the 29g problem tank

Discussion in 'midthought' started by midthought, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    I got a 29g tank on a lark off of Craigslist earlier in the month. The deal was good -- $100 for the tank, stand, light/hood, heater, filter, gravel, large driftwood with 2 anubias already on it, a 5g bucket, a net, and a couple other rock/cave decorations. But then I was too busy to set it up all properly. To make a long story short, the good bacteria and the 2 anubias died.

    Thankfully, no fish suffered for it. I had no fish waiting on the 29g; my other tank was cycled and fine; and my 10g, which I purchased after the 29g, also cycled quickly and is fine now. Which just leaves the 29g, which is still sitting empty 3 weeks later.

    The biggest issue with it so far has been the substrate. I knew I wanted to keep a planted tank and I knew I wanted cory cats. So I really wanted sand in the tank. One of the guys at Pacific (an LFS on the Lower East Side) recommended Red Sea Florabase with the silicate sand, and so I went with that. Unfortunately, by the time I learned what a bad idea that was, the Florabase was already in the tank and with the sand. Why was the Florabase so terrible? The Florabase turns to dust and mud and needs to be replaced sooner or later. In a worst case scenario, I'd have to tear down the tank in 6 months. In a best case scenario, I wouldn't have to tear it down for 1.5-2 years. I figured that I'd just get it over with sooner rather than later, since I don't like the idea of displacing a bunch of fish to redo my biggest tank.

    So I was sad that the Florabase was already mixed with the sand. The cheapskate in me didn't want to get rid of it either so I just tried to sift out what I could. Terrible waste of time, in case anyone's wondering.

    A base layer of Fluorite, and then sand mixed in with sad little dustings of Florabase are what's in the tank now. I need another 10 or 15 pounds of silicate sand to put in, and then I can start real planting. Anubias on the driftwood again, swords and crypts and other low maintenance plants. Then I start cycling.

    My stocking plans at the moment are rather conservative. Right now, I just know that I'd like to keep German Blue Rams (a pair or 1 male and 2 females) and cory cats (6 normal sized or 9 pygmy ones). I'm still considering my options and already worried because the cats prefer lower temps by a good 4-6 degrees compared to the GBRs. And I'm concerned about keeping a tank lower than 78 once summer rolls around.

    I continue to mull over the stocking plan. More on that when I'm not being kept up late, completely miserable with allergies.
  2. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Rams need at least 80 degrees. Most fish can adapt to temps that are outside their prefered range. Rams might survive temps below 80, but they won't look their best. There are corys that will do fine with water in the 80's.

  3. peacemaker92Well Known MemberMember

    So sorry about your few problems... :console: Hope you can get your tank cycling soon. Keep us posted.

  4. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Yeah, I guess I didn't put it up again because Firefox crashed in the middle of me writing this post, but I want to keep the 29g tank at 80. I'm worried about keeping it lower than 80 over the summer, for one thing, and it's better in case I have to net one of my bettas and house them in breeder boxes in there for some reason. It's just not ideal for the cory cats. :(
  5. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    My albinos have done very well in the ram tank (82), and I have leopard corys that are kept at 80. The corys will have an easier time adjusting to the warmer temps than the rams will the lower.
  6. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    I'm going to have the tank be 80 for the rams, no worries. :) Although I will probably set it to 78 for a few weeks while the cory cats settle in, and then turn it up 2 degrees before I bring home the GBRs. I understand that the GBRs want a well settled cycle so I thought I should start with the cats first.
  7. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Good thinkin :)
  8. konstargirlWell Known MemberMember

    I agree. Once my tank was around almost 80-82 degrees, the fish were still behave normal. :D

    Good luck with the tank as it cycles. Keep me updated too. :p
  9. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Well, I obviously picked a ridiculous time to do it (it's almost 4 a.m. now), but I started up this tank finally -- again. I went out today, bought 15 pounds of black sand, finally took out all the anubias and swords that have been sitting around in my 10 gallon (it looked like an underwater jungle, trust me), and began planting.

    Currently in there:

    - 2 large pieces of driftwood
    - 3 anubias plants attached to them
    - approximately 6 swords (Amazonian or Brazilian? or both?)
    - 1 fake rock formation (only piece of plastic)
    - 2 pieces of rainbow slate
    - 1 piece of regular slate
    - black sand
    - Fluorite

    The water is incredibly cloudy because I was grav-vac'ed for Fluorite/Florabase dust earlier, but I went ahead and planted and placed decorations. I can't wait to see what it looks like when the water clears up, since I essentially decorated blind. I have more plants (rotala, stargrass, ambulia, java moss, crypts, etc.) but I'm going to wait to plant those until the water's clear. And also, pictures to come when it does clear some more!

    Also, I made some other random decisions:

    - cory cats first
    - schooling fish next (I'm leaning toward rummy nose tetras right now)
    - GBRs last

    I doubt I'm going to get a dwarf gourami at this point, as I'd probably rather just have a couple more cory cats or schooling fish instead. Still, I'm so excited to get this tank going! With any luck, this tank will stop being such a "problem tank" now that the substrate issue (i.e. Florabase issue) is done with.
  10. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    One more update. I started seeding the 29g -- dropped a filter cartridge and all the decorations, substrate, and plants from my 2.5g. I didn't have any mesh bags so the substrate is just in plastic tubs in the tank. Large mouth on both containers though, so hopefully that will suffice to get the bacteria active. Also put in a few drops of ammonia to give the bacteria something to feed on. I checked the pH (looks low, 6.4), but don't see much point in doing the full array of tests just now. Will check back on Sunday night when I get back in town. If this tank winds up cycling quickly, I could get the cory cats and maybe even the other schooling fish in before finals in May. GBRs to come over the summer most likely.
  11. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Got home from out of town really late, so all I tested for were nitrites -- up to .5-1. Dropped some more ammonia in the tank and will check again in a day or two.
  12. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Well, that was pretty fast. The tank appears fully cycled after 5 days. It's registering 0,0,7ish (the orange is between 5 and 10 ppm nitrate). It's only the first night it's registered such though. But still, it looks like it's now time to shop around for some sterbai cory cats! I went to my first choice LFS today for other supplies and found out they basically never have the sterba variety though. Booo. Tomorrow I'm gonna call the second choice LFS and after that I'm looking at my online breeder options.

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