ADA 60p iwagumi-esque attempt - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-03-2018, 06:41 AM Thread Starter
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after getting into this hobby with a 5 gallon Fluval Spec V, i decided to delve a bit further and attempt a larger tank for my second go. after seeing all the beautiful pictures of iwagumi setups online, i thought i'd give it a shot.

my starting list of equipment:
ADA 60P
ADA Garden Mat
ADA Power Sand Special S
ADA Amazonia soil and powder types
ADA Substrate additives mix
Tropica powder type
Kessil A360WE Tuna Sun
Kessil lighting mount
Kessil Spectril Controller
Intense inline CO2 diffuser
2kg CO2 tank
CO2Art Pro-Elite series regulator
CO2Art drop checker
ADA lily inflow and outflow pipes
Jardli glass surface skimmer
ISTA 16/22 and ADA 12/16 hoses
Eheim 16/22 and 12/16 double tap connectors
Twinstar M5
Teco TK500 chiller
Custom cabinet
Fluval 206

Plants
HC Cuba
Hydrocotyle tripartita
AR Mini
S Repens
Utricularia gramnifolia
Eleocharis acicularis
Eleocharis Parvula

Stones
mix of grey and brown lava stones


my intention was to have an iwagumi setup and stock it with crystal red shrimp and some nano-fish. i know it is supposedly difficult to have CRS in a high tech planted tank. i just felt like taking on the challenge. initially, i bought bags of Tropica powder and soil, as i was not looking forward to the ammonia leech reported with Amazonia. however, after speaking to a shrimp keeper, he recommended i use Amazonia instead as he felt it provided a more "stable" environment for shrimp. not knowing any better, i followed his advice and purchased Amazonia as well.

i started this tank sometime early July 2018. the hardest part of the planning phase was looking for stones. i really wanted some grey stones as i liked how they looked in an iwagumi scape, but most of the grey stones available to me are seiryu and ruyoh stones. but since i wanted to keep shrimp in the tank, i made it a point to use only inert stones that would not affect the water parameters. i visited many shops, and each shop several times, looking for the stones i wanted.




after 2 weeks of searching, i settled on these several stones. i was not entirely happy with the selection given the colour, but i was impatient and decided just to make do with these.





laid down the ADA Power Sand Special S and brushed the sand away from the front and side edges, as i have seen on many ADA videos..
i also sprinkled an ADA subtrate base combo of Bacter 100, Clear Super, Tourmaline BC, Penac P and Penac W.





the difference in colour.. lighter brown is Amazonia. darker soil is Tropica. decided to lay down a bit of Tropica soil to increase the volume of the slope. would be adding powder type on top of the normal soil. i felt my first attempt at the rock scape was quite disappointing..








after many attempts over a period of 3 to 4 days, i settled on this configuration of stones.

there are 2 rules to success in life.
rule 1 - don't tell people everything.

Last edited by Roasty; 09-03-2018 at 04:08 PM.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-03-2018, 07:06 AM Thread Starter
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i misted the soil and began planting hc cuba. i used a single pot from the Tropica line of tissue culture tubs. i separated them into very small bunches and occasionally individual stems. planting these was so tiring.. i have two kids in the house, a 1 yr old and a 3.5 year old and i need to get them to zzz before i can do any aquarium work. so all my planting etc was done from 10pm to between 1-2am. then up for work next morning at 6.30am.





made some headway with the hc cuba. felt tired, but decided to go ahead and place some staurogynes repens, also from Tropica tissue culture tubs. misted the tank as much as i could and lay some clear cling wrap over the top.





after having done the hc cuba and s repens planting, my buddy pointed out that i forgot to use substrate supports, and did not use and physical supports under the soil to support the weight of the larger rocks in the middle of the tank. he pointed out that the rocks might sink into the sand over time. the thought of re-doing the whole thing was frustrating. instead, i decided to try and salvage what i had, so i removed the larger rocks in the tank, and i shoved bamboo sticks directly downwards into the soil, cut to length, to prop up the stones. this seemed to do the trick, as after replacing the stones back onto the soil, i tried pressing them down with my hand and they did not budge.

