"A Minute to Learn; A lifetime to Master" 60 gallon (shallow) Dutch
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Old 01-31-2014, 02:47 PM   #1
Phil Edwards
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"A Minute to Learn; A lifetime to Master" 60 gallon (shallow) Dutch


Hello everyone, thanks for checking out this thread. Please enjoy your stay, ask any questions you want, and feel free to chatter away. As long as it pertains to keeping aquatic plants no topic is "off topic". We're all here to learn from each other and enjoy getting our geek on with our favorite subject.

This journal is a special one for me as it documents the first non-experimental fully flooded aquarium I've kept since 2009. In 2010 and 2011 all the tanks I kept were used to see how application of my research worked in an aquarium rather than massive outdoor growing ponds. From 2012 until now I've only kept wabi kusa on my porch or tried out emergent growth as seen in the 300 gallon journal I've been keeping.

For those of you who've followed my journals either here or in TAG, you may have noticed I've been focusing on Dutch style aquascaping. As Nature Aquarium style design has come to worldwide prominence I've seen fewer and fewer people attempting serious Dutch tanks as they're kept in Europe. I've been saddened to see this beautiful, elegant, and deceptively "unsophisticated" style falling to the wayside. Just as the title of this aquascape says; it takes a minute to learn, but a lifetime to master. This current tank is, for me, another step along the lifetime journey of learning the details of Dutch aquascaping.

The 2009 aquascape (75 gallon) that started it all-


2011 experiment tank (225 gallon)-



About this current tank. It started out life as a reef in the making then one day I got a call from my boss saying he needed the skimmer I was going to use and that ended that. Here's a photo of what it looked like on the day of that fateful phone call.



Specs-
48x24x12 60 gallon; currently about 40 gallons open volume
Aquatic Life 6x 54 watt T5HO; currently running 2x 10,000K bulbs 10 hrs/day.
Florin Volcanit Rio Cafe substrate; 75/25% M(5mm)/F(3mm)
Eheim Pro II 2028 full of Xport-BIO media
CO2 regulator is from Aquatic Life. It's great looking and is super easy to use. It comes pre-set so I didn't have to worry about adjusting the pressure and the needle valve is super sensitive, making small adjustments a snap.
Cal Aqua Labs inline CO2 diffuser 11 hrs/day; on 1 hour before the lights
Ferts are Brightwell Aquatics' Florin line; N=15ppm, P=1ppm, Ca/K=20ppm, Mg=5ppm, Fe and Traces as needed

Animals: 30 Norman's Lampeyes, 18 Rummy Nose Tetras, 30 Amano Shrimp, and 10 Ottocinclus; all from Rachel O'Leary. I had the pleasure of visiting her place and would highly recommend her to anyone. Every tank was clean and her animals were all active, well colored, and often breeding if the animals were mature enough.

The tank's actually been set up for a month now as I grew out some species given to me by friends so the filter's well cycled. Unfortunately the USPS were goobers and the packages got delayed which resulted in some heavy cold damage. After salvaging what I could, trimming off the healthy portions, and cleaning away the algae it was time to place an order with my supplier and get it packed with plants.

The long term plan with this guy is to do a full on setup with planted walls and everything. I still need to make the walls and pull out the standpipe so for now the tank's in grow-out mode until I've got everything ready to do a tear-down and replant/aquascape. The tank's not really well aquascaped and I've broken a number of rules just so I could as much plant mass in there as possible. Even so, I still want it to be somewhat nice to look at so things are placed in solid groups and a crude Dutch-esque way. There are too many red species, plants with similar textures/colors are placed next to each other, and most of the plants are in square/rectangular groups that create straight lines rather than the more pleasing rounded or triangular groups, sinuous lines, and pathways leading the eye back into the depths of the tank. All that will come eventually.

NOW, THE PICS! Planted 1.30.14





















Thanks for watching!

Last edited by Phil Edwards; 01-31-2014 at 03:04 PM.. Reason: Formatting
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Old 01-31-2014, 07:15 PM   #2
MrAlmostWrong
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The dimensions of that tank are sexy as hell.
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Old 01-31-2014, 07:46 PM   #3
Phil Edwards
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Aren't they? I was super excited to see it sitting in a corner of a storage building. I grabbed it right away. Thank God it makes trimming/planting easy because as shallow as it is I'll have my hands in the tank constantly. LOL
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:23 PM   #4
jfynyson
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What's the substrate make up & the white PVC contraption (skimmer ?) ? Subscribed....It would be super excellent if you could have a video camera set up when you redo the scape & replanting. Most importantly when doing the pruning / trimming / training the growth techniques if you had that video it would be priceless to those trying to learn. Been trying to find start to finish Dutch techniques video but cannot find them.
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Old 02-07-2014, 01:54 PM   #5
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jfynyson,

Thanks for following. Even though the plants are in only the crudest semblance of an aquascape I'm rather excited about the tank. It's nice to get my hands wet again.

The substrate is approx 75/25 Brightwell Aquatics Florin Volcanit Rio Cafe M and F, respectively. It may be closer to 50/50 since I grabbed a bunch out of the big tank and can't remember exactly where and how much I took from.

The Big Ugly White Pipe is a standpipe left over from when I was going to be making this into a reef. Christmas money burnt a hole in my pocket and I decided to plant it before putting up foam walls and taking out the stand pipe. Both of those will happen eventually. The room the tanks are in gets really cold and I don't want the fish and plants sitting in a bucket (even with a heater) while the silicone cures until it gets warmer. That may seem silly since the tank's basically a glass box that's exposed on 5 sides but with as much as I've invested in the fish and plants I'd rather be extra careful than tempt disaster. I can't afford to do a mass replacement and still have the money I need to put into the big tank. It may be ugly as sin, but Great White's staying in there and helping me get rid of any unwanted floaters with the occasional overflowing and skimming. It also happens to be a great way to get some A. nana 'Petite' adjusted to growing vertically for eventual wall planting.

