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Dr. Acula 11-16-2009 01:10 AM

The Doctor's 29g (56k)
Alright guys, I know you've all been dying of curiosity. "What's this guy been up to?" you've been thinking. Well, now you can finally see for yourselves.

It's a 29 gallon that's in pretty good condition, but not new. I got it for free from a friend, and that's how this started. Though I have still spent my fair share on this guy. So here you go:

Lighting: Catalina Aquariums 2x24W t5 HO 6500K and 10000K bulbs
Substrate: Topsoil capped with a little over a bag of Eco Complete
CO2: Later
Flora: Eleocharis parvula, Marsilea minuta, Blyxa japonica
Fauna: Undecided
Filter: Need to work on that too

So! Some pictures

Thanks for the hairgrass goes to malaybiswas, and the blyxa and marsilea are from sieu004. The initial planting took FOREVER. I mean hours. That was a ton of hairgrass. and the marsilea didn't go too quickly either. But, that's it for now. Look, enjoy, love, hate, comment, don't, but there you go.

doggyhog 11-16-2009 01:17 AM

Looks awesome!!!! must have taken lots of time to plant that hair grass!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Great job!

vtkid 11-16-2009 01:38 AM

oh ya planting for a carpet is no fun. i hope it works out for you though

Dr. Acula 11-16-2009 03:08 AM

Thanks, I hope it goes well too. I'm not looking forward to dealing with algae in this tank, and I'm impatient to have it grow in. I am a little worried about having 48W of t5 HO without any added CO2 though, but I'll have to handle that later. I'll try just running the lights for 5 or 6 hours to start, then gradually increasing it, to try and keep anything from getting a foothold. I was pleased when I filled it, though, that the Eco Complete kept the half of the substrate that's dirt from muddying the water much.

Unrelated, I plan on adding a black background when I get the chance.

And I need to get a filter before I can make this an actual fish tank. But funds are running low for this project at the moment.

oldpunk78 11-16-2009 03:34 AM

that looks good! you're off to a great start there. the only thing i am going to recommend is at least 4ml of excel daily(until you get co2, hopefully...). with that fixture that close to the tank your hairgrass is going to be covered in algae in a couple of months. i would hate to see that happen.

oh, one more thing. do you plan on dosing any ferts?

londonloco 11-16-2009 02:57 PM

Tagging along. I am picking up a used 29g with wrought iron stand tomorrow night. Consider suspending your light from the ceiling, Catalina fixtures are super light. I have a 3 bulb over my 75g Rip suspended with simple a simple black chain. This way you can move the light up some if your having algae issues.

I have a Fluval 305 available, so that's what I plan on using for a filter. Your scape looks great, what type of rocks are those?

Dr. Acula 11-17-2009 01:34 AM

That's good advice, oldpunk78, and I'm taking it. I stopped by the lfs today and picked up a bottle of excel, along with a cheap black background and timer for the light fixture. And to answer your other question, I do plan on fertilizing eventually, but for the time being, I'm going to try to make due with the Eco and soil.

How much do you think the Excel will help without CO2 though? Especially in keeping algae under control.

londonloco, I agree that hanging the fixture would be a nice way to do it. However, as you can deduce from the mysterious reflection of me in the third picture, I'm not the one making the decisions regarding holes in ceilings and mounting anything. I'm lucky I got the go-ahead to set this up at all. My bedroom is looking more and more like an aquarium, with now three tanks, this being by far the largest.

Anyway, thanks for the kind words about the 'scape. I wanted to go with something simple, and I liked the way this looks. Which is good, because I don't see myself changing it, after that much planting and considering half the substrate is mud. But the rocks are just extras lying around from a garden wall built a little while back, boiled and all that.

crispy0 11-19-2009 04:26 AM

he recomended excell because it is liquid carbon so it supplies the CO2 for you untill you get a real co2 set up. looking good so far. that foreground must have been a pita, but i sure it will be worth it. thats a lot of hairgrass dang. good luck with the algae war i know right now i am losing thanks to a 65 watt light fixture

Dr. Acula 11-22-2009 12:53 AM


Originally Posted by crispy0 (Post 944387)
he recomended excell because it is liquid carbon so it supplies the CO2 for you untill you get a real co2 set up. looking good so far. that foreground must have been a pita, but i sure it will be worth it. thats a lot of hairgrass dang. good luck with the algae war i know right now i am losing thanks to a 65 watt light fixture

I get that, crispy0, I was just wondering how well it Excel would work as an exclusive source of carbon for the plants. I know it works well in addition to DIY or pressurized CO2, but alone? Regardless, I'm leaning towards going pressurized with this one. Getting everything I need to set that up will likely have to wait until around December 25th though... But thanks for the compliments. And yeah, the hairgrass was a pita, but I can't wait for it to fill in.

But, a mini update:

I have the lights on 6 hours a day, and have been slightly overdosing Excel since I picked up a bottle. The hairgrass is doing great. Nearly every node has sent up a new leaf, and I've spotted some with runners already. It's about the same story with the marsilea minuta too, just a little slower. The blyxa seems to be having the hardest time. I haven't noticed much growth, or at least I can't tell if some of the leaves are new or not. One bunch seems to be melting a good bit. One thing that gives me some hope it that I've seen the roots of one bunch growing. I've heard that blyxa takes a little while to get established, though, so I just hope that's what's going on.

