My 3 Tanks: 135g, 55g, 20g. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-11-2015, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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My 3 Tanks: 135g, 55g, 20g.

This will focus mainly on my newly setup 135 Gallon tank, but I will also post some pics showing the progress of my more established tanks.

Around a month ago I was able to pick up the 125g stand and all accessories from PetCo for $150 flat after a huge discount when someone broke the tank that was supposed to go with the set, and have been keeping my eye out for a large tank to go with it since. I was able to pick up a 135g tank with all sorts of rocks, heaters, pumps and so on for $200 a bit over a week ago now and have spent the past week getting things how I want them.

Substrate: 80 Pounds of Safe-T-Sorb
Cap: 60 Pounds of Black Diamond Blasting Abrasive
Filter: SunSun HW-404B
Media: Bio Balls, Ceramic Rings, Growstone, and Purigen
Light Fixture: 72"-82" LED Light 288 PCS: 264x cool white 10000K & 24x 460nm Actinic
Additives: Flourish, Flourish Excel, Flourish Trace
Heater: Eheim Jager 300w

Freshly received tank on the stand.

Layout complete.

Filled with water, and first batch of plants added.

More of the plants added. Glosso, DHG, Cardinal, and Sword.

Almost finished with the plants.

Finished left side.

Finished right side.

I plan to add moss onto the two trees, but have not decided the type yet.

Video showing the 135g and 55g

Last edited by Halaster; 05-11-2015 at 06:05 PM. Reason: Added video.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-11-2015, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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This is my 55 Gallon. I started it July of last year, so as of right now it is 10 months old.

Substrate: Custom mix of Organic Miracle grow potting soil and clay.
Cap: River stones, sand, gravel.
Filter: Fluval U4
Weekly water change: 10% to 20% every 2 weeks.
Heater: ViaAqua 200w
Light Fixture: Aqueon 48" LED w/1 Colormax & 2 Day Bulbs
Additives: Flourish Excel, though very rarely.
Fish: 5 Electric Blue Acara, 5 Bloodfin Tetra, 5 Rummynose Tetra, 2 Bristlenose Pleco, 3 Corydora. Also temporarily housing a female Green Terror, and a Convict.

Setup of the 55g, July 27th 2014.

55g filled with water and the most basic of plants, July 27th 2014.

Prepping some driftwood, September 2014.

Driftwood added, October 2014

Driftwood and plants, November 11th 2014

Driftwood was blocking waterflow, December 10th 2014.

April 16th 2015.

May 11th 2015, front of the tank.

May 11th 2015, side of the tank.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-11-2015, 06:20 PM
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very nice tanks!
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-11-2015, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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My 20 Gallon I started a year ago as well, on top of this is a custom aquaponics system I setup. It is currently growing various types of basil and Salad rocket. This was my first planted tank, and I went straight to dirt.

Substrate: Organic Miracle Grow with custom mix of clay
Cap: River stones
Filter: Aquaclear 50 + Aquaponics system
Weekly water change: None
Heater: ViaAqua 200w
Additives: None
Fish: 4 Rummynose Tetra, 1 Royal Tetra, 2 Corydora, 1 Bristlenose Pleco, 1 Fiddler Crab, 2 Ghost Shrimp, 40-90 Guppies at any given time.

Unfortunately I do not have nearly as many good photos of this tank. I tended to take close up shots and not entire tank shots like the others. For a period of around 6 months this was my go to tank for plants to move into other tanks. It was absolutely thriving, with crazy levels of growth and crystal clear water for everything. I did a filter swap and was not smart about it so did a full cycle and all the plants pretty much melted. It is getting into a good state again, though not what it once was.

April 2015 - Prior to Aquaponics

April 29th - Setup base for Aquaponics

April 29th - Aquaponics added, with seeds and Salad rocket.

May 11th - Basal growing, other seedlings sprouted, trimmed back plants in the actual tank some.

20 Gallon Tank 7 Months ago.

Bump: Thanks very much. I am still very much learning for sure, but so far everything has been good.

Two biggest mistakes I have made is when I first started I did not cap the dirt, and up until *very* recently when cleaning my filters I would just do it right in the tap water.

