A Trying Journey !!WARNING!! Wordy and Pic heavy!
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:16 PM   #1
drazend
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A Trying Journey !!WARNING!! Wordy and Pic heavy!


Ok... I give up, I'll do one I've been wanting to do a journal for a while now, because I have been so discouraged by the inhabitants of my 55 gallon tank (I chose fish before I knew anything about having a tank in general. When I found out I could have live plants in the tank too, I jumped at the opportunity and shortly after found this place.

This is not going to be a typical journal (I think), because I start off WITHOUT live plants and slowly transition to real. But I'm TRYING!!

I'm a gardener of produce, I don't do well with making things look pretty, but I can make a functional garden outside. But, I thought I would give it a shot. I went to the only 2 pet stores close to where I live that had fish. Their plants looked AWFUL and were ridiculously expensive... I even found plants that were not aquatic plants being sold as aquatic plants!!! Who could DO such a thing to unwitting customers!? Anyway, I looked and looked and finally found something listed as "Amazon Ferning plant". I thought it looked need and it was on clearance, and was in decent shape, so I thought "What the heck, lets get it". After some research I think I ended up with a Java Fern, but I liked it, as basic as it was. I stuck in in my tank and all the fish pretty much just left it alone, so all was well in the world of "planted tanks". I had a 5" Java fern in my 55 gallon... No, this didn't work for me... it looked too diminutive, I had to find something else. I happened across this awesome forum (no names mentioned *cough* Planted Tank *cough*) where people were GIVING AWAY AWESOME PLANTS!!! And had tons of others for sale!

As embarrassing as it is... Given my financial situation, I can't afford to purchase the nice plant packages I see around here. The are GREAT deals, but I just can't justify the expenditure. So, I began looking around, reading up on things, upload a few pictures of my tank (that i'm including below)... Then I discover RAOK, the magical kindness of others giving their goods to people who are interested. I'm a complete newbie at all this now, fish tanks... planted tanks... EVERYTHING. I try to win a couple to no avail, but finally win some wisteria and cardimine. The stuff looks cool, and the guy had a TANK FULL... and wanted to share. I send payment, and I get an envelop in the mail with several large 20" pieces of this plant and some bacopa too. There are SO many awesome tanks out there, and I tried my best to set up my tank to have some semblance of coolness like these tanks to little avail. But I'm happy, the wisteria is happily sitting in the corner of my tank, the fish are enjoying swimming through it and all is well. 2 days later I wake up and there are little pieces of wisteria floating every where and there looks to be much less than there should be based on the original size of the thing. I frustratedly ignored it for the moment, grabbed some coffee and went back to check things out. That's when I noticed some of the fish I purchased (on clearance at the Petstore) was eating the bacopa like pacman eating those little circles and some others were nipping at the floating wisteria, taking chucks of it in at a time.

I then did some research on the fish (I should have done this BEFORE putting the plants in) and found out that Silver Dollar fish eat plants and Rainbow fish will sometimes eat plants too. Well, the 12" pleco I had was swiping up the plants with it's tail, and all the other inhabitants were happily enjoying their never ending meal. Overtime, I tried a few other things that I thought could be ok in the tank with the fish... but found Dwarf water lettuce was the only thing that could truly survive the onslaught aside from the Java fern.

I eventually got tired of my attempts being bashed at every turn and found a second tank for SUPER cheap, it turned out to need A LOT of work on the frame, and some extra bracing before I could use it... So I settled for creating a makeshift 3 gallon tank out of a sterilite container. The plants I had saved, and some new ones I found all went there, and were growing! to my surprise, they were doing well... This went on for a couple of months until my wife bought me a 29 gallon for Christmas!!! (she's so awesome ...)

Needless to say, I chose the inhabitants more carefully this time. Only guppies, neon tetras and some ghost shrimp. I put in some pool filter sand (i already had some left over) some Cholla wood (found at a Hobby Lobby for $1) and a piece of burled oak I found laying around my parents farm as some drift wood. I placed this with the plants I saved over time into the 29 gallon, found a few more plants/mosses I was looking for and got those planted as well. I received some root tabs too, that have come in very handy. I could see growth on ALL of the plants the next day, I was SO excited. it's been a little over 2 weeks now and I'm pleased with how the little plantlets are turning out. This has brought my hope back, that I CAN raise plants in a tank. I plan on letting them grow out a bit more (maybe even move the DIY CO2 generator to the 29 gallon), and hopefully find a few more things to fill the tank out a bit and rescape. I kind of just stuck everything in there without much planning because I wasn't expecting much.

But now, I'm all fired up again, and ready to get a decent planted tank going. Once I get this one where I want it, I plan on finishing up the other 55 gallon tank I found (that cheap one I mentioned earlier) and move the non-plant friendly fish out and have a BIG planted tank. I CAN'T WAIT!!!

I will add more pictures soon, I will try to take some of the 29 gallon tonight. But for now, here is what I have.

===============================================
What the 55 looked like when we purchased it from a friend...



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What it looked like after we altered it a bit...



