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Topic Review (Newest First)
02-26-2015 04:56 PM
tomfromstlouis Yeah, I like how this is coming together. Still love those congos too.

I am sorry to say it appears your photography skills are no better than mine.
02-21-2015 03:01 AM
Kathyy Thanks for the nice comments everybody. If it wasn't for this place and all the threads about scaping and the sale forum so I could nickel and dime all the wood and plants in there it sure wouldn't look like it does today.

I haven't changed the hardscape at all and most of the changes to the plants are in the rear and fore where it is just going to be P. gayi for the time being in back and a couple of new types of plants in front.

There are a couple of new buces that have attached to rocks in the front. Pygmea is going pretty well but Pinky Mambo is taking time to get going. I tried to glue one down but had to resort to a rubber band so just banded the other down. This week I removed the bands and they are stuck down nicely so maybe they will start to show their stuff soon.

The tank is open on the left side as that end is viewed when you come into the house. Makes perfect sense to have the scape open on that side, I really think it is the way to go with a tank placed like this.

I have some light over the tank from 9am-12am! Peak light is currently at 2pm for 10 minutes at 70% for the white LEDs. Lighting seems bright enough until 10 pm though. This means unless I specially turn the lights up I am either shooting in dim light or there are going to be reflections. For some reason it is exhausting standing up at the tripod even for 5 minutes so these photos are taken from my usual POV, my comfy chair.

Still having fun playing with the programming. While equal amounts of all channels is rich and true I don't like the fluorescent orange of the platies so am experimenting with differing amounts of the channels. With RB turned to about 1/2 the whites platies are a more natural color to my eye.

The scape is close to my vision other than the ground covers haven't grown in yet. I finally pulled out a couple of overgrown Anubias that were cramping things, that really made a difference. The P. gayi, Bolbitis and java fern are finally looking like plants. There is moss attaching to some of the rocks and I really love that look. I have been pulling weed moss with gravel+STS bits attached from the substrate and draping it on rocks to see if it will start growing but that has been a flop as the water currents push the moss+substrate right off by the next day. Maybe I will glue one of the substrate bits to the rock next time.
01-23-2015 08:14 PM
tomfromstlouis Love this tank. Love this journal.

I really liked the old look and look forward to this one maturing. I think we both are experiencing that it takes significant time to reboot a look in a large tank. I confess that my efforts are being influenced by your overall balance, with more openness at one end. I think that works well.
01-23-2015 07:28 PM
Kathyy Thanks. I am loving looking at it. I wanted programmable LED for the sunrise/sunset feature and it is working out well. So nice to be able to see the tank all day long. Hope I am not stressing fish/plants out by having such a long photoperiod even though light is dim for 6.5 of those hours. I cannot measure anything at the bottom of the tank and the top of the cover has all of 35PAR at 15%.
01-23-2015 01:45 PM
BruceF Been a while since I looked in here. Tank looks great as always.
01-23-2015 04:42 AM
Fuze Wow, looking good, nice Congos too.

How are the plants responding to the new fixture? I am waiting for mine to ship!
01-20-2015 06:17 PM
Kathyy Tank is chugging along nicely.

Corydoras have been spawning constantly so in a couple months I might spot a tiny mini cory. Brown algae is continuing to plague the Anubias and you can see I haven't gotten up the courage to strip the bad leaves from the plants that are too large in the first place. Liking the seaweedy strands of P. gayi but the platies miss their hornwort.

Big changes planned. I just traded my 10 pound for a 20 pound CO2 tank and need to build a cover for it to put at the side of the tank as it just misses fitting under the tank. I bought a 29 gallon glass tank for a sump as I am tired of half my expensive sponges being out of water in the old acrylic 40B. Much has been planned, nothing has been done - yet.

Took some iphone photos and actually got them loaded on the computer this morning. First is with lights off at 9AM, second is lights at 15% at 9:30AM and last is lights 'blazing' at about 6PM with 50% power. Sorry about the upside down photo, didn't look like that on the computer! You can see the tank and colors with 15% but it doesn't seem to be causing any more algae trouble than usual. IRL it is a bit dimmer than it appears in the photo as well, sort of a picture on the wall look.
01-11-2015 06:10 PM
Kathyy Yes it is a Meanwell but I am not going to open up the case. Way over my comfort level.