I know people recommend cycling also before adding fish, but I am too impatient for that, haha.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-17-2015, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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Progress Update:
May 17th - Left Side of the 135 Gallon Tank

May 17th - Right side of the 135 Gallon Tank

May 17th - 55 Gallon

I moved one of the larger plants from the 55 Gallon to the left side of the 135 Gallon on Friday. The 55 Gallon is dirted and the plant was so established that its root system had covered probably 30% of the tank. Caused quite a mess with almost black water I rapidly cleared up before it caused any problems. In the past week as well the Bristlenose pair bred, and we have 20-30 babies hiding in driftwood and behind the U4 filter.

In the larger tank the Cabomba is growing really nicely, and I am getting vertical growth on the Glosso and a little on the DHG, but no carpeting at all yet. I am getting some yellow algea also specifically on the tree and branch, which the fiddler crab is happily eating up.

Other than the little bit of algea everything else is pretty stable. Really hope to get some carpeting over the next month or two. I placed root tabs into the dirt I made with Osmocotoe and empty capsules. I also ordered some Rapid Grow that will arrive next week that I will start using occasionally.

Right now there is a mish mosh of fish in there, but that is only on a temporary basis. It will be primarily Electric Blue Acaras.

Last edited by Halaster; 05-17-2015 at 11:38 PM. Reason: Additional Information.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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May 24th - Tank Updates

Progress Update:
May 24th - 135 Gallon Left Side

May 24th - 135 Gallon Right Side

May 24th - 135 Gallon Full Tank

May 24th - 135 Gallon Inhabitants. Green Terror and Bristlenose Pleco

May 24th - 55 Gallon Full Tank

All of my water levels are good, though I am still having a minor algae problem on the white rocks and on the tree fixtures. Though the bristlnose cleaned the trees right up.
The Cabomba is growing well. The DHG is still just doing vertical growth so far, and I just cut it back. I also added the monthly dose of Rapid Grow yesterday and I will see how that does.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-29-2015, 04:05 AM Thread Starter
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May 28th Update

The two electric blue acara I moved into the 135 Gallon tank have paired off and one laid around 60 eggs on a leaf hiding behind the cave in the back of the tank. I actually was under the impression that all 4 of my Electric Blue's were male, since there was no breeding activity from any of these for over 6 months. The day after I moved them though they had paired up and started cleaning spots for spawning.

Here is a picture of her guarding the eggs, though it was fairly hard to get as they are hidden in the back fairly well.

May 28th - 135 Entire Tank

Added a supplemental Aquaclear 70 with purigen instead of active carbon. Added some additional Dwarf Hairgrass since I was able to pick up 3 super healthy pots of it from Walmart of all places for $4 each, and relocated the canister filter intake to be further on the right side of the tank, since the HOB is on the left side doing its thing.

Last edited by Halaster; 05-29-2015 at 04:06 AM. Reason: Fix typo.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-30-2015, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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Eggs hatched.

May 30th Update
The Electric Blue Acara babies have hatched without an issue. It took around 32 hours total. Checked the leaf and the eggs were gone, but the parents were still guarding an area in the back off to the side a bit.

I took an underwater video to confirm the babies are down there. Hopefully I did not stress the parents too much as they were both attacking my hands.

Video of the fry.

May 31st Update
The pair of Electric Blue Acara in the 55 Gallon are also apparently a pair, and laid eggs as well around an hour ago.

Last edited by Halaster; 06-01-2015 at 12:53 AM. Reason: Added Update
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-04-2015, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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June 4th - 135 Gallon and Fry Update

June 4th update.
In the 135G tank the Acara babies have reached the point where they are swimming with the parents in the back corner. I cannot begin to count how many have made it, but as of right now there is anywhere between 60 to 100 of them alive.
School of fry

In the 55G tank the eggs hatched, but the number of survivors is very small. I can only make out 3 or 4 squirming underneath the father who is guarding them.

I have added an additional piece of driftwood into the 135G tank as well as Christmas Moss in multiple locations. The fish were having nothing to do with my neat black sand look and have done a lot of digging making holes and burrows in different places and have brought a lot of the safe-t-sorb up to the top. So it is not nearly as clean as it was when first setup, but if I can get the carpeting plants to fully form it will not matter anyways.

June 4th - 135 Gallon Left Side

June 4th - 135 Gallon Right Side

I also had a question, though maybe I should post a separate thread for that. My local pet store, which has been around in the area since 1943 has quite a few aquariums that have logs in them with super lush moss/algea on them. This stuff is never trimmed and does not grow tall or spread much beyond where it is so I was wondering if anyone had any input on exactly what it is.