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Last edited by Roasty; 09-03-2018 at 04:02 PM.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-03-2018, 07:22 AM Thread Starter
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whilst the dry start was going on, i started to fill in the cabinet below. i initially wanted a 60x30 cm cabinet, but this would not allow placement of the chiller inside. i ended up with a 60x40 cm cabinet, in midnight grey finishing. 4 round holes at the top allowed routing of hoses and electrical wires, and a large hole cut into the bottom half of the cabinet allowed air to go in for the chiller.

i had planned to use a JBJ mini-arctica chiller, but ended up using this for my Fluval Spec V. after some research, decided on a Teco TK500 chiller as this allowed some routing of hot air out of the cabinet via a directional vent.

as you can see, with the cabinet door closed, i dont have much space in front of the chiller. Teco recommends a minimum of 3 cm. i'm at 2 cm +/-...





i wanted to face the vent to the right side of the cabinet. this required a new hole to be cut.







managed to get my carpenter to come round to the house and do it for me for a token sum. i think he did a pretty good job.





S repens showing some growth. hc cuba is a slooooow starter..





after a few days, i added a small bunch of AR mini (also Tropica tissue culture tub) to the right of the s repens. you can see the gaps between the s repens closing up. they are growing well. also planted utricularia gramnifolia (Tropica tissue culture) at the bottom right and top left corners of the tank. these were difficult to plant given their small size and extreme lack of roots when from the tissue culture..





top view of the UG. small bunches, pushed barely 2-3 mm into the soil.
i added some hairgrass eleocharis acicularis to the top right of the tank a few days down the road.
also a small patch of hydrocotyle tripartita to the mid right section of the tank.
you can see some of the hc cuba browning.. not sure whether it was not enough CO2 or too much light / drying out of the leaves.

there are 2 rules to success in life.
rule 1 - don't tell people everything.

Last edited by Roasty; 09-03-2018 at 07:31 AM. Reason: removed bump
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-03-2018, 07:33 AM
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Looks really good! I really like your rock layout, and I think the color of the stones look better wet, so it will be perfect when the tank is filled. The front is maybe a little flat across, but my vision is pulled towards the hardscape and hilly substrate around it anyways.

Great job, I can't wait to see how this turns out!
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-03-2018, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
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AR mini several days after planting. this is by far the fastest growing plant in my tank. the leaves unfortunately have this browny dirty look from the top. am not sure if this is a deficiency or just the plant not responding well to a dry start.

the hydrocotyle tripartita is doing well. new shoots growing out sideways and towards the back of the tank.

also you can see a few patches of my UG on the right side of the tank have melted...





the underside of the ar mini is a nice red though.. but i suppose this is probably from the lighting.







HC cuba is growing sloooowly. lots of tiny brown leaves.. still unsure if it was due to drying out or just too much overzealous misting/water spraying. however, started to see some tiny roots into the substrate!





added a few bunches of dwarf hairgrass next to the stones. i toyed around with placing anubias on the rocks, but i think the anubias spoils the overall look... decided to remove the anubias.

there are 2 rules to success in life.
rule 1 - don't tell people everything.

Last edited by Roasty; 09-03-2018 at 07:47 AM. Reason: edited
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-03-2018, 08:12 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nautilus29 View Post
Looks really good! I really like your rock layout, and I think the color of the stones look better wet, so it will be perfect when the tank is filled. The front is maybe a little flat across, but my vision is pulled towards the hardscape and hilly substrate around it anyways.

Great job, I can't wait to see how this turns out!
thanks man!

i agree, the front is super flat haha that was a severe oversight on my part. until now i'm not sure why i did it that way.. oh well. the difficult lessons we learn...

there are 2 rules to success in life.
rule 1 - don't tell people everything.

