Bashes first planted 55 gallon journal - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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Bashes first planted 55 gallon journal

Hi everyone. I have been in this hobby for 30 years, but only recently came back into it after stepping away from it for the past 9-10 years. I have four children and all my spare time was needed for their activities and making sure they had their needs met. My oldest just graduated with his Masters from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland while my youngest is now a Junior in High School. Needless to say, time now allows for me dedicate the time for an aquarium. I've kept just about every freshwater species and was breeding and selling Tropheus wholesale for about 6 years back in the 90's. I have also kept big saltwater tanks with beautiful Navarchus and French angels, as well as reef tanks. The one thing I have never had in this hobby is a planted tank. So I decided to jump in head first and go high tech with my first planted aquarium. Not knowing exactly how much time I would have, I decided to stay on the smaller size with a 55 gallon. I like the size but I am finding the 13" width to be a real challenge to work with, and also for creating a sense of depth.

When I started this aquarium back in January, my filters had already been cycled from another tank. I also started with some of the easier plants such as wisteria and dwarf sag. Now I am finding that I crave the harder and more exotic species. This week I have 3 small plant orders coming in. These plants will replace the wisteria, dwarft sag, a coupe of crypts, etc. I have on the way some Mayaca fluv, Hydrotriche hottoniiflora, Heteranthera zosterfolia, Blyxa japonica, Ranunculus inundatus, Ludiwgia inclinata sp. 'cuba", Limnophilia Aromatic, and some Taiwan moss (for tying on the Manzanita branch). I don't know where I am going to put all this and am starting to think I should have rolled out the 220 gallon. Chances are I will also be pulling out the red tiger lotus and corkscrew val. The HC carpet and Glosso, along with some Rotala Indica, Ludwigia peruensis and perhaps the Amazon sword are about the only things that will stay.

Below are my tank specs as they are currently as are the pictures. However, this is going to be "work in progress" for a while until I get the plants and look I want. The pictures below were taken today. The tank is stable and doing well. I will post some updated pictures after all the new plants arrive and I get them planted.

With this said, there will likely be a generous ROAK later this week with some Rotala indica, Wisteria, Dwarf Sag, Bacopa monnieri, corkscrew val, Crypts, and maybe some others up for grabs, so stay tuned.

Size 55 Gallon

Date Started

Catalina Aquarium 3 x 54W T5 HO 2 x 6500K and 1 x Plant Grow (5000k?) 3-4" above tank.

Fluval 306 w/skimmer and DiY Spraybar, Rena Filstar XP S with inline 150W heater and inline 10 W UV Sterilizer. Periodic polishing with H.O.T. Magnum and micron filter.

Pressurized Co2. 10 Lb Tank. Regulator custom made dual stage by TPT Member Bettatail.

100 pounds of Eco-Complete

Temp 76, gh 5, kh 5, ph 6.8

EI dosing using the Macro/Micro ferts from GLA. Daily dose of Seachem Excel. Osmocote+ root tabs.

Wisteria, Dwarf Sag, HC, Glosso, Rotala Indica, Crypt Wendtii, Crypt Parva, Ludwigia Peruensis, Heteranthera Stargrass, Amazon Sword, Corkscrew Val, and a Red Tiger Lotus.

14 Neon Tetras, 8 Rummy Nose Tetras, 9 Rasboras Espei, 5 Otocinclus, 2 Albino Corys, 2 Cory Bilineatus, 1 GBR, 1 SAE, 5 Amano Shrimp and 5 Nerite Snails.

This is my first planted aquarium. Have kept African Cichlids, Saltwater Angels and Reef tanks, but never plants. I love the color and contrast of the planted tank. Lights, CO2, and UV all on timers. Photoperiod 8.5 hours per day. CO2 On/Off half hour before lights. Still not happy with the scape. Hopefully the new plants coming this week (2/25/13) will be an improvement.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 12:22 AM
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Very nice tank. In my opinion get rid of that dwarf sag it took over my tank too hard to control. Is that rosefolia behind the driftwood?
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 12:26 AM
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Bashes first planted 55 gallon journal

Very nice

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JaysTanks View Post
Is that rosefolia behind the driftwood?

No, it is Ludwigia peruensis. Yes, the dwarf sag is being replaced with some Blyxa japonica this week. At least most of it is.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-27-2013, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Need to start working on the tank tonight. Received my order of Limnophilia Aromatica and Ludwigia inclinata 'cuba' today. Monday my Hydrotriche hottoniiflora, Mayaca fluviatilis, Heteranthera zosterfolia and Taiwan moss arrived. Just waiting for my 5 stems of Blyxa japonica and 3 stems of Ranunculus inundatus to be delivered tomorrow.

I'm ditching my easier starter plants like the wisteria and dwarf sag. They look nice but grow too fast with high light and CO2. They quickly overgrow the tank. Also pulling the Bacopa, Red Tiger Lotus, crypt wendeti, crypt undulata and crypt parva. Still debating on the Amazon sword.

Just need to figure out where everything should be planted for the best "curb appeal". Any advice would be appreciated and welcomed.

