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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am setting up a 30g planted tank and want some advice on it. I'm trying Mineralized Soil Substrate going on these directions - How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot - Library - Aquatic Plant Central

Turns out winter isn't the best time to do this since drying the soil out is taking forever! I have it in several pans next to our fireplace to get it to dry.

Tank 30G bowfront w/ penguin Bio-wheel 150

Fish - Delta betta, some neon and cardinal tertas, Otos if I can find some or a BNP. Hopefully some shimp to! Cherry shrimp or ghost or both? I have ghost shrimp in with the betta now and they get along just fine. Will ghost shrimp eat cherry shirmp? I read somewhere that they don't play nice with other shrimp

Plants - Not sure yet. Problably low-med light plants, no swords (have never had luck with swords) CLOVER, FOUR LEAF (Marsilea quadrifolia), Wendtii, Red (Cryptocoryne wendtii)


Also having a hard time tracking down Dolomite and Muriate of potash. Any ideas on where to get the stuff?

Need help picking out the lighting for the tank. It came with a single 18W bulb which is not enough light. What type of lighting would you recommend?

Thank you for any suggestions andI tried to put out as much info as I could think of, but if I need to provide more info just ask. Also I am trying to do this on a college student budget, so not looking to spend a fortune of different things. Lighting is going to kill me I think
 

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Glad to see you trying that mineralized substrate. You'll have to let me know how it works out because I want to try it in my next tank.

For lighting I think T5HO is the best way to go. You get more lumens per watt than CF lights, and the spectrum doesn't shift over time like CFLs. With the plants you plan to grow about 1.5 - 2 watts/gal should be fine. I'm not sure on the demensions of a 30 bowfront, so I'm not sure how many bulbs you'll need. Definately get at least one 6500K bulbs and you could do the other at 10,000K if you wanted to it may give you more crisp colors.

I don't have any experience with ghost shrimp as I only have amano, but I can't see them eating cherry shrimp as they are of a similar size and temperament.

Keep in mind if you do get more light you will in all likely hood need to add CO2 to the tank to avoid serious algae blooms. This can be done DIY on a budget for a tank of only 30 gals. I have two 2L bottles in my 29gal and everything grows great with barely any algae. I'm not sure if you have the filter yet, but canisters are much better for planted tanks than HOB filters.

I'm not sure about Potash or Dolmite, maybe try a greenhouse or plant nursery.

Make sure you keep us updated, I'm interested to know how it all works out!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I got it all set-up and running. Been going for about 2 weeks.

Penguin bio-wheel 200
Current Satellite 24" 65watt CF 6500/10000

I couldn't find dolomite so I used crusher coral. Suppose to buffer better than dolomite.
Potash could only get 50# so I used Jersey Green Sand- It came out of the ocean and has alot of potassium so I figured it would be an alright sub. Claims to be a long lasting source of Potash

I haven't had any algea bloom up yet so, hopefully it won't. But if need be I will set up a DIY CO2

Plants are... I already forgot the names and didn't write them down. Anubis, java moss, spanish moss, water wisteria, amazon sword, hornwart, dwarf 4 leaf clover, and 2 broad leaf plants I got at petco <--- only plants I got from Petco. The rest came from LFS or online

Wildlife - see sig
 

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You have a much better petco than me that's for sure! I think your swords will be fine now that you have nutrient rich substrate. Mine didn't do well in regular gravel either (even with root tabs)

Do you plan on dosing the tank with any ferts? How are the plants doing?
 

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Am I to understand that you own a fig8 puffer that LIKES OTHER FISH??? Impossible!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You have a much better petco than me that's for sure! I think your swords will be fine now that you have nutrient rich substrate. Mine didn't do well in regular gravel either (even with root tabs)

Do you plan on dosing the tank with any ferts? How are the plants doing?

Haha I didn't get all those plants from Petco, just the last unknown plants and some spanish moss.

I hope I don't have to do anything else for the plants.

Right now everything is green, a little bit of brown algea is forming on one leaf of the unknown plant. Some grass stuff that I took from my 55 was covered in dark black/brown algea, but the ottos have cleaned it all up. 4 leaf clover was also in the 55G and doing horrible, so far it has greened up and sprouted 6ish new clovers! Which is double what it had before
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I guess so. He must be very mellow compared to the rest. He doesn't nip or chase anything. I did have some fiddler crabs though and he didn't get along with them. lol live in learn. But everything else he is fine with. Drop in a gumdrop of bloodworms or brine shrimp and he is right in there eating/tugging it away from the big fish, but no violence
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·


It has been brought to my attention that the plant with the white edged leaves isn't an underwater plant! I had my doubts about it being fully aquatic since I got it at Petco.
 

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On second thought, maybe your petco isn't any better than mine, lol! Anything to get a sale, drives me crazy. I guess they figure most people will blame themselves for a dead plant, when it would never survive in the first place. Wonderful business model, haha.

I remember when first starting out I came back from petco with a whole bunch of plants, looked them up, and it turned out 1 out of 5 was actually aquatic, oh well, we live and learn!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well that one came in a bunch of 3 different plants. So do you think I should pull the bunch or just the one? Can I give it to my mom to have as a house plant?
 

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I'm not sure about the other two. Do you have pictures of them also?

The white edged leaf one will make a fine houseplant. Needs plenty of water, but it should thrive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Okay I am starting to get a little bit of algea on the glass. What are my options for controlling it? I have been keeping the light on way to long I think. Need a timer. But I turn them on when I get up 7-8am and turn them off when I go to sleep 10-11pm. So I am going to pick up a timer today and set it up on 10 hours. Is there anything else I should do? Add more plants, ottos, snails? Or do you think reducing the light will be enough?
 

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Yeah 10 hours of light maximum (you may want to go with 8 or even less if it's out of control). Otto's and snails can help, however from my experience excessive algae growth is usually a nutrient/lighting problem. How quickly is the algae growing? Is it just on plants/decor/glass or is the water green also?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So far it is mainly on the glass. Picked up 3 more Oto today (5 total now) and my snails arrived today after the post office tried to kill them but not delivering them in a timely manner. Cutting down on the light time. Hopefully some improvements will be seen
 
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