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Topic Review (Newest First)
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
12-13-2014 12:08 AM
jay973 This will be stunning once again amazingly your 180g looks a lot bigger than mine definitely digging the scape as it matures =)
12-12-2014 11:02 PM
Kathyy The new fish went into the tank last week. Baby Congo tetras are really pretty, they flash blue but I couldn't see the anal fins to attempt to sex them, too small. Rainbow Gudgeons are awesome, tiny predators with wonderful colors. Picky eaters but I see them choosing to eat some flakes. Corydoras sterbai are dying off slowly sad to say. The baby congos vanished a couple a day until I hadn't seen any for several days. Today there were 7 baby congos in the tank! I was thinking that suspiciously plump female Congo had eaten them all. They were probably in the overflow but how and when they got out I don't know. Now I can see the anal fins, some of them are convex I think. Might be a mix of male and female.

Got new plants in the tank.
There is now a little ruffle of 'Belem' hairgrass around the bottom of the rocks. I am going to see if it will thicken up near the rocks and spread out rather than going for a solid lawn. Blyxa japonica is front and center, Hygrophila 'Araguaia' looks really great between a couple of big reddish rocks in front.

Other plants are continuing to grow well. I even topped a few Potamogeton gayi stems and replanted them. The mini pennywort is gone for good but the Brazilian looks great although I am trying to reduce its mass in favor of P. gayi and hornwort. Hornwort that is anchored on a stick at the right is serving as shade over the right hand ferns and Anubias. Working quite well and I am planning to continue this until the Java fern is showing up well. Not a fan of the pointy rock on the right but Bolbitis has decided to send a rhizome right on that sharp angle. Might be just the right plant in that spot!

I did get the left side panel mostly cleaned off last night. It was hard to see through and was mostly gritty diatoms with some fairly soft GSA in top corners. I was even able to start cleaning off the back pane and got about half way down. Looks much nicer cleaned off. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get much GSA off the back but it was soft and wiped off quite easily, 2-4 swipes per area where doing the front pane a couple of weeks ago was hard work. I didn't do much to the front pane but I do see a couple places with some haze to them. Maybe if I do a really good job next session all will stay away the way it used to.

Diatoms are covering older Anubias leaves. I see my lonely 2 otos and ramshorn snails working hard but the leaves are still dusty brown.

There have been a few BBA tufts here and there on the wood that I have scraped off and some rocks have quite a bit of the stuff. I have been squirting 1/2 strength glut on the rocks then snails, otos and platies eat the 'cooked' BBA.

I have a really good excuse for no photos after the water change this week. All those diatoms clouded the water badly and even though water was clear inside 45 minutes the lights were going out.
12-07-2014 07:04 AM
Riceman Love the tank,sorry to see the set back but I will be watching the rebirth!
12-01-2014 11:18 PM
Kathyy Yes, my front and center Congos are hiding more now. Be a while before the new babies really show up in the tank though, they are an inch long and colorless.

Hoping to see lots of Corydoras zoomies. The two remaining Peppered Corydoras [likely born and raised in the tank] are getting frisky in spite of just being a pair so the baby C. sterbai should have a really good time in the tank.

The four black neon tetras were schooling very nicely front and center last night though. Nice to see although 4 isn't much of a school.

The patches of algae on the lower front of the tank are driving me batty. Sure hope I can get those polished off next water change.
12-01-2014 03:18 PM
rustbucket I love it. I can totally imagine sitting on that branch.
I love the big stones, I removed all my stones, I need to get more.
Only thing missing is fish, I barely see any. When you add the new fish it will look really good.
12-01-2014 03:07 AM
Kathyy Got a few photos done this evening. I did take out the floaters though before taking photos though, sorted them out and put back some of it.

Experimented with floaters when I put them back in though. Put the hornwort in then lay the pennywort stems on top. Seems to be keeping the mass from rolling, it is only spinning a little and all the stems are staying together with pretty pennywort stem tips spinning off the edges. Before the hornwort was tangling with the pennywort and looked awful.

On the full tank shot you can see the algae line on the left tank pane. That's as far as I drained the tank. I did get some more algae off the front pane and GSA isn't regrowing. Some BBA did appear but a little glut and some rubbing and it seems to be on the wane. I hope!

The P. gayii is starting to show up behind the Java Fern and is also planted on the left side of the tank behind the large crypt that is just showing its leaves above the wood - and it is still lurking in the front of the tank. It roots and then sprouts from roots so is not so easy to dislodge when it is happy!

