75 gallon "Iwagumi" - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 04:02 AM Thread Starter
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75 gallon "Iwagumi"

Hey everyone,

Over the past few months I have been pouring over images and details of planted tanks on here, FB and IG. After lots of thought I have decided to take a leap and try my hand at a high tech "Iwagumi." I have put Iwagumi in quotes because I'm not sure what I will accomplish will do the style justice... we'll see.

I've kept fish pretty much my whole life including planted and reef. Took a bunch of time off from complex tanks during school (a 12 year process...), so I had lots of catching up to do!

I've got a Finnex Ray 2 coming this week and ordered up a complete CO2 system from Green Leaf Aquatics. Tank is filtered by a big Eheim unit that I don't remember the model of off the top of my head.

Stones are Basalt and substrate is 1/4" diameter crushed granite. I will be adding a layer of laterite, and another inch of crushed granite to cap it off. The crushed granite locks together well and I am hoping it holds the slope. I'm curious to hear people's thoughts on some other type of substrate fertilizer I should consider adding before capping off the substrate.

I am planning to use only DHG 'belem' purchased through a fellow member on the board. I am planning a dry start until the carpet is thick and full. I'm buying a ton of the stuff, so hopefully I can stay patient enough to allow it to grow the way it should before flooding. I know it's a heavy root feeder, so again, I'd be happy to hear people's thoughts on the substrate. I'm hoping the bright green DHG against the dark stones and dark background will look good.

Anyways, that's probably enough to get started for now. I'm wide open to suggestions on the layout, the equipment and especially the substrate.

Here's some pics. The tank is recycled (couldn't talk my wife into a fancy low iron rimless... yet) so there are some scratches.

Thanks,
--Steve
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 05:24 AM
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75 gallon "Iwagumi"

Very nice scape. Since your substrate is inert you could probably stick some root tabs (Osmocote + etc.) in there. Don't put too much though it cause Ammonia spikes.
Never used your substrate combination or seen it much before so can't comment on how well it will go. But with just DHG you should be fine.
Also, if you dose the water column sufficiently, substrate nutrients become less of an issue.
One nitpick about the scape though, there is a stone with a completely flat edge exposed on the left side. Do you think you could hide it or change it for something else?

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 06:44 AM
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That's gorgeous! I don't think I've ever seen such a large Iwagumi, or at least not the build process. Excited to see more! Agreed about the root tabs, too. Osmocote works wonders.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 02:13 PM
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That looks good. Personally I would remove the flat-topped (foremost) rock on the left. I find the top of it distracting. You could probably get away with nothing in it's place or a smaller more 'regular' looking stone.

Iwagumi setups aren't the easiest to start up since there isn't usually a lot of plant mass to uptake the organics in the water column. They'll if your doing DSM they'll also be a transition phase once you flood it were the plants might not uptake that much as they adjust and algae can easily step in.

Extremely important to have a short light duration and religiously change your water to keep organics low. If your going high-tech with co2 you need to dose the water column whether you use root tabs or not. With a 75g I would definitely dose dry ferts.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the kind words. It's funny, I actually liked that flat rock on the left... it looks like is fractured away from the main stone. I'm debating what to do with it for now. I dream that maybe one day a pair of dwarf rams would lay eggs there.

With the dry start method, is there any benefits or disadvantages to running the lights 24 hours a day? Also, I should be able to fill the tank with CO2. Should I fill it and leave it? Purge every few days? It shouldn't have to run 24/7 as eventually it would just fill the tank with pure CO2 and spill out into the house. Be interested to hear others' thoughts and experiences.

I am thinking Boraras Maculatas (30-40), a group of otos, and plain amano shrimp for the tank.

Thanks!
--Steve
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by tous0026 View Post
Thanks everyone for the kind words. It's funny, I actually liked that flat rock on the left... it looks like is fractured away from the main stone. I'm debating what to do with it for now. I dream that maybe one day a pair of dwarf rams would lay eggs there.

With the dry start method, is there any benefits or disadvantages to running the lights 24 hours a day? Also, I should be able to fill the tank with CO2. Should I fill it and leave it? Purge every few days? It shouldn't have to run 24/7 as eventually it would just fill the tank with pure CO2 and spill out into the house. Be interested to hear others' thoughts and experiences.

I am thinking Boraras Maculatas (30-40), a group of otos, and plain amano shrimp for the tank.

Thanks!
--Steve

This issue with the flatness is that it is a bit unnatural and not quite something you would see in nature.
I personally wouldn't run it 24 hours a day. 12 is what I would go up to, but 8 and around here is also fine.
Do you mean fill with CO2 during the dry start? To be honest you won't need to do that. The atmospheric CO2 will be enough as long as you allow for gas exchange, by opening the lid/film, or having a little corner open. To be honest I don't know what would be the best way to do it because I've never done a dry start before. Since your substrate is inert, I would also consider using some foliar fertiliser during the dry start.
That stock sounds good, I would recommend getting a big group (15~) of Otos because you have the space to.


