29 Gal Semi-Dutch Attempt - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 49 (permalink) Old 09-09-2017, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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29 Gal Semi-Dutch Attempt

This is a journal for my first ever planted tank. I've been keeping fish for about 10 years but I've been itching to try a "high tech" tank.

Disclaimer: I'm doing this mostly to track my own progress, keep myself accountable for updates, and to get feedback from the community. I'm probably making a ton of mistakes and PLEASE let me know if you spot any red flags. Thanks


Plants

Bought all of them from AquariumPlants.com, and they arrived in wonderful condition (except for Rotala Macrandra - got crushed and is looking sorry). Used UPS Next Day Air. After three days I have yet to see a single snail so here's to hoping I lucked out.



And just so you know exactly what plants I have and where they're located:



1: Lloydiella golden (Lysimachia nummularia var. 'Aurea')
2: Java fern
3: Water wisteria
4: Anubias barteri var. nana 'narrow leaf'
5: Riccia fluitans (tied to terra cotta pot bottoms)
6: Ludwigia peruensis
7. Cabomba carolina (green)
8: Echinodorus parviflorus 'tropica'
9: Rotala macrandra
10: Bacopa australis

Fertilizers
I'm trying to go slow with the ferts - I'd prefer to avoid an algae bloom (hence the short photoperiod). So far, I have dosed:
One dose of Seachem Flourish Comprehensive
Half dose of Seachem Trace
20ppm of K (via dry K2SO4)

I know I'll probably have to add iron for the reds, so that'll be my next addition.

Lighting/CO2 Schedule
Both run for 6 hours a day, with the CO2 starting one hour before the lights turn on.
~3-4 bubbles per second

Substrate
Organic potting soil (1.5")
Standard play sand (1.5")

Tank has been cycling (fishless) for about a month. I do a 30% WC when the nitrates get past 20ppm. I know the nitrites are high, but I'm hoping to build up that bacterial colony some more.
Ammonia: 0
Nitrites: 1-2ppm
Nitrates: 10ppm
kH: 3-4
gH: 9
pH: 6.6 (with CO2). Have not checked pH without CO2 because I'm usually asleep/at work.
Temp: 78F


Tank Equipment:

Lighting
Finnex Fugeray Planted+ (30")
EDIT: Added an additional Finnex Ray2 (30")

Filter
Marineland Magniflow C160 Cannister (has carbon, probably changing that soon)

Circulation Pump
Hydor Koralia Nano 240

CO2 Reactor
Sera Flore Active 500 (connected to filter outlet hose)

CO2 System
Milwaukee CO2 Regulator (MA957)
with solenoid, needle valve, and bubble checker attached
I am aware this regulator is very cheap, but it's a temporary solution until I can get a nice dual stage regulator.


Thoughts

None of these plants are in their final places. I threw them into the tank without any plan in mind, all while realizing I ordered too many stems/species to fit in my tank.

Day 3 of lights and CO2, and the plants have improved a lot since I put them in. They're straightening out, heading toward the light, and I can see the tiny beginnings of new growth. No snails in sight (knock on wood). I have noticed that the plants aren't pearling, even at the end of the photoperiod. Am I doing something wrong? The drop checker is usually lime green so it can't be a CO2 problem, can it? The new growths are all very strong and very green.

I'm sort of regretting the driftwood, which has a slate glued to the bottom and prevents me from planting too closely to that. And I can't take it out or it's going to muck up my tank to no end.

In about a month I plan to add one (yes one) angelfish to be my moving centerpiece, along with maybe 5-6 otos and Amano shrimp if I can find them anywhere.

Open to helpful tips, suggestions, etc. Pretend like I'm a baby. Thanks for reading!
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Last edited by rasaccount; 09-16-2017 at 11:11 PM. Reason: Added new light: Finnex Ray2
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post #2 of 49 (permalink) Old 09-10-2017, 12:07 AM
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A couple things...

