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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So i got a hand-me-down 29gal from a friend :p. Pondered for a few days about what i wanted to put in it.Then... I remembered about German and Bolivian Rams! While researching rams i came across tons of sweet info about these fish and other 'blackwater' fishes. I WAS SOLD.

So heres what im thinking... Authentic Blackwater Biotop... Tannins and all.

EQUIPMENT
Tank: 29Gal
Heater: 1x Jager 300w
Filter: AC 70 w/ Pre-filters, bulk mechanical filter, Bag of Seachem Matrix, and bag of peat moss. [I might not use this filter as everything i read about the flora and fauna I've choose likes to still water. These filters seem to flow A LOT. I would rather find a canister and 'diffuse' the output with a PVC with holes drilled in it.
Co2: Not sure about the need?
Lighting: Not much.

SUBSTRATE
1] Only Seachem Flourite Black Sand | Amount: ?
or
2] Botton: Seachem Flourite
Top: Seachem Onyx Sand

HARDSCAPE
Lots of natural bogwood, leaves, bark?, and rocks.

FAUNA
Top
Silver Hatchet [Gasteropelecus sternicla]: 10-12 -- They tend to do better in larger groups.
Middle/Low
German Blue Ram: AT LEAST 1 pair. Adequate size for 2-3 pairs?
Bolivian Ram: Can they be kept w/ GBRs?
Various Dwarf Cichlids: 6 or so
Middle
Tetras: Haven't settled on variety or amount. At least 15-20. I want a school.
Bottom
Cories: Also haven't settled on variety or amount.

Seems like a lot of fish but they will all have their place and filter will handle bioload.

FLORA
Depending on availability...
Amazon Sword [Echinodorus amazonicus]
Star Grass [Heteranthera zosterifolia]
Coontail [Ceratophyllum demersum]
Tape grass [Jungle Vallisneria]
Green Cabomba

IDEAL PARAMETERS
pH: 6.0
Temp: 82F

CHEMICALS AND ADDITIVES
Seachem American Cichlid Salt
Kent Marine Black Water Expert
Ferts: ?

PLAN
So essentially my plan is to cycle the tank [Obviously] with straight unconditioned tap water and a whole filter [AC70] that is in my Oscar set up. Then add the substrate. decor, and plants. Run for awhile so the plants can grow then add the Hatchets. Wait a week, add the Tetras. Wait a few weeks, add the cories. THEN if everything is going good for a few weeks add my cichlids.

I'm open to comments, suggestions, constructive criticism, or great ideas or places to find some of this stuff.
:popcorn:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I cant figure out how to edit... wtf..

But im just going to do one pair of German Blues.
 

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The one thing that stands out is your heater,I think 300 watts is overkill,100 watts at most,everything else sounds okay :thumb:
 

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I see no reason to add the cichlid salt. The fish you have like soft acidic water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
newforestrob said:
The one thing that stands out is your heater,I think 300 watts is overkill,100 watts at most,everything else sounds okay :thumb:
The only reason i did that is i have a brand new 300w heater that cant keep 80 degrees in a 55Gal.

darkstar22 said:
I see no reason to add the cichlid salt. The fish you have like soft acidic water.
The only reason i thought about it is because its the same as the amazon watershed.

Def. not set on it. =P
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Got some of my supplies.

For a stand, i just got some concrete blocks used for decks and such.

The tank is going between a couch and a window/sliding glass door. It'll be 'tucked' away, so the ugliness of the blocks doesnt matter. Im waiting for my female to get home to see if she wants to throw some fabric over the top of the bricks to spruce it up.

I also decided to go cheap and get some silica sand. I know i said im doing a biotope, and i also realize the substrate in the amazon is dark. But my local LFS wants $40 a sack of flourite... RIDICULOUS.

The 8 blocks and 100lbs of sand cost under $20 including tax

:lol!:
 

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I am setting up something similar, although I have found plant availability may change this. For my substrate I've gone with aquatic compost, just £4 a bag and conatins 35% peat. Topped with normal aquarium pea gravel which is dark brown anyway. Have to agree about the crazy price of some sands and plant substrates!!

One thing, before you go any further, is get your background on if you are having one! Easy to get carried away and forget, then have a full tank to move :roll:

You could always put some wood around the blocks, make a 3 sided "cover" to slide in front.

Will watch with interest :popcorn:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
touche`

I just havent decided what i want to do for a background. I want black, but i dont really want to paint it.

I saw on someones tank journal they did a black vinyl but i have no idea where they got it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm not cycling per se, since i took an established filter from another tank. I'm just keeping an eye on the water parameters... I put straight unconditioned tap water in the tank to see how the bacteria colony would handle the chloramine that is in our local tap.

Today things are looking up.
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrate: 5ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
pH: 7.0

Next step is background... i think im just going to do black latex paint. I cant find that 'vinyl'. Then get some bogwood and plants to drive that pH down.

Bogwood situation is on hold sort of since we had somewhat of a snow storm so i cant wonder the lakes and beaches looking for the perfect pieces.

Anyone have any info on getting ahold of these indian almond leaves that are apparently good at releasing tannins/nutrients into the water?

Or what types of local north american leaves, trees, and bark are fish safe.
 

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I've heard people using oak leaves (don't know if you get those in the states though?) or ebay has plenty of stockists of almond leaves. Ebay also does the Marina backgrounds cheaper than my LFS (quarter the price). I've always used them and find they look fine, especially when the plants in the tank take hold. The advantage is you can replace them in teh future, if you do a tank strip down then set-it up as something else one day. I just tape mine in place :thumb:
 
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