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Old 03-25-2004, 02:26 PM   #1
pixelcrayon
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well, i officially started my first ever planted aquarium. ive been keeping fish for 15yrs now. ive owned your typical goldfish to reef tanks, scaling for 5gals to 90gals, but i have never attempted to create a planted tank. i always thought there was something peaceful and surreal about looking into some of the amazing tanks people have created, much like many of the tanks ive seen on this site. but the chemistry and co2 always seemed to scare me away. i always wanted to do it right and now with knowledge ive been picking up from reading your guys journals and the other tons of information on this site, i thought it was the perfect time. so please let me thank all of you first and foremost, for "holding my hand" through this uncharted adventure i am about to take.

so i dusted of the 75gal tank and i recently purchased 50lb bag of "red flint sand and gravel" and (2) 15lb bags of flourite. washed them off and can i say how much of a pain it is to clean flourite. it seemed like i could never make the water run clear. i finally filled the tank with RO water and started the filters. the water took what seemed like forever to fill. i have a RO unit that does 24gal/hr. the filters im running in the tank are (2) 400 emperor filters. those things are a beast IMO. currently i have the filters running with poly-filters hoping to clear any of the residue from the flourite. the poly-filters did an amazing good and highly recommend them to clear your tank and make sure your water is as pure as it can be.

after reading thru the site, i decided that i might have gone the wrong way just using a substrate mix and i should have gone full flourite. but considering how much back pain flourite is, im considering adding eco-complete. when i first started, i wanted to have the black substrate look but a LFS talked me out of it and recommended flourite. (funny how i figured out what LFS just now) so, im gonna pick up (2) 20lb bags of eco-complete maybe today. ill call on the availability. i plan to just layer the eco-complete over the existing substrate i have now. this solves two issues that have been bothering me. first, is that i didnt think i had enough substrate that i wanted. i wanted to have a drastic slope in my tank and the current amount i had right now just looked "weak" to me. the second, is i'll wont think about the substrate haunting me in my sleep if this projected doesnt turn out the way i want it to. so im gonna cough up more dough and forget about substrate.

i also picked up the wickest drift wood ive ever seen. its one massive piece. it will definitely be the center piece of the tank. its simply amazing. i'll post a picture once i subscribe and borrow my brother's digital camera. i saw it at a LFS and it is the main reason i started the planted tank.

i need to dig up the MH canopy from my brother's storage. its (2) 10K german bulbs with a ballast. so as it stands now, it looks like i wont be putting any money into light. which will save me tons of cash. and if my memory serves me right, i just recently replaced those bulbs.

so the fish tank is up and running. pics to come shortly. just have a couple questions.

1. will there be a problem layering the eco-complete over the existing substrate?

2. will i need to run a co2 unit asap?

3. will i need to run a co2 unit if im planning to have only micro swords and other tall grasses?

4. will there be a problem if i put a couple of fishes in now, before the co2 unit is set up? (girlfriend wants to see fishes in the tank)

5. any other advice? or something i should look out for?

Fender963: Moved until pictures uploaded
GDominy: Moved back now that pictures are included
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Old 03-25-2004, 03:33 PM   #2
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I have 20/20 vision and that font hurts my eyes. Could you please edit your post to increase the size of the font?

Edit: Thank you! Welcome to the forum.
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Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

It's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.

That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".
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Old 03-25-2004, 04:26 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixelcrayon
1. will there be a problem layering the eco-complete over the existing substrate?

2. will i need to run a co2 unit asap?

3. will i need to run a co2 unit if im planning to have only micro swords and other tall grasses?

4. will there be a problem if i put a couple of fishes in now, before the co2 unit is set up? (girlfriend wants to see fishes in the tank)

5. any other advice? or something i should look out for?
Welcome to the Planted Tank, where you quickly become familiar with LFS, SAE, MTS and BGA!

So you found a piece of driftwood, and now get a tank for it? :lol: That's a new one! Looking forward to the pictures.

1. Don't see a problem, the only thing could be that if you later on pull out plants, some of the other substrate(s) might come up and look a little... natural? weird? Not sure...

2. Yes. I would recommend that.

3. Ditto. High light = nutrients needed (CO2 is one of them). High light, nutrients, good for grassy plants :mrgreen:

4. You probably know all about cycling... if you have lots of plants in it, any "spikes" will be less pronounced, but it is still a good idea to add any fishies slowly.

5. Planted tanks can take a lot of your time. Hope your girlfriend will be alright with that...
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Old 03-25-2004, 04:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest
5. Planted tanks can take a lot of your time. Hope your girlfriend will be alright with that...
:P
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Old 03-25-2004, 04:44 PM   #5
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A grassy meadow surrounding to show off your driftwood acquisition, it sounds like a plan to me. Uprooting those plants can be done without disturbing the substrate. That kind of planting might help keep the EC on top of the substrate and preserve the black bottom look of the tank.

