Abe's 125 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-03-2011, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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Abe's 125

So I've gotten to know a couple of people and gotten some good information from this site and I think my tank has finally made it to a state where I can show some beginning to end progression before I tear it down and do something else with it.

Let us begin with what I had before I upgraded to my 125.

This is my 55. I got this guy from craigslist for about 25 dollars I think. Its been almost a year now so I can't remember exactly how much and looking back on the tank it is so barren. The lighting may look rough but its actually uvb lighting for the RES that occupied the tank.

Birthday time and the wife was actually listening to me... By this time we had gotten rid of the turtle because she kept eating all of our plant life and any fish that wasn't smart/fast enough to move. We didn't blame her but it wasn't what we wanted for the tank. We put her in the local river and being wild caught we were at peace with that. So to replace the 55 gallon I got a nice long 6ft 125 gallon tub.

The step-by-step set up until the finished product:

stand set up.

Bringing in the substrate, it never seemed to stop coming in from the truck:

Getting it all put in:

Filling the beast:

Mid cycle with the heat and the aeration kicked up:

First plant to enter the tank a week after I got the tank:

And the flood gates opened up for more to follow. The next week:

First light fixtures. Not nearly enough light but good buys. I am doing it all wrong but I learn in the future.

First piece of driftwood that I covered in moss and added to the tank:

Two months down the road with cured driftwood and beginner plants we are starting to look really good. This is where I really dived into fertilization, lighting, co2, and overall requirements.

Yet a month later plants are still being added but I don't have enough biomass to suck up nutrients so I'm not dosing yet. Its all a learning process:

Made the conversion from low-tech/low light to high light/pressurized co2:

Now that I have a minimal understanding of the needs, how-tos, and signs of trouble to look out for I have made a lot more progress.

The final product and I will update when I get some pictures. I did some serious rearranging after this picture to facilitate flow and nutrient uptake I'll get them in when I can.

Last edited by Abrium; 05-03-2011 at 01:02 AM. Reason: typos
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-03-2011, 02:39 AM
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hi Abe, nice start there
heavy planting at the start is always good
what's the floating plant?
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-03-2011, 03:43 AM
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Abe, great job brother!

Can we get a full tank shot like the one of the 55 gallon. the tank is a beast man, good luck!

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-03-2011, 03:52 AM
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-03-2011, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ikuzo View Post
hi Abe, nice start there
heavy planting at the start is always good
what's the floating plant?
That floating plant is naturally occuring. I got it from a stream about 8 miles from my home and its called water primrose. I got a great picture of what you see above here. I haven't found a better floater to keep the water column nutrients in check. The root structure will eventually go all the way to the substrate and root if you let it. It really provides that jungle affect if mixed with the right plants from the substrate.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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Ok so I tore everything down and am starting over due to some serious algae issues. I mowed all of the plants down and set up a scape that focuses on the center of the tank that will houses some dark red/brown species of crypts.

So I have now went from this:

To a barren wasteland haha:

Notice the intensity of that light... I'm going to follow Hoppy's advice and make some DIY screens to cut down on the intensity of the light. I'll post that up also. I'll also throw up how the plants are doing on a regular bases. I have a lot of giant vals in this tank and I completely whacked down to nothing hehe.. I will show all the growth as it happens.

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-18-2011, 04:51 PM
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What a beautiful tank, love to see tanks that started from barely anything and from no experience..makes me feel that maybe I can have a nice tank one day..
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2011, 06:22 AM
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125 gal tank

Hi Abe, The 125 gal tank I want to set up as dirt tank is the same as yours only more used, a stand I will have to modify and DIY lighting to make. It is good to visualize some possibilities here!
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2011, 04:09 PM
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What lighting fixture did you get??? It looked like it was doing well in the before photo and I'm sure you'll get back on track.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-26-2011, 04:30 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, it has been a long time since I have updated this thread and to be honest so much has changed that it doesn't even look like the same tank anymore. Aquascape wise everything is still the same but I have added a lot of species over the last couple of months.

