Big Brother and Little Sister's 55gal - The Planted Tank Forum

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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-01-2006, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Big Brother and Little Sister's 55gal

I've posted before about how I've been helping my sister maintain a planted tank. Basically, she does water changes and feeds the fish, and when I'm home from school, I maintain the plants. Well, she's been good lately, so I figured I'd get her a present:



When I say she's been good lately, I mean things are going great with the tank. Its been three weeks since I have been home, which means things havent been messed with for three+ weeks, and things are growing in so nicely. The amazon swords are finally rooting enough that the pleco cannot uproot them. Aside from a slight snail problem, a tiny bit of residual hair algae, and a HUGE duckweed problem, things are going good. I was able to scoop out enough duckweed to create a solid sheet on my turtle's 75gallon tank, cover half of my brother's 55, and still have about half of her tank covered in it.


Not three weeks ago, these were only a few straggly stems and leaves. Now, its a tight, compact grouping of stems and leaves and looks so much better. Its twin (seperated at birth) is also doing as well.


The amazon sword forest is coming into maturity and filling in nicely.





And theres some full tank shots. Please note that I left my camera at the house in Lansing, so I was using our old Sony .5MP camera. Next weekend I'll try and snap some better photos.

And now for the future plans:

My sister and dad are changing rooms (her bedroom for his office) sometime in the coming months. At that time, I'm likely going to change substrates to flourite, simply for appearances. We have been successful with pea gravel, but it simply isnt that aestetically pleasing in my mind. But it was cheap and at the time thats all that really mattered. Also, the tank will hopefully be a penninsula tank, with one short side against the wall (with the HOT magnum canister filter, heater, and electrical all going down that side) and it will be viewable on the three other sides.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-01-2006, 01:01 AM
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Your tank looks great. What type of lights are you using? and are you using Co2?

55 Gallon FOWLR Saltwater Tank

2.5 Gallon Pico Reef

Two Bettas
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-01-2006, 01:23 AM
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Damn!! Even the gravel is pearling!!! Very nice tank.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-01-2006, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perfectblue
Your tank looks great. What type of lights are you using? and are you using Co2?
The lighting is just a $10 fixture from Home Depot with two 40W "Day Light" Flourescent bulbs. I'm thinking of getting another tomorrow. As of now, no CO2 but I'm back from school for the weekend and am thinking about setting up a two bottle system. But as of now, pretty low maintenence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bastalker
Damn!! Even the gravel is pearling!!! Very nice tank.
Thanks, though nothing is pearling :p I think its just the crappy camera playing tricks again.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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I did some minor rearranging and I split up one of the giant crypt lutea plants. I got about 10 decent sized plants from it after I split it up. I also gave one of the sword plants to my brother's oscar tank, along with a small bunch of the crypt lutea. His tank could use it :p

The biggest change however was collecting a piece of driftwood that had washed up from Lake St. Clair, pouring boiling water over it several times, and then weighting it down after tieing some java moss and java ferns to it Looks very cool in the tank.


This is Mr. Big, our 8-10" common pleco. I've had him for quite a while, he lived with a Frontosa before the frontosa passed away and we changed the tank over to a planted tank (the frontosa and pleco were rescues so its surprising the pleco is still around). He loves hiding in the amazon swords, and often times, we get worried that he died, because we dont see him out.


Here's the angels They havent laid eggs in a while, though I believe both are female. They used to lay eggs pretty regularly, but now they just look cool in the tank.


A neat macro of the cory cats, er rather, just one of the 5. Most of the time they are schooling, but when the camera comes near, they run and I'll take what I can get.


I tied the java moss to the driftwood with fishing line, hopefully in a few weeks I can remove it and the java moss/ferns will have attached. Oddly enough, the java moss is exploding in growth. I got a few little sprigs from my girlfriend, but they started growing out of control, so I controlled them :p


And here's a full tank for comparison to before The piece of driftwood, coupled with the fact that I removed an amazon sword plant to open up the right side a bit I think really helped the overall aestetic of the tank. There's also some stargrass (zosterfolia) planted (and some floating) to grow in just to the right of the sword plants. I'll likely keep it trimmed and try to make it somewhat of a ground cover.

Overall, I'm very pleased with how the tank is progressing. A very low-tech and, as such, low growth, setup. I like it that way, considering I'm away at school most of the time, and dont want to burden my family with trimming plants. I once thought of setting up a 2-4 bottle DIY CO2 setup, but that would mostly be just because I could, not because its necessary.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-10-2006, 12:00 AM
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Looks nice and nice piece of wood.

how large are the angels?

55g - 3 Echinodorus bleheri 18"+ each, Hygrophila polysperma 'Rosanervig', Hygrophila difformis, Anubias gracilis 18"+, Cyptocoryne Wendtii, red, brown & green, willisii x lucens
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-10-2006, 03:31 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clayton
Looks nice and nice piece of wood.

how large are the angels?
Nose to tail - about 3-3.5". Top to bottom - about 5-5.5". Thats just a guestimate (I'm not sure the proper way to measure an angel :p)

And that "piece" of wood is actually 4 different pieces. They fit together nicely, but having seperate pieces has allowed greater freedom in aquascaping, and it makes trimming plants easier, because the smaller pieces can be removed individually.