Still playing with intensity and sunset. Sunrise colors don't matter because it is just so the tank isn't too dark to see color in the morning but at night we found that blue/green as the last color is not to our taste so have gone with a very subtle color change. All channels are on 10% at 11pm, first the blue channel dims to 0 so the light is very warm but not orange, then the red goes off leaving the whites for a yellowish look and last the WW go off leaving CW as the last channel which is quite blue when dimmed.

Plants are chugging along. Anubias looks horrible up close but fine at a distance, they have a lot of incrusting brown algae the snails and otos haven't taken care of. I need to pull most of them out anyway to trim so will try pruning off the bad leaves. Scary but they are very healthy plants. Hairgrass is growing very slowly. Belem is a lot slower than whatever species I had before for sure.

Staurogyne, Bolbitis, Java fern and P. gayi are stepping up though. Just this week the java ferns have filled out the branches so they look like little plants rather than sad fragments. Same with the others. I am still leaving the hornwort in the tank though. If any stems come off the handy branch it is hooked around I am tossing it though.

Only have before and cloudy after water change photos today. Lights started dimming before the tank was cleared up. Got the side and front panes pretty well polished up as well as the back down to 6". Only used the stepstool so that was as far as I could reach. Lots of green stuff on the back which accounts for the green water. I worked pretty hard on the area just at substrate level and got most of the GSA that was lurking right there.

Attachment 414442

Attachment 414450

Got close to a dozen fish out of the overflow. There have been 2 baby congos in the tank, I fished 5 out of the overflow and 2 I couldn't get and this morning I see one of the new ones in the tank. Not too bright. They weren't getting much food in there apparently and are 1/4 the size of the smart ones that stayed out of the overflow.

Attachment 414458
01-02-2015 09:51 PM
Originally Posted by Kathyy View Post
My main issue with the fixture so far is the fan on the power supply is always on and it hums at a pitch higher than the sump pumps.
is this a seperate Meanwell ps ? 24V? Some have replaced ps fans w/ quieter ones..
12-21-2014 02:08 AM
Originally Posted by knm<>< View Post
First time seeing this tank, WOW, I love it!
Thank you so much! I look back at how it looked before and am a bit sad but I think it will look better in time.

Originally Posted by jfynyson View Post
Fyi BML now sells a multichannel fixture so you can basically tune it to any of their spectrums or create your own. You'll pay for them though, especially on a tank your size. I know they had a beta launch earlier but not 100% sure they've fully launched. Worth looking in to.
John 14:6
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I know I saw it mentioned on the site but totally missed how that was set up and had a very itchy BIN finger.
12-21-2014 12:48 AM
knm<>< First time seeing this tank, WOW, I love it!
12-21-2014 12:34 AM
jfynyson Fyi BML now sells a multichannel fixture so you can basically tune it to any of their spectrums or create your own. You'll pay for them though, especially on a tank your size. I know they had a beta launch earlier but not 100% sure they've fully launched. Worth looking in to.

John 14:6
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
12-20-2014 07:54 PM
Kathyy Oh so many reasons!

A whole lot of it was tank coverage. I haven't been real impressed by photos of fixtures that have pucks or need several units put up like DsunY, Reefbreeders or Razors as one sees bad shadowing in the tank. Granted some of this is probably poor photo quality and the tanks probably look great in real life. At the top of the tank my Hoppy PAR meter does show quite difference in PAR between pucks but I cannot see that in my lousy photos.

Clean looking setup was important. One terrific looking choice had one power cord per unit for the 4 channel series and I would want 4 units - 2 power cords for the MH were driving me nuts already! RB and Radion are black boxes. A series of black boxes hanging in mid air, not a good look for my house! Wondered about painting them even.

One gets so confused by color choices. After a number of less than optimal MH bulb choices made in the past didn't want to get stuck with something I hated for several years rather than a single year. Sadly that eliminated another very good choice, BuildMyLED. Hurt to take that one out of the running as they would be such a clean set up but they were as expensive as others with multiple channels and I would be stuck if I hated the color. I seriously doubt I would have actually hated any BML color though.

