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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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a Newbies 1st Year (56K warning)

Wow - what a year! A year ago this month I joined Planted Tank. What an adventure it has been!


BACKGROUND
I suppose I'm pretty typical. I had a freshwater fish tank that I decided to put some plants in. So I got some plants at the LFS. And I got some extra fish, because plants eat the fish poop right? So you can get more fish! Or so went the thinking.

Over the next few weeks some withered, some died, and some just kinda sat there. And of course I had green water. Time to seek help, advice and information. It was in that journey that I discovered The Planted Tank.

[Rant On]
This place has been fantastic! You all should take credit for making this a great source of information for keeping planted tanks. But it's also more than that. It's a place to ask opinions, a place to share funny stories about your tank, and a place to get an understanding shoulder to cry on when something bad happens to your tank. I know.

So you all need to give yourselves a pat on the back for making this the wonderful virtual community that it is.
[Rant off]


BLAMING THE GUILTY
Many, many people have been helpful for me as I struggled to get beyond dying plants and green water to a vibrant and healthy tank. Too many to name here. But for significant help I would especially like to thank the following:
anonapersona
Aphyosemion
bastalker
Betowess
bharada
BlueRam
bshuff
Buck
corigan
Dwarfpufferfish
eums
FISA
GDominy
Georgiadawgger
greenmiddlefinger
GulfCoastAquarian
gw11ucb
Hop
Ibn
IUnknown
Jackfrost
jhoetzl
John P.
ksand
m.lemay
malkore
Marc
Momotaro
plantbrain
Rex Grigg
Rolo
RoseHawke
SCMurphy
shalu
Silent Running
Wasserpest
WfxXx
zapus
Thank you all for your help, support, and sometimes even more important; your sense of humor. I just I hope I can return the favor.



THE TANK
It's all about the tank right? My tank has gone through some evolution.
1) Keeping anything alive. Any plant at all.
2) Making plants GROW!
3) Pseudo-arranged for attractiveness.
4) Aquascaped, if poorly.
5) Aquascaped, but compromised in order to keep sample plants that I've been successful with just in case I want them for a larger tank.
6) Waiting for teardown. The current state as I plan to cannibalize the plumbing for a larger tank, currently under construction.

THE PICS from YEAR 1
So I'll trade some pictures below for my typical 1,000 words...

The beginning, where I knew that I needed help! 1 Year ago this month. Pretty sad huh?





After the green water battle.





Moving into a time where things are actually growing!





Trying out cool new stuff, like riccia.





Turning into a real planted tank! Yahoo!





Deciding the tank actually looks good enough to merit a stand, and being moved into the family room!





A brief and wholly unsuccessful try at A. madagascariensis





One of my many buddies that were taken out by a big a** shrimp. Different thread on that...





A brief and wholly unsuccessful try at R. wallichii. The fish loved it!





The tank today. Now that it's mature enough to be 'scaped, I'm not doing it hard-core as it is really now tank to hold specimens I want to move to a new, larger tank. The A. reineckii is too tall, but I want to grow it out. The background is a bit bare in the middle as is the transitional area in the midground under the Java fern. I stuck a few stems of Cabomba and a bit of Ludwigia repens in there to cover the gap left by some E. stellata I just had to rip out. Marcel sent it to me about a month ago, and my fish immediately took to ripping it to shreds. Every day's an adventure!





And it's about as crowded in my stand as it can get. There's a shelf of electronics (timers, x10 controller, power strips) above what the picture shows. Couldn't fit that in the pic. To the left the peristaltic dosing pump is just visible. Also hiding in the background is the PVC DIY diffuser behind the Ecco. And the DIY in-line pH probe holder is hiding behind the Hydor heater. The in-line temp probe is completely invisible. Water flows out the tank through a glass lily (from IUnknown!), goes though an in-line temp probe, to the in-line pH probe, to the Eheim Ecco, to the turbo twist UV, to the DIY CO2 diffuser, to the Hydor heater, to the white in-line PVC fert injector (fed from the pump) and finally back to the tank, back out a lily pipe.

Like I said. Crowded - barely room for fish food!