As far as the old plants, watch for an ROAK sometime later this week.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-27-2013, 10:26 PM
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Tank looks good. Thanks for the advice on my filter selection! Would love to pick up the old plants!
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 12:49 AM
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Great looking tank.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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Picked up a brand new 75 gallon today for $75 which I will swap for the 55. The lack of depth in the 55 gallon really made it difficult to scape the way I wanted it to look.

I just hope my 3 x 54W T5HO Catalina Aquarium light fixture will put enough light on the front of the tank where my HC and Glosso will be placed. I don't expect it to be an issue.

Guess I know what I will be doing this weekend....
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 05:11 AM
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Not bad at all, I actually like the scape, especially the lotus/h. diformis contrast. Looking forward to the 75G replacement tank with the new plants.

One comment: you might want to check the temperature ranges for your fish. The majority of the fish on your list might do better at high 70's low 80's.

Keep the pictures coming!

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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It's going to be a long day.....I took the day off from work and started the tear down this morning. (I'm swapping from the 55 to a new 75 gallon). My wife added to the workload though and wants me to paint the wall behind the aquarium as though I didn't have my hands full already. I guess she makes a good point. Our house is only 5 months old and we have the cruddy builders flat white paint everywhere. I'm sure in the long run I will be glad I did as it would suck even more to tear down an established tank just to paint.

Also going to to take this opportunity to reinforce my cheap Petsmart particle board stand by adding solid wood braces on the sides, top and bottom. Its rated to hold the weight, but I will feel much better about it.

New tank should hopefully be up and running by tomorrow night. Fish, shrimp, nerite snails and plants will be housed in my 37 gallon cube with tank water and established filters until their new home is ready.

Got the new tank background painted black last night and final coat this morning. Heading off to Home Depot for a few 90 degree braces for the stand reinforcements and painting supplies .
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 04:40 PM
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Thats a nice looking aquarium! Good luck on the swap out. It recently took me ~6 hours to swap out a planted 55.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 04:29 AM Thread Starter
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Ugh, what a long day. Got all my fish and shrimp transferred to a temporary 37 gallon with the canister filters. Reinforced my cheap Petsmart stand by adding 4 additional cross braces on the bottom, and a total of 8 addition support braces hidden inside the cabinets. Reinforced the bottom inside the cabinets and also ran some additional pieces to help better support the top. Overall it turned out well. Even though it was already rated to handle a 75 gallon, I just felt the quality of the stand was an issue and something that would be in the back of my mind. Now that it has been retrofitted this thing will have no issues handling a 75. Now I almost wish I bought that 90 gallon instead....

Found out my "Flip Top" legs on my Catalina Aquarium light will not fit the rim of the 75 gallon. Just when I thought I was getting by cheap on this upgrade. Had to order their regular legs for $20 + $10 shipping. Oh well.

Anyways, I also got the wall behind the tank painted. Scratch another thing off the "honey do" list, although I'm sure my wife will have me painting the rest of my man cave tomorrow or Sunday.

The only thing remaining is the fun part, which is setting up the new 75, scape it, and add the fish. That will have to wait until morning though.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 04:35 AM
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The 55 looked great, I can't wait to see the 75!

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 04:53 AM
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Can't wait to see your new setup.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-07-2013, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Well I got my 75 gallon set up this past weekend. Had to reinforce my cheap Petsmart stand, which was rated for a 75 gallon already. But now this thing can support four 75 gallon aquariums!!! As we head into this coming weekend, sadly I will be tearing down the 75 gallon already to replace it, with yet another 75 gallon. I didn't notice that my new tank had a small 2" (barely noticeable hairline) scratch on the side I picked to be the front (it also has 2 4" long barely noticeable hairline scratches on one end). It had to come that way since I blanket wrapped this thing and treated it with white gloves. I know for a fact I didn't cause that scratch. Bad news is I painted the back and sloped Eco-Complete against the back, so I am guessing it it may now be scratched not to mention the time needed to remove the paint. My LFS that I purchased it from just got another shipment of brand new shiny 75 gallon tanks yesterday, fresh from the distributor. They sell them for $75 so it's not a ton of money, but I shouldn't have to pay twice for one aquarium without scratches. I guess there is always Craigslist to sell the first one. I'm just bummed because I hate stressing the plants and breaking stems when I replant them, not to mention I just spent an entire weekend setting this up. It also ticks me off that I was sold a scratched aquarium and now need to take a loss and buy another one. The scratches are barely noticeable and my wife and kids think I'm crazy for doing this. But I know they are there and it bugs the tar out of me!!! Obviously they don't understand the passion we have for our planted tanks. Had I bought this on CL or used, I would expect a scratch or two. But buying something brand new you expect it to be in perfect condition. Either way, this weekend will be spent swapping out my brand new 75 gallon with yet another brand new (and hopefully scratch free) 75 gallon!!!!

Oh, and the scratches are on the outside of the aquarium, further adding to my suspicion that it was sold to me that way.

Last edited by Dx3Bash; 03-07-2013 at 08:43 PM. Reason: typo
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