"In the Beginning" - a beginner's 38-gal. low-tech journey - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 04:24 PM
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The 2nd picture if inspiration, which I have seen, has Co2 injected.

I believe the cheapest place to get a T5NO 36in is at Pet Blvd. At pet blvd the brand is coralife. At pet smart it is aqueon brand.

I found that the pool filter sand from a pool company is better than the pool filter sand from Home Depot. For it did not create a dust storm and was whiter.
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post #17 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 04:53 AM Thread Starter
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Post Day 5

I haven't figured out a way to boil the driftwood. It's far too large for any pot I have. In the meantime, I've got it soaking in a large rubbermaid bin. I used scalding hot water to start, so hopefully that at least did something :-/

A bonus -- apparently I have self-sinking driftwood. It went right to the bottom.

Ammonia is still around 6.5. I'm torn between continuing the water changes to get it to the 5ppm range or letting it ride.

I'm trying not to get impatient about the cycle and the fauna by focusing on the flora. This weekend I hope to upgrade the light. I want to get java fern, windelov's fern, anubias, and java moss attached to the driftwood and get it settled in the tank.

As a side note, I'm eyeballing the 6.6 gallon bookshelf tank at PetCo...
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post #18 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 04:59 AM Thread Starter
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Post Day 5

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Originally Posted by mitchfish9 View Post
You could probably do a decent carpet of dwarf sag. The tanks looking great i cant wait to see it in a few weeks
Thanks, Mitch. I took a look at your tank, looks great!

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The 2nd picture if inspiration, which I have seen, has Co2 injected.
I was more referring to the layout then the plants. I know I'm limited, plant-wise, but I'll make do.

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I believe the cheapest place to get a T5NO 36in is at Pet Blvd. At pet blvd the brand is coralife. At pet smart it is aqueon brand.
That is cheaper than what I found at Petsmart! Thanks for the link.
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post #19 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 03:30 PM
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I haven't figured out a way to boil the driftwood.
I read some bake it.
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Ammonia is still around 6.5. I'm torn between continuing the water changes to get it to the 5ppm range or letting it ride.
Plant it heavily and it will speed the cycling.
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post #20 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Hilde: I've been looking at the light you suggested. Aqualight T5 Double Strip 36" Colormax/Plant Bulb I don't really understand the color spectrum aspect and the site doesn't specify the wattage. Would this light be sufficient for a 38 gallon tank? I'm hoping to get 1.5-2 wpg. Please excuse my ignorance.
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post #21 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 12:51 AM
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Aqualight T5 Double Strip 36" Colormax/Plant Bulb I don't really understand the color spectrum aspect and the site doesn't specify the wattage. Would this light be sufficient for a 38 gallon tank? I'm hoping to get 1.5-2 wpg. Please excuse my ignorance.
T5 Double Linear Strip 36in. (2x21) 42 Watt

Here is a thread that will help you to understand more on lights. Weather it will give you enough light depends on the plants you get. It provides medium light.

The wpg rule only applies to T8 and T12 bulbs.

I still don't understand all of terms used to explain the lights. I just like the coralife light strip for the bulbs go to the end of the fixture, which the T8's I use don't. Thus no shadows at the end of the tank and the plants grow up not towards the middle.
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post #22 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 04:55 AM Thread Starter
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Post Day 6

I checked the plant selection at a few stores in the area; it's pretty dismal. It looks like I'll be doing most of my plant shopping online.

I spent the evening trying to plan out what I'll need -- lots of java fern (windelov and regular), several petite anubias, a healthy supply of moss (I kind of like the weeping variety), one large sword, a selection of crypts, some Brazilian pennywort, dwarf sagittaria, and maybe a crinum calimistratum.

I can't decide on a background plant. Vals seem the obvious choice, but they often come across as unkempt, imho.

Ammonia - still 6.5
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post #23 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 02:05 PM
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It looks like I'll be doing most of my plant shopping online.

