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Old 01-29-2012, 02:10 AM   #1
inareverie85
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inareverie85's Biocube 14


Finally back into this amazing hobby after almost 4 years out of it!

I managed to get a Biocube on clearance at my local petsmart, so I've decided to start a 14 gallon planted tank.

Here are the specs:

14 Gallons
2X 24 watt 6500k JBJ CFL
Fluval 88g CO2 set
Stock filter
Substrate:
- Bottom layer is API First Layer Laterite
- Middle layer is Laterite mixed with Eco-Complete
- Top layer (decently thick) is full Eco-Complete
- Seachem Root tabs
As for ferts, I'm hoping that the laterite and root tabs will suffice with the CO2 and Seachem Excel. That remains to be seen.

This far, I only have the hardscape worked out. Pictures below:


The view I'll have from my desk seat:




I am enjoying the hardscape, I think. The next picture is a visual of my projected plant layout. I'll explain more after the picture.



1. Rotala Indica
2. Rotala sp. Green
3. Blyxa Jacopia
4. Rotala Marcandra
5. Glosso carpet
?. Not sure yet...

My idea is a flowing, thick glosso carpet along the sloped front of the tank to the middle. Rotalas give depth, color contrast, and height. Want to add some Blyxa for a different and interesting grassy texture. The white areas I'm unsure of.. Ideas about those are much appreciated!

I hope to plant by the end of next week.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:34 AM   #2
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Oh, I also ordered E. Vesuvius that I need to fit in somewhere.. Maybe it'll work in one of the white areas. If not, I still have a little room to the sides.
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:45 PM   #3
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Surprisingly, I found some Rotala Indica at my local Petsmart. Being impatient, I bought it since it looks as if they just got it in (ie. no algae and still green). I trimmed the stems rather heavily, as the leaves near the bottom were broad and circular and not very pretty. Also took some of the smaller branches and planted them in front of the driftwood.

I'm sure it'll do just fine without CO2 for a few days. My system isn't here yet, but it's supposed to arrive on Tuesday.

Ill post pics tonight of the plants and the flooded tank. Need to charge the camera! :P
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Old 01-30-2012, 02:36 AM   #4
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A photo of the first plants:



They're a little droopy, and the water's a bit cloudy, but I think it'll all look a lot better in a week or so.

Sorry for the high-intensity photo colors.. I need to fiddle with my camera.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:28 PM   #5
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The rotala has really perked up, but the water's still cloudy.

How long does it generally take for an eco-complete tank to clear up? I don't remember having cloudiness for more than a day or two with my flourite.

Today I am set to receive my CO2 and a few more plants, so I'll update tonight or tomorrow with further planting progress.
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:01 AM   #6
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I planted more things yesterday, and today I hooked up my CO2. I'm currently running it somewhere between 1 and 2 BPS. I'd like to gradually go higher if it's safe for the livestock, but I think I'll have to ease them into it, so this may not happen for some time.

The white specs you see in the water are CO2 bubbles. I never had visible bubbles all over my old tank, so I'm hoping that that's what it looks like when it's diffused properly..

Here's the progress so far:


Two issues.
First, a guy I bought plants from on aquabid was kind enough to throw in some Hygrophila "Araguaia" for free so that I could try them out. However, I'm not sure where they belong in my scape, and I fear they'll grow rather larger. I'm fairly sure I was sent emersed hygro though (it came with pretty little flowers), so the immersed leaves aren't there, yet. I hope I can make it work!

Second, my tank is cloudy, even more so than when I planted the rotala a few days ago. I don't really remember but, how long does this take to clear up? Should I be changing filter pads frequently to suck up the dust better?

As for fauna, I've been thinking about getting some Forktail "Furcata" Rainbows (about 8 of them), a few otos, and some shrimp. Do you guys think I can place my little betta in the tank with these things? I'd really like to pack up his tank when I buy my large setup this summer, so if he can fit into this little community, that would be great!

I hope to give clearer, better photos in the future.. Just need to wait for the water to clear up and learn to use my camera. :P
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Old 02-01-2012, 03:53 AM   #7
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Looks like this is going to be a really nice looking tank. The rotala perked up very well in two days. Nice that you can stare at it while at your desk.
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:38 AM   #8
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Lol I love how you drew in / planned with paint squiggly lines, very nice tank!
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:01 PM   #9
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Thanks guys I've been staring at it a while, and I think I need to scoot my Rotala Macrandra (the focal point) a little closer toward the center, more like it is in my MS Paint masterpiece :P It's a bit far off to the side, and I think it'll look less ideal that way..

May move it when I continue planting on Thursday.
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Old 02-04-2012, 07:56 AM   #10
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I used some Seachem Clarity to help settle the dust, but it backfired. The Clarity kept my water milky for days.. So I did a large water change today to help clear it up.