So lets begin shall we? So, the barren wasteland above has turned into a beautiful, beautiful planted tank. If I was going to put out any advice to anyone starting a planted tank it would be go heavy with fast growing plants. This is the advice that was given to me and it has served me well:

Up front I picked up some beautiful crypt nurii, small lotus, and attempted a carpet. All of these aren't the fasted growing or propagating plants out there but more importantly I picked up some giant vals, onions, and some cork screw vals that you can see all in this photo. These took off like weeds!

After about 2 weeks all of the vals lived up to their fast propagating reputation. Runners shot up everywhere and parent plants reached for the sky. It was amazing. I was to the point that I didn't even believe that a plant could have that fast of growth rate. You can also see some rotala rotundifolia and wisteria peaking up. Ultimately I wanted a good natural backdrop.

I chose to let the rotala creep on top of the water instead of the giant vals because there is a lot more light that is let in. The wide leaves of the giant vals really cause a blackout for my developing carpet.

About a month or maybe a month and a week after the replanting. Still growing!

Picked up some good ludwigia locally here from the shop and swap.

Here is a front on but the light really kills the shot and to be honest it isn't that bright because I conducted this DIY solution.

There she is currently in all of her glory. I have to say that I have bounced around from hobby-to-hobby over the years and when I come home and sit down in my recliner my eyes shoot straight over to my tank and not to the TV. I am more centered, my stress levels are down, and if yall are like me you can sit in front of your tanks for hours just watching. I'm that guy.

This is another good shot showing how well the rotala is covering the top. The pink tint looks really good across the top.

This is, thus far, my holy grail for plants. I have done so much reading over the months about the madagascar lace plant and everywhere I read stated that the care required for this plant almost outweighed the benefit of keeping it. I am happy to show that all of my bulbs sprouted and they are beautiful. This has become my new center piece and I love looking at their delicate leaves.

I hope yall have enjoyed the update. I'll try and do it monthly from now on.

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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-26-2011, 01:52 PM
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Great growth and progression on the tank. Madagascar Lace is much easier IMO than the literature says. I think the key is making sure the roots are in rich soil.
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-26-2011, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, that is the thought process that I followed and it seems to be growing faster than the majority of my plants. I wish I would of gotten them sooner.
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-16-2011, 05:34 AM Thread Starter
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First off I want to apologize to anyone who doesn't like pictures in the journal thread. I think that in order to convey exactly what you are doing/what is happening in your tank during updates you need to provide pictures to show the true beauty/disaster. I just wanted to get that out there.

So... I couldn't help myself I pulled every single plant out of my 125... I was sitting there staring at it (like we all do, don't pretend like you don't) and thought to myself that I actually wanted to scape it. I am right now what you would just call a plant collector and not an aquascaper. In my defense there is so much that you can do with a 125 gallon tank that trying to scape it appropriately with a large diversity and keeping beauty in mind is hard because you get lost in it easily. So, I tore it all out and set out to attempt scaping it. Here is my overall with pictures along the entire process.

I wanted to cover this thin piece of driftwood because the growth I have gotten on it was amazing, I'll do some pics on that first.

I had received this piece of driftwood and was thinking about mossing it up before someone gave me a LOT of java fern and I mean a lot... There was lace and standard so I decided to cover this piece in java fern instead of moss just to see where it would go. Notice TPT up on the browser, GO US, and pay no attention to the laundry because we have 4 children and we were on strike that particular weekend.

Here is the bucket o' fern before I split it out to see what I was working with:

Once I laid it all out I realized that I had enough to cover the wood and that is when I decided to go the fern way.

Now I have minimal experience with java fern plants. All I really know is that they can grow under almost any light/fert conditions and you don't bury the rhizome if you want the plant to live. When I got through with my driftwood I was feeling like I had made a mistake. My 'should be beautiful wood' was sparsley planted and just looked like I had all in all made a mistake. Would you put that in your tank? Note the spray bottle, it took me a long time to make a piece of wood look THAT bad so I had to keep the plants moist while I worked with them.

NOW, this string of pictures were taken about 4 to 5 months ago. I never really paid any attention to this piece of driftwood because everything else kind of grew up over it and it slowly but surely became unseen. I mean you somewhat have a hard time spotting it:

I had literally forgotten it was in there but when I started pulling my tank apart plant by plant I was in for such a surprise. When I seen this thing I almost fell over. The java fern has completely consumed all available real estate on the wood and filled out just great.

