180 Gallons of Ferny Wood - Page 3 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #31 of 136 (permalink) Old 11-29-2012, 01:40 AM
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Wow, gorgeous!

What type of substrate?

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post #32 of 136 (permalink) Old 11-29-2012, 08:41 AM
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Amazing wood hardscape. well done.
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post #33 of 136 (permalink) Old 11-29-2012, 01:06 PM
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thats beautifully done Kathyy

There are 2 types of people on this forum. Those that have algae, and those that lie and say they don't.
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post #34 of 136 (permalink) Old 11-29-2012, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I hope the tank continues to improve, Murphy's Law and all. Thanks to the incredibly knowledgeable people on this forum I have so many tools to deal with issues that come up now.

The substrate is
#1 40 pounds of medium gravel purchased when I first set up a planted tank in the 1990's.
#2 Schultz's Aquatic Soil purchased when I was reading APD and learned about CEC in the first place and set up a 150 gallon tank in 2000. I think it was 40 pounds.
#3 Pea sized gravel that came with the 180 gallon tank and I needed more substrate last year. 4 trash bags, maybe 150 pounds. The larger pieces were sifted out when I set up this tank. I rinsed and bleached it because I didn't know the fate of the fish in that tank.
#4 SafeTSorb that replaced the large gravel sifted out. 40 pounds.
#5 Mulm that has never been rinsed out of the substrate.
#6 Clay+NPK+micros root tabs I made this year.
It all comes to about half high CEC clay substrate and half natural gravel by volume. The combination is quite natural looking.

Lit with 2 fishneedit 150 watt metal halides hung ~40" off the substrate last time I measured. The bulbs are ADA NA 8000K, not the green. Currently 8 hour day and I am shading with window screen for part of the day still. The plants are improving in size and color as I increase the light. I probably won't be lowering the fixtures after the window screen comes off.
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post #35 of 136 (permalink) Old 12-06-2012, 04:09 AM Thread Starter
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Full tank shot. Removed the pennywort and put back about half the mass but it is currently planted. That is a first, usually it pulls right up after I turn on the pumps. I was surprised to see very few damaged leaves, thought there would lots of shredded stuff due to the surface water movement.

P. Kawagoeanum. Leaves are getting longer and color brighter. I haven't counted how many healthy leaves the stems are carrying but when I picked off the dying leaves I was very pleased to note that few of them were BBA infested. In spite of Metricide dosing at water changes most old leaves still had BBA in the old tank.

BGA has attacked! I pushed it down beneath the gravel with a plastic card yesterday but missed a bit. See it to the left of the white pebble in the substrate? I pushed that part down after I took the photo. Hoping I don't have to break out the Koralia for more current across the left end of the tank. I got the Marsilea from Wasserpest and he didn't know which species he had. It seems to be more than one as some fronds are a lot smaller than others.

End view. I trimmed off all the damaged leaves I could find, pruned back the pennywort and attacked the BGA but didn't wipe down the tank panes. This shows 2 weeks worth of algae. My feeble excuse, poor otos and BNP need the biofilm on the panes. Hairgrass is looking fine, maybe it won't take 4 months to become a nice thick lawn, well grassy patches, this time.

No fish in the overflow box this week. When I turn the pumps back on the flow has been balanced right away, no fussing with ball valves. I don't know why it took a couple weeks for that to work out and seems to be fine now. I still won't leave the house for a couple hours after pumps are off/on just in case something goes wrong.

Had a little leak on the CO2 line. When the gas was off water backed up to the brass check valve and was bubbling out. Guessing when gas was on gas was bubbling out! A hint. Don't cut the CO2 line unless there is a check valve between the water and the cut when the tank pumps are running. Bad idea. So back to the reliable Dennerle check valve with locking tubing nuts. Would like to put another check valve back on as the Dennerle is 12 years old, maybe that box of hose clamps in the garage has a couple that are small enough.
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post #36 of 136 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 07:24 PM
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This setup is beautiful! Great work, I would love to see more pics!
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post #37 of 136 (permalink) Old 12-17-2012, 06:31 AM Thread Starter
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Really been enjoying the tank. Fish are happy and healthy. Water clear. Tank quiet. Plants mostly growing. Algae easy to deal with. Maintenance easy. Haven't started seeing those annoying scaping issues yet. Really liking these ADA NA bulbs. Plants are super green but fish color is okay and I don't have to mess with color balance when I edit the photos.

Very strange though. Just before I changed the water this week I kept hearing slurps at the overflow box. When I looked into the box there were 3 Corydoras. Suspect they were being frisky and liked the danger near the overflow box?

