My first planted aquarium Petco 6.6 Bookshelf Iwagumi (Full Tank Shot 09/27/2012) - Page 2
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Old 07-09-2012, 03:45 AM   #16
SaltyNC
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My first planted aquarium Petco 6.6 Bookshelf Iwagumi (Full Tank Shot 09/27/2012)


I started trimming the dwarf hairgrass (e. parvula) this afternoon. That is so hard to do. You wait for weeks for it to grow and fill in, and when it is finally beginning to look good, you have to give it all a flat-top haircut. Well, you don't have to, but it causes it to send out new runners and new growth comes on more quickly that way. So, I picked up a cheap pair of hair trimming scissors for $4 from Target and did the deed.

I managed to capture in my fingers most cuts, and tweezered out some loose bits, but it quickly became apparent that it was going to be tough to collect all of the tiny loose hairgrass clippings, despite my best efforts to retain them. So, I decided to go ahead and flood the tank and just dip out the floating debris. I'll begin doing daily water changes and dosing Excel and will begin the EI method soon. Right now, Osmocote in the substrate is taking care of the nutrient needs.

So, here is Week 3 updated with the tank flooded.
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Old 07-09-2012, 03:56 AM   #17
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Looks nice. : )
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Old 07-10-2012, 05:31 PM   #18
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Looks nice. : )
Thanks so much, Microw. Now the hard part begins (well, not really hard, but lots of water changes, etc) to keep the algae down until the tank cycles and balances out. I also need to get some CO2 on this fairly quickly. Right now I'm only using Excel. That's what I get for jumping the gun.
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:25 AM   #19
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Default Week 4 Update

It's week 4 of my planted aquarium. This week is my first full week of being submerged with daily water changes. With only 6.6 gallons, it doesn't take long.

I also added some beautiful anubias nana 'petite' from KingPlakat. I'm on the fence about keeping them in this aquascape, though. What do you guys think? Even though they are 'petites', are they too large for my scape and throw off the sense of scale? I'd appreciate your opinions. If I do keep them, the one on the left needs to be repositioned. It looks cramped and unnatural to me.

I want to add some regular baby tears, hemianthus micranthemoides (HM), behind my rocks. Right now I have a couple of crypts back there, but I think the HM is going to be the ticket. I need to get those ordered.

So far, so good on algae. I do have what I think is a little bit of cyanobacteria in the lowest point of my substrate along the glass. Due to the low spot, this area was often underwater during my dry start. I've been dosing Excel all along, and today I started injecting it directly onto this spot with a syringe. We'll see if that will take care of it. I will also cover that area with a piece of black tape for the next few days.

The latest pics are below. One is a FTS and the other is from slightly above. If anyone has suggestions, please let me know. Thanks!
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Old 07-15-2012, 04:34 PM   #20
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Incredible! If you wouldn't have put that dollar bill in the tank, I would have never guessed the tank was that size. It looks huge! Plants are looking healthy as well.

Something about the brown substrate, the darker rocks, and the black background has a reminiscence of a creek bottom. Well done, look forward to seeing more!
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:22 PM   #21
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I would not put cardinals in there. Maybe neons, but cardinals would be too big.
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:20 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Williak View Post
Incredible! If you wouldn't have put that dollar bill in the tank, I would have never guessed the tank was that size. It looks huge! Plants are looking healthy as well.

Something about the brown substrate, the darker rocks, and the black background has a reminiscence of a creek bottom. Well done, look forward to seeing more!
Thank you so much, Williak. There is something about the dimensions of these Petco bookshelf tanks that makes them appear much bigger than they really are. I think the fish will appreciate the length as well. I hope this one will turn out OK. I've had a few very minor issues, but overall it's going very well for my first planted tank. Fingers crossed it will stay that way.

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I would not put cardinals in there. Maybe neons, but cardinals would be too big.
I'm leaning more and more toward ember tetras. I think I need something tiny to maintain the scale. I wish the embers were a different color, but I think the size needs to overrule the color.

