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Old 10-13-2008, 07:16 AM   #1
314mpDaddy
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My summer project (and fall, and winter, and...)


Hi and thanks for stopping by. This is my tank:



I picked it up for $500 including the tank, stand, light, and filter. Don't mind the blue, the previous owner had the background painted smurf blue in his reef tank.

Eventual it will live in the back wall of my office, but for now it's in my office.

I have a reverse flow UGF coming from a 600gph pump in a tidepool II wet/dry going past a turbo twist 12x.



ok, so I had to cut them again after this photo and actually use a tape measure.

Since its going to be built in I wanted a natural background, This is how I got started with the live plants. I thought that java moss between the slate would add a natural depth to the tank, so I bought a couple cases of slate tile and broke it up:



After a dry layout, and huffing silicone for 2 hours, I got the background in place, and covered the overflow box:




So I started cycling it about a month ago, threw in some gold fish, the bottom got a layer of eggcrate then window screen to support the sand substraite and I started with the plants a couple weeks ago.




My 1st issue is the darn fish keep pulling the moss out of the cracks so I only have about 50% of what I original had. I'm wondering about several things like:

Lighting: I have 4x96w lamps now, 2x10,000 and 2x artnic (I realy like to view the tank under them, but I'm doubtfull they are offering much to the plants) and was wondering (due to the $50 each bulb replacment cost) if using HID's would be a worthwile trade? IE 3x150wHPS above the tank and then use 2 artnics for color.

Filter: I have 2 trays with floss and 1 with bioballs, I have no carbon. would ading carbon do anything benificial for the plants? I'm not concerned about fish at this point. I'm still piecing together a RO storage/auto topping rig that will be in use before I get the discus.

c02: I know the easiest/cleanest way is a presurized system, but thats out of the budget for 6 months or longer. in a tank this lightly planted would a DIY bubbler be worth the hassle? The plants are developing new leaves (except the hair grass in thhe corner, Brown algae got it covered and the goldfish keep nibbling it so I think it's done for)

Brown algae: I'm suprised to still be seeing it after the first month as much as I do, I just added the UV last week, and I was doing water changes at 10 days, I bumped them to 7 and am thinking to making it 5 (20%). Is this a lighting issue, or is the tank too immature to make that call?

I Threw in a dozzen plant bulbs from petco in 2 days ago ( I pulled all the onions out) so it will have 100% more plants, but I don't want much more than that.

The final tank will be discus, a few kuli loaches, and some yet to be decided tetras (any recomendations on ones that can take the heat?).

Please shout any tips or thoughts you might have.

I had a 75g tank for 5 years but after my daughter broke it 4 years ago I am just now getting to wherre we could afford to set up another tank. and this will be my first planted tank.
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:02 PM   #2
Jace
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Wow that looks awesome!!
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:14 PM   #3
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314mpDaddy,
first welcome to the forum

lighting...Atinics are not doing anything for your plants... I'd replace them with 6700k bulbs. I wouldn't use atinics at all...but they do look cool
Filtration...carbon is not going to help with the plants. Carbon acts like a sponge to suck up toxins...like medications for example.
Brown algae...sounds like diatom algae. Pretty much all new setups get it. Ottos will dispose of it rather quickly. Mine went away on its own

I have to say this...I think you are rushing and diving in too quickly.
I would do lots of research. on plant requirements, lighting, fish, fertilization,etc.
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Old 10-14-2008, 07:09 AM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback, I'm trying not to rush the tank, I am adding heat now but won't be stocking the discus until I have my RO water system in place, and have stable water conditions.

I'm picking up a 55 gallon drum (food grade plastic) this weekend for RO water storage and to pre heat it for water changes. My tap water is 350ppm so I can't use it for discus. The RO plumbing project will be my November project with a float valve for auto topping and a fountain pump to refill from the 55g barrel.

I'm planing on spending the next couple months getting the plants and tank established before adding any specimens other than for algae control. I thought that ottos have a tenancy of feeding off discus when they got older?


My goal is to have the system settled by new years in time for discus. I'm sure I will ask lots of silly sounding questions but I think everyone with a planted tank started off not knowing much and did the same. You might notice I joined this forum in August and didn't post anything until mid October.

I have spent 2 months reading, planing, and setting up the tank so far. I have got to the point that questions answered by experienced hobbyist would be helpful. Again, sorry if they sound silly.
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Old 10-15-2008, 01:36 AM   #5
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IMO the only silly question is the one that goes unasked.

Welcome to TPT and I'm glad you "unlurked" yourself!

You'll need a ton more plants in there to keep up with that lighting, especially lots of nutrient-hog stem plants. I'd stuff that tank full of hygros, Rotali indica, Bacopa caroliniana, Hydrocoytle, etc and start getting them adapted to those warm discus temps.

Some tetra suggestions would be Cardinals, Rummynoses, and Black neons. I've heard the occasional report of Otos sucking on discus slime, but everyone I've talked to about it has said that should only happen if the Otos aren't getting enough to eat. Some other algae-eating catfish to consider would be BN plecos and/or Farlowellas.
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Old 10-15-2008, 07:40 PM   #6
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I'm not willing to risk a $100+ fish so I went and ordered 5 Albino Bushynose Ancistrus. I figure as they grow out I can let 2 or 3 of them go later on. I'm also going to go heat the tank's temp up to 82 so the plecs grow up in the warmer water.

