LowCel's 55 gallon - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-07-2017, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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LowCel's 55 gallon

Hello all, new guy here. I've been a fish keeper for over fifteen years but I'm just now getting into plants. I've decided to use a 55 gallon aquarium as a learning project. The tank has been up and running for over fifteen years. It's had plants for eight days.

I'm currently using a Beamswork 6500K LED light and dosing Thrive. The substrate is pool filter sand. Filtration is a Rena XP3 and an Eheim 2213. I've ordered the goodies for CO2 and I plan to have it working this weekend.

Current plants include: (updated 12/13)
Java Fern
Amazon Sword
Moneywort
Dwarf Sagittaria
Italian Val
Banana Plant
Water Sprite - not doing very well

Current fish include:
Clown Loaches
Tiger Barbs
Neon Tetras


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Last edited by lowcel; 12-13-2017 at 02:40 PM. Reason: Added plants
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post #2 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-07-2017, 12:17 PM
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Excellent plant selection to start. You'll see great growth out of those and they will grow quickly minimizing algae from the adjustment period. Just be careful... plants can take you much further down the rabbit hole... there is always something new and beautiful to try...
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post #3 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-07-2017, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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Excellent plant selection to start. You'll see great growth out of those and they will grow quickly minimizing algae from the adjustment period. Just be careful... plants can take you much further down the rabbit hole... there is always something new and beautiful to try...
Thank you. I have an addictive personality so I get hooked on things way too fast. I'm already planning on converting two more of my tanks over to planted. They will stay low tech though. This is a big change for me since for the last ten years or so the only fish I've kept have been tank busters. This is already reminding me of when I had an SPS reef tank a few years back.

Now, back to shopping for a better light...
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post #4 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-07-2017, 12:30 PM
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Thank you. I have an addictive personality so I get hooked on things way too fast. I'm already planning on converting two more of my tanks over to planted. They will stay low tech though. This is a big change for me since for the last ten years or so the only fish I've kept have been tank busters. This is already reminding me of when I had an SPS reef tank a few years back.

Now, back to shopping for a better light...
That's the progression. I started with Oscars and big South American Cichlids. Got into the big tanganyikan cichlids and had a big group of Frontosa... then on to Africans... still have my 150 with Peacocks and Haps. They are all planted, but I haven't hooked up the C02 on the Hap / Peacock tank out of sheer laziness. If I could make one suggestion... get a regulator with several needle valves so when you see the difference between high tech and low tech and decide you want C02 in ALL of your tanks you aren't forced to spend a ton more money on a new regulator or fiddle with the one you have. My only low tech tanks are by necessity due to trying to breed Gertrude Rainbows. I still may do a little C02 in that one anyway. C02 just makes it so much easier and more rewarding. You spend less on plants and the plants you buy live... one of the hardest aspects of low tech is the trial and error of what will survive. I spent lots of money on plants that withered and died.

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post #5 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-07-2017, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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That's the progression. I started with Oscars and big South American Cichlids. Got into the big tanganyikan cichlids and had a big group of Frontosa... then on to Africans... still have my 150 with Peacocks and Haps. They are all planted, but I haven't hooked up the C02 on the Hap / Peacock tank out of sheer laziness. If I could make one suggestion... get a regulator with several needle valves so when you see the difference between high tech and low tech and decide you want C02 in ALL of your tanks you aren't forced to spend a ton more money on a new regulator or fiddle with the one you have. My only low tech tanks are by necessity due to trying to breed Gertrude Rainbows. I still may do a little C02 in that one anyway. C02 just makes it so much easier and more rewarding. You spend less on plants and the plants you buy live... one of the hardest aspects of low tech is the trial and error of what will survive. I spent lots of money on plants that withered and died.
Good advice on the regulator. I'm fine with a single valve on this tank though. This tank is in my living room and is the only one in there. My "fish room" has a 300, a 210, a 75, a 40, a 29, and a pair of 20's. Currently the 300 is a red devil tank. I moved a 15" dovii out of it this past weekend. The 210 holds a pair of Umbees, the 75 holds a single male red devil, and the 40 holds a single female Umbee. The other tanks are now empty due to moving the red devil grow outs to the 300. I'm going to add some plants to the 29 this weekend. One of the 20's I'm changing the substrate to Flourite just so I can see how that grows plants compared to pool filter sand. The other 20 I'm leaving with pool filter sand so I can get a fair comparison.

Once I see how things are going I'll most likely add CO2 to the fish room.
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post #6 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-07-2017, 01:31 PM
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Good advice on the regulator. I'm fine with a single valve on this tank though. This tank is in my living room and is the only one in there. My "fish room" has a 300, a 210, a 75, a 40, a 29, and a pair of 20's. Currently the 300 is a red devil tank. I moved a 15" dovii out of it this past weekend. The 210 holds a pair of Umbees, the 75 holds a single male red devil, and the 40 holds a single female Umbee. The other tanks are now empty due to moving the red devil grow outs to the 300. I'm going to add some plants to the 29 this weekend. One of the 20's I'm changing the substrate to Flourite just so I can see how that grows plants compared to pool filter sand. The other 20 I'm leaving with pool filter sand so I can get a fair comparison.

Once I see how things are going I'll most likely add CO2 to the fish room.
Oh I never got that big... that's real tank busters... my biggest to this point is the 150. I ordered a 265 and stand and canopy last week. Should be here this week, but it will be months before it is set up. I need to figure out sump details and break down and move the 150... and figure out where and if I can setup the 150 elsewhere or if I need to rehome the Africans. Our home in FL where we live now is only about 1600 sq feet. Our home in TN being built is almost 5000 not including the basement. The 265 will be in the great room and I'll have the 150 and at least a couple other large tanks in my office built in. The 265 will be a Rainbow tank with big groups of tetras and dwarf cichlids and heavily planted. Growing out that plant mass alone is imposing. Not to put any ideas I to your head, but I've seen some planted 300's in YouTube and they are look incredible.