Last edited by Roasty; 09-03-2018 at 08:22 AM. Reason: edit
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-03-2018, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
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hydrocotyle started to develop nice long roots into the soil.





purchased a 5 stage ro/di filter that came with a booster pump, TDS meter, pressure gauge and media. supposedly managed 200 gallons per day.





needed to flush out about 15 to 20 gallons before it started showing TDS of 0 ppm.
i remineralize with SaltyShrimp GH+ to about 160 ppm TDS.





approximately 1 month after dry start..
almost half of the utricularia gramnifolia melted..
most of the HC cuba is showing browning of the leaves.
at a crossroad... continue DSM?? or flood. after some consideration.. decided to flood as the hc cuba showed good rooting, which was my primary reason to do a DSM.





day 1 of flooding.
s repens showed great growth and ar mini reaching for the sky.
very cloudy water. i dripped the water in as slow as i could, but still cloudy..
also, one part of the dry start which i forgot to take pictures of.. i did a yoghurt method with blended mini fissidens moss and some natural Greek yoghurt and painted it onto the rocks. took about one week for the moss to fully attach to the rocks.





i followed the usual recommendation of water changes every day for the first week.
the cloudy water persisted, even after 3 days of water changes. on the 4th day i couldnt stand it any more. i dosed some Seachem Clarity into the tank in the evening, and by the next morning, the tank cleared up!
did a water change again and water stayed clear this time round.

there are 2 rules to success in life.
rule 1 - don't tell people everything.

Last edited by Roasty; 09-03-2018 at 08:28 AM. Reason: edit
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-03-2018, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
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did some trimming of the s repens and ar mini.
i somewhat regret the s repens... its growing out sideways a lot and creeping over the hc cuba. wish i didnt plant so much of it and wish i had ringed them with some rocks..

dosed some ADA Green Gain after the trim.
dosing ADA Green Bacter daily, 6 drops per day for first week.
also lean dosing ADA Brighty Neutral K and Brighty Mineral (2 pumps for each, every other day).
running the Twinstar M5. so far no signs of algae, but i guess it is still early.
dosed Microbe Lift Special Blend and also Microbe Lift Nite Out II. dumped in a whole bottle of Tetra Safestart Plus.

had some difficulty with the nitrogen cycle.. was about day 10 or so and ammonia still high around 2-4 ppm (from the amazonia leeching), nitrites and nitrates still 0.
pH was around 5.4 to 5.6. after some advice, i added KH+ to the tank and got the pH to between 6.6 and 6.8 and turned off my chiller..
that seemed to do the trick. second week, every other day of water changes. started to get some nitrites, and after a few more days, nitrates showed up.
for a good many days, was getting positive readings for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates.
continued dosing ADA Green Bacter as well as Nite Out II. also added some Seachem Stability for good measure..

finally..



ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates between 20-40





the inline CO2 diffuser really works a whole lot better than an in-tank diffuser. i will not be going back to an in-tank diffuser in the future.
i run at around 1.5 bubbles per second with the regulator at 40psi.
i start the CO2 injection about 2 hours before lights on. the drop checker is just about to turn green by then.
i started with a 6 hour light cycle, now increased to 7 hours.





lousy attempt at capturing the carpet pearling...





the hc cuba did much better after flooding.. also, i find the Kessil light colour rendition is pretty good. this pic is non-edited, out of phone camera, with Kessil light at 50% colour and 40% intensity.





what's left of the UG is also doing very well. they are growing higher and more lush, but slow to spread out sideways.





hairgrass at the back is growing well too. am having a hard time trying to buy eleocharis montevidensis, or giant hairgrass. wanted some of this to grow over the background of the tank...





side shot of the tank misting and carpet pearling.

there are 2 rules to success in life.
rule 1 - don't tell people everything.

Last edited by Roasty; 09-03-2018 at 08:49 AM. Reason: edit
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-03-2018, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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changed out the ADA inflow pipe for a Jardli surface skimmer. it makes the surface crystal clear!





added some livestock about 3 and a half weeks after flooding. transferred my cardinal tetras from the other tank and added 11 chili rasboras. i kind of regret adding the rasboras. they are tiny and dont seem to complement the tank well. also, i think they would have done better in a more natural looking tank which is dimly lit. they have a more orange appearance rather than a deep red i would have preferred.





