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Old 12-15-2011, 06:52 PM   #61
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I received my shipment of eco-complete and this is the first time I have yet to just drop everything and just start working on the tank. So far, it's been a good week and no ideas have come to mind. It seems I'm having the most severe case of planner's block. Nothing comes to mind, it's probably got something to do with not deciding on a style. Then when I decide on a style I have trouble finding hardscape material for that style. I have my chunk of drift wood but it seems too large for what I want to do. I might just need to actually play around with it rather than just imagine what my scape should look like...
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:18 PM   #62
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Looking good so far!

I learned a long time ago when I first started building canopies to leave the back of them mostly open! The first canopy I built was completely enclosed, and it would get VERY HOT and it only had normal output Fluorescents in it! Did the whole fan thing, and they work ok, but back( 1992) then they were expensive and LOUD! So with trial and error I started using a small piece to run along the top of the back to attach the lid to it , and it helped A LOT in keeping everything cool! The only down side is there is some lite that escapes the back of the canopy, but Ya get used to it pretty quick!

You did a AWESOME JOB in the layout with the Ricca lawn! I have always loved the look, but it only last for a small amount of time from what I read! TO BAD, as it is a very beautiful look!

You will love the Rainbow Fish too! My first planted tank was setup with many different types of Rainbows, and was FREAKIN' AWESOME, but I got a wild hair one day and traded them to my Buddy who owned a Fish Shop, and I have kicked myself in the arse for it even since! They have AWESOME COLOR, VERY PEACEFUL, always on the move, and won't outgrow normal medium size tanks(55g and up)! I have 5 Angels in my 55g (48" long) planted setup now, and they are beautiful, but they are always picking on each other! Not as bad as African Cichlids, but for their size ( body's are silver dollar size) they are getting quite aggressive toward each other! So Stick with the Rainbows and your tank will be PEACEFUL!

GREAT work on the Journal! and Keep up the Pics and letting us know how it is going!
Drew

P.S. A Jig Saw is a GREAT saw to have around the house! They are not too expensive either, around $25 at WallyWorld for a OK one! Just get Ya some scrap wood and practice cutting with it, as they can be a pia to keep going straight down a line at first, but i doesn't take long to figure them out! Just get the correct blade for the type of wood you are using and get to cutting!

Last edited by BoxxerBoyDrew; 12-15-2011 at 09:22 PM.. Reason: added p.s.
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:26 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoxxerBoyDrew View Post
Looking good so far!

I learned a long time ago when I first started building canopies to leave the back of them mostly open! The first canopy I built was completely enclosed, and it would get VERY HOT and it only had normal output Fluorescents in it! Did the whole fan thing, and they work ok, but back( 1992) then they were expensive and LOUD! So with trial and error I started using a small piece to run along the top of the back to attach the lid to it , and it helped A LOT in keeping everything cool! The only down side is there is some lite that escapes the back of the canopy, but Ya get used to it pretty quick!

You did a AWESOME JOB in the layout with the Ricca lawn! I have always loved the look, but it only last for a small amount of time from what I read! TO BAD, as it is a very beautiful look!

You will love the Rainbow Fish too! My first planted tank was setup with many different types of Rainbows, and was FREAKIN' AWESOME, but I got a wild hair one day and traded them to my Buddy who owned a Fish Shop, and I have kicked myself in the arse for it even since! They have AWESOME COLOR, VERY PEACEFUL, always on the move, and won't outgrow normal medium size tanks(55g and up)! I have 5 Angels in my 55g (48" long) planted setup now, and they are beautiful, but they are always picking on each other! Not as bad as African Cichlids, but for their size ( body's are silver dollar size) they are getting quite aggressive toward each other! So Stick with the Rainbows and your tank will be PEACEFUL!

GREAT work on the Journal! and Keep up the Pics and letting us know how it is going!
Drew
Awesome post. Many kind words . I'm actually really trying to follow the rules and trying to put in my own flare. I've had trouble in the past with this tank but I have to say this time I am more prepared, experience wise and better equipped.

I will stick with the rainbows and maybe add some tetras.
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:33 PM   #64
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Also if you are going to do away with the glass lid make sure you protect the Inside of the canopy with some POLYCRYLIC! I use Minwax brand Polycrylic to seal the inside of my canopies! It is WATER-BASED so it won't harm the fish when in is curing as oil based sealers can! I learned the hard way about that! I get the clear semi-gloss and just brush it on everywhere on the inside! Especially in the fan holes as the water vapor will swell the wood around the fan and can cause the fan to have problems, don't ask! A pint can will cover the inside of a 55g canopy at least once! It is a little expensive, around $6-8 dollars, but it WILL SAVE A CANOPY though! I use it even if I am using the glass lids or not! That way the wood doesn't warp any where near like it does if it is unprotected!