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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-26-2016, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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Finished planting in the dwarf hair grass today. I have 2 sources... the fancy tissue culture stuff sold as 'mini' (planted in the middle of the tank) and some taller stuff sold as 'belem' from @bartohog on the forum here planted along sides. Really wonderful stuff from him and he's been great to work with through some PayPal issues on my end.

As far as I can tell from reading, the two are the same plant to some/most people, so it will be interesting to see them side by side as they grow in and mature. I'm committed to a dry start method. Might try spraying some miracle grow on them to see what that does. I'm fine "rinsing" the tank many times if it helps get the growth coming on strong sooner.

Also, the finnex ray 2 came in, and all I can say is... wow! That really cranks out some light. I won't hesitate to buy a second if needed to get the growth I'm going for.

The first of the fish arrived today. They are currently residing in a quiet little blackwater quarantine tank while this grows in. They are 40 Boraras maculata. They came from Wetspot in Portland OR (via aquabid). Nice fish, great price, well packed, and fun to talk with on the phone. They are on my watch list for the otos I'll be needing. I'm not sure the maculatas will like the super high light in this tank.... so might be setting up another low-er light, moss and wood tank for them, sooner than I thought I might get a second going.

Anyways, here's a few hasty phone pics. I have a DSLR and will get that out at some point too...

@opare - I'm going to leave the rocks as is for now let's see how it grows in, and can always move it later.

Have a good weekend, everyone.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-21-2016, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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Just about a month into the start up, and really starting to see some new growth showing up as runners and new leaves. Here's a representative picture of what I'm seeing so far.

The tissue culture stuff feels like it is slower to adapt than the emmersed grown stuff I got from @bartohog. That said, the tissue culture stuff is growing, but seems to be more about setting new leaves (which are coming in longer) rather than setting runners at this point.

Really just spraying the tank every few days with water, and nothing else special. Might mix a little liquid fertilizer at some point.

I hoping the new growth accelerates in the next month or so. I am going to wait until the carpet is completely filled in before filling tank.

Enjoy

--Steve
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-21-2016, 04:41 PM
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Trimming the final product is gonna suck lol. Be prepared to spend hours trimming every once in a while.

Also don't be surprised if it takes many many months for the dry start to get where you want it to be. I dry started some DHG belem in MGOCPM capped with black diamond in a 2 gallon with 2x 12" planted + fixtures sitting like 8" above it and it took like 6 months for it to get nice and thick. All I did was spray it with water every few days.

+1 to everything houseofcards said. You will need to be religious about water changes / maintenance once you fill it. Very low nutrient uptake with DHG and if it gets algae it is VERY difficult to combat...

The final product will look awesome - you seldom see iwagumi's that large


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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-21-2016, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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@klibs - I picked up a set of these 'lawn mowers' from GLA while acquiring the rest of my stuff.

Actually looking forward to first trim. I figure it should be in January, which is around the time I usually start thinking about spring.

I definitely need to start doing more research on fertilizers for this tank. I just ordered up a RO unit, so plenty of fresh, clean water shouldn't be too difficult.

Thanks,
--Steve
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-21-2016, 06:02 PM
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Sounds you like you have all the right gear!

I used similar scissors when I had DHG in my 75g. Carpeted the entire front section of the tank. Took me a few hours at least to do a full trim. Very tedious and it got old pretty quickly. The worst part isn't the actual trimming itself - it's getting out the 1,000,000 tiny blades of grass off the surface of your tank. Just giving you a heads up of what you're in for!

Belem doesn't 'need' to be trimmed as it will stay low and only grow to a few inches tall. Trimming will promote healthier overall grass and give better results from what I have experienced. AND it will certainly look a LOT better after a fresh trim.

Generally speaking the more time you put into maintenance the better results you get in this hobby...

Also I would be concerned that the taller grass you have is not true belem variety. Looks awfully tall... I got my DHG from bartohog as well (he's the best) and I don't think it ever got that tall - it bent over fully at like 2" in height and never got taller than that. Trimming the taller leaves off will probably help the taller stuff spread more. May require some extra maintenance to keep things uniform once grown in (if that's what you want).


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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-23-2016, 12:46 AM
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Do you have anything supporting the bottom of the tank? I wanted to do this with a 75 in the past, but was afraid it was too much weight. I keep telling myself that reef people pile tons of rocks in these tanks all the time, but I still couldn't bring myself to do it.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-23-2016, 01:00 PM
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Do you have anything supporting the bottom of the tank? I wanted to do this with a 75 in the past, but was afraid it was too much weight. I keep telling myself that reef people pile tons of rocks in these tanks all the time, but I still couldn't bring myself to do it.
probably nothing to worry about

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-02-2017, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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Long time without an update on the tank. Things have been growing pretty well. Tank is currently inhabited by 11 tank bred F2 Rio Atabapo Altums from Germany.

The dry start method got really, really drawn out because life, as always, kept "getting in the way". The second photo is from only about 2 months ago, the day I flooded the tank.

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-02-2017, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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From the front.

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