Category Archives: 20G Planted Tank

These posts mention the 20G freshwater planted tank.

Update 11/17/2010

A couple of casualties, not much happy news this time. Sorry.

Swirly (the puffer) isn’t looking so good. I’ve never been able to quite nail down his psychological issues with us, but he’s been looking kind of sick recently and I doubt there’s much that can be done.

Also, Herbert died a couple of days ago. My guess is that he was pretty old, and he seemed to live a long and full life, so I’m not concerned that anything is wrong in the tank, but it’s still sad that he’s gone. I’m sort of thinking about the future of that tank and how it might play in to the next tank I get, so I’m not sure when/if he’ll be replaced, but as of right now, the plan is to one day turn that 20G planted tank into a shrimp tank and move all of the fish to a larger tank (that I don’t have yet).

Anyways, that’s all for now. I thought I had a neat video of some interesting critters in the refugium in the saltwater tank, but I guess not: I’ll try to get another one or recover the original soon.

Update 11/3/2010

Well, nothing super-important in this update, but I have some pictures and a couple of small things. First, I have new full-tank shots of each of the tanks, including the puffer tank. I’m still not sure how I feel about the puffer tank, and I still might switch some things around since the puffer doesn’t seem quite comfortable in there…

Some of these pictures may be kind of large since I wanted to show some detail.

Next, there is some news about the puffer, he has a name! It’s Swirly. Once I’m done tweaking his setup and his food and all of that stuff, then he’ll probably get a spot on Roll Call and Tank Specs, but there are still some issues I want to iron out before then.

Next, in the freshwater tank. One of the black neon tetras is looking VERY pregnant, and I have a couple of pictures. I don’t plan on doing anything to help along the breeding process, so I’ll be very surprised if we even see any fry before they’re eaten, but it’s amusing to watch this huge fish swim around.

Everyone in the saltwater tank is doing fine and I’m having some success with the plumbing renovations I’m doing there. It’s not very interesting, though, so I won’t say anything about it other than the problems I had in the past aren’t an issue anymore.

That’s all I have for now.

Update 9/9/2010

Well I have a small update today, and a couple of videos.

I’ll start with the freshwater tank — I’ve been having some problems with the invertibrates in the tank. The two ghost shrimp died and a lot of the snails have been hanging out near the top of the water, which means they don’t like it in there. I did some asking around and I think I’ve isolated the problem to one of the fertilizers I’m using for the plants. I’ve been without it for a week or so now and the snails seem to be doing better. The plants are still growing just fine, but from what I hear it may be more difficult to keep algae low long-term, so I’ll have to keep a close eye on it and try to adjust the other fertilizers I use to keep the algae down. Other than that, the tank looks pretty good. I got a neat video of a ghost shrimp before all of this happened, so here that is:

Next, the saltwater tank. Really nothing has happened here that’s terribly interesting. I was finally able to put an end to all of the pump problems I’ve been having, and I have the main pump back in and working. I have some plans to re-work the plumbing to include both the main pump and the backup pump at the same time, but that is in the future quite a bit. It turns out that the safety switch I put in to protect the pump from running dry was actually doing more harm than good, so I took that out. Also, the battery backup I’ve been using doesn’t really work at all.

I have an unrelated video, which is just a video of feeding time one night. I put in some shots of Sarge after almost all of the food has been eaten to show what he does. He remains in this “hyper mode” for 5-10 minutes after everyone else has calmed down because he’s still looking for food that everybody else missed. I think it’s funny.

I have one picture, but it’s not much to post by itself, so it will wait until I have more pictures.

Finally, the most important part of this update: the Royal Gramma officially has a name: Myrna!


I’ve been busy this week with real life, but I finally have a chance to update again, mostly with more pictures and video. I’ll focus on the freshwater tank, but there has been one development in the saltwater tank that I need to address:

The diamond watchman goby found a small gap in the lid over the tank and managed to jump through, so we came home to him laying on top of the fish tank, and needless to say he didn’t make it through that. Those guys are known escape artists, so this is expected to happen, but I thought I had taken enough precautions to protect against this. I guess I hadn’t. I’d like to get another diamond watchman, since the tank could really benefit from one, but we’ll see.

Here’s a picture of Sarge to cheer you up:

Now on to some good stuff. I’m finally happy with the way the freshwater tank looks now. The plants are doing well, and I’ve been able to keep the algae controlled pretty well also. I have some pictures and a video of some clips of that tank also. Enjoy!

A trip to the fish store…


On Saturday, we went to the fish store. I’d been hoping for some time to stop by and see if there was any livestock in, and also we were running low on food. I bought a few different types of food for both tanks that I won’t bore you with, but suffice it to say that everybody now has a lot more variety in their diets, which can only be a good thing. Nobody is a picky eater anymore, so everybody seems to be OK with each new type of food.

I’ll start with the saltwater tank updates: I bought an algae scraping blade since there was some algae on the sides of the tank that was getting pretty tough to look at. The magnet cleaner just didn’t have enough zazz to get this stuff off, but the blade worked very well. The only downside is that I have to stick my whole arm into the tank to clean it, but the tank looks great. You’ll probably be able to notice a big difference the next time I post pictures of that tank, but that day isn’t today. Sorry, no new pictures today 🙁

Next, I picked up a Diamond Watchman Goby that I thought was large enough to handle the fish already in the tank. These guys are sand-sifting machines (they are the same type of fish that Flip was) so as long as he can get along with Dusty, we should be OK here. Also, they had a good looking Royal Gramma which is a lot like the pseudochromis I had before (Scooter) only not as aggressive and territorial. These are both fish I had originally considered for stocking the tank, and as long as they can get accustomed to the tank’s high activity level, they will make a great addition.

