long time lurker, first time tank - 63L - The Planted Tank Forum
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  • 1 Post By pmucka
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 09:05 AM Thread Starter
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long time lurker, first time tank - 63L

Hi everyone,

I've been lurking here and on APC for many years after some failed attempts over 10 years ago at planted tank and now I'm finally taking a crack at it. I've got a 63L (60x30x35) that I'm currently testing out some hardscape ideas on. I'm planning to go with an offset concave shape and hoping to achieve something similar to my diagram attached below. I've got the basic shape of the layout using some lava rock and some bigger gravel to support it and fill in the gaps.

I'm going with an aquatic plant soil I found here in Germany that I've seen used by at least one dude on youtube. Unfortunately, there is no law requiring a "guaranteed analysis" of the soil contents here so I avoided potting soils as I have no clue about their contents. The "teicherde" (pond earth in German) I'm using looks decent, definitely has a good amount of clay in it and probably some sand. Hopefully it's got enough nutrients to supply some DOC to my plants.

Lighting is a Nicrew Classic LED Plus for now, although after impulse buying it, I kinda wish I had just ponied up for a Chihiros series A plus. I'll see how my plants do for a month or so and go from there.

Water in berlin is quite hard (teens for GH and kH) but luckily I have access to RO water, so I'm planning to mix either 50:50 or 66:34 tap to RO to reduce the hardness a bit.

Plant list for now:
Java moss
Java fern
S. repens
R. rotundifolia
H. Zosterifolia
L. sessiliflora
C. wendtii
Monte Carlo
H. tripartita

Hoping to finish the setup this weekend, so any advice or comments are appreciated!

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Last edited by pmucka; 05-15-2019 at 11:51 AM. Reason: added content
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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So, I got my tank set up over the weekend! Everything is looking pretty good, although I did run into a few snags here and there. I feel like I could have kept tweaking my hardscape, but I couldn't wait anymore. The plants arrived and I needed to put them in the tank, so Friday night I was gluing wood to rocks with the cigarette filter trick like a mad man. Then, I put my pond soil in the tank and worried about if I got the depth correct or not. And finally I put the black sand in to cap the soil. I went for about 2cm of each, in some places with deep rooting plants I went to about 2.5cm for each. My soil was a bit granular as I wet it down when I got it and it has high clay content, so I figure it might settle down a good bit. Putting the sand it was a bit harder than I thought, since it moves around so easily as the tank is being filled. Unfortunately a good bit of it rolled down off my hills and into the lower parts of the tank, where it was already deep enough to begin with. I'll try to address this over the course of the next month during water changes by either spoon scooping these back to the top or vacuuming some of the sand out.

Then I got to the plant Xmas I had been waiting for: Opening a box of 50euro worth of plants! I quickly realized that I bought probably 2-3 more than I needed and there was no chance I was going to use all of them. I started with the Monte Carlo, which I found rather difficult to plant. Hard to tell where the roots are on such a little plant, so I more or less just stuck some little bunches in the sand and hoped they would take. Other plants were a bit a easier, especially stems. Heteranthera Zosterifolia gave me some trouble as well and I was left feeling like that one was definitely going to die. After it was all done, I filled'er up and waited.

Next morning, everyone was looking pretty good EXCEPT my Hornwort which had almost completely melted down. Not sure if this is just new tank melt, due to water params, or because I planted it in the substrate. Last night (Day 2) I fished some hornwort out of a trash bag to leave floating at the top of the tank just in case, although this morning it looks like its also melting..... In any case, most of the remaining plants seem to be doing well. At the beginning of Day 3 here I can see some new grow on the H. zosterifolia, the rotala, the tripartita and also maybe the S. repens. Monte carlo is also looking OK, although I'm betting it will turn out pretty stringy under my Nicrew Classsic LED plus. My S. subulata and crypts seem to be struggling the most, but that could just be because they are heavy substrate feeders and they need some time.

I did a 30% water change yesterday and am planning to do another on friday of this week, but so far so good! Any comments or suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!
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