New 125G low tech setup - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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New 125G low tech setup

Hi all,


Im currently cycling a low tech 125g, currently just the hardscape so that the wood leaches off everything its got. Its 24inch deep and 66inch long. It is almost 13 year old, and has housed large oscars and similarly boisterous fish which has left it pretty scratched up inside. This is the tank as of now:

PS: There is no background currently, the wallpaper behind the tank has this cool pattern in orange and black, should I leave it like this or should I add a black paper BG behind it?

Right now it has 1" of inert gravel topped with 1-2" of inert sand. The lights are 120W 6500k LED which make 120k lumens, semi DIY unit. I dont plan to dose CO2. This is the plant list that Ive decided:

  • Cryptocoryne Wendtii "Tropica" x10
  • Rotala Nanjenshan x10
  • Pistia Stratiotes x10 [Water lettuce]
  • Echinodorus Parviflorus "Tropica" x3
  • Echinodorus Major x2
  • Echinodorus Amazonicus x10
  • Cryptocoryne Pontederiifolia x3
  • Hydrocotyle Leucocephala x20

Most of these plants are low to mid light plants, however almost all are heavy root feeders. Im gonna use DIY root tabs made from an Osmocote clone to sustain them. I might dose ferts too only if the plants show deficiencies. I decided for an inert substrate only because its very easy to grow a tonne of algae with a fertilized substrate and low lights, also using a fertile substrate for such a large tank would break my bank.

What do you think of the plant list? Can they thrive in my setup? I can increase or decrease the lights pretty easily if needed. Should I change any of the plants?

Also, I'll be doing 10% weekly WC. The tank will have mediocre bioload and there is a 1000lph internal filter along with a 3000lph circulation pump.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2018, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
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Bump for visibility? Is it allowed?
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2018, 11:45 AM
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I think the wallpaper looks fine as a background. No rule that says you have to use plan black. By the time you have the plants in you'll see very little of it anyway.

I wouldn't say algae would be an issue with a plant substrate. I've jbl aquabasis in mine, which I think is a fairly budget option. The cheapest way to do it is to decide where you want to plant and use a divider to just add soil in those areas rather than covering the whole tank.

Of course, you can grow just as well in plain gravel but as you plan you'll need to add root tabs or fertilise the water column regularly with heavy feeders like swords, particularly if you have low/medium bioload. With a big tank, dry salts may be cheaper for water column ferts than liquids - but you can explore that later.

Your plants list sounds good to me, easy low light plants that grow well and look good. I'd tend to start with your lights lower/shorter light period as it will be more prone to algae to start with. Then gradually increase as your plant mass increases and fills in. That way hopefully you'll keep everything in balance.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-15-2018, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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Thanx for the reply!

Im fairly confident regarding the root tabs, however the only hitch seems to be how will I be able to replenish the tabs after a few months when they have disintegrated.


You mention dry salts, what are they? I googled them and I got directed towards various hydroponic fertilizers. N-P-K mixes and Epson salts were used to create a custom fertilizer for these plants. Can you tell me a bit more about these fertilizers?
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-15-2018, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashwin1224 View Post
Thanx for the reply!

Im fairly confident regarding the root tabs, however the only hitch seems to be how will I be able to replenish the tabs after a few months when they have disintegrated.


You mention dry salts, what are they? I googled them and I got directed towards various hydroponic fertilizers. N-P-K mixes and Epson salts were used to create a custom fertilizer for these plants. Can you tell me a bit more about these fertilizers?
That is exactly what they are. Your macros which are NPK, and then trace elements, or micros as they are known. There are many methods to add these to your tank. This website is an amazing resource for information and learning, created my one of the forum members.

https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/...hy-bother.html

You can purchase the dry salts are places like GLG or Nilogc.

http://greenleafaquariums.com/aquarium-fertilizer.html

http://nilocg.com/dry-fertilizer/packages/



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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-15-2018, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Grobbins48 View Post
That is exactly what they are. Your macros which are NPK, and then trace elements, or micros as they are known. There are many methods to add these to your tank. This website is an amazing resource for information and learning, created my one of the forum members.

https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/...hy-bother.html

You can purchase the dry salts are places like GLG or Nilogc.

Aquarium Plant Fertilizer | Green Leaf Aquariums

Dry Fertilizer - Fertilizer Packages - NilocG Aquatics



Thanx for the reply and for the website! I learned a lot from it. I'll definitely try my hand with dry ferts. I will have to buy them locally though, since I am from India.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-17-2018, 06:34 AM Thread Starter
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Update: Added DIY root tabs and a few Amazon Swords to the tank to test the tabs. Will wait a week before ordering more plants for the setup. The wood is still leaching things, and is a bit unsightly, but it'll go away, wood always does this. Right now the tank has:
5-6x Echinodorus Amazonicus

2x Valisneria Spiralis

Added 5x Root tabs near the plants too.

Few Pics:





And the Root tabs:



Query: Ive read in several places to not plant the "bulb" of the E. Amazonicus. However, the plants I got have very small roots, and there is no way they'll stay anchored if the base of the leaves are not under the sand. How should I plant them then?
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-01-2018, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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So diatoms have taken over the tank completely!

Plants are growing, growth is slow, I expected more after 10 days of planting. Almost all Amazons are throwing new leaves and valisneria seems to have sprouted a few runners.

However, DIATOMS!! The entire sand has turned an ugly brown! Manual removal is impossible due to the sheer volume. Im gonna try and reduce the photoperiod to see what happens but I've read diatoms are quite resilient. Maybe if I add a lot more plants they'll out compete the menace.

Any tips? The water in my area is high in GH, however I've not run a test recently to point to any numbers. Evaporation always seems to leave scales.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-02-2018, 04:32 PM
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Diatom blooms are relatively common in new-ish tanks.
They are feeding on free silicates..
Normally just wait them out w/ as much cleaning as possible (to avoid recycling silicates)

Your hard water is probably mostly magnesium and or calcium.