i also transferred over some of my fire red shrimp from my smaller tank. the fish leave the shrimp alone. plenty of hiding spots amidst the plants as well. am trying to figure out if i can somehow incorporate some more moss into the tank. thinking of ledges of weeping moss here and there. the mini fissidens on this rock is a result of the yoghurt painting. growing well and lush and pearls nicely.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-03-2018, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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s repens growing like mad. i really have to trim it down soon. it is obscuring all my rocks and ruining the look...
if you look closely, you can spot a juvenile prl crs amidst the plants.





yep.. decided to add a batch of prl crs juveniles. got these from a local fish store for a ghastly amount of money...
i had intended to keep them in the breeder box until they got a little bit larger. but i bought the wrong type of box and they managed to escape through the slits in the box. didnt think they were that small! anyhow, i think most of them survived and are still in the plants. unless they got chewed up by the cardinals on the way down...





disappointed with the first breeder box.. i went and bought a net type box. and... another batch of prl crs juveniles. this time, the net kept them in the box.





this is a pic of one of my first few crs (non prl) which managed to survive in suboptimal parameters in my smaller tank. it lasted about 3 months in pH of 7.2, KH3 GH6 and TDS over 200. i transferred this shrimp and one other to the 60P. i have two other crs still in the other tank (because i didnt manage to catch them the last time round...)





wasnt too happy with the Kessil A360WE tuna sun, because of the poor ramp up and ramp down of light intensity during lights on and off. that aside, the colour rendition from the kessil i feel is very good. the shimmer effect on the ceiling as well as within the tank is also very mesmerizing. the way the light flickers in the tank.. seems very natural. but i could see the fish get a slight jolt every time the lights turned on.

decided to purchase an AI Prime Freshwater and its accompanying stand from a LFS. cost me another pretty penny.







nice small little light that feels well built and solid and looks quite cool over the tank. also has a really decent app on the phone for customization, but is much better and easier to customize on the PC. also, if you connect the light to your home network, you can even control the light from a remote location (i have my tank in view from a CCTV.. so i can view the tank and turn on the lights as and when i want, when i'm out of the house).





this is how the AI Prime looks like when mounted. i have the light aiming towards the left side of the tank because there is a patch of HC cuba over there which is not growing and creeping as well.. i'm thinking it was due to peripheral light fall off when i was using the Kessil.

the AI Prime is mounted at the max height the stand will allow. you can see the Kessil light behind the AI prime. the kessil is positioned approximately 5 inches from the surface of the water. The stand will allow Kessil light placement up to 11 inches above water.

have not yet decided what to do with the Kessil...


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Last edited by Roasty; 09-03-2018 at 03:57 PM. Reason: edit
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-10-2018, 09:07 AM
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yep.. decided to add a batch of prl crs juveniles. got these from a local fish store for a ghastly amount of money...
i had intended to keep them in the breeder box until they got a little bit larger. but i bought the wrong type of box and they managed to escape through the slits in the box. didnt think they were that small! anyhow, i think most of them survived and are still in the plants. unless they got chewed up by the cardinals on the way down...

Exotic buffet for your cardinal tetras. They love shrimps even if well fed. Pure Red Line will indeed be a delicacy. Happy hunting.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-24-2018, 03:19 PM
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What an amazing little scape. The plants look so pristine and spotless.
I was planning on getting a 60p and indeed a kessil. Actually an 160we. Love the color is producer. Very lidt green, almost like adaís immensively expensive solar RGB. But Iím getting second thoughts since you had a 360 and also decided to swap it out.

Why did you go for the 360 in the first place? And are you only swapping it because of the ramp on/off?

But good job on the tank. You really know how to grow plants.

Regards Anders
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-30-2018, 07:08 PM
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Amazing set up, I'm curious what your schedule is on the AI Prime. I'm just starting out my system and I'm based in Jakarta where getting proper equipment is difficult.

My first jump into freshwater planted systems and I have a custom corner tank that may require 2 lights but I'm only able to get my hands on one for now.

Please share your schedule and params if you can.

Again...beautiful set up!
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-01-2019, 04:19 PM
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This tank is awesome. I want to create something like this some day. I'm always afraid to have anything less than a jungle, though. Last time I had an algae outbreak, I feel like the only thing that saved me was that I could throw away 20% of my plants every day, and still have enough plants remaining to keep chugging.
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