Bl00dworm's 90 gallon first dirted low-tech: The first 8 weeks (56K) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-28-2012, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Bl00dworm's 90 gallon first dirted low-tech: The first 8 weeks (56K)

After being an avid reader of this forum for quite some time, I've finally got around to posting a summary of the first 8 weeks of my first attempt to establish a low maintenance, dirt substrate planted aquarium.

Tank: 48 x 18 x 24 (90 gallon)
Lighting: 2 x 54W T5HO, 7 hour photoperiod with a break
Substrate: Mineralised organic topsoil capped with pool filter sand
CO2: None
Ferts
: None, but recently added some DIY osmocote root tabs
Filtration: Eheim 2215 x 2
Livestock: Pearl gouramis, platies, neons, peppered cory's, siamese algae eaters, otos
Foreground: Chain sword, micro sword, crypts
Midground: Java fern, amazon sword, bacopa, anubia,
Background: Corkscrew val, water sprite, hygro. polysperma, ambulia?
Chemistry: 7.4 (pH), 0 (NH3/NH4), 0 ppm (NO2), 5-10 ppm (NO3), 4 (KH), 4 (GH)

Week 1 - Image is straight after planting. Only running a single 2215. 6 hour photoperiod.



Week 2 - Major cloudiness over the first week or two requiring 50% water changes every few days. Low ammonia, no nitrates. 7 hour photoperiod.



Week 3 - Added some water lettuce to soak up any excess nutrients from submerged soil. Bacopa and Val not going well. Upped photoperiod to 8 hours. Tank cycled, added neons (x20) and SAEs (x2)



Week 4 - Added otos (x2). No algae problems, very minor brown and thread algae. Runners on chain swords, emersed growth dying off. Cloudiness no longer a major issue, putting it down to a bacterial bloom.



Week 5 - No camera! First signs of nutrient deficiencies appearing in chain swords. Bacopa and val still melting. Reduced the frequency of water changes, as nitrates are barely above zero.

Week 6 - Added pearl gouramis (x6). Water sprite, hygro, crypts, lilaeopsis all growing.



Week 7 - Added DIY gel capped osmocote root tabs for swords. Nitrates now reading 5-10ppm with increased fishload and reduced waterchanges.



Week 8 - Added platy (x3), peppered cory (x4). Removed water lettuce, reduced photoperiod back to 7 hours. Added 2nd eheim 2215 as I had visible particles in the water column. First major prune. Tank starting to take shape, but still not happy with left hand side due to the val and bacopa failure. Temporarily added watersprite to LHS. Too early to tell if higher nitrates and osmocote have affected the swords.




All in all, I expected more issues in the first two months especially the presence of more algae and ammonia spikes, both of which I've managed to avoid so far.

I'm open to suggestions for the aquascape on the LHS and ideas on why I've had trouble with the bacopa and corkscrew val.

For those interested in a whole lot more detail pls check out my blog which I'm updating regularly. I'll post an update periodically on here.

Cheers
Steven


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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-28-2012, 09:28 PM
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Beautiful scape, might not have had enough nutrients in the tank for the failed plants possibly. This will look fantastic grown in.


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-28-2012, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2in10 View Post
Beautiful scape, might not have had enough nutrients in the tank for the failed plants possibly. This will look fantastic grown in.
Thanks 2in10, your tank is an inspiration! After browsing your journal, I'm now thinking that a shade of red somewhere on the left hand side would be a good addition to my scape. Possibly ludwigia rupens.

I think you're right about the nutrients, I reckon it's either that or my soft water was too much of a shock.

Cheers
Steven


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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-28-2012, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bl00dworm View Post
Thanks 2in10, your tank is an inspiration! After browsing your journal, I'm now thinking that a shade of red somewhere on the left hand side would be a good addition to my scape. Possibly ludwigia rupens.

I think you're right about the nutrients, I reckon it's either that or my soft water was too much of a shock.
Thanks, you may be right about the shock. Definitely red would add to your tank.


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-03-2012, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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Here's a week 12 update on my 90 gallon low tech.

Scape is starting to grow out well, albeit with pretty slow growth in the foreground. Swords and crypts have responded well to osmocote root tabs. I've added regular 'thin' val to the LHS which has established itself well. Water parameters are stable and within target ranges (nitrates 10-15, gH=6, KH=5). No algae to speak of. Not dosing any ferts. Water changes are monthly and are now no more than 5% of total volume.

Have recently suffered some java fern melt on the plants that receive less light. Starts off as holes in the leaves then the whole leaf melts away to nothing. From what I can gather this occassionally happens, but new growth should reappear.

I'm also perplexed as to why the 'thin' val is growing fine, but the 'corkscrew' variety I placed in the same location upon setup has melted and been dormant since the initial plant-out. I'm putting it down to local source versus mail order, unless someone out there has had similar issues?


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Steven


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-03-2012, 02:26 AM
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Tank is looking great, local versus mail order is a definite possibility for the melt of the Vals.


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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Here's a week 18 (day 122) update on my low tech.



I managed to spawn a pair of german blue rams in here last week, but unfortunately the parents ate the spawn and I lost the male a few weeks later after not eating With one female remaining I think I'll get another 2 pairs as I love these fish!

Tank is still in the process of growing out. DIY osmocote ferts have made a big difference to the swords which have put on quite a bit of growth since the last update. Java fern has not come back after melting, but the addition of some epsom salts seems to have stopped the worst of the melt on what remains. No regular dosing of water column. Light period is 7.5 hours a day with a 4 hour siesta.

Pretty happy with the scape, although the wisteria is starting to dominate a bit too much for my liking. Still unsure of the best option for a red plant as a feature, which will do ok without CO2 and water column ferts.

Cheers
Steven


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-21-2013, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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Bl00dworm's 90 gallon first dirted low-tech: The first 8 weeks (56K)

Here's a week 56 pic of the same tank. It's suffered from neglect for a while but will get some TLC and a minor rescape soon.

For some reason the swords in the centre reached the top of the tank probably around 30 weeks, but are now only half the height. Suspect it's nutrient and substrate related?

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Cheers
Steven


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-21-2013, 04:29 PM
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Looks very nice. I too am a fellow low-tech guy; dirt substrate, no CO2 and minimal fert dosing.

Nicholas

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-21-2013, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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Bl00dworm's 90 gallon first dirted low-tech: The first 8 weeks (56K)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marconis View Post
Looks very nice. I too am a fellow low-tech guy; dirt substrate, no CO2 and minimal fert dosing.
Thanks! I'm a low tech convert, especially with the kind of results many of us here on this forum are producing.

Cheers
Steven


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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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Bl00dworm's 90 gallon first dirted low-tech: The first 8 weeks (56K)

Minor rescape with addition of red tiger lotus on LHS, rearrangement of RHS and additional chain swords and crypts for foreground .

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Cheers
Steven


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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 02:29 PM
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The tank looks great. It has truly come a long way.


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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-30-2013, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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Bl00dworm's 90 gallon first dirted low-tech: The first 8 weeks (56K)

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishboy199413 View Post
The tank looks great. It has truly come a long way.
Thanks. From humble beginnings where I dreaded a muddy mess, I'm now a low tech, dirt convert. Now to convince my wife that we need a second tank....

Cheers
Steven


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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-14-2013, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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Bl00dworm's 90 gallon first dirted low-tech: The first 8 weeks (56K)

A few pics of the bristlenose fry in the driftwood on the LHS

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Cheers
Steven


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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-14-2013, 03:55 PM
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What an amazing tank. I always like seeing these incredible low tech tanks, hopefully mine can be this nice someday!
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