55g DIRTED -needs teardown!-opinions wanted!!!-
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Old 02-23-2011, 02:35 PM   #1
BoxxerBoyDrew
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55g DIRTED -needs teardown!-opinions wanted!!!-


Hey Everyone,

Well it has been awhile since I had a planted tank, and I just can't stand it any longer!!! About 3 years ago I had my 55g set up as a planted tank, but due to Health, Money and a BBA outbreak I tore the tank down and went back to a African Peacock Tank with 100+ pounds of Holey rock. Well I had it going since then, but I grew tired of looking at White rock, brown gravel, and NO PLANTS and decided to get back to the Greener side of Life!!! So removed the Holey rock, took the few peacocks I had left and put them in one of the Aquariums at my wifes Vet Clinic she works at , and am getting the planted tank set back up again!!!

So far I have moved the 18-20lbs of Cheap-o gravel to the front of the tank and put the Florite I had in the last planted tank back in behind it. When I tore down the planted tank from before I removed and rinsed out the florite and stored it in the shed in buckets with lids. While I was rinsing it out I removed and BBA I could find and threw that florite in my flower beds around the house. The cheap-o gravel is actually very large sand blasting "sand". It is probably 2-4mm in grain size and somewhat smooth, and $12 a 50# bag at local fish stores. Cory cats love digging in it and it is smooth enough not to hurt them! Anyway when the florite had been seeded by the old gravel I will remove what I can and mix the rest with the 20+ lbs of florite I still have in a bucket, or I might just leave it all in there to make sure my gravel bed is deep enough for the swords and other various rooted plants I will probably put in!

I still have 2 65w PC retro kits installed in the plastic light covers that came with the Aquarium, and the bulbs are only about 5-6 months old from when I replaced them from the old planted tank, so I think I can get 6 more months out of them before I have to change them again!

AS for filtration I will be using the Fluval 204 I have had on the tank since I bought it. I mainly use it as Mechanical filtration with bulk filter floss I get from Big Al's, and I put it in all 3 baskets, and keep a bag of Bio-balls in the top basket covered with the floss. I also still have me CO2 reactor I built from a water filter cartridge to use with my pressurized CO2 tank, and in the last tank I ran it with a power head and had a spray bar along the back bottom of the tank to release the CO2 rich water evenly along the entire tank. I will probably build another similar spray bar, as it seemed to work very well last time! It also helps keep any detritus from building up at the back of the tank!

The main thing that will be different this time is I will be using TAP WATER not R/O water! When I had the tank setup last time I was in a different suburb of Waco, and the watter was very unstable, but now We have bought a house and constantly receive our water from Lake Waco, and its PH ranges from 7.8-8, and my tests can't pick up any Nitrites, Nitrates so I HOPE it will be OK! I didn't hook up my R/O unit when we moved into the house as the Cichlids didn't need it, and even though I have replacement filters and carbon block I don't know if my 100GPD TFC membrane is still any good, and I don't want to spend the $100+ to get a new one! SO I PREY the tap water will be OK!!! I need to replace my Hardness kit, so I am unsure of the hardness, but I will do that ASAP!!! And before I start injecting CO2.

I am unsure of exactly how I want to setup the tank, but I all ready have 15 Golden Pencil fish to put in it once I get it up and going!!! They are pretty small now with most being around .75" and a few around 1". all of them already have red in their fins, but the bigger ones are getting red in their body's too!!! They are in my QT for now and it has a few Java ferns and a Mirimo Moss ball along with a few rocks to keep them happy! I don't know what other kind of fish I want to put in it either! I have a 5yo Albino Cory Cat that will go in it, as he deserves a nice planted tank and to get out of the QT! He is a TROOPER!!! I love the Peppered and Panda corys and most all tetras, Rainbows, Rams, and certain platys and Sword Tails! Even though I have NEVER had either Platys or Sword Tails in over 28+ years of Aquarium keeping!!! Most people don't believe me when I say that, but I never had a place for them even when I had 10+ tanks setup! I have only kept Guppies once or twice!

Well anyway I will be posting Pics as I go threw and setup the 55g again, and as for plants right now I bought what my LFS had, and that wasn't much! Their supplier stopped selling plants in other than large box quantity's and they only have a very few ever ask! So I got some Fox tail, Java ferns, and a couple of Mirimo Moss Balls (SP?), but I do have some trimmings coming from a few people here that I bought in the swap and shop section, and when I receive them I will go from there, and get some more ordered!

So THANK YOU for reading, and ANY tips or info Yall want to give, good or bad, feel free! This will only be my second attempt at a TRUE PLANTED AQUARIUM!!!

Yall Take Care!!!
Drew

Last edited by BoxxerBoyDrew; 08-23-2014 at 06:43 AM.. Reason: changed title
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Old 02-23-2011, 02:49 PM   #2
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Yay! I am posting first. I can't to see that gravel sand and flourite setup. I am actually quite jealous of that idea. I love cory cats and have often thought about setting up a tank just for them. As far as tips go: have fun!
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:34 PM   #3
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Well THANKS to Sewingalot and Herns and a few plants from the LFS my 55g now has quite a few Bunch Plants and others in it to start it going with as little algae as possible! I got my CO2 tank filled yesterday, and I am in the process of setting up my DIY reactor I had used on the last setup. and trying to figure out what to do with my HARD HARD WATER!!! I was hoping to not have to hook my RO unit back up and go that route again, but I am afraid I may have to to keep my plants and Fish HAPPY!!!

