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Old 06-21-2013, 06:02 PM   #1
miwoodar
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Thanks for the recent input as I was planning my tank (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=338594). I'm happy to report that it is up and running.

It's been a loooong time since I've had a planted tank. I've been a reef geek for too long - I'm ready to try something different. I'm really excited to have a large box of salad in my living room.

Here is a quick photo summary of the initial planting. Apologies in advance as these were quick cell phone snaps.

Making a mess...


After (some of) the dust settled...


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Old 07-17-2013, 08:04 PM   #2
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I'm digging the new tank. It is a learning process though.

Dialing in the CO2 has been much more challenging than expected. Since I didn't have any fish, I tried driving it to yellow on the DC just to get an upper bounds of how much CO2 it would take but I never got there before dialing it back to a mid-green. I then ran out of CO2 while I was on vacation and algae took over before I returned in the middle of last week. The good news...I'm starting to collect the cleanup crew and it's working. The algae is disappearing quickly.

The Pinnatifida mostly died. It was more damaged than I realized during shipping. The ones that made it are finally rebounding though.

I should have thrown the Limnophila hippuroides in the trash rather than planting it. I gave it the (ignorant) rookie shot but it disintegrated immediately.

Rotala Magenta, which was subbed for the Giant Red Macrandra in my order, is barely hanging on. The planting location was a strategic error on my part though as the water flow dumps any loose debris directly into it. Being that it is directly downstream from where I planted the Limnophila hippuroides...definitely a rookie mistake. I imagine that it would otherwise being doing well.

These pics were taken for my own purposes just to compare the growth (pardon the cell phone quality and dirty glass). They turned out good enough though that I probably won't bother taking HQ pics.

~1 month...









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Last edited by miwoodar; 07-17-2013 at 08:23 PM.. Reason: speling geak
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:03 PM   #3
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I should have asked, what should I do with the Pogostemon stellata now that it is at the surface? Should I top it or replant the tops? The stems are seem pretty thick, almost woody.

glandulosa, repens, and the reineckii all get topped a few times over the course of a few months then I yank the stems and plant the tops to start over, right?
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:14 PM   #4
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Up to you on stem trimming. It depends on the eventual look you want. To have the plant bush out and have more stems per rooted plant, top them and let them grow out, planting the tops if you have room. If you like the single-stem look for certain plants, just pull the plant, chop it, and plant the tops.

Most people (myself included) trim the plants to allow more stems to 'bush out' for a while. Every once in a while, though, it's nice to give it a bit of a reset by pulling the stems and replacing with tops. The bottoms can get ratty on some of the woodier stems like stellatus. I just topped L. Glandulosa for over a year before I replanted tops before though and it wasn't too bad.

by the way, this tank looks fantastic. If it were my tank, the only thing I'd do would be to find some branchy manzanita and have it coming outwards from the plant group in the middle. Plant growth looks nice compared to the first pic, for sure.
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:20 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input. It seems like the middle and lower sections of the stellatus are pretty sparse. I would like them to fill in. It will be a while until my small number of surviving pinnatifida stems grow to visually block the lower portions of the stellatus.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:40 AM   #6
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2.5 month update. I took the 2 month pics just after a water change - too cloudy to bother posting.

We had a Labor Day party at the house yesterday. My friends that had wanted me to keep the reef were pleasantly surprised by the new setup. Not a single person felt like I made a bad decision. A few people thought I should set up a second tank as a reef. This will not happen. I'm fine limiting myself to one box of water for the foreseeable future.

Everything seems to be coming along well. I'm happy with the plant selection thus far and I'm up to 5 bristlenose plecos, 5 SAE, 5 cories, and 18 cardinals. Looking to end up with ~60 cardinals and ~8 congos.

The cories laid eggs earlier this week. This was a pretty neat event to explain to the kiddos.

I'm fighting spirogyra. Does this stuff suck as much as I think it does? I thought that I would be able to beat it with diligent removal. However, I decided to resort to Algae Fix (I'm not quick to jump for products like this). The spirogyra in the HC has been so aggravating that I've considered pulling out all of the HC and throwing it away. I've tossed many large clumps just because I didn't care to sift out the good from the bad.

I'm also fighting snails - looking for some advice here. Work took me away for two weeks and when I came back the snail population had not only exploded, but they had laid eggs all over the place. I've been plucking as fast as I see them but it doesn't seem that I will ever get them all. There has to be a better strategy that I'm overlooking. What next? I would like to add some shrimp down the road. With this in mind, I'm leery of getting the school of clown loaches that I had earlier planned. Maybe get the loaches then return them after a few months?

It will get a hair cut next week...
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:03 AM   #7
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Wow! Very stunning, excellent job!

I used to hate snails, I would hunt them down, remove eggs etc. Then I just stopped caring and it was almost as if they did too, their numbers dwindled and the snails that remain I actually like now! They help with algae too and loach food.

If you search tpt you can find myriad ways of setting up snail traps, chemical snail genocide, and snail-eat-snail solutions, but you never know, you might end up liking them!
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:45 AM   #8
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Looking great. You could try a few assassin snails.
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:27 PM   #9
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i love the demesions of this tank. great job on the layout. i really dig the center island look.
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norbot View Post
Wow! Very stunning, excellent job!

I used to hate snails, I would hunt them down, remove eggs etc. Then I just stopped caring and it was almost as if they did too, their numbers dwindled and the snails that remain I actually like now! They help with algae too and loach food.

If you search tpt you can find myriad ways of setting up snail traps, chemical snail genocide, and snail-eat-snail solutions, but you never know, you might end up liking them!
Thanks!

I thought they would just continue to multiply to the point that they mowed down my garden. Is it common that they reach a critical mass then die off? I do like them other than my fear of them becoming a big problem if I let them go. As long as they aren't causing a problem, a few would be nice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceF View Post
Looking great. You could try a few assassin snails.
The guy at my LFS said that assassins could reach plague proportions too. I took him at face value and never looked any further. Now that I've been doing some googling, seems that this is not a common occurrence. I'll pick some up on my next visit. Would a half dozen be enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChadRamsey View Post
i love the demesions of this tank. great job on the layout. i really dig the center island look.
Thank you sir. I prefer the traditional dutch look but felt like it would not be possible with the cube. I am very happy with how it has come together thus far.
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:46 PM   #11
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I was thinking more like 2.
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:03 PM   #12
miwoodar
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Thanks Bruce.
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miwoodar View Post
I thought they would just continue to multiply to the point that they mowed down my garden. Is it common that they reach a critical mass then die off? I do like them other than my fear of them becoming a big problem if I let them go. As long as they aren't causing a problem, a few would be nice.
I'm no biologist, but, in my tank at least, the snail population seemed to follow the typical population "boom and bust" curves you may have seen. They go crazy at first, reproduce beyond their means of survival and then die back to the carrying capacity of the environment.

I've heard of people using them as indicators of unbalance, unfavorable conditions, or as a sign that you are overfeeding, but I don't know if that's reliable or a good reason to keep them around though. They are good little janitors but they are unsightly when they all hang out on the front glass though!
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