Took the dive... - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Took the dive...

...Literally.

First off, I wanted to thank everyone on here. The wealth of knowledge on this site made this transition much less nerve racking, and a lot more exciting! I have had this 90 gallon kicking around for a few years now. I used to live in a second story condo, so I had reservations about having 800+ lbs. of rock and water above my neighbors. Call me considerate, lol.

So I built a terrarium, in an southern California transition valley type setup. Desert on one side of the valley, trees on the other. I even had a wash flowing through the center. Pretty common site out here. I had a native alligator lizard petty comfortable in this setup.

Then I moved! So it wasn't long until the aquarium itch came around again....
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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First step was to build a proper stand. Being a finish carpenter helped a bit. I used basic pine boards, with a wire wheel tool to give texture, followed by a black stain. Makes for a pretty cool charred look. Next, I sourced a pair of manzanita stumps from my local offroad spot. After trimming to fit and soaking for a couple of weeks, I was ready to start hardscaping.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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Here's where the fun begins. I purchased some gravel and small river stones to cap 4 bags of eco-complete. The rest of the rocks and stumps are all locally collected. I really wanted a natural, native look. So I let this cycle for a couple of weeks.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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Two days ago I received my first (and hopefully only, lol) plant order.

3 bunches of cabomba - green
3 bunches of cabomba - purple
2 four leaf clovers
2 cultured dwarf grass
2 flame moss
2 stringy moss

The initial plan was "strictly native" but the purple cabomba and the clovers were just too cool to pass up. So we'll call it "native inspired" lol.
I purchased these from aquariumplants, and was really happy with how lush and green everything was. After a rinse in some H2O2, I was ready to start planting.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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So here it is. I know tannins aren't going away anytime soon, but it does add some character. The cabomba has quite a bit of growing to do before I get the wall effect I'm going for. I can't wait for the dwarf grass and mosses to fill in a bit either, lol. The moss already covers the "joint" where the 2 stumps come together. It already looks like one stump! I threw some rosy red minnows and some nerite snails to help establish a bioload. Future plans are bluespotted sunfish, blackbanded sunfish, flagfish, bluefin killies, goldenear minnows, dwarf crayfish, and a madtom. All native species, so I'm not straying that far from the "strictly native" theme.

Some technical specs,
90 gallon tank (48"x 18"x 24")
Eheim Pro4+ 600 filter
Finnex planted+ 24/7 48" light
Finnex planted+ 48" light
Eco-complete black (4 bags)
dosing with flourish and flourish excel

I live in southern California, and our water is liquid rock. After playing with ratios however, I found that about 40/60 RO/tap water would give me a pretty balanced water.
KH - 4
GH - 9
PH - 7.6
EC/TDS - 200
My hopes are as the bioload increases, and as the plants consume some of the calcium/ magnesium, that the PH will drop a bit. Although I'm not too concerned, as most everything I have chosen to inhabit the tank should be able to handle a harder water. I hope to do water changes with a 25/75 RO/tap ratio.

Well, there it is. I hope to get a better camera soon, so I can get some quality shots once the water starts to clear and the tannins work themselves out. The excitement of all of this has been too much and so I just had to share. Thanks for looking!
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by black_beard View Post
I know tannins aren't going away anytime soon, but it does add some character.

dosing with flourish and flourish excel
Purigen by Seachem can eliminate the tannin in the water if you do not like it.
It is a very effective resin @ removing tannin and organics.

Granted at this time you have a very small plant load.
Flourish Comprehensive does not provide all that is needed, only micros.
Macro uptake is much greater than micro, an area you should investigate.

That chunk/stump of wood looks pretty awesome!


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Growing is not that difficult.

Last edited by Maryland Guppy; 10-29-2016 at 11:20 PM. Reason: forgot
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-30-2016, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
Purigen by Seachem can eliminate the tannin in the water if you do not like it.
It is a very effective resin @ removing tannin and organics.

Granted at this time you have a very small plant load.
Flourish Comprehensive does not provide all that is needed, only micros.
Macro uptake is much greater than micro, an area you should investigate.

That chunk/stump of wood looks pretty awesome!
Thanks!

I looked into using purigen and/or carbon and read that it will take much needed nutrients out as well. Am I wrong in this?