LEDzeal, as well as a number of other Chinese made units like RB and DsunY will customize your fixture. While there are now a lot of great LED choices for smaller planted tanks most of the big guns are for reef tanks and we PTers either won't use but half the LEDs or would have nasty looking planted tanks if we use reef centric fixtures. Okay there are a couple of to die for ones designed for big tanks like Giesemann Futura but the cost and just getting them on this side of the planet???

Another reason was this brand has been discussed on a couple different forums quite thoroughly and reading through every single one I could find helped cement my decision. One was an Australian planted tank forum, thread is many pages long with a number of tanks showing the fixture in use.

My main issue with the fixture so far is the fan on the power supply is always on and it hums at a pitch higher than the sump pumps. Doesn't actually add any decibels [iphone ap meter] but is noticeable. Both power supply and LEDs have been running cold so suspect the LED fans won't be running much. Bet they are really quiet!

Loving having a small amount of light over the tank for more of the day. Here in so Cal there has been actual weather and it has been nice not having that wall dark until afternoon. Love not having to have shields up to keep from being blinded by the light. Still seems odd to have to need other lights on in the room at night though.

Next project is cleaning up under the tank. Quite the mess. I think I can do a single power strip now and need to anchor the CO2 tank better.
12-20-2014 05:42 PM
rustbucket Nice new light, any reason why you went that one over other brands?
12-18-2014 02:19 AM
Kathyy [Jay, don't go look at the 12 long club then. Those people know how to do more with less! I have been down sizing my plants steadily. C. balansae, gone. That long leaved narrow java fern, gone. Big is out of there! I even downsized the hairgrass, E. Belem is in the tank!

Big changes. I treated myself to a new lighting fixture for Christmas. The ADA MH bulbs were 2 years old and putting out all of 100PAR at 12" on center. Rather than get new bulbs I went twenty first century with LED.

Ended up getting a 5 foot long S400 Malibu LEDzeal fixture with slightly customized spectrum, wired controller and 12' fixture to power box cord so I can run it to the ceiling and down the wall with no extension cords! Unit has fans everywhere and is aluminum finished and very slimline.

This fixture has 4 channels. The vendor suggested channel#1 - royal blue, violet and green. Channel#2 - 6000K white, #3 - deep red, red, neutral white and #4 - 7000K cool white. I thought that much too cool and changed channel #2 to 3500K and left it at that.

Nailed it! With equal percentages of each channel the color in the tank is terrific. I am running 50% of the white channels and 20% of the red and blue channels today and that is fine as well.

The controller is easy to deal with but has to be left plugged in so I really should have spent the extra to get a wireless controller. Oh well, I will deal. Every day I am planning a new variation to see what works best for me and using my DIY PAR meter from Hoppy to compare lighting level. Yesterday's top PAR of 120 with 60% whites and 10% blue/red was a bit high so at 50% whites, 20% blue/red today for instance.

My plan is to have the lights on for a long time but have a short high light period. I have already discovered I hate long ramp up/downs so not doing that for beginning and ending the day starting tomorrow.

Lucky for us I just upgraded the lighting in the house as this thing doesn't light up the room the way the MH did. It doesn't blind people sitting on the sofa either, point in its favor for sure. It does look like Christmas lights what with blue, green, violet, almost yellow and red as well as white LEDs but there isn't any disco color on the tank or floor.

First photo is 100% all channels which comes to 500PAR at the top of the tank and so not going to be happening much if at all.
Attachment 404938
All blue @50%, see how well it blends? Okay, it is 15" or so off the tank but still. Blue and red together was a horrible lavender color. Red alone was orange. Whites together were fairly nice.
Attachment 404946
Last is the current program of 50% whites and 20% blue/red. I fed the fish so flake is flying around the tank.
Attachment 404954
Here is Belem and Hygrophila Araquaia. Like the ruffle between rocks and substrate a lot but am hoping it fills out in time.
Attachment 404962
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