45 gallon Freshwater Reef - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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45 gallon Freshwater Reef

This build is going to be loosely reefish looking. By that I mean rocks and plants that remind a person of coral and live rock. Animals from fish to worms to pods. The worms of which I speak are earthworms. I am not using the kind for compost bins though. These worms are soil eaters but they are NOT Lumbricus Terrestris (Canadian Nightcrawler). These worms were all taken from just under the soil down as far as one foot deep, This experiment has been ongoing since the beginning of June. I have something on the order of 50 to 75 worms in there. I see them out once in a while. They remind me of bristleworms from my days of keeping a reef. I sometimes hear of people with freshwater bristleworms. I would love to have some if they are indeed real but I doubt it. Also they are giving me free fertilizer. I aim to have about 500 or so in there when all is said and done. I just upgraded my lighting so I should be able to keep low to medium plants now. I also intend to have micro crabs and African dwarf frogs. For fish I have 4 platies and 8 tiger barbs. I will be adding to their school. Since there are enough to make a small school they leave the platies and snails alone (except for the baby pest snails which they eat). Oh I almost forgot... I put some worms I dug up into the tank like I normally do. As big as some of them were I was surprised to find that not only did the barbs go after them they actually managed to eat three of them. Two inch fish eating 4 and 5 inch long worms. Wowsa. The other 7 or so worms made it onto and into the substrate.
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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
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Even as I am contemplating the next plants to add I am refurbishing the stand. The tank and stand were left outside during a stormy period. After getting it home and setting it up I saw where the water based outer paint was peeling. There was a stained/poly coating underneath that I could see. I stripped the rest of the paint layer off it and now I am in the process of sanding it down to bare wood since there are some imperfections I'd like to sand out. Thankfully the wood is good and solid, not plywood. If this had been made of plywood I think the plys would have swollen and separated. The inside of the stand had a piece of rough clap board for a floor. I ripped that out since it was already separating from the rest of the stand. I'll replace it with a wood bottom shelf. I may expand the bottom flooring out about 6 inches or so beyond the back in case I decide to run a sump/fuge in there. This is a pic of the tank from when I first set it up showing the stand like it was before I stripped it. This build is starting to come together. There will be much more to see though with time.
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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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I originally started this tank with some creeping charlie and temple compactus. The lighting was probably about as intense as two t8no lamps. I have since upgraded to the beamswork da 6500k light. I also added some anubias frazeri and java fern windelov. I could see how yellow the leaves were. I don't know what nutrients they had before ending up at petsmart but I am seeing some improvement in the leaves that were the most yellow. This is good but now I am dealing with cyano and green dust algae. It seems to like attaching itself to old growth leaves. Hopefully soon I will have the algae completely under control. Normally one should start with a lot more plants than I did but I have some fast growers in there and in the case of the grasses I have in there they have emerged and are growing quickly and with healthy leaves. I would imagine that as I add more plants over time things will get even better algae wise. The fish seem very active and healthy, great colors and a nice sheen. I have them on wardley's flakes for now but I do feed them frozen fish once a week or so.
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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
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The algae issue is slightly better. I did a 75% water change two nights ago. I will do another 75% change either tonight or tomorrow. I will do this for a week or so and I will use a dilution of h2o2. I intend at some point to move up to an actual co2 system but in the meantime I have been researching the idea of liquid carbon. It is said one can use metricide without the activation powder. Supposedly it is similar enough to excel that people use it in their tanks. It also appears to be an algaecide which is not surprising since the stuff is used to sterilize operating rooms and surgical instruments. I also know that if I get it on my skin or worse in my eyes it will be big trouble. On the other hand a gallon will last a year or more and cost the same or less than a bottle of excel, which has the same risk if spilled as the metricide. I am going to do more research though since some say that the amount of carbon from the metricide is near zero. I am also considering diy co2. There seem to be plenty of issues with that as well. My fish are all doing well though and have great color.
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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-21-2019, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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The algae issue continues to slowly improve. I am seeing new leaves on almost every plant now but I also know that stressed plants can also show signs of growth. Since I am running a dirted tank that is only a month and a half old I am pretty sure that macros and micros are ok but I am going to get some test kits for the various nutrients that plants need.
CO2 has been my major concern of late and as was posted in a thread I started on DIY CO2 I really need to do a lot more research, both here and on Google. I have been looking through old threads here but as was pointed out to me I really do need to understand the processes much better than I do before attempting this. I might wait another month even before deciding on DIY vs pressurized CO2. The good news is if I go with pressurized CO2 I can buy components like I would if I were building a custom computer. I can choose what parts I want and buy them over time as to make it more affordable. At least from what I have read most of the expense is up front and refills cost far less. Depending on the size of the cylinder it could last as little as a month to as much as a year on a 45.
For now I am trying to get low light plants settled in, with a lot of fast growers. It is my hope to get them settled in while I figure out the CO2 situation. Once I get them situated then I can start on medium light fast growers that can shade the lower light plants. In a couple of weeks I hope to add a banana plant and water wisteria, and possibly a few others. I know there are some plants that will show red in low to medium light but I need to research them more as well.
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-21-2019, 02:06 AM
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okay I subscribed to your thread because you put worms in your tank. LOL

