Reginald2's 50 - The Final Update - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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Reginald2's 50 - The Final Update

I've had this odd tank floating around in storage for better than a decade. It has a little sump-type thing built into the back, that takes up a little more than its share of room. I think it may have been a forerunner for the more modern biocube/nanocube type of thing. I bought it at my very first job, due to a ridiculous sale, many many moons ago in a land far far away.

This is my third planted tank, preceded by a 20 gallon hex (my learning tank) and a jbj picotope that I've really enjoyed. This is also my first high-tech tank, but i hope to transition it to lower-ish-type tech on down the road.

I am fairly new to all of this, so this is mostly an experiment to see if I can get plants to grow in here. I believe I set up the tank right at the middle or end of January. Excuse the pictures, right now it is diatoming pretty hard. I don't think that I am terribly concerned about that as it is a new tank, and I'm hoping it is just a phase. I hope it isn't a flow problem, I think it is starting to die off, so I'm going to hold off my freak out for a few more weeks.

Tank: 50 gallon "System II" -actually probably closer to 40 gallons 36*15*20 (or so)
Filtration: see Tank
Lighting: 4*39 Nova Extreme 8 hours at 78 watts with a 2 hour 156 watt burst
CO2: 5lbs rocking 2-4bps (how do you count that fast?) -seems to keep the drop checker a happy shade of green-yellow
Fertz: EI for 20-40 gallon
Substrate: dirt capped with an eco complete/ red flourite mix (it sounded like it would look nicer than it did)

Plants:
Hygrophila difformis
Lilaeopsis brasiliensis
Pennywort
Echinodorus tenellus
Microsorum pteropus
Vesicularia dubyana
Vesicularia montagnei
Rotala Indica
Hemianthus micranthemoides
Cabomba carolina
Vallisneria spiralis
Hygrophilia corymbosa
Ludwigia repens

Fish:
Three black skirt tetras that have been with me for a while
three otocinclus
pond snails
I also ordered some cherry shrimp from ebay (they have yet to arrive)


First Disaster:
I had this genius plan to load this tank up with super fast and easy to grow plants, but all the plants I got were emmersed/super sad when they showed up. I just threw them in the tank anyway with the hopes that light and CO2 would help them out, but they got all melty and I ended up chopping the live parts and discarding the rest. The Hygrophilia corymbosa seemed to transition most oddly, it didn't really die or grow for the longest time but later followed suit. Because of all of this, I was only able to salvage anywhere from a quarter of an inch to three or four inches of any plant. I feel pretty fortunate that I havenít lost any species yet. The Hemianthus micranthemoides and Cabomba carolina are still pretty bad, and I am a little concerned for their long term health. But all the plants left over from my other aquarium blew up and grew all over the place.


Pictures:

These are a couple of shots that got taken right after I realized that most of the plants would live. This is a couple of weeks after the first disaster and all of the plants have an inch or so (except the camboba carolina a month later it doesn't quite have that much growth).



This is from yesterday 3/9/10. The Hygrophila difformis had completely filled the left side of the tank, the pennywort had to be groomed several times, and the Ludwigia repens had started to lean over his neighbors and produce shoots, which is probably why my Hemianthus micranthemoides is still really sad looking.


The Goal:
I would like this to be a learning tank. hopefully I can get stuff to grow, find plants I like, figure out how to groom them to look nice, and (in an ambitious moment) learn to take better pictures. Any tips, comments, critiques, recommendations, offers of manual labor, or dessert treats are very welcomed.


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Last edited by Reginald2; 03-14-2011 at 09:31 PM. Reason: title
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 06:01 PM
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It's looking good! If i had any tips/comments, it would be this... One of the things that makes a good tank look great is hiding the equipment. Some people take their equipment out when they take pics, while others just place the equipment in obscure locations. A prime example would be the thermometer. That could go in the back left or back right corner. You'd still be able to read it (assuming you can get to the sides of the tank), and there won't be a big red thing floating around the tank Also, if you take the pics at night, you won't get as much glare from the windows behind you I only saw the glare in one photo, so keep doing what you're doing! Otherwise, it's looking pretty awesome!
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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lol, thanks redfalconf35. I use the top of the thermometer as a fill to here indicator. I hadn't even noticed it until you mentioned it. I guess there is a "big red thing floating" in there. I'll have to move it next time I fill the tank up. Now, if I could figure out a place to hide that powerhead...

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-11-2010, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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This is after a major trim that took a week to get done (I had green water once, and I am a little over-cautious).

As this is a learning journal, a couple of thoughts thus far:

Ludwiga repens
I have moved the Ludwiga over behind the rock. It is really root-y. It is a beautiful plant, but the roots make it a little less so, since this is such a narrow tank it isn't really easy to hide.

