38G - Let's Do It (1st Timer)
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:50 AM   #1
Twimbo
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38G - Let's Do It (1st Timer)




This is my first post on the forum. I've been reading for a few weeks and have learned a lot, but as can be seen, I still have a lot to learn.

This is the 'before' picture. The 'after' picture will have to wait, I'm moving the tank in about 2 weeks. This tank has been set up for almost a year, but I'm only getting serious about the plants right now.

I just ordered my first set of plants from the "Swap n Shop," what I have now came from LFS. AzFishKid is sending me a package this week. I wasn't sure what I was buying at the time, but have since looked them all up and like what I bought.

A few of the existing plants in aquarium are fairly new, but the Swords on the left have been there about 6-9 months and just don't get any bigger (as is the case with most of the plants I have). I recently changed one of the bulbs in my Nova Extreme (2 x 39w) and started using Excel today and am hoping to finally stimulate some growth.

For the next two weeks, I'm just experimenting - because at that time, I'm moving this tank from basement to living room, right next to our new fireplace. I'll redesign everything at that point.

Here is what I'm using/doing right now:
  • 38G Tank (3' x 1' x 19.5" high)
  • Nova Extreme HO T5 lighting (2 x 39w) + Basic fixture that came w/tank (1 x 25w) = 103w (2.7 w/g)
  • Whisper EX70 HOB Filter (I removed carbon)
  • Circulation = Just added Koralia Turbo Pump (rated 400 GPH)
  • Substrate = Flourite
  • CO2 = CO2 Bio-System from Red Sea (similar to DIY) + Excel
  • Ferts = A few tabs in substrate and 'Sera Florena' liquid fert
  • Water = RO water - enhanced with Kent Marine R/O Right + pH Stable
  • 10% Water Changes Weekly
Plants I currently have in tank:
  • Java Fern
  • Java Moss
  • Amazon Sword
  • Some other Sword
  • Banana Plants
  • (Rest are yet to be identified)
I recently ordered:
  • - 3 small stems of Blyxa japonica
  • - 20+ stems of Rotala rotundifolia
  • - 4 stems of Ludwigia repens
  • - 1 anubias (sorry, don't know what type - good size! 7-10 leaves)
  • - 2 stems of Limnophila sessiliflora
  • - 1 very small portion of flame moss
Any comments or suggestions?

Last edited by Twimbo; 11-14-2009 at 05:34 AM..
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:06 AM   #2
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Very cool tank!

The only thing I notice is that the lighting seems awfully high. Almost 80W of T5HO in addition to the factory fixture will likely start major algae growth soon.

Other than that I think its great!
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DevinWolfe View Post
Very cool tank!
Almost 80W of T5HO in addition to the factory fixture will likely start major algae growth soon.
I'm already dealing with quite a bit of algea. It does not seem to be getting any worse, but I need to figure out something. I've been reluctant to cut back the lighting, because I'm not getting any real growth out of my plants. I'm hopeful that using Excel with my cheap CO2 set-up will help. But, maybe I should turn off the original fixture.

I'm currently at 2.7 watts per gallon, with a tank almost 20" deep. Is that really too much?
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:56 AM   #4
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The more I read, the more inclined I am to agree, that I might have too much light. I'm thinking of turning off the 25W factory fixture for a while and see how things go.

Again, I'm getting very little plant growth and looking for ideas on how to stimulate more....

Also, I think the Koralia Turbo Pump might be giving me a little too much circulation....
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Old 10-20-2009, 10:43 PM   #5
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Your tank is looking great Twimbo!

I really hope you like the plant package - they're nice plants! If you'd like more of anything, please let me know and i'd be happy to send you some extra stems free of charge (just $6 for shipping).

One thing to consider about moving the aquarium:
The heat from the fireplace can cause big problems in aquariums. If you're going to use the fireplace a lot, then placing the tank right next to it may not be the best idea. It could drastically raise your water temperature, causing harm (or killing) the plants and fish.

Keep us updated! I'd love to see the progression of your aquarium.
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Old 10-23-2009, 03:03 AM   #6
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I got some additional lighting advice in another thread.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/li...hting-38g.html

I also found someone with another 38g tank and the same lighting as mine.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/al...ging-help.html

Last edited by Twimbo; 10-23-2009 at 03:04 AM.. Reason: Wrong link
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Old 11-04-2009, 01:28 PM   #7
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Here is an update on my tank.



Since last update, I've done a number of things.

#1) I had to move the tank temporarily, until the "big move" to the living room (coming in several weeks). While I changed the layout a little, I'm saving major changes until the next move.
#2) I'm pretty much sticking with the "Nova Extreme HO T5 lighting (2 x 39w)" for lighting. I've been advised that this should be more than enough for this tank.
#3) I've started dosing with Flourish, Flourish Excel, Flourish Potassium, and Flourish Nitrogen.
#4) I'm moving back to St. Paul city water. Had been using RO water purchases at LFS.
#5) I've added a used Eheim 2227 (purchases off Ebay). I've disabled the "float" mechanism on this, so the "Wet/Dry" trickle system is no longer working.
#6) I've connected my Red Sea CO2 system directly to the Eheim filter, but I'm not sure if its working yet. I'm planning on building a DIY bubble counter and adding another DIY CO2 reactor to the set-up.

I'm seeing some plant growth, but still not much. My amazon swords never seem to do anything. Maybe, I'm just too impatient.
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Old 11-14-2009, 05:38 AM   #8
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Here is an updated photo. Mostly, I'm just adding plants and playing with the system. The move for this tank has been delayed by a couple of weeks, so in the meantime I'm just hoping to generate some growth on the plants (maybe roots on some of them), so they will be in better shape, when I do the complete overhaul and rescape in anywhere from 2-6 weeks.

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Old 11-20-2009, 07:00 PM   #9
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Since the last photo, I've:

  1. Moved the plants around a little bit
  2. Given up on injecting my CO2 directly into the Eheim filter. Rather, I installed a small Fluval internal filter and have hooked the DIY CO2 directly up to that. It seems to be keeping my drop checker green. If you follow the link, you can see what I was trying to do before.
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:25 PM   #10
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looking very good twimbo.
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Old 11-23-2009, 04:18 PM   #11
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Looks amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 11-24-2009, 03:03 PM   #12
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Its better than enything I have ever done, but I think it looks just a little... well, messy, with all the diffrent plants everywhere? Its probably just me though!
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Old 11-24-2009, 03:26 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone for the feedback.

Actually, I agree, it does look a bit "messy." I have to break this tank down and move it, in about 3-6 weeks (keeps getting delayed). So, I'm really just growing the plants out a bit, experimenting with my ferts, and trying different things with plants to see what works.

When I move it, I hope to do a major reorganization and simplify the scape a bit. Right now, I just want it to look "ok" and for the plants to grow.

After a long time of complaining of "no growth," I think I finally got things moving. I'm seeing regular slow growth on many, but not all, of the plants - and starting to get a sense of what grows best under these tank conditions.
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Old 11-24-2009, 05:49 PM   #14
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Here is a better picture...

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Old 12-06-2009, 03:20 AM   #15
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Yesterday, I caught these four snails fighting for one algae wafer.

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