Got an early Christmas present, a fancy digital timer. http://coralvue.com/electronic-surge-protector/ DH had his doubts but it wasn't as big a pain to program as the single digital timer I had before. This one has 5 programmable outlets and each of those can go on and off 6 times a day plus there is a single regular outlet as well. It doesn't cost a lot less than a real controller but I suspect it is easier to use too. Right now I have the metal halides turning on 5 minutes apart so the power surge is lessened and the CO2 solenoid on it so have 2 more slots I could program if needed. Traded two power strips and 3 timers for one unit. Looks much neater not having those extra cords under the tank. After TWO ballasts failed just getting unplugged for a couple days when I moved into this tank I sure was concerned about the new timer working though. So far so good........

The Lindernia is starting to make a nice little patch.

The horror of melted Bolbitis. I don't know if rhizomes are branching or just sprouting new fronds from original rhizome ends.

Action shot of a female bristlenose pleco on zucchini. When she is on the zucchini all the fish stay away!

Middle of the tank with lots of Congo Tetras and platies. The single mystery stem behind the Blyxa japonica very abruptly hit some limit this week and is severely stunted.

Full tank shot. Kawagoeanum is peeking over the C. wendtii and the pennywort is just about right. I am having to wait on the Myriophyllum mattogrossense, sure hope it decides to stick around but I have bought another stem that might fill out the area nicely, Potamogeton gayi.

End tank shot. I bought Hygrophilia pinnatifia. Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides is starting to perk up but a lot way from being the weed it can be. The green substrate under the Marsilea is likely BGA. Why it is there and nowhere else I don't know.
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post #38 of 136 (permalink) Old 01-13-2013, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
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The Marsilea at the left side of the tank went bonkers this past month. I have never had it go nuts like this. My little java fern island is in danger of vanishing.

FTS before trim.

Full tank after trim. I removed about 2 quarts of pennywort and Marsilea leaves. The assorted stems in right center are starting to show up better finally. Going to have to do something about the poor Blyxa in the very front real soon.

It has been dry here. The cheap acrylic I am using to cover the tanks has been warping big time. I was wondering if it would warp enough to go in the tank! All I need to do is flip it over and it flattens in an hour and is fine for a couple days.
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post #39 of 136 (permalink) Old 01-19-2013, 03:14 PM
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post #40 of 136 (permalink) Old 01-19-2013, 04:30 PM
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Great tank. I love the naturalness of it all.
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post #41 of 136 (permalink) Old 01-19-2013, 05:43 PM
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Great looking setup!

I made the same mistake buying the cheapo thin plexiglass to use as a cover and its doing the same thing. I'm going to have to break down soon and buy glass tops. The evap that accumulates on the covers is blocking light to my new plants.
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post #42 of 136 (permalink) Old 01-20-2013, 02:15 AM
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One of my favs, Kathyy!! You have always done some really nice looking set ups, and this is no exception! The platys are genius....simple but eye-catching and compliment the scape great!
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post #43 of 136 (permalink) Old 01-20-2013, 11:56 AM
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Beautiful composition and setup! It looks so natural!

Quick question...you mentioned some clay in your substrate...is that a source of iron?

"Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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post #44 of 136 (permalink) Old 01-20-2013, 12:03 PM
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This is a beautiful tank! Looks amazingly natural! I would take a tank like this anyday!!
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post #45 of 136 (permalink) Old 01-20-2013, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all! This is my dream tank too. Fish seem to like it too. They aren't smashed up to the front with too much plant mass in the back - not yet at least. They like swimming through the wood and plants and I sure like the way the rocks work in there. Love using the drilled tank over the HOB overflow too. Water changes do take about 2 hours total but can I walk away during the draining and do other stuff and can just stay in the room with the tank while filling and do stuff.

Eh, $30 for tops that can be used elsewhere is fine. I would love to go open but it is sure nice not having jumpers. The Congos will bump the tops as is when flies come close, am sure they would go after bugs or get spooked and leave the tank.

The platies were more that I wanted orange fish because I have several glass paper weights that are shaped like plastic bags with orange fish in them! I just bought 3 strains I liked so the babies would be a bit different and I could tell them apart. They are lots of fun to watch unless a male gets too rude and really bothers a female. That is one reason for the floating pennywort, for some reason it is easier to hide in it than elsewhere in the tank. I didn't know that the orange/red/yellow/black would both blend and contrast with the plants that are in the tank!

The clay is the root tab matrix. I don't know if it has a lot of iron in the clay but I put iron powder in the mix. I just followed sewingalot's recipe. How to make DIY root fertilizer tablets with clay

The Marsilea has already grown over the cut stems and now the mini java fern is overwhelming its stump! Will cut that and attach elsewhere.

I have heard at least 3 slurps this morning. That usually means corydoras have gone over the edge. How they get through the mesh I don't know! Last week there were 2 in the overflow. Since there is a tall standpipe in there so it isn't super turbulent in there and some food gets in there they will be fine until the next water change.
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