Here is this piece in my tank now:

Front portion:

Top portion:

The back I have pushed into a corner covering equipment:

Now, on to the murder of my tank. Reference the picture above for the amount of biomass I had developed with great growth and lets observe the tear down.

When I started tearing plants out my wife noticed the massive root structure of this 3" cryptocoryne lucen and she just had to have a picture of it to show her friends (what she really does is call me the aquatic farmer in front of her friends so they get a laugh out of it hehe.)

And, of course monkey see, monkey do so our third had to have her picture taken with it also.

About 4 hours into it. It took some time to remove all of the background giant vals without destroying the root structures completely. As I pulled the vals I cut off approx. 30' to 50' of growth. Those vals are truely invasive. I'm a pretty good planted tank guy but there is no way that I provide exactly what these plants need. I can get about 3" of growth out of certain vals each day. The odd thing is when I bought them I bought 5... 5 plants have turned into about 70+ over 6ish months. Truely amazing.

The tank re-scape took me from roughly 4 in the afternoon until about 3 in the morning. Prior to starting I assumed that I was going to be there for a while so I set up a table about 5' from my tank to hold everything. I was looking all professional.

When i got through pulling all of the plants out I had filled this container about a third of the way up. Honestly, I had expected more...


Alright, lets fill it up.

I removed all of the dwarf HG that I had because even though it was slowly filling the foreground out it just looked horrible to me. I had bought a single pot of dwarf sag when I started this tank a long time ago and to my amazement it had propagated fairly well and gave me enough to start a minimal carpet up front. I chose a crinum calamistratum as my center piece plant because I love the leaf crinkles. I have it surrounded by 3 M. lace in a half circle.

I had new plants come in the day of the rescaping which worked out as planned so I was amazed. I put the new Ludwigia Peruenis, alternanthera reineckii, and pogostemon stellatus throughout the tank for color and I can't wait until my high light starts to turn some bright colors on.

It looks barren right now but trust me those vals are in the back just itching to grow and then once my new color comes in this tank will be georgous.

Before I end this post I would just like to give a shout out to all of you who use the swap and shop in either a seller or buyer capacity. I have bought plants from liveaquaria, aquariumplants, assorted ebay vendors, and users of this forum and each and every time I have gotten flora or fauna from someone on this site it has completely surpassed any retail site in quality and quanity and that includes my LFS. I only hope that those of you that have purchased plants from me experience the same quality that I do from you. Before I quit this insanely long post I'm going to show two examples right quick.

I ordered flamemoss from liveaquaria and also received a portion from rlswaney73 here. Aside from letting the pictures do the talking I'd just like to say that the portion that I received from rlswaney73 was easily 4 times the amount that I got from liveaquaria and I ordered TWO portions from them!

rlswaney73's beautiful moss that I had just placed on some mopani. Notice the bright beautiful green color and posture of the flame moss.

supposed flamemoss from liveaquaria. I am not even sure this is flame moss. I'm going to have to wait until it starts growing before I properly identify it. Also, notice the slight yellowing and the picture doesn't show the dead brown portions of the moss that probably will not bounce back. I hid them in the back of the driftwood. And, this piece that I covered is about a third of the size of the piece that I used with swaney's moss.

I have also recently purchased some long finned albino BN plecos from beviking and I could not be happier with my purchase. I received 4 fish from beviking for the cost that two would cost me locally and this fish arrived in MUCH better shape.

So to all of you that share/sell with us here in the community I would like to thank you for making TPT an indispensable resource of not only knowledge but also flora and fauna that can't be rivaled by chain stores or LFS.

More updates later,

Last edited by Abrium; 09-16-2011 at 05:45 AM. Reason: typos
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-16-2011, 06:23 AM
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Wow...that's a lot of work. The jungle looked great and I'm sure the new scape will look even better after it fills out. Vals do take over like crazy....I bet your water was crystal clear when you had 70 Vals in there though.

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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 09-16-2011, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I love those giant vals, for a larger tank I haven't found a better natural background either. Most other plants have longer stems and then balloon out if left alone. A giant val fills out the same surface area from the substrate to however tall you want to let them go. I have seen them take off in a low light/low tech tank also. Just an all around versatile plant that can be used to cover the back, equipment, or fill out a specific area.
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