This setup lost to BBA so I took an opportunity to redo the entire thing.
***I will be updating this first post with my progress / all the pictures***
Most Recent Pic:
This is my first attempt at a real planted tank. I have a low tech 29 gallon that is doing very well but I am looking to go all out with a high tech setup in a big ol 75 gallon and see if I can make something gorgeous. I am hoping that this is not too much for me to handle but I'm trying my best to be smart about it.
Learning from all of my research has made me GREATLY appreciate those of you who took time to keep detailed journals on how you accomplished great tanks so I will try to do the same. If this journal one day helps someone model a great looking tank I will be happy.
- 75 Gallon tank
- Apex Controller (with pH / temp probes)
- 2 x Eheim 2217 canisters
- 5 lb CO2 tank (controlled by Apex)
- 24" Cerges reactor inline with one of the 2217 cans
Catalina 3 x 54w T5HO light fuxture
- 2 x Build My LED Dutch XB
- 1" MGOCPM / RedArt clay capped with old EcoComplete
Hemianthus Callitrichoides Cuba (HC / Dwarf Baby Tears)
- Dwarf Hair Grass Sp. Belem (DHG Belem)
Rotala Rotundifolia / Vietnam
Anubias Nana Petite
- Crypt Wendtii Red
- Ludwigia Red / Repens
- Eichornia Diversifolia
- Alternanthera Reineckii (Rosaefolia)
Tank Prep / Dirt:
- 17-ish rummynose tetras
- 1 black skirt tetra that I'm too lazy to get out of there (he's fast)
Dry Start Technique:
- Bought like 4 bags of MGOCPM (MiracleGro Organic Choice Potting Mix)
- Bought a few pounds of RedArt pottery clay (has like 7% iron) from some random pottery lady by where I work
- Sifted out the larger chunks of stuff that comes in the mix
- Soaked / dried it once (huge PITA if you ask me - NH is not a warm area and it rained for like 3 weeks in a row when I was trying to dry it out) and then said "screw that" because I was planning on dry start and have read that DSM will mineralize your soil throughout the process. Not planning on adding fish for a long time anyways...
- Mixed my dry dirt with some of the clay and soaked it so it was a thick mud
- Cut some strips of egg crate and laid it down along the borders of the tank
- Filled the sides up with EcoComplete so that I would have a nice even border on the outside of the tank
- Sprinkled some potassium chloride (same as that muriate of potash stuff) and some dolomite on the glass bottom
- Laid out my dirt bottom - about an inch or so thick (slightly less)
- Capped it with a generous amount of EcoComplete and sloped it so it was a good inch or two higher in the back. Probably 1" in the front to 2.5" in the back
- Filled with water to be JUST under the lowest part of EcoComplete. No puddles anywhere
- Bought some HC (Dwarf Baby Tears) and planted a bunch of plugs across the whole front half of the tank
- I buried little chunks (kept the roots sticking down with a little of the foam padding) and buried it as deep as I could get it so they are under the water level
- Plant HC for dry start method
Right now I'm waiting for my HC to either grow or die (preferably grow). I think I screwed up when I planted it though. First I think I bought WAY more than I needed which kind of defeats the point of DSM but whatever. Second I think I should have planted more in the back of the tank but I left it open because I want to put down some legit driftwood and perhaps some nice midground plants. In time it should work out though... (hopefully)
Finished the plumbing for my cerges reactor so I decided to hook up my CO2 regulator and give it a test in a spare 10 gallon tank. Definitely want to make sure everything works before I fill the 75 gal... It runs great (no leaks / is silent) but a few tiny bubbles come out the bottom and into the spray bar so I am going to put some pot scrubbers inside my cerges to trap anything that manages to get through. Here is where its at right now (the second picture that has all the bubbles is before I hooked up the CO2 and the bubbles are from the system puking out any air right after I started it):
Some mold started to grow on some of my plants and I have been quite disappointed with the amount of growth that I've seen. So I decided to screw it and just fill the tank today. Some of my HC is looking great, other parts are browning and don't seem to be doing so hot. I will let the carpet form submersed from now on. Hoping for as little die-off as possible in the next few weeks...
I cranked up the CO2 injection right off the bat and am sitting here waiting for my drop checker to turn yellow. Also added a hefty initial dose of excel hoping that I can deter algae. Will also be doing a few major water changes in the next few days.
Most of my plants are in now - some are doing great while others don't seem to be doing so hot. I have some white wispy looking stuff on quite a bit of plants which is NOT COOL. Not sure if it's algae or something related to the new tank?? I have posted about this later in the log. For now here is a current pic:
Actually figured I would upload this thing. TOTALLY failed on posting progress for the past few months. I will only post pics of the current setup in this part from here on out. Descriptions of my journey if I feel like taking the time to type that crap out will be in later posts. My garbage camera does not do this tank justice. Whatever though