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tnyr5 11-30-2012 05:57 PM

New to the forum-first planted tank
Hi guys,
This is my first planted tank so please be kind!
A little about myself :
I've been keeping aquariums for nearly 20 years now (started when I was 8). For the past 13 I've been on the saltwater side of the hobby.'s really nothing left to do with my current reef tank except watch it grow, so I needed a new project.

Tank is a standard 5 1/2 gallon Perfecto
Filtration - standard HOB filter with heater and large sack of carbon with some gfo ( granular ferric oxide) thrown in to keep phosphates under control.
Lighting - and old 55w power compact hood from a previous salty tank
-I used mostly Fluval products( bubble counter, substrate, ceramic diffuser, etc) as that is all that is available out here in the boonies. ADA would have been prohibitively expensive anyway.
CO2- I branched a line from the 35 lb CO2 tank that runs the calcium reactor on my reef

Plants -
Hemianthus callitrichodes
Eleocharis acicularis
Potamogenton gayi

two types of Rotala, I'm guessing they're both indica, one is much redder than the other.

Dosing - I'm using brightwell products ( again, what is available)
I'm keeping the nitrates in the 5-8 ppm range ( tested daily), phosphates are around .05 ppm ( via Hanna phosphate checker), I add about 25 ppm potassium to the make up water from WC's ( or at least, the amount that is supposed to bring it to 25 ppm) I also add 3-4 drops of potassium supplement daily ( roughly 2 ppm). I also have a multi-nutrient with iron, but as the tank is new, I use this sparingly.

The tank is still very young and I'm getting an expected algae bloom. It's worth noting that I let this tank cycle for 3 weeks with just driftwood and no water changes before adding plants. The tank was absolutely spotless until two days after the first water change. I use RO water.

Currently there are no fish or shrimp in the tank. I did this on purpose after reading many a horror story of epic algae blooms and I wanted to be able to take drastic measures without having to worry about fish lol.

So far the plants are growing quite well. I'm getting about 3/4-1" per day from the green Rotala. The HC have increased in mass by about 30% since I planted them 10 days ago. I'd say the stems & hair grass are about ready for their first trim.

Please feel free to critique the system, this is not my area of expertise and any & all advice is welcome!


somewhatshocked 11-30-2012 07:29 PM

Welcome to the forum! Great reef tank you've got going. Your marine experience will come in handy on this side of the hobby.

Looks like you're off to a great start.

A couple things you won't really have to worry about in this realm: phosphates, GFO, carbon.

Once your Brightwell ferts run out, you may want to explore buying dry ferts online. Probably a trillion (okay, a bit of an exaggeration) more bang for your buck. Since you're experienced with coral, dosing EI should be easy to grasp.

Can't wait to see how it all turns out.

tnyr5 12-01-2012 04:08 PM

Thanks for the tips! I'll keep that in mind. EI dosing doesn't seem too tough, but I'm curious if you keep the co2 bubbling day and night with that system. It didn't specify, at least not in the article I read.

somewhatshocked 12-01-2012 04:18 PM

Trust me - EI is a cake walk compared to dosing in a reef tank!

Most folks who use pressurized CO2 do so with a solenoid and a timer. CO2 typically on 30-45 min prior to lights on so there's a good concentration in the water column to be used by the time plants start getting all the light. And off about 30-45 min (these times are just an estimate, don't hold me to that) before lights off so there's no over abundance of CO2 in the water after lights out. That really helps prevent gassing fish over night.

For those who run CO2 24/7, many use an air stone at night to help gas things off and prevent harming critters.

GMYukonon24s 12-02-2012 01:27 AM

Welcome the forum. That's a great SW setup! That's a nice start to the tank.

freph 12-02-2012 02:53 AM

Whoa, great start!

Tcal01 12-02-2012 04:26 AM

wow for your first freshwater scape that looks pretty good, a lot better than my first scape. it should look even better when it fills in. welcome to TPT

GMYukonon24s 12-06-2012 04:24 PM

Any updates?

james1542 12-06-2012 06:09 PM

Very nice looking tank, I think the only suggestion left to make is throw a back ground on there!

tnyr5 12-09-2012 04:58 AM

Hey guys, sorry I've been aloof! This is a busy time of year for singers. I'll post some new pics as soon as I get home on Monday.

tnyr5 12-11-2012 04:55 PM

tnyr5 12-11-2012 05:10 PM

As promised lol. I did some major trimming of the stem plants about a week ago. I also had a bit of an accident (overdosed H2O2 and nearly killed everything), but the plants seem to have bounced back. The new shoots of [I]Rotala[I] don't seem to want to grow upright though lol.

tnyr5 12-18-2012 02:26 AM

Growth shot nov 20
Today, taken just before trimming [IMG][/IMG] To someone who is used to corals that grow in inches per year, this is astounding lol.

discuspaul 12-18-2012 03:22 AM

Great !
But as James 1542 said a while ago... put a background on your tank.... a darkish color.... it'll make everything look that much better !

tnyr5 12-18-2012 04:21 AM

Yeah, I just can't decide between a black background or the sky-type backgrounds Mr. Amano uses.

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