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Old 04-19-2014, 11:38 PM   #1
iNinja
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Newbie who needs ideas


So this is my first thread, and my first dirted tank. I reused some plants I had in a 20L that I tore down to make room for this one. I have dwarf sag as a carpet and tied some anubias nana to the driftwood. I started out with just two small anubias nana plants from a major pet store and they exploded when I gave them good lighting and co2. I'm horrible at trying to figure out what plants could go where and look good together in the space I have left.

My current setup is:
- 75 gallons
- odyssea cfs 500 canister filter with added bag of purigen and bag of chemipure with original sponges and bioball filtration. diy surface skimmer.
- substrate is organic soil bottom, thin middle layer of regular black sand, flourite black sand cap. all regular white sand for 'river' effect that my corys got all dirty . substrates divided by translucent film (like projector film) to prevent sag from running into the 'river'.
- 216w t5ho (4 bulbs. first pair 9am-5pm. second pair 10am-6pm) blue night LEDs 6pm-12pm. total darkness from 12pm-9am)
- pressurized co2 on 5lb bottle (8am-5pm) roughly 3bps using drop checker
- current fert dosing is flourish, flourish excel, flourish potassium (ordered EI dry ferts)
- stocking is 15 neon tetras, 4 SAE's, and 4 peppered corys (3 nickle size blue platinum angelfish and 2 nickle size blue platinum marble angelfish on order.) the betta in the hangon breeder will be moved once I get his own 10 gallon set up. he has 3 anubias nana plants in with him and gets water circulation from tom's dosing pump.
- 30% water change once a week

Here are some pictures. I just did a water change so the water is a little cloudy. The heater will be moved later and I'm using an inline co2 atomizer for now until I get another glass diffuser after accidentally stepping on it. The background is frosted film for when I add some LED backlighting later. The plants turned a little yellow after transplanting so I'm hoping they'll come back.








So I'm not sure what other plants to add. I have the empty space in the back corners for some tall background plants. I want to add some midground plants behind my large rock and behind the back part of the driftwood so I get maybe a sloping effect down to the river then back up to the corner of the island. I would like some colored plants as well like yellow and reds. Or if you think maybe I should replace some areas of the dwarf sag with something else.

Your help would be appreciated! Thanks for looking!
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Old 04-20-2014, 02:02 AM   #2
angelcraze
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Your setup is more high tech than any of my setups, but I do have dirted tanks. I will say that your dwarf sag is going to go crazy. Mine, without as much light in a 90g and no co2 formed a lawn-like carpet fast. With all those ferts and exploding new dirtbed, you have so many options. Mermaid weed grows feathery and is all of the colours you want to add, yellow and red. Same as rotala magenta, although I find it grows more solidly pinkish red.

For red plants, and pardon me for not knowing the actual name, my personal favorite is ludwigia rubin 'mini'. It grows easily super red, underside of leaves and all, with smaller, more delicate leaves than regular ludwigia rubin, and faster, I find.

There is also ludwigia arcuata, which has spikier leaves more resembling rotala, but it's easy to grow and also grows super red.

Myriophyllum tuberculatum is labelled red, but grows more of an orangy red, for diversity in colour.

I think later you might want to try a more difficult foreground plant, like pogostemon helferi, it is more interesting, but grows slower than dwarf sag producing lateral shoots to form a carpet. I think this plant in smaller sections would look amazing.

I am sure there will many other suggestions. I think your options are endless.

Btw, how did you separate the dirt from the sandy path?
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Old 04-20-2014, 02:03 AM   #3
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I like the stark, formal, almost architectural quality you have created so far.

Couple of things: I suspect your cories are going to continue to mix those dark and light sands. Hope that won't bother you too much, lol! Is that a heater hanging very near the middle of the back wall? Might want to move it to one side or the other, just to reduce the visual clutter, unless you think it will be hidden by plants in the future. I have my inline heater on the return tube, but am not sure if an in-tank heater is better placed near the water going to the filter or coming back into the pump.

I'm not very good with plant recommendations ... All I can think is giant (or do I mean jungle ?) vals for the left rear because I think a stand of something thick and strappy would suit the look of the tank. But they get huge, I think. Do you like lilies? I've only tried N. stellata (in my much smaller tank) but it can be very attractive and a fast grower. Each plant will produce lots of arrow-shaped reddish/greenish leaves, as long as you clip all of the shoots that go to the surface. If you let those fast-growing shoots develop, you will end up with numerous dark red-brown lily pads (and maybe even flowers?) but the lower leaves will die back. N. stellata do go dormant periodically, which may not suit your plans.

I hope at least some of this is helpful.
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Old 04-20-2014, 02:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angelcraze View Post
Your setup is more high tech than any of my setups, but I do have dirted tanks. I will say that your dwarf sag is going to go crazy. Mine, without as much light in a 90g and no co2 formed a lawn-like carpet fast. With all those ferts and exploding new dirtbed, you have so many options. Mermaid weed grows feathery and is all of the colours you want to add, yellow and red. Same as rotala magenta, although I find it grows more solidly pinkish red.

For red plants, and pardon me for not knowing the actual name, my personal favorite is ludwigia rubin 'mini'. It grows easily super red, underside of leaves and all, with smaller, more delicate leaves than regular ludwigia rubin, and faster, I find.

There is also ludwigia arcuata, which has spikier leaves more resembling rotala, but it's easy to grow and also grows super red.

Myriophyllum tuberculatum is labelled red, but grows more of an orangy red, for diversity in colour.

I think later you might want to try a more difficult foreground plant, like pogostemon helferi, it is more interesting, but grows slower than dwarf sag producing lateral shoots to form a carpet. I think this plant in smaller sections would look amazing.

