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Chaos_Being 07-14-2010 03:58 PM

Welcome to the Jungle: 55 gallon Rainbowfish haven & more. (New Pics! 03-20-13)
FTS timeline, a work in progress... (original post continues below)

The tank as of 7-15-10:

The tank as of 7-26-10:

The tank as of 8-04-10:

The tank as of 8-17-10:

The tank as of 8-30-10:

The tank as of 10-22-10:

The tank as of 11-8-10:

The tank as of 3-14-11:

The tank as of 3-31-11:

The tank as of 4-19-11:

The tank as of 7-10-11:

The tank as of 10-26-11:

The tank as of 12-11-11:

The tank as of 1-23-12:

The tank as of 2-10-12:

The tank as of 6-8-12:

The tank as of 6-15-12:

The tank as of 2-5-13:

The tank as of 3-20-13:


Videos: (original post continues below)

Feeding Time (4/8/11):


After learning a lot regarding planted tanks from reading here, and caring for my 5 gallon nano, the time has finally come for a bigger tank (and the largest tank I have ever had)- 55 gallons!

I have been working for the past month or so on acquiring equipment, planning out a planting scheme, choosing potential fauna/flora, and preparing my hardscape (soaking driftwood, primarily.) I started off with a used tank that I partially resealed, before getting a deal that I couldn't pass up on a new one. Some of my other equipment came used along with the tank as a package deal, the rest has been bought piecemeal from this place and that. As of now, my plants were shipped yesterday, and should be arriving tomorrow. I figured this was a good time to finally start this journal :icon_mrgr

Equipment-wise, this is what I have:
  • 55 gallon Aqueon tank
  • Perfecto pine stand and "matching" wooden canopy (looks like this was hand-made)
  • Glass tank covers
  • SunSun 303B canister filter
  • 300w Hydor ETH in-line heater
  • 48" Coralife T-5 fixture (one 6500k bulb, one "Colormax"- 56w total)
  • 36" Perfecto flourescent strip with new 6500k 30w T-8 bulb
  • Air pump rated for 30-60g (don't remember brand, came with my original used tank) and 10" bubble wand
  • Coralife 3-way timer and power strip
I am going to run the two light fixtures on a dawn-day-dusk sort of cycle. At the moment, I am planning on a 12 hour photoperiod overall, with 3 hours of the 30w T-8, 6 hours of the T-8 and T-5, and another 3 hours of just the T-8. My reasoning behind this is that I want to have a longer viewing time for the tank, without having too much light. I may also go with a 10 hour period if 12 turns out to be too much, keeping the same 6 hour period of full light. I think I will be fine though. The air pump will come on at lights off, and turn back off when the lights come on.

For substrate, I have 100lbs of Eco-Complete. I am going to be dosing Excel daily, and have a simple list of ferts that I plan to use. I have Flourish Comprehensive, and I also ordered the "Simple Solution" from Pfertz (their N liquid, and root tabs.) I will place root tabs in the substrate, and plan to dose N twice weekly (Monday/Friday,) and Flourish once weekly (Wednesday.)

These are the plants I have on the way. I already have a large portion of Christmas Moss.
  • Cryptocoryne Crispulata
  • Cryptocoryne Wendtii "Red"
  • Cryptocoryne Wendtii "Green"
  • Echinodorus Rubin (Red Rubin)
  • Crinum Calamistratum
  • Java Fern (Microsorium Pteropus)
  • Anubias Barteri Var. Coffeefolia
  • Anubias Barteri Var. Nana
  • Sagittaria Subulata (Dwarf)
  • Ceratopteris Thalictroides ( Water Sprite )
  • Bacopa Caroliniana
  • Rotala Indica (Rotala Rotundifolia)
I have some branches of manzanita that will go on the right side of the tank, which is where the Java Fern and Christmas Moss will go (one of the branches has a large flat portion of trunk attached to it, which is where the majority of the moss will go to create a moss foreground.) I have another piece of driftwood, a gnarled looking small log, which will go on the left and will have the Anubias on it. Dwarf Sag will take up the left corner and part of the foreground, the Red Rubin, Crypt Crispulata, and Crinum Calamistratum will serve as background, and the stems and Crypt Wendtii will fill the rest of the tank.