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post #7 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-07-2017, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Oh I never got that big... that's real tank busters... my biggest to this point is the 150. I ordered a 265 and stand and canopy last week. Should be here this week, but it will be months before it is set up. I need to figure out sump details and break down and move the 150... and figure out where and if I can setup the 150 elsewhere or if I need to rehome the Africans. Our home in FL where we live now is only about 1600 sq feet. Our home in TN being built is almost 5000 not including the basement. The 265 will be in the great room and I'll have the 150 and at least a couple other large tanks in my office built in. The 265 will be a Rainbow tank with big groups of tetras and dwarf cichlids and heavily planted. Growing out that plant mass alone is imposing. Not to put any ideas I to your head, but I've seen some planted 300's in YouTube and they are look incredible.
Wow, 5,000 sq ft is a big house! Our house is 2,500 and I've considered downsizing. I think I'll hold off on planting the 300 for a while. I'm really looking forward to watching the Red Devil's grow up and reproduce. They have always been one of my favorite fish. I am planning on upgrading the living room tank to either a 90 or a 120 though. Hopefully the wife doesn't notice.
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post #8 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-10-2017, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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LowCel's 55 gallon

Time for a quick update. I added a few more plants and CO2 yesterday. I'm still dosing with Thrive and I did a 50% water change today.



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post #9 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-10-2017, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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LowCel's 55 gallon

Day 1

Day 7

Day11
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post #10 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-11-2017, 01:22 AM
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Are you planning to add more fauna? How many Neons do you have in there? I've been trying to build a big school, but it's been tedious. I originally started with Cardinals, but at 3 times the cost it was just too painful. I had better luck with Rummynose so I'm going to add to those as well. Wait until you get into the moss thing... that's pretty addicting.

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post #11 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-11-2017, 01:26 AM Thread Starter
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Are you planning to add more fauna? How many Neons do you have in there? I've been trying to build a big school, but it's been tedious. I originally started with Cardinals, but at 3 times the cost it was just too painful. I had better luck with Rummynose so I'm going to add to those as well. Wait until you get into the moss thing... that's pretty addicting.
I started with a dozen neons, I'm down to four. Obviously they haven't done well in my tank. This is the first time I've had a problem keeping a fish for years. I discovered ich in my tank yesterday so I'm going to take care of that then decide what I want to go with.
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post #12 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-11-2017, 01:49 PM
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Start using dry fertz now that you have CO2. Check out EI dosing. You can buy a 5 year supply for like $25.

If you want more plant growth, you can add another light bar once the CO2 and EI are going.
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post #13 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-11-2017, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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Start using dry fertz now that you have CO2. Check out EI dosing. You can buy a 5 year supply for like $25.

If you want more plant growth, you can add another light bar once the CO2 and EI are going.
Thanks, I'll look in to the dry fertz. I was planning on getting a gallon of Thrive+. One gallon would last me almost three years and it can't get much simpler.

I plan on upgrading the light to a Fluval in the near future. I'll keep the current light on there as well.
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post #14 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-11-2017, 04:34 PM
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I started with a dozen neons, I'm down to four. Obviously they haven't done well in my tank. This is the first time I've had a problem keeping a fish for years. I discovered ich in my tank yesterday so I'm going to take care of that then decide what I want to go with.
I doubt it's you. I had one bad batch out 8-10 which not only died, but took at least 15 Neons Cardinals and Rummynose with them. Other than that I expect to lose no less than 20%. Out of 35 Cardinals I have 10. Out of 70 Neons I've got 25. Out of 20 Rummynose I have 10... I had a Gertrude jump out of the tank yesterday, but other than mishaps like that I NEVER lose fish. Neons, cardinals, Oto's and to a lesser degree Rummynose are just super delicate and fragile. Now that I have 35 Neon / Cardinals I can tell you it's worth it. They look awesome. Still going add another 30 or so and 10-15 Rummynose. Just have to accept that there will be losses. I only buy the Neons from 1 LFS at $1 each. Most other places they are twice that much.. and they all come from the same place.

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post #15 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-11-2017, 05:30 PM
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Thanks, I'll look in to the dry fertz. I was planning on getting a gallon of Thrive+. One gallon would last me almost three years and it can't get much simpler.

I plan on upgrading the light to a Fluval in the near future. I'll keep the current light on there as well.
Might I just add a bit of caution? You seem like youíve done a lot of homework already, so I apologize if you already thought this through, but you should reconsider adding a second light until you are confident that you NEED it. Too much light will cause way more problems than not enough lightÖ

Think of it like a car. The amount of light you add is the equivalent of pressing the gas pedal. Your car will go faster if you press the gas pedal further, but if the tires and brakes arenít up to the challenge, youíre going to crash. Itís the same for a fish tank. The lights are going to push the growth (plants and algae) faster, but if your CO2 and Fertilizers arenít up for the challenge, your tank can crash hard with algae outbreaks.

Keeping the comparison going, itís easier to learn to drive slow in a parking lot than jumping right on the highway. With lower lights, CO2, and Ferts, youíll have time to evaluate any changes you make, notice deficiencies, spot treat algae problems, etc. Once you start cranking the light up, youíre riding a razorís edge between beautiful high tech masterpiece and hideous beast that you want to keep hidden from all onlookers.

Just my $.02Ö
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