I am sure there will many other suggestions. I think your options are endless.

Btw, how did you separate the dirt from the sandy path?
Thanks for the suggestions!

I used transparency film to separate the dirt and the sand. I used aquarium sealant to glue it to the bottom glass and keep it shaped and in place and also makes a seal on the bottom so the plants don't send runners into the sand. It's an idea I got from James Findley's 'Reciprocity' aquascape. I think if I were to try a different carpet plant, I'd go with Staurogyne repens. I always loved the look of it as carpet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by H2Ogal View Post
I like the stark, formal, almost architectural quality you have created so far.

Couple of things: I suspect your cories are going to continue to mix those dark and light sands. Hope that won't bother you too much, lol! Is that a heater hanging very near the middle of the back wall? Might want to move it to one side or the other, just to reduce the visual clutter, unless you think it will be hidden by plants in the future. I have my inline heater on the return tube, but am not sure if an in-tank heater is better placed near the water going to the filter or coming back into the pump.

I'm not very good with plant recommendations ... All I can think is giant (or do I mean jungle ?) vals for the left rear because I think a stand of something thick and strappy would suit the look of the tank. But they get huge, I think. Do you like lilies? I've only tried N. stellata (in my much smaller tank) but it can be very attractive and a fast grower. Each plant will produce lots of arrow-shaped reddish/greenish leaves, as long as you clip all of the shoots that go to the surface. If you let those fast-growing shoots develop, you will end up with numerous dark red-brown lily pads (and maybe even flowers?) but the lower leaves will die back. N. stellata do go dormant periodically, which may not suit your plans.

I hope at least some of this is helpful.
Thanks for the compliments and suggestions! Yes, my corys like tossing up my flourite sand into my white sand, haha. I use some airline hose and suck up what they mess up. I hope later that a thick enough carpet will form where they can't do it anymore.

The heater and co2 atomizer will be moved. I will have the background as clean as I can for the later on backlighting. I'll probably eventually get some lily pipes.
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Old 04-22-2014, 10:09 PM   #5
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Staurogyne is my second fave ground cover, much like heleri, I find, in grwoth and propagation anyway. What did you think of for plants with colour? Did you know there is a jungle americana 'rubra'? I little harder to find, I ordered mine from Toronto, Ebay, I think. OMG, I totally forgot about echinodorus tenellus, it grows like wildfire, spreads like dwarf sag via runners, but grow finer with pink/red if given enough light. Love that plant. Looks like a mess in the pic, but I have kribensis rustling through it all the time. You want colour, just saying.
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Old 05-04-2014, 03:26 PM   #6
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I'm really digging this setup. What kind of rocks are those?
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Old 05-04-2014, 05:53 PM   #7
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they're just regular limestone rock for landscaping. i changed things up a bit and ordered $100 worth of plants so it will either turn out great or a total disaster, haha. i decided not to use the dwarf sag as a carpet plant and just as a mid ground plant in a small area. i haven't yet decided on a carpet plant. some moss will replace the anubias nana i had on the driftwood. the powerhead will be replaced with a small wavemaker.

here's some updated pics. i finally got the backlighting done using two 48" 5050 multicolor LED strips with wireless remote. i'll take a video later once it gets darker.


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Old 05-04-2014, 09:16 PM   #8
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I'm a beginner at aquascaping (though I've kept plants before), but I think that's a very nice looking hardscape. I really like the positioning of the wood in relation to the stones, and I think it can be planted really beautifully. What plants did you end up ordering?

On a side note - just wanted to mention in case you didn't know, limestone will leach calcium into the water, making the water harder, and usually raising your pH. It's not a problem as long as you're aware of it, and avoid anything that MUST have a more acidic pH.

Looking forward to seeing the final version
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Old 05-04-2014, 09:22 PM   #9
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Love the background effect. Sub'd. Can't wait to see it planted.
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Old 05-04-2014, 09:24 PM   #10
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You said the background is frosted film. Where'd you get it? I'm trying to figure out what to do for my background. I don't want to tape something or paint it. But film sounds good.
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Old 05-04-2014, 09:36 PM   #11
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Can you link to the led strips you got? Looks great and exactly what I want to do.

Also what film did you use? I am planning to use rustoleum spray on frost for my new tank but wouldn't mind taking a look at what you have.

Love the tank though subscribed for sure.


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Old 05-04-2014, 11:14 PM   #12
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here's a pic of the waterproof LED kit i used. it was only about $27 shipped. make sure when you search for it that the kit includes everything along with the power supply. just cut the roll into whatever lengths you need. the strip is marked where exactly it's safe to cut. the roll is 16.5 feet. get the appropriate connectors and splitters you need depending on how many strips you do.


here's more colors. all the pics are taken with an iphone and iphones have a habit of not taking very good low light pictures.











here's how i have the two strips run along the back. then i used a splitter to connect the two to the same control box. the backboard to reflect the light is just plain white foamboard. each end is also covered by a thin piece of foamboard to 'box' it in.











thanks for subscribing. now i hope i don't disappoint anyone.
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Old 05-04-2014, 11:14 PM   #13
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Love the background!
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Old 05-04-2014, 11:36 PM   #14
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Your tank is really cool, you did a good job. Some background plants would look good. I have some Ludwigia Repens sp. Rubin in a medium light tank, they grow very fast and stay red. They are also very cheap.
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Old 05-05-2014, 12:07 AM   #15
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here's a short video. iphone makes the colors a little washed out but it looks much better in person. you can also do a search on youtube to see what effects these led strips do.

http://youtu.be/zPBTSX4tGIU
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