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Old 07-09-2013, 01:10 AM   #1
Water7
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20 Long Plant Collection


UPDATED PHOTO: September 8, 2013



I started this tank in May. It is a 20 gallon long with 2 T8 bulbs about 11 inches above the substrate. I use DIY C02, but mine does not produce very prolifically for an extended time. I still continue to experiment with the mixture. I use dry fertilizers which I mixed up into liquids using EI principles.

I have been giving one dose of EI per week (split up into two half doses), but I believe I will have to increase it, as I am starting to notice small holes in the leaves of my sword and hygrophila. However, I only change around 4 gallons per week (rough estimate), and I do not want to have to change any more.

The interesting thing is that I have to obtain all my tank water from a (stiff) hand pump well (yes, the very old-fashioned kind) and then haul it a good ways (and partly uphill) to my house. So doing 50% water changes would totally not be an option! We live in the country, and obtain our drinking/cooking water this way. The tap water is not something I would want to use in this aquarium.



The substrate is Safe-T-Sorb. It was very dirty, and needed very good washing (we ended up using a kitchen strainer under running water). I had almost given up on it before that point, but I am sold on it now. It looks nice, seems to work well, and is cheap.

The plants I'm currently growing are hygrophila corymbosa "Green Temple," egeria najas, bacopa caroliniana, java fern, java moss, cabomba pulcherrima, contortionist vallisneria, hornwort, anubias nana, echinodorus quadricostatus var. xinguensis, cryptocoryne petchii, and hydrocotyle sp. Japan. This week I'll be adding hydrocotyle leucocephala, myriophyllum aquaticum, cabomba caroliniana, ludwigia repens, ludwigia sp. Red, hygrophila difformis, micranthemum umbrosum, and rotala indica. It's probably quite a few plants for a 20 gallon, but I think I am more into collecting and learning to grow all these interesting plants than into aquascaping. I'm also starting up my 10 gallon for extra stems.

That said, I would like it to look nice, so I appreciate all suggestions. The plants seem to be doing quite well for the most part, but the java moss seems to be struggling somewhat. For a while it had a problem with algae, but that seems to have largely resolved. However, parts of it look dark as if old or unhealthy, while the newer growth looks very nice. The moss is floating near the substrate in a loose clump, between some driftwood and my hygro forest. Any suggestions?

This is my second planted tank. The first one ended some years ago after a repeated battle with a furry algae that would not wipe off. I even did the bleach treatment on the plants, but in those days I did not know enough about how to achieve the needed balance. There was some direct sun on the tank, no CO2, and potting soil in the substrate. Any of those things could have contributed. So I'm thrilled that things are going better this time. Of course, it hasn't happened by magic, but with a lot of study and a better-planned setup.

The only inhabitants I have are a family of beautiful silver/blue guppies, and bladder and ramshorn snails. I'm hoping to add red cherry shrimp one day.

Thank you for looking!

Last edited by Water7; 09-09-2013 at 12:57 AM.. Reason: Updated photo
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Old 07-09-2013, 02:39 AM   #2
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It looks great! I'm getting ready to set up a 20 gallon long planted tank as well. I'm just starting out with planted tanks and I have seen many people mention EI. Would you be able to point point me to a good explanation of what this is? Thanks!
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Old 07-09-2013, 02:40 AM   #3
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you should take out some of your substrate
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:26 AM   #4
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jchase79, here is one link that I found helpful in my learning about EI, but I did other reading too: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...ing-guide.html

du3ce, thank you for your comment. My substrate is about 2 1/2 inches deep. From what I read, it seemed like a good depth, but I could be wrong. I haven't done much study on it. I agree it does look rather deep. However, isn't it good for the plants to have plenty of rooting space?
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Old 08-11-2013, 07:48 PM   #5
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It is a good depth for the back of the tank, if you wanted you could make it an inch and half towards the front and then deeper in the back. That is what I've done in most of the newer tanks, the older tanks started out deep all the way across just because i didn't know better and didn't care what it looked like when we first started. I think it looks good, the color of safetsorb is really pretty and your plants look awesome!!

How do you like the contortionist vallisneria? I don't have any of this yet and have been looking at it, I love the way it looks so if it grows out for you maybe we could trade some plants!
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:28 AM   #6
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Peachii,

Thank you for commenting on my journal, and also for bumping it up, as it had completely disappeared! I agree with your comments on my substrate depth. If I had to do it over I would make it shallower in front. However, as time goes by I'll try to scoop out a bit at a time, and gradually reduce it.