Would love to see some pictures of them.
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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-21-2019, 03:24 AM
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One of main points of a soiled tank is that soil as it decomposes naturally puts off CO2 as a byproduct of decomposition.
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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-21-2019, 03:33 AM Thread Starter
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I will get pics of them once I do the next big water change which will likely be Monday or Tuesday. I saw one out recently. I estimate there are about 100 in there. There really need to be 500. If the tank was actually a worm bin I would need close to 3000. Due to the fact that the substrate is 3 square ft. but only 1 to 3 inches deep I think 500 would be good. My hypothesis is that 500 would be a good number for not only the castings but for being able to find each other so they can reproduce. Now if things go south I will post that here so others who want to do this can learn from my mistakes and do better or learn from my successes. Right now the tank is only a month and a half old and the last worms I put in were earlier this month. If the worms are still doing well in 4 or 5 months I will feel this was a success. Once worms start coming out in the rain again I will put more in. Thank you for subscribing. I will try to keep this interesting and I will keep everyone up to date on the worms.

Dave that is a good point. I knew that decomp made for some CO2 but I want to see my plants doing well enough to pearl. That said can soil produce enough CO2 steadily enough for plants to pearl? I need to majorly research that as I think about it but It just seems that as many people running CO2 with dirted tanks that I likely will still need CO2. My lights are low light par at the substrate to high medium 6 inches below the lights. I really want to be able to have medium to high medium plants thriving in here. I will do more research and get this figured out. Thank you both.

Last edited by N7QL; 07-21-2019 at 04:07 AM. Reason: Additional Thoughts and Info
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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 01:26 AM
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This is fascinating. I didn't realize earthworms could survive totally submerged indefinitely. So these are locally collected worms from your native topsoil? Where are you located? Perhaps you could get some good pictures of them so people here could help ID them? So if they keep multiplying, do you see your tiger barbs or another kind of fish utilizing them as a food source?

Bump: This is fascinating. I didn't realize earthworms could survive totally submerged indefinitely. So these are locally collected worms from your native topsoil? Where are you located? Perhaps you could get some good pictures of them so people here could help ID them? So if they keep multiplying, do you see your tiger barbs or another kind of fish utilizing them as a food source?
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 02:36 AM Thread Starter
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Yes I could see that happen especially with any juveniles that go where the barbs can get at them. I know one ate a worm when I released the last batch into the tank. I wasn't thinking they would be interested at all but suddenly three fish were merrily swimming with worms hanging out of their mouths. They were like this for a good hour until two of them spit out their worms. I would have gotten a picture if I hadn't lost my cell phone at the time.

Bump: Forgot to mention this but the reason the worms can survive is because they breathe through their skin. There is at least as much O2 in our tanks as below ground assuming good flow and at least some agitation.

Last edited by N7QL; 07-22-2019 at 02:43 AM. Reason: Typo
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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 05:13 AM
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“Earthworms are unable to drown like a human would, and they can even survive several days fully submerged in water.”

According to Scientific American article.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...ce-after-rain/

Sounds like they will eventually die in a full aquatic environment.
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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 07:05 AM Thread Starter
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Yes if the dissolved oxygen content is allowed to fall as the worms consume it. much like if a human were to find themselves on a spacecraft where the oxygen tanks ran out. There would be enough oxygen left for a few hours but it would eventually be depleted and they would end up not doing so well exactly. Of course if the oxygen supply doesn't run out our intrepid astronaut lives to see the ticker tape parade. Same with the worms. I don't know if Scientific American ever did an experiment in a typical aquarium with worms. It does take soil since they still need something to eat. I am not so sure they would do well in a tank with just gravel.
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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 03:21 PM
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Found this

https://www.wormfarmingsecrets.com/g...-in-fish-tank/


Earthworm poop is probably good for you plants, they aerate the soil and are a good source of food for you fish. This would be a good addition to the Waltead method. LOL
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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 05:34 PM
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Awaiting pics


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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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Pics will definitely be coming tomorrow. I would video it except I only have a cheap phone. Besides the big WC I need to do I am going to see how well a cap of sand would work in spots. I hope to add a goby as well as some otos. At any rate I will get some pics of worms. They love to hang out under the rock though many more are in the substrate. There are also some real nice pieces of weathered wood I found today. I will be using this wood to do some rescaping. It is safe wood that I know never had pesticides or anything sprayed on it. I know this because it came from our apartment complex's "compost" pile which has been there since we moved here. That and I know that the landscapers do as little as possible so the lawn is never sprayed much less branches. These particular pieces have been there at least a couple of years and the bark is mostly gone. I need to add a few larger pieces of rock too. I'll likely add to the soil depth while I'm at it in spots. I will have to go through some of the soil already in there since there is some rock that has sunken in and I want to get that out as much as I can. I won't be messing with the soil where my plants are however. I have 3 stems, soon to be 4, of Temple Compactus and a few stems of a bamboo like grass I found growing in a lake. So as I do the rescaping I will definitely get pics of any worms I come across along with before and after pics. As one person posted hopefully someone can identify these worms though I think they are mainly lumbricus type worms, definitely soil eaters.
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