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Evilgrin 10-25-2012 07:01 AM

A journey in Dirt
I've been away from the hobby for the better part of 8 years and caught the bug again not very long ago. I have been lurking here for nearly 2 months and became an active member almost a month ago in that time I've built my stand , canopy and Led lighting. well after many long weeks of building , planing and waiting for deliveries to arrive today is the big day I finally flooded my tank and placed some plants.

Tank: 55 Gallon
Substrate: MGOPS 1", Flourite black sand 2"
Plants: So far hoping to add more soon.
  • creeping jenny
  • Lindernia sp. mini
  • Luwiga glandulosa
  • Ludwiga sp. red
  • Hygro sp.??
  • Anubias
  • Water Wisteria
  • Compacta Hygrophila Corymbosa Stricta
  • Dwarf Hairgrass Eleocharis parvula
  • Cardinal plant - Melted never came back
  • Banana plant
  • Cabomba
  • Cabomba furcata
Lighting: 2 55watt 50/50 power compact, 16 3watt leds with 60* optics 8 6500k 8 12000k. May add more Led's as time goes on will let the plants dictate if I need more light right now it's looks to be Mid to High light time will tell.
Heaters: Jager 150watt X 2
Stocking: AS of right now the plan is to have, All stocking is subject to availability.
  • 4-6 Bosemani Rainbows 3 so far
  • 3-6 Iranian Red Rainbows
  • 10 - 15 neon tetras 12 so far
  • 4 - 6 Cory cat's 5 Pygmy cories
  • 4 - 6 Dennison Barbs Probably going to get something else
Co2: None as of yet but may add it at a later date.
Filtration: SunSun 303B(W/UV) rated at just over 500Gph Filled from top down.
  • 2 Fine Filter Pad's Chemi pure and 1 50 micron felt pad
  • 1 fine filter pad under 6 plastic pot scrubbers on top of porous glass beads for more bio filtration.
  • Ehfi-synth (it was free reminds me of a jumbo sized pot scrubber) over Ceramic noodles to help trap larger debris. UPDATE: replaced this with 2 bonded pads didn't care for it at all

Here are a few pics right after the first flooding it's very cloudy but not as bad as I thought it might be probably going to do 1 WC before going to bed then see what it looks like tomorrow.

Tested for Ph both in the tank and from the tap and both are at 7.4 still need to double check the water parameters for the fish on my list then adjust from there.

And on to the Pics

GMYukonon24s 10-25-2012 01:14 PM

Nice start to the tank

wkndracer 10-25-2012 01:14 PM

Great details in the opening post :proud:

Looking forward to the updates.
Welcome to the dirty side. :smile:

Evilgrin 10-26-2012 01:03 AM

Thank you both of you.
Hoping to update at least 2 - 3 times a month all depends on what happens. Noticed what looks to be BBA or green hair algae on several of the leaves I've pulled as many as I can so far wondering what I need to stop this early since I don't want it taking over the tank. In all the years I've had tanks this type of algae I have yet to come across anything other then the common green algae on the glass and a few tank decorations.

Evilgrin 10-27-2012 08:35 PM

Well minor update so far the BBA seems to be turning white not sure if it's a good sign or not but it seems to be dying off, one can hope.
Picked up a few more plants they are in the list in the first post.
Was going to do a fish-less cycle and started dosing ammonia to 4 ppm but have looked into something called a silent cycle and am considering going that route but after 2 days ammonia is still at 2ppm won't even consider adding any fish in till it gets down to .25 or less and even then no more then 3 fish 1" or less not trying to create a huge bio load right off the bat.

Evilgrin 10-28-2012 07:00 AM

Just tested my water and must say I'm a bit surprised at my readings even did them twice to make sure.

This is only day 4 since the first water was put in.
Ph - 7.6 -7.5 tested with both high and low range Ph tests
Ammonina - 1.0ppm was at 2.0ppm just over 12 hours ago
Nitrite - 0 zip zero nada
Nitrate - 0.5 ppm ???? What how did this happen? Ran test 3 times same result every time.

I had dosed the tank with ammonia 4 days ago to about 4-5 ppm it dropped to 2ppm and stayed there until just about 20 min ago now it's at 1ppm.

Only thing I've added that might explain it is I've been dosing with Biozyme as per the instructions.

