Freshwater Reef (55 gallon build) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-26-2018, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Freshwater Reef (55 gallon build)

I have been keeping fish off and on (more on than off thankfully). I have kept both freshwater and saltwater tanks. Saltwater is amazing but much more expensive. Many freshwater (non planted) tanks are boring after a while. Since I am not working currently due to health issues I need to get the most bang for the buck. Welcome to Freshwater Reef! Those of us who have kept or are currently keeping reef tanks or even saltwater FOWLR tanks know how valuable recreating the ecosystem is. Most freshwater enthusiasts don't think in those terms. The thing is there are many creatures great and small in freshwater. Just like in salt there are crabs, lobsters, amphipods (think scuds) and copepods as well as other crustaceans. The plants are reminiscent of corals. There are clams/mussels, and snails as well as other molluscs. Ok there are no starfish but we freshwater people get frogs and newts! Right now I have a 55 gallon Metaframe tank I am in the process of restoring. So far so good. i will upload some pics tomorrow.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-27-2018, 12:54 AM
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Check this thread out;

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/88...ater-reef.html

"Not my circus, not my monkeys"
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-28-2018, 03:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you FH. Awesome thread. Sadly the metaframe tank is a no go, too costly to replace the panes that need to be replaced. The good news is that I may have a different 55 waiting for me ready to go. I have been researching creatures for this build also. I may be one of the few who finds planaria and other worms interesting. I really want to find some of the freshwater bristleworms mentioned in the thread you posted. Currently I have a 10 gallon tank with some guppies, a few ghost shrimp, and a couple varieties of plants. I have water wisteria, creeping charlie, and a sedge that I have yet to identify but it is a quick grower. In the week and a half I have had it there has been almost 8 inches of growth and several new babies. It has become emergent at this point and I am going to let it get as tall as I can. The other plants are doing well in there but boy can this sedge grow! Who needs co2 reactors when there are emergent plants?
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-31-2018, 06:25 AM Thread Starter
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Got my new to me 55 set up. I have about three inches of clay loam and sand mixed capped with rock. It is still cloudy but not as bad as when the soil went in yesterday. The water was so muddy I could not see an inch into the tank. I did a bunch of water changing and now the water looks a thick fog but I can actually see almost to the back of the tank. I planted a sedge in there tonight. I also have some creeping charlie in there. I will also get some water wisteria growing in there soon. The only animal life in the tank right now are some earthworms that hitched a ride in the soil I added. Eventually I want to get some truly aquatic worms. Bristleworms especially (at least it the rumors of freshwater bristleworms are true). That said the earthworms remind me of bristleworms in SW and they will keep the soil bed aerated. I do know that as long as the tank stays well oxygenated and the worms don't run out of food they can live as long as earthworms do out of water. Once the tank clears I will be checking for ammonia and nitrite spikes but since I used some established soil (from the bottom of a pond) with plain ol' soil from outside which has had compost added several times in the last few years the cycle should happen a bit faster than from scratch.

Last edited by N7QL; 03-31-2018 at 06:27 AM. Reason: Corrected last sentence.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-05-2018, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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I have changed a lot around so one could say I started over. Fortunately I did not have to go through the cycle again. The substrate was originally rocky soil that had almost two inches of plain rock on top. I converted that to four inches of soil with a small amount of rock, capped by about an inch of rock, and in some spots less than that. The good news is that my earthworms are still doing good. I'll take it. That said however I am noticing quickly that I need some potassium for certain. It would not surprise me if chelated iron wasn't needed also. I do see where leaves on my cattails are getting brown on the edges and older leaves are yellowing. I just got an amazon sword that looks like it is getting yellow but with green veins. It was this way when I purchased it but I don't want it getting worse. Right now I have 1.5 WPG but I am getting ready to convert my one shop light into ODNO ("Overdriven" Normal Output) and I am going to add another shop light and convert it to ODNO also which will give me about the equivalent of 4 to 5 WPG of T5HO. Once the light intensity increases plant metabolism increases so if the right nutrients aren't there it will cause more harm than good (Major league algae blooms in all the wrong places anyone?) to have the increased lighting. The guppies are doing awesome and have had a ton of babies since the last time I posted. The ghost shrimp I have are doing good at this point and hopefully they will keep doing well.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2018, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by N7QL View Post
I have water wisteria, creeping charlie, and a sedge that I have yet to identify but it is a quick grower.
Excited to learn that the next time I need to scratch the new plant itch I can dig up a weed (creeping charlie) in my backyard. Thanks!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2018, 12:45 AM
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Or not. Looks like the invasive species (to the US) is glechoma hederacea where as the aquarium plant is native to the southeast US, micromeria brownei.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2018, 02:17 AM Thread Starter
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These are pics I took about 30 minutes ago give or take (5/5/18). They show the current state of Freshwater Reef. You can see that there is some green but there is much, much work to be done yet. Interestingly one of my ghost shrimp decided it would have earthworm for dinner tonight. That worm was about three times its size! I watched it slowly chew off and swallow about 1/8 of an inch of that worm. It promptly started chewing off more. Lights are out for the night now so maybe that worm will survive though there is a guppy that goes for worms in there. She is nearly 2 inches long. Once the shrimp drops it that worm will be hers. I caught about a dozen today and thankfully this is the only one that was caught. The other ones quickly burrowed for the most part except for 4, this one and another 3 who all decided to go exploring. The other three are partially burrowed though so I think they found where they want to be. As of right now I believe I have on the order of 50 to 75 worms. I am looking to end up with about 200 to maybe 500 worms give or take. 200 is where I will start. Once I see how things are going then I can determine if I need more.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2018, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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Mike! I think I have Creeping Charlie from the look of the leaves but I could be wrong. I'll get a better pic of it in the light tomorrow. I do know that my "sedge" is actually cattails so I was wrong about that. I do know that the water wisteria really is water wisteria though. I also added a Rosette Sword (Echinodorus Parviflorus) that is in there about a week. The latter two plants came from PetSmart. I have many others I want to add. The native plants I got are likely going to be the only natives going into this build unless I find some good ones at a nursery or something. I certainly don't want to add to the invasive plant and animal problems that are already happening.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2018, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by N7QL View Post
I certainly don't want to add to the invasive plant and animal problems that are already happening.
The two creeping charlies look pretty similar from the pictures I've seen online, though I don't think I've seen a submerged picture of the plant in my backyard yet. I'm not certain it would grow submerged at all.

As far as contributing to invasive species issues, the cat is entirely out of the bag on creeping charlie. It was purposely imported by early European immigrants to the US and is absolutely everywhere. So you are 100% off the hook if that's the variety you have.
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