For fauna, this is what I plan:
  • Bosemani Rainbows, 6
  • Panda Cories, 8
  • Otos, 8-10
  • Zebra Nerites, ~10
  • Tiger Barbs, 12-15, OR Serpae Tetras, 15-20
As you can see I am still undecided on what fish I will use for my "small fish school." I am leaning somewhat towards Tiger Barbs as I have kept them before and liked them. Either fish are somewhat agressive, hence the plan to keep them in a largish school. Both look similar enough to give the same impact in the tank. It may just end up falling to whichever I can get from healthier stock. Either way I go, I plan on adding them last to further help reduce their agressiveness, as the other fish will have already established themselves and "staked out their turf" so to say :D

Of course, what journal entry would be complete without pics? Here are a few of the tank and jumble of equipment before I started organizing it, as well as my driftwood and moss:

These are the most recent pics, from a few days ago. I did all of the plumbing for the filter and heater, and placed the lights in place (for now.) I still need to make a little shelf for the air pump to sit on.

I will take more photos of the planting tomorrow, as well as a FTS! Then, I plan to let the plants acclimate themselves for a bit (probably at least a week,) before I start looking into getting some fish. The tank will be planted heavily enough that I shouldn't have to worry about cycling :thumbsup:

Chaos_Being 07-16-2010 03:54 PM


I got it all planted yesterday; it took me four and a half hours! I wanted to get the plants in as quickly as possible, so I ended up not taking any in-progress photos like I planned- it was just too hectic. The entire process went off pretty smoothly though. I got everything I ordered into the tank, with the exception of the Rotala- it didn't appear to ship well, and it was choked with algae anyways :( I noticed after planting that I do have a very small amount of staghorn and thread algae in my Dwarf Sag and Bacopa too, my initial Excel dose probably nuked it but I will try to get it out of there before it spreads. I also had the cut back the Rubin sword that I got- I ordered a "large" one becuase I wanted to make sure that it would be big enough...well, it was large all right, it shaded half of my tank! I think in the end I removed a few too many leaves, but it should grow back. I bundled the cut leaves and just threw them in an old 10g I had sitting around- will sword leaves root, or should I just toss them?

All of the equipment appears to be working well- the SunSun is very quiet and has a ton of flow (looks like a river in there practically,) the heater warmed the water quickly, timers are working, etc.

I'll post up a few shots later tonight.

Chaos_Being 07-17-2010 03:13 AM

As I planned, I did go in and pull out the little bit of staghorn and thread algae that were on a few of my plants when I got home today. I also found that the skimmer on my filter has sucked up the duckweed that "came free" on some of my plants, so that is good :proud:

I have also found that I got a few hitch-hikers on some of my plants. Something is in there laying eggs, because some are on my driftwood which was definitely clean before. They look like a very loose gelatinous mass with dots in them. I would assume snails, but I can't see any snails in there, and didn't notice any while planting :confused: More unpleasantly, I also found a leech around 3/4" long inching on the glass...I made sure to get rid of that!

As promised, here are some pics. I think I did pretty good for my second attempt at a planted tank. My wife says I went overboard :icon_lol:

These first three were taken when I got home, when both light fixtures were on:

The rest were taken this evening, when only the 30w T-8 bulb was on:

I'm planning on letting the plants settle in for a week or two before adding fish. Some of my plants (the crypts in particular) look like they were grown emmersed, so I definitely want to give them some time to acclimate. I'm already seeing some of the infamous "crypt melt," but I was expecting that.

Let me know what you think- I am eager for feedback!

lauraleellbp 07-17-2010 03:27 AM

Looks nice!

