Superfish Aquacube 40

JackH

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15 Apr 2017
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45
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Sheffield
Hello!
Long time lurker, first time poster etc etc.
I've been out of planted tanks for ~5 years whilst at uni. A trip to Floristas Submersas whilst on holiday in Lisbon and the rediscovery of one of my old tanks has given me the bug again so am in the process of getting myself set up with a modest high-tech set up - this has been a learning curve as looking back none of my previous tanks were high tech or heavily planted!

Tank: Superfish Aquacube 40 (40 liters)
Filter: Allpond Solutions EF-150, rated at 400l/hour
Heater: Boyu 50w
CO2: Fire extinguisher. Regulator/solenoid from eBay (uBarn anyone?). Mini diffuser and drop checker from aquarium gardens.
Substrate: Aquasoil Amazonia
Hardscape: Some redmoor wood and 4 bits of dragonstone
Ferts: Aquascaper Complete + Easycarbo. Will start with dosing as on back of the bottle and adjust from there.
Lights: Chihiros A-Series Plus A301. This is currently sat in my local delivery office waiting to be delivered, I'm hoping it'll come tomorrow or Tuesday latest.
Plants: tbc
Livestock: tbc. Some cherry shrimp, a couple of otos and a small shoaling fish is the current plan - just need to pick the species!

Below are a few shots of the hardscape as it is currently (I am not a photographer by any stretch of the imagination!). It's not an award winner by any stretch, but I think it looks alright for a first attempt that is mainly about learning how to keep plants and battle algae! If there are any obvious improvements I can make do let me know!
IMG_20180113_191358.jpg
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IMG_20180113_191426.jpg

I'm hoping to order the plants tomorrow night to get the tank all set up on Wednesday whilst the Mrs is out and she won't get stressed by all the water that will inevitably end up on the carpet...

I'm a little stuck on plant selection - mainly because I'm a) indecisive and b)unsure how much I'll need to get.
I'm currently contemplating getting a 10 tropica pot selection online so the decision is made for me, and supplementing that with a 1-2-Grow pot of Monte-Carlo and something to put on the hardscape (moss, fern or bucephalandra?). Does that sound like a sensible quantity of plants/a sensible way of getting plants?

Any comments much appreciated!
 

gooddinglucas

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24 Apr 2017
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Lincoln, NE, USA
I'd buy more hardscape materials and make sure your hardscape is 100 before planting/commiting to livestock

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alto

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24 Dec 2014
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5,657
What is the footprint on the tank?

I just rescaped my 60 x 45cm and had too much plant material with
7 pots - Buce 'Red' was huge (3 large clumps & 2 smaller, I put half the pot in another tank)

7 x 1-2-Grow
(all Tropica)

If I'd had another tank ready to scape, I'd've split off 1/3 - 1/2 of those 1-2-Grow cups, tank is overcrowded & I'll need to remove half as plants grow

Rather than ordering a selection (unless much more economic) I'd just choose plants - if this is your first serious foray into planted, choose mostly Easy & some Med difficulty plants
Note that some Easy plants can have a medium CO2 requirement or medium lighting, so check on those details when choosing your planting scheme

You may also find that some Easy plants don't thrive with local tap, while other Advanced plants are just weeds ;)
 

alto

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24 Dec 2014
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Expect your dragon stone to be quite dusty - pressure wash if you can to remove all the dirt from crevices - it also tends to develop very nice algae & slow cleaning with all those dips

I don't like a lot of hardscape in small tanks unless you're planning on few fish, you can easily lose 50-70% of water volume with some of the stone dominated scapes

I'd try getting more height with the stones you have
 

JackH

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Joined
15 Apr 2017
Messages
45
Location
Sheffield
Having taken @alto 's advice and just picking some plants I liked the look of I planted up yesterday -
IMG_20180118_175249.jpg
I had a bit of a jiggle with the hardscape and am pretty pleased with the results.

Plant list:

Spiky Moss
Hydrocotyle Tripartia (1-2 Grow)
Monte Carlo (1-2 Grow)
Pogostemon Erectus (1-2 Grow)
Hygrophila pinnatifida (1-2 Grow)
Alternanthera Rosaefolia
Eleocharis Vivipara

The lighting is a bit if a sore subject - Royal Mail brought the parcel to the delivery office just down the road, then I check tracking to see where it is and see it's down near heathrow. One angry tweet later and apparently the address was "incomplete" so they couldn't attempt delivery and it's gone back to sender. I've popped Hinterfeld an email so hopefully it should be here soon. In the meantime I'm using 2 ancient arcadia t5 tubes I bought years ago but hardly used, with a clip on ikea led providing some cooler tones.

After an almighty, sweary faff the CO2 and filter are both up and running with no gurgling, leaking or hissing.

