155 Gallon Bowfront Black Sand Collectoritis - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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155 Gallon Bowfront Black Sand Collectoritis

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.

Greggz, burr740 and tredford like this.

Last edited by aclaar877; 03-08-2019 at 08:00 PM. Reason: Added photos and link
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