Sorry it's been so long, I wrote most of this just after setting up the tank, but never got around to posting it, so be aware some of this is months old;
Ok so my new 6ft tank is finally up and running. Still in the tweaking the set up phase, but almost everything is sorted out.
The stand arrived last week, we did some last minute mods to it, then it was moved into place, then the tank went on top. 10 seconds later realised I needed to put some parts of the internal plumbing between the tank and the stand, so had to lift it back up and slip some connectors in.
Spent the next day and a half washing and carrying buckets full of sand (75 kilos to be exact) around the house and filling up the tank. Next time, if there is a next time, I'm wearing washing up gloves, my hand were in a pretty sorry state after digging around in all that sand and hours of non stop water exposure.
Started to fill the tank, because the tank is divided into sections I could fill the two right sections without having the plumbing hooked up, so while it was filling all the hoses and connections went on.
Once it was full enough to plant, got on with that. At the moment not a lot of plants, just all stuff from my old tank that's looking a little sorry for itself. Hairgrass, anubius nana, java fern, lilaeopsis. My xmas budget is running a little thin. After the holidays I'm doing a xmas funded trip to the aquarium store. Managed to cut my piece of drift wood (golden vine) in half and as a result all my days of soaking have turned out to be in vain as one piece of it now wants to float. But it looks amazing, such interesting wood.
Finally got to filling the right sections to the top and filling the left section..... water leak at outlet pipe.... luckily I was able to drain the extra inch or so of water out (so glad I added a drainage valve into the under the tank plumbing) without making too much of a mess. Added some more silicon tape to the pipe connections and it was fixed.
Alright, time to fill the return part of the tank (box in right hand corner).... even worse leaking... (no drainage valve on this side of the tank... mad scramble for buckets to catch the dripping water) turns out it's leaking somewhere I can't easily fix so I've bypassed that secion for now and will attack it with silicon once it's dried out completely.
After all of that it was time to turn on the filter. Amazingly, it works without an issue.
The tank has now been running for about a week now, the murky water settled, and my precious axolotls moved in 2 days ago.
Aquascaping this is hard, not only am I doing 3 seperate aquascapes, but they all have to work together as a whole as well... until I've got more driftwood and plants I don't think I'm going to be able to tackle this properly.
My plan is to find some more anubius nana and try and get my hands on some easy stem plants.
1 month in;
Everything was settling really nicely so decided to bump the lighting up by an hour to 7 hours. Big mistake, in only 2 days brown hair algae took over everything! Bumped the lighting down again and it's settling a little. Still waiting to go on a trip to the local aquarium to collect lots of stem plants to try and outcompete the algae.
So at the moment I'm having a plethora of issues. Hardware wise my filter died and for a few days all I had was 3 internal power heads to filter. Got my old filter fixed and I'm waiting for an extra 2000 lph canister filter to arrive in the mail.
I never got around to fixing the outlet reservoir over on the right. I tried with silicone twice and it just wasn't enough. The reservoir is so cramped for space that I can't reach my hand in to hold the top fitting and tighten the section underneath the tank. But when my new filter arrives I'll need to do a bit of a tank plumbing breakdown, so I will attempt it again.
Then I had a leak from one of my valves in the plumbing, slow water drip that I didn't notice until it had killed an air pump and gotten everything nice and wet. Again when I breakdown the plumbing I'll be investing in some better quality tubing and components.
Water wise everything is a bit up and down because of the filter issues. Algae is once again my arch nemesis... at first the black brush, but now blue green and hair algae as well, phosphate remover pads in the filter didn't seem to make a difference. The tank is heavily planted, over 100 stems plus amazon swords and java fern. So much so that my nitrates are only about 5 - 10. I've been waiting and hoping that one day the algae will just disappear once the tank finally settles in, but no, not yet.
I'm dosing with flourish and flourish excel once a week, or twice a week if I remember. I also buried about 15 Kugeln fertiliser balls in the substrate. I know it's probably not enough, but I've never used ferts before and I have very sensitive axolotls in the tank who react badly to a lot of standard additives and medications. So I'm just being careful with all that.
The only thing that seems to be going well with the tank is my axolotls. They are so happy, very energetic and as hungry and playful as I've ever seen them. Despite their best attempts to dig up all my plants and dig the sand down to the bottom of the tank everything has taken hold enough now that it's not a problem, (but that doesn't stop them from trying).
After a few months;
Since all these photos a 'forest' of stem plants has been added. Once the worst of the algae clears up I'll post some pics of it looking half decent.