I can't wait to see this driftwood!
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Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

It's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.

That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".
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Old 03-25-2004, 06:19 PM   #6
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thanks guys for the reply. but im starting to feel a little pressure from my praising of my drift wood. but ill have a pic posted ASAP!

wasserpest:

thanks for answering all my questions. and about the "girlfriend" issue, im playing the "its something to do together" card. so far she seems interested. we stared at catalogues and books all night. kind of embarrassed to say but we actually watched the water in the tank.

SCMurphy:

you nailed my game plan. but doing more research and getting more inspiration, i decided to go even further with my original plan and have 2 levels in the tank. i purchased some rocks at lunch time and im planning to make a cliff appearance around the drift wood. fill in the background with more substrate and have the micro swords grow there and behind the micro swords have the taller grasses. on the lower level where the drift wood is, eventually have some glosso growing there. i think this will help give the tank more depth. my original thinking is to keep it simple (minimal variety of plants) yet using aqua-scaping to make it more interesting.

its been a week and already im addicted.
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75gal Planted Tank
SUBSTRATE: 60lbs flourite, 50lbs red flint gravel
FILTRATION: (2) 400 emperor
LIGHTNING: (2) metal halides 175W 10k
CO2: pressurized
PLANTS: Sag, Crystal Val, Pigmy swords, Micro swords, Red & Scarlet Ludwigia, Queen sword, Stargrass, Ludwigia Palustris, Ludwigia Brevipes, Red Sunset Hygro, Bacopa, Pennywort, Crypt Wendtii Bronze, Glosso
FISH: 8 Tiger Barbs, 7 Otos, 1 Dwarf Bristlenose, 14 Varies Rainbows, 6 Rasbora, 3 Cory cats
INVERTS: 8 Amano & 10 ghost shrimps.
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Old 03-25-2004, 06:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixelcrayon
... kind of embarrassed to say but we actually watched the water in the tank....
Ha, that's nothing. I was arraigning rocks for an aquascape in a bare aquarium and I had paused to 'take in' the 'zen' of the arrangement.

My wife walked up behind me and asked me "What are they gonna do?" :roll:

After her laugh she left the room and I tossed a handful of gravel in the tank and called her back in, “Look, they spawned!” I told her. 8)
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Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

It's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.

That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".
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Old 03-26-2004, 02:38 PM   #8
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Since your plan is to add RO water, you are going to need to add some minerals back in there to buffer the water a bit. CO2 is acidic and will drive the pH of water down. Many of us use tap water, or mix with tap water to retain some of the hardness. Your plants will also benifit for the calcium and magnesium that you are stripping out with your RO filter. I would aim for a dKH of 3-7.
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Old 03-26-2004, 06:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digger
Since your plan is to add RO water, you are going to need to add some minerals back in there to buffer the water a bit. CO2 is acidic and will drive the pH of water down. Many of us use tap water, or mix with tap water to retain some of the hardness. Your plants will also benifit for the calcium and magnesium that you are stripping out with your RO filter. I would aim for a dKH of 3-7.
thanks digger. i already added tap water to the RO water. i did a 60/40 mix. i'll test the dKH once im ready to put something in there. seems like the only thing i'll have in there for a while is the substrate and the driftwood. just not happy with the aquascaping so far.
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75gal Planted Tank
SUBSTRATE: 60lbs flourite, 50lbs red flint gravel
FILTRATION: (2) 400 emperor
LIGHTNING: (2) metal halides 175W 10k
CO2: pressurized
PLANTS: Sag, Crystal Val, Pigmy swords, Micro swords, Red & Scarlet Ludwigia, Queen sword, Stargrass, Ludwigia Palustris, Ludwigia Brevipes, Red Sunset Hygro, Bacopa, Pennywort, Crypt Wendtii Bronze, Glosso
FISH: 8 Tiger Barbs, 7 Otos, 1 Dwarf Bristlenose, 14 Varies Rainbows, 6 Rasbora, 3 Cory cats
INVERTS: 8 Amano & 10 ghost shrimps.
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Old 03-26-2004, 09:19 PM   #10
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Could you maybe give us a heads-up in the title when the pictures have been uploaded? I keep clicking in and not finding anything... :P
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Old 03-26-2004, 09:43 PM   #11
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i'll have the lights set up this weekend and finish the aquascaping. i need more substrate. i should have a picture of the aquascape and the drift wood posted by monday. order the co2 system and most of the plants next week. its coming along...slowly. thanks for the patiences everyone. have great weekend!!
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75gal Planted Tank
SUBSTRATE: 60lbs flourite, 50lbs red flint gravel
FILTRATION: (2) 400 emperor
LIGHTNING: (2) metal halides 175W 10k
CO2: pressurized
PLANTS: Sag, Crystal Val, Pigmy swords, Micro swords, Red & Scarlet Ludwigia, Queen sword, Stargrass, Ludwigia Palustris, Ludwigia Brevipes, Red Sunset Hygro, Bacopa, Pennywort, Crypt Wendtii Bronze, Glosso
FISH: 8 Tiger Barbs, 7 Otos, 1 Dwarf Bristlenose, 14 Varies Rainbows, 6 Rasbora, 3 Cory cats
INVERTS: 8 Amano & 10 ghost shrimps.
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Old 04-27-2004, 02:43 PM   #12
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sorry so long but my tank hit a few bumps. i got my MH system from my brother to find out that the ballast were no longer working. ordered them and replaced them. that took a week. here is a pix of the tank. let there be light!!

