155 Bowfront High Tech - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 03:07 AM Thread Starter
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155 Bowfront High Tech





Here is a journal of my 155-gallon bowfront tank, inspired by Burr740's tanks with black diamond blasting sand. I love Dutch setups, but I'm not necessarily trying to accomplish that now. Once I see how everything grows, I can tighten up the groupings and maybe add some streets. I'd like to get a round bush of the Rotala Indica, for example. I'm seeing tons of plants used in other tanks that I have never heard of before, so it will be nice to try those at some point. I think I have enough variety for now. I don't want to have groupings so tight that I have massive lower leaf shedding or stem melting.

I re-did the tank six weeks ago after making a mess with MTS under fluorite substrate. I uprooted some broadleaf sag and crypts, and just couldn't keep the tank clean after that. I couldn't get the plants and hardscape clean. I also had the MTS go anaerobic, but didn't realize the extent of it until I ripped it all out. It smelled awful. Plants grew great at first, but then tapered off. I guess it was the H2S! So, after seeing Burr's tanks with BDBS, I wanted something like that - clean and versatile, since I sell plants often and want the flexibility to move things around. I've also been following the dosing strategies of Burr, Fablau and Pikez on the Barr Report forums, with EI level macros and very low trace doses. I struggled for years trying to grow Alternanthera Reineckii (you can look for my old posts if you are so inclined), trying different flow patterns, high CO2, various light intensities, low nitrates, full EI and none of them worked until I reduced CSM+B trace dosing. I've never grown as nice plants as I have since lowering traces. Dennis Wong even used my old, awful, struggling AR photos in his Youtube video on the plant, showing how not to grow it! And this is after I had tried for quite some time! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HHr2SPsoxg

Tank Details:

155 gallons, 72" x 24" x 18", bowing to 24" in the middle

Lighting - BML Dutch XB in the back, with 90 degree spread; Single 72" T8 strip in middle, to allow extended viewing, and 48" T5HO twin tube on the bowfront. I run the BML at about 80% most of the time, with occasional periods at 100%.

Filters - two Rena XP3 - 12 years old and going strong

Substrate - Black Diamond Blasting Sand - 200 lbs, makes a robust 4" substrate, maybe 5" in the back. Modest root ferts with Osmocote pellets - most just plain Osmocote, then some with O+ for traces. I'm super wary of overdoing traces - I'm the guy who started that CSM+B Toxicity Experiment threat of 2015... I also put a Jobes stick under the swordplant.

CO2 - 24" long, 3" diameter PVC Griggs-style reactor filled with bioballs. Both filter outputs feed into it, which sends CO2 rich water out both outflow pipe. I restrict the outlets a bit, creating backpressure which helps with CO2 dissolution a little bit. The filters have a strong enough flow to blow some CO2 out the reactor.

Flow - super important with a big tank. I've experimented a lot, and found best result is a single whirlpool effect around the tank. Both inlets are back left, and outlets are back left and halfway across tank, pointing right. A powerhead helps push water back left to right, and another pushes water front right to left around the bowfront and back to filter inlets.

UV - Green machine UV sterilizer, and I have the outlet above the water line to add a little O2 with the splashing return from it.

Plants:
Broadleaf Sagittaria
Italian and Corkscrew Vals
Crypt Wendtii Brown
Anubias Nana and Hastifolia
Ludwigia Broadleaf
Ludwigia Glandulosa
Ludwigia Palustris (I think - very red at top)
Brazilian Moneywort
Java Fern on large wedge of driftwood - right side of tank
Alternanthera Reineckii (Cardinalis variety, I believe)
Crypt Balansae
Ammania Senegalensis
Rotala Indica
Ozelot Sword
Bacopa Caroliniana
Hygro Kompact (tiny sprigs right now, hoping to grow in)

Here is a close-up of the left side:

And the right side:

I used to have the large driftwood with Java Fern in the center right as a focal point, in the old MTS/fluorite setup:

But this time I wanted more real estate to just have different mixes of plants. The wood on the right creates a nice "ramp" of the java fern.

Here is a shot from setting up this tank in mid-February - most of the plants actually melted after the transition - either from cold shock or possibly chloramines - since I had the fish out I just filled up the tank quickly with cold tap water, then planted them. New plants from stores were OK, but the ones I took out of the MTS tank mostly melted and then grew back.


As for fish, simple mix of guppies and platys, a small school of Black Phantom Tetras, and I plan to have a big school of neon tetras and black phantoms now that the tank is stabilizing. I've done discus before, but just don't want to deal with the high cost and extra maintenance at this point.

Dosing:

3x per week - 5 ppm NO3, 5 ppm K, .75 ppm PO4, 0.015 ppm Fe from CSM+B, plus a little extra DPTA iron. Copying Burr's routine of low traces, more or less.

Last week I started seeing very tiny specks of cyanobacteria. I think that's because I went a week without dosing nitrates - my API kits always read sky high, so I took my water to a store for a second opinion. Unfortunately, they also used API and gave me a sky-high nitrate report. Now I'm back to the regular dosing. I also saw 1-2 spots of GSA today, so I may need to bump dosing a little bit. Lesson learned (again!) - watch the plants, not the test kits!

Last edited by aclaar877; 04-02-2017 at 03:54 AM. Reason: Fixing photo links
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 03:09 AM
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pics didn't work
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 03:12 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, sorry, working on that now.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 03:17 AM
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Clicked on your flickr link, tank you can tell is inspired by burrs lol! looks beautiful though are you going for a dutch-ey theme like him? if so I would improve your streets. And im not complaining! just giving advice; when you take a picture of your tank, do it at night with all the lights out and no flash, just the tank light. Best pictures you will ever get like that
Edit:
If your having issues doing the pics (took me a while to) go ahead and go to www.tinypic.com upload your image(s) and hit the "direct Link" button when finished, copy / paste that onto the little icon (when your editing your post or posting a new one) with the picture of a mountain, yellow background and a sun on it. Insert link there (direct link) and it should upload your image perfectly.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 03:25 AM
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155 Bowfront High Tech

Sounds like a great setup. Interested to see results with less trace dosing.