As a fly fisherman, I also love the Celestial Pearl Danio's. They look so similar to a brook trout. Do you think they would work? I understand their natural habitat is flooded grasslands, so they may like the DHG carpet.
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Old 07-21-2012, 11:10 PM   #23
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Having kept planted tanks for a while (and generally enjoyed what looks to be a jungle since I am bad at trims / maintenance) I am astounded at how beautiful your FIRST planted tank looks and as someone mentioned earlier, had I not seen the dollar bill I would not have realized how small the tank was. Absolutely beautiful.

I might consider CPDs/Galaxy Rasboras (whatever they're being called at the LFS now...) just given the size of the tank and I think they're beautiful little fish. I just saw you mentioned them as well and I think they'd be great in that tank.

Also, I used to keep Espei's Rasboras and they are beautiful fish when they settle in, with an electric but asymmetric orange band on them that's captivating. Underused fish IMO. I'd consider those as well.
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:15 AM   #24
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Bro your setup is awesome. Love those local rocks. As far as fish go, are you stuck on a schooled? How about some male endlers? They are very social and tiny to boot!
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:21 AM   #25
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Nice tank! I was just wondering... Does the tank come with the 15w T8 light, or does it come with something else?
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Old 07-22-2012, 04:19 AM   #26
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I might consider CPDs/Galaxy Rasboras (whatever they're being called at the LFS now...) just given the size of the tank and I think they're beautiful little fish. I just saw you mentioned them as well and I think they'd be great in that tank.

Also, I used to keep Espei's Rasboras and they are beautiful fish when they settle in, with an electric but asymmetric orange band on them that's captivating. Underused fish IMO. I'd consider those as well.
Invert1, thank you so much for your kind words. I've really gotten the bug bad, and now I want to get a larger ADA tech, full high tech setup, and do a really nice aquascape. I think they are amazingly beautiful. Since I initially wrote up the section on fish, I've been going round and round, and now I'm leaning toward something in the very tiny rasboras line. There are quite a few that are incredibly tiny and will work with the scale of the tank. CPD's are still on my list, but definitely considering others, now. I originally thought I only wanted fish with color, but white fish actually pop against the dark blackground, so even some of the less spectacular fish can look good, I think.


Quote:
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Bro your setup is awesome. Love those local rocks. As far as fish go, are you stuck on a schooled? How about some male endlers? They are very social and tiny to boot!
Thanks fishoutawater. I'm learning a lot this time around, so hopefully I can improve when I drop the big bucks on my next aquarium. I like the local rock, because I feel I have a connection to them. In fact, they come from near Crowders Mountain, a popular mountain for rock climbing, hiking, and I've thought about trying to reproduce that mountain in a larger aquascape. It will be challenging.

I really would like a schooling fish if possible. I've looked at the make endlers, and they are beautiful, but not quite what I'm after. I do appreciate your suggestion.

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Nice tank! I was just wondering... Does the tank come with the 15w T8 light, or does it come with something else?
Maxwellag, thanks. The aquarium does come standard with the 15W T8 fixture. There are two downsides. The stock bulb tends to be on the red side and not very bright (at least visibly), and two, it is only 18" long while the tank is at 24" long. That creates some low light on the sides. In fact, the reason I typically have the image on the dark side is because the light range from high in the center to low on the sides is pretty hard to photograph.

Are you considering one? I think they are a great size, and a fun starter aquarium.
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Old 07-22-2012, 05:04 AM   #27
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Default Week 5 - The calm before the storm

This marks this fifth week for my aquarium, and the second week of having the tank flooded. Since flooding, growth has slowed significantly. I'm dosing Excel, but I think the plants would really like more CO2. All of the CO2 items have been ordered, and I found a place directly across from my office that will do CO2 tank fills for very cheap. Cool! I looked at the jaggedfury thread and was just about to go that route, but then decided for just a little more, I could get the Aquatek regulator with a solenoid and maybe be a tad safer. I thought about building a regulator for this tank, but I am getting an ADA tank in the future, and I will have CO2 on it, so I will need another CO2 system (different floor), and I'll spend the money for a kickbutt dual stage regulator with an Ideal needle valve on that tank. To spend $200-$250 on a regulator seems hard to justify on a Petco plastic tank.

