Great layout of plants. That tripartita is nicely used to cover the filter hoses.
Thanks. The tripartita wasn’t planted there. They grow themselves out of the tank
. I thought it would look cool so I leave it there.
Could you comment a bit on your maintenance routine? Substrate vacuuming? How do you trim when stems are too compact next to each other? Uproot a group, trim, and replant?
Your maintenance and husbandry levels are amazing!
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Daily maintenance is mostly removing dead leaves while watching the tank. This is to reduce the organics in the tank. Dead leaves can dissolve very quickly.
Water change is done twice a week. About 80-90% each time.
Substrate vacuuming is done once or twice a month while doing WC. It’s highly recommended. Every time I get red algae (BBA or staghorn algae), I always do more vacuuming and within a few weeks, they’re gone. BBA mostly appear due to too much flow/fluctuation of co2 or too much light, but apparently it is also caused by too much organics. Frequently uprooting plants makes the matter worse. When I see BBA on the hardscape or equipments, but not the plants, I know that the tank needs more substrate cleaning.
Filter cleaning is done every two months or monthly if I have time. This is not recommended in other type of aquarium since it disturbs with the BB colony in the filters. However, in a planted tank, plants remove most of the ammonia. Filter cleaning removes the organics which then reduces the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) of the tank. Since we don’t need a large colony of BBs to chew all the organics waste, there is more oxygen available to the plants and the fishes. This hugely improves fish and plant’s health.
IMO, all the reducing organic waste above is crucial in a high energy system with the canister filters. It’s almost always oxygen limited. If you’re using a sump or running a low energy tank, I think it’s not really that important.
Plants maintenance is done whenever any of the plant groups reaches the surface. First uproot the plant -> remove the bottom -> lightly vacuuming the area -> replant the tops. Leave some space between the groups, like 2 inches/5cm so the group would barely touch each other when they grow out. This helps improving the group-to-group contrast.
Space between the stems within a group is also important. Sometimes it’s for plant health. Touchy plants like Pantanal or macrandra don’t like to be too crowded. The stem in the middle of the group is prone to tip stunting if the neighbor stems out grow it. Sometimes it’s for the visual effect. Depending what kind of texture you want.
Sorry for the wall of text.
Here is a photo of the tank today