AverageAquarist22's 30 Gallon Freshwater Community Tank Build

AverageAquarist22

Recently got a 30 gallon tank, stand, hood, light, and filter from my grandfather, who used to be a fish keeper and still has all his old tanks and most of his old supplies. Unfortunately, the filter (it was an under gravel filter,) didn’t have all the pieces and is older than the ones being sold today, so I couldn’t get replacements. I decided instead of under gravel filtration, I wanted to go with sponge filters, because I wanted to try out sand substrate. I cleaned off the tank and stand, and inspected for any damage. Didn’t see any, but we'll see whether the tank leaks or not when I fill it up. I have a pretty good idea of the stocking, but haven’t decided completely yet. I’m very indecisive when it comes to aquariums lol, I’ll think I have the stock picked out, but then go browse on YouTube or this forum or somewhere else aquarium related, and see a new fish I like. Same thing with plants and aquascapes :rolleyes:.For stocking, though, I’m pretty sure I came to a good decision, with the help of this forum. I’m thinking x8 pygmy corys, x10 lamb chop rasboras, x12 lamp eye rasboras, and x3 honey gouramis. Hopefully the stock won’t change anymore . For the scape, I finally settled on an iwagumi scape. Still deciding on plants, but I want it to be a low light set up. I know for sure that I’m doing Amazon frogbit, because I love the jungle-y look of the roots it sends down. I went to pick up the sand on Monday from Petco, and decided on black sand. I have 40 pounds of sand. Here's the scape so far...
23B8430D-AD76-4192-B9D3-2DF5BAF3F910.jpeg I’m going to pick up the sponge filter from my LFS sometime this week. After that, I need to get the heater, plant fertilizers, and plants. I’m planning on trying cycling the tank with live plants in it. I’m excited to finally get this tank started, as it has been sitting in my room for a couple of months!
Oh I forgot to mention, that’s an old picture, I changed the scape up a bit. Here's how it looks as of right now:
image.jpg sorry about that, forgot that was an older picture and that I made a few changes.
 

BigManAquatics

Looks like the start of something fun!
 

AverageAquarist22

I know it’s been a while, but I got my sponge filter in the mail today! Yay! I also got some 8 foot airline tubing and I’m hoping it’ll be long enough... so yeah. Pretty exciting stuff, I know . I also have a couple of check valves for when I set up the filter(s), and I bought a 100 watt adjustable heater. Now I’m saving up for a smaller sponge filter (for the quarantine tub) and the actual quarantine tub lol. Stocking plans have changed a little bit because I’m rescuing some guppies from my friend who doesn’t want them anymore and unfortunately her tank is a bit small, so I’ll have them in here and stock the tank according to what tank mates are best for guppies. The guppies will be here on Saturday most likely, so I’ll quarantine them in the tank that they’re in and then they can bein the 3p gallon while it cycles. Unfortunately there's only one or two of them left so when the tank is fully cycled I’ll add a couple more so there will be a nice school of them. I’ll post pics when I get the guppies!
 

AverageAquarist22

Today I went to my LFS and bought some airline tubing that fits my filter, because unfortunately the stuff I bought from Amazon didn’t quite fit... I also bought some Seachem potassium liquid fertilizer, and some Seachem Flourish root tabs. I got some moss as well, but they didn't have any of the other plants I wanted, so I ordered some online. I glued the moss to the hardscape and filled the tank up. Here's how it looks so far...
image.jpg not the best, I know, but hopefully it’ll get better when I add the other plants. I’ll also have to fix the sand because adding the water disturbed it, and everything is covered in tiny air bubbles which should go away soon. I'm really, really hoping that the tank doesn’t leak.... I’ll post pictures when I get the plants I ordered!
 

AverageAquarist22

So my friend dropped off the guppy today (yay!) he’s all by himself in a 5 gallon hexagon tank (future project maybe...? ) and I’m pretty sure he’s a guppy/ endler hybrid, I mean, just look at this tail!
image.jpg Sorry the photo is kind of blurry, he never stops moving... so yeah, he'll be in quarantine in this 5 gallon for a while. In fact, the whole area will be in quarantine, and the water is a little cloudy, so I’ll be doing small water changes every day/ every other day. But, when he’s done with quarantine, he'll be going in the 30 gallon! Now I just have to decide what to name him... I have so many different ideas!
 

