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Old 06-23-2014, 08:47 PM   #1 
MameJenny
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Talking Mame's 20 Gallon Community NPT Journal

Perhaps it's premature to start a journal thread, since I literally don't own anything I'll need for this tank - besides the betta, a bag of substrate, and some plants. But, the ideas for this tank are just floating around in my head right now, and I need a place to write them down!

A bit of background...I've actually never had a planted tank any bigger than 3 gallons. I had a number of failed small tanks, and then finally lucked out with my current 3 tanks. I feel like I finally have the knowledge (or, rather, memories of what not to do) to start a bigger tank, without just having an expensive mistake in the living room.

I wasn't planning on getting a bigger tank any time soon until I got Impulse. (Yes, his name tells his story.) He's currently sitting in my horribly scratched, rather unattractive 2 gallon. I was going to get him a 3 gallon round tank, but I figured, if I'm starting a new tank, why not go for a big one this time? Impulse has no idea how lucky he is.

I can't really do much until I get the actual tank. I'm waiting for the next $1/gallon sale to start at Petco. Over the next week, I plan to start gathering the supplies I need (everything). Once I get the tank, I think it'll fall into place nicely. It's tough to wait, though.

So, here's my plans for the equipment:
-Tank: 20 gallon long
-Lighting: Two or three desk lamps with 26 watt CFL bulbs
-Filter: Petco Power Filter (10-30 gallon size)
-Heater: Tetra Whisper Heater (10-30 gallon size)
-CO2: DIY yeast systems (I'll probably need 3 or 4 bottles)

Substrate/hardscape/dosing:
-Miracle Gro Organic soil
-Brown play sand and gravel cap
-Locally collected rocks/wood
-Some sort of background (which I'll probably need to make myself)
-Seachem NPK fertilizers, Nutrafin Plant gro, Flourish Excel

Fauna:
-Male betta
-3 platies
-8 to 10 orange von rio tetras
-some mystery snails
-some nerites
-bladder and pond snail hitchhikers (I have made peace with these)

Flora:
-Glossostigma (glosso) carpet
-Lagarosiphon madagascariensis (crazily-fast-growing pretty weedy thing)
-Ludwigia x arcuata (pretty red/brown weedy thing)
-Ludwigia repens (red Ludwigia)
-Pogostemon yatabeanus (slighty weedy pine-like thing that likes growing out of the water)
-Myriophyllum tuberculatum (this thing's name should be "magical melting plant")
-Clinopodium brownei (water mint)
-some sort of moss (Christmas moss or java moss?)

I'll post a photo of my plans for the aquascape in a little while. I went to a very beautiful part of Colorado a while back, with misty rolling hills, dense forests, and impressive rocky plateaus. This tank will be based on that.
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:38 PM   #2 
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You should consider looking on Craig's List for aquariums. With a 20 long you'll probably want a stand specifically for aquariums since it will be quite heavy when filled. I've gotten some great deals on Craig's List.
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:44 PM   #3 
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I'm a bit nervous about getting actual aquariums from Craigslist...it would suck to get a cracked/scratched one. I've been checking Craigslist for aquarium stands, but haven't found one I liked yet. If all else fails, I could move the 2.5 and the Picotope, and make the 20g a desktop tank. I have a big, very sturdy cherry wood desk, so I'm sure it would support ~220 lbs. Thanks or the tip
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Old 07-01-2014, 05:21 PM   #4 
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So, I got the 20g yesterday. Still working on changing it from a disgusting, muddy mess to a less disgusting, cycling mess. Right now, I had to use some old live rock and smooth stones to prop up the sand. It's definitely not what the tank will ultimately look like, though. (Actually, it mostly looks like a mud puddle right now.) I'm going to go to some sort of garden/landscape store in the next few days to see if they have better rocks. I haven't been able to find any outside that I like.
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Old 07-02-2014, 12:39 AM   #5 
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Regret of the day...adding sand without rinsing it first. I thought it would settle or clear up after a few water changes. I just spent 1 1/2 hours doing about five 50% water changes and picking out floating bits, and it's still a mud puddle. >.<

I should get paid on Tuesday and can get the light fixtures! I'm also getting a Walmart gift card, which I'm going to use to buy the heater. Then I'll have all the equipment I need to start.