Lighting set for 6 hours a day, CO2 on 2 hours before lights on and off an hour before lights off, started dosing Easycarbo and ferts. Will do a big water change tomorrow, probably just as the last of the filling the tank fizz has dissipated!
 

alto

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24 Dec 2014
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5,657
Well done

Be careful of using too much light, especially in the early stage as plants are "settling" & growth is "tiny"
1-2-Grow plants are awesome & you receive a lot of plant material, but plant mass is still low compared to potted plants - or even 1-2-Grow after 2 weeks :)

I follow Tropica methodology & initially run CO2 24/7, I do adjust CO2 rate higher for photo period - I have very soft water & fnd this easier while doing daily water changes than playing with GH/KH additives
I also fertilize daily during the first weeks

I usually split that tall hair grass into more separate pieces - difficult to see if it's E vivipara or E montevidensis

Shame about the Chihiros light, hopefully there's a suitable replacement in the UK warehouse
 

JackH

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Joined
15 Apr 2017
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Location
Sheffield
One week update:
Been doing 50% water changes every other day, dosing ferts and easycarbo daily. Ammonia levels have spiked and are tailing off, nitrite levels are remaining high as to be expected, but pleasing to see the nitrogen cycle in progress!
The monte carlo has melted quite a bit but seeing lots of new growth coming through, and the other plants all seem to have been putting on new growth. The wood has got a lovely coating of white fungus/mould - am I right in thinking this will clear up once the tank has matured a bit more?
Still waiting on the light - I am told once it's been confirmed returned to sender a new one will be sent out but that was a week ago and I've not had anything through yet. Might be a blessing in disguise as I gather the chihiros lights are pretty bright so not having it is helping keep away algae! (every cloud...)

Here are some quick phone snaps which I'll admit are awful but give the jist of what's going on:
IMG_20180125_183717.jpg

IMG_20180125_183731.jpg
Thanks for looking :) Any comments, questions or helpful pointers gladly received!
 

JackH

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Joined
15 Apr 2017
Messages
45
Location
Sheffield
Three week update:
Everything is growing well (the hair grass has had a couple of trims!) and I've been getting into the routine of daily dosing and multiple 50% water changes/week.
The tank is now home to 5 neons, 5 glowlights and some cherry shrimp. There were 3 otocinclus but they all died within 48 hours of introduction. Slightly puzzled as to why - the rest of the livestock are have not shown any problems and water parameters have been fine.
I was petrified of algae when I started but the only visible growth I can see is on the CO2 diffuser, and it is proving difficult to remove. Are there any sneaky tricks to cleaning diffusers?
Also the Chihiros light has arrived! So far very impressed with it in terms of looks and light output.
To finish up here are some photos including a full tank shot:
IMG_20180208_175358.jpg
IMG_20180209_151422.jpg
IMG_20180209_151356.jpg

Thanks for looking! As always any comments, queries, questions or helpful pointers gladly received!
 
Joined
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Looking good mate. I wouldn't worry too much about the Ottos, they tend to be in a sorry state when you get them out the shop and the move to your tank is usually the straw that breaks the camels back.

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JackH

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15 Apr 2017
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Location
Sheffield
Wow so it's been a while!
The tank has been running for 12 weeks now, and has had a few replantings and major haircuts, the most major of these was a couple of weeks ago when the tank looked like this:
IMG_20180313_214300.jpg

The Hydrocotyle and hair grass were going rampant so a lot came out, and in went some Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis, some cryptocryne becketii and some cryptocoryne willisii. The monte carlo carpet is also now very thick and requires a lot of trimming. Following a water change just now is is a FTS:
IMG_20180412_175806.jpg


Plants are all doing great, though you can see in this that the water is slightly cloudy - been battling some green water algae for a couple of weeks which I can't seem to shift. I've upped CO2 and reduced lighting intensity and photoperiod - is there anything else I should be doing? Nitrates are reading zero whenever I test and I've been doing multiple 50% water changes but it keeps coming back...Help!


Other things that have changed for the sake of completeness:
- the cherry shrimp are no more. Unsure what I did or didn't do but we went away for the weekend and came back to no shrimp
- following on from the above all the original oto's died. Water conditions seem fine so I'm tempted to blame the shop, we have subsequently got a couple more from Pets at Home and one is still going and looking great, though I'm reluctant to get any more as I seem to have a catfish death touch.
- I broke my first CO2 diffuser, so swiftly amazon primed a new one but am looking for acrylic ones. The new one I did manage to clean without breaking - George Farmer's 2 minute tip video was very helpful!
- there are now a pair of rams in the tank. I thought I'd managed to pick out a male and female but turns out I've got 2 girls. I like them a lot, they add something a bit different to the tetras
IMG_20180319_212254.jpg


Think that's everything. It's getting very tempting to do a full rescape though - there are several elements of this scape that I'm not satisfied with and a couple of plant species that are looking very tempting....


Thanks again anyone who reads this! Comments/questions/suggestions gladly received, especially if they're about beating green water algae!!
 

alto

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24 Dec 2014
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Tank is looking grand

A green water thread

Comment on the ram - hopefully this is just a poor photo, but she(?) looks to have had a rough start in life (eye : body conformation), watch that both rams are active & eating, from the body condition I suspect some health issues that will hopefully clear with good care
Tank footprint is on the small side for two rams, if they don't get on, I'd remove one
(you know you want another tank :D)
 
Joined
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Tank is looking grand

A green water thread

Comment on the ram - hopefully this is just a poor photo, but she(?) looks to have had a rough start in life (eye : body conformation), watch that both rams are active & eating, from the body condition I suspect some health issues that will hopefully clear with good care
Tank footprint is on the small side for two rams, if they don't get on, I'd remove one
(you know you want another tank :D)
Was going to say the same, it's got "that look" about it. Maybe needs worming. The tank looks really cool though, is it getting any sunlight from a window? Green algae usually clears up pretty quickly once the tank matures, some say ammonia causes it so wonder if the missing shrimp or fish could be decomposing somewhere in amongst the plants?

