skystrife's 75 Gallon Low Tech (56k warning)
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:09 PM   #1
skystrife
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Default skystrife's 75 Gallon Low Tech (56k warning)

Hello all!

Starting my first journal here, with my second tank ever and my first foray into the planted sector of freshwater aquaria. My goal with this is to be a relatively low-maintenance tank without sacrificing on the beauty.

Equipment
  • 75 Gallon Aqueon tank from LFS
  • Black pine stand from LFS
  • 2x API Fillstar XPL's
  • Hydor 300W inline heater
  • 48" Lithonia lighting shop light (running one bulb for low light according to the PAR charts)
  • 8 bags of Eco Complete as substrate

Flora
  • Anacharis
  • Anubias (nana, "petite", "coffeefolia")
  • Crypts (wendtii, undulata, parva)
  • Hygro (giant and compact)
  • Java Fern
  • Java Moss
  • Italian Vals
Fauna
  • Nothing (yet)
  • 5x Bolivian Ram (planned)
  • ??x Cardinal Tetra (planned)
  • ??x Rummynose Tetra (planned)
  • 3-4x Bristlenose (planned)
  • 6-12x Otocinclus (planned)
  • ??x Corydoras (maybe?)

So, here we go! First, the pretty stuff.

The order arrives!

I bought them all online and was surprised at the quality I got. Will definitely do it again in the future should I need more plants.

Getting them in the tank (using RODI water for the tank and the system isn't yet set up at this point):


Filling it up:


All planted! lol



Hardscape arrangement:


Getting ready to plant!

Bucket o' plants:


First planted plant!



The final product:


FTS:


Closer to the wood. I'm hoping these Anubias attach... they are fairly loose.


Right side:


Left side:


Crypt. parva:


Crypt. wendtii "red":


View from the back:


The whole set, if you're interested: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8570487...7631224930540/

Now, the update stuff.

Wood still wanted to float despite being soaked for several weeks, so I had to tie it to tupperware lids with fishing line and bury the lids in the gravel. Easy, effective, and inexpensive. And non-permanent, which is a plus.

Just got the filters and the heater running (@ ~79F) yesterday. Media is set up as follows (excuse the crude ASCII drawing) in both filters:

==============
polishing pad
-------------------------
purigen + bio stars
-------------------------
fine foam
==============
ehfisubstrat pro
-------------------------
more ehfisubstrat pro
==============
foam
-------------------------
foam
==============

Beginning to fishless cycle the tank now, after finally finding some clear ammonia at a Walgreens (everything else has surfactants in it). Bumped the Ammonia to ~4ppm and waiting for it to fall.

I've remineralized the RODI water with GLA's GH Booster and added some buffering capacity with some baking soda, but it appears I overshot my target:

Wanted: 1-2 dGH, 1-2 dKH, pH ~6.5
Got: 3 dGH, 4 dKH, pH ~7.6

So I'll have to play chemist some more to figure out exactly how much of each I need to add since I clearly overshot (I think it didn't dissolve right away so I didn't see the new reading and overdid things). Oh well---iirc the cycling goes more smoothly at higher pH anyway.

And there you have it: a newbie planted tank journey, starting now!
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:36 PM   #2
garloki72
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Looks like your off to a great start beside the whole water parameters, but they'll become stabile overtime I would think.
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Old 08-25-2012, 05:24 PM   #3
skystrife
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Thanks! Hopefully I'll get the hang of exactly how much to add. I should probably start practicing remineralization in a barrel or something so I can figure out just how much of the boosters I need to add to hit my targets.

The ammonia I'm adding is in the form of Ammonium Hydroxide, so I suppose that could be raising the PH as well?
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Old 08-26-2012, 04:32 AM   #4
skystrife
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And we have nitrites! That was really fast... Guessing that the plants must have had a significant amount of bacteria culture on them to get this going quickly.

Readings:

Ammonia: 0.5-1ppm
Nitrite: 5+ ppm
Nitrate: 0-5ppm

Adding some more ammonia now to bump it up to around 2ppm. Hopefully I'll start seeing nitrate production soon!
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:00 AM   #5
alipper
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Really like the setup. I'm trying to get ideas on a 75 gallon I plan on doing also. The only thing I'd add to your plants would be some Amazon swords. Where did you order your plants from?
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:57 AM   #6
skystrife
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I've neglected my journal! This needs some updates, which will come a bit later when I get some better shots of the tank. It is (lightly) stocked now, though!

Fauna:
2x Bristlenose
6x Bolivian Rams
2x Amano Shrimp

I've been noticing some aggression between the bristlenoses for some time now (they've matured quite a bit since they were first introduced to the tank). Is it any cause for concern? I don't think much real damage is being done, but I do occasionally see a ripped fin on the submissive one (he's mostly unphased though and still chomps through fresh spinach like there's no tomorrow).

Quote:
Originally Posted by alipper View Post
Really like the setup. I'm trying to get ideas on a 75 gallon I plan on doing also. The only thing I'd add to your plants would be some Amazon swords. Where did you order your plants from?
http://www.plantedaquariumscentral.com is where I picked them up, pretty good quality and pricing point. They did come with a few hitchhikers, though, so you might want to do a dip before tossing them in if you're bothered by snails (I think it was just eggs though, since all I ever saw were baby snails).
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