I was under the impression that flourish comprehensive was just that. Have people reported deficiencies? I was planning on supplementing a little bit of iron, mostly for the purple cabomba. Should I be supplementing N and K as well? I am not running CO2 as of now. Hoping to stay that way. Back to reading...
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-30-2016, 12:51 AM
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Purigen won't remove minerals, it's for organic wastes and such. I've always run it in my tanks with no adverse effects that I can see. Plus it can be regenerated, so you don't have to always buy new stuff when it gets used up. Carbon I would recommend staying away from as it will remove some nutrients from the water. The only times I ran carbon were maybe at the very, very beginning of tank setup just in case there were some detergents or residue leaching from any new equipment, and the other time would be if I dosed any medications and wanted to see they were removed (did this after using algaefix, for example). Otherwise it's not necessary to run carbon.

And you may need to be dosing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (often abbreviated NPK dosing), keep an eye on your plants and see if they're struggling or melting. You can check your nitrates first (basic test kits will have nitrate tests) and somewhat frequently at first until the tank is well-established to see how they're doing, as too much of those will kill your fish (any stress usually shows up with the fish not shauling properly or swimming at the surface of the water gasping). Phosphates aren't often that big of a deal unless you are overloaded with fish or lazy with water changes. And potassium is important as well (though not usually necessary to test for), but you should get that from your water changes.

You had a pretty awesome setup with the terrarium! This tank is definitely looking good as well. I really do like the stump! Though, if I may say so, I feel the small pieces sticking straight up on the left and far right look out of place. Maybe put them at more of an angle or even laid down sideways?

Keep up the good work! Oh and welcome to the forum and planted tanks!

Old tanks, all torn down:
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Hope to get a new tank (or two) up soon...
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-30-2016, 01:17 AM Thread Starter
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Purigen won't remove minerals, it's for organic wastes and such.
You beat me to it! Just read up on purigen. Also found out API stress coat doesn't mix with it long term. So I will be doing more shopping, and cleaning out a tray in the the new filter. As for supplements, I think I will use the root tabs I picked up the other day. Should get the ball rolling at least.

The smaller stumps are an attempt to replicate the sunken trees in a reservoir/lake with a fluctuating water level. I'm a big fisherman. Anybody who has done any bass fishing has seen these stumps before. they are exposed to air and dry rot in the summer months, then become submerged in the winter months and become prime bass hunting territory. I know, I know, it's not very "iwagumi" of me, lol, but when , the dwarf grass fills in, with a sunfish perched behind them waiting to ambush, it will all come together.

Thanks for the tips!
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-30-2016, 03:42 AM
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Ah ok, I understand. All that matters is you're happy with the scape. I think the root tabs will do just fine. And you always can find more things to buy, haha. Not an inexpensive hobby at all...

Old tanks, all torn down:
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Hope to get a new tank (or two) up soon...
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-15-2016, 05:44 AM Thread Starter
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Finally got around to an update.

Plants are thriving. Fish are happy. I even found some ghost shrimp at my LFS to help with the room service.

After almost three months of weekly %50 water changes, the tannins are still a major pain. Like a hot cup of Lipton, after only 7 days kind of pain.

So I decided to make a separate "purigen filter". I pulled the bag of purigen from my main filter, which was the color of coffee beans, bleached, and added 250ml more to the bag. I also bought a Eheim 2213, and stuffed my 750ml bag o purigen in there. I hooked everything up, and all I can say is wow. It is the clearest the water has been since I started this whole thing. I'm thinking of buying a second purigen bag. The idea is I would rather bleach a bag of purigen every week, then have to do 40 gallon weekly water changes. Just pop out the small filter, swap bags, and enjoy. I will try to update with the performance.

I was so stoked that I had sourced these awesome pieces of driftwood from my own neck of the woods. They were just too big to properly boil. I know it will eventually leach out, but seriously, what a pain in the a$$. This stump hasn't stumped me yet though...
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-15-2016, 02:08 PM
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I really like the tank and layout, especially the multiple sized gravel and rocks.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-15-2016, 03:31 PM
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I *really* like your tank. I think you nailed the natural look. Your fish and shrimp have to feel pretty secure in their habitat. Great job!
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-15-2016, 03:54 PM
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Great looking tank/layout and also a really good idea on running a separate purigen filter. In the long run it looks like it will definitely pay off. It seems like your plants are really happy. I realize the wood is a pain in the butt (tannins), but look on the bright side...at least it sinks .
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