My first planted tank, 55 gallon
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Old 11-22-2013, 01:31 AM   #1
Lab_Man
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My first planted tank, 55 gallon


This will be a learning experience to say the least.

It all started when my daughter got a 55 gallon aquarium for her birthday. She needed an aquarium cabinet so we built an aquarium cabinet for her 4-H project. She won Grand Champion and Best of Show.

She wanted a planted tank and I can't say no to her, so here it goes.

My accessories include:
  • Aqua Clear 110 HOB
  • 250W Ebo Jager
  • Seachem Eco-Complete
  • CO2
  • Milwaukee Regulator with CO2 solenoid and bubble counter
  • Lighting: 2 4ft. shop lights, 6500K Grow lights, for a total of 2.5 watts / gallon
  • RODI unit, I live in the country and my water is harder than granite and my pH is off the charts, over 9.0! With the RODI, my pH is 6.5 and GH is 2 and KH is 10.
  • Fish are Angels, GBRs and Bleeding Heart Tetras along with a couple plecos.
I have decided to use PPS Pro GLA fertilizer system and Osmocote tabs.

I have decided to jump into this with both feet and go big or go home!

I have been drooling over this tank.

http://showcase.aquatic-gardeners.org/2000/show32.html

I know that I won't be able to recreate this but it will give me a visual "Holy Grail" to shoot for.

I Just ordered all the accessories for my CO2 system from GLA. I am hoping to get the system all up and running this Thanks Giving weekend.

Then I can get some plants going.........

Last edited by Lab_Man; 01-04-2014 at 02:33 PM.. Reason: x
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:11 AM   #2
Texan78
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I am also building a tank with my daughter. It is definitely go big or go home thing for me too. That example looks like it has been established for some time and has grown out. So in time you'll get there too. Always nice to have a goal to shoot for.

What C02 diffuser are you going with?

Will be following your progress and looking forward to the end result.
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Old 11-22-2013, 06:19 PM   #3
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Sounds like you've got a good plan for your set up. 55s can be a challenge to scape well due to their narrow width. I've been reworking mine lately. You've set your sights on a beautiful tank to model yours after!
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Old 11-22-2013, 07:06 PM   #4
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Texan, it was recommended that I go with this one by GLA. It is amazing what we would do for our daughters.

http://greenleafaquariums.com/produc...alve-70mm.html

Johnson, yes the 55 gallon will be tough. I know that I will have a hard time with the narrowness of its depth. I always told myself that I would buy a 75 gallon, which has the same dimensions, except it is 6 inches deeper. I even designed the cabinet with a 75 in mind down the road. A 75 gallon tank will fit the cabinet perfectly. Actually, the 55 gallon has a trim piece in the back from the bottom to the top to account for the 6 inch difference in depth. The reason she ended up with a 55 gallon is that PetSmart runs a 1 dollar per gallon tank sale periodically. I couldn't pass that up for her birthday.

I also know that my tank will not even come close to the AGA show tank. I just want to have something to model my tank after.

I'm actually looking forward to writing this journal. There will be a lot of mistakes, problems and outright OMG moments because this is my first attempt at a planted tank. I have kept fish for 20 years now and have bred angel fish so I have that part down but plants is new to me so I will make more than my share of mistakes.

I will have a lot of time to learn in the coming months though.
I am having my shoulder operated on and just was informed that I will have my arm immobilized in a sling for 4 weeks and another 2 weeks in another sling!!!! I am nearing my surgery day and am under the gun to get the tank operational prior to the surgery. I have to install the baseboard trim and then I can move the tank into position. I hope to have the tank operational around Thanks Giving. At least have the water, substrate and CO2 going. Then I will try to get some plants in before the surgery so I can have something to look at and keep my spirits up.

I just picked up my 10 lb CO2 tank today. I really wanted to go with a 20 lb, but it wouldn't fit in the cabinet. The rest of the CO2 equipment will be arriving next week. I picked up a couple of timers for the lights and CO2 solenoid. I plan on timing the CO2 to come on 1 hour before the lights.

This is turning out to be more than I planned on. I was thinking of a low tech tank but after I started looking at all the plants that I couldn't grow I decided to go high tech. I know there will be pit falls along the way, but with some research and some help from planted tank members, I will get there. What "there" is will be interesting indeed. I for one, will be interested in comparing my finished scape with the one linked in my first post.

I can foresee a 125 gallon in my shop if things go well..............
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Old 12-05-2013, 04:56 PM   #5
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I really need to get some pictures of this tank. I will have plenty of time to get that done after I have my shoulder operated on next week.

For now, I'm trying to finish things around the house because there is a long recovery associated with this operation. If it doesn't get done in the next week, it won't get done until Mayish............

The tank is coming along very nicely. I have everything done except that my RODI unit needed recharging and new filters. After sitting for 15 years.....Shocker!!! That will be here on Monday. So when I get home from work I will get that going. It is a 90 gpd unit so on Tuesday I will do a 100% water change and get the DI water in.