Attachment 397362

I cannot believe I didn't realize that Anubias belonged in the left rear of the tank between those rocks! It was completely covering the large pointy rock at front left center. Soon enough it will be covering that plastic card trying to keep the gravel in place. One branch broke off and I moved it to the gap between the pointy rock and the one to its left. Now that rock has root remnants of Anubias root on it. The Bolbitis roots and rhizome look really jungly and natural though.

Attachment 397370

Attachment 397394

Can you see the tiny Java fern fronds on the right side of the tank? Some of them are actually forked but I don't think they are 'Trident'. Sad thing is I actually glued about half the remaining growth back on the wood. If you look closely at the second photo from the end you can see a fern frond with a white spot of glue on it showing no harm whatsoever after 4 days. Super gel glue isn't toxic!

The green crypt that grew too tall has been relocated to the back center and right front and looks very nice there. Hides any remaining junk on the substrate as well!

Attachment 397378

Foreground is going to be Eleocharis 'Belem'. Probably mostly on the left and left side, we will see. The tiny green bits in the front center are Staurogyne repens and these are actually rooted and growing 'well'.
Attachment 397386

Watching the fish swim through and round I realize that I have created in miniature my ideal playground! Can you imagine sitting on that thick branch and watching the world go by or playing hide and seek in the Anubias thickets?
11-29-2014 06:35 AM
Kathyy Teeny toothpick size from above Congos? Wow.. They are all fine and eating well in quarantine and I am so tempted to put them in the big tank! Just another week....

Been on track again this week and glued more ferns to wood. Baby Bolbitis are just the cutest things too. Mini ferns they are unlike the java fern which look like what they are, sprouted tips of rhizomes. Tied the stray bits of wood together so it isn't all over the tank and got more gunk out of the tank. I tried to get all the algae off the front of the tank but no luck, the bottom few inches front and center are still clouded up. I tried to reach without the stepstool, no way and no way I could go back on the stepstool as I was too tired. The pennywort I neatly planted last week decided to make a break for it during the water change so I need to pull them out trim and replant but otherwise the tank looks nice and tidy.

The main pump stopped working last Sunday so I got to spend a good hour taking it and the CO2 reactor's pump apart and cleaning them out plus rinsing out the prefilters but it is working well now.

Getting good at going on the ladder anyway. Guess that is what hobbies are for, get you moving and doing stuff! And emptying the old bank account but that is for next week's installment I hope. Hoping to find the camera and the batteries and the charger before then.
11-21-2014 02:39 PM
rustbucket I think the tank must look good despite it, this tank has always been one of my favorites.

I will say though I think young Congo's can be sexed, I have heard of it before, and had pretty good success sexing my young ones. But hopefully you'll get a good mix.

I am letting my tank grow out a bit as well, but its kind of a controlled mess (if that's possible) I liked it for a bit, but I think I may do a big trim today. I have baby bn's that I want to survive though.

I want a pic, I'll say nice things
11-21-2014 04:20 AM
Kathyy Thank you for the kind offer. I am going to experiment using just the gayi for now.

Well the tank looks like a planted tank again! No photos as the camera batteries are doubtless dead and it is over there and I am here. I have no clue as to how to take photos off my phone either. Want more excuses? I probably could come up with more.

I moved crypts from the front, cut back one of the giant Anubias nanas and placed it elsewhere, cleaned out the corners of the gayi, tiny Bolbitis and Java fern and various bits of dead stuff and glued some of the ferns back on the wood.

Some of the Java fern bits have divided leaves so I made a point of using them first on the wood. I don't think it is Trident, that seems to be gone but maybe this variation will be durable.

Pennywort stems are now visible above the hardscape as are a few gayi stems. Cut back moss is turning green. The big crypts now have leaves growing above the wood. Just now I polished most of the GSA off the front pane. All the water changes have cleared the water, it is now nicely colorless rather than yellowish.

I did buy a pack of Staurogyne repens from Petsmart and it is currently melting away and floating stems show no root growth. I can bring easy stuff back from the dead but not old PS stock apparently. I found that Marsilea stem in the hornwort AGAIN and needed to plant it upside down as it was so curled from living in the hornwort. Also found a Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides stem but so have the Congo tetras so it may not be long for this world.

Also picked up 15 tiny new Congo tetras, 12 gorgeous Sterbai Corydoras and 4 Rainbow Gudgeons that are currently in quarantine. At least there is no way the congos could be sexed and the males separated out! They are the size of the black neons in the tank!

This time round I will NOT let pennywort rule the tank!
I will remove and prune oversized plants!
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