55 Gallon Blackwater - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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55 Gallon Blackwater

I wanted something low-tech and since I've really enjoyed my 20 gal QT that turned into sort of a blackwater by accident, I thought I'd devote another tank to that style.
Tank specs:
55 gallon, back spray-painted black, temp will be kept in the low 80's
Filtration:
Cascade 1500, currently running new filter floss, old filter floss from the 20 gal and carbon. (Will be replacing the carbon with peat once the wood clears up).
Hardscape:
Pool filter sand, 2 large manzanita branches, couple of rocks and dried oak leaves
Flora:
Eventually looking to stock crypts (not sure which species), pennywort, duckweed, and possibly Hygrophilia angustifolia, Hygrophila difformis, or Aponogeton natans.
Fauna:
Currently 6 ramshorn snails and 10 green neons cycling; eventually (still deciding) 1 mated pair of german blue rams, marbled hatchets, and some eques and/or purple pencilfish.
Here it is right after set-up:


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Here it is currently, after adding oak leaves, snails and neons:


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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 05:47 PM
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looks great!

get some frogbit or something similar to help diffuse the light
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 06:01 PM
flc
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Absolutely my favorite kind of tank! Good luck keeping the Hatchets in the tank. :-)
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 06:55 PM
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yeah those hatchets are going to jump out for sure
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 06:56 PM
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I like the wood pieces.

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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Algae Beater View Post
looks great!

get some frogbit or something similar to help diffuse the light
I'm on top of it! I was planning to transfer some from my 33 gallon, but a bunch came with the aponogeton natans that I picked up today

I agree that I might lose my gamble with the hatchets. I'm hoping that floating plants will be enough deterrent but if they are dead set on carpet-surfing, I do have two fitting hinged glass tops that I can use. I might go that route anyways, just to cut down on evaporation.

I also picked up 6 Habrosus cories today and they are settling in nicely.

Thanks for all of the positive feedback!
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 11:59 PM
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great choice of cory
when are you gonna plant the tank
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 01:35 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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great choice of cory
when are you gonna plant the tank
Thanks, it was either them or the pygmy's but these guys seemed to stay on the substrate a little more. I actually added my first plant today (second if you count duckweed) but the tank definitely still looks a little bare. I can't decide if I want to use the abundant ferns, anubias and crypts that I have in other tanks or try something different. Since all I added for substrate was inert pool filter sand I feel like I am pretty limited as to what I can grow without a lot of additives.
If anyone has suggestions I would appreciate it!
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 02:34 AM
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anubias would be fine
don't over do it though, just put it here and there around the basis of the wood.
with crypts you can insert ferts tablet later into the sand

how thick is the sand there?
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 03:35 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ikuzo View Post
anubias would be fine
don't over do it though, just put it here and there around the basis of the wood.
with crypts you can insert ferts tablet later into the sand

how thick is the sand there?
I've never been crazy about the way that crypts and anubias look together, but they do seem like my two best options. The sand is 1-1.5" deep and I have a lot leftover.
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 04:36 AM
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That's a really great hardscape. Glad to see you using the height of the tank.

I've never had luck with hatchets when it comes to them being in tanks without cover. Not even floating plants have worked. If you can do glass tops, you should definitely consider it. Or at least some sort of mesh to prevent jumpers.

Really looking forward to see what you do with this once you decide upon plants.
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 01:31 PM
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Where did you get your manzanita branches? They lok awesome!

55 Gallon Planted

Fish
3 GBR, 2 Bolivian Rams, 1 Juvenile Super Red BN Plecos, 9 Oto Catfish, 9 Bloodfin Tetras
Plants
Rotala Indica, Cardamine, Crypt Spiralis, Pygmy Chain Swords, Dwarf Sag, Lutea Crypt, Wendtti Bronze and Red, and Floating Frogbit
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 05:58 PM
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Looks fantastic!
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 03:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks again for all of the input!
Cinbos, I bought the manzanita branches off a guy on [Ebay Link Removed] I am very happy with them, though I don't think that they were completely dried out when I received them because there is quite a big of fungus/mold growing on the wood.
I added more sand near the branch bases and some Heteranthera zosterifolia today to see what it would look like and I'm about 70% happy with it. The aponogeton natans on the far left looks goofy but the plant itself is so cool I think I'll keep it until I can move it to another tank.
If anyone has plant/scape suggestions I would love to hear them!
Here are some pictures of the tank after today, still a little cloudy from planting and the recent bacteria bloom.


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Neons enjoying the H. zosterifolia


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Finally got a picture of the cories


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Leaves of the aponogeton natans reaching the surface


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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-14-2012, 02:30 AM Thread Starter
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A. natans blossoming


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