Then I will be 100% ready for plants. I hope to have some before my surgery. I think that having plants in this tank will do wonders for my recovery.
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Old 12-07-2013, 07:51 PM   #6
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I have the plants ordered and they should be here Wednesday.

Here is what I've ordered:

• (3) Anubias nana
• (2) Anubias nana petite
• (10) Marsilea minuta
• (3) LOBELIA CARDINALIS 'SMALL FORM'
• (2) Echinodorus angustifolia 'Vesuvius'
• (1) Ludwigia glandulosa
• (1) Ludwigia Sp. Rubin
• (3) Rotala sp. Colorata
• (1)Rotala Macarandra Variegated


I started a "fish less" cycle today. I've never done this before but always wanted to. It just seemed wrong to kill off "sacrificial fish" and because I want to have a discus tank someday I want to start a tank without potentially introducing diseases from the sacrificial fish.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:27 PM   #7
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Default Update as of 1/4/2014

Due to my shoulder operation, which went well and therapy which is going well but is painful, I have not updated my journal.

I have been busy with my fishless cycle, which is in the Nitrite phase. I have been adding ammonia twice daily to a level of ~ 1.0 ppm. I have been testing ammonia 3 times and Nitrite once daily.

My plant growth has been amazing! I have taken cuttings from the colorata 3 times and have doubled my vesuvious. Everything is sprawling or adding new leaves daily. I can almost watch them grow.

My wife and daughter have been performing my water changes and testing. I have taken on the roll of foreman.

Here is a couple pictures of its current state as of 12/31/13.

I am a wood worker and built this stand.

Thanks for viewing.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:33 PM   #8
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Default With current iteration of driftwood

The snails that hitch hiked along with the plants are finding my tank conditions suit them well.
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:31 PM   #9
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Beautiful stand and canopy. Tank looks great. Only thing I see it needs is more plants and maybe paint the background black.
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Old 01-05-2014, 12:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sadchevy View Post
Beautiful stand and canopy. Tank looks great. Only thing I see it needs is more plants and maybe paint the background black.

Thanks, I built it myself. I love quarter sawn red oak.

Due to the cost, I have to limit what I order, plus this way I can propagate my plants. To me that is more gratifying anyway.

Ya, the back needs work, In due time.
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:44 PM   #11
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Default Current as of 1/8/14

Well, a lot has happened in the 3 weeks that I've had my tank going.

The growth that I've seen is nothing short of amazing! Most of my plants have all tripled in either population or height.

With the exception of a little algae on the rocks, I pretty much algae free!!

If I fail to mention you specifically, I am sorry. Everyone's advise has helped and pictures are proof.

I have kept up on my fert dosing and 50% WC weekly.

My timers have worked exceptionally well, as have my Milwaukee regulator. I just have to think that some/most of the problems that people have with could be rectified with some preventive maintenance.

I have taken peoples advise ans have ordered a t5 ho fixture with 6 bulbs. Yes, this is too much for this tank. But not too much for a 75 or a 90! ? Yes, I have it bad!
I will add Fe and GH booster soon as well.

I just got a package in the mail today. Actually two packages, thank you to one person on this forum. The gift of several plants was very generous. Thank you.
I took another person's advise and installed a Koralia nano 240. I just put it in and I couldn't be more pleased. It is just the perfect size to create a little flow and disperse the CO2 bubbles and keep them from reaching the top of the aquarium.

So far I am very happy with how well things are going.

Thank you everyone with your advise and generosity.
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Old 01-08-2014, 09:13 PM   #12
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That stand is beautiful, you and your daughter did a great job on it. Hopefully she is enjoying the tank as much as you are.

This is something she will have forever and ever, that you two built together. Really can't beat that.
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Old 01-14-2014, 12:05 PM   #13
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I will be updating today or tomorrow. New plants and new lights. Pics will be included.
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This is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning. Winston Churchill
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Old 06-16-2014, 04:42 AM   #14
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Default Update on 6-15-2014

I cannot believe it has been 5 months since my last update!

A lot has happened since my last post.

1st, I had a green water outbreak and no amount of water changes helped. I did 90% twice in 10 days, and then 50% a week for another 3 weeks. I finally bought an Eheim canister filter and a UV sterilizer. The water cleaned up dramatically in 3 days and was crystal clear in 10 days with no water changes.
The green water occurred due to several things being out of whack I think. I started to add fish after a fishless cycle. I was adding aeration so that may have decreased my CO2 concentration. Another was the addition of a more powerful light but the light had been in operation for a month so I don't really think that was the main cause but may have been a contributing factor. The final straw may have been that my CO2 bottle was getting empty and was getting harder to keep the BPM consistent. I still need to put the background up that I bought a couple months ago but things are starting to come together. I want to put something in the left rear corner, any ideas??
Thanks for looking.
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My tank journal:
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This is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning. Winston Churchill
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Old 06-22-2014, 06:41 PM   #15
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Glad to see you resolved the green water issue The plants look really healthy! With regards to a suggestion for an additional plant, have you thought about a sword plant, which would introduce an additional leaf type?
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