Mike!'s 55G Botanical Rasborarama (11/24/2018: Still Kicking!) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 136 (permalink) Old 04-17-2018, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
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Mike!'s 55G Botanical Rasborarama (11/24/2018: Still Kicking!)


October 21, 2018

August 30, 2018

Stats

Tanks
Clarity Plus 55 gallon acrylic
12 gallon sump
Finnex external refugium (on sump)

Lights
48" Beamworks DA 120 6500k
11" Nicrew LED (for the refugium)

Water Movement
Aquaclear 70 powerhead (sump return)
Hydor koralia nano 425 wavemaker

CO2
CO2Art Pro-SE dual stage regulator
80mm bazooka diffuser
5lb CO2 tank

Filtration
Filter sock
Seachem Purigen in The Bag
Pot scrubbies
Seachem Matrix
Peat granules (in a bag in a refugium chamber)

Fish & Inverts
2 German blue rams
2 keyhole cichlids (female)
14 espei rasboras (sold as espei, but mix of hengeli and 1 harlequin)
4 kubotai rasboras (aka microdevario)
5 otocincluses
2 pearl gouramis (male)
2 neon tetras
2 cherry barbs (female)
1 kuhli loach (who officially lives in the sump after too many escapes)

1+ Amano shrimp (also in sump \_(ツ)_/)
2 horned nerites
4 assorted nerites
All the Malaysian trumpet snails

Plants
Anubias frazieri
Anubias hastifolia
Bacopa caroliniana
Blyxa japonica
Buce black pearl
Buce brownie blue
Buce kedagang purple
Buce red blade
Buce sweet mambo
Cryptocoryne parva
Cryptocoryne pontederiifolia
Cryptocoryne spiralis
Cryptocoryne spiralis tiger
Cryptocoryne undulatus 'red'
Cryptocoryne usteriana
Cryptocoryne wendtii bronze
Cryptocoryne wendtii green gecko
Cryptocoryne wendtii pink panther
Hydrocotyle sp. Japan
Java moss
Limnophila rugosa
Ludwigia repens
Ludwigia sp. super red
Ludwigia x lacustris
Mayaca Fluviatilis
Microsorum pteropus 'Thunder Leaf'
Microsorum pteropus windelov
Nymphaea stellata
Pogostemon stellatus
Rotala H'ra
Saggitarius subulata
Salvinia minima
Vallisneria

Failed Plants
Littorella uniflora
Myriophyllum red stem
Hair grass
Cryptocoryne albida red

Original Post

After 4 years limping along as a lightly planted, algae-ridden, heavily neglected afterthought, my 55 gallon acrylic was suddenly foregrounded by two events. One, my wife asked me to move it across the room where we can see it from the couch, kitchen and dinner table. And two, my wife found out Mr Clean magic erasers are safe and effective for algae on acrylic.

Being able and having to look inside the thing, I started cleaning and water changing and buying new fish and plants. It all came to a head when I bought a small bunch of bacopa caroliniana at my LFS and the guy gave me the third degree about my lights (and my inability to describe them beyond "sort of bright LEDs). I insisted I'd take my chances with the $3 in plants, thank you very much. But naturally they did not do well at all under my 30ish LED 36" Marineland fixture. So a few days later I got myself a Beamworks DA 120 0.5W 6500k.

If you're reading this forum, you know roughly what happened next with 4 years of accumulated mulm and ~1 watt of LED per gallon. But I didn't. Green algae went nuts. Meanwhile the BBA and hair algae actually slowed down. So more water changes, a lot of reading, Flourish Excel, Matrix, Purigen, a few rounds of H2O2, a small wave maker to push more detritus to the overflow, and a ravenous school of 6 otocincluses ensued.

Which brings us to roughly where I was this Saturday morning when I rescaped.

Everything out but the fish, water, and half the substrate (a sad mixture of Petco white sand and red caribsea eco complete). Added ~30lbs of black diamond blasting abrasive, 3 pieces of driftwood (including a massive one that had been removed during the darkest days of hair algae) and put half the rocks back in one large pile. I put the plants back, but now grouped by species instead of interspersed and super glued the Java Fern and moss to the big driftwood.

Last edited by Mike!; 11-24-2018 at 08:43 PM. Reason: Retitle
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post #2 of 136 (permalink) Old 04-19-2018, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Pre- and postscape pictures without a novel:



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Last edited by Mike!; 04-29-2018 at 12:56 AM. Reason: Added pre-pic
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post #3 of 136 (permalink) Old 04-19-2018, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Zeroing in on the new plants list, let me know if any seem problematic for my low-medium light setup and no CO2.

Buce Startr Pack (assortment of 5 semi-random buce varieties)
Anubias hastifolia
Flame sword
Pogostemon stellata
Ludwigia natans super red
Saggitaria subulata

Last edited by Mike!; 04-29-2018 at 11:40 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #4 of 136 (permalink) Old 04-22-2018, 02:16 AM Thread Starter
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Bigger water changes, plus 6 otos, Excel, flourish, root tabs and split photo period seem to have finally gotten the best of my algae. The front glass was almost bare and there is no substantial hair or BBA on any plants.

Big water changes really bring out the low profile tank envy. I wish it was as simple as turning this thing on its side.

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post #5 of 136 (permalink) Old 04-28-2018, 03:55 AM Thread Starter
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Came home to an RAOK from @Doogy262 (thanks!) and some loose hair grass and bacopa.


