40 breeder tank renovation-(new pics 05/01/12, pg 5)
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:20 AM   #1
ghotifish
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40 breeder tank renovation-(new pics 05/01/12, pg 5)


My husband and I have had a planted tank for three years. Well, it's mostly been his tank, I've just been playing the role of backseat aquascaper, CO2 delivery person, and algae critic. Lately, I've grown more interested in the details of running a planted tank. I just started Grad School, so I'm home staring at the tank a lot more now. I'm really interested in learning more about the art and science of the planted tank. To that end I'm in the process of trying some new ideas out on the tank because, like all wives everywhere, I'm sure my way is better.

Our Current Specs are:

40 gallon breeder tank
Lights: 2x 39 T5HO 7hr/day
CO2: pressurized CO2, gla atomic inline diffuser, on 3 hr before the lights & off 2 hr before the lights go off, drop checker
Filter: Eheim 2217 and 2 powerheards. Airstone at night
Fertilizer: EI dosing 50% water changes per week, flourish excel 10ml/day
Heater: hydor inline heater 78 degrees
Substrate: ecocomplete

Over the last few years, we've played around with different plants, equipment, and techniques. Now that we are finally feeling like we are starting to get a grip on the basics, we are ready to try to execute a real Aquascape. I've spent a lot of time looking at different scapes on the internet. In the end, I decided that I want to attempt to evoke something reminiscent of a rocky hillside here in the lush Pacific Northwest.


Our Tank before the renovation (and before we ditched 1/2 the plants due to a BBA attack):


Building my first aquascape:


Step 1: remove all the plants that don’t fit into the plan and give them away. This was hard because my husband was attached to many of our plants. We left some stem plants that don’t really fit with the end vision in to fill in the gaps until we get more plants.

Step 2: find some rocks—We went to the local landscape supply store and picked through their left-overs. They charged us $1.60 for the rocks.

Step 3: find some plants—My main goal was to go for small plants that would be in keeping with the scale of my hillside.

Ordered online from a commercial vender:

-Dwarf Hair grass—regular hairgrass grows well in our tank, so why not scale down
-HC cuba --I’ve bee lusting after a carpet of HC for years!
-Glossostima elatinoides- nice and small
-Hygrophila pinnatifida (this was not part of the plan, my husband snuck it in!)

Bought from the LFS:
-Downoi (reminds me of the native sword ferns that grow here in the PNW)

Step 4: Build that hill and plant those plants!

Step 5: Enjoy!



To be continued...

EDIT: Swapped incorrect pictures for the correct ones...

Last edited by ghotifish; 05-02-2012 at 02:31 AM.. Reason: making it more interesting
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:27 AM   #2
KookScape
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Looks great! Can't wait to see it when it fills out!
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:37 AM   #3
ghotifish
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Default If at first you don't succeed...


Step 1: Mourn over a total plant failure:

Commercially grown plants suck.

The Glosso was grown on a matt of coconut fiber and the roots were so intertwined that there was no way to dislodge it from the mat without nearly destroying the plant. We pried some off and planted it and the rest we planted mat-n-all. Big mistake. Everything planted in the mat died and now there are annoying little fibers littering the tank.

We got a beautiful 12x12 matt of HC, which we planted in a variety of different ways—stem by stem, large clumps weighted down by subsrtate and small clumps. Sadly, most of it was dug up by the corys and floated. The rest melted. Grr. We still have a little bit hanging on, but I now officially hate HC!

The hairgrass was mostly dead when it arrived and it was planted in one of those terrible fiber matts. We eventually salvaged a few tiny spigs.

The Downoi from the LFS was in pretty rough shape when we brought it home and it melted into nothing in about 3 days.

Step 2: decide that the hardscape isn’t quite right.

The hill just wasn’t big enough and the substrate was succumbing to the effects of gravity.

Step 3: Rescape for 6 hours!:


This time I got serious. I use blue painters tap to mark on the tank the Golden Ratio point and horizontal and verital thirds. Then I took a string and taped one side to the outer edge of the tank 2/3 from the top of the substrate and the other end to the golden ratio point on the bottom of the tank. I used this as a guide for building my hill.

Here’s the final product as of today.







I haven’t finished with the left side yet since my husband isn’t ready to part with his crypts just yet and I haven’t grown anything yet to prove that taking them out would be a wise choice. Anyway, we need the plant matter to soak up extra nutrients.

I’ve ordered Christmas moss and Staurogyne Repens from the swap and shop. NO MORE COMMERCIAL PLANTS!

I’ve decided that HC is way too big of a PIA and I’m hoping that Staurogyne will make for a more successful ground cover plant.

To be continued…

Last edited by ghotifish; 11-07-2011 at 06:35 PM..
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:48 AM   #4
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I like it, so thats where the xmas moss went off that thread
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:51 AM   #5
2in10
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Very nice scape, good choice to stay away from the commercial plants. Some vendors are good but at times their stock sucks and you never know when sucking time is.
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:50 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone! I'm really excited to see how this goes!

Update:

Current issues and concerns--

--I think our fish--especially the rummy noses--don't like the bright T5HO lights. When the lights are off they swim around happilly and when the lights come on they cower with all the other fish under the shade of the Hygrophilia. Hmmm. I've read that some aquascapers run lower light for most of the "daytime" cycle and higher light for only a few hours ("high noon" in tank land). That might be less stressful for the fish.

??? Have any of you tried this?