I asked them directly and two different people told me they tied mariomo to the logs years ago, and the moss would slowly die and the spores grew into what they have now, but looking online I can find NOTHING even close to matching what they described done by anyone else. Just posts saying marimo does not attach to wood. I would think it is cladophora but it does not spread or seem to be invasive at all like cladophora.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-08-2015, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Spawning time everywhere.

June 8th Update
Not so much a plant update this time as a fish update.

The 100 or so Electric Blue Acara fry are all still doing fine, and are pretty much wandering the entire tank with their parents now. In the 55 Gallon there are around 24 Electric Blue Acara that are getting larger, and are around 1/6th an inch now. In addition in the 55 Gallon the smaller breed of Bristlenose Plecos I have have bred and there are around 16 or 18 babies working their way around the tank.

The dwarf hairgrass in 135G tank has finally started sending out shooters, though not aggressively. The fish had pulled out some and I found one bundle that had a root coming out of it that was almost 3 inches long with 8 individual shooters coming up at different points along the root. Replanted it.

The moss has started to regain some color as well.

June 8th - Baby Plecos

June 8th - Baby Electric Blue Acaras and some Plecos

June 8th - Electric Blue Acara Fry
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-21-2015, 03:31 AM Thread Starter
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June 20th 2015 Update

June 20th 2015 Update.
I am not really sure what happened in the 55G tank, but we went from nearly 40 baby plecos hiding all over the tank to 1 in the matter of a single night. There were event some inside of a breeding cage that was not accessible by the only two other fish in the tank, the Electric Blue Acaras, and those 5 were gone also. It was as if they all melted. They had been fine for 2+ weeks and growing nicely, with no losses at all, then just gone, all but one of them. I have never had anything like this happen so I am at a loss.

In the same tank over the next two days all 30 of the baby electric blue acaras died from a PH spike to almost 8.8. Nothing was done different or changed, so I am not sure what caused the spike either. I did some water changes after and things have stabilized again in that tank and there is no problems, other than all of the baby fish are gone.

Current shot of the 55G tank:

In the 135G tank the 120+ electric blue fry were being guarded well by the two parents, but after around a week and a half they started taking turns instead of doing it together, and at night over the period of three days they were eaten. There is now another huge batch of eggs, and when they get to the free swimming stage this time I will move them into a growing net to keep them safe.

The moss on the driftwood is starting to turn bright green and sprout new growth so that is going good.
Front Shot and Top shot:

The dwarf hair grass is still doing okay, and sending out more offshoots, though not quite as fast as I would like, the progress is there. The glosso has been a dead-end unfortunately.


The cabomba is doing fantastic and is really filling out the right side of the tank how I wanted. The fish love the cover, and the Electric Blues use it to guard their fry very well during the early stages.

Entire Tank Shot June 20th 2015

That is where everything stands right now. The christmas and fire moss is starting to grow new green as well, though it is being overtaken by hair algae I am working on cleaning up as it grows.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-07-2015, 04:59 AM Thread Starter
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August 6th Update

Both the 55G and the 135G are both doing really good still.

For the 135G tank I added a 55watt UV between the output line of the SunSun canister filter and the tank. The water has remained crystal clear. We just did some spraying on the hair algae with a turkey baster to get it loose and that problem mostly went away. I have added some nice granite rocks obtained in the high sierras into both tanks as well.

All of the plants are growing really good still in both tanks, with all of the moss in the 135G finally starting to take off. The wistera and cabomba both have really crazy growth as expected of them. The DHG is still spreading and growing, slow as ever, but progress is being made.

Have had two more batches of baby Electric Blue Acaras in both tanks. In the 135G the Green Terror eats the babies over the period of a week or two each time. Sucked up around 7 of them this time after they hatched and those ones are growing nice in a hang on tank. In the 55G I am not sure what is happening with the babies. This last batch the parents seemed to have split them apart. The mother took half to the right side of the tank, and the father took half to the left side of the tank. One of them had to have eaten them, or both, over a period of two or three weeks, they just dwindled away.

Have had three batches of the bristlenose also born, and there are still some survivors from each batch. A total of maybe 12 left in the tank of various sizes, but all still in the danger zone to be eaten by the very large Electric Blue Male in the 55g.

August 6th 2015, Both Tanks

August 6th 2015, 55G Tank

August 6th 2015, 135G Tank

August 6th 2015, 135G Tank Left side. Can see the great moss growth on the driftwood.

August 6th 2015, 135G Tank Right side. Can see really good growth on the wistera, the cabomba, as well as the Christmas Tree moss. The DHG also as it slowly starts carpeting.
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