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Old 03-04-2012, 07:46 PM   #1
low_techy
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Juwel Rio 240; non-carbon enriched new planted tank


Hey all,

I wanted to share with you my latest venture, a new juwel rio 240 planted tank. I'm currently in the process of running down a similar sized bow fronted CO2 injected tank in the hope of running a lower tech set up. Partly because I like the idea of a lower maintenance tank (fewer water changes, no prescriptive EI dosing), but also because the principle of injecting an external carbon source into the water of an aquarium to ensure the healthy growth of supposedly aquatic plants is one I sometimes struggle with mentally.

The new juwel rio 240 set up will be as follows:

* 2x54W t5's (1x plant grow, 1xday lite; no reflectors), that puts me at about 2WPG?!
* Stock juwel internal filter
* Aquagrit clay based substrate
* Minimal water changes (I'll be a little flexible with this depending on the success of plant growth, accumulation of detritus, fish health etc)
* Periodic fertilizer dosing (liquid fertilizer including macros)

The plants will generally be ones that my internet research and past experience suggest should be suitable for moderate light, but most importantly don't require additional CO2 injection (or liquid carbon products) to survive/thrive. Currently I have:

* Hygrophilia polysperma
* Java fern
* Anubias (nana I believe)
* pogostemon helferi (will be interesting to see how this gets on as some sources suggest carbon supplementation is required)
* Cryptocoryne wendeti (brown)
* Rotala rotundifolia (was doing well in the CO2 tank and again have heard conflicting reports of how this will fair in moderate light and absence of Co2 supplementation)

In addition I also have on order (from ebay):

* Java moss
* Ludwigia repens
* Staurogyne repens
* Couple of species of floating plants
* Fore ground four leave clover type plant (name escapes me at present)
* Dwarf sag

I hope to share the progress with folks and see how we get on..........I'll keep you posted

Bye for now


Pics:

1) Current CO2 injected tank looking quite neglected and several plants taken out
2) New Juwel Rio 240 with current plants and a couple of fish in place
3) Both tanks in-situ to give you a feel for the overall set up at present
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:50 PM   #2
low_techy
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Default Juwel Rio 240; non-carbon enriched new planted tank; update 1

....OK, so the majority of the ordered plants turned up. Included in the tank we now have:

*Dwarf sag
* Ludwigia repens
* Marsilea hirsuta; I thought this would work as a foreground plant , but it's like 15 cm high so I've kept as a clump and shuved it near the back.
* Ludwigia brevipes, which I transferred from my CO2 tank. It had slow-moderate growth in that tank and from what I've read I'm dubious what luck I'll have in this tank, but for the minute it looks nice IMO and I can always switch it out.

3 photo's below:

1) My D+D HQI 28G nano reef tank (for interest)
2) FTS with new plants in.
3) Attempted close up showing the dwarf sag in the foreground.

Just need to catch fish and transfer over (stressful ).

Staurogyne repens still to come (I suspect my bristle nose plec is going to eat this anyway ).

I think Takeshi Amano's job is safe based on the basic aquascape, but I'm relatively pleased with it and the main thing I'm after is healthy plants, low maintenance and asthetically pleasing rather than perfection.

Interesting in anyone else's experience keeping any of these plants in similar conditions. Thoughts on the scape so far, tips, advice, etc.
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:01 AM   #3
ilovelucy
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pretty!
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:16 PM   #4
low_techy
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Default Fish transferred over....

Fish transferred over, old tank placed in storage and just waiting on 1 more plant delivery for the front right of the tank.

I think I'll try and provide periodic (possibly ~2 a month) updates to show how the tank is getting on, any noteworthy occurences and feedback on the non-CO2 + low-med light approach.

Any thoughts welcome

1) FTS
2) FTS from my vantage point at my desk
3) left hand side of the tank close up
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:25 PM   #5
low_techy
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Default Juwel Rio 240; non-carbon enriched new planted tank; update 2

1) Centre close up of tank
2) Right hand side close up of tank*

* I particularly like how adding moss to bog wood provides a look of nature and maturity in the scape.

All of these little cuttings of anubias were taken from a larger bunch of plants in the CO2 tank that had allot of black brush algae and fuzz algae on the edges of the leaves, possibly related to fluctuating CO2 and a period of nutrient bottoming out. These sections were trimmed to be largely free of algae. Also not visible in these pics are the floating plants which have largely congretated near the filter.
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Old 03-14-2012, 02:05 AM   #6
pandesol
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Quote:
Originally Posted by low_techy View Post
1) Centre close up of tank
2) Right hand side close up of tank*

* I particularly like how adding moss to bog wood provides a look of nature and maturity in the scape.

All of these little cuttings of anubias were taken from a larger bunch of plants in the CO2 tank that had allot of black brush algae and fuzz algae on the edges of the leaves, possibly related to fluctuating CO2 and a period of nutrient bottoming out. These sections were trimmed to be largely free of algae. Also not visible in these pics are the floating plants which have largely congretated near the filter.
Very nice looking tank. I have a few questions....
What means did you use to "stick" the java moss to your driftwood? Also, what is the plant in the dead center, back part of your tank (shown in the first pic of post #5)?