I finished planting, and my glosso and blyxa were pearling today!

I will upload photos in the morning

I do think there's a leak in my CO2 system though. Definitely getting on the phone with Hagen about it on Monday, but for now, I'm burning through my CO2 cartridges pretty quickly What an expensive mishap..
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Old 02-04-2012, 04:05 PM   #11
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UPDATE:

I finished planting everything that's going to be in the tank



I moved to Rotala Macrandra, like I thought I should. It was a bit too far off to the right for my eyeballs. I also got my Rotala Rotundifolia (Green) to the back-right of the tank, and some Rotala Macrandra (Narrow-Red) to the back-center. I added Blyxa Japonica to my foreground and to offer a different texture. (I never kept Blyxa before, so I hope I can. It's so beautiful!) I then planted some erios in from of my center-piece Macrandra. I'm not sure how well they will do once the glosso grows in, but that remains to be seen. I also planted about 4 stems of Limnophilia sessiliflora behind my two Blyxas on either side. This may be becoming a bit of a collectoritis tank, but I'll tend to that once I see how things grow in.

I also had some pearling last night!

My happy Glosso:


And my happy Blyxa:


In other news, I think my Fluval CO2 system has a leak in it somewhere.. Going to get some teflon tape today, and if that doesn't work, I'll have Hagen on the phone. -_-

Also, the water is STILL milky/cloudy from the Clarify. Pretty annoying.. I did a 50% water change, which helped, but I'll need to do several more to get my water crystal clear.

Thanks for looking Comments and criticisms are appreciated.
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Old 02-06-2012, 12:33 AM   #12
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Added 4 Otos today. Getting a bit of algae on my driftwood, and I am hoping they can clean it up a bit

Will perhaps post pictures later in the week after they've become more used to their new home.
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Old 02-06-2012, 01:48 AM   #13
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When I restarted my last tank with eco and soil I had a cloud for about a week. I didn't do anything to it, and it eventually cleared up, but I assumed it was a slight bacteria bloom mixed with some dusty sediment. Might want to just try waiting it out.
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Old 02-07-2012, 06:20 PM   #14
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Yeah, the water has really cleared up. Too bad I'll be doing a little rearranging and maintenance today :P Going to cloud it up all over again!


ONE WEEK UPDATE:

So my tank is now a week old Well, I planted my Rotala Rotundifolia about a week ago, anyway. I'm seeing a lot of very rapid growth. My Rotala stems have doubled in length and finally have lovely submersed leaves. My Blyxa is bronzing a bit, but I think it's going to make it. My Rotala Macrandra is staying a vibrant red, and I'm seeing some new stems popping out of the old. My narrow-leaf Macrandra is a bit less red, which is disappointing, but it's only been in the tank for about 3 full days. I'm hoping it will color up. My Glosso is growing a bit vertically, but with 2x24 watts and ample CO2, I think it just needs to be trimmed down and trained.

My otos are doing okay, I think. I bought four, but I only ever see three out at a time (at least since yesterday), so I think my number four died. I'm going to be doing some maintenance this afternoon, so I hope I can find out either way. The other three seem to be adjusting okay. My tank is making some of that yummy new-tank algae that they like to gobble up. My big guy seems to have made himself at home on my driftwood. He spends most of his time cleaning it up for me.

Diatoms aside, I'm getting a little bit of what seems like hair algae. Do Otos eat that? If not, I need to take on some shrimp or snails to help me and my toothbrush keep that under control.

And, of course, here are a few pictures of my little ones:

Here's my Big Guy, keeping the driftwood presentable:




The one stuck to the glass is my smaller oto, and the one on the gravel near him is my shy oto. Shy Guy doesn't stay at the front of the tank for very long, and he darts around the tank frequently, trying to find a secure place to nibble. I hope he gets more comfortable in time.


And of course, Little Guy, finally staying on this place in the glass after shimmying around a bit.
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Old 02-07-2012, 11:14 PM   #15
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It was requested on another forum, so I figured I'd copy/paste my other post here - a full-tank shot, one week after planting began I just finished a water change, so the water clouded up a bit again, but it's still better than it was a few days ago :P I'm really happy with the growth, but I know that the glosso and rotalas will need to be chopped down once they're established for a fuller growth. I also notice that the Bacopa Australis (front-left) that I had bought is definitely not going to grow low, like I was told it would. I will likely have to remove it completely.



I decided to leave a lot of the algae on my driftwood for now, because my Otos enjoy it so much. I may have to spot treat it though if they can't keep up with it.

And a pleasant surprise after tonight's algae-cleaning and water change! The first time my Rotala Macrandra has pearled! The glosso, Blyxa, and other rotalas had been, but the macrandra hasn't before tonight



Comments and critiques are appreciated.
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