AverageAquarist22

Alright I know it’s been a while but I went on a trip to the LFS today! I got some plants and driftwood, here’s a pic
image.jpg So yeah, I got some driftwood and some vallisnera corkscrew. I also impulse bought a betta which I feel kind of bad about... the tank was ready and empty except for Marcus the guppy, however, and it’s going to be heavily planted so I figured it’d be ok. I also got 3 harlequin rasboras, unfortunately that was all they had. I’m planning on going there next week to get more plants and two or three more rasboras. I’m going to get more rasboras in a few months, but I want to take it slow and not put too many fish in there at a time. My eventual goal is to have a school of maybe 10, not sure if that’ll be overstocked or not. Hopefully the guppy will turn out ok, I feel kind of bad about him .I’m planning on possibly getting more vallisnera, (not sure yet), some cryptocoryne, and Amazon frogbit. I’m glad this tank is finally starting to come together!
 

RedOnion

Alright I know it’s been a while but I went on a trip to the LFS today! I got some plants and driftwood, here’s a pic
image.jpg So yeah, I got some driftwood and some vallisnera corkscrew. I also impulse bought a betta which I feel kind of bad about... the tank was ready and empty except for Marcus the guppy, however, and it’s going to be heavily planted so I figured it’d be ok. I also got 3 harlequin rasboras, unfortunately that was all they had. I’m planning on going there next week to get more plants and two or three more rasboras. I’m going to get more rasboras in a few months, but I want to take it slow and not put too many fish in there at a time. My eventual goal is to have a school of maybe 10, not sure if that’ll be overstocked or not. Hopefully the guppy will turn out ok, I feel kind of bad about him .I’m planning on possibly getting more vallisnera, (not sure yet), some cryptocoryne, and Amazon frogbit. I’m glad this tank is finally starting to come together!
Looking really good so far! The betta is also really pretty against the lava rock.
 

AverageAquarist22

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while.. I didn’t forget about this thread there just wasn’t much exciting stuff going on. Anyway, I rescaped the tank today! I had an extra piece of driftwood and wasn’t very happy with how the tank was turning out, so I decided to use the pieces of driftwood to create a root-like structure (I’m not very good at aquascaping so this is my attempt, anyway..) I’m also planning on getting apistogrammas soon (changed my mind yet again... I seriously need to just buy something and let it be) so I thought this would give them lots of territory to hide in and just hang out. Anyway, here’s the before and after!
D130A7C5-C6F3-4FCE-9D00-643BEF575D79.jpeg
FBEAA6C0-5156-43D2-AEE3-BD7A4E7BC462.jpeg Hopefully it’ll look cooler once I add more plants, I’m trying to research all the plants I can find because my LFS doesn’t carry water wisteria so I’m a bit stumped on what else to put in here. Also please ignore the cloudy water all the sand and stuff on the bottom got stirred up and I was too impatient to wait until things settled down lol
 

AverageAquarist22

I decided to make a few small adjustments because for some reason the scape just looked wrong to me.. so I moved the driftwood around a bit, and added a small rock on the left as well as a bigger one to hide the sponge filter better. It’s funny how the smallest tweaks can make something look so much better, I can’t wait to see how this looks with more plants!
image.jpg
 

PurpleReign19

I decided to make a few small adjustments because for some reason the scape just looked wrong to me.. so I moved the driftwood around a bit, and added a small rock on the left as well as a bigger one to hide the sponge filter better. It’s funny how the smallest tweaks can make something look so much better, I can’t wait to see how this looks with more plants!
image.jpg
Looks great!
 

AverageAquarist22

Went to my LFS yesterday and got some more plants, and also a male/ female apistogramma borellii pair! Well, the LFS employee said he was 90% sure they’re male and female but said I could return one if they both end up being males. They’re still juveniles and they haven’t colored up much yet, but I have high hopes! I’m just waiting for them to settle in before I can take pictures, right now they dart away whenever I approach the tank.. anyway, here’s pictures of the new plants for now!
image.jpg
 

PurpleReign19

Went to my LFS yesterday and got some more plants, and also a male/ female apistogramma borellii pair! Well, the LFS employee said he was 90% sure they’re male and female but said I could return one if they both end up being males. They’re still juveniles and they haven’t colored up much yet, but I have high hopes! I’m just waiting for them to settle in before I can take pictures, right now they dart away whenever I approach the tank.. anyway, here’s pictures of the new plants for now!
image.jpg
Looks good!
 

