AcidGambit's Planted UNS 40C - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 64 (permalink) Old 10-10-2018, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
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AcidGambit's Planted UNS 40C

Hi everyone, after a long hiatus from childhood, I got back into fish keeping and quickly became enamored with planted tanks. My first attempt was in a Fluval Flex 15, with a moss/bonsai wood "tree." Shortly after planting it, it started to develop algae due to proximity to my lights. The moss grew and it filled in the "tree," but then the underlying attachments to the wood rotted and the moss came off. The whole experience was due to a lack of planning on my part.

The Fluval Flex 15 was nice, but I'm going to move forward with the following setup:

Equipment
UNS 40C cube tank (16.9 gallons)
Twinstar 300C LED with dimmer
Eheim Classic 250 Filter
Hydor ETH 200 in-line heater
Custom-made in-line temperature sensor
UNS Mini CO2 regulator (5# bottle)
Atomic inline diffusor
Cal Aqua lily pipes

I'm still planning out the final mix of plants, but the tank will feature a carpet of Monte Carlo, which I am currently growing out using DSM. I am using Tropica Aquarium Soil (powder) for substrate. The hardscape includes Ryuoh stone and spider wood.







The Monte Carlo was weak when planted because I left it sitting in the shipping box for almost a week before I planted it. It took a while for the Monte Carlo to take off (even with DSM), but I think that it should be completely filled in within two weeks.



I have another pico tank that I am going to put together this week, but then I'll be asking for help to finalize the plants for this tank. Stay tuned!
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post #2 of 64 (permalink) Old 10-22-2018, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Getting closer now!



I also started soaking the driftwood. I'll post proposed plans for plants at the end of the week.
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post #3 of 64 (permalink) Old 11-02-2018, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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Well, it's finally time. I've come here seeking help so that I can order the plants next week and start planting now that the Monte Carlo carpet is well grown and rooted.

I superimposed the layout that I am thinking of on the image below:



Region A: Alternanthera Reineckii ‘Mini'. The idea here is for the plant to grow out and weave between the different stems of the wood.

Region B: Staurogyne Repens. It will follow the curvature of the rocks coming down the slope to separate the Monte Carlo carpet from Region C.

Region C: Cryptocoryne Flamingo or Cryptocoryne Albida Red. Thoughts appreciated on choosing between the two.

Region D/E: Myriophyllum Elatinoides or Rotala Bossii (leaning toward the first one). There is an inch or so for stems behind the rocks and driftwood. It's probably too narrow for two plants, so maybe it should really just be Region D. With the plan to have a bright red plant emerging through the drift wood, I was thinking that a green stem plant might go well here as contrast.

In addition, I will be planting a bunch of different buces and anubias nana pangolino along the rocks and in the one big knot toward the outside of the driftwood, as well as some anubias nana pinto out of the "front" of the wood.

I really appreciate any and all help. Please keep in mind that I will have CO2 injection, Twinstar 300C LED lighting, and will be dosing EI-style with the UNS liquid fertilizers.
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post #4 of 64 (permalink) Old 11-09-2018, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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Plants are here!

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post #5 of 64 (permalink) Old 11-09-2018, 11:55 AM
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Should be an interesting tank to follow along with.


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post #6 of 64 (permalink) Old 11-09-2018, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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First step was to apply privacy film to the back of the tank. I went with this etched glass film because the stand that I will be using for this tank has an LED strip light around its border, which I am hoping will diffuse up through the film, creating a nice effect.

Before


After
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post #7 of 64 (permalink) Old 11-10-2018, 04:01 AM Thread Starter
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I started with the Cryptocoryne Flamingo and S. Repens. The Flamingo was a little rough looking, so I'm hoping that it will recover:



And I also planted the Myriophyllum Elatinoides before placing the wood. I used tissue cultures and didn't realize how dainty the plant was:



The wood fit in well.



And then it was time to plant the Alternanthera Reineckii ‘Mini' and the Alternathera Rosanervig stems amongst the wood.







Bump: Then it was buce time!



Then disaster struck! I was filling the tank using a piece of bubble wrap to diffuse the water as to not disrupt anything. But it caught on the wood as I was pulling it out, which ripped up a lot of the plants that I had worked so hard to plant (the stems amongst the wood were particularly tricky).



I'll have to do some more repair work with the stems, but the silver lining is that it opened up more space in the front to plant more Alternanthera Reineckii ‘Mini' that I had leftover.