1. I agree that you might want to get a second light but I would get the 24/7 for the dimmer. Hate for you to find out after buying another light that it's just slightly more light than you wanted.
2. If you are worried about algae you might want to get some Excel or Metricide. I double dose everyday. Some see it as a crutch but I feel it gives you some wiggle room if things aren't perfectly balanced.
3. You mentioned that your plants are not in there finally spots. I have never used dirt but to my understanding if you uproot your plants the dirt will plume above your cap and get messy This can cause an ammonia spike.

Not a Dutch guy myself but overall I think your tank looks really promising. Definitely way better than my first planted tank.
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post #3 of 49 (permalink) Old 09-10-2017, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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Hmm...the dimmer makes sense but I can also use a higher output light and put a mesh/dimming material to achieve the same effect. I'm particularly worried about the cabomba and rotala. The cabomba is already withering a bit on the edges.

Do you feel that Excel helps with plant growth, or simply to keep algae at bay? I do have it on hand as a "just in case" solution.

I have heard similar things about dirt tank and my intention is to get the lighting adjusted within the week, see how the plants respond, and replant accordingly. Hopefully no dense root structures develop.

Thanks for the tips. I really appreciate them!
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post #4 of 49 (permalink) Old 09-10-2017, 12:52 AM
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I like the way you jumped right in with some good plant mass. It will increase your odds of success.

Very nice start, and looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.

With CO2, and a nice plant mass, I wouldn't be shy about dosing ferts. Those plants will appreciate it, and if they are happy it's the best way to keep algae away.
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post #5 of 49 (permalink) Old 09-10-2017, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
I like the way you jumped right in with some good plant mass. It will increase your odds of success.

Very nice start, and looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.

With CO2, and a nice plant mass, I wouldn't be shy about dosing ferts. Those plants will appreciate it, and if they are happy it's the best way to keep algae away.
I was also very impulsive when I picked out plants so that's why I have so many to start with

The ferts have actually been making a difference - the plants are starting to pearl (baby steps) and the wisteria stems have each grown at least two leaves in a few days. I'm probably adding a Finnex Ray2 in the back to keep up with the cabomba's needs, since it's withering more than I'm comfortable with.

Thanks for the input. I didn't realize not dosing ferts with a lot of light and CO2 could also cause algae. Good to keep in mind.
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post #6 of 49 (permalink) Old 09-10-2017, 01:06 PM
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Dimmer would look better than mesh. Tom Barr said somewhere in a post once something to to effect of that if co2 at 30ppm is a 10 and no co2 is a 0 than Excel is like a 3. So it gives a light bump to plant growth and a decent amount of algae control. A big bottle of Metricide from Amazon is like 20 to 30 bucks and last me basically until the bottle expires. Totally worth it imo unless you have plants that are sensitive to it.
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post #7 of 49 (permalink) Old 09-10-2017, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevendust111 View Post
Dimmer would look better than mesh. Tom Barr said somewhere in a post once something to to effect of that if co2 at 30ppm is a 10 and no co2 is a 0 than Excel is like a 3. So it gives a light bump to plant growth and a decent amount of algae control. A big bottle of Metricide from Amazon is like 20 to 30 bucks and last me basically until the bottle expires. Totally worth it imo unless you have plants that are sensitive to it.
That's a good point about the mesh. Might just end up with the 24/7 then.

And thanks for the tip about Metricide. That stuff is so cheap - will definitely be using it soon.
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post #8 of 49 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 01:12 AM Thread Starter
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29 Gal Semi-Dutch Attempt

Update (day 5 of growth):



Added a Finnex Ray2 in addition to the Fugeray Planted+, and my cabomba just exploded into pearls. It has also grown about 3" in as many days - I didn't know plants could grow that quickly.

Even more exciting is the fact that my rotala macrandra (back right) are showing beautiful dark red new growths, which gives me hope since they arrived almost dead.

The riccia on the terra cotta has started to pearl after nearly dying due to lack of light WOOO!

Can't wait to see what another week is going to bring! Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone
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Last edited by rasaccount; 09-16-2017 at 11:16 PM.
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post #9 of 49 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 02:41 AM
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Nice tank makes me wish I would have used capped dirt. I just started my first planted tank and yours looks amazing so far. Good looking setup.
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post #10 of 49 (permalink) Old 09-13-2017, 05:04 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by negen View Post
Nice tank makes me wish I would have used capped dirt. I just started my first planted tank and yours looks amazing so far. Good looking setup.