AverageAquarist22

I finally got pictures of the apistos! They’re kind of blurry and the apistos aren’t really colored up yet, but I thought I’d show everyone anyway
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BigManAquatics

I finally got pictures of the apistos! They’re kind of blurry and the apistos aren’t really colored up yet, but I thought I’d show everyone anyway
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Nothing wrong with piling it on! Can't imagine how many pics i will post when i get them super red plecos in...already doing enough with my albinos lol
 

AverageAquarist22

Thought I’d update this thread because it’s been a while.. unfortunately the apistos turned out to both be male, and one was getting beaten up by the other pretty bad. He was super stressed and unfortunately died about a week ago :(. I decided to bring the other male back to my LFS because they had special ordered two females for me, and I was supposed to take in the male that had died to trade for one of the females, and I felt kinda bad about all of it. After searching around in all the rocks and stuff, I finally found him hiding under the sponge filter (of course.) Anyway, after I returned the apisto my tank was all torn up from trying to find him, so I had to do a bit of a rescape:
image.jpg it’s super messy looking, but I kind of like it. Thinking of getting a black background in there this weekend, and I’m still trying to find some Amazon frogbit. I think since the apistos unfortunately didn’t work out (I’m really sad about that) I might get some rice fish and possibly Pygmy corydoras in there.
 

AverageAquarist22

Thought I’d update this thread as it’s been a little bit. The plants are doing great! For some reason I seem to have pretty good luck with crypts (I’m not complaining though! Lol,) look how many leaves the two in the left corner have grown since my last post 20 days ago!
image.jpg The vals have been browning a bit, but I removed the dead leaves and the rest seem pretty healthy! Some of my ludwigia repens got uprooted and I was too lazy to reroot them, but they’re surprisingly doing super great too:
image.jpg I think I might leave them floating since they seem so happy. I haven’t added a black background yet since I’ve been too lazy, but I’m planning on doing that pretty soon. A bit of bad news, for some reason the harlequin rasboras have been nipping at Marcus the guppy and the other rasboras I have in there, so I’m thinking I might need to rehome those and up the harlequin rasbora school. Anyway, sorry I haven’t updated for a while, there hasn’t been much change, but I thought I’d just show you all the plant growth and rant about the rasboras for a little bit :)
 

AverageAquarist22

I finally added the black background! I decided to make it myself instead of buying one from Petco, and it took forever. But, it was worth the wait! Here’s before and after pictures:
B5074966-905C-4E66-8C2B-37C0ECC4DDD0.jpeg
84996BE6-A767-4DD2-B148-054EB754DC15.jpeg I like it, everything really pops now!
 

BigManAquatics

I finally added the black background! I decided to make it myself instead of buying one from Petco, and it took forever. But, it was worth the wait! Here’s before and after pictures:
B5074966-905C-4E66-8C2B-37C0ECC4DDD0.jpeg
84996BE6-A767-4DD2-B148-054EB754DC15.jpeg I like it, everything really pops now!
What you use, construction paper or something?
 

AverageAquarist22

I took a big sheet of paper I found and painted it black :)
 

BigManAquatics

I took a big sheet of paper I found and painted it black :)
Definitely more than 1 way to skin a cat, as they say
 

AverageAquarist22

I got some frogbit in the mail today! Cleaned it off real good and looked it over for snails, duckweed, and egg sacs, wasn’t too bad. I have it in a quarantine container now where it’ll be for about a week-ish, then I can add it to my 30 gallon. Thank you so much to Darthmoli for sending it to me!
image.jpg
 

AverageAquarist22

Ok I know it hasn’t been very long since I got the frogbit, but some of it has been dying off a little bit.. so I took the healthiest looking pieces and washed them super well, then made a little barrier so it didn‘t take over my tank. First I tried a circle of airline tubing, which didn’t work very well (darn thing wouldn’t stay straight lol,) then I tried little circles of plastic from a soda bottle (idea from Foo the Flowerhorn,) but that didn’t work either.. finally I had the idea of taking skewers and wedging them between the tank walls (front to back) to make a little square for the frogbit to float in. It worked pretty well! I’m actually kind of proud of it lol :) :
image.jpg
image.jpg please excuse the mulm, I’m going to get some shrimp and bottom feeders in the next few months. Also please excuse the horrible photo quality I’m not a very good photographer :p
 

Natalie666

I love the rocks!
 

