new 55gal - my first planted tank journal (56K) - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-27-2008, 02:47 AM Thread Starter
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new 55gal - my first planted tank journal (56K)

Hey everyone, so I decided to keep a journal of my first attempt at a planted tank so I can learn from all of you while I do this. Here are the specs and pictures are below.

Tank setup:
55 gallon
Eheim 2213 filter
Shoplight with 2x T-8 34W (electronic ballast, can ODNO later if necessary)
black gravel
No CO2
No ferts as of yet

Fauna (at the moment):
5 long-fin zebra danios

Flora:
Dwarf sagittaria
Bacopa monnieri
Java moss
(2 not sure about, pictures below)


On to the pics:


Full tank shot:



Left side:


Center:


Right side:



So here are the plants I'd appreciate help ID'ing...

I think this is java fern?



And I think this is a sword of some kind?



Not sure....



Last picture: some algae growth that just started two days ago - it is heavily blanketing my java moss and I'm worried it will choke it off. I'm also starting to see wisps of it on some other plants. I think it is BBA. I am going to eventually get 5 ottos for this tank. Will they eat this?



Thanks for looking everyone, and please - all comments are welcome on both aquascaping and plant IDs, etc. I look forward to sharing this tanks evolution, and its eventual inhabitants with you.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-28-2008, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
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bumpy...

I still can't quite figure out the ID of those plants above. I want to make sure I plant them correctly. For the one I think is a java fern, I want to make sure I don't bury the rhizome...but it doesn't seem to have an obvious one to me. Any help?
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-28-2008, 02:04 AM
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So just regular gravel? Do you have a fertilizer plan yet?

Looks good, when it fills out that will be a nice looking lawn.

My New Re-scaped 56 Gallon Journal~

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My old 56G

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-28-2008, 02:30 AM
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I hope you don't have BBA. It's not fun at all. But as best I can tell, I think you're getting hair algae. Otos won't eat it.

I have the same question regarding the substrate. Based on your description and on the pictures, it appears to be regular aquarium gravel and not anything specifically for plants. If so, I hate to say it, but you'll need to change it to a substrate for plants.

Right now, your plants are being starved. They're not getting any ferts nor any CO2, but it appears they're getting lots of light. That's what's bringing on the algae.

A low tech tank is good (with no ferts or CO2), but you have to keep the light low, as well. Plus, the plants receive nutrients from the substrate for plants.

Here's what I would suggest before you start getting otos.

(1) As much as I know you won't want to do this, you need to replace the substrate with one specifically for plants. Plain gravel isn't a good idea.

(2) Physically remove as much of the algae as you can. At least get the long threads off.

(3) Go to your LFS and buy some Flourish excel. Here's a picture of the bottle you want to look for: http://www.americanaquariumproducts....rishexcel2.jpg Make sure it says "excel" on the bottle because there's a whole line of Flourish products with bottles that look very similar.

(4) Go to a drugstore and buy this syringe. You'll find it in the baby products isle (it's used for baby medicines). Places like Walgreens should have it.

(5) Read the bottle of excel for the "after water change" dosage. Put that amount in the syringe.

(6) Turn off your filter and then squirt the excel directly onto the algae. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then turn your filter back on.

(7) And, finally, reduce your lighting. You can do this by running fewer bulbs when the lights are on, by raising the lights further away from the tank, and reducing the number of hours the lights are turned on. Try 7 hours at the most to start. Then, once you get the algae under control, you can try to lengthen the time slowly.

Flourish excel can kill algae. It's also a replacement for CO2 so it'll be good for your plants while it's working to kill the algae.

Repeat the excel treatment every day, squirting it at different places each time. It won't take long for it to kill the algae. Make sure you do a 50% water change once a week.

I can't remember if excel is harmful to java moss so double check that before squirting it directly at the moss. Maybe someone else can post a message to confirm if its okay or not on java moss.

Oh, and btw, the plant you have labeled as Java Fern appears to be right. I'm not sure of the others. The one you've labeled as sword is not healthy at all, and without any fertilizers or CO2 (or excel), it's not going to do well. So don't get upset if it melts away.

You'll get the hang of it soon. You have a nice start for your first try. And don't forget that algae is always what we all grow the very best at the start so you're well on your way to having a great planted tank!

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-28-2008, 02:39 AM
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I really like the stump, but I don't like the moss on the tip like that. Try something like an Anubias growing up from the bottom to the tip.
As for plant ID's, the first looks like a java fern to me. The rhizome is almost like a small skinny "stick" that the leaves grow off of with roots below. I'll try to get a close up pic of mine in the morning.
Not sure about the other 2 based on the pics.

lol, Complexity ninjad me. Good advice on the Excel. Personally I've never had any luck with the direct squirt method. I just overdose (3-4X the normal dose) the entire tank once and it usually takes care of it.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-28-2008, 03:00 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cah925 View Post
I really like the stump, but I don't like the moss on the tip like that. Try something like an Anubias growing up from the bottom to the tip.
As for plant ID's, the first looks like a java fern to me. The rhizome is almost like a small skinny "stick" that the leaves grow off of with roots below. I'll try to get a close up pic of mine in the morning.
Not sure about the other 2 based on the pics.

lol, Complexity ninjad me. Good advice on the Excel. Personally I've never had any luck with the direct squirt method. I just overdose (3-4X the normal dose) the entire tank once and it usually takes care of it.