That being said, they have been hiding very well since Saturday when I put them in the tank, which is why I don’t have pictures of them yet. I’ve seen them both, but not for long enough to actually take a picture of either one. Neither one of them has a name yet, but once we know they’re going to live and develop a personality, they will get names and I’ll post them here.

Also, for the second time, I found Sunny in the overflow and I had to get him out of there. I’m going to have to remodel that overflow for a couple of reasons. I’ll try to prevent any smaller fish from getting sucked up into the overflow cup, but I also want to remove the sponge filters and replace it with some live rock rubble and maybe some of the macroalgae in the refugium. I hope to get that done early this week so hopefully there will be an update soon with some pictures of what I’ve done here. If all goes well, this will be sort of a mini-refugium hanging on the back of the tank.

Next, an update on the freshwater tank: I got one more piece of driftwood and I plan to get more stem plants. Herbert enjoys the driftwood, and hopefully I’ll have some pictures of that soon. Nothing significant has changed here, so that’s why there are no new pictures yet.

…at least there’s some good news

With all of the depressing stuff last post, I actually have some good news today:

I mentioned last time about the fact that I haven’t been able to find Sunny. He had been missing for at least 4 days, maybe more, and 99.9% of the time in a fish tank that means they’re dead. However, fortunately for Sunny, he was alive, and hiding very well. Where was he hiding? I found him in the back of the overflow cup, underneath one of the sponges. It was an adventure getting him out, but we finally got him out safely and put him back in the main tank, and he’s doing just fine. Hopefully he won’t get adventurous again, but if he does, I may need to take some measure to make sure he doesn’t get back there again. If the pump fails (from the power going out or something like that), the water level in the part where he is gets very low, so it’s important that he doesn’t hang out back there.

Next, I have some pictures. Some are just general pictures I’ve taken recently of stuff in both tanks.

Herbert got it into his head that he wanted to dig underneath the pink coral and hide there from now on. This is not allowed because he needs to come out to eat, and when he digs, he stirs up a whole bunch of dust from the gravel and the water gets cloudy, everything gets dirty, and that’s not good for everyone else in the tank. After a small battle of wits between me and a fish, I decided it was best to just take the pink coral out, so I’ll be looking for another piece of driftwood to put there in its place.

An update…

I haven’t updated in a while, because not much has happened in a while. Things are going well for both tanks.

I’m getting close to the point where I’m ready to get two tangs for the saltwater tank, either this weekend or next weekend I’ll work on getting the fish store to get them for me, but I don’t know how long that will take. I’m not holding my breath, but hopefully it will be soon. Also, during that time, I’ll be looking into getting more of a clean-up crew since all that’s left of the old one are the hermit crabs that killed all of the snails.

The freshwater tank is starting to settle in, and I’m getting better at feeding the plants right and keeping the algae under control. The Ludwigia is doing very well, there are now three of them and I just started with one. Also, one of the anubias was growing so much I had to cut it in half today, so there will be more of that now. Here are some pictures:

More updates when things happen…

….and some more pictures!

Not all that much new this weekend, but I do have some more pictures. They’re all of the freshwater tank, so here’s my saltwater update: everybody is doing fine.

First, I’ve been playing around with the macro option on my camera, and I’ve gotten a couple of new pictures, including one of a red cherry shrimp, which I wasn’t able to get earlier, and also a cute picture of a big snail and a little snail together.

Also, the Ludwigia was growing so much that I had to clip it, so there are now two Ludwigia plants (I may have said that last weekend). I took two pictures a day apart, and you can really see the growth on each one of the plants. Here’s the first one:

Here’s the picture a day later


I have some more pictures of the saltwater fish, eating their vegetables:

Now, I have some updated pictures of the freshwater tank. The Ludwigia was doing so well I had to clip it, so now there are two Ludwigias. I moved a couple of things around also.

One other thing. I did some work on the plumbing underneath the tank. It’s no huge deal, but I’m really excited about it. The benefits of it is that now the sump can be almost completely full of water, and that water level will stay constant. It also doesn’t look ugly anymore. Here’s a video of it.

That’s all for now. I’ll probably update again next weekend with pictures.

Initial stocking is done!

UPDATE – April 3: I forgot Manny! I’m a horrible dad! Anyways, here’s a link to a picture of him.

Mandarin Goby (Dragonfish): Manny

167 days after this whole thing started, initial stocking is finally complete! Everybody is finally in the tank, and the tank is almost completely stocked. I still want to get one or two more tangs, and maybe some more clean-up crew, but other than that, it’s done! Here are some pictures (these four are kind of large):

Also, here are some more pictures of the saltwater fish:

It’s also time to reveal the names of each of the fish:

Cave Goby: Dusty

Two-Spot Goby: Jetson

Firefish Goby: Flash

Green Clown Goby: Midgee

Bi-Color Blenny: Dantrell

Bangai Cardinals: Inky, Pinky, Blinky, and Sue

Yellow Tang: Filet

Black Neon Damsel: Ruckus

Lemon Damsel: Lemmy

Blue Streak Damsel: Magnum

Yellow Damsel: Butch

Sergeant Major Damsel: Sarge

…and if that wasn’t enough, the new plants in the freshwater tank are doing very well. Here’s a full-tank shot and some close-ups of the plants. Everything except the micro swords are doing very well and have new growth, and I adjusted the way the swords were planted so hopefully they’ll do better now. These four pictures are also kind of large.

That’s all for now. Enjoy the pictures!