55g medium tech rebuilt
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:39 PM   #1
sparkysko
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55g medium tech rebuilt


I've had this tank for about 4 years. I have 4 quad pin bulbs ~6700k. Originally it had grass in the front, CO2 and stem and bulb plants. For whatever reason we started stacking important paperwork in front of it, so I was discouraged to do any maintenance for fear of getting the paper wet. So the tank sat for 4 years without any maintenance aside from an occasional water top off perhaps every 3-4 months. Tank had no heater or circulation.

I finally cleared all the crap out from in front of the tank, and decided to revive it. I ripped out the giant tangled mess of plants, put them into a large container, cherry picked a few and replanted the back. Grabbed some micro sword and dwarf hairgrass from the LFS and a dozen cherries and 4 ottos.

I never bother with biological filtration in my planted tanks, strictly mechanical filtration if I kick up crap. I did figure that snail poop would somehow dissolve, but I guess that's not really the case. Using two HOB's for mechanical filtration (I had alot of crap in the old substrate), and an oscillating powerhead with a DIY CO2 hose shoved under the inlet sponge.

I hope to primarily just do cherry breeding as I'm too cheap to buy hundreds of them. Filters will be sponge capped as soon as a shrimp gets berried. Ferts are on order from the local Rex Grigg.

So far it's on week one. I made a drop checker, and it's reading about green. The grass is slowly starting to creep. Ammonia and Nitrates have consistently read zero, and I feed perhaps one algae wafer every 3 days.

I'm a big fan of biospheres, trying to create self sustaining ecosystems. Completely sealing off containers, I haven't had much success aside from just snails and artemia, so I cheat a little, and allow open air access, and in this tank fertilizer. Hopefully I will be able to avoid feeding this tank altogether aside from ferts. I have a 4 year old guppy experiment in an adjacent 10 gallon tank that essentially just gets water top offs and the occassional water change. Probably fed the tank only a handful of times in 4 years for fun, but it's been self sustaining essentially without food for 4 years, just eating algae and copepods. The population tends to stay constant, with a wide range of age groups, despite the breeding.
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:45 PM   #2
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The roots on the right are from a 10-15 foot long Pothos plant that has been growing in there for the last 4 years. The roots are kinda ugly and it's a detritus trap, and I'm not sure where to put the pothos anymore. Half tempted to rip it out. More pics.

Might eventually add some neon tetras, if I get a sizable shrimp population first. The primary goal is still just to have a grass lawn. Kinda silly however, I started with only 3 small pots of grass. The remaining pots available didn't look healthy enough to bother buying. I can get a slightly taller variety of hairgrass from the local lakes, but I feel it's too tall. I could split the hairgrass up further, but I have clumsy hands, and don't feel like planting 1 stem at a time since I'd probably snap them.
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:49 PM   #3
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The sheer amount of dead malaysian trumpet snail shells is astonishing. There's a few of them alive and kicking, but quite a few empty shells from the old substrate. I was afraid it would affect the KH, but I'm consistently reading about 1-2 degrees. Just kinda ugly to have old snail shells and dead roots from plants past, but I figured that since I have about 3.5 inches of eco complete in here, I had figured that I had established a nice anaerobic bacteria colony in the gravel and did not want to disturb it. The hope is that the old substrate will strip out the oxygen from any iron in there among other things. So far I haven't really found any gas bubbles while planting, so I'm guessing the MTS have done a good job of keeping that to a minimum.
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Old 02-27-2010, 10:13 PM   #4
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Picked up the clumps of hairgrass and replanted into the tinniest pieces I could break up. Much better distribution.

The pothos plants roots have been just collecting crap all these years and is impossible to clean. I uncoiled the pothos, and it was about 30 feet long. Since new leaves don't tend to grow on the stem, and I only had leaves on the last 2 feet of it, I ripped it out, cut it and planted it in my 10 gallon. Now my right side of my tank is clear to plant with other stuff. Hurray.
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Old 02-27-2010, 10:16 PM   #5
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i know how you feel with the pothos, i had a monster in my 37g viv and i took it out today and only left a few small strands. my mother got the rest...lol
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Old 03-29-2010, 01:04 AM   #6
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One month later. There are 4 otos. I added 32 RCS, but I've had several deaths, and have no idea how many I have left. I think there are at least 15. Had greenwater/cloudy water. Tried treating it with hydrogen peroxide, which wasn't a good idea. Cloudiness came back, and some shrimp died.

I've been EI dosing for about 2 weeks. Redid DIY Co2 mixture, hose connected to venturi on powerhead. Drop checker is in the yellow. Filters have been made baby shrimp safe. Heater added, set to 78F. Two or three RCS became berried within a day or two of adding the heater. Temperature was 72F, and I had the shrimp for about 3-4 weeks without them being berried until now.

Tank probably hasn't been formerly 'cycled' since addition of hydrogen peroxide 2-3 weeks ago, but I only feed one algae wafer every 2-3 days. Did a 70% water change and added cheapo petsmart 9w UV sterilizer 4 days ago. Water now sparkles. Viewing against the 4 foot width, the water appears completely clear, but I'm going to give it another few days with UV. The cloudy water was reducing oxygen and affecting shrimp on the bottom. No shrimp deaths since addition of sterilizer, yay.

Carpet fill out has been amazing in the past month compared to pictures above. I guess another month or two before it completely packs in to its limit.




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Old 03-29-2010, 06:06 AM   #7
dacrax07
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Wow, it grew so much! Everything is green and healthy. I suggest adding a black black background to hide the equipment in the back
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Old 03-29-2010, 09:27 PM   #8
sparkysko
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Thanks for the suggestion for the black background.. I painted the backs of all my other tanks, and have been waffling on this one.. I think I'll run to Petsmart and see if they have a cheap stick on one. My GF was discouraging me from doing it, because we can see the back of the tank from the kitchen, and she kinda likes that. Even though there's a ton of ugly equipment in that area. I think the benefit of it looking much better outweighs being able to see it from behind, so I think I'll do that.

Now if I could just learn some aquascaping skills I'll be in business. I hate the size of 55g, but I think the counter will collapse if I put something bigger up there. All I'm capable of is planting stems in the back 1/3rd and carpet in the front 2/3rds. Dimensions are too crappy to really do driftwood or rocks, and as soon as the stems hit the surface, they start shadowing the carpet. This is exactly how the tank was about 3 years ago, but I neglected to keep the stems trimmed, so all the carpet died, and chaos ensued..
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