They should be in by Friday I will try and get some macro's up this weekend.
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:45 PM   #7
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Well the bulbs are growing out, I have 7 of them that came up out of 15 that I put in, perhaps the other will still but I doubt it.

I was trying to figure out what they were but The plant index didn't mention anything about bulbs that I saw. Does anyone have a reference to bulb plants they can link?

I ordered 5 marble cross and 5x koi (angelfish) and 60 zebra danos that should be in in a few more weeks. I added 5 albino cory today (still drip acclimating them for another few hours.

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Old 10-21-2008, 05:35 AM   #8
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Try googling Aponogetons?
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Old 10-21-2008, 01:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
Try googling Aponogetons?
Aponogeton ulvaceous This is an exceptionally beautiful species. It is a very large plant with very wide wavy edged leaves in a bright lime green color. It comes from Madagascar, and is happiest in a strong water flow. A good place for it is in front of the outflow of a power filter. Iron fertilization is necessary for good growth, and the plant does require a rest period. It has attractive yellow double-spiked flowers that are self-fertile. Aponogeton rigidifolia A. rigidifolia, which comes from Sri Lanka, is different from most Aponogetons in several ways. Instead of a tuber, the plant grows from a rhizome. Up to ten plants can originate from a single rhizome. It has long strap like leaves with edges that are only slightly ruffled. The color ranges from deep green to olive brown. Rigidifolia does not require a rest period, as there is no storage system. It is a stately plant that requires excellent water conditions to remain at its best. It prefers water with a little greater hardness than some, and does not like to be moved once it is established. Propagation of this species is by rhizome division. Aponogeton madagascarensis This is, of course, the well known "Madagascar Lace Plant". As its name implies it is a Madagascar native, and endangered in the wild due to habitat destruction. Fortunately, most plants available commercially in this country have been captive grown. For those who are unfamiliar, this plant is a knock out. It has extremely unusual leaves. The tissue surrounding the vein structure is completely missing, so each leaf looks like a beautiful piece of dark green lace. The problem is that the plant is extremely difficult to grow. It requires absolutely clean water, and no algae. Algae settling on the leaves will quickly kill the plant. It needs cool water from 62-68F and will not tolerate boisterous fish. Most people who manage to keep it alive do so in a tank devoted to just that plant. That said, I have heard of several people who successfully keep and propagate this tank with no special care. According to a major European plant grower, about 90% of plants collected fail to thrive in aquariums even under the best of conditions, while the remaining 10% settle in and can grow into a magnificent display. Since this is a fairly expensive plant, you should buy it with the understanding that its maintenance may be difficult. Aponogeton boivinianus Yet another plant from Madagascar, Aponogeton biovinianus Has wide heavily puckered leaves that look like a piece of kelly green seersucker. While some sources report that this is one of the more difficult Aponogetons, other people seem to have very good luck with it. What is clear is that this is another plant that requires very clean water as well as a rich substrate. Unfortunately, this plant has not been successfully propagated at this time, so supplies are imported from the wild, with the result that it is on the expensive side. Aponogeton undulatus This plant is similar in form to A. crispus, but the leaves are a truer green, (crispus is brownish) and slightly narrower. It comes from India and northern Indo-China. It seldom flowers, but instead produces stalks with adventitious plantlets, similar to those of Echinodorus sp. (Amazon Swords). It may produce between five and ten of these stalks in a season, each one carrying up to twelve baby plants. This is one of the tougher species, and well suited to the beginner as long as it receives adequate light. Thanks lauralee! (my middle name is Lee ) Thats what I needed.
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Old 10-28-2008, 04:41 PM   #10
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This is the current plant growth, the bulbs are filling out, 1 is sending runners to the top of the tank so I moved the overflow box down an inch to allow room above the water. I still had to manually rub off brown algae from the larger leaves on the swords and wendth's. I have ordered some flurish tabs to supplement them, and cut the light to 8 hours to try and ease the diatom attack.

I can only see 2 of the plecos at a time now and assume I lost the other 3 behind the slate but I was planning on trading a few in when they got to 3" so I'm only out $10. The 5 albino cories and they are happy and active taking granule and the extra flake debris.

I have added 4 koi angels and 5 marble x silver angels rather than discus to leave more cash on hand after some medical visits in the last month started to exceed our budget. Kids first, wife 2nd, fish 17th I guess.

The question of the day is:

Since I have gone with Angels now I'm not planted right for the species. I need to add front to back screens of growth to separate the tank into 2-4 sections that will be dense enough that the fish can't see through end to end, but soft enough they wont be damaged by the activity of the corie's, and soon a tribe of zebra danos.

The tank is 24" tall and has about 18" of open water. I was wanting recommendations on low to moderate light, low tech plants I can make couple screens with. My PH is still high at 7.2 since I still haven't found my driftwood, and still haven't got the RO unit set up (the Mrs. had a couple things she wants done before I go putting holes in the house we have only had since May, silly women).

If you have any tank shots of the plant being used as a screen (think tank divider) please link or photo bucket them with your post if you can.

Tanks in advance,
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