I had originally placed Osmocote under the substrate for nutrients, and those are still there doing their job, but I am now dosing NPK on even days and Excel Flourish on odd days. Before my fertilizer came in, I crushed some Osmocote and placed it into a solution that I dosed. This would cause an ammonia spike, but by the next day, the bacteria had taken care of it. Even though the evidence is iffy, I decided to add beneficial bacteria to my tank after major water changes. At least it can't hurt.

TPT member Trenton is a spreadsheet master, and seeing his dosing spreadsheet made me want to create one of my own, so I copied much of his layout and added a few more items I wanted to track. It is proving to be very helpful to track everything and to remind me where I'm at in my rotation.

It may have been a mistake now that I look at it, but this week I decided to try removing my light hood and shooting with the tank lit only by an incandescent bulb. To the natural eye, it made the tank look rich and warm, but on film, well, not so much. I also have few shots showing the aquarium, so I included one for this week with the included hood back in place and the much whiter light.

Next week, CO2 should be up and running and the week after that, I'll have reached the point where I'm only doing a 50% water change once per week, and I'll add some wildlife to the tank at that time.

Below are the tank shots and a screenshot of the spreadsheet I made based on Trenton's awesome work. I have the water level lower than normal to create some surface agitation.
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Old 07-23-2012, 06:30 PM   #28
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I'm getting in some regular baby tears, and in researching the plant, I realized that I have been mistakenly referring to it as HM (hemianthus micranthemoides). Evidently, HM is thought to be extinct, and what we are using in the aquarium industry is HG (hemianthus glomeratus). So, I updated my specs with the new name. Darn, I had finally memorized how to pronounce and spell micranthemoides.
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Old 07-29-2012, 06:08 AM   #29
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Default Week 6 - Algae, Spiking Nitrites, CO2 Arrives (sort of)

I've been slowly tapering off water changes. At the end of next week, I'll be down to only one water change per week. Without the frequent water changes, algae began to grow on the rocks and along the glass near the substrate line. I've been dosing Excel fairly heavily, and that has done an excellent job knocking back what little algae I've seen.

Here you can see some algae growing on the glass along the substrate, but check out the roots on the DHG! It continues to send out runners, and my substrate has visibly lifted nearly an inch in some places. The blades of grass are finally starting to break through. I keep expecting it to explode with growth soon as all those blades finally break through and fill in the gaps.


I planted my hemianthus glomeratus this week behind my rocks. Most of it is hidden from view on a front shot of the tank, but it will quickly grow and fill in, and I'll keep trimming it back until it forms a nice, thick bush effect. You can see just the tops of HG peaking from behind the rocks here:


I cleaned off the algae, and took a tooth brush to my rocks, today, and my water looked like a dust storm in Kansas. I was scheduled to perform a 50% water change, tomorrow, but I decided to go ahead and clean up the debris and did two 50% water changes to clear things up.

I was able to get my 5 lb CO2 tank filled this week. I also received the Aquatek regulator for this tank. I received my high end regulator and needle valve that I'll use for my future ADA tank, as well. I didn't pay attention when I placed an order for some parts such as my glass nano diffuser on Ebay that the seller is overseas, so some parts won't be here until mid-August. I couldn't wait that long, so I hit up the LFSs for a temporary fix with a Fluval CO2 ceramic diffuser. Either they didn't carry it or they were out, so I remembered hearing about the bamboo diffusers. My son happened to have some bamboo that he had dried for a project, so I borrowed a tiny piece and shaped it into a makeshift diffuser. It actually works amazingly well and creates a fine mist of CO2 that floats around the tank. I couldn't get a great picture of it, but here is a shot where you can see the CO2 micro-bubbles being swept to the right.


I've been testing my water parameters, and I was somewhat surprised to see my nitrites spike this week. I thought the tank might have cycled during the dry start, but I rushed it by a week or two when I flooded it, and so it looks like I'm cycling, now. So, no fauna for me for awhile longer.

Finally, here is the tank shot for this week. The hairgrass is really filling in, and I'm looking forward to seeing the HG behind the rocks fill in. With the CO2, I should have a good jump in growth for next week's shot. Here's hoping!
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:21 PM   #30
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ooo look at those healthy root systems!!! Come to a conclusion on fish yet?
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