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Discussion Starter #1
I have an established 29g tank with driftwood and a gravel bottom. It holds 1 tiger barb, 1 iridescent shark, 3 black skirt tetras, 1 albino pleco, and a small paint turtle that I found wandering in my yard. I plan on adding more tiger barbs later, and suspect the shark may have to go to the 55g (not up yet) in the future.

It has a Coralife F/W Aqualight T5 that has 1 21w colormax full spectrum T5 and 1 21w 6700K T5.

I would like to plant this tank with easily managed plants. I do not want to add CO2 because of expense for now. The tank is about 12"-13" tall 36" wide and 12" in depth (front-back).

I am looking for suggestions on plant types and a layout.



Yes, I have two filters on the tank, the Tetra Whisper 30 just doesn't seem to keep up so I recently added the other. I have had it for some time, but I can't remember what it is? A Marineland of some kind I think. The feces would accumulate on the gravel and need to be vacuumed at least once a week. I thought that odd for such a light fish load, maybe it is more fish than I thought. Hopefully the plants will help out.
 
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I'm not sure on the plants...will the turtle eat them?

FWIW: DIY CO2 is a really cheap option if you so choose to go that route. Just a friendly thought for ya. ;o)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I don't think the turtle will eat them, but he will probably uproot them. I am planning on releasing him before I plant.

As for the DIY CO2, I don't want to get into it right now. Just looking at easy to grow plantings for now.
 
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Anubias nana or Anubias barterii, Java Moss, Java Fern, Marimo Moss Balls, Cryptocoryne Wendtii, Micro Sword, Dwarf Hairgrass, Hornwort, and Anacharis are all very easy plants to start with and very pretty.

The Anubias, Java Fern, and Java moss you simply tie to the driftwood and do not plant.

Hornwort and Anacharis can either be planted or left free floating.

Cryptocoryne, Micro Sword, and Dwarf Hairgrass you plant.

Marimo Moss Balls can be left free floating in their ball-like state, or you can rip them up and spread them over driftwood or rocks to create a lovely green carpet.

All these plants do fine with low to moderate light (which you have), no Co2, and just need a good plant fertilizer.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
longtail,

I like your suggestions. I have found a site that sells a package containing most of those plants and a couple others.

Is adding plants like fish as far as changing the bio load on the tank?
Should it be done little by little or is getting such a package and planting all at once fine?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have a Magnum 350 Canister filter I plan to use in this tank. Would a spray bar lower in the tank help keep the current from blowing the plants around be a good idea or is the diffuser at the top good?

I am thinking about putting a DIY bar along the back of the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok, I have been working with this tank for the past few days.
I have changed to a larger filter, cleaned the gravel surface(vacuum), and a 40% water change 3 days ago.

I did water tests today with these results:
pH 8.5-9 (More toward 8.5-I hate matching colors.)
GH 22
KH 15
NH 0
NO 0

This indicates high pH and very hard water which gives me no dissolved CO2 for plants.

I can filter through peat to lower the pH, but will that give enough CO2 for the plants?

Could I introduce more fish to increase CO2 and let the plants return O2 for the fish and filter with peat instead of a CO2 generator?
 

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i agree with everything above. I also think hygro are good plants. A turtle would eat the plants. I know you said that you would be taking it out... I'm just saying it would eat them. As far as adding plants, it's good to acclimate them a little. You don't have to use quite as much care as you do with fish. maybe a 10 minute bath using 50/50 mix of package water and tank water. Most plants with have a justation period like a week or so where they wilt a little. Otherwise, feel free to stock up as long as you have the nutrients available. good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have peat in the filter and the pH is on the way down, lost about .5 in 12 hours. By lowering the pH I hope to keep more dissolved CO2 in the water and it should keep the fish a bit happier.



I drained and cleaned the tank last night. I have some 40g plastic barrels, and held the water in one while I worked so not to have a new tank that needed to cycle again. I also put the rock in a bucket with water over it to keep what bacteria I could and kept the existing filter wet so the bacteria are still with it. Hopefully I don't get a mini cycle.

After scrubbing the tank out with vinegar and rinsing it good, I put in the substrate. I used Activ Flora brand as it was the only one I could find between Petco and Petsmart. It settled quickly and didn't cloud the water bad at all.

After the substrate I positioned the driftwood and plants. Once those were placed I started gently placing gravel over the substrate and around the plants. I put piles in the open areas to level and fill in after the water level was higher and things settled so I could see better.

With a small plate on the gravel I started filling. When the tank was about half full I worked the gravel around the two Anacharis, at this point they floated enough that I could get around them without burying the ends.

While all this went on, the new fish were acclimating in a holding tank with the plants. I used a Whisper 30 on a 10g tank to hold the fish and plants during the work. I used some of the aquarium water and the water from the bags the fish and plants were in to let them acclimate.

Now the tank holds:

4 Green Tiger Barbs
5 Tiger Barbs
3 Black Skirt Tetra
2 Opaline Gourami
1 Iridescent Shark

3 Anacharis (2 planted, 1 floating)
1 Anubias nana on driftwood
2 Micro Sword
1 Cryptocoryne wendtii

I may add more later, but this should be a good start.
*reading

Photos when I can!!!
 

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your set up sounds great i can't wait to see the pics of the finished product
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The tank all planted and new inhabitants.

There is haze on the tank from being used before and the lime etched the glass. I have tried soaking it in vinegar and it just doesn't go away. I should have taken advantage of a tank sale when I got the plants and fish.....grrrr. Oh well, I spent enough money for one day and I get to set up another tank later.






If anyone knows what the plant with the cluster of little banana looking things are let me know.

More to come......
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I tested the pH this morning and it has stopped dropping. Could anyone that has used peat to lower pH give me some idea of how much of a change to expect. Do I need to change the peat?

More pics...





 

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How much the pH will drop has many variables such as current GH/KH levels (these will show the waters buffering abilities) and the amount of peat being used just to name a couple.
 

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Tank looks great, you need to get some more plants in there, the tiger barbs are going to start playfully nipping, if they have places to hid it reduces the stress on the smaller ones who are more frequently picked on. A fair ammount of nipping is healthy within a school of tiger barbs just make sure no one gets out of control.
 

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Tank looks great David! I also think it would be a good idea to get more plants in there when you can, but other then that i love the tank!
 

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"If anyone knows what the plant with the cluster of little banana looking things are let me know".

That is known as the banana plant (Nymphoides Aquatica). It is actually a dwarf lily with root tubes. Leave it planted just how you have it now for best results.

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Thanks for the comments.

I have had barbs before and they do love to nip and play! That's part of the reason for a bigger school of them, they can play among themselves without bothering the other fish.

I still want to get some other plants that have been mentioned. The stores I went to didn't have some of the ones I wanted. I still want a java fern to put on the big piece of driftwood, some hornwort, and the dwarf hairgrass looks cool.

I have several large rocks that we have been collecting locally to use around our outdoor pond. I would like to arrange them with some plants in between them.

So far all the fish and plants are looking healthy.

pH 8 down .5-1
NH3 0
NO2 0
GH 26 up 4
KH 13 down 2

Looks like no cycling is happening, but the water is getting harder and softer?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Well, I lost the iridescent shark. He tried to take over an area the gourami's staked claim to. They would run him all around the tank every time he came around them. I didn't have a tank to move him to. Who would think the biggest fish in the tank would get bullied.

On the up side everything else is doing good. The Anacharis is showing new growth and nothing is looking wilted. I have checked the water and everything is looking good and stable.
 
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