Hope this helps!
Drew
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Old 12-15-2011, 10:10 PM   #65
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Great advice Drew! I but I might keep it on just to try but if I don't like it, I know where to look for advice!

I came home to this today

And thought about it, screw it, I'll reuse my driftwood and make it look amazing.

Plan to place it like this off center.


Had this standing for a good while. Didn't like it that much.


Thoughts?
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Old 12-17-2011, 03:17 AM   #66
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Decided today would be the day to work on the tank and really do some real hardscaping. This post is post is picture intensive.

I really thought about the whole golden ratio and it really is more pleasing to the eye.


From the top.


Another shot from the top.


Noticed the small sunken trench and decided it'll be an amazing area to fill the Eco-complete and plant some HC.


Prepped HC.


The planting tweezers made the job so much easier.


Filling in.


Rice patty farmer. Lol.


About done.


Close up of the sunken trench.


Filling up the water.


All filled.


Still need some more plants. Thinking about getting some dwarf hair grass to plant around the drift wood to soften the transition from driftwood to HC and other future plants.

Planning on posting a list of plants in a bit.
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Old 12-22-2011, 08:55 PM   #67
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Default [UPDATE 12/22] urb 55 gal

This is an update of the growth. Not so much yet, as it's only been a week but wanted to start a mini thread within this thread on the growth of the HC.

Day 7


Day 8

I found an app in my phone that takes pictures of only certain colors. This is good because it really brings out the greens. Even though the eco-complete is already black, this really enhances the color. Not much change but wanted to start that mini thread.
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Old 12-27-2011, 06:35 PM   #68
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So it's been about two weeks since I've added the HC and it seems like my fear of algae bloom is coming to fruition. I've been dosing a little under since I know the HC takes some time to absorb all of the nutrients so I dose ever 3 days rather than daily or every other day. I have yet to get any stem plants because of 2 reasons; 1) It's still the holdiay season so it's now sure how long it'll take; however, we are talking about plants so it should be either next day or 2nd day shipping but that's $$$ 2) No LFS near me carries any plants that's desirable. They have wonderful amazon swords and all but, not really into that. I would love to just stop by my trusty LFS and pick something up but it is just not possible since the one I go to so much closed and had to move. Since I can't wait for a LFS to magically carry plants I want, I plan on ordering plants from an updated list. I can't begin to tell you how much I just want to click on the pay now button.

So here's the plan:
Since the HC is taking root rather nicely, I don't have much to worry. I've left enough spacing in the back to plant the stem plants. Since I have a huge chunck of drift wood, I plan to get some hairgrass to blend in the transitioning thresholds from HC to driftwood and vice versa. Plan to get a 3.5" x 5" mat (more than I really need but they have a sale) to evenly distribute around the tank.

For the midground:
I plan on ordering some Blyxia but they are out but will get some somehow.

As for the background:
I plan on ordering Limnophila hippuroides and some Rotala wallichii. All together, the total price tag on this comes around to $44.69. Not so bad, for 2nd day shipping.

Plan to do some sketches to see if i can get the feel for the tank later on today.
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:09 PM   #69
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Just received my package of plants I ordered. In wonderful condition. Got that mat of dwarf hair grass and it is in wonderful condition. Separated all mat into groups and is now prepped for planting. The other stem plants I got came in 4 bunches when I asked for 3 but they had a sale goin on when you buy three you get one free. Package came and I just dropped everything to prep it since its been in the system for two days. Forgot I have an eye appointment in the afternoon so I just prepped and headed straight for the optometrist. Can't wait to finish the prep and plant!
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Old 01-03-2012, 05:46 PM   #70
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Aside from the planting, it dawned on me that my DIY bottle of CO2 was not producing results, meaning i wasn't getting any CO2 from it and I've set it up 2 days earlier... Found out my yeast had expired...Went to the store and bought myself some active yeast and proofed it and refilled the bottle, resealed the vital areas and immediately got results. These plants need the CO2 so I'm not about to just leave them without it.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:01 PM   #71
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Just uploaded the pictures and posting them now. I did not order the blyxia as intended.