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75gal Planted Tank
SUBSTRATE: 60lbs flourite, 50lbs red flint gravel
FILTRATION: (2) 400 emperor
LIGHTNING: (2) metal halides 175W 10k
CO2: pressurized
PLANTS: Sag, Crystal Val, Pigmy swords, Micro swords, Red & Scarlet Ludwigia, Queen sword, Stargrass, Ludwigia Palustris, Ludwigia Brevipes, Red Sunset Hygro, Bacopa, Pennywort, Crypt Wendtii Bronze, Glosso
FISH: 8 Tiger Barbs, 7 Otos, 1 Dwarf Bristlenose, 14 Varies Rainbows, 6 Rasbora, 3 Cory cats
INVERTS: 8 Amano & 10 ghost shrimps.
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Old 04-27-2004, 03:29 PM   #13
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its been 2 1/2 weeks since i got my lights on my tank. went to a fish convention 2 weekends ago and bought some fish (rainbows) and some plants (vals). got my pressurized co2 from marc at www.aquatic-store.com this weekend. my brother came over and helped me set it up. here are the most recent pixs:

Front of the tank:


Left side w/ Rainbows:


Ride side w/ Rainbows and Barbs:


Left view:


Right view: (my favorite)


My babies:
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75gal Planted Tank
SUBSTRATE: 60lbs flourite, 50lbs red flint gravel
FILTRATION: (2) 400 emperor
LIGHTNING: (2) metal halides 175W 10k
CO2: pressurized
PLANTS: Sag, Crystal Val, Pigmy swords, Micro swords, Red & Scarlet Ludwigia, Queen sword, Stargrass, Ludwigia Palustris, Ludwigia Brevipes, Red Sunset Hygro, Bacopa, Pennywort, Crypt Wendtii Bronze, Glosso
FISH: 8 Tiger Barbs, 7 Otos, 1 Dwarf Bristlenose, 14 Varies Rainbows, 6 Rasbora, 3 Cory cats
INVERTS: 8 Amano & 10 ghost shrimps.
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Old 04-27-2004, 04:05 PM   #14
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Oh Man :!: you were right that is a great piece of wood. Great find, and the plants are looking pretty good too.


I have to tell you though that the wood is screaming to me to be moved to the left. Just to let you know I'm the least accomplished aquascaper on this board, but there is just something about it being in the middle that is disturbing. I don't know, maybe one of the people with an eye will chime in and give you a worthwhile critique, and you can ignore me.
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Sean

Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

It's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.

That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".
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Old 04-27-2004, 04:32 PM   #15
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thanks scmurphy. i agree with you. i have some other plants coming in from marc over at aquatic-store and i was hoping to see what it would look like once i have all my plants in there. im not to found of having the driftwood as the main center piece, too symmetrical imo. i found another piece of driftwood that complements this one really well. its more vertical and has a branch stretching to the left. but before i put more money down, im gonna see what it looks like for now with the new plants. im expecting them today any minute from now. i always appreciate your opinion!!
__________________
75gal Planted Tank
SUBSTRATE: 60lbs flourite, 50lbs red flint gravel
FILTRATION: (2) 400 emperor
LIGHTNING: (2) metal halides 175W 10k
CO2: pressurized
PLANTS: Sag, Crystal Val, Pigmy swords, Micro swords, Red & Scarlet Ludwigia, Queen sword, Stargrass, Ludwigia Palustris, Ludwigia Brevipes, Red Sunset Hygro, Bacopa, Pennywort, Crypt Wendtii Bronze, Glosso
FISH: 8 Tiger Barbs, 7 Otos, 1 Dwarf Bristlenose, 14 Varies Rainbows, 6 Rasbora, 3 Cory cats
INVERTS: 8 Amano & 10 ghost shrimps.
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