So.... I've been looming over this forum for quite a while, posting this thought or that, and never showing any of my tanks. Reason? I'm kind of a perfectionist in some regards. Not something you want to be when dealing with live things, but oh well.
I've been learning about the growth, fertilizing, etc of plants for a while now and this tank will be my first real step into attempting any sort of "scape." I don't expect to win any awards, but I do think that starting this journal will at the very least allow me to better document changes and become better at developing methods to deal with the problems.
Tank-to-be's specs (shopping list)
75gallon AGA standard size
Standard prebuilt stand. (the real wood kind, no cardboard here)
Black trim, stand, etc.
4 x 54w T5HO fixture from Catalina w/ moonlights installed.
Mineralized soil substrate purchased from torpedobarb (thanks for doing all the work, man!
Cap of 3M colorquartz
1 x Fluval 404
1 x Magnum 350
Hydor 300w inline heater
Milwaukee 957 dual guage Reg, solenoid, bubble counter, needle valve
Aqua-medic Inline Reactor 1000
I'll be doing the mineralized substrate, so from what I hear no ferts should be necessary for a while, but I do have my stock of KNO3, KH2PO4, KSO4, CSM+B, Chelated 10% Fe, CaCl2, etc etc etc to dose any deficiencies that might pop up. In all my previous tanks I dosed EI, so it'll be a big change to think about NOT dosing, but I'll only dose minimally and only when definite deficiencies are encountered.
Hardscape/ aquascape "plan":
I picked up a bunch of nice pieces of "zebra rock" from the rock yard near me for cheap, and I plan on lining that up in the tank to create a sort of "canyon" lined "river" of sorts. Hard to explain, but it'll leave me with an open foreground, and a winded river going through to the rear of the tank, with the rock lining the sides. This will help me keep a big difference in substrate depths from foreground to back, and keep the mineralized soil in the rear of the tank.
I plan on using UG as a foreground, and this plant is at home with an inert substrate from what I hear, so I don't want mineralized soil in front of the tank. I might even use an acrylic strip behind the rocks to permanently seal out the soil from the foreground. My worry here is that I want to use Downoi in with the UG to break up the river a bit around some small accent rocks I want to use in the middle of the river. (sort of like water splashing up around rocks in the rapids) I don't know if Downoi will thrive in the inert substrate like UG will. Hopefully there will be enough nutrients that escape into the water column to help this plant along. Otherwise, I'll have to find a more "creative" way to allow this plant to grow there.
Behind the rock canyon will be thick "bushes" of different rotalas to show off their colors (if I can get them to color up) and stargrass in front of them if it looks good. (I LOVE stargrass lol so I hope it looks good there) In front of the stargrass, just where the background meets the rockwall, I might lay some weeping moss or something to break up the line between rock and plant background. (or maybe needle leaf java fern "mini" if there's such a thing)
These plans are definitely subject to change (except the hardscape and the UG foreground, as once I put the 3M colorquartz foreground in without the soil underneath, I'm kind of stuck picking a plant that doesn't like minerals in its soil, and that's about the only one I can think of lol.
The Fluval 404 will be the main filtration for this tank, while the Magnum 350 will be used to run most of the inline things. (heater, UVS, Co2 reactor) I like the magnum because I can put in the Micron powder to clear up the tank and take pics, or have company and show off, and the stock tubing on the 350 is the same size as the heater, uvs and reactor's fittings. I have an SMS 122 controller, but I don't think I'll use it. I'll probably sell it instead lol. Last few tanks I haven't used it but a lot of people really like having a controller on their tanks. I'm not one of those people. Who knows I might change my mind just to show off... but I doubt it.
Tank will be open top. I ordered the suspension kit from Catalina to hang the lights.
The stand was "oak" when I got it and I can't stand oak finishes on tanks or stands, so I sanded it all down and painted it a nice semi-gloss black. I even went out and found some awesome cabinet door handles to install. I'll put pictures of those up as well later.
Thanks for reading. Stay tuned. (soil is still on its way so no fill yet, but soon!)