Rams ime like to have stable water parameters, unfortunately in a tank that size parameters are going to be shifting about quite a lot. Plus they like to scrap, hope it pans out but I've a bad feeling about them. I had a pair in a slightly bigger tank than that and watching the constant fratching between them wasn't a pleasure to watch but that was a male and female.


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JackH

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15 Apr 2017
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Sheffield
Thanks for the comments re: algae, will retest water to check there isn't an ammonia spike I've missed.
Re: the rams, again thanks for the comments - both are active and feeding, and seem quite content in each others company (they often patrol around as a pair). Having said that one is colouring up nicely and one is staying the slightly drab yellow she was in pets at home so will keep an eye on her.
 
Joined
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Thanks for the comments re: algae, will retest water to check there isn't an ammonia spike I've missed.
Re: the rams, again thanks for the comments - both are active and feeding, and seem quite content in each others company (they often patrol around as a pair). Having said that one is colouring up nicely and one is staying the slightly drab yellow she was in pets at home so will keep an eye on her.
I would imagine any ammonia would pretty much have gone by now mate. You might get away with a couple of females. Maybe one has coloured up and the other hasn't as a sign of dominance. The one with less colour showing the other its in charge and it submits.



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Have you got a mesh over that filter intake mate? Hard to tell off the latter pics, if you haven't there's a strong possibility that's where your shrimp went. With biggish intakes they end up in the canister so always check. I found with lily pipes and small slits I would often find RCS stuck to the inlet, hard to say whether the died and got sucked over to it or they got sucked to the small slits and couldn't pull themselves away from the current. Shrimp guards are essential, I think Hinterfield do some stainless steel ones you can put over plastic intake piping.
 

JackH

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15 Apr 2017
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Location
Sheffield
The green water seems to have cleared up, so here are some photos:
IMG_20180508_185055.jpg
IMG_20180508_184140.jpg
IMG_20180507_202719.jpg
IMG_20180507_183729.jpg
IMG_20180507_183722.jpg
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Continuing the "Jack doing badly at keeping fish" theme - we are down to one ram. We think some form of internal parasite (white stringy poo etc) took down the other one despite our best efforts. The remaining livestock seem more active and outgoing since dosing with some medication though.

In happier news an exciting new programmable dimmer should be arriving from hinterfeld this week which I'm looking forward to.

I'm becoming more unhappy with the Alternanthera Rosaefolia - think the leaves are too big for this size tank. Pondering some Rotala (H'ra or Wallichii) to replace the clump at the back and just doing away with the clump on the right hand side and either getting the montecarlo/tripartia/brasiliensis carpet to spread into the gap or getting a non carpeting non stem plant. Anyone got any suggestions?

Thanks as always for reading :)
 

JackH

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15 Apr 2017
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Location
Sheffield
Oh, I've also run out of aquascaper complete food so have swapped to EI dosing via the aquarium plant food starter kit which the plants seem to be responding well to :) (not a very interesting detail but I'm keeping this as a log for myself to look back on as much as anyone else so including it for completeness)
 
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Continuing the "Jack doing badly at keeping fish" theme - we are down to one ram. We think some form of internal parasite (white stringy poo etc) took down the other one despite our best efforts. The remaining livestock seem more active and outgoing since dosing with some medication though.
Have a read of this thread for future reference. I have lost many Rams to the same thing, wish I knew about this years ago, it would have saved so much heartache. Harkers worked a treat for me and was the first time I've ever saved the fish. Also watch the linked vid for an explanation. Spread the word, so many of these lovely fish die unnecessarily.

 

alto

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Just a comment on the video, many American Box stores obtain fish through Segrest Farms or Ruinemans (both supply quality fish), some Asian farms are equally reputable, some are not

Some aquarium shops preferentially stock the "modified" rams as they are what most customers request, buy :(


(I have observed a local Big Box store receive a shipment from Segrest - fish arrived in very good conditions in the bags - but staff refused to sell as fish needed to be acclimated first ... returned over 9h later to find fish still in bags, floating in tanks under (hot) lights, at this point most fish in bags were severely stressed/dead
When I enquired, (new) staff person stated that fish had arrived in this condition & manager would deal with it)

Iridovirus has been noted in (farmed) dwarf cichlids since the 90's, as with most fish diseases, stress tends to "activate" this

The nicest gold rams I ever kept were from Segrest (via Big Box store that had hired an actual fish person to manage the fish department), deep gold/orange body color, blue iridescence, bright blue face markings in breeding fish
Current gold ram stocks are a pale fish in comparison, though I don't know if this is just fashion or a loss of the strain I admired so much
 
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