Hemianthus micranthemoides
Having to move the Ludwiga is kind of good, because I was able to move the HM to a place where it could get a little more light. It is still a bit weedy, but I think this is because is was shaded under the Rotala Indica. This is one of the plants I was most excited about so I am hoping it gets nice and bushy.

Rotala indica
I tried to get easy plants and this one fits the bill perfectly. It is apparently idiot proof. It looks great, has neat coloration on the tips, and grows in a happy little poof.

Hygrophila difformis
I knew this would be a bear, but under shade it looks nice and doesn't overwhelm the tank too badly.

Echinodorus tenellus
This thing is a dang weed, in a month is was growing so thick that the roots of the newer plants were an inch or more above the substrate. That and it was all over the place. It got to be too think and I plucked out most of it earlier today. I was going to thin it out, but... it came out in a huge clump with runners across every direction of the tank. Maybe with a little more careful trimming...

Vallisneria spiralis
Another beautiful plant, looks great parked in the back corner. However, it doesn't seem content to stay in that corner and keeps trying to creep all over the tank (maybe I shouldn't have planted the E tenellus so close it is a bad influence). I had to trim it and just whacked the tops off. I hope this works out. Does anybody know if this was a good or bad idea?

Lilaeopsis brasiliensis
I cannot seem to keep the red algae off this one. It isn't the bushy bba from google searches, but seems to be the same stuff. It is like little spots or a thin film. I really don't seem to have any luck keeping it off this one.

In other news...
I am glad to report that I think I can grow plants underwater in my living room. I am also learning more about how they grow and hopefully how to start shaping them. The tanks has settled down after the obligatory brown and green algae outbursts. Now it is just spot algae and that red algae making sweet love to my microsword down by the fire.

I can't say that I remember where, but I read a thread where someone suggested using a metronome to count bubbles. I don't have a metronome, but I googled and found a flash version and my bubble rate seems to be about 132 bpm. I thought it was closer to 180, it is hard to count to three in one second. I wish I could give props to whoever had the idea, it was really clever. 132 bpm seems to be enough to give me pearling that looks like upside down misting, the wet/dry may have something to do with this though.

The Red Cherry Shrimp I found off ebay are happily trotting around making eggs and avoiding the occasional close encounter of the skirt tetra kind. The shrimp are pretty neat and I notice myself looking around my office for the perfect spot for a new tank a little more than I should be.

On a sad and related note, one of my cats decided to use my pico as a pool, or something. He was elbow deep in some attempt to reorganize the scape, or something. I don't think I have quite come up with a plan of action. So for now, I am down to just the one tank. I got a pretty good video of it and plan to upload it sooner or later, youtube wanted three hours of my time earlier. My asdl makes that long of an upload kind of precious, maybe later tonight or during the day tomorrow or Monday. I will try to post a link sooner or later.

This post seems too long, I guess I should try to update a little more often. Pardon the cloudiness, it is water change/equilibrium day and that stuff always clouds the water for a little while.

The pictures

A happy little shrimp


Cabomba (how to do you pronouce that?)


Rotala Indica I love this little guy


Moss alley I hope to make this a little more prominent, but it is hard to get much altitude. -you can see some of the red algae on the e tennelus, it is all over the microsword


The FTS:


A FTS with the auto settings


I also removed the powerhead... we should probably refer to that as an oops, but everything seems fine so far. There isn't a lot of water movement over in that corner, I'll kind of keep an eye on it.

Any comments, suggestions, or questions are very much appreciated.

Thanks,


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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-11-2010, 04:02 PM
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Hey, this model was my first modern age planted tank! I learned about overflows with it. Hated the lack of depth it had and broke out the filter bit in time. Dumb, but I did it. Put 6 regular fluorescent bulbs over it and the tank was stuffed with plants. No CO2 and irregular fertilizing but algae wasn't ever horrible. I was so happy, plants that grew!

Tank looks great.

I use stick on temperature gauges. How about putting one on the side at the level you want marked? I do the same thing, enough water is gone with the overflow this far out of the water.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-05-2010, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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Kathyy - Thanks, It is pretty narrow.

I've been feeling pretty meh about this tank. I don't really know why. I am just not really excited about it. I may end up tearing it down and redoing it, trying for more of a scape. My goals for this tank may have been too limited.

I've got staghorn or hair algae or something (are those different). I cut down the light and ripped a lot of it out, but it seems to have a foothold. I may end up resulting to excel. Does anyone have any sort of idea what I should do about it? I am pretty sure I had a little ammonia spike a couple of days before the CO2 ran out. My husbandry got a little lax when life ramped up

I would love to knock out the algae before tearing it down. I don't really have any ideas about a new scape. The tank is really narrow, probably only 10 inches. The outlet for the filter is right at substrate level so there can be no sloping of substrates. I'm still tossing ideas around, but as of now I don't really have any.

