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Old 03-18-2015, 04:52 PM   #1
EmilyKale
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Our 55


My partner and I set up a 55 in his living room about a month and a half ago. Its doing alright, but he's a perfectionist and we'd like it to be doing better. We're currently dealing with an outbreak of brown algae that's threatening to kill a few of the plants, and we're trying to figure out how he wants the tank stocked. I don't remember exactly what equipment he's got, but I'll get a list from him and post some pictures tonight.


55 gallon tank
Aquaclear 110? (the one rated for tanks larger than a 55)
Paintball co2 setup with one of the Fluval diffusers that has two chambers you fill in the morning- he'll be doubling this when the store has more in stock.
The substrate is a mix of black sand and what might have been Flora Max; I'll have to go back to the a store and find out what it was for sure
I'll get his lighting info tonight. I know it's got LEDs and a remote and way too many settings for me to deal with. (Edit: it's a Current LED plus.)

Plants: most were bought as assorted to make the tank look less empty and depressing when he first started it. I'd love some help with identification. I know we've got a big anubias, three smallish swords, java fern and java moss, and some stuff that looks like.... wisteria?

Fish: one clown plec, two pairs of mollies, a trio of platies, one yoyo loach, one loach that we thought was a yoyo, but it isn't, one female swordtail, two mystery fry that showed up a few weeks ago, and a tiger botia that we'll be exchanging for a yoyo loach next week. Both of the female mollies are looking a little beat up lately, so we're figuring out whether he wants to get a few more females or rehome one of the males- probably with me. The only schooling fish he's liked so far are harlequin rasboras, so we'll probably be getting some of those eventually, but I'm not sure how much more space we've got. I know we want to get a male bristlenose- we've both fallen love with long finned albinos.

I'll add more info when I remember/ get it.

Last edited by EmilyKale; 03-18-2015 at 05:33 PM.. Reason: adding info
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Old 03-18-2015, 07:03 PM   #2
Raymond S.
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Oto's like the brown algae. 6-7 of them in that size tank would help this.
This will help on fish compatibility/numbers.
http://www.aqadvisor.com/
Better(perhaps still not enough, but try first)circulation for getting the CO2/ferts evenly distributed would be to use the 110 on the end of the tank instead of the back if it
will fit there.
I'll look when you get up a picture but "assorted" likely means Amazon Sword plants.
Can be great...if you like huge plants in there. Up to 22"x14"wide.
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:43 PM   #3
DirtDevilDTOM
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Brown algae is most likely diatoms and almost always happens in a newer tank and yes, Otos are great for this stuff. Once it clears up, you will probably never see it again.
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Old 03-18-2015, 09:15 PM   #4
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Hi Emily welcome aboard! Just 2 things off the bat.

1.) the Fluval diffuser; if it's the ladder-type, i hear it's very inefficient. I'd look into another way of dispersing the co2. You need really good circulation. I've modified a powerhead for my tank.

2.) the Planted + Led is a great light, but w/ the depth on a 55g the PAR (light value) will be very low

You didn't mention if you were using any ferts. You need to have all 3 (light/CO2/ferts) working in unison for optimal plant growth & fewer algae issues. Hope this helps:-)
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Old 03-19-2015, 02:34 PM   #5
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Agree with the Fluval diffuser comment. I have one of these that sits in a box now. It looks great and it was awesome to watch the bubbles and the plants that were directly next to it seemed to do better. It didn't seem to have any impact beyond 6 inches.

I would imagine this would work better in a smaller tank but I would imagine you will have the same experience in a 55. I had the Fluval ceramic diffuser on for a while and that seemed to work better. Eventually, I went with an atomic inline diffuser and it made a HUGE difference (although tank has a slight "pop bottle look" when it has been running for a few hours).
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Old 03-19-2015, 04:26 PM   #6
EmilyKale
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Hi, guys! =)

Everyone says the brown algae goes away once the tank isn't new anymore- how long does that typically take? A couple of months? Should I assume that it'll stick around long enough to kill off more of the plants we've got now, and start looking at what plants we'll want to add after it's gone? Right now they're really just a jumble of things that were either cheap or looked hardy, so I won't be too upset if a few of them don't make it.

This is the co2 thing that's in the tank:
Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Fluval 20g-CO2 Diffuser - 0.7 Ounces Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Fluval 20g-CO2 Diffuser - 0.7 Ounces
The people at the store suggested it so he wouldn't have to remember to turn the co2 off at night.

We haven't started any dry ferts yet because we're not sure what/ how much to dose. I'll check the water next time I'm at his house and post the results. He did just get a bottle of this:
Amazon.com: Brightwell Aquatics ABAFNM250 Florinmulti Plant Care Products for Aquarium, 8-Ounce: Pet Supplies Amazon.com: Brightwell Aquatics ABAFNM250 Florinmulti Plant Care Products for Aquarium, 8-Ounce: Pet Supplies
when it was suggested, but I have a feeling that we'll end up needing more stuff.

We'll try moving the filter to the right side of the tank and see what happens. Should we move the heater or co2? Any other suggestions?

We're planning on getting a bunch of otos in the near future. I haven't seen any for sale at the store we like the last couple of times we've been there, but I'm keeping an eye out.