Plants - java fern, petite anubias, moss, large sword, crypts, Vals, Brazilian pennywort, dwarf sags, and crinum calimistratum.
Brazilian pennywort, dwarf sags, and crinum calimistratum need Co2 replacement like Seachem excel. Vals and moss are sensitive to the excel. Thus you would have to do DIY Co2 for that group. More info in the DIY section. I think the amazon sword would eventually out grow your tank. They grow massive roots. The crypts will need root tabs. You can make them with oscomote house fert or buy some at LNT.com

Can you get some stem plants like wisteria locally? That would help pull you ammonia down. Buying plants is risky now that it is getting cold. The anubias I know ships okay in this weather. Might want to post an add at this form for plants from member in VA.
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post #24 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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Brazilian pennywort, dwarf sags, and crinum calimistratum need Co2 replacement like Seachem excel. Vals and moss are sensitive to the excel. Thus you would have to do DIY Co2 for that group.
I found those plants listed as low to medium light / low tech in a couple of threads. I know they are riskier than the java fern, anubias, etc, but think I'll take the risk. Honestly, I wouldn't have the patience to learn DIY Co2. Just testing water parameters is tedious. If the plants don't work, then I'll just have to figure something else out.

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Can you get some stem plants like wisteria locally? That would help pull you ammonia down.
There are a couple of sources for stem plants locally. I've had really poor experiences with stem plants in the past and so I'm a little biased against them. Granted, in the past, I naively tried to grow them in gravel under <1 wpg with the stock light fixture.

I thought about using stem plants just to boost the cycle, but I am fairly certain that I'd want to remove them when the cycle is over. Wouldn't that cause a spike in the ammonia? I assumed that the bacteria wouldn't have developed enough to handle the ammonia without the added benefit of the stem plants?

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Buying plants is risky now that it is getting cold. The anubias I know ships okay in this weather. Might want to post an add at this form for plants from member in VA.
I will look into placing an ad, thanks for the idea. I may also ask some of the local stores if they might be able to order plants specifically for me.

I really appreciate all the feedback and time you're putting into my little tank.
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post #25 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 05:16 PM
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I found those plants listed as low to medium light / low tech in a couple of threads. I wouldn't have the patience to learn DIY Co2. I've had really poor experiences with stem plants in the past and so I'm a little biased against them.

I thought about using stem plants just to boost the cycle, but I am fairly certain that I'd want to remove them when the cycle is over. Wouldn't that cause a spike in the ammonia?
Yes, they are low to medium light plants. Good that you researched first. I bought stem plants when I started and regretted it. Oh, I forgot another thing you can do is change 30% water every 2wks. This replaces the Co2. Co2 is naturally in the water but is low and dissipates.

Floating plants would probably be better for you. Like Anacharis, Water sprite, and Hornwort to speed up the cycle. Others have removed plants after the cycling was finished and didn't have an ammonia spike. Here more info on ways to cycle an aquarium
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post #26 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 05:43 PM
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Very nice!

Chrisinator's Aquatic Project Journal
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post #27 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-15-2012, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
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Talking Day 9

I've been really sick and out of commission for a few days. The one positive thing is that it's taken my mind off of the fishless cycling and curbed my growing impatience. My reward... progress!

Ammonia - 3ppm
Nitrites - 3ppm
Nitrates - 4ppm

For some reason, I find it very challenging to guesstimate test results based on the little card that comes with the Master Test Kit. Hopefully these results make sense, 9 days into a seeded, fishless cycle.
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post #28 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-16-2012, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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Post Day 10

I think I've finally settled on a light: Deep Blue Solarmax T5 Double Strip 36"

I also have my hardscape in place. I still need to get a background for the tank. It's hard to tell, but the driftwood is actually one large piece and two smaller pieces. There are a few natural caves created by their placement.

Since the tank is already set up, it's too late to paint the back. I know that I want the background to be black, so I just have to choose the best way to accomplish that.

I found an LFS who can do a plant order for me, so now I need to pin down exactly what I want. In the meantime, I grabbed four potted Anubias barteri.
I also have my eye on what I believe is Crinum Calimistratum and I'll probably return for that tomorrow. I've seen this listed as both a high light and a low light plant, so I'll be taking a chance.

Any thoughts on the layout/plan?
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post #29 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-16-2012, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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Oh. Something I should have noticed and fixed before posting the photo -- level out the substrate in the front of the tank.
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post #30 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-18-2012, 03:51 AM Thread Starter
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Post Day 11

I finally chose a light. I'm still not sure it's the right choice, but a decision had to be made. I got the Deep Blue Solarmax T5 Double Strip 36" and it has brightened up my tank quite a bit.

I also purchased what I thought was Crinum calamistratum. However, there isn't a bulb. After doing some research, I think it may be Echinodorus angustifolius 'Vesuvius.' That actually would be better, as it seems like a less demanding plant than Crinum calamistratum would be.

Added 1 tsp. pure ammonia to keep the fishless cycle moving along.

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