Last edited by MameJenny; 07-02-2014 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 07-05-2014, 01:48 AM   #6 
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With the help of about 10 large water changes and a bit of Jungle Clear Water, the tank is finally almost clear! I think I finally decided on the final plans for the aquascape. Now I just need to find the darn rocks. I think I can get away with using some flatter, smaller rocks if I arrange them right.

Unfortunately, Impulse died today. He was acting strange for the last few days, and he developed some raised scales yesterday. He seemed to be doing a little better today, but he was gone when I got home a little while ago. It's disappointing...he was just starting to color up.

I might be getting a new fish from a member here, though! He'll probably end up going in this tank right away.
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Old 07-05-2014, 06:17 AM   #7 
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So sorry to hear about Impulse, at least he wasn't suffering though. A new fresh tank and a new boy may be just the thing to help you keep your mind off of it, though. I know I'll just be heartbroken when mine pass someday.

Not rinsing sand is one of those mistakes you do once and never again, haha. I am glad you got it to clear down though! I made a mess like that recently with a dirted tank, ugh! Sand is my favorite substrate, way much more so than gravel. Being able to hover over it to clean it versus digging around is way easier. I think my plants like it more, too!

Remember you'll need to poke or rake it once in awhile if it's more than an inch to prevent noxious gas buildup, though! Cause I've seen it happen that people don't, and then the sand explodes, some fish may die, and there is sand... EVERYWHERE!!!

Can't wait to see updates! <3
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Old 07-05-2014, 04:07 PM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pandanke View Post
So sorry to hear about Impulse, at least he wasn't suffering though. A new fresh tank and a new boy may be just the thing to help you keep your mind off of it, though. I know I'll just be heartbroken when mine pass someday.

Not rinsing sand is one of those mistakes you do once and never again, haha. I am glad you got it to clear down though! I made a mess like that recently with a dirted tank, ugh! Sand is my favorite substrate, way much more so than gravel. Being able to hover over it to clean it versus digging around is way easier. I think my plants like it more, too!

Remember you'll need to poke or rake it once in awhile if it's more than an inch to prevent noxious gas buildup, though! Cause I've seen it happen that people don't, and then the sand explodes, some fish may die, and there is sand... EVERYWHERE!!!

Can't wait to see updates! <3
Thank you. I've lost enough pets to not be as affected when one of the smaller ones dies...but it still stings when a new, young one dies. I tend to get a new pet right away when one dies. I don't like looking at empty tanks and cages for too long.

I kind of got spoiled by pet store sand and gravel, lol. The play sand was just so filthy. I'm used to getting yellow water and floating bits from dirt, but this was just ridiculous! I'll definitely rinse it next time!

Yikes, I've never heard that about the exploding sand...do you think it would help to have plants with deep roots? There's a few inches of sand in some parts of the tank. It's the only way I could figure out to make natural-looking hills. I've heard there are also snails that dig through the substrate. Maybe I'll look into getting some of those...

Good news - I'll definitely be getting a new betta on Wednesday! His name is Tiger, and he's a black orchid DT. I'm thinking I'll name him Granite or Carbon. Here's a photo of him from his current owner's for sale thread...
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Old 07-06-2014, 08:39 PM   #9 
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I got 10 lbs of lace rock today at a LFS. It looks really, really nice. I think I may need a bit more sand to make the slopes look nicer, though. I'll rinse it a few dozen times this time around.

Tank finally cleared up!


The rocks...


And, after adding the rocks, the tank is back to being a mud puddle. >.<
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Old 07-07-2014, 01:53 AM   #10 
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20 gallon mud puddle...er, tank, now with plants! I was a bit disappointed to see how small the cuttings look in a 20 gallon. I'm sure they'll take over the tank in no time, though, especially the 10 lagarosiphon cuttings.



I'll probably attempt to keep them in the sand (plant them) tomorrow. I might rearrange the rocks on the right as well.

Last edited by MameJenny; 07-07-2014 at 01:57 AM.
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