--I think 78 deg F is too warm. I've read that the amount of CO2 and O2 that can be dissolved in water is decreases significantly as the temp rises. More CO2 and O2 should be good for the fish, the plants, and the good bacteria, and bad for the algae. Most of our fish can go down to 72 without a problem, according to Veterinarian Dr. Google. The Pleco likes it above 73 and the White Clouds like it below 72. I've turned it down to 76 today and in a couple days I'll turn it down to 74. I'll see what that does to the plants and fish.

??? What temperature do you keep you tank and why?

--the solenoid on our regulator is broken (always on) so I have to control the CO2 manually with our overly sensitive needle valve. I can't bear to send it back for repairs right now with my new plants coming in a few days... Tricky situation...

--I've been pushing my CO2 up as high as I can--light green with a hint of yellow in the drop checker--to limit algae and promote plant growth. Sometimes our fish look a bit lethargic but they don't gasp at the top. I bought some new rummy noses yesterday. I acclimated them in the typical way for 1.5 hrs before adding them. They hit the tank and almost died. They were gasping at the top and so stunned that they couldn't swim in the current created by the powerhead. I felt TERRIBLE! I turned off the CO2, lights, and power-heads and turned on the airstone and they recovered in about 2 hours. Then I was able to gradually resume normal (with a touch less CO2) tank conditions in a few more hours. Close call. I hope that the other fish aren't suffering in silence as well.

??? Has this ever happened to any of you?

I really need to get the regulator fixed! I feel really gullty when I hurt my fish.

That's the news for today

Please let me know if you have any experience with any of these issues. I'll update as my experiments progress.

Last edited by ghotifish; 11-08-2011 at 03:12 AM..
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:31 PM   #7
ghotifish
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Default Suggestions please.

It's getting pretty cold out there and so if I'm going to try to buy anymore plants online I'd better do it now or I'm SOL until spring! Any suggestions?
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:33 PM   #8
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Maintenance update:

Yesterday did water change and cleaned filter. Boy howdy that thing was gross!

I'm not sure how one is supposed to clean a canister filter in order to retain the healthy bacteria. We washed the media out under the bathtub faucet--well water, no chlorine. I saved a bit of the icky brown water from the beginning of the cleaning process and poured it in at the end to reseed it with bacteria. I hope that helps. I'll be on the lookout for an algae bloom.

I'm thinking about adding some kind of fertilizer to the substrate. Probably osmocote granules. I've been reading a about nutritive substrates and they sound like a superior growing media but I'm not really willing to start from scratch right now. We'll see how this goes.

Shrimp and plants should be here in the next couple days!

Last edited by ghotifish; 11-09-2011 at 08:16 AM..
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:33 AM   #9
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Issue du jour--

We've been getting little holes in the older leaves of our willow hygro for a little bit and tonight we noticed a few on our anubias 'nana'. Which seems indicative of a potassium deficiency. We reviewed our EI dosage and realized that we have been dosing for a a 20-40 gallon tank. Our tank is a 40 gallon and willow hygro is greedy. We calculated a dosage half-way between the listed EI dosage for 20-40 gal and 40-60 gal:

3/8 tsp KNO3 3x/wk
3/32 tsp KH2PO4 3x/wk
3/32 tsp CSM+B 3x/wk
We will also be adding 3/32 tsp K2SO4 3x/wk to supplement the potassium.

We mix the dry ingredients with 360ml H2O for 12, 30 ml, doses. So it's not hard to do the measurements.

Hopefully, this will solve our problem. We've ordered osmocote capsules, which we will add to the substrate in a few days.

The fish seem to be doing great with the airstone, decreaeed temp (74 degrees), and the more gradual CO2 increase.

Also, we received 20 healthy cherry shrimp in the mail yesterday. Our preexisting shrimp have yellow saddles, which hopefully means that they will berry soon.

Still waiting on the plants and hoping they won't get too cold in transit.

That's all for now...
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:50 AM   #10
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Lookin' good. Sometimes a big drastic change is necessary and makes things more interesting (that's why it's such a fun hobby!)
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Old 11-10-2011, 03:06 AM   #11
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Thanks Fusiongt! It really is fun to explore the many possibilities of the planted tank!
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Old 11-10-2011, 03:55 AM   #12
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looks awesome!
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Old 11-10-2011, 04:34 AM   #13
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Thanks Matty26!
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Old 11-10-2011, 04:35 AM   #14
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Default Making progress!

The Staurogyne Repens and Christmas Moss arrived looking great despite the cold temperatures. Thanks Singyeah!

I've never worked with moss before. I wanted it to cover the substrate between the rocks. I ended up holding it down by tying dental floss between little stakes made out of paper clips, which I jammed into the substrate. It worked pretty darn well too. In a month or so I should be able to take the floss and the anchors out.

Something is going really well in the tank right now; the fish are acting frisky and the plants are pearling more than they ever have! Oh, and one of the cherry shrimp that we've had for about 3 weeks is carrying around a clutch of eggs. We've never had anything reproduce in our tank before (other than algae) so I'm pretty excited! Best of all, there is hardly any algaein the tank right now! WooHoo!!!

Here's the new scape:




Ttfn

Last edited by ghotifish; 11-19-2011 at 07:59 AM..
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Old 11-10-2011, 05:30 AM   #15
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I am going to sit back and drool over your tank for a min or two.

Ok, I am good now. That tank is amazing.

For the filter cleaning, I, and I think most others, do it like this. When you do your water change, you take the filter apart and rinse it out in the tank water. You will get the gunk off, but not kill all the bacteria.

Again, this tank is amazing. Subscribed.
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