Well my KH was 21* or 210ppm in the tank and the PH was 8. that is with NO adding of ANY CO2, ferts, additives, or ANYTHING!!! SO that has my WORRIED at the moment! As for my Nitrates they are at 10ppm witch is dropping since I put in the plants a few days ago!!! And my 2 Hopplo Cats that are 5+ years old are LOVING the plants to hide and play chase in!!! Also they seem to be very happy there are NO AFRICAN CICHLIDS bothering them!!!

Anyway that is my update for now, and I will get some pics tonight after the sun goes down, so I won't have all the glare I got a while a go when I tried to take some pics!!!

Anyway thanks for reading and soon to be looking, and THANKS AGAIN TO SEWINGALOT AND HERNS FOR THE GREAT PLANTS!!!!

Drew
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:39 PM   #4
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You might want to disinfect those plants from me if you don't want algae. I wouldn't worry about the water until you have to. There are several members with liquid rock and beautiful planted tanks. Just find the ones that work for you.
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Old 04-25-2011, 09:00 AM   #5
BoxxerBoyDrew
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Sorry Everyone!!!

I have been having major CPU problems, and also health probs too, so no pics yet! BUT the plants I got here in the shop and swap are doing very well! I will have pics up by the end of the week, as I am going out of town in the morning.

I PROMISE PICS WILL BE HERE SOON!!!
Drew
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:41 PM   #6
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Ok here are some pics of the OVER GROWN 55gal. I don't have any fish in it as of now, because I am getting my RO unit back online, as my water is SOOOOO HARD, it is as they say Liquid Rock! So I moved the Otos into my QT with the 15 Pencil fish that are going in the 55.

Anyway here are some pics, and SORRY IT TOOK ME SOOO LONG TO POST!

Thanks Again to all who helped with plants and equip I have purchased from here on the BEST PLanted Tank Site on the Net!!!


Left side shot w/ flash


Right side shot w/flash


Left w/o flash


right w/o flash


right side close up


left side close up


center



Again THANK YOU TO ALL who have Helped!!!!

I am going to do a trim and rescape next week and I will post more pics then!!!

Thake Care and Happy Mothers day to all!!!
Drew
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Old 05-07-2011, 11:01 PM   #7
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Also a update on what I have running on the tank is:

2-65w 6500K Power compact retros installed in the original light hoods that came with the tank.

2-40w Normal Output 6500K Flo. in shop light fixture

1- Fluval 204- with normal sponges and Big Al's Sheet Filter Floss in the 3 baskets.

1- H.O.T. Magnum- with pleated filter installed, and output is connected to DIY Spray Bar that runs along the gravel at the back of the tank and is 30" in length.

1- 5lb Co2 Tank bubbling at 2BPS

1- DIY Co2 Diffuser made from clear RO Filter housing & DIY Bubble counter made from Glass Mason Jar.

1- 200w Compu-Therm Heater

90% Florite Gravel w/ other 10% being cheap-o aquarium gravel

3-pc of Lace Rock that are just randomly in there for now!

I use the Poor Mans Dosing method and it is working pretty well with only Green String Algae just starting on a few plants, but I will be getting fish, shrimp to combat it!

There is also a BUNCH of Ramshorn snails along with some dang Pond snails! I do have 1 cool Albino/clear pond snail I will try to get a pic of next week!

Thanks for looking and let me know what Yall think I should do with the scape!
Drew
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Old 05-08-2011, 01:49 AM   #8
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The plants are growing great! I've been wondering when you'd get us some pictures. Thanks! I like how you have the ludwigia arcuata x repens draping like that. Very lovely.
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:18 AM   #9
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Thanks Sara!

It just grew like that! I did nothing to make it grow that way. although I only had the 2 55w PCs on it when I first put them in the tank. I am waiting to gt a few things in I ordered to trim and replant the plants to a better scape! Also trying to figure out what fish I want to add other than the 15 Pencil fish, and Otos. I KNOW I am going to do a group of Corys! Just need to figure out which I want. Also I am going to get a few SAE.

I LOVE Rainbows, but that is what I had in the 55 the last time I had it setup as a planted tank. Angels are nice too, but I don't want them to eat the Pencil fish when they get big! I don't know what to do!!!! I also like Endlers, and some platys, but when I had Guppies in my last 55 setup, they over ran the thing with babies, and the LFS usually doesn't take trade ins on guppies!

Any suggestions???? ANYBODY!

Well ANY AND ALL COMMENTS ARE WELCOME, and thanks for looking!!!!

Take Care Everyone!!!
Drew
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:44 AM   #10
alexem
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Nice work!!



