I joined this site sixish years ago and have learned a great deal as a result. Early on along the way I also gathered (on the cheap) many of the non-informational items needed for this endeavor. But there always seemed to be something even beyond intimidation that got in the way of me actually putting a planted tank together. Finally committed to myself that after finishing a big work project I would take the plunge and get my sleeves wet. Even ordered some plants so there was no turning back and really only had last weekend to get it together as the plants arrived early. Now despite the six years here of lurking and learning, I've come to find I really don't know splash. Truly no substitute for doing. So here I am again seeking the continued generosity and experience of this wonderful community. And, as is commonly stated here, will be using this thread for future reference/documentation as well as for the afore mentioned brain picking. So...
Seventy five gallon tank and stand purchased on CraigsList I don't recall how long ago. Also came with glass lids, 300W heater, and two Fluval 305s one of which I plan to use (along side a newer Fluval 306). Lights and approx. 8 gallons of Flourite which I don't plan to use atm. And a bunch of other accoutrement. An amazing deal at $200 I thought.
Branch retrieved from the side of the road at least two years ago. Drove by this piece on the way to work many times before finally pulling over and stuffing it into my mini van. I say stuffing because what looked like a two maybe three foot leafless cut shrub on the side of the road did not come home easy. I'd say closer to six or seven feet. When cutting out all the limbs to the reduced branch you see here there were a few leaves still attached which enabled identification - Holly.
Dragged the cabinet/stand into my office from the warehouse and was immediately skeptical it could take the weight. Some old water damage had progressed to some pretty serious rot on one side in particular. Briefly toyed with the idea to reinforce but decided to build a replacement stand on Friday instead.
Eight p.m. Friday; time to call it a day but talk about a ship in a bottle:
Saturday morning made my first stop to the hardware stores for initial plumbing supplies on the way into work. This tank is in my office. Once there, first step was to trim the branch to sit flat on the bottom of the tank and stainless steel screw a 6" x 12" tile to help keep it in place. Went with montmorillonite clay (Safe T Sorb) which I rinsed multiple buckets full multiple times for what seemed like had to be long enough. No matter. But still, so far so good:
The next time I turned around tho was reminded wood floats. Installed an Aquaclear 70 with plenty of filter floss to clear up the murky while I started the plumbing.
Had purchased a water filter housing for a Cerges reactor as well as a regulator, solenoid, metering valve, check valve, union, and the necessary fittings some time ago on Fleabay. Thought I had pieced together the other parts this morning that would be needed to finish the job but should have known better. Have never completed any DIY project with only one trip to the hardware store. The configuration I had initially envisioned was taking up too much room and my rethinking was going to require more/different parts. Stopped back at Lowe's on the way home.
Got an early afternoon start on Sunday. First cleared out enough Safe T Sorb to seat the wood on the tank bottom. Stirred up some more clay dust but not too bad this time. Wedged three sticks between the tile screwed to the wood and the rim of the tank to keep the wood in place while it waterlogs.
Was next able to complete plumbing the co2, Cerges, and filter with just one more trip to the hardware store. Remarkably looks to be leak free and cranking co2.
Then finally got some plants in though many will need to be rearranged. Was a long weekend, no doubt. In retrospect though, don't know what took me so long. Very satisfying but now somewhat distracting as it occupies all spare thoughts (not a complaint):
Started partial (~1/2) EI dosing last Mon-Sat and got the CO2 and lights on timers.
Okay, enough of the play by play and onto some questions. I have many but for starters the most immediate in need of answers?
1. My Gh is four but my Kh is between zero and one. Do I need to boost the Kh with some baking soda or other? And if so, how do I maintain considering water changes.
2. The wood is getting the dreaded white fuzzies. I've learned here that's not to be unexpected and not too big a deal. Should I totally let it run it's course uninterrupted or is it okay to try to remove what siphons off easily during today's water change? Might it hurt the anubias nana petite?
3. My light is two 54 watt T5 HO 6500K fluorescents. Right now the plants are not high light demanding. Might it be a concern I have too much CO2 and/or ferts for this light?
4. Can plants be adversely effected by water temperature change? Sounds silly but I don't know? Need to do a water change today and only have cold tap water available at the moment.
Thanks for looking and for any help on the above. Other comments, criticisms, insights, etc. are most welcome. I don't mind learning from my mistakes especially when they're brought to my attention in time to do something about them.