A study of the Hoh Rainforest 1 (Updated 12.05.08) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-16-2008, 03:25 AM Thread Starter
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A study of the Hoh Rainforest 1 (Updated 12.05.08)

Hello folks! It feels like it's been forever since I talked about my own tanks here. So much can happen in the span of three years...

I apologize now for the text-rich first post. Pictures will soon be forthcoming, I promise.

I'd like to give a big "HELLO!" to all the forumeisters who were kind enough to shoot the roots with me before my life turned upside down. I'd also like to give a greetings and salutations to anyone visiting my new threads who I have yet to be introduced to. I'm looking forward to getting to know all of you and to enjoying many hours talking about our mutual hobby.

For the past few years I've been cut down to one or two planted tanks that I tried halfheartedly to maintain properly. In the end the only one to have any sort of long term success and stability was a 75g lit by 4x65w PC, with CO2 injection, and a very rich Flourite substrate. The poor thing only got fertilization every once in a blue moon and water changes once every four to six months. The Anubias spp. and Nymphaea zhenkeri did really well and eventually dominated the tank. That was pretty much it for two and a half years.

For the past half-year I haven't had any tanks up and have been jonesing pretty bad.

After having been out of the high tech end of the hobby for so long I had to think long and hard about how I wanted to restart it now that I've got a good job and a fiancee who's been on my case to get the tanks up and going. With all the new advances, new species, and improved availability of aquascaping products I thought it would be best if I went back to basics and re-tread the path I'd been walking when I needed to step back. This all leads me to the present day and the topic of this thread, my Rainforest tank #1 (and #2 in a different thread).

After thinking about the materials I had at hand, where the tanks were going to be, and what the decoration of my apartment was going to be like I decided to focus on the basics of Nature Aquarium. I grew up in Western Washington state and have always found myself at the same end point when I think about what sort of Nature Aquarium I would want to do when I did one. Invariably my mind conjures memories of the lush rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula, especially the Hoh National Rainforest. That became the central theme from which I would draw my aquascapes.

This tank, #1, is my "low light" tank that is going to be dominated by green stems, mosses, ferns, and creeping ground cover like Ranunculus spp. and Hydrocotyle spp. Pogostemon helferi is going to be an anchor species meant to imitate the many ferns that dominate the forest floor. This particular tank is going to be a major challenge for me. In real life nearly every surface of the ground and trees is covered with moss if there's not already something else growing there. I've never been able to successfully grow aquatic mosses for any length of time. Hopefully I'll be able to break that streak with this setup.

Ok, enough talk, here are the stats. The first pics will be up tomorrow (Thursday), I promise. My plants are coming in on Friday so the really good stuff will be online Friday night and Saturday.

<edit>This is my first time ever using ADA substrates. It's going to be an interesting journey. Any experienced input is welcome and appreciated. </edit>

I've never regretted over engineering a system, but often regretted under engineering one.
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Last edited by Phil Edwards; 12-05-2008 at 09:06 PM.
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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-16-2008, 03:31 AM
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Looking forward to this tank

Eheim Classic 2213
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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-16-2008, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
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Tank: AGA 75g with black painted egg-crate and spray foam background. The backing will be used to attach epiphytes and mosses to in the future, as needed to fill in gaps.

Lighting: 6x 55w PC retrofits from AH Supply. (That's why low light was in quotes earlier).

CO2: 5lb with Rhinox diffusor.

Filtration: Eheim Pro II

Substrate: ADA Power Sand Special "M" and Amazonia.

Hardscape: Lots of manzanita wood from Jake, aka "Badcopnofishtank". He sent me two VERY nice and quite generous assortments of wood. No rocks unless they've got something attached to them. EVERYTHING is going to be covered in moss or epiphytes of some sort.

Fertilization: Dry chemical supplimentation.

I've never regretted over engineering a system, but often regretted under engineering one.
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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-16-2008, 03:36 AM Thread Starter
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How do you get a red username?

Looking forward to this tank
I'm not sure, maybe because I've been a member so long? Its not because I'm a posting fiend, that's for sure.

I've never regretted over engineering a system, but often regretted under engineering one.
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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-16-2008, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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The obligatory ADA product show-off shot. That's four bags of Amazonia and one bag of Power Sand Special.



Power Sand in:



Aaaaand all the substrate:



The filter intake is behind the baffle on the right side, hence the slight slope. I'm glad it's going to be obscured by the plants, my OCD is getting to me knowing that I'm starting the tank with an uneven substrate. Silly, I know but neurotic perfectionism is what it is.

Planting pictures to come tomorrow!

I've never regretted over engineering a system, but often regretted under engineering one.
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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-16-2008, 04:12 PM
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How do you get a red username?