Last edited by pandesol; 03-14-2012 at 02:06 AM.. Reason: clarifying question
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:09 PM   #7
low_techy
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Default Questions :P

Hey Pandesol, thanks for taking the time to look at my post and for your questions.

The plant in the centre with the narrow leaves and bushy appearence is 'ludwigia brevipes'. I had intended not to include this in the non-CO2 tank as I seem to remember some internet research suggested CO2/carbon supplementation and medium-high light was best for this species. However, I'm willing to give it a shot and see how I get on, I can always take it out of the tank if it begins to die . There's a link to some info below on this plant:

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...ils.php?id=141

Adequate light (2 or more watts per gallon) is the most important aspect of successful submersed culture in L. brevipes. Macro- and micronutrient fertilizers are also appreciated by this species, particularly if CO2 injection is used. Low nitrate and high phosphate levels will stimulate a redder (sometimes orange) coloration in the shoot apexes of the stems. Emersed culture is possible under conditions of good light. Conclusive differentiation of this species between the very similar L. arcuata is usually only possible in an emersed state, wherein the stems of L. brevipes are glabrous (smooth) and those of L. arcuata are very slightly pubescent (hairy).

I've used a couple of different methods of 'sticking' java moss to bog wood in the past - cotton thread, fishing line, jaming the stuff in any holes I can find, fine mesh netting. On this occasion I've wrapped black cotton thread round the bog wood, which should eventually rot away whereupon the java moss should hopefully have managed to attach itself to the bog wood. This is the most effective way IMO to attach the moss.

I hope you find that info useful.

Still waiting on one more plant delivery for the bottom right then hopefully we'll see if anything grows and fills in a little.

Oh I have also added a very small 'red tiger lotus' (Nymphaea pubescens possibly) near the pogostemon helferi as I found it hidden in the substrate of the old tank, lets see how that fairs.
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:33 PM   #8
low_techy
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Default Tank update 3

Thought it worth getting a close up of the pogostemon helferi so we can monitor progress. The small tiger lotus specimen is also visible in the back ground to the left of the picture as a few reddish areas, as well as an oto catfish posing for the pic on the substrate. I think there are 7 separate PH plantlets at present, none of them impressive in terms of size or external vigour and the roots are quite flimsy at the mo (they were a recent addition to the CO2 tank actually).

Don't know if I mentioned previously, but I haven't cycled this tank in the traditional sense. I took a good few cup fulls of fluid resulting from squeezing the sponge media in my mature external filter and added this to the aquarium water. There should therefore be a large number of bacteria in there that can simple continue their process in the nitrogen cycle as they're now being fed with fish waste - all inhabitants seem in good general health thus far.
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:18 PM   #9
low_techy
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Default Tank update 5.

Hey all, thought it would be a good time to provide an update. Generally speaking I'm very happy with the way the tank/plants are maturing. The scape is filling in slowly but surely and there's no obvious algae at the mo.

Picture 1: full tank shot which hopefully shows some of the growth taking place in the tank. The ludwigia repens added to the bottom right of the tank seems to be doing very nicely, with new leaves coming out of the existing nodes. I trimmed it down and replanted the stems in efforts to keep this as a mid ground plant. The Ludwigia Brevipes is also doing nicely, despite my initial concerns. The plant appears healthy and has shown some decent growth. The anubias are attaching to the bog wood and the moss is also growing out. I have added 2 small 'mats' (steel mesh) of flame moss to the front right in the last week, so these may help to establish a carpet of some description in the future we'll see how they do. Interestingly the clover type plant towards the back (Marsilea hirsuta) has some browning leaves. The ones effected are the taller leaves and there's growth of greener lower growing leaves towards the bottom of the plant, I hope this is therefore just a settling in process, as might be seen when converting to immersed growth from emersed growth.

Picture 2: close up of the right hand side of the tank. The moss mats are visible at the front and the rotifolia is also doing nicely at the back of the tank - nearly reached the top.

Picture 3: different perspective on the right hand side, showing the lotus, which is throwing out additional, if small, leaves.

Picture 4: angled perspective of the overall tank showing the hygrophilia polysperma in the back left as well as some java fern which appears to be growing as well.

Picture 5: attempted close up of the Marsilea hirsuta showing the discoloured leaves and some moss.

I think my main concern at this stage is how the pogostemon helferi. The specimens I have look fine (no algae and nice green colouration), however, they haven't shown any growth yet. The roots aren't great and I think I've lost a couple in the tank due to them floating off. Clearly we need a little more time to see how they do over the medium term.

As expected the floating plants are doing very well and cover about a 1/3 of the total surface.

Currently I've yet to do a water change or clean the filter. I'm feeding twice a day and adding slightly less ~15mL of the prescribed dosage of liquid fertilizer (complete with macros).

