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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-16-2010, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Welcome to the jungle! 55 gallon community ~ med tech

Most current pic, taken 4/7/11




3/23/11






1/11/11



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This tank is about 3 years old. It was the first tank that I set up for growing plants. I had planted tanks before, but they were only low light setups (both with Eclipse hoods). This tank was doing well, and I had plants doing fairly well, but it got pretty neglected as I had 2 babies in 2 years. Now my baby is 14 months old, and I have slightly more time to take care of it. I am trying to figure out how to improve conditions for plant growth (and fish health along with it), and improve the design and appearance, without spending much money.


Standard 55 gallon tank
2x55 watt AHS supply lighting
Eheim 2217 canister filter and an old HOT Magnum filter
gravel with flourite mixed in back half
DIY CO2 (Just started this week.)

I have very hard tap water with high PH. My ph is abot 8.5. I cut it in half with RO water, which makes the water a bit softer, but doesn't help ph much

GH 150ppm
KH 300 ppm
PH 8.2

I think my water is a big reason why I can only seem to grow the hardiest of plants.

plants
Lots of Java ferns
Vals
a couple different crypts
floating plant (not duckweed, it's bigger and redish)
one very small and sad amazon sword

fish
1 SAE
1 clown pleco
1 cardinal tetra

(Had some sort of bacteria or fungus about 6 months ago that wiped out everyone else.)
My plants started going downhill about that time too. I haven't been adding ferts, so it could be from being so understocked.


Here is the tank a few months after I set it up.


And this is when it looked the best, about 1.5 years ago.


And this is from last night.

Do bulbs get yellow with age? These are over a year old, and I remember them looking very nice when I first got them.

The vals used to grow like crazy, and the last few months they have been shrinking. All my corkscrews are gone now.
I did quit cutting my water with RO a couple months ago. I have read hard water and high ph is fine for fish as long as it is stable. I didn't realize it could be so hard on plants, and thought that might be contributing to the problem, so have started adding RO again.

As you can see from the progression, stem plants have never done well in my tank.


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Last edited by SleepyOwl; 04-09-2011 at 04:58 AM.
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-16-2010, 09:59 PM
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yes bulbs can get dull or change colors with age. Im have some older bulbs that went dim and got more yellow. Replacing them might be the jump your tank needs.
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-16-2010, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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Ha! I went searching for old pics of my tank, and my siggy has my fishy blog that I forgot about. I suppose I could update that one of these days. lol

My goals for this tank.

1. Figure out how to get better plant health/growth, without wandering too far into the world of high tech. I have 3 small children, so I don't have a lot of extra time or money, but I do so enjoy my aquariums, and want them healthy and looking nice.

2. it needs a new layout. I have let crypts just sit wherever they grow, and haven't added anything new in a long time. I am not happy with the driftwood the way it is anymore. I don't really want to add $$ to that now, but think I have enough in there to make something really nice. I have two great java fern covered pieces, I just have to find a better arrangement.

3. Find new plants that will add some contrast to the tank, and that will be happy with my water and lighting.

4. Add some more fish


Comments are welcome. If you have any ideas that might help me out, or any questions, please feel free to add.


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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-16-2010, 10:11 PM
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I have grown many amazing low tech tanks. You just need the right light spectrum, plants for medium/low light. Flourish and flourish excel. and water changes.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-16-2010, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Craig. I think I will order some new ones after Christmas. It sure looks better with new bulbs.


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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-16-2010, 10:22 PM
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Sure thing. Tank still looks good IMO
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-16-2010, 10:44 PM
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I think you're off to a good start!

My only opinion is to look for something to put in the middle of the tank. Currently it's kinda empty and detracts from the great work on the corners.

Just a medium-sized rock would fill it in nicely and help tie the sides together.