I'll get photos and possibly a video when I do the final 'scaping….if I can find someone with a decent camera to do the photos/videography.

Regards,
Phil
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:28 PM   #6
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2.10.14 Update- Trim and re-arrangement

9 days after the initial planting it was time to do a major re-arrangement of some species. The Shinnersia rivularis and Gymnocoronis spilanthoides in front, Ludwigia sp. 'Red' (what's the ACTUAL species on this one?) in the middle, and Hygrophila sp. Somethingorother in the back were all growing too quickly for their positions (had to trim them every 4 days or so). The two big leaved guys in front were inhibiting circulation and the Hygrophila just needed to be hacked back hard.

Thanks to the Great White Standpipe From Hell interfering with flow along the back I decided to put a koralia in the left rear corner in hopes of helping plants in the rear do better. Because the Hygrophila is fairly thin-stemmed and gets blow sideways easily I decided to put the more robust Shinnersia back there next to the current maker.

After seeing how most of the plants have responded I figured I may as well do a big cleaning and re-arrangement to improve flow and looks.

2.8.14 prior to trimming and rescaping







2.9.14 after the water cleared. It looks pretty messy in the photos, but a lot has been changed in ways that I hope will allow maximum circulation and growth as well as improve the overall design flow.

Last edited by Phil Edwards; 03-05-2014 at 07:16 PM.. Reason: removed dead photo links
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Old 02-11-2014, 04:23 AM   #7
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Hey Phil looking good - really like those dimensions - FYI I have broken heaters by having them diagonally in the past - if you hear it clinking when it starts up beware the coil may twist and fail - don't know what brand yours is but look into it if you'd like.

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Old 02-11-2014, 12:21 PM   #8
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Thank you nicholz, and thanks for the tip. The only heaters I currently have are these big ones that aren't completely submersible. Keeping it at a diagonal like that is the only way I can keep the entire heating element submerged. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on it from now on.

Cheers,
Phil
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Old 02-11-2014, 01:54 PM   #9
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Filling in nicely Phil!
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:27 PM   #10
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Thanks Trigger. It's still got a long way to go..and miles to go before I sleep. I can't wait for some of the lower growing species to fill in so I can dump the Saggiteria.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Edwards View Post
Thanks Trigger. It's still got a long way to go..and miles to go before I sleep. I can't wait for some of the lower growing species to fill in so I can dump the Saggiteria.
I'm the same way lol. Some days I look in the tank and damn near expect there to be a full carpet of HC a week after planting. I have zero patience lol
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Old 02-12-2014, 04:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Trigger View Post
I'm the same way lol. Some days I look in the tank and damn near expect there to be a full carpet of HC a week after planting. I have zero patience lol
Then do more frequent water changes, think what species look best next to HC without shadowing it etc etc.

You wish for rapid growth rates, so said a boy name Jack and some beans.
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Old 02-22-2014, 04:26 PM   #13
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Captain's Log 2.22.14- This is going to be a big photo update as I've made some big changes and am tracking progress of some sort of alga on the substrate. It's dark brown and is making a thin cover over most exposed substrate and some of R. nanjenshan. Due to previous issues with the filter not really picking up much, deposition of organic matter, and latent organic matter being in the substrate granules themselves I've been leaning toward it being some sort of cyanobacteria. However, it's not making the thick mats I've seen from cyano before and haven't seen a cyano this color. That's got me wondering if it's diatoms too since there's also silica in any soil, clay, or ash based substrate.

I'm not looking for advice on how to get rid of it; that's already in the works. I would like thoughts on what type of alga is potentially could be, and why you think so.

On to the pics!

2.18.14-

Switched the in-line diffuser out for an in-tank one, took the Koralia out from the back and put an MP40 in the front in hopes of improving circulation and distribution of CO2. The in-line was getting really dirty and was putting out larger bubbles rather than a fine mist. Unfortunately, because it's so cold in the room the tubing was too tight around the glass and I couldn't remove the diffuser to clean so it got plugged. Now I can take the diffuser out and clean it as needed, which makes me happy.












2.20.14-
















Injecting FlorinBacter-


Thanks for watching.

Last edited by Phil Edwards; 02-22-2014 at 04:42 PM.. Reason: formatting
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Old 02-23-2014, 07:12 PM   #14
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Good news! It seems the consensus from a bunch of sources is........diatoms. The news is actually quite a relief as they concern me much less than cyano does. Now it's just a waiting game.

I'm not normally downstairs watching the tank at the end of the photoperiod so I missed something important. Last night I was though and noticed most of the plants going into rest mode a good half hour to 45 min before lights out. So I did what any good plant keeper does and increased the number of bulbs on and upped the photoperiod by another hour to squeeze every last bit of photosynthesis from the plants. Actually, I reduced the photoperiod by an hour so the lights are only on for 9 hours/day. Hopefully that'll help reduce the diatom explosion. I hope it'll help encourage some of the plants to grow upright too as I can't raise the lights any higher than they are now.
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:14 AM   #15
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Phil!, I didn't realize those were your tank. The 2009 scape looks great, have you thought of doing another dutch but in a smaller tank?

I know you're currently working on that 300g experimental tank, plus this 60g, that a lot of work.

And I thought a 17 gallon was tons of work,
Oh and PS - Got any more pics of the 2009 scape?
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