Looking forward to this tank
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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-17-2008, 01:10 AM
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plant list please! the background is awesome.


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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-19-2008, 04:29 AM Thread Starter
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I had a wonderful surprise waiting for me when I got home on Thursday. My plant shipment had come in a day early! There was much scrambling around Thursday night getting the filters, CO2, and hardscape installed so I could concentrate on prepping and planting on Friday.

As soon as I got home from work on Friday I set to getting the rest of the plants put in the tank. All in all I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I'll have the plant list and livestock list after the photos. We all know it's all about the pics!

You'll have to pardon the crappy photo quality. I had to use one of the field cameras from work and it's been beat up pretty badly.

The hardscape pallete:


The stems:


Full Tank Shot, 10.18.08 12:30am


Left Side 10.18.08


Right Side 10.18.08


Oblique Shot 10.18.08

I've never regretted over engineering a system, but often regretted under engineering one.
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post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-19-2008, 04:40 AM Thread Starter
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Plant List:

Anubias barteri v. nana
Anubias barteri v. nana "petite"
Bolbitis heudelotii
Microsorium pteropus
Vesicularia dubyana
Cryptocoryne wendtii "Green"
Cryptocoryne wendtii "Red"
Blyxa japonica
Limnophila aromatica
Hygrophila balsamica
Hygrophila corymbosa "angustifolia"
Hygrophila difformis
Ludwigia arcuata
Rotala sp. "nanjenshan"
Potamogeton gayii
Pogostemon stellata "Downoi"
Valisneria nana
Heternathera zosterofilia
Didiplis diandre
Hemianthus callitrichoides



Planned fish list:

Cardinal Tetra
Emperor Tetra (The things men do for their women! )
Pygmy Cory
Ottocinclus
Blue Ram
Amano Shrimp
Wood Shrimp

I've never regretted over engineering a system, but often regretted under engineering one.
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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-20-2008, 05:32 AM
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looking nice
will look much better when they start growing

Regards
Asim


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post #11 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-20-2008, 12:42 PM
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Phil,

I like the hardscape! This should grow in real nice. Not sure if I would consider 6x 55w PC low light though...he he.

P.S.No flash when taking the tank shots may help it a bit!


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post #12 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-20-2008, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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Phil,

I like the hardscape! This should grow in real nice. Not sure if I would consider 6x 55w PC low light though...he he.

P.S.No flash when taking the tank shots may help it a bit!
Thank you for the compliment, I'm quite proud of the woodwork. The right grouping is just slightly too far to the left to make the focal points as strong as possible; but, given the space I had in the tank it's the best it could be. The rest is going to depend on my ability to shape the plants.

What I'm looking forward to most is seeing the ferns grow in. There's a bunch of Bolbitis and Java Fern tied down among all that moss. When they start growing they're going to change the tenor of the whole 'scape.

Hahaha, yeah, 330 watts of light certainly isn't low light, but compared to the 500w of halide over the 90g it's low(er) light. The previous incarnation of this tank had one of those Coralife fixtures over it and the coverage was lackluster for the amount of light it put off. This time around I wanted to make sure I had complete coverage and that required a lot of light.

Yeah, no flash would have been nice. I took a few pics without it but they didn't turn out as good, even with the bright spot in the middle of that one. Like I said, I had to use a crappy camera. The Mrs-to-be has our good one with her right now and she's out of town for a while visiting family.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asimkhatri
looking nice
will look much better when they start growing
Thank you, I think it will too. It's been a while since I've done an aquarium like this and I want to make sure I document the whole process so I haven't something to refer to later on. I'm very curious to see how things are different than my previous aquariums now that this one's using Aquasoil.

Kind regards,
Phil

I've never regretted over engineering a system, but often regretted under engineering one.
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post #13 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-18-2008, 05:41 AM
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looking good
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post #14 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-18-2008, 12:42 PM
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Updates? (:


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post #15 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-21-2008, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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It's an algae farm at the moment. The plants are growing really well but so are the algae. The dominant alga is likely Spirulina. I blame my fear of killing off the shrimp and dosing when I shouldn't have for the algae. My tweaking with the hardware basically reduced CO2 diffusion and circulation to the point where it inhibited plant growth enough to allow algae to get a hold. Apparantly supplimenting a tank with ADA substrates with N and P is a bad thing too.

I was so afraid of killing the shrimp I put in there that I was malnurishing the plants. *sigh* I've got one shot from last week I'll post up, but it doesn't reflect recent growth.


Ironically, my 90g under 500w of halide is doing REALLY well, as is the 20g w/ADA substrate that I haven't been fertilizing. I've learned that lesson well.

I've never regretted over engineering a system, but often regretted under engineering one.
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