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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 03:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aclaar877 View Post
I've also been following the dosing strategies of Burr, Fablau and Pikez on the Barr Report forums, with EI level macros and very low trace doses. I struggled for years trying to grow Alternanthera Reineckii (you can look for my old posts if you are so inclined), trying different flow patterns, high CO2, various light intensities, low nitrates, full EI and none of them worked until I reduced CSM+B trace dosing. I've never grown as nice plants as I have since lowering traces.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 03:57 AM
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When you say you will be dosing very low micros how low? Like half what EI says?

Nevermind. Read your exact doses. Sorry


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Last edited by clownplanted; 04-02-2017 at 04:53 AM. Reason: edit
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-04-2017, 02:43 AM
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Thank you Andy for posting your journal! I am glad to know that by reducing micros your plants got better... Are your AR back to good shape now?
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-05-2017, 12:12 AM
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FWIW - playing limbo with traces is still a new thing for me. So doing what Burr and I have been doing simply makes you part of a collective experiment. I think I can speak for Burr when I say that we don't REALLY know what we're doing, but it's going well so far. :-)

I've done 2X to 4X of EI before with poor results. That level literally scorched by Ammannia gracilis. Or at least that is what I think scorched it. For the last year or two, I've been at 10% to 20% of EI for traces. That's still a pretty generous level. I was growing pretty good AR at even half EI. But AR looks better at 10-20% of EI, with nice flat leaves. At higher trace levels, my AR would grow fast but the leaf margins were wavy.

AR Mini and AR Variegated are better subjects to play around with because both are more picky than regular AR.

A couple of pics of AR Mini in my current set up: Going Dutch with Aquasoil - Aquarium Plants - Barr Report
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Andy for posting your journal! I am glad to know that by reducing micros your plants got better... Are your AR back to good shape now?
Yes, really good shape. No stunting in any plants, good-sized leaves, and side shoots coming out.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 03:16 AM Thread Starter
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Update - 2 1/2 months after the tank re-do with BDBS. Low trace dosing is working just fine - A. Reineckii is growing great with mostly flat leaves. I see a big difference in growth rates compared to having MTS substrate. Moneywort and most other stem plants went bonkers at first in the MTS, and now are growing more slowly in the BDBS. Ludwigia Glandulosa is also noticeably slower in the BDBS too.

Only big issue I have had since starting this journal is an outbreak of BGA/cyanobacteria. It appeared on parts of the sand, even with good flow. I believe nitrates got too low - I started believing my API test kit, which always reads beet red on nitrates, and didn't dose any for a week. I have some old Chemiclean, did a treatment, and it's gone. I also resumed nitrates. Last week I saw more leaf shedding than normal, plus some old leaf yellowing, so I've upped the nitrate to 7.5 ppm per dose, up from 5. You can see some GDA on lower leaves in the photos, so I'm still fighting that, paying close attention to flow, CO2 and O2. I'm also overdue on a canister cleaning... I'm hoping that keeping consistent macros will help with the health of lower leaves and keep the GDA in check. Faster growth would help too, since I could top the stems more often...



The only plant that hints at curling/stunting is the Ammania Senegalensis. Sometimes it looks like its going to stunt, but then unwinds and keeps growing. I may move it from the front and let it grow tall in the back left corner. In that spot now is Moneywort and Ludwigia Palustris, which is recovering from a big trim, and is just now overtaking the AR in front of it. I feel like I need Moneywort there too, since it needs the filter intakes and heater to hold it up!





I checked out a local store that just started stocking plants, so I picked up Pogo Erectus. Had it a month now, and it is just now starting to grow. It had gotten some BGA on it before.



I also got new Kompact Hygro for up front - I had some nubs of it left over from the MTS version of the tank, but it melted and never recovered. It never even grew well in the MTS, which is strange. It's an easy plant for most people. We'll see if these take off.



I like the Anubias Hastifolia, but it is an algae magnet. I even have it in the front left corner, trying to get it as little light as possible. Maybe if the plants behind it get tall and shade it some, it will stay clearer of algae.

Other than that, the tank is doing great with the low trace dosing, following Burr's routine. I need to adjust the scape to the new growth rates observed in the BDBS, and maybe remove some of the AR, since I have two fairly big groups of it. But, when you struggle for years, and then finally grow a plant well, then its hard to get rid of it! I'm also hoping the Pogo Erectus fills in, and I'd love to be able to top the L Glandulosa and get a couple more stems from it. I have two now, but 4-5 would look much better in the center.
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Last edited by aclaar877; 05-04-2017 at 02:49 PM. Reason: Pics won't load
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 03:20 AM
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 06:01 AM
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Looking good Andy! Glad to know your AR are back I see the plant with the larger green leaves with some algae on it (it looks like GSA), is that right? As for the Anubias, in my own experience Anubias get algae like that not because of too much light, but because of too low or too high traces... That's been my own experience, but for you could be something else, but I don't think it is light, unless you really blast then with 150+ PAR... Any more plants showing those kind of algae?
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 02:49 PM Thread Starter
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Grrr...I swear they worked last night. But I have them fixed now.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 03:56 PM
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Grrr...I swear they worked last night. But I have them fixed now.
Yes saw and very amazing setup you have. Keep them coming
Because of setup's like yours and Burr I have setup a 20 Gallon Long with BDBS. The stuff is great.


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