Can I buy a PAR meter somewhere like a hardware store? That seems like a fun thing to have.

This is a couple of weeks after we started the tank, trying to get the wood waterlogged:



This is a week or two later- the stuff over the filter intake only lasted overnight because a bunch of stuff got stuck to it and it almost killed the filter. (This was right after the frog he'd gotten got sucked into the filter- poor guy) I'm pretty sure the white and green striped plant in the right hand corner isn't an aquatic plant- it hasn't grown any roots at all.


This is a few days ago. The wood is mostly waterlogged, I trimmed dead leaves off of some of the plants and we moved stuff around. The big fake root/wood thing is gone to make room for plant growth, if there is any. I'm still not happy with the plants, but I don't want him to lose his interest in the tank- we're going slow. The smallest loach spends a ton of time in the piece of driftwood on the left- it looks like it's lounging in a hammock. We're going to tie the java moss to the piece of wood on the right- I didn't have time to do it last time I was there. There seems to be no good spot for the anubias- anchoring it onto a branch won't work so far because it's so tall. I'm gonna move things around again and see if I can find a spot I like more. Most of the swords moved to the back-right corner. The plants in the front-left corner were in a bunch with the tallest plants in the middle. They haven't been doing well. I'm leaving them in there to see what happens.

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Old 03-19-2015, 08:39 PM   #7
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Someone above said Finnex Planted Plus, but I believe you have a 48 inch Current Satellite LED+, correct?

Are you sure its on full brightness? That last photo seems really dark to me. I'm using the same light on my 75G (check out my journal to see how long it took to establish!) and I it looks much brighter than your photos. Maybe its tannins from your driftwood?

With a low tech tank you have to be patient. If you read my journal you'll see it took me about 3 months before the plants really took hold. Dry ferts did help. I used a modified EI dosing regimen for low light (1/4). There's a really helpful thread on that in the Fertilizers forum and it was really cheap compared to a lot of things in this hobby.
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Old 03-19-2015, 09:02 PM   #8
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The Fluval 20G (0.7 oz) is for tanks 15 gallons and under I believe. If you are using this size, you don't need to buy the "Fluval" cartridge you can get the ones they use for bikes for about $1/each:
Amazon.com: 20 Ea 16 Gram Threaded CO2 Cartridges: Industrial & Scientific Amazon.com: 20 Ea 16 Gram Threaded CO2 Cartridges: Industrial & Scientific

There is a larger version the "88" for 15-40 gallons. These are cute, but not gonna last you long enough and isn't very cost effective. Depends on whether you want a HIGH or LOW light tank.

If you're looking for high light then look into the pressurized CO2 w/ regulators, they allow you to "regulate" the amount of CO2 you're adding. I just got one recently here: http://aquatek-california.com/co2-regulator-solenoid/

As far as ferts there are lots of options, but IMO the bottled liquid products are a big waste of $, you are paying for lots of water...Research the Estimative Index (EI) Method. Very simple & cost about $15 for several years worth of ferts: http://greenleafaquariums.com/aquari...rtilizers.html
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Old 03-19-2015, 10:08 PM   #9
EmilyKale
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Vanish: Yes, it's a 48" Current LED Plus. The lights were on a different setting in the last picture; I was running late and didn't have time to find the remote. The wood is still releasing a little tannins, but the setting it's usually on doesn't make the tank look nearly as yellow.

I'll look into the EI method today- sounds -way- more cost-effective than the stuff we've got now.

This is the Fluval thing I was talking about: The girl at the pet store suggested stacking several sets of them to provide enough co2, which we're planning on doing when they get more in stock. He's got a paintball co2 canister that weighs a few pounds- I'll get the exact size soon. We're hesitant to get one of the pretty glass/acrylic diffusers that produces a mist of co2 (I think?) because we heard that it -has- to be turned off every night, and he tends to forget to do stuff like that.

Is the tank considered low-tech because the PAR isn't very high with the lighting we're using, or the co2 setup, or both?
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Old 03-19-2015, 10:34 PM   #10
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Don't waste your money on the fluval Co2 tanks. If you have the paintball tank, just get this: http://aquatek-california.com/co2-re...all-tank-r-78/

Set it on a timer to match the lights...no fiddling with it after that...No reason to hesitate on the glass diffusers, much more effective than what you have now

Prob low light, you can find the PAR readings if you dig around...I have the same light on my 10g
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Old 03-20-2015, 01:37 AM   #11
EmilyKale
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Looks like the PAR ranges from 21 to 36, which seems pretty low. I've got an old 48" compact fluorescent- should we add that?

I know he's ordered some co2 part and he's expecting it in a couple of weeks. I'll let him know about the one you posted a link to and see if that's the one he's getting.
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:57 PM   #12
EmilyKale
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This is what the tank looks like now. We're looking into getting a better co2 setup and we're going to get the stronger version of the light he's got now. I added more crypts that I'm hoping will eventually replace the swords, a small grass-like plant, and 11 neons in the past couple of weeks. I'm going to be taking the swordtail and probably one of the male mollies for a different tank.
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Old 04-03-2015, 04:19 PM   #13
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^ lookin good!
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