Natural Aquascaping - Planted Aquarium Blog
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:08 PM   #11
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Here are some more pics after a trim and replanting to get a better scape!

I FINALLY found a true SAE, and I picked it up last Wednesday along with what the LFS was calling a Orange Bee Shrimp. I brought them home, and drip acclimated them for a few hours, as the LFS Water is local water ( liquid rock) with a ph of 8 vs. my r/o & tap mix with a Ph of 6.8. Well to my SURPRISE the Shrimp which is a CRS is doing great! BUT the SAE made it till Friday. When I was getting ready to go to a Buddy's Funeral I saw the SAE belly up on the bottom!!! It was still breathing a little, but it was too late! I have run out of the test liquids I need to test things, but they should be here today and Wednesday! IF UPS can do their job correctly!!! So I will update what my exact water parameters are then. So for now the ONLY wildlife I have in the 55 is a lonely CRS!!! BUT once I get the test kits and the rest of the stuff I need to get my Water 100% where it needs to be I will be adding the 15 Pencil fish, 3 Otos, and a few Cories!

ANYWAY enough with the talk here are the pics!

Enjoy!
Drew











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Old 05-16-2011, 05:11 PM   #12
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SORRY ABOUT THE RED LIGHT in the reflection on the tank glass. It is my finger covering up the flash to try to get a more true color correct pic without correct lighting!

Also the water is a little cloudy still due to stirring pup the substrate when replanting!

Thanks for looking and let me know what Yall think, please!
Drew
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Old 06-26-2011, 05:28 AM   #13
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Well let my start off by apologizing about the length of time it has been since I have posted about my tank!

The tank is doing OK, but I still have some string algae, but it is getting better! I have been house sitting at the family Farm every other week while my Parents are dealing with my Great Uncle's Estate, so the tank has been on autopilot for the last month!

Anyway, I have just received a new set of AH Supply's 2 x T5HO 54w light kit to replace the 2 55w PCs and so I can remove the Shop light fixture from the tank as well! The PCs were a AH Supply retro kit I bought back in 04-05 IIRC, and the reflectors left a lot to be desired! They are just the flat reflectors with a 2/1"or so lip bent into them on the sides. They worked OK, but they have the Square Pin Sockets, and finding inexpensive bulbs is getting harder and harder, and with the cash to update the reflectors and end caps, I could get the T5s with the very good reflectors and find bulbs locally and for a lot less money, so I will be building a hood to hold the new T5s, and I will use the PCs on other tanks, or for my Turtles and Tortoises!

I also am FINALLY getting a AWESOME Post Regulator setup for my 5#Co2 tank! It is the $98 setup from btimmer92 with the Clippard mouse solenoid , Fabco NV-55 , JBJ style bubble counter , and the clippard check valve. Up until now I just had a Ice Maker Needle valve, and plastic check valve, which worked but is VERY HARD to get the bubble count exactly like I wanted it! So now all I need is a true dual stage regulator to keep from gassing my fish with Co2 when the tank gets low, and I will be set. At least till I can save up for a GOOD PH Controller!!!

Well I will post some pics tomorrow, of the tank how it is now, and then after I get my Hood built I will post the New Light setup!!!

Thanks for all who have helped and commented on the tank!!!
Drew
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Old 07-22-2011, 09:08 AM   #14
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Well here it is almost a month since my last post, and I finally have a few pics! Not a whole lot has changed, but just a little different plant layout. I am fixing to get my Hood done so I can mount the AH Supply 2x54wT5HO light kit, and I will then be really working on the scape!

A bit of sad news is I made a impulse buy from the LFS of some guppys to just have something swimming in the tank, and a few days later the very pretty Male Guppy came down with Velvet!!! I tried to get some meds for the tank quickly, but he died as he had it pretty bad! So far I believe the rest of the group are going to be OK. Now I have 1 Male (Yellow Tail w/blue sides) and 7 female Guppys in the tank, and I decided to treat the whole tank to try to rid the tank of the Velvet, so when I do decide to put my group of 15 Golden Pencil Fish in there HOPEFULLY there will be no more problems with Velvet! HOPEFULLY!!!

The pics are of the tank when it had gotten VERY OVERGROWN while I was away watching the Family Farm while my parents had to go out of town for a while, and the others are of the trim/mowing and of the replant setup. Again it is not the final setup, as it will have drift wood in it and not the Lace Rock!

Also a few pics of my Diffuser and Co2 Equipment.

Thank Yall for being Patient with me and to those h=who have helped me get here!!!

















Here is the tank when I first tried a planted tank Mid year of 2005 IIRC.


From 12-24-05


And here it is before we bought our House in 04/06, and it was torn down shortly after this pic was taken!


Will post pics as soon as I have my Hood finished and new lights going! HOPEFULLY in a few days!!!
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:16 AM   #15
BoxxerBoyDrew
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Well I have my hood 99% finished, but it is on the tank, my new lights installed, and 5 BEAUTIFUL BABY ANGELS in the 55, as well as planting a Glosso for ground yesterday!

I will post pics tomorrow afternoon when the lights come on!!!

Thanks for looking!
Drew
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