dekstr's 20g high - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-21-2007, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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dekstr's 20g high

September:

Today:


First tank ever, originally just wanted to be fish-only, but got some random plants.

Starting: sandblasting sand, driftwood piece from Hong Kong trip (per piece, $20 HKD = $3 CDN = $3 USD), stock 18" 15w T8 lighting
Plants: cabomba caroliniana, hygrophila polysperma, mondo grass (petsmart girl tricked me, once I got home, found out mondo grass not true aquatic plant)

Note how puny the hygro was because I just planted the entire bunch together.

Since I got tricked and lost $7 from the mondo grass, I started researching about aquatic plants so the next time I would know what to get. Soon I stumble upon PTF and the hobby begins!

Changes: Took out the cabomba cause it was too messy and took over about 50% of the tank in one month, loose thin leaves everywhere, clogging the filter intake, and it started dying with limited lighting. Obviously the mondo grass had to go, started turning the sand around its rooted portion into dirty grey. Upgraded heating from unadjustable 25w to Eheim jager 75w, much better temperature control now. DIY CO2, Flourite Black above original sand layer, rearranged driftwood, added more sand to right-front corner. I've done about 3 trimmings already (each time cut hygro in half, net out half of duckweed minor). Look at how fast the hygro is growing! Upgraded lighting by adding two more 18" 15w T8s. Arranged all 3 tubes in an ugly wooden canopy.

Plants: Hygrophila polysperma, Hygrophila corymbosa, Vesicularia dubyana, Microsorum pteropus, Salvinia cucullata, Spirodela polyrhiza (less), Eleocharis parvula

Future changes: More low maintenance plants, increase fish stock. Few water changes, possibly remove DIY CO2, upgrade lighting with new reflectors, new canopy, go open top with chicken plastic grates.
Goal: low-tech with high lighting, no CO2, no water changes by checking nitrates, nitrite, ammonia, pH every week, GH and KH too. Limited dry-dosing of trace, KNO3, KH2PO4. Feed once or twice a day. Skip a feeding day occasionally.

If you wanted to know what my background is... it's a black garbage bag cut and taped. You probably didn't notice the difference! Recently bought a 55g, going to be low-tech as well, aiming for no water changes, heavily planted, no CO2, high lighting.

Also, see video of tank when it was early November.

Last edited by dekstr; 11-30-2007 at 09:33 AM.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-21-2007, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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More pictures: Sorry the aquarium is near the backyard, so lots of reflection. You can make out my camera!







The piece of awkward looking rotting stem was originally a lettuce leaf for my 2 otos. Didn't get any decent shots of fish on left side of tank.

Update: Here's a video on divx since it's higher quality than youtube. Also with some music to keep it less boring.

http://stage6.divx.com/user/dekstr/video/1895059/20g

Last edited by dekstr; 11-27-2007 at 03:25 AM.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-01-2007, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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Okay I finally got a time where nobody else was in the house during dark hours--thus no external light.

Turned off all the lights, and also the fluorescent at the front.

Took out the sponge filter because I needed to make room for more plants lol.





New plants I got today:
Sunset hygro and blyxa japonica.

Also, new plants since last photo:
- dwarf sagitarria
- vallisneria (not sure if it's Italian or American)
- potted coffee anubia (not in picture, in other tank because out of surface area as you can see).

Right now, I'm just stuffing as many plants as I can in preparation of the 55g upgrade. I like the random aquascape though--so I might just replicate the same thing in the new tank.

There's a dwarf hairgrass grid on the bottom right because I'm nursing it for trade with school friend.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2007, 01:34 AM
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All your tanks look great! I'm surprised they're growing so well, when the water looks like it has a lot of tannins???

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"Brawndo's got what plants crave... it's got electrolytes"
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2007, 02:29 AM Thread Starter
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Yup I use peat filtration with peat moss from Home Depot. I don't mind it though.

Mostly the hygro grows really fast.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2007, 03:12 AM
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What's is that plant in the last pic, centered, in front of the hygro? Green temple?

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2007, 05:26 AM Thread Starter
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Umm found it too hard to write in words, not sure which one you're talking about.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2007, 05:56 AM
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Giant hygro, that's the one lol thanks!

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2007, 12:01 PM
 
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I kinda like it with the heavy tanin look, it looks natural. Nice plant growth, the tank is coming right along !
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2007, 02:09 PM
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Just curious, why u are using peat in your filter?

Ehfipimp #273 ( Eheim Classic: 2260, 2217, Eheim Ecco: 2236, 2232 ) Fluval FX5

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2007, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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At first I got a lot of tannins from the driftwood, but after some WCs it disappeared. So I started using peat filtration to get the effect.

It softens the water, lowers pH from about 7.5 to 7.0 now that I don't use CO2. With CO2 it goes to somewhere between 6.5 - 7.0.
Plus I'm going for the south american blackwater biotope, so my fish will be more comfortable living closer to their natural habitat.

Edit: I forgot that there was one more plant I bought yesterday. It's brazillian microsword. It looked so much like the blyxa that I thought either I accidently bought two bunches or the LFS employee took two of them for me. I planted it along with the blyxa thinking it was the same thing. Now that I look closer, they're actually different. So nw I have a foreground of dwarfhairgrass, blyxa, microsword and one stem of long, skinny glosso.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-03-2007, 06:11 AM Thread Starter
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Forgot to reply to the other posts :

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cohazard View Post
Giant hygro, that's the one lol thanks!
NP lol.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck View Post
I kinda like it with the heavy tanin look, it looks natural. Nice plant growth, the tank is coming right along !
Thanks! I had tons of algae initially for the first month, then the plants took over, which meant goodbye to algae. I still have brown tufts on the driftwood--not sure what it is, I just leave it alone and cherry shrimps / otos occasionally pick at it.

I let the tank go through its phases without really bothering to nitpick at it, just trimmings whenever the plants get too long--I even took out the CO2 a few weeks ago to see what would happen. The plants are still going crazy, albeit a bit slower.

I just noticed that the tank looks so dark compared to the other tanks I've seen around here.

Probably because of lighting choice and tannin build up. I haven't done a water change in one month or so, other than top-offs. Combined with only 45w lighting (two of the 15w's are Philips 2700k aquarium plant tubes, and the 3rd is a standard aquarium tube from six, seven years ago), it's not like most tanks with 6700k - 10000k range in lighting.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-03-2007, 08:37 AM
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as long as your rummy nose and rcs like it, some black water effect is fine.


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