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After getting the Wisteria and Cardamine (I'm still so sad these are gone, I loved these things). The only live plants in the 55 gallon from here down are Java fern, Wisteria and Cardamine. (unless otherwise stated)



===============================================
Closeup of big Wisteria



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Closeup of the smaller wisteria plants



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Big wisteria with some cardamine on the right



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Smaller wisteria with the Java fern and another cardamine plant



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Aftermath when I discovered the wisteria (for the first time) was destroyed and the cardamine was almost all eaten....



I stopped taking pictures, but two days later... I was left with practically NOTHING plant wise, except the java fern....

===============================================
Here is the only plant remaining in the 55 gallon, unless something is hiding somewhere



===============================================
FINALLY 29 gallon pictures!!

The whole tank... for now, let's call it "Jolly Green Giant's Toilet"



===============================================
Wish I had taken some before pictures of most of the plants, so you could see the difference in growth. But here's a closeup of some Christmas moss, guppy grass (all pieces of which were about 1/2 inch long before), bacopa australis, bits of subwassertang and riccia loosely sitting around, some cabomba in the back and i think even a bit of hornwort



===============================================
Here's a nice piece of cabomba, small amazon sword right below it, blyxa japonica to the right of the large snail, more guppy grass in front of the snail, a java fern plantlet to the right of the grass, and I think those little thing hairy looking things at the bottom of the picture are small dwarf hairgrass hijackers from the riccia, in the middle is a rock with riccia tied to it, bottom right is micro swords, big java fern in top right and a bunch of little loose bits of subwassertang and riccia O_o...



===============================================
Finally my homemade mossball (with java moss), more bacopa, and the driftwood I mentioned in my above rant, that has a bit of fissiden glued to it.




I'll make a new post when new pictures come. There are some things I'd really LIKE to do, and some plants I'd like to acquire to fill in some space, but for now i may just let these grow in a bit and see how they do. I have more Riccia that I'm going to try to make a carpet with and I'd like to gather the subwassertang and lash it to a rock or put it in a net or something so that it stays together. I love the look of the stuff in a large mass. I guess only time will tell how it all works out.

THANKS FOR LOOKING!!!

Last edited by drazend; 01-24-2013 at 01:42 PM.. Reason: Added pictures and more info.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:16 PM   #2
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Definitely looks better in black! It may be a trying journey, but you'll learn so much along the way. As you've already discovered, some pet store plants are not suitable for aquariums and some fish are not suitable for planted aquariums. TPT is a great place to get the knowledge you'll need to make the trip both enjoyable and successful. Good luck.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:23 PM   #3
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Thanks RWaters! Unfortunately we don't even have a locally owned pet store, so i'm stuck with 2 chain stores... There are a couple of people between the two stores that know something about fish in general, but most are very unhelpful.

I heard a rumor from one of my buddies that there is a Saltwater LFS semi close, but it may not help me much

TPT has saved my greatly, I would be using plastic plants if it weren't for the awesome people and knowledge on this site.

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Definitely looks better in black! It may be a trying journey, but you'll learn so much along the way. As you've already discovered, some pet store plants are not suitable for aquariums and some fish are not suitable for planted aquariums. TPT is a great place to get the knowledge you'll need to make the trip both enjoyable and successful. Good luck.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:54 PM   #4
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Looking good! If you need more floaters or want a bunch of hygrophilia difformis, let me know - I've got LOTS I can share!
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:54 PM   #5
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I'm going to be watching your thread. Like you, I'm designed challenged. The tanks here are like works of art. It's great to see another newbie work through the learning process.

I think your tank is off to a great start. Keep posting.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:35 PM   #6
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Looking good! If you need more floaters or want a bunch of hygrophilia difformis, let me know - I've got LOTS I can share!
HA! That's a great problem to have. and THANKS!! I will drop you a line when I get ready for some. Right now, I'm focusing on the 29 gallon where the plants actually GROW! I do greatly miss the wisteria and cardamine (Cardamine lyrata I think?) I had though. I am doing well with Dwarf water lettuce, I'll try to post an update tonight of the 55 gallon and you'll know why I say that I had Frogbit, salvinia minima, and duck weed but all of those were either eaten or just melted... it's the strangest thing I've ever seen...


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Originally Posted by Sajacobs View Post
I'm going to be watching your thread. Like you, I'm designed challenged. The tanks here are like works of art. It's great to see another newbie work through the learning process.

I think your tank is off to a great start. Keep posting.
Thanks!! I'm definitely challenged (in more than one way ). I agree, there are some incredible tanks on here and it seems like I was the only one that couldn't figure out why I can put the same plants in my tank and it ends up looking like the Jolly Green Giant's toilet.

I didn't expect to get much feedback considering the state of my tanks, this is very encouraging. I will definitely keep posting. I'll try to get more pictures tonight.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:39 PM   #7
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If there's anything I know about this place, it's that we find it rather exciting to watch newbies grow with their tanks (To be fair, I still consider myself among the utterly-new-to-the-hobby, haha.)

I, for one, look forward to watching how far you come with this Researching what can go with what is almost as fun as actually putting the tanks together!
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:14 PM   #8
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You have a kindred audience here.