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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-16-2010, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EntoCraig View Post
I have grown many amazing low tech tanks. You just need the right light spectrum, plants for medium/low light. Flourish and flourish excel. and water changes.
Yes, I researched the heck out of lighting when I set it up. I got what so many people said I could grow almost anything except the pickiest of plants, and that they just might not grow as fast. I tried to balance it so I wouldn't need CO2 or Excel, and very little if any ferts. It worked for me for a long time, albiet I couldn't grow nearly as many varieties as I would have thought, even many medium plants don't do well. So now I just have to figure out what the problem is.

I added diy co2 a few days ago. I will add a second bottle next water change, so i can change one out every week. It might not be pressurized co2, but I am hoping it will help non the less.

Now I just have to learn about fertilizers, and how much to use, etc.


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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-16-2010, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klivian View Post
I think you're off to a good start!

My only opinion is to look for something to put in the middle of the tank. Currently it's kinda empty and detracts from the great work on the corners.

Just a medium-sized rock would fill it in nicely and help tie the sides together.
That is a good idea.
Part of why I want to change it is because it has been set up the same way for a long time, and I am ready for a change. So do you have any ideas on a new design with the items in there?


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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-16-2010, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SleepyOwl View Post
So do you have any ideas on a new design with the items in there?
Can you link to a higher res photo?

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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-17-2010, 01:19 AM Thread Starter
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Can you link to a higher res photo?
I will play with the camera settings and see if I can't get a better picture tonight, and I will upload a bigger pic too so you can see it better.


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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-18-2010, 05:51 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, so I ask for help, then I get impatient and just go ahead and try to do a make over. I am pretty pleased with how it turned out, especially since I used only what I had. Obviously it will look better as the java ferns grow back into place. It seems like it is still missing something though.

I took the back I had off, since it was paper and was falling apart. I bought a new background. I was going to try blue, but for some reason it really showed off the white water marks on the back. I knew I should have tried harder to get those off before I set up the tank. I actually kind of like the wall behind it though.

I also picked up some new fish today. 12 rummy nose tetras (and one extra unknown tetra that she threw in with them since I took all her rummies, and that had come with them) and a pair of Kribs



right side


left side (sorry, it turned out blurry)



Rummy nose tetras


I am thinking one or two types of stem plants might help out.


Any suggestions?


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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-18-2010, 05:54 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, and notice how much better the color is? New bulbs? No, just didn't use the scene/aquarium setting on my camera, and just opted for auto with the flash off. :P I didn't think the tank looked that yellow, but the pictures kept turning out yellow the other day.

Oh, and I just discovered the macro setting on my camera. Maybe I can get some good shots of fish (and close ups of my kids.) I will have to play with it.


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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-19-2010, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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I am trying to learn about fertilizers. I don't want to make it to get so complicated, but I would like a tank full of healthy plants, not just ones that are hanging on.

Tetras and Kribs are all doing well. I was a bit worried about the tetras, as the shop had them in R/O water with their discus. She said to just take a bit extra time adding water to the bag, and they would be fine. Their noses are all red, and they seem comfortable. Although they are hiding right now, or swimming in and out of their hiding spot, but not all around like they have been. Kids have been loud, so they might have just gotten spooked. (Tank is in my living room.)


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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-21-2010, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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Everyone is doing fine. The rummies came out later. Today they did the same hiding thing for an hour or so, at the same time of day. It is in the early afternoon, so maybe it is just because it is so bright in the room, and they get spooked? I don't know, they are playing with the currents right now.

My sae and kribs get in little squabbles, but they don't seem to hurt each other. I need to keep an eye on that.
I have wondered if my sae is actually a flying fox, but every site i can find that compares the two leads me to believe it is an sae. I got three of them when I bought them, and as soon as they got a bit bigger, one of them was so mean to the other two I had to take him out. The other two didn't fight, but one died, and now I am down to one. He does eat algae (along with anything I feed the rest) so i will just leave him as long as he doesn't hurt anyone.

I added a second bottle of diy Co2 today. I have to make another bubble counter though because my first one leaks. Maybe I should just buy one, they are cheap enough.


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55 gallon planted tank, high ph, java fern, medium light

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