60 cm Nature style tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2020, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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Cool 60 cm Nature style tank

Hi everyone,

I am getting back into the hobby after a several year break and am setting up a high tech 60cm tank. The plan is for a densely planted nature style tank.

Equipment:
UNS 60 tank
Kessil A360x LED light
Eheim 2215 with inline Hydor heater
5 lb CO2 tank with GLA reactor
GLA inline diffuser

ADA Powersand with tourmaline BC


UNS Controsoil, 10L, Fine


Hardscape


Hardscape from right side


My plan is to have an aquascape that is viewable from 2 sides, so I decided to do a triangular composition. The wood is pacific driftwood and the rock is Ryuoh.

For plants, the plan is to have a carpet of Eleocharis parvula on the front and right.

The hardscape with be covered with a variety of epiphytes such as:

Microsorum pteropus (trident)
Bucephalandra
Anubias nana (petite)
Fissidens nobilis
Vesicularia (chrismas moss)
Hygrophila pinnatifida (hopefully growing emersed on the protruding driftwood.

Background plants will be Rotala h'ra and green.

Eventual inhabitants will be red cherry shrimp and celestial pearl danios.

Thanks for looking. Any feedback is always appreciated. Right now I am curious what you think of the hardscape layout. I am planning on leaving it for a couple of days to make sure I like it before using glue to secure everything.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2020, 12:43 AM
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FLOORED. Your scape is stunning ALREADY. Can't wait to see what it will look like with water!!
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2020, 12:51 AM
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I like it also. What do you think of the Kessil?
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2020, 01:51 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Taylor and Jeff, I appreciate it.

Hard to say what I think of the Kessil until I see how plants grow under it. I ended up choosing it because of the lack of controllable LED options for freshwater.

I wanted something that could ramp up. I feel like it is less stressful for the livestock when the lights turn on gradually rather than going instantly from 0-100. Especially with an open top tank, I want to avoid anything that could spook the fish and cause them to jump.

I also wanted something with an adjustable color temperature. I have kept reef tanks in the past and definitely prefer lighting with a cooler color temperature. It seems like most lights geared toward freshwater tend to look warmer. So far the color looks pretty good, and I am curious to see how it will look once the tank is planted and filled.

Jeff, I noticed that you are running Kessils on your 120H. Do you have any prior experience growing plants with them, and if so, how are they?
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2020, 01:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex.K View Post
...Jeff, I noticed that you are running Kessils on your 120H. Do you have any prior experience growing plants with them, and if so, how are they?
I've had them for five years and there's no problem growing plants. They work as well as the T5HO's they replaced. I chose them for the same reason as you - rampable, programmable and some control over the color.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-25-2020, 04:40 AM
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Looks really stellar already! I like the plant choices for sure, I think it'll come together nicely!

I think for the scape in going with a triangular composition, you may want to trim or change the angle of the wood that sticks up on the far right? The current piece sticks up almost the same height as the middle piece and gives it more of a square shape. Might also consider shifting everything to the right a bit (though it looks like there may not be room). This will get the dominant, tallest piece of wood closer to 1/3 of the way from the side of the tank to help with aesthetics. Unless you plan on making something else the focal point, but for now my eye is drawn to that big trunk-like structure on the left and then taken nicely across the scape with that flowing, horizontal piece. And I guess looking at it some more, I may suggest adding some smaller twigs since most of the wood is fairly uniform in thickness (although this will get softened up with plants so maybe it's fine).

At any rate, I am already loving the dynamic of the rock with the aggressive, root-like wood structures. So keep it up, you'll have a great "return" tank after your hiatus.

Latest tank setup July 2020
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-25-2020, 04:43 PM
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What a beautiful hardscape composition! It'll definitely look awesome after planting.

I would consider adding some Bolbitis in your epiphyte group. I think they provide some interesting texture, although they can become huge along with H. pinnatifida. Have you thought about adding some Myriophyllum like M. sp. guyana for the background stems? They give a classic "nature style" feel.

Anyways, feel free to ignore the suggestions, lol. I'm sure your tank will end up nicely.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-25-2020, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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Ethan - Thanks for the suggestions! I have some more pieces of driftwood and will play around to see if something else looks better sticking up on the far right. I agree that the current piece might be a bit too large. I am planning on using java fern trident to the right of the large root structure on the left; when it fills in, I think that will end up being a main focal point at the 1/3 mark. That is a good point about some finer twigs, I think I will break up some wood and see if I can add some nice accents.

Joe - Good idea with the bolbitis. I do like that plant and was thinking about adding some, but I am worried that adding too many types of plants to such a small tank will end up making it look too messy and chaotic. I like Myriophyllum and have used it in the past, so this time I am going with some Rotala that I have not grown before.

I am planning on ordering plants today and they should arrive early next week. I will add some more photos once everything is planted.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-02-2020, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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Plants

My plants arrived yesterday and the tank is filled up.

I decided to modify the hardscape a bit and replace the branch that was sticking up on the right side.



