Since I posted the original pics and description, there have been a few changes. The biggest change was adding a DIY reactor for the CO2 injection.
The DIY reactor:
The reactor is based off of Rex's type of reactor with a few of my own personal mods. I included a cap at the bottom ( you can barely see it ) where it can be opened up and bio balls can be inserted or the reactor can be cleaned out. I chose not to add bioballs based on the information that I have seen Rex post. To be honest with you, at this time I don't really see a need. I am getting some gas build up because I am pumping in about 3 bps into the reactor, but the gurgling sound is only noticeable when you open the cabinet and listen closely. So far, the growth with certain plants have been incredible.
As you will see further down in the tank shots, I have removed the powerhead from the tank. This was my original method of diffusion. I used either a ceramic diffuser or a limewood airstone to produce fine bubbles that I had sitting directly under a powerhead. The result was misting CO2 bubbles everywhere in the tank. I personally didn't like the fact that I had the equipment in the tank for this, nor did I like the microbuble misting effect. I was getting plants to pearl within about 6 hours whereas now I am getting plants to pearl in about 4 hours. I still have not purchased my drop checker for CO2 yet.
Here is a pic of the inside of the cabinet with the XP2 and the 10lb tank and regulator:
I went with an XP2 with the intention of upgrading to a 75 in the near future and just buying another XP2. If I do get a 75, I think I will add on an XP3. For those of you out there thinking about a canister filter for your tank that is in the 30 gallon range, I think the XP2 is the way to go. It is a perfect match. My flow rate is great, but I don't think it is too much. The only time that it appears to be a little too much is when the plants reach the output of the spraybar.
On to the pics:
Here is a full tank shot:
My Purple Cabomba is going absoluely nuts. I actually trimmed this last Thrsday (12/20/07) and it has basically almost doubled in size since then. Here are a couple more shots where I tried to focus the attenion on the Cabomba.
Five days ago, the cabomba on the right was the same height as the Rotala Magenta right next to it.
These were clippings that I replanted from the center of the tank to the darkest corner. When I planted these clippings, they were either less than half or exatly half the size that they are now. One thing that you might notice is the acutal stalk growth. I am not getting many new leaves on these plants, but the stalk growth is about an inch a day (seriously)! I am thinking about planting 1 inch cuttings using the tips only and seeing how quickly they grow over a 1 week period. I have a feeling that they would reach the top of the tank within two weeks or less.
I would actully like to grow this plant thicker rather than taller. If anyone has any suggestions (other than lighting) please let me know. My lighing option that might work based on a thread that I read might be to go from the coralife fixture to an AH Supply fixture. Don't want to spend the money right now.
I moved my sword (which is alive, very green, but not really growing) from the back wall to the middle of the tank. I have a feeling that I might have moved it a bit too much within the last few months and I think I stressed it. The GSA that had a very strong foothold on this plant is starting to disappear to the point that you would never have known that it was there. In the same following shot, you can see a very small wisteria plant in the very front. It must have broken off the main plant and taken root where it is. When the wisteria first started growing where it is, I thought that the glosso either had a problem or it was a mutant strain or something. For a couple of weeks I just called it the mystery plant. It is growing like a weed too. It isn't out of control, but I can see giving it away or selling it soon.
Here is a close up shot of a little Java Fern plant that I attached to a rock. The funny thing is that this is a plant that has been in my aquarium for literally years. At one time, I had a crayfish in the tank and it wound up decimating my plants. It had a real appetite for salad or something. I salvaged this little stub along with 3 others. It has basically grown to about 400 times what it was when I salvaged it.
Last week, I added some Broad Leafed Luigia (sp?) and some Rotalla wallichii that I picked up from a lfs. Both are doing well and I haven't had anything melt. The Wallichii has grown about an inch since last week. While the plant was in the store, almost all of the growth was redish brown in color. The new growth in my tank is pretty green. Anyone have any suggestions as to what to do to keep the red color?
Thanks for the suggestions on the camera guys. I think things have impreved a little. One of the things causing that green glare/overexposre on the bottom right hand shot of the earlier photos was dirt on the lense. I cleaned the lense and it made a real difference. I also cut my lighting in half for the photos (65W instead of 130W using the 10,000K bulb).
Phtography is probably my biggest weakpoint.
Both my wife and I are very satisfied with the way that the tank is looking. I have upped the dosing of phospate and the GSA algae is dissappearing. The high CO2 is driving off the other types of algae present, and my 8 hour photo period appears to be just the right amount of light to keep things in balance. I am dosing nitrates even though my bioload is high and my expensive Sera test kit is telling me that the tank is at 40 to 50 PPM. I am also adding K2SO4 beause I think that the other K sources aren't enough with the amount of light.
The only thing I need now is for my carpet to grow in.