Thanks for the compliments. I'm looking forward to going to school for a few weeks and coming home to see things grown in even more.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-10-2006, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tekknoschtev
Nose to tail - about 3-3.5". Top to bottom - about 5-5.5". Thats just a guestimate (I'm not sure the proper way to measure an angel :p)

And that "piece" of wood is actually 4 different pieces. They fit together nicely, but having seperate pieces has allowed greater freedom in aquascaping, and it makes trimming plants easier, because the smaller pieces can be removed individually.

Thanks for the compliments. I'm looking forward to going to school for a few weeks and coming home to see things grown in even more.
I used to have a bunch of pieces of wood in my tank put together but since I got a erally nice pice it's the only one in there.

55g - 3 Echinodorus bleheri 18"+ each, Hygrophila polysperma 'Rosanervig', Hygrophila difformis, Anubias gracilis 18"+, Cyptocoryne Wendtii, red, brown & green, willisii x lucens
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-19-2006, 02:45 AM Thread Starter
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I need to get more light on this tank - or figure out my camera more, because even when I use the tripod, the fish move too quickly to come out clear. At any rate, more pictures and updates


I pulled apart one of my Crypt lutea plants a few weekends ago and got about 12 plants out of it. The majority of them were planted back in the same area, just spread out more in order to fill the area in more; some of them however did end up in my brother's oscar tank where they were promptly uprooted by those #*(&#! fish.


I was worried about this plant for a while after we put it in the tank, however, it seems to be growing in nicely and resisting the snails. All of the holes in the leaves have healed over, and the growth of the plant is much more dense


The pleco (Mr. Big) likes to uproot plants that he doesnt like, but he's left these few sprigs of zosterfolia planted. The other half of the sprigs he uprooted and I got sick of replanting - they are now growing out floating - I dont mind, they seem to grow better, perhaps due to the fact that its 1-2" from the light.


The java moss is finally attaching to the driftwood and spreading quickly - theres some java ferns mounted there as well, but they are growing slower.


And finish it off with a full tank shot.

For a tank that has less than 1.5wpg, no ferts ever, no CO2, weekly or biweekly water changes at best, overstocked by pretty much all standards, etc, its doing pretty well. The plants grow at a pace that keeps them in check without weekly prunings (which I've done in a higher light tank with ferts) which is nice for a tank I manage remotely or on weekends that I'm home.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-26-2006, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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Today my girlfriend and I attacked the hair algae, snails, and duckweed growing in the tank, and I figured out why the tank looked so dimm. I replaced a burnt out bulb with a more "blue" bulb (the name evades me at the moment) and the tank looks absolutely stunning - I couldnt help but snap some photos.













I'm incredibly happy with how things are going in the tank and they're filling in nicely. I thought about getting a second light fixture this afternoon - bumping to total watts up to 160 - but refrained, because its a case of "if it aint broke, dont fix it".
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-28-2006, 03:00 AM
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Nice looking tank. If you're going for flourite, can I convince you to buy an extra bag of soilmaster select I've got? Just PM me, I'm on the east side of Detroit just minutes for St. Clair.

"What we do in life, echoes in eternity." - Gladiator

If I could harness the power of the sun, I'd focus it on my plants and watch them grow.
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-23-2006, 03:02 AM Thread Starter
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Its been a while since this got updated, and its amazing how things have grown in since then. I've been fighting the snails every weekend that I'm home - last weekend, I removed probably between 2-300 snails, and it definately made a difference. Still a ton to go, but much better.


Crypt lutea I guess more commonly known as Crypt walkeri? Whatver, its a very cool plant, and as it grows, its pretty easy to split it apart into TONS of littler plants. The one on the right of the photo has remained untouched since planted a long time ago, and its root system is pretty intricate. The one on the left has been split several times, and I've made several cuttings from it to spread around the tank and for my brother's oscar tank.


This thing is pretty danged cool too. I'm glad it hasnt started growing upwards and getting the larger leaves. It'll be hacked to pieces when it starts doing so though in order to keep the tight small growth going.


Just keeps growing growing growing. So far, it seems to want to grow horizontally, which is great, but I know its a stem plant and eventually will start growing vertically, at which point I'll probably trim it down like I mow the grass. :p


And here's a full tank shot to finish it off again.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-06-2006, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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I came home from college for the weekend to this!


After simply removing the layer of duckweed and the mass amount of hornwort, it looked like this.

I only need this thread to show the growth of this tank to realize that I love it! The crypt walkeri is quickly outgrowing its spot (and it has three spots) so I'm probably going to be trimming that, as well as some of the anubias and stargrass in the near future.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-06-2006, 04:24 PM
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looks great! How did you get rid of all of the hair alge I saw in all of the earlier pictures?


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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-06-2006, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fresh_newby
looks great! How did you get rid of all of the hair alge I saw in all of the earlier pictures?
Um... I don't know. Perhaps the hornwort growing out of control is starving it? Or maybe theres just too many plants to see the hair algae? I really have no idea.
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