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darkcrisis 04-05-2011 02:45 AM

Darkcrisis' 55 gal community *now with CO2*
This 55 gallon has been setup for about 2 years and was originally low tech. I got tired of slow growth and the limited plants I could keep alive. I recently added CO2 and the plants are starting to grow.

The layout is pretty random at the moment, but hopefully I can turn this into something a little more spectacular.

I am always open for suggestions.

Lighting: (2) 48" Coralife T5NO 112 watts total

Filtration: Rena XP3 + Koralia 1

Substrate: Eco Complete / Flourite Black mix

Paintball CO2 (green drop-checker)

Fertz: 1/4tsp KNO3 3x week
1/8tsp KO2PO4 3x week
1/8tsp SM+B 3x week

Fauna: 20 Cardinal Tetras, 10 Guppies, 2 Bolivian Rams, 1 Peacock Gudgeon, 3 Amano Shrimp, 1 Zebra Nerite Snail, 1 Otocinclus

Flora: Taiwan Moss, Christmas Moss, Anubias Nana, Anubias barteri, Needle Leaf Hygro, Sunset Hygro, Tropica Crypt, Brown Crypt, Dwarf Harigrass.

I really like that piece of driftwood, but it looks a little out of place and lonely. I've been thinking about laying it down and adding some manzanita branches as well. I like the needle leaf hygro in the background, but it gets out of control quick with CO2. I am thinking of switching it out for jungle vals. What do you guys think?

chad320 04-05-2011 03:01 AM

It looks nice. Jungle vals will get 3 ft. leaves so bear that in mind. I would look for a cheap stem variety pack in the SnS to test out some to see what you like vs. what grows good for you.

darkcrisis 04-12-2011 03:47 AM

I'm looking for a stem package on the sns so I have more plants to play around with. Hopefully I can change the layout up some.

I brought home 2 Bolivian Rams the other day and they add a little more character to the tank. Now I'm focusing on plants and their placement.

darkcrisis 05-12-2011 02:40 AM

I am starting to get more growth out of my plants and things are filling in. I bought a plant package from the sns and they are adapting to my tank well and starting to grow.

I am having a bit of an issue with BBA and maybe staghorn algae now. I always had a little here and there and it was easy to trim those leaves. Now it is growing faster and I am having a hard time keeping it out of the tank. I have pulled all the moss out of the tank because it was covered with BBA. It is also growing on the eco complete/flourite substrate. Any clues what could be causing this?

Lighting: (2) 48" Coralife T5NO 112 watts total directly on glass top with new bulbs.

Fertz: 1/4tsp KNO3 3x week
1/8tsp KO2PO4 3x week
1/8tsp CSM+B 3x week

CO2 registers green/yellow on drop checker. Turned it down just below the point where fish looked uncomfortable.

I want to buy a new light, but not sure if that will make the problem worse.


macclellan 05-12-2011 02:45 AM

BBA/Staghorn is (mostly) caused by high light and low co2. How long are your lights on for? Are both on the whole time?

darkcrisis 05-12-2011 03:03 AM

Thanks for the fast reply! I bought some plants from you about 2 years ago. I was running low tech then and killed all the plants slowly :frown:

Both lights are on for 9 hours a day. Should I try to reduce my photoperiod? Or just run one fixture with the other one coming on for a couple of hours for a midday burst?

I read a post where they measured the Coralife T5HO with a PAR meter and the results were horrible. I figured I might actually be running a little on the low side of light. I have my CO2 cranked as high as it can go without the fish showing signs of stress. It is paintball CO2... Not very economical for a 55 gallon though.

macclellan 05-12-2011 04:23 AM

Your filtration doesn't suck and you aren't overstocked, so it has to be the light.

Probably go with just one light on for part of the photoperiod. I'd do one on 8 hours and both on for 4 to start. Wait a month, then adjust the second light up in hours if needed. Trim BBA infected leaves and do an excel overdose (2x instructions for a few days, increase surface agitation/bubbler at night, watch fish, etc.) to kill all the existing BBA.

Long term, try to get a real co2 tank (at least 5 pound, 10 or more is better... the biggest that fits in/behind your stand)... cheaper and more convenient. Fyr Fyter is the best place to fill locally.

darkcrisis 05-12-2011 01:05 PM


Thank you very much for you input. I will give that a try and see how it turns it!

darkcrisis 05-12-2011 04:37 PM

Any suggestions on CO2 kits? I want something that has everything I need (reg, solenoid, and needle valve) at a reasonable price. I don't want a piece of crap that will constantly cause me trouble. I have made enough of those purchases!

darkcrisis 05-29-2011 11:26 PM

I did as Macclellan suggested, trimmed BBA leaves, Excel OD, adjusted the lights where the 2nd fixture comes on for a 4 hour burst mid-day, and put an air stone in at night (which I had already been doing.)

I did this right before I left for vacation for 9 days. I had someone come by and dump pre-measured ferts in the tank twice. I did not know what I would come home to, but to my surprise the BBA is all gone and the plants went crazy! I did have a small patch of dwarf sag melt away which is a little odd.

All the fish seem to be doing fine as well despite my paintball CO2 tank being empty. I filled it the day before I left so I'm not sure what happened since I usually get almost a month on a full cylinder.

Here is what the tank looks like. I might do a light trim and let the plants continue to grow where they are since some are new and are just getting established. I randomly planted them where there was some available substrate. I do like the jungle look though!

Sd760 05-29-2011 11:30 PM

Nice. Sub'd

flowmsp 05-29-2011 11:52 PM

21 Attachment(s)
I like the looks of it as a jungle. Very lush looking.

darkcrisis 05-30-2011 12:14 AM

Thanks! I think I will keep it looking like a jungle. The baby guppies like it too. I haven't seen babies since getting the Bolivian Rams. I guess they have plenty of places to hide now.

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