If you've got any Excel handy, I'd go ahead and hit the tank with a good dose or two of it now- staghorn and BBA can sneak up on you otherwise, and you can be sure there's plenty more that hitchhiked in that you haven't spotted just yet. Nip it in the bud now and you might never have to deal with it again!

Chaos_Being 07-17-2010 03:38 AM

I am dosing Excel :) I did the big "initial start up" overdose that they recommend yesterday (which amounted to 2 capfuls...actually, I probably could have done 3- 1 cap per 20 gallons.) I dosed 1 capful today, and the normal dose should be 1/2 capful. Do you think I should continue to overdose for a bit? As you say, I'd much rather nuke any nasties that came in now before they can get a foothold.

lauraleellbp 07-17-2010 03:39 AM

Yeah, I'd go ahead and keep up that "initial" doing for 3-4 days. IME that does a good job with most of the soft algaes.

Chaos_Being 07-17-2010 04:00 AM

Sounds like a plan :proud:

Chaos_Being 07-17-2010 08:29 PM

I did another one of the "initial" doses today, 3 capfuls. Probably a good thing too, since I see some new algae threads here and there. I definitely want to nuke this stuff before it gets a foothold! My dad saw the tank today while he was visiting, and said it looked like something that belonged in the Baltimore Aquarium :D

Otherwise, nothing else of note. The white fungus that kept growing on my driftwood while soaking it is growing back. It will make nice food for my Otos when I stock them :)

Chaos_Being 07-19-2010 01:42 PM

I did my 3rd overdose of 3 capfuls this morning. I'm going to see how the tank is doing when I get home and decide if I want to continue. Seeing as how the tank isn't stocked with any fauna yet (I've read that overdosing Excel can be harmful to fish/shrimp sometimes,) am I running any other risk to my plants by overdosing for an extended time?

As far as the algae goes, most of the staghorn and thread that I saw in there seems to have disappeared as of yesterday. I did see some whitish/transparent threads in new places; I'm not sure if that is just dying algae or some sort of fungus growing.

Plant-wise, I seem to see the beginnings of growth on a few of them, as well as melting on the crypts and sag. My crinum is yellowing too, but I think I've also read that they can be difficult to acclimate. I just hope with some patience that my tank will be comparable to some of the incredible ones that I see here on the forums :)

tuffgong 07-19-2010 01:58 PM

I dose 3 caps of excel on a daily basis in my 55 and all my fish and plants are thriving, so you should be fine if you choose to continue. Your tank looks good, now you just have to wait for it to grow in.

Chaos_Being 07-19-2010 02:39 PM

Ah cool, I will quit worrying then. Thanks for the compliment- my family and friends that have seen it so far really like it. My wife still thinks I am crazy though... :hihi:

I have it in my living room to the right of the front door, so it is the first thing that you see when you come into the house. It should be quite the showpiece once it is filled in and has fish in it.

lauraleellbp 07-19-2010 02:54 PM

I'd just do a big water change (50% or so) before you start stocking.

Chaos_Being 07-20-2010 02:22 AM

That makes sense.

I noticed some weird growth starting on some of my plants today- it looks like white cobwebs. I would think some sort of hair or thread algae, but color-wise it looks like fungus. It looks similar to the fungus on the driftwood, only stringy instead of fuzzy. Can someone help me ID this? (Best pic I could get, of it growing on my sword. It's also on the Anubias roots, and some of the stem plants- it's mostly on the higher flow side of the tank.)

The sword's leaves are melting now too, so it is joining the crypts, dwarf sag, crinum, and some of the bacopa in the melt party. I hope this is just a normal part of the acclimation head says yes but I am pretty new to this still so I can't help but to worry a bit :tongue:

lauraleellbp 07-20-2010 02:28 AM

Looks to me like algae that got nuked by the Excel.

Chaos_Being 07-20-2010 02:40 AM

I would think the same thing too, but it wasn't there yesterday...I guess it could have grown really fast and then died :confused: I'll just see if there is more by tomorrow afternoon.

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