As always, your thoughts, comments, suggestions and ideas always welcome.
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:20 PM   #10
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Looks good. Thanks for the update.
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:42 AM   #11
low_techy
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Default Tank update 6 (22 April 2012)

Hey all, just back from a week away and have managed to trim up the tank and have a bit of a remodel. I was very happy with the plant growth generally speaking, but thought the aquascape lacked an overall theme. I've therefore moved some of the hardscape and plants around to provide a more asthetically apealling (I hope at least anyway) 'U' shape with taller plants on either side of the tank dipping down into an area of lower growth in the middle. I've thinned out some of the dwarf sag (which was proliferating nicely) and I hope to have a more obvious foreground area in the months ahead. Unfortunately we're down to a single specimen of pogostemon helferi, with the other specimens either being eaten or floating off and into the filter - I don't know which. I think some of the challenge with this plant in my tank is the aquagrit gravel, with their small root structures might not be ideal for them. Anyway we've got a single piece that I'll keep folks updated on and we can still see how we get on.

For the foreground I'm going to take cuttings from the flame moss matts I have and attach these to slate to create a bit of a moss island at the left hand side. The rest of the foreground I'm hoping the Marsilea hirsuta will take over. There's already been new growth and the leaves it's produced are the single node variety and much shorter than the ones it had when it arrived, which should potentially create a nice carpet type effect. It currently looks a little sparse in the pictures, but I'm reasonably confident at this stage we just need a more time to let it matue and fill in. The surface plants are also very prolific and I've removed enough to give ~20% coverage, from the 100% I had previously.

I'm keen to get any feedback, thoughts and suggestions

Pictures:

1) FTS from the left side of the tank.

2) FTS from the right side of the tank.

3) Close up of the newly attached flame moss on a piece of slate.

4) Mid-range shot of left hand side of the tank, with tiger lotus just visible as red area.

5) Close up of the pogostemon helferi with a lone cherry shrimp mourning the loss of it's fallen siblings

6) FTS from front on.
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Old 10-23-2012, 06:41 PM   #12
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Talking October 2012, general update

Hey all just done a quick trim and felt like sharing an update. Notable occurrences since the last one:

* Plants generally growing in nicely, several trimmings of the stem plants have taken place. Dwarf sag has been thinned out due to it proliferating nicely.

* A bit of black brush algae has occurred. I've been in the hobby a while and in my experience this usually correlates with fluctuating CO2 levels and/or nutrient(s) bottoming out. It's not too much though and it's fairly stable at present, now the nutrient dosing is back on track.

* red tiger lotus bulb added - these grow very quickly and trimming the stems heading for the surface is recommended if you don't want to crowd out everything else.

* I've done a total of 3 water changes (~10%) and cleaned the filter media in the time I've had the tank (~9-12 months?!).

* postegomen helfeli wasn't surviving so it's now removed from the tank (booo). I'm fairly confident this plant could grow in non-CO2 enriched tanks, I think my aquagrit substrate was partially to blame in my case. Can someone else share their experiences with this plant, or any other 'foreground' plant in a non-CO2 enriched tank (note this includes the use of liquid carbon supplementation (excel etc))?

* The Marsilea species didn't propagate particularly well and got covered with algae, I therefore removed this from the tank. I'm not sure if this was due to insufficient light, hard water, lack of CO2 etc, but I didn't have much luck with it.

* Hygrophila corymbosa added to mid ground and seems to be doing quite well - slow/moderate growth and nice green colour.

* In summary non-carbon enriched planted aquariums can work and can require less maintenence work. I wonder if planted tank competitions should include a non-CO2 category in the future to support this branch of the hobby?!

I'm willing to trial another plant to see how we get on in this set up (dwarf hair grass for example?) - feel free to send a suggestion and I'll update folks on how we get on, until next time

Sorry about the quality of the pics, they were from my phone, comments and suggestions welcome.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:03 PM   #13
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looking real nice, love the nicely planted pieces of driftwood
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:48 PM   #14
low_techy
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Cool Update :)

Hey all, been a while since the last update. The hair grass didn't work unfortunately, I think the substrate didn't help. Red lotus doing nicely. I've included another internal filter for the added water movement, and also to introduce some air bubbles into the tank. This has been a bit of an experiment to see if I could remove the oily biofilm that had built up on the surface - it was very effective in that regard, for anyone with a similar problem and set up I'd highly recommend it in addition I wanted to see if this would impact on plant growth, given that the abundant air bubbles will likely cause an equilibrium between atmospheric and aqueous concentrations of co2. Excessive water movement and air pumps are generally not recommend for co2 enriched tanks and there's a paucity of information in my experience on their use in lower tech set ups. I can conclude that the plant growth has been better with the air bubble set up, I would hypothesise mainly as it has eliminated the biofilm at the surface and hence increased the light penetration in the tank, the co2 level hasn't proved to be a problem.

I've recently changed out a larger piece of bog wood for three spindly ones as the larger piece wouldn't sink (3 months in the tank weighed down with a rock). I'm not loving the look necessarily, but plants look good and it looks pretty solid overall IMO.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:49 PM   #15
low_techy
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Wink February 2013; General update

Well I've mess about with the layout somewhat. 10kg of 'Dragonstone' has been added and I've moved the plants around. See what you think.

I've decided to move over to a co2 method in a week or so to see if I can increase the diversity of plants I can work with. Perhaps I could include a carpeting plant, but at medium light that may not be entirely straight forward. I'll report back with the findings
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