30 or so stems and rosettes later, we're looking a lot more planted.


Everything in the package matched the description except for this apparent hitchhiker mixed in with the dwarf sag. Any guesses?


Not dwarf sag, clearly.
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post #6 of 136 (permalink) Old 04-28-2018, 05:53 PM
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What a change! The first thing I noticed was the powerhead on the left. For best effect, it should be facing from left to right, not back to front. That'll give you much better circulation to your plants and help lift debris up so the filter can take it out. Otherwise, if it were my tank I'd just let it grow out for a while. Don't be afraid to trim old or algae covered leaves.

Cheers,
Phil

I've never regretted over engineering a system, but often regretted under engineering one.
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post #7 of 136 (permalink) Old 04-28-2018, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tip on powerhead. The front to back is designed to accelerate the return flow and theoretically create a current that hits the front wall and then moves left to right. But I think you're right, I should just bite the bullet and move it to the front of the left wall.

Trimming leaves: I've been fighting the balance of keeping the second or third leaf on a crypt vs pruning it for a while now. I actually trimmed a bunch of bronze wendtii leaves this morning because I noticed they were starting to grow a little faster than the BBA. Hoping my usteriana follows suit.

I think I'm still going to get some buce for the log, another anubias for the rocks and one more red stem (pogostemon stellata probably), but after that I'm going to do my best to stop tinkering.
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Last edited by Mike!; 04-29-2018 at 11:39 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #8 of 136 (permalink) Old 04-28-2018, 06:57 PM
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the mystery hitchhiker plant is a Blyxa.. either japonica or aubertii but based on color I would GUESS japonica but without seeing the clear crown it is hard to say.. I would pull it up and out a little to clear the crown a bit to avoid making it rot though
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post #9 of 136 (permalink) Old 04-28-2018, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tip on the blyxa! It had basically no roots, which is why it's so deep. I'm thinking maybe float it for a little bit?

Just read a little about blyxa... Lack of roots might be a bit irrelevant given this thing wants CO2 injection and I'm in no hurry to add it.

Last edited by Mike!; 04-28-2018 at 08:59 PM. Reason: More
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post #10 of 136 (permalink) Old 04-29-2018, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
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Good call on the powerhead, Phil. Not only are all the plants in the foreground swaying nicely, but my mixed rasbora school (plus guppy) is enjoying the improved current.



Side notes for the actual "journal" function here.

I did a 50% water change today and added flourish potassium for the first time. Would have done phosphorus too, but I accidentally ordered nitrogen instead. Since I can't get my nitrate below 30 ppm despite regular large WCs and Purigen, I won't be dosing the nitrogen any time soon. Hopefully the added plant mass, the phosphorus I'll get in a few days and the WCs will start to make a dent in that nitrate. (Also continuing Flourish for micros, excel and added some tabs for new plants.)
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post #11 of 136 (permalink) Old 05-03-2018, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
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Question (let me down gently): between my surprisingly aggro pearl gouramis, prototypically gentle keyhole cichlids, German blue ram, and still kind of sparse planting, would a few amano shrimp stand half a chance?

Alright, time to talk about my half-baked sump-refugium project:



The longer term plan is to fill this with moss and a couple shrimp and reserve a chamber or two for fry. At the moment, it's got a bunch of Java fern plantlets that were getting choked with BBA topside. Down here, I only give them ~4 hrs of light per day. The ferns survive and it seems to be taking out the BBA.

Also, is that a flower stem on the blyxa I assumed would be a goner under my light and (natural) CO2?

Last edited by Mike!; 05-06-2018 at 01:00 AM. Reason: Also
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post #12 of 136 (permalink) Old 05-09-2018, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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I was literally startled by a leaf tonight.

First new growth on my anubias frazieri came out of nowhere. (The folded disconcertingly yellow one.)


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post #13 of 136 (permalink) Old 05-09-2018, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Got a shipment: anubias hastifolia, pogo stellatus, littorella uniflora, and the buce "startr".

Bucephalandra portions more generous than described. I'm not complaining.

No time to plant now, so big stuff in the tank and little stuff gets a glass till later.


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post #14 of 136 (permalink) Old 05-09-2018, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike! View Post

I did a 50% water change today and added flourish potassium for the first time. Would have done phosphorus too, but I accidentally ordered nitrogen instead. Since I can't get my nitrate below 30 ppm despite regular large WCs and Purigen, I won't be dosing the nitrogen any time soon. Hopefully the added plant mass, the phosphorus I'll get in a few days and the WCs will start to make a dent in that nitrate. (Also continuing Flourish for micros, excel and added some tabs for new plants.)
I'm wondering what happened when you started adding phosphate. In my experience its been something that seemed to promote algae growth. I dont dose any phosphate in my tanks at the moment.

My tanks:

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post #15 of 136 (permalink) Old 05-09-2018, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cbachmann View Post
I'm wondering what happened when you started adding phosphate. In my experience its been something that seemed to promote algae growth. I dont dose any phosphate in my tanks at the moment.
So far algae is continuing its downward trend that began when I started on big water changes (I'm intentionally leaving the algae on the back wall). I am only dosing the Seachem proscribed amount. I was adding potassium and phosphate in response to specific leaf deficiencies and the assumption that nitrate was holding steady for lack of other macros.

The only real problem area is on top of my big driftwood where the PAR is obviously much higher being ~13 inches closer to the light than the substrate.


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