Here are some shots of the initial planting. Pardon the heater; my plants arrived at 5PM and I was working on the tank until 1AM, I was too tired to install the inline heater.




A few comments on the planting:

The trident java fern was way bigger than I was expecting. I plan on trimming the large leaves once some smaller ones grow and hopefully by keeping it trimmed, it won't look so out of place.

The Hydrocotyle verticilatta was also huge, the plant was probably a foot tall. I harvested the smallest pieces I could find and scattered them in the foreground. Hopefully sufficient light and trimming will keep the leaves small.

Most plants came from one company, but the two rotalas came from another company and spent a few extra days in the mail. Unfortunately the rotalas arrived in rough shape and I had to trim away a lot of melting tissue. I planted it in the back, but the remains are still way too short to be seen from the front of the tank.



I am trying to dial in the lights and CO2 now. I am planning on running the Kessil at 25% for 6 hours per day to start. That gives me about 70 PAR for the hairgrass in the front of the tank and about 40 on the right side. The stem plants in the back are getting about 50. Hopefully this should be enough for some good growth but not so much that it causes algae.

The Co2 is being injected via a GLA inline diffuser on the filter outflow. My pH was 6.44 before turning on CO2 and I started at 1 bps (bubble per second). 2 hours later the pH had only dropped to 6.25, so I increased the rate to 2 bps. 3 hours after starting CO2 the pH was still only 6.15, so I turned on the lights. Right now at 5 hours and 40 minutes after turning on CO2, I am at pH 6.02. I think tomorrow I will increase the rate even higher. I think I am aiming for a pH drop of around 1 based on my understanding. Does that sound correct? Is a pH of around 5.5 going to be safe for livestock?

Right now water parameters are:
NH4 - 1-2 ppm
NO2 - 0
NO3 - 1-5
KH - 2
GH - 5
TDS - 117 ppm

Planning on daily 30-50% water changes for the first week.

Last edited by Alex.K; 07-02-2020 at 12:03 AM. Reason: Images did not attach correctly
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-02-2020, 01:52 AM
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Looking absolutely stunning! As far as pH, cpd's prefer a mid-range of 7-8. Cherry shrimp same as well, 5.5 is pretty low for any common livestock. Really excited for when your tank is cycled and ready for tank mates!
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-02-2020, 07:41 AM
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tank looks great! nice you did such a thorough planting to start with! The trident is a bit large yeah, I have noticed that plant can vary a lot in size, maybe try getting some elsewhere or even asking about small versions or even look for possible in-vitro availability somewhere.

Cant you place the heater somewhere better, hidden by the wood or plants in the left, maybe lay it horizontal in the center low? Dunno where it is right now it distracts too much! Of course I guess an inline heater would be really the best but I understand if you didn't want to go with one of those (I actually have an intank heater that is quite slim and fits mostly hidden behind hardscape and some tridentfern.

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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-02-2020, 08:45 AM
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This is going to be a great looking tank. To me trident brushing top of water will be spectacular. Get you some hydrocotyle japan and float it hung up in leaves coming up from trident as bright green floating mass. Will provide light shade for fern and Japan should thrive there.
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-02-2020, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Belka - Thank you! I came across this article yesterday which I found interesting (https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/...ater-a-concern ). It has numerous examples of beautiful tanks with healthy livestock despite pH dropping to mid 5's with CO2 injection. I guess we will see how it goes.

Andrew - While shopping for plants I came across many that came in a normal and "mini" version. It was unclear to me if mini just meant the plant you buy is small, or if it stays small in general. I would have purchased the mini trident fern, but it has been out of stock for a while. I will keep an eye on it and maybe order some when I can. I already have an inline heater here, I just have not installed it yet. I can't wait to get the heater out of the tank, it looks terrible!

Dave - Great idea! I have already planted some hydrocotyle japan on the right side of the tank in the mid-ground. There are also some clumps tied to the driftwood near the water surface on the left. I am hoping it will grow emersed with some hygrophila stems sticking out of it for a wabi-kusa sort of look
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Last edited by Alex.K; 07-02-2020 at 07:03 PM. Reason: Forgot to add a link to the article I mentioned
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-02-2020, 07:35 PM
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Nice job on the hardscape.

One of the hardest things I find with hardscape heavy tanks is to not over plant. Once you do that it takes away from the hardscape design you liked in the first place.

You have a good eye, I noticed the same thing with the Trident. I think for a 60p too big in that situation, unless you use it as a pure background plant. Maybe some of the pinnatifida would work there.

If you know your PAR data is good, 6 hrs as you mentioned, even 4-5 is plenty to get things going. With hardscape heavy tanks where you don't have the power of stem fields to soak up organics, water changes, light mgmt and organic removal take on even more importance.

BTW what are your room temps. I've had my epiphyte setup going for over a year, bought an inline heater and never used it.


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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-02-2020, 07:57 PM
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Trident ferns can get really out of hand if you don't keep them trimmed and they'll grow a bit faster than the other varieties, at least in my experience. I read an article many years ago where Amano said it was best to remove all the leaves from a fern and plant only the rhizome. It might help you control its size.
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