Here's the algae beast. This is right by part of the outlet of the filter. it isn't limited only to the outlet, but it seems to like it here more than the rest of the aquarium.


an fts


What I've learned:

I don't really care for dosing. Three times a week putting little spoonfuls of stuff in the aquarium apparently doesn't interest me at all. I don't really fully understand this. I generally look forward to changing the water and messing around in a tank, but I could live without dosing.

4*39 t5ho's will make the water look like it is boiling with CO2. While this is fun, it is a near ridiculous amount of light. Even an hour of this kind of light will glue HM and Rotala to the substrate.

Just growing plants isn't really all that exciting, there needs to be some form to the function to keep it fun and exciting. Watching plants grow into a mental picture (or screwing the pooch and doing something entirely different) is a big part of the fun.

Staghorn algae (or hair algae?) is persistent, doesn't seem like it needs to much light, and may well be in for the long haul.


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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-06-2010, 04:25 AM
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Nice tank.

38gal. Tetras Forest.

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10gal. Jungle Low Tech.

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10gal. Planted Aquarium, 38gal. Planted Aquarium.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-15-2010, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks nemo


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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-16-2010, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I dumped two teaspoons of Excel in the tank. That is about 2x's the initial loading dose for this tank. The hair algae turned bright red. Now it is a little pinkish/whitish. I am curious to see what happens next.

I've got my CO2 dialed down, and the lights dialed down, trying for a little lower tech. I've generally only got one light on, so there is no more pearling/bubbling.

This tank still looks wrong, but I haven't really been inspired.


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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-17-2010, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Two teaspoons of Excel wiped out all the stringy algae. I'm still not sure what kind it was. It's back again, and I'm thinking it may be a flow issue. It seems to grow best right by the outlet of the pump. I've cleared the area and re-added a power head to see if more flow is the way to go.

I guess my little experiment continues. I really haven't been inspired to put together much with this tank. I'm thinking of ordering some driftwood for a change. We'll see

I still have my little helper, who decided when there are too many floating plants and moves them to the floor.


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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-02-2010, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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So, I've had an idea in the back of my head for a little while. I don't think I've quite pulled it off, but I am hoping I am on the right track. (sorry I went picture crazy)

My inspiration: I saw these mountains some time ago and they made a big impression on me. A google of hausteca will find better pics.






My little attempt:




Granted, it's not as majestic. I'm hoping once some plants grow in and get trimmed it will look good. I'm trying a couple of plants in there to see what will look best. I'm hoping to trim the plants down close to rock level and end up with something that looks a little more uniform - we'll see.

A couple of FTS:




The rocks on the right... I'm not too sure they go but they serve a somewhat pragmatic purpose by blocking the filter outlet that blasts vals horizontally across the glass.

My cat finally trimmed all of my nice banana plant leaves off and the plant seems reluctant to send more leaves to the surface (I can't blame it). He also has a thing for the vals that reach the surface so that and some algae are why they're all a bit short now. On the plus side, one of the trimmed leaves has created a new banana plant. I think that I like the underwater leaves better anyway. The new banana plant is the one superman-ing around the tank. I haven't had the heart to clip it's wings and I want to see if the bananas get more banana-ie.

Oh and here is the Rotala that I need to trim, but keep putting off.


I feel a little happier about the tank, I've been wanting to try the Huasteca-ish mountains for a while and am excited to see it come in. I keep looking at 40b's, but I don't think I have the heart to move my fish again. This is their second tank, plus a few weeks in a ten during my move. They're all like 2 or so years old and I keep thinking of this as their retirement tank.

Any thoughts, comments, or suggestions are welcomed. Any body know of some floaters that are ok for cats to eat?


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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-04-2010, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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Does anyone know why ottos would be hiding? In my last tank they shot all over the place like happy 2 year olds. They pretty much just hang out by the vals in this one.


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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-04-2010, 09:32 PM
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Maybe due to to new scape, also, I like the new rock work, especially the one on the left, the one on the right is OK, but looks a little awkward. Would it still block the filter flow if you rotated it slightly? Plants look great btw, and that's a great picture of your cat, haha.


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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-05-2010, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VincentK View Post
Maybe due to to new scape, also, I like the new rock work, especially the one on the left, the one on the right is OK, but looks a little awkward. Would it still block the filter flow if you rotated it slightly? Plants look great btw, and that's a great picture of your cat, haha.

I tried moving one of the rocks a little. I'll see if I can snap a picture of it later. I agree it is a little out of place. Thanks for looking.

I also got around to stuffing the cracks of that rock with some HM. I hope it fills in and looks alright.


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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-05-2010, 02:50 PM
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I also had an issue with hair algae for a while. I ran a few experiments and it turned out for me High C02, lower lighting and half EI solved the problem.
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