Yeah, I agree about the moss placement. For some reason, I put it up there so it would grow faster being closer to the light, then I could move it to where I wanted it - which was exactly where you suggested. I think now I will remove it from there and wrap some of the bottom of the stump with hair net or something to keep it in place until it grows in well enough.


Thanks to both you and Complexity about the Excel method of algae removal. The plan is still for me to do low-tech - with no ferts, but I assume once the algae is gone I can ween off the Excel.

The sword looking plant is definitely in sad shape. The leaves on it were very fragile and the reason that leaf looks so pale is because I realized it wasn't even fully connected to the stem/roots. There are some small processes that may be new leaf growth coming out of the stem/root and I hope they will unfurl and get some light before the stem/roots die themselves.

Thanks for the positive ID on the java fern...yay I got one right . Right now I have not put that in the gravel at all - just kind of placed it in a nook of the stump which is holding the stem in place, so I assume that will be ok and the rhizome will be happy.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-28-2008, 03:04 AM Thread Starter
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Per substrate:

My original goal was to try and grow without any nutritive substrate as a sort of experiment, but now I am more interested in success rather than science so I think I will get in there and put down a layer.

The budget's tight and I'd rather not go for two big bags of the expensive stuff from the LFS. Any shortcuts for the grad students? Maybe something I could find at Home Depot garden center or something like that?
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-28-2008, 03:45 AM
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Try the mineralized soil method. It takes some patience, but it is worth it. Here's one of my tanks that I restarted with this method. I haven't dosed any ferts for three weeks, just light and CO2 and the plants are growing like crazy. I spent a total of $17.50 - $2.50 for 2 bags of soil, $2 clay, $8 dolomite, $5 potash - and rescaped two 40 Breeders and a 5.5 gal.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-28-2008, 03:54 AM
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I'm not much help in the budget department. I think you might get more responses to your substrate question by posting a new thread, asking for suggestions on that one particular subject. Many people use different things so I'm sure some people can give you some ideas.

Low tech is fine. But just remember that plants require nutrients and carbon to grow. Without them, they starve to death just like we do if we don't have any food to eat.

After awhile, your substrate will get a mulm layer from fish excrement and uneaten food. As that works its way down and decomposes, the plants will be able to use that as food. As far as CO2, I'm not sure where it comes from if you don't add it to the tank so someone will need to fill in that gap. I have a tank that I have not dosed ferts or CO2 (not even excel) which has grown okay. You'll be limited in which plants you can grow, but it can work.

And, yes, once your algae issue is fixed, you can stop using excel if you want. However, when you see the reduction of plant growth, you may change your mind.

Hey, cah925, you must be really slow tonight! It took me forever to write that long post. It's really sad when one of my long posts can ninja a person.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-28-2008, 04:06 AM
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Quote:
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Hey, cah925, you must be really slow tonight! It took me forever to write that long post. It's really sad when one of my long posts can ninja a person.
I started to write and got distracted for a few mins. Once I finally posted, you had already beat me. lol
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-28-2008, 04:10 AM
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That's okay. I think we're even now. You ninjad me with your substrate help!

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-11-2008, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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Long overdue update

So I have a lot of updating on this tank. First and foremost, I changed the substrate from regular gravel to SoilMaster Select and got a lot of new plants as well as fish. This almost deserves a new thread, but it's neat to see where it was about a month ago.

*NEW* Tank setup:
55 gallon
Eheim 2213 filter
Shoplight with 2x T-8 34W (electronic ballast, can ODNO later if necessary)
Heater
SoilMaster Select Grey
No CO2
3/8 tsp KNO3, 1/8 tsp KH2PO4, Fe supplement 1x/week

Fauna (at the moment):
10 Harlequin rasboras
5 Long-fin zebra danios
6 Otocinculus
2 German Blue Ram

Flora:
Dwarf sagittaria
Bacopa monnieri
Java fern
Limnophilia sessiflora
Sunset Hygro
Hygro polysperma
Anubias coffeefolia


I'm getting good growth from the stem plants, especially the polysperma and sessiflora as well as lots of runners from the dwarf sag. A couple new leaves are coming off the anubias rhizome, but the ferns and sunset are growing slowly.

Here's the tank, shot from L to R




I'd really like to get the sunset hygro to fill in near the back left corner, but I guess I just have to be patient.
The nasty white pot is going to be wrapped with java moss that I have sitting in tupperware once I get a hair net to tie it down with. Hopefully the rams will like it for spawning.

Speaking of rams, here's the male:



And the female (sorry, not quite as good a shot)


The Harlequins love to play in the eddy currents of my filter outlet. I have it pointed into the back left corner of the tank so that the water swooshes around the corner. They can't get enough of it - its like a roller coaster that they ride the current into a loop, and then swim down to the bottom to have another go at it. Lots of fun to watch.


One thing I'd like some help on is what looks like eggs to me, but I'm not sure who is responsible. They don't look like snail eggs, but I do have a few Ramshorns in here.

Sorry, my crappy camera couldn't zoom in any further without totally losing all semblance of focus. It is a little block of eggs that are in a brownish capsule. They are sitting about halfway up a leaf of the dwarf sags. The capsule is an almost perfect rectangle... maybe 1cm x .25cm. Could it be the danios, harlequins, or ottos?
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-08-2009, 02:44 PM
 
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you mite want to think about getting a better filter or a powerhead cause ive got a 100 GPH on my 10 gallon (I think True SAEs eat hair algae.... but i might be wrong ) o and i have no idea bought the eggs
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