AverageAquarist22

Update: gross! I just went to do a water change and add some plants into the tank that have been in quarantine, and one of the skewers for the frogbit got moldy. Ugh! I’m glad I noticed it before it got too bad… I guess the skewer solution won’t work after all and I need to find something else to contain my frogbit :( I’ll add pics of the plants later when they’re all settled in I guess
 

AverageAquarist22

Everyone is doing really well! I did a water change the other day and added some fertilizer for the frogbit, and all the other plants are loving it! I usually don’t add much fertilizer because I’m lazy and it’s a low tech tank, but the plant growth seems really fast now. The frogbit is starting to grow some little baby roots, I have high hopes! Some pieces are melting and dying off, but for the most part it’s growing very well. I got a light timer and unfortunately my light was too old to work, so I had to use my old 10 gallon light and stick a lamp on the other end so the whole tank was being lit up. I guess I’ll just have to manually turn on the lamp, haha. It looks super strange right now because of all the hodgepodgy lighting, but I figured I’d show how good the tank is looking anyway:
image.jpg I added some Java fern, Anacharis (I hope I’m spelling that right) and another crypt from my betta’s old tank. I dipped them in hydrogen peroxide and then soaked them in treated tap water for about a week to kill off any pathogens, and they’re recovering well! The Java fern is reproducing really fast, soon I’ll have tiny Java ferns everywhere!
image.jpg Frogbit roots

image.jpg Baby Java fern and poorly photographed crypt growth!
 

AverageAquarist22

It’s been a little bit, but I thought I’d just say: I’m on a trip to visit some family in Minnesota right now, but right before we left I put some fast growing plant from my mom’s shrimp tank into the 30 gallon! I just left it floating on the top because it doesn't seem to mind, although I have seen it send down a few roots from where it’s floating in the shrimp tank. I unfortunately forgot to take a picture before we left, but I’m so excited to see how the plant growth is doing when we get back! Anyway, I just thought I’d put that here so I don’t have a random new thing about a plant I never mentioned before more than a month from my last post, if that makes sense lol. :)
 

AverageAquarist22

So, we got back from Minnesota late last night... I didn’t really have a chance to look at my tank, but I could tell something was off. Woke up this morning at inspected it further; looks like the light timer on the left side malfunctioned and the house sitter didn’t do anything about it. Pretty much everything on the left side of the tank is either dead or rotting, my frogbit all melted and sank to the bottom, and the rest of the plants are looking very neglected, as well as being covered in brown diatom algae (I think). The rasboras looked a bit pale last night but they’re fine this morning, so I’m just assuming it’s because the lights were off. Going to do a huge water change now and feed them some good quality frozen food to make up for only flakes and freeze dried these past few weeks. When we left:
9583A664-58E9-48F1-9BCE-FC71CE3A7349.jpeg
And when we came back:

EEEFA2BC-FFFD-4E2B-82CF-DFF65AC3E36B.jpeg
Sigh… it was all going so well and now I feel like I’m starting over :(
 

AverageAquarist22

Been a while since I updated, sorry about that! I ended up swapping out the wood in my 30 gallon to put in my 10 gallon betta tank, and I put some branch-like wood in there. Finally found some good pieces! They’re growing a bit of biofilm right now unfortunately, and I’m still waiting for them to sink, but I’m confident it’ll happen eventually… I also got a Nicrew light! The old light I had finally broke and I had to buy a new one, so I figured hey, why not? I also got some Thrive fertilizer, unfortunately I had to throw the old stuff away because the cap broke... I really need to work on updating this thread more! Anyway, here are some pictures! Will try to update again soon :)
image.jpg
 

BigManAquatics

Been a while since I updated, sorry about that! I ended up swapping out the wood in my 30 gallon to put in my 10 gallon betta tank, and I put some branch-like wood in there. Finally found some good pieces! They’re growing a bit of biofilm right now unfortunately, and I’m still waiting for them to sink, but I’m confident it’ll happen eventually… I also got a Nicrew light! The old light I had finally broke and I had to buy a new one, so I figured hey, why not? I also got some Thrive fertilizer, unfortunately I had to throw the old stuff away because the cap broke... I really need to work on updating this thread more! Anyway, here are some pictures! Will try to update again soon :)
image.jpg
Certainly nothing wrong with trying an upgrade to replace broken equipment :)
 

AverageAquarist22

I did a large (50 percent) water change yesterday with gravel vacuuming because there’s a nitrate spike going on right now.. yikes. I was hoping to get some panda cories soon, but that’ll have to wait until the water parameters are stable again… my Java fern had lots of little plantlet babies! I’m also working on removing the bladder snails, I must have removed at least 50 yesterday. Ugh. It’s a process! Already I’m seeing some small improvement in the snail population.
 

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