I do like the contortionist vallisneria. It looks nice, and it is interesting to see it send out new plants. If you lived locally, I'd be delighted to give you some. Unfortunately I don't feel able to get into shipping live plants for now. I'm sorry about that. But thank you for asking.
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Old 08-24-2013, 12:49 AM   #7
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2 1/2 inches is fine I just think in that picture it looks really deep, even though its not!
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Old 08-25-2013, 12:32 AM   #8
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Thank you, Kcoscia. Yes, I agree that it looks deep, especially in the second picture. Actually last week I scooped out some of the substrate in the front, and it looks much better now.



However, it was a messy job, which I divided into two days, doing a water change after each scooping session. A lot of dirt was kicked up, which for days kept settling on the plants, and had to be gravel vacuumed out once it settled. I also had to pull up and replant the hydrocotyle Japan and all of that hemianthus micranthemoides (quite a job)! Moving the crypt Petchii revealed a taproot that was probably ten inches long or so. Of course it had to be cut back. But the crypt was not fazed at all, it seems. No melting occurred from the move. So it was a project. But I really like the look of my tank better now! Thank you to all who gave constructive feedback; that's how we learn!
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Old 09-09-2013, 01:07 AM   #9
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At the beginning of the first post, I've put an updated picture of the tank. Notice how it has changed since it was new, and of course some new plants have been added too.

One of the most interesting is the ludwigia palustris that I found growing in my backyard, downhill of a sump pump drain.



I got the ID confirmed by someone who knows, and I'm enjoying it in my tank. I had actually been wishing for some ludwigia palustris, and to find it right behind my house was really a wonderful surprise! I never would have thought I'd find it there.

In the foreground is a plant I've really come to love, Hemianthus Micranthemoides. It grows just wonderfully for me; in fact it's one of the best plants I have. It is so pretty and makes a lush carpet too.

I scooped out a lot of the substrate from this tank. Now there is more room for plants, and it looks better too!

The red cherry shrimp should be arriving in a couple of weeks. When they do, the guppies will be moving temporarily into a 10 gallon, until I eventually set up a 29 gallon that we got at a dollar a gallon sale at Pet Supplies Plus. From what I've read, the RCS will do a lot better in their own tank, since of course I hope to have a growing colony.

As you may be able to see, the 20 gallon is now packed with plants, of 18 different varieties. Four varieties more (anacharis, narrowleaf anacharis, hornwort, and duckweed) are currently in another tank.
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:31 PM   #10
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So what happened with the DIY Co2?

This DIY Co2 system is what I am planning.
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Old 11-27-2013, 05:30 PM   #11
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Hi Hilde,

My DIY CO2 is doing all right, although it does not produce as much as that of some other people I have read about. I currently have two bottles running, changing out one every 10 days. I'm a busy person and don't really enjoy taking the time to change the mixture. But I enjoy making my plants grow well and seeing them pearl.

What I'd like to experiment with now is making a homemade non-electric diffuser. I would like to start doing CO2 on my other tank, but it does not have a power filter, and I wouldn't be interested in buying anything to serve as a diffuser. So I'm going to be experimenting.
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Old 11-27-2013, 11:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Water7 View Post
My DIY CO2 is doing all right, although it does not produce as much as that of some other people I have read about. I currently have two bottles running, changing out one every 10 days.

What I'd like to experiment with now is making a homemade non-electric diffuser.
I am in the same situation. Now I have hope that what I am planning will work. I have been told that a bottle needs to be changed every 3 days. I won't be able to that. Thus planning to do 5 bottles for 29G tank.

I have seen a few DIY Co2s with the small ceramic diffusers, which are just a few dollars at no ebay links allowed A few I have read have not been able to build up enough pressure for them.
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Old 11-29-2013, 12:27 PM   #13
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Hilde, I hope it works out for you! Five bottles is a lot--I'm sure that will be a lot of work keeping up with them. But I agree that changing the bottle every three days would be way too much too!

I am hoping to switch my two bottles over to my 29 and see how that goes. With the 29 being a taller tank, the plants are more visible and have more room to grow upward. The problem is that on that tank I have a sponge filter. I could switch my power filter over to that tank, since it "chops up the bubbles," but then the back of the tank will be open and there's a chance my little kids could get into it. We'll see how it goes!
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