Stand1



I've done what I could to create something that will look nice in the family room. Hopefully alive, growing, and attractive.




As you can see, there's room for something bigger behind the couch where my 20g is. And I'm building that now. With your help. Even though the first tank is still a work in progress, and I've got sooooo much more to learn. But what is there, I could not have done at all without your help.

Thanks again! It's been a great year!

Steve - 33g reef and a 180g planted in need of a re-scape.

Last edited by scolley; 04-04-2005 at 07:48 PM.
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 12:49 AM
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Great Post!!! Thanks for sharing......you must be so proud when you look at your first pic and then look in your living room!!!
jB
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks JB. But "proud" is not the right word. Happy is maybe a better one. There are soooo many things that I've learned on this forum, that it's hard to be proud. But I have been trying real hard to pay attention to what people are trying to teach.

To some extent or another, I suppose we are all students, engaged in trying to teach each other.

Steve - 33g reef and a 180g planted in need of a re-scape.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 01:58 AM
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A Newbies 1st Year

Happy Anniversary Steve!!!

I can't wait to get where you are. Being still in the "simply grateful the things aren't DYING" phase myself! Thanks for sharing the evolution of your tank - that is exactly what I am shooting for and with all the help I have received I am confident I will get there too!

This forum is a goldmine!

Kathy
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Kathy. Don't worry. You'll get there! But your plight is exactly why I wanted to post this. While my tank is far from perfect (I've got a list and some of the tanks I see here evokes real humility), it does at least help photo document a story of going from being really planted tank ignorant, with a really, really sad tank, to something that's not so bad.

But it took a year. And it's still a work in progress, and there's much still to learn. And it has been work. But more important - it was fun, and it can be done!

Steve - 33g reef and a 180g planted in need of a re-scape.

Last edited by scolley; 04-04-2005 at 10:27 AM.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 02:26 AM
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It is great to see a series of tank pictures, starting with plants stuck into gravel, up to a beautfully scaped jewel, worthy of the living room. I am really looking forward to your next tank...
I went through similar things, trying plants that were quickly eaten or slowly withered away. Fortunately there are still many that grow and make up that gorgeous aquascape.
You'll have a lot of fun with a large tank. Just make sure your family understands how much time it takes to get it all set up and keep it maintained.
Uhm... what kind of shrimp takes out cichlids?


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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest
Uhm... what kind of shrimp takes out cichlids?
Believe it my friend. Sad, unbelievable, and true! Here's the thread that document's the whole sorted tale.

PS - for those of you that provided the moral support during that "incident" I still appreciate it. I was bummed.

Steve - 33g reef and a 180g planted in need of a re-scape.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 03:20 AM
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Oh, a lobster!

Well, there are always surprises along the way.

Planted tanks are fun.


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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 03:25 AM
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Wow really nice growth between the time frames. It looks really nice in your living room! Is this a 20g?
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 03:40 AM
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Great journey. Thanks for taking us along!!
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 07:57 AM
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Lovely tank Steve, thanks for sharing your experiences.


Eheim Pimp #121

80 litre "Planted" tank
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 08:22 AM
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cant wait to see what happens in this next year
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 03:21 PM
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Nice progressions

Looking at the last pic, it does need one more step - 6ft tank
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 04:01 PM
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Great anthology! It's amazing what a year yields, isn't it? I'm getting pretty close, too. One of these months I'll actually take some new pictures!

Looking great. Only better things to come with all the wisdom you've gained.

Oh, & a big tank will look awesome in that spot.

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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks folks. I'd kind of planned on not posting much in the way of tank pics until I hit the 1 yr mark because I knew I was getting pics all along the way. Figured a progression might be of interest to other people just starting out.

If you look at the first and last pics, unless you have some experience, I assume it would take some imagination to assume they are the same tank, looked after by the same person. No radical changes and no immediate miracles. Just keep up the incremental improvements and in a reasonable period of time you can have something that's not so bad. Even if it does start out a bit scary.

I suppose another moral of the story is that if you have no planted tank experience, and you are looking for immediate gratification, you might want to explore other hobby alternatives. After all, a year is a year.

Steve - 33g reef and a 180g planted in need of a re-scape.
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