I might add a picture or two later on, but at the moment the camera is out of batteries. And I can't figure out how to turn the flash off...

Dr. Acula 11-22-2009 05:33 AM

Well, I actually have three pictures for you. I'm no photography expert, though, and it shows. It's not my particular art form. Maybe my picture taking skills will improve slowly as my tank does. Anyway, here they are:

Here's some hairgrass. Look closely and you'll see some little green blurs at the bottom. Those are new leaves. And there's a runner or two in there.

And the marsilea. You can tell what's new growth, it's a little lighter than the rest. And you can tell the silt that was originally in that corner of the tank settled. Sorry for the blurry picture...

Finally, the blyxa. I was worried about it, (read last post) but after just looking at it more closely, I see that actually about four of the clumps have new little stems and bunches of leaves sent up. That was pretty exciting for me, so I took a picture. You can see the melting I was worried about to the right though. Oh, I'm sure all of you experienced aquarists have seen this before, but it was a big deal to me. Take a look again.

Dr. Acula 11-30-2009 01:11 AM

Well, I've been away on vacation for the last five days, so I had to trust a friend to care for my tanks. That's always at least a little scary. I wasn't sure what to expect when I got back; maybe some nice new growth, maybe a soup of algae.

It was a little bit of both. There's a good bit of brown algae, and lots of gunk on the surface, but everything's alive and growing. Slowly. The hairgrass still seems to be doing the best, throwing out a lot of runners and new leaves. I can't wait for it to actually fill in. The marsilea m. is making visible progress too. In five days I can see a number of new shoots. Some have multiple little leaves, and some only have one. So that's fun. The blyxa is annoying me though. Apparently I waited too long between when I recieved it to plant it, or I did something else to anger it. Every leaf that was alive when I got it is now dead. One bunch looks completely dead. But, there are still those new leaves, and they're growing bit by bit. So there's that.

I'll do my best to improve the situation, at least algae-wise, now that I'm back. The diatoms aren't hurting much, but they aren't fun to look at. I'll look into getting some ottos, after improving the filtration and circulation. Do a water change or two. Well see how it goes. And as of now, there isn't much new and pretty to take a picture of. Not too exciting, but that's it for now.

FSM 11-30-2009 01:31 AM

My Blyxa looked the same way until my fish ate it. Now it doesn't look like anything.

Dr. Acula 11-30-2009 11:49 PM


Originally Posted by FSM (Post 950301)
My Blyxa looked the same way until my fish ate it. Now it doesn't look like anything.

I came up with a clever way of avoiding that for the time being: I have no fish in the tank. Though that's mostly because I just managed to scrape together the money for a filter. But mine's just a bit more than nothing at the moment anyway. All that it's done in the past two weeks is get smaller. Healthier, but smaller. It's annoying me.

I think I'll pick up an eheim tomorrow or the next day. Can't go wrong with one of those. Maybe a fluval, who knows? I need some flow to help with brown algae. And then I'll have to start considering stocking. So many possibilities. But, that's for later.

TheCryptKeeper 12-03-2009 12:46 AM

blyxa is a plant that doesn't react well to being replanted. it will lose alot of its leaves and look dead, but just leave it alone. it will grow back :) I had some growing where I didn't even know I had some still. It was under some crypts but still growing. getting them rooted solidly is the key.

I agree with the co2 issue. GET IT! you will regret it soon enough once you have to start dealing with bba. The tank looks great though, nice scape :)

Dr. Acula 12-08-2009 12:29 AM

I've seen what you mean, Torpedobarb. My blyxa has all gradually melted and sprung back. Some bunches faster than others. I'm impatient though. Plants just don't seem to grow fast enough...

Anyway, over the last week or so, I feel like enough has happened to warrant a bit of an update:

Firstly, I finally got a filter. Rather, I finally got a filter that is appropriate for this size tank, as I had been running a little Whisper 10i on it in order to get at least a little water movement and all that. That was just upgraded to a Fluval 205. And I know Fluval gets a bad rap from time to time, but so far I like it well enough. Though it's been about a day. I put that off for quite a while, so it's nice to have it done.

Also, I got a black background, so that looks nice.

And I guess some pictures of growth (I like pictures):

I have a sneaking suspicion that this may not be marsilea minuta. A number of sprouts have more than one lobe, and it seems to be a little big for that species. I like it either way, though. Any opinions, if you can see through the blurriness?

If anybody noticed, I split up some of the blyxa, and spread it out. I also added a bit more Eco Complete to the little mound it's on to give it some more slope towards the back.

So, I think the tank is doing well. Algae is minimal, and the diatoms are in decline. The water looks a little green in the pictures, and it does with the lights on, but it's actually brown. I checked against a white cup. I suspect it's from the mud bottom, as it's been like that since setup. I did a roughly 40% water change, and that helped a great deal. I'll do another eventually. Plants are growing slowly, and all that.

That's it! Thanks for looking.

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