Bill's 55G Planted Tank Adventure - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-28-2016, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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Bill's 55G Planted Tank Adventure

Hello all and thanks for stopping by!

I've been into keeping fish and fish tanks for as long as I could remember. My grandparent's owned pet shop in Franklin Park (Chicago Suburbs) during the 70's and 80's and I was constantly around all types of pets. 10 years ago when my daughter was born I got out of the hobby and sold near all of my equipment except for a spare 55 gallon tank a stand and some spare equipment just in case the bug hit me again. Well right before the summer started my daughter asked if we could get a fish tank and I couldn't say no to her.

So me and the lil' Miss will be doing a planted tank using my old 55. I pulled it out of the crawlspace and did a leak test on it and let it sit for a week to make sure it was still water tight. I then drained it and put the equipment in and getting it ready for the substrate and planting.



I've never done a planted tank before so this is a completely new experience for me and I hope to lean on the community for help and support. We both really enjoy the look of a jungle plant tank with things like Amazon Swords and Anubias and really enjoy seeing driftwood covered in Java ferns and moss. This plants we pick and choose are where I'm probably going to need the most help actually.

On to the equipment!

Filtration:
- Hydor 350 Canister Filter (basket of fine pore sponge media for mechanical, 2 baskets of filter ring media for biological, and a 4th basket of large pore sponge media for additional mechanical)

Heater:
- Eheim 250 W Heater (Set to 78F and running stable using stick on therm on front of tank and Coralife digital thermometer inside water column)

Lights:
- 48" Finnex Planted+ 24/7 (Not sure yet whether I want to run this in 24/7 mode or on MAX for set period of time)

CO2:
- 5 Gal CO2 tank from my homebrewing kit
- Aquatek Premium Regulator w/brass bubble counter and black co2 tubing
- Inline CO2 Atomizer (install on the out take from the Hydor canister filter)
- I still have to buy a CO2 tester I just don't like the looks of them inside the tank. I already have enough hardware in there as you'll see below.



Substrate & Hardscape:
- Black Diamond Blasting Sand Medium Grit
- Osmocote Plus sprinkled underneath BDBS (I've already made 100 O+ 00 gel cap inserts for root feeding)
- A large centerpiece driftwood I found fishing while wading through a local river.
- Blue mexican pebble stone for accent
I'm leaning towards setting this up from left to right as seen here. Not sure what I'm going to do with the cut end of the driftwood. This is still soaking and waiting for it to finally sink. I am just about ready to stainless steel screw it onto slate. I'm giving it one more week.



Stock:
- Lil' Miss wants a schooling fish and is debating between Neon Tetra, Harlequin Rasboras, Royal Tetra or Lemon Tetras.
- Dad wants a large group of Corydoras and I'm thinking either Pandas, Trilineatus, Metea or Habrosus or Sterbai.
- Cleanup crew will hopefully have Otos, SAE's and Amano's.

Plants:
- Here is where I am having a hard time and could use some assistance. Here is a list of plants that I think I can keep with my lighting and should all be relatively easy and low-mid light options.
- Echinodorus bleheri (Amazon Sword)
- Valisneria (Jungle Val)
- Vesicularia dubyana (Java Moss)
- Microsorum pteropus (Java Fern)
- Bucephalandra
- Anubias barteri var. nana
- Crypocoryne wendtii
- Sagittaria subulata (Dwarf Sag) - Not sure if I have enough light to do a carpet of this but hoping with the CO2 and dosing Flourish and Trace Elements I might?
As you can see I don't have very many stem plant options and could use some ideas for my lighting setup.

I hope to continually update this as I go along and I thank you all for your help in advance.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-29-2016, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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So I'm trying to come up with a plan for what plants to get and where I'm going to put them within the tank. The problem with being completely OCD is that I stress and agonize over some of the littlest details instead of just jumping in. Sometimes its a boon and other times like now it feels like I just keep stopping and starting. Oh well my problems.

I took the picture of my tank and kind of did a layout of where I think I should put some of my plants off my list. Here is the list of what I'm going to put where. Let me know what you all think and I am VERY open to suggestions/comments.

1. Jungle Val - Planted behind the driftwood so that it grows over to the surface
2. Ludwigia repens - Both groups will be in the corners and along sides to help hide equipment
3. Alternanthera reineckii (Not sure I have enough light for this to grow well) - Keep this bushy in front of crypts and L. repens
4. Amazon Sword - Large centerpiece sword to grow up between the triangle and to help shade Anubias
5. Dwarf Sag (Will this fill in with my light and substrate?) - Hopefully will grow along foreground and spread
6. Crypt wendtii - I really like crypts and hopefully do well
7. Java Ferns - Close to the surface thinking may have to move them too much light?
8. Bucephalandra - Would love that alcove to be filled with a bushy blueish buce
9. Java Moss or Christmas Moss - Not sure about this one at all if that's a good spot or not still debating it
10. Anubias barteria var. nana - tried to put in a spot that gets some good shade so it doesn't melt or get algae coated

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-29-2016, 10:50 PM
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The funny part of the OCD you are experiencing about the plants and placement is that 6 months from now nothing will be in the same place! At least that has been my experience. So don't worry so much. Get it planted, see which ones do well, add some others, move things around......a planted tank is always a work in progress.

Last edited by Greggz; 09-29-2016 at 11:33 PM. Reason: typo
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-29-2016, 11:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
The funny part of the OCD your are experiencing about the plants and placement is that 6 months from now nothing will be in the same place! At least that has been my experience. So don't worry so much. Get it planted, see which ones do well, add some others, move things around......a planted tank is always a work in progress.
Exactly!! You'll be moving plants around all the time, and probably shift that hardscape a bit too. 55's are super optimal for layout so your design will almost lay itself out. Certainly choose the types of plants you want, work with a low-to-high ratio and see where it goes. Best of luck!
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-29-2016, 11:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
The funny part of the OCD your are experiencing about the plants and placement is that 6 months from now nothing will be in the same place! At least that has been my experience. So don't worry so much. Get it planted, see which ones do well, add some others, move things around......a planted tank is always a work in progress.
lol yep

Looks like you have all the right stuff. Good luck!
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-30-2016, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for the encouraging words. It's a struggle sometimes to walk out of my house because I can't remember whether I closed the door to the bathroom and the laundry room because they are in the same hallway. I can't have one door open and the other closed what would the firemen think if the house burned down? Try explaining that to two young kids and a wife who look at me like I'm crazy. Don't even get me started on the all the light switches being in the down position when the lights are off. I am putting in my order for plants this weekend and getting the substrate ready so wish me luck. I'll take pictures and document as I go along.
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