaena - apparently it's non-aquatic. Apparently the same goes for the Syngonium. I guess that's my punishment for shopping at Petco. OK, so they're both coming out at some point. I guess I'll start with the Dracaena, as SamH suggested. That'll find a new home on my balcony in a cup of water.

    Regarding substrate: I bought some cheap shiny black gravel from Petco and used that. Afterwards I bought some black Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate with Live Water-Purifying Bacteria. Would it make sense to mix these? Or should I take my cheap gravel out and just use the good stuff?
     
  11. Jared

    Jared New Member

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    SamH,

    I removed the Dracaena, sloped the gravel (at least on the right side), and elevated the smaller rocks, I also spread out the hairgrass to give myself and idea of how it would look planted along the back wall. I like the way this is evolving and appreciate your input. Here's my latest shot:
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Jared

    Jared New Member

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    Oh! And I switched the background to blue.
     
  13. Jared

    Jared New Member

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    I made a few minor changes to rock orientation and plant position:
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Jared

    Jared New Member

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    I moved the CO2 diffuse to the side and lowered the hairgrass pots:
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Jared

    Jared New Member

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    I changed the orientation of the main rock:
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Jared

    Jared New Member

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    I pruned the back right plant and rearranged the smaller rocks.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. SamH

    SamH New Member

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    Someones been busy!

    I think the changes have made it look heaps better. :)
     
  18. Jared

    Jared New Member

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    Thanks! And thanks for the tips. I'm still not sure what to do about the substrate...

    From above post:
    "Regarding substrate: I bought some cheap shiny black gravel from Petco and used that. Afterwards I bought some black Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate with Live Water-Purifying Bacteria. Would it make sense to mix these? Or should I take my cheap gravel out and just use the good stuff?"

    -Jared
     
  19. SamH

    SamH New Member

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    If there's not enough eco-complete for the plants to get a good hold in, add the other stuff on top of it. In NZL, decent substrates cost a bomb so I just buy the plain stuff (sand or gravel) and add ferts to it, my plants grow great even without ferts though.
     
  20. Jared

    Jared New Member

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    Yesterday I received my shipment of Dwarf Baby Tears, which is what I've been waiting for. Today I removed the plain old substrate and replaced it with EcoComplete, then planted the Dwarf Hairgrass and Dwarf Baby Tears. The plants at the back right are there to suck up excess nutrients and hopefully prevent an algae bloom during the early stages.

    [​IMG]
     

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