I did one 80% water change on day 1 since the water was so cloudy I couldn't see more then 3 inches into the tank, since then it's cleared up alot still a little cloudy but it will clear up in time put in a DIY power head filter with poly fill and sponge to help polish the water a bit and get some of the extra fine sand that's floating around out of suspension, noticed a big difference after 6 hours so it's working now if only I could stop adjusting the plants it would be clear already.

As fpr cycling the tank was going to go with the fishless cycle method but i'm leaning more towards the silent cycle method at the moment since the tank is fairly well planted, any opinions?

Evilgrin 11-11-2012 03:19 PM

Well it's been a few weeks now and the water has cleared up significantly no thanks to super storm sandy no power for 5 days but thankfully no losses.

Saw a small ammonia spike a day or so after the lights came back on went from 0ppm to .5ppm ammonia, nitrites jumped to 2ppm and nitrates were at 20ppm was going to do a 25% water change but had things get in the way and ran out of time to work on the tank that night. The following afternoon I retested the water parameters expecting things to have only gotten worse and was quite surprised to see ammonia holding at 0ppm, Nitrites at 0ppm and nitrates at 0 - 5ppm. Kept testing daily for the last week and everything seems to be holding steady at 0,0,0-5ppm (ammonia,Nitrites,Nitrates). Seems like the tank has cycled and fairly quickly at that. I did add Dr. Tims one and only about 5 days after filling the tank so that might have helped speed things up quite a bit, also got some live plants from an established tank may have also been a contributing factor.

I also have 4 neon tetras in the tank since a friend saw I had the tank setup and gifted me a few fish so the tank "wouldn't be so boring." well happy to say that they are all alive and happy I was quite worried for them for the first few days since ammonia was climbing up to 1ppm was doing 50% WC every other night to try to keep it below .25ppm after 4 or 5 days of that ammonia stabilized down to 0 - .25ppm now it reads a constant 0.

Well on to a few pics these pics were taken Nov. 5 2012.

Left side of tank

Center of tank

Right side of tank Never mind the Bottle filter it was just temporary to filter the water during the power outage. Thankfully I had a large 12volt battery and an inverter to run the power head and the air pump.

Weird angled full tank shot

And some close up shots of some of the plants in the tank and the neons.

Will post some more recent pics soon.

Evilgrin 11-14-2012 02:51 AM

4 week photo update
well it's been 4 weeks now water is clearing up nicely plants are doing well still having issues with BBA popping up on a few plants pruning the affected leaves whenever I find it. Added a DIY CO2 setup to help the plants grow a bit faster not expecting it to preform as well as a pressurized system but it's what I have available to me at the moment.

any way enough of the boring chit chat on to the pics.
Close up of a pair of my ghost shrimp
Few of the Neon tetras
2 out of 5 Pygmy Cory's
DHG Spreading nicely

Evilgrin 11-25-2012 07:29 PM

Added a few more fish to bring my stocking list closer to completion, currently in the tank are
  • 1 SAE
  • 12 neon tetras
  • 5 Pygmy Corries
  • 1 Bushynose Pleco
  • 3 Bosemani Rainbows
  • 8 Ghost Shrimp

Ok updated pics as of today

full tank shot

Left corner


Right Corner

And several random close ups of both Plants and Fish

Sd760 11-28-2012 07:23 AM

Amazing tank. Love your plant selection.

Amandas tank 11-28-2012 07:27 AM

Welcome back to the hobby! 8 years is a long time from my perspective since I've only been in for about 2 years. I like the progress of your tank! Looking good and nice choice on the lava rocks. The color looks fab with the plants.

Evilgrin 11-29-2012 01:45 AM


Sd760 Amazing tank. Love your plant selection.
Thank you very much.


Amandas tank Welcome back to the hobby! 8 years is a long time from my perspective since I've only been in for about 2 years. I like the progress of your tank! Looking good and nice choice on the lava rocks. The color looks fab with the plants.
Thank you very much.

Amandas tank 11-29-2012 02:47 AM

I totally heard Elvis when I read your two replies :smile:

Evilgrin 12-08-2012 05:25 AM

OK Here the latest on the Progress so far added 5 more miniature cories (species escapes me at the moment) and 2 more Bosmani Rainbows and 6 Sunburst "Mickey Mouse" Platties.
Added some duck weed and frogbit to the tank today to help with leeching nutrients from the substrate. Going to have to keep an eye on it so it doesn't block too much light.

And now without further ado on to the Tank Porn.

CAM6467 12-08-2012 01:14 PM

Your tank is amazing! Great photography as well!!

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