If so, then that isn't the issue, and neither is the light in general..

Likely source is the sand itself.


bit on the chemical cleaning:
https://www.reefs.org/forums/topic13901.html

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."

Last edited by jeffkrol; 07-02-2018 at 04:37 PM. Reason: edit
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 06:14 AM Thread Starter
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Yea I knew diatoms are a staple in new tanks. However, I've never done a tank this size so the sheer volume of the diatoms is a bit unnerving. Do plants absorb silicates too? Meaning, can a large enough biomass of plants starve diatoms of their sillicate supply?
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 07:12 AM
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Plants won't do much for the diatoms. They'll probably get covered with it too starting out. But that will go away quickly once things are established. Snails, Amano shrimp, etc., other cleaners will knock it out in no time. What more plants will help with is keeping other algae in check which likely will be the next thing to start to appear. Best to stock plants as heavy as you can up front on a low-tech tank I think vs a little over time. Even if it's stuff that you don't necessarily plan to keep long term, some fast growing plants will help keep things in check getting started. Also probably want to limit how much light you're putting into it until you figure out the balance. Much easier to start slower and adjust as you go vs blasting it and creating a mess and then having to recover.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 11:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thanx!

I will ad a lot more plants now. I dont wanna introduce snails deliberately. And the only shrimps in my town are bamboo and cherry. Would bamboo shrimp consume diatoms?
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 03:32 PM
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Amano shrimp are available via internet order, and they ship well. Cherry shrimp won’t knock out the diatoms like amanos. Bamboo shrimp are filter feeders and they won’t go after it either. I’d suggest going with Mike A’s advice above, and source some amanos. They’re good for long term, fascinating to watch, ready for a community setup, and won’t make babies. Give them some home to molt in, and hide when needed. Enjoy!


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I can only grow plants when they're completely under water. Everything else is doomed.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-06-2019, 08:32 AM Thread Starter
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Update!

Happy New Year folks!

It has been fascinating watching the tank evolve. I added livestock in November. First ones to go in were red eye tetras. Then came in a few Serpae Tetras and Cherry barbs, added the three Rathbuni Tetras from my 7G to the tank too, 4 painted(dyed) glass tetras,a few swordtails and most recently Kuhli Loaches.

Current livestock is:
  • 20x Red Eye Tetras
  • 12x Serpae Tetras
  • 5x Cherry Barbs (added 6, lost one)
  • 4x Glass Tetras (P. ranga )
  • 4x Sword tails
  • 1x Rathbuni Tetra [added 3 lost two day one of adding them]
  • 4x Kuhli Loach

All these fishes were added gradually over a period of 2 months. I really dislike the trend of "painting" fishes by injecting dyestuff into their systems, and Ive made it pretty clear to my LFS several times. However, seeing as though there is always a demand for these fishes, he isn't gonna stop bringing more, and this practice isnt gonna stop. I wanted to get glass catfish, so I was interested in the P. ranga for a long time. So I thought maybe I'll just get a few painted individuals and hope their dye fades soon and they turn back to their natural self.

The various plants that finally made it to my tank are:
  • Cryptocoryne pontederiifolia
  • Echinodorus argentinensis - medium
  • Echinodorus parviflorus
  • Sagittaria subulata
  • Echinodorus grisebachii
  • Hygrophilla corymbosa “ Compacta”
  • Limnobium laevigatum
  • Cryptocoryne wendtii
  • Cryptocoryne spiralis - Red
  • Microsorum pteropus "Wrinkled Leaf" on SS pad
  • Anubias barteri 'Coin Leaf' -Pot


The other event was the battle with cloudy water!
The tank had turned almost opaque with the cloudy water, first it was a bacterial bloom, then green water, then it was simply cloudy for some god forsaken reason.

Here is a picture of the tank in October, shortly after planting.


As you can see, the water was already a bit cloudy, but it was okayish.


The floaters quickly dropped long roots. These ended us being a good source of snacks for the fishes later on.


The first pioneers to swim in this setup. Water is still cloudy and getting worse everyday. All my parameters were normal.


The tank was at its worse during this time. This pic is from 14th November, and the tank stayed the same way till the end of December.

I tried various things, total blackouts for days on end, reduced photoperiod to just 6 hours a day, daily 20% water changes, weekly 80% water changes, added "aquaclear" which supposedly removes cloudiness, but nothing worked. The tank was still cloudy. The only difference was that instead of green water, the water was now milky white. After scratching my head a lot, I had an idea about raising the temperature. I've seen plants absolutely go wild in warmer waters (35C and up), so much that even algae cant keep up. However, 35C is way too hot for a tank with livestock, so I raised it to what I felt was the highest fishes could handle, and kept it at 28C. And in just 3 days, this was how the tank looked:



You can see the stark difference within just 3 days in this image:


I wanted to share this picture of one of the male cherry barbs, its super saturated but looks cool


Here's a small gif I made, 5 minutes in the tank condensed into 15 seconds.


I've deviated quite a bit from my initial plan but I went with what I like and I am happy with the tank as of now. Now the only thing that the tank needs are a few larger fish. I was thinking of adding rainbows as soon as they are available, bosemani for sure, along with a few red rainbows. How many can this tank hold?

Another challenge that I am planning on undertaking is keeping discuss in this tank. I am planning on getting 4 semi-adults. I've read a lot and it looks like todays breeds are quite a lot tolerant to aquarium conditions and foods as compared to the wild caught ones and I feel it maybe possible for me to keep a few in this tank. Addition of larger fishes will also make the smaller fishes school tighter which would make the tank look even better. Fingers crossed!
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