I'm going to be setting up a 125G in the spring, so I plan to post the journey. Now I don't feel like the newbie with the learning curve.

My current 50G is planted and looks like a storm hit it. Plants planted everywhere. No rhyme or reason to it. I find designing plant layout is hard. :/ But hey my living room looks the sameway.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:32 PM   #9
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Default 3 weeks over due on my update, SORRY!!

I will be uploading a few pictures tonight, there has been some changes with the tank a bit. I've added some females to the tank so the boys wouldn't be so lonely as a result, I have about 20 little guppy fry swimming around in there too... In addition to that I had to replace my 4 year old's Dalmatian Molly (Snowball) and the new one was VERY pregnant when we got her. Now I have about 30 little dalmatian molly fry swimming around in there too (the rest are in a small fry tank I had to throw together.). They hide so well, i hardly notice them. Don't worry, I'm setting up a new tank soon to accommodate the additions to our family. And I will be either doing an RAOK later or seeing if there is any interest locally for them. I want to at least wait until some markings start to show.

Ok, on to the plants... I've added some vals, divided the cabomba, divided the blyxa japonica, rearranged the plants a bit, removed some christmas moss from a rock and tied it to the driftwood, removed most of the Riccia so that I can start preparing a carpet because it did not like the porous rocks it was tied to (currently, it's multiplying in the windowsill). It's still messy, but it's filling out quickly. OH, and I have an Ocelot Sword coming soon.

That's all I can think of at the moment, here's a teaser of the tank from 2-28-2013, before the vals were added.



MORE TO COME!
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:39 AM   #10
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The one thing that is multiplying like crazy here is frogbit, so if you want some at any point, let me know and I'll send you some!
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:34 PM   #11
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The one thing that is multiplying like crazy here is frogbit, so if you want some at any point, let me know and I'll send you some!
Thanks Mosspearl!! I may take you up on that some time i LOVE frogbit. But I can't spend any more money this week, and I have to build a stand for another 55 gallon (hopefully). But I will definitely contact you sometime about that. For now, I'll be gathering scrap wood to get the stand done

I did get pictures taken last night, but didn't get them uploaded. We had some visitors, and I had to be social I'm hoping to upload them tonight.
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Old 03-14-2013, 04:43 AM   #12
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Default More Pictures Finally

Overview


Left side of tank


Right side of tank -- I will be removing the nylon stockings soon, they work well at keeping babies out of the filter, but I just don't like the look...



Close up of the middle, the rocks had Riccia but they did NOT like the porous rocks. At least the Blyxia looks good!


That's all for now, I have an Ocelot sword coming soon, so maybe I'll get some more pictures up when I finish building a new stand (well, technically it will be a frame that I will use to hold some tanks that will be a stand one of these days)

Thanks for looking!
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Old 03-14-2013, 04:47 AM   #13
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Just wanted to say that I read everything (I like to encourage people to write more than "look at this" in journals by applauding people like you who take the time to actually write things out) and that everything is looking good! I know that the transition from fake to real does seem both labor intensive and expensive at first but your livestock and sense of aesthetics will thank you in the long run. A year from now you'll look at fake plants and cringe, there is no comparison to a beautiful planted tank, which you are well on your way to!
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:04 AM   #14
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Thanks pmcarbrey! I already agree with you completely, I put the old fake plants in a quarantine tank a few days ago and just couldn't leave them in, not even as a temporary solution. I ended up tanking some moss trimmings and some hornwort to replace the fake plants. I may end up still using them decoratively in a tank with some silver dollars eventually... Just because the silver dollars eat plants ridiculously fast. But for now, they are in storage.

I have a friend that thinks planted tanks are a pain. I can't wait to prove to him how awesome they can be, and how rewarding they can be.

I appreciate the encouragement, starting with plantlets and letting them grow out is making me rearrange more than I like, but I'm loving it!

I couldn't have come this far if it weren't for the members on this site, you people are AWESOME

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Just wanted to say that I read everything (I like to encourage people to write more than "look at this" in journals by applauding people like you who take the time to actually write things out) and that everything is looking good! I know that the transition from fake to real does seem both labor intensive and expensive at first but your livestock and sense of aesthetics will thank you in the long run. A year from now you'll look at fake plants and cringe, there is no comparison to a beautiful planted tank, which you are well on your way to!
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Old 03-15-2013, 04:18 PM   #15
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Default Ocelot Sword!

I received a beautiful Ocelot sword yesterday and got it in the tank. Now, I think I'm going to have to rearrange things again. I was hoping to wait and move some of these plants over to a new 55 gallon tank after I finished building a stand for it. Well, i finished the stand last night... and it was terrible. I had plenty of help from my 1 year old and spent more time focusing on him instead of the stand and ended up twisting the frame somehow... Long story short, I can't use it as it is, so I went ahead and planted the sword in the 29 gallon for now. I'll wait a bit before I disturb the plants again.

Anyway, here's the big guy in his new home. You will also notice the guppy grass has taken off after I added CO2 to the tank.

Sorry for the reflections, I took the picture with my cell this morning.
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