I'm done for the night, but I will pick up tomorrow at some point to get the filter/heater/CO2 running.
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post #8 of 64 (permalink) Old 11-11-2018, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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These pictures show the effect of the etched glass film on the back of the tank in combination with the Philips Hue light strip I put around the back of the tank. I didn't realize that the tank seams would also pull in the color from the lights, but I like it.




These are what the lights look like along the back of the tank.



I was going to use the UNS Mini CO2 regulator, but I changed my mind and my GLA GRO-1 arrives tomorrow. At that point I am going to start everything up and remove the temporary heater that I have sitting in the tank. I'll also post pictures of my equipment setup at that point.
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post #9 of 64 (permalink) Old 11-13-2018, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
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My CO2 regulator arrived today, which means I can finally get everything running.



This is the setup underneath my cabinet, with power strip and tank strap attached to the back wall:



I can post more pics if anyone is interested, but my filter, heater, and diffuser sit in a plastic tub, to lower the risk of a leak causing damage. I also made a DIY inline temperature probe that reports to my home automation system:



Finally, this is my tank with everything running. The water got pretty cloudy/scummy (and I had a bunch of plant melt), so the light doesn't seem nearly as bright. I'm hoping that the filter can make quick work of it. Also, I'd like to say that the Eheim filter is very quiet. I can hear the Azoo Mignon filters on my pico tanks from across the room, but I can't hear the Eheim from three feet away.

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post #10 of 64 (permalink) Old 11-26-2018, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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Failure...

So, it's been a week or two since I posted my post-planting pictures. In that time I've had a ton of melting, some algae, and probably made some questionable decisions. Here is the (sad) current state of the tank (after trimming the Monte Carlo carpet):



All stems are pretty much gone (melted), along with the Alternanthera Reineckii ‘Mini'. I can live with those losses because I just need to buy new plants and try again. But I'm really bummed over the state of my monte carlo carpet. I'm not sure what caused it, but I had the following happen:
  • Didn't start filter for several days
  • Left tank unheated for a day
  • Went 4-5 days without CO2
  • Had a few days where CO2 was running like crazy (diffuser was initially difficult to get open, but then it started opening at much lower pressure, which happened while I was away on vacation)
  • Freaked out when I saw a bunch of algae on the carpet and dosed Excel

So now I'm staring at a carpet that is severely damages, a carpet which I spent 2+ months growing out using the dry-start method. I also have my office in disarray because I thought that I would be able to move all of my livestock over from my Fluval Flex 15. I'd really appreciate anyone's input on this, anything else I can do to save the remaining carpet, or words of encouragement. I'm hoping that I can stabilize the carpet and have it grow back. Luckily, it seems like the buces and anubias are starting to recover.
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post #11 of 64 (permalink) Old 11-26-2018, 05:36 PM
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Long waiting game at this point. Any monte carlo roots still left will grow anew unless you yanked it all. Everything is transitioning from its emmersed growth.

My tank journal.

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post #12 of 64 (permalink) Old 11-26-2018, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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Do you think that it is worth attempting to plant some of the stems again, or should I wait until the carpet comes back to life?
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post #13 of 64 (permalink) Old 11-26-2018, 11:00 PM
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Acid,

Sorry to see your hard earned results melt like that. Your tank was beautiful before the melt off. While im still a newbie here and still learning. I feel that your plans were having a difficult time with the transition from immersed to submersed conditions. Normally you get some die back when flooding the tank. This coupled with the fact you had no co2 for 4-5 days. From what I've read and seen when you first immerse your plants you really want to crank the co2 then dial it back over a week or so. I think stem plants would be ok as long as they have been kept immersed before.

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post #14 of 64 (permalink) Old 11-27-2018, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you. The good news is that as I sit here typing, there is some very minor pearling (a bubble here and there) coming off the healthier sections of my carpet, which gives me hope. I'll keep everyone posted.
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post #15 of 64 (permalink) Old 12-08-2018, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Here I am again. The die off on the monte carlo carpet seems to be complete, but I am starting to see tiny green shoots of new life in several spots, as you can see below. Unfortunately, I had the pressure too high on my python during a refill, so I blasted some of the roots out of one spot.



I also got another shipment of plants from Glass Aqua (everything looks very healthy), so I am going to fill in some spots tonight during tonight's water change, as well as add some more foliage to the wood centerpiece.

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