I've learned a lot from journals on TPT and thought I would add my own. I've loved tanks since around 1979, when I was three years old, staring at one the whole time in the waiting room while my mom was at the eye doctor.
This is a 155-gallon bowfront, 72"x24"x18", out to 24" in the middle. I love the size and shape of it, and it has the potential for a great, large planted tank.
Location: Fenton, MO (SW of St. Louis)
Substrate: Black Diamond Blasting Sand, with a few balls of O+. I'll probably use less and less of it, since it doesn't appear to do much to jump-start troubled plants. But, I may have had too high ferts to begin with.
Lighting: BML Dutch XB, usually around 80% strength. Single T8 with FloraSun bulb for color and extra night viewing. Twin T5HO (ColorMax and FloraSun) on the bowfront, over deliberately dirty glass covers.
Filters: Two Rena XP3, going strong since 2005. Tried purigen, but I have very clear water when things are going right, so don't feel I need it.
CO2: Pressurized, running thru 3"x24" Griggs reactor, with two inlets and outlets for the filters. This moves CO2-rich water from back left to right, and from right corner out across the front in a circular pattern. I've tried lots of flow setups, and this is the best I found without making extra custom spraybars. Two extra powerheads reinforce the flow. Usually get a 1.3 pH drop from CO2.
Ferts: It appears my tank needs less than other similar setups. When I tried dosing along the lines of 25/5/30 NPK macros, many plants stalled out and wouldn't grow at all. Not stunted, not melting, just sitting there with no growth for weeks or even months on end. I think I induced Mg deficiencies with high K and maybe Ca - you can read more about my recent troubles in these threads:
Things lately have been improving with 10 ppm NO3 from KNO3 and 2 ppm PO4 per week, no extra K2SO4, and around 0.5 ppm Fe with Burr's trace recipe (3:1 Fe:Mn ratio).
GH: 6.5 from tap, sometimes a bit lower. Right now tank GH is 10 from extra Mg and Ca. Tricky thing is my tap water - on paper it's great, with KH of 3, but range of Ca is 12-38 and Mg is 2-28 in the water report. So I really don't know how much of each are in there at any time. A neighbor had a one-time test, with 15/16 Ca/Mg. Extra Mg has helped get my tank going again, but I also have pronounced leaf tip hooking occur lately on AR and some others (more recently than these photos). So not knowing Ca/Mg is a variable I have to contend with.
Here is improvement on Lymnophila Belem - this was dormant for months, not growing at all. Now it has grown vertically and is getting some color back:
Lymnophila Rugosa was in the same boat - it's bulletproof for some people, but not me. Now starting to grow vertically. Probably need to trim the lower ratty part off, but I wanted some solid growth before I did that. It may not be the best choice for a background plant, but I need stems that don't blow over in the current. Moneywort or Cabomba wouldn't stand up in this area.
I'd love to see if I can thread the needle on Lycratheae and Ludwigias in inert sand. Right now Ludwigias are good, but Ammania isn't growing and Pogo Erectus grows a little. They both did better with lower ferts, which is no surprise if you follow Pikez on Barr Report.
Here is A Senegalensis in 2017, when I was still using CSM+B! Like Burr, I couldn't dose much of it at all - like 0.015 ppm Fe 3x per week.
Here is a more recent pic-not so great:
It seems to like low macros and stability - many times it has recoiled after big water changes, and starts to look better when the next water change rolls around. I even had it in pots of garden soil and lots of O+ and nothing happened at all. No difference whatsoever, suggesting high ferts in water pose a problem for it. I may just let macros drop, and see what happens first - Ammania/Pogo Erectus rebounding and growing again, or massive leaf shedding in ludwigias and hygro.
Aquascaping - I know I need tighter groups, not so many tall plants (but I like them!), and maybe not so many species. I have trouble letting go of them - I must win this battle with Ammania! I have some Buce in front center-left, but it isn't growing much. Maybe it would do better on wood. Maybe nitrates are too high - Burr had better growth with lower nitrates if memory serves. I like the diagonal driftwood on the back right, but need to trim the java fern on it. I would like a big, tall group of red Ludwigia Palustris to dominate the back right corner. I may need a substitute for Ammania Senegalensis - I'm open to suggestions. I would also like to get better at photography and get better, more crisp images to share here. Plants look thinner and more sparse in pictures compared to real life.