Setup the tank 3 days ago with the following:
-55 gallon tank
-Marineland Magnum 350 Canister
-2-3 inches of MTS (<--what a pain in the ass but hopefully worth it!)
-2 inches of Eco-Complete as a cap
-Standard 300W heater
-48 inch T5HO with 1 6700K and 1 10000K, suspended 12 inches above the water.
-Large piece of driftwood, boiled for 30 mins.
-3 various size rocks (from LPS)
I bought various plants from a few different LPS, one a chain, one a local. I confess the one's I bought from the local are unknown to me, the girl working there just recommended them because they were "hardy". So far they look great.
I honestly am not sure of the type of plants these are and would appreciate anyone who could clue me in. I'll pay more attention next time
I plan on adding more plants, mainly more middle ground and possibly some carpet, but I want to make sure the "hardy" plants make it first before sinking $$ into more plants.
I am dosing Excel every other day for now, soon I plan to upgrade to a CO2 direct inject through the Magnum 350, as I've heard nothing but good things about that. I originally had the lights on for 14 hours, but have since reduced that to 8 per reading on this forum. I am still a bit puzzled by the shortness of needed light, supposedly my lights are very strong. Some of the plants seem to relish the long light, others seem to shy away. Feel free to chime in if you have more experience with this.
I am keeping the water at 74 degrees, and today removed my polishing filter and replaced it with a floss wrapped canister and ceramic bio-rings inside.
PH out of the tap is 8.5, but only after 3 days the tank water is 7.5. Hoping that driftwood is doing that, as it seems like an extreme drop in a short time, a welcome surprise though!
Ammonia is roughly .5-.75ppm, nitrates and nitrites are non-existent. Looking forward to those bio-rings pumping out some bacteria soon.
I plan on getting fish after 2 weeks of tank cycling, or when ammonia is close to zero, whichever comes first. Haven't decided on fish, I have been reading some articles about Siamese Algae Eaters, as well as different "levels" fish swim on and how to match them up accordingly.
All in all just sitting on my hands trying to monitor everything accordingly, any suggestions/constructive criticism would be appreciated.
I must say never has something so slow and meticulous been so enjoyable!
**edit - Background is nothing at the moment, forgive the ugly outlet. I'll post full size pics of the tank once I finish the background.