Swampgirl's Dungeon Grow Tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-23-2019, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, this tank is in my dungeon.



This is not going to be a 'scape', this is strictly a tank to grow plants and do that as efficiently and with as little glitz or $$$ as possible. In fact, the goal of this tank to is to pay for itself and to perform experiments, hence the basement location (also my roommates were getting angry).

In keeping with paying for itself, this 29 gal tank was free. It was my girlfriends corn snake's previous home. It is not ideal for growing plants (40 breeder would be perfect) but it fits in this space and cost $0.

The lights right now are a $0 t8 aquarium hood (new bulb) and a $10 6000k Home Depot LED shop light. I am planning on adding a $40 Sunblaster T5HO next week.

The filter is a $5 Fluval 2 internal sponge power filter which is mainly a CO2 dispersal device and for water motion. There will be no livestock in this tank besides plants.

The CO2 is a 20oz paintball tank with a $40 "Doublesun" brand regulator, plumed into the internal filter. Bubble counter and drop checker, green at about 2bps right now.

Dosing DIY pre-mixed macro solution (KH2PO4 + NO3) and micro (CSM + B) alternating daily.

The tank has been running for about a week but I just got the CO2 dialed in yesterday so I would consider today the "first day".






Most plants were transferred from my other tanks. They are in a mix of substrates, mostly soil and sand. Plant choice philosophy will be mostly things that are colorful yet able to be grown low tech, nothing that will immediately die if it is put in a beginner's tank.

Current plant list is:
Heteranthera zosterifolia
Ludwigia repens
Echinodorous major
Myriophyllum tuberculatum
Pogostemon quadrifolius
Micranthemum umbrosum
Rotala macranda
Limnophila aromatics
Alternathera reineckii 'red'
Some floating Pogostemon Kimberly stems that had no leaves, sprouting a bit now
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-23-2019, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampGirl View Post
Plant choice philosophy will be mostly things that are colorful yet able to be grown low tech, nothing that will immediately die if it is put in a beginner's tank.
Then wondering why you're growing them with C02?


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-23-2019, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Plant choice philosophy will be mostly things that are colorful yet able to be grown low tech, nothing that will immediately die if it is put in a beginner's tank.
Then wondering why you're growing them with C02?
To grow faster! Plus beginners arent our only market, but the main place that buys from me is not very into high tech plants so we need to be able to sell everything we grow there. Like, I probably dont think they would be well with the R. Macranda, but they sell a whole bunch of L. repens, usually unrooted trims. I'm going to be providing not just trims but fully rooted and ready to go plants, and for that CO2 fits our goal. The goal of this tank is to be trimming and selling monthly, so we want the fastest growth possible and so I think it was worth much more to spend ~$60 on the CO2 setup which will grow stronger and healthier plants that will transition to low tech setups much better than trying to grow plants fast in low tech and dealing with algae. Having CO2 allows me to basically use the amount of light available to throttle the growth, where if I didn't have it I would be limited by the CO2, which I would not be able to add more of easily.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-23-2019, 09:26 PM
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I see. That was my guess- for the growth rate.


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 03:06 AM Thread Starter
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I see. That was my guess- for the growth rate.
Yes, in particular the ability to control my growth rate with (mostly) just adding or removing light based on the species i have, the color I am going for, and the amount of algae I am seeing. That is really the experiment here, can I manage to not mess around with fert levels and just use the lights as a "gas pedal" as EI people say.

Edit: Because I just remembered I could, I'm going to move the T8 to my 20 long and move the double bulb fixture it has on it down here, which has a "100W" LED and a 75W CFL which might be enough light that I don't need the T5.

Last edited by SwampGirl; 11-24-2019 at 03:10 AM. Reason: edit
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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Rotala Macranda ("green" variety i think?)



Side view



No fish so I'm running the CO2 high.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-27-2019, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Things are noticeably growing, might have to do a trim soon.




Rotala sprouting out of bare stems.



Rotala staying pinkish/ red.



Micranthemum Umbrosum showing very green new growth on top of the older browning leaves.



If you're a plant-hoarder like me, don't throw away your bare stems! Just float them and wait a few weeks. Here's Pogostemon Kimberly sprouting from the nodes of a trimmed stem. In another week I'll have 3 new stems or I can just plant this stem horizontally.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-30-2019, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Yesterday I decided it was time for a trim, some of the stem species had started to reach the surface and others like the baby tears were getting very crowded with not a lot of light reaching the lower leaves anymore so I called my lfs, put up a few ads and got some buyers for the trimmings and extras. I just took a bag of L. repens, Rotala, and M. umbrosum and got $20 in store credit which I will use to buy some new species from them, from what they had I'm thinking maybe Ludwigia natans super red, "green tiger lotus" which is actually some kind of Nymphea, or they had some cool Hygrophila species that I don't remember. They don't have the best selection but they have recently gotten a new supplier with a better range of species and it's nice to buy them on credit.