Thank you for the kind words! I spent a long time deciding on dirt vs fluorite/eco-complete etc. and I have to say the growth is just unbelievable. We'll see how I like it when I have to replant things, though. I've heard it gets messy once the roots are established.

Can you message me a pic/link of your tank? We noobies gotta stick together

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post #11 of 49 (permalink) Old 09-13-2017, 05:00 PM
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Even though I am not a big fan of terra cotta (or anything else man made) in aquariums, your tank looks great!
makes me wish i could use more CO2, lights and ferts in my crs tank, they are too sensitive though :P
i hardly have any pearling in my aquarium, my moss is somehow pearling though...
keep up the great work!

EDIT: oooh wait, i think you mean for the riccia to grow over the terra cotta so it's no longer in sight???
my bad ;P


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Last edited by giwan; 09-13-2017 at 06:55 PM. Reason: edit
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post #12 of 49 (permalink) Old 09-13-2017, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giwan View Post
Even though I am not a big fan of terra cotta (or anything else man made) in aquariums, your tank looks great!
makes me wish i could use more CO2, lights and ferts in my crs tank, they are too sensitive though :P
i hardly have any pearling in my aquarium, my moss is somehow pearling though...
keep up the great work!

EDIT: oooh wait, i think you mean for the riccia to grow over the terra cotta so it's no longer in sight???
my bad ;P


Yeah I definitely intend for the riccia to cover the pots (I'm not a fan of terra cotta either). I meant to tie them to rocks but I didn't have any at the moment so this is a temporary solution.

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Last edited by rasaccount; 09-13-2017 at 11:37 PM. Reason: .
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post #13 of 49 (permalink) Old 09-14-2017, 08:01 PM
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Yeah I definitely intend for the riccia to cover the pots (I'm not a fan of terra cotta either). I meant to tie them to rocks but I didn't have any at the moment so this is a temporary solution.
hahaha, good, I kind of misunderstood at first XD. Can't wait till it fills out ;P


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post #14 of 49 (permalink) Old 09-16-2017, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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29 Gal Semi-Dutch Attempt

Day 9 growth update: https://imgur.com/a/wojW6



The riccia wasn't doing so hot at the bottom of the tank so I tied them to the driftwood in a few places. They're showing way more new growth now.

The cabomba is at the top of the tank and I'll be trimming it either tonight.

I ripped out the lloydiella since it wasn't growing well crammed up against the front of the glass and I don't have much room. I think it helps keep the tank from looking too overgrown in the front.

I love the red leaves on the ludwigia peruensis (center) and the rotala macrandra. They're not growing as quickly as the cabomba, but once they get tall enough, they're going to look incredible. I think the ludwigia is my new favorite plant - the slender leaves add a really cool effect and I'm so glad I randomly decided to put it in the center.

Finally got a black background, which makes the hardware in the back harder to see. Very happy about that.

Sadly, I noticed a few small snails for the first time. I guess my luck ran out but whatever. I won't be getting any fish until ~a month from now, and my patience is wearing thin. Hopefully by the time I get fish, the tank will have grown out a little more.
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Last edited by rasaccount; 09-16-2017 at 10:59 PM. Reason: Edit
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post #15 of 49 (permalink) Old 09-23-2017, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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I've noticed the riccia I tied to the driftwood is developing a white filament-like growth on the dying parts of the leaves, but only for certain portions. Should I be worried about this?

The other parts are doing just fine:



For reference, the problematic portion is in the center part of the driftwood:



I've only recently noticed it. The difference between the center clump and the clumps to the right and left are that the center clump was a concentrated bunch of plants. My theory is that the plants in the middle of that clump are now dying and that white stuff is the fungus feeding on it. Whereas the other portions were tied on with just tiny pieces of riccia and all the parts of those plants are getting enough light.

If you can't love yourself, how in the hell are you gon' love somebody else? Can I get an amen?
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