Upon ordering my stems, I had asked the vendor to do this for me:


And this is what I got:


Wonderful sports, these people.

So,

I decided that I want to create dynamic look and made a sketch a few weeks back. This is what I came up with. Even though some of the plants do not reflect what I currently have I do want to create this scape.


So here is the prepped Limnophila hippuroides and Rotala N. I have actually trimmed it a bit to get the top portion of the stems to add elsewhere in the tank in hopes of it filling in later.


Here is the product.

I intended for the Limnophila to grow thick and dense in the back while the rotala in the midground will be trimmed down to a third of the length. As for the dwarf hairgrass, I want that to be able to create a good transitioning buffer from the HC to the hardscape and the stems.

Another shot.


Substrate level shot.


It's been a good 5 days and, none of the stems and or hairgrass has been uprooted.


I do have a concern. I have enough light and dosing Fertz every other day with DIY CO2; however, I notice my HC browning. Plan to keep a close eye on that. I hope to take more pictures with a proper camera since the iPhone camera is "so-so" at best. Can't wait to see this all fill in.
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:32 PM   #72
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Did some tests and found my nitrates were extremely high. Did a 25% water change hoping that will help with the stablization of the nitrates. I have a substatial amount of stem plants, I wonder why the nitrate levels are so high? Will do another water change friday again to make sure the nitrate levels are within the boundaries. I'll post up some pictures of the deteriorated HC because they are turning brown.
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:45 PM   #73
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Last night, I went and purchaced a master testing kit from API. The one tester I used prior to was a mini one and it seems I have run out. Found a good price for it and snagged it (24 bucks other places selling for 30-36). Got home did the nitrate test because I knew it was my nitrate that was the issue. Here are my findings:

CO2 seems to be adaquate. Plants are all pearling and bubbling.
Drop check reads 30 ppm

pH: 7.6
High Index pH: 7.4
Ammonia: .25ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: between 80-160 ppm estimated at around 100 ppm

I had no idea how high my Nitrates were. My other test was totally inaccurate as my results were around 20-30 ppm. It wasn't until I started reading some threads on here and actually read the instructions that I had to shake the bottles. I couldn't believe it was such a massive difference and I had already changed the water earlier this week. It's not a surprise to see this number as the tank is pretty messy with plant debris from the new rescape and a slight hint of tint to the water. I immediately did a 50% water change and found the clarity imrpove drastically. (note to self, I realize now why people stop their filters, the water is amazing and peering down from above is breathtaking.)

I plan to do another test later on today since I changed the water right before bed. This is really my own fault because I have not changed the water in 2 weeks prior to my last water change and I have no one to blame by myself. Did not have the time to. I am glad to see much more accurate results. All I have to dose now is fertz and watch the nitrate levels. Still not sure why my HC is browning. I'm using NPK and dosing Potassium as well.
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Old 01-15-2012, 02:49 AM   #74
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January 14 2012:

It's been exactly two weeks since I've established the plants. I've realized I have been slacking with the fertz possibly once a week since I've been concerned with the overall water parameters. I thought since the nitrate was so high it was possibly due to plants decomposing and what not. When I had tested the water it showed a pretty high nitrate level; however, it was because my test was not calibrated with my current water conditions. I thought I had an outrageous number but it came out to be around 20ppm, even thought it was still high, it was much better than my other readings (100ppm). With that I've been pretty occupied with changing some water every other day (15-20%). Water is at a stable level and I'm dosing on the regular. But, it seems my plants have been under stress because alot of the stems foreground plants have started to brown and I wasn't sure if it was due to me not regularly dosing fertz or if it is because of something else. I took my bubble chopstick diffuser out and installed a power head to chop the co2 bubbles and it is working very well.

Here are some pictures to show the progress."

As it looks today.


Closer up of the Limnophila hippuroides and Rotala N. Notice the rotala is starting to brown at the ends.


Shot of left most side of the tank. Notice the browning of the HC and dwarf hairgrass.


Right most tank shot. Notice more browning.


Close up of the HC browning.


Only good patch of HC left. But some browning has occurred.


More browning.


So here is a comparison 2 weeks ago and two weeks later.
1/1/2012

1/14/2012
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Old 01-15-2012, 02:52 AM   #75
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Side note: If you noticed, my rainbows are missing...Unfortunately, my 4 rainbows are in a better place now...They're in my cousin's 300 gallon. gotcha...
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