I also have 2 people coming tomorrow to buy $25 worth of stargrass and crypts each plus one or two odds or ends. The cash is actually really helpful considering I lost my job on Sunday. (Don't worry, I honestly wanted to quit and I'm glad to be gone. I'm not in financial trouble but extra money always helps unfortunately.) And I'm also going to call the LFS near the second person to see if they need plants. Always do that if you're going to be driving things around anyway, help spread plants around. And that's really why I do this, not for the money but because I want to help people get good plants. When I took the L. repens to the LFS they already had some "red ludwigia" in the tank that was from Seagrest and mine was just so much more colorful and vibrant than the likely emersed grown florida farm plants. And I told them to charge the same for mine as for the other one, so that the next two people who want Ludwigia will get something that will really do well in their tank and not die and push them out of the hobby, something that will make them happy when they look at their tanks. Okay sorry for the philosophical ramble and lets get some pictures of plants.

Dealing with a bit of a green water and glass problem but the plants are all fine.




Here you can see where I really hacked stuff out



Should probably do a water change today. Anyway thanks for reading!
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-02-2019, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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Had some time for maintenance and putting the new species in today after trimming and selling a bunch yesterday.



The most obvious change is you can see I mowed down the stargrass as I sold a bunch of that. Water is still cloudy which I now think may not be algae at all but bacteria or something because I found a whole bunch of fricking dead wasps or flies floating in the corner, like 10 wasps! So they were just decomposing in there.... Got those out and did a big clean up of dead leaves and duckweed and a water change.



Echinodorous major with crispy new leaves. I think I will put these in my 55 upstairs once they get too big for those 'pots'



Kind of ratty looking Ludwigia natans super red from the store. Tiny and weak stems, here's hoping they grow as well as the L. repens.



A little Green Tiger Nymphea in there.



The new Hygrophila that I may have already forgotten the name of... I think either H. corymbosa 'Parawitota' or corymbosa 'Compact'.. or maybe 'Nachimale'. I will find out eventually.



AR red and L. aromatica mini doing okay, AR leaves arent flat at all but it grows well and has no algae on it. Everything looks worse with cloudy water.

Going to keep water changing daily.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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Still having green water problems. Starting to get rather annoying as I'd like to see the plants in here. Growth I don't think is affected except that color is a bit pale as the plants are getting maybe 50-60% of the available PAR. I now believe I found the culprit, I had apparently failed to tightly assemble my CO2 system and it leaked somewhere because I checked it after the last post and the pressure was at 0, the tank was mostly empty. I don't think this was regulator failure because I did find a loose thread when I took it apart to change tanks. So it's only been a few days back on steady CO2. I think this should return the stability that apparently faltered and triggered this green water, the only other thing I have changed is reducing the light level. Fertilizer regime has been the same.

I've been doing large water changes with excel and vacuuming a lot, the bottom is bare glass and I've pulled up every bit of sediment that I could, I have sifted out all the floating leaves and made sure there are not more bugs dying in it. I'm not sure what to do now. Perhaps green water wont go away on its own? Do I need to go nuclear and get a UV sterilizer to get over this? What if I take all the plants out and do multiple 100% water changes? Could use some help here...

Pic 2 days ago (after water change):



Pic today (after water change), I turned off the LED shoplight yesterday in another attempt to kill the green water:



You can see how green it is but also how well this Limno aromatica mini is growing:



I'd really prefer not to have to do a full blackout as everything is growing so well, the only problem is that I literally can't see the back row of plants from the front.

Last edited by SwampGirl; 12-07-2019 at 05:36 PM. Reason: added info
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 06:13 PM
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How about adding a bunch of floating plants?

Style: Organic soil, sand, gravel, plants, moss, algae, snails, shrimp, small fish
Tech: Fluval Plant 3.0 Nano, Top Fin MF10, Tunze 3161, Neptune Apex EL
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-08-2019, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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How about adding a bunch of floating plants?
Yeah I could do that, god knows I have enough water lettuce to go around. I did turn one of the lights off. I don't honestly think it's a nutrient problem since the tank is so heavily planted that idk what floaters would pick up that all the fast growing stems in here don't. Plus I have been doing huge water changes and not dosing much N after since I know the soil pots are leaking some.

As a plus, it seems to have cleared up some since yesterday. Usually a day after WC it would be pea soup again but I can actually see the back glass this morning.

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