Jargonchipmunk's first "scape" pics 04/21 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 119 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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Jargonchipmunk's first "scape" pics 04/21

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)

Tank:

75gallon AGA standard size
Standard prebuilt stand. (the real wood kind, no cardboard here)
Black trim, stand, etc.

Lighting:

4 x 54w T5HO fixture from Catalina w/ moonlights installed.

Substrate:

Mineralized soil substrate purchased from torpedobarb (thanks for doing all the work, man!
Cap of 3M colorquartz

Filtration:

1 x Fluval 404
1 x Magnum 350

Heating:

Hydor 300w inline heater

Co2:

20lb tank
Milwaukee 957 dual guage Reg, solenoid, bubble counter, needle valve
Aqua-medic Inline Reactor 1000

Ferts:

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.

Other randomness:

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!)

Last edited by jargonchipmunk; 04-22-2009 at 08:50 PM.
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post #2 of 119 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 07:21 PM
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[quote=jargonchipmunk;786424]
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. (/quote)

This sounds very similar to what I'm planning to do to my tank on a smaller scale though I have a 37g, I'm also going to use mineralized soil from torpedobarb so I'm anxious to watch yours. Keep us updated with pics please!
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post #3 of 119 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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I'll be posting preliminary pics of certain things (the lights I got, rocks, the stand and handles I picked out, random others) sometime this weekend. More pics will show up as I set up the hardscape once the mineralized soil shows up.
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post #4 of 119 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 09:26 PM
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Sounds like you have your tank more planned out than I have mine. I am sure your will be quite spectacular.


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post #5 of 119 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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snapped some pics of the "unveiling" some people were interested in seeing Catalina's new fixtures.

Here are the boxes of the two fixtures as I found them when I got home. (if you look to the left, you can see the three buckets the 3M colorquartz came in)





Found some... damage to the packaging courtesy of Fed Ex and was getting so mad while I opened the package...





.....until I saw how the guys over at Catalina actually packaged the lights.

Screwed into their own snugly fitting wooden coffins!



And when I say snug... wow. So many screws making sure these puppies didn't move! I have one screwdriver in my apartment and it was taking FOREVER, so....

After a quick little trip to Walmart I got help.



Now I was ready to get into those boxes!

Opened them up and inside the nice wooden boxes was bubble wrap and foam to keep them still. Everything was immaculate, bulbs were fine, not a scratch on them, even after Fed Ex's treatments.



Here's a profile of the bulbs, you can see the moonlights installed down the center.



and... here's a view of the back side where you can see their new "grill" installed in the top for airflow to cool the fixture. From what I hear, this grill helps a lot.



Here's a view of the moonlights lit. The fixture is set on top of an unfilled tank so this is not what they'll look like. just testing them out.



and here is the moonlight dimmer box attached to the moonlight's cord. Very nice touch.



The fixtures are VERY bright, using individual reflectors for each bulb, and having seperate switches and cords for each bank of light (three cords, two switches and a dimmer switch in all) They feel definitely sturdy enough, and I had them come with the hanging bracket pre-installed. Nifty little hole that "grabs" a hanging hook or you can press it down and pull the hook out if you don't want to hang the light and don't want to look at extra stuff on top all the time. I'm very impressed, and glad I went with this company.

Coming soon: The dirt and a hardscape lol


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post #6 of 119 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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I did my first test fill last night. I wasn't really testing the tank so much as all of the inline stuff beneath it. I had the magnum 350 with the inline Co2 reactor, UV sterilizer, and inline heater that I screwed in place and filled 'er up and started the magnum. Had one tiny little leak at one of the hose barbs where I forgot the plumber's tape. Not to fret. I think I'm going to the hardware store to get a bunch of hose clamps just to make sure every fitting is tight.

Other than that one little mishap I was satisfied. Everything seems to be in good working order and ready for the plants once the soil gets here. I promise I'll get pics of the plumbing up sometime soon. Been running around a lot lately and haven't had too much time.

Someday, there might even be plants in it!


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post #7 of 119 (permalink) Old 02-18-2009, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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got my mineralized soil kits in yesterday from Torpedobarb. Looks great and can't wait to try them out. As of right now, everything is basically ready and just waiting on plants. I need to go pick up some hose clamps for some of the connections underneath the stand, and go buy a couple more timers for things and find a way to have all those fastened up off the ground under the stand, but other than those minor things, I'm rearing to go.

I'll probably do some hardscape layout testing this evening or tomorrow, and I'll make sure and take pics as I go, since I'll be laying out the mineralized soil and filling in around stones, using a 3M colorquartz cap, etc and I know there's been a lot of interest in how this soil should be used from some members on this forum.


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post #8 of 119 (permalink) Old 02-18-2009, 07:23 PM
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keep us updated


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post #9 of 119 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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I took some snapshots of equipment, and stuff as well as me fiddling with hardscape last night and photobucket was being a real pain, so I couldn't upload the majority of them.
here's one of the very few pictures from last night that I DID get uploaded.




You can see behind the evil puppy of doom, and beside the cute one the rocks set out on the bed that Jamie was playing with trying to help me out with my hardscape. More on that later...


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post #10 of 119 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 04:51 PM
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I think I totally blanked out for a few minutes, the dog hypnotized me.


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post #11 of 119 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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...good... he's now begun his trek to world domination. I am already under his complete control. We don't even keep people food in the house anymore, it's all either kibbles... or bits.


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post #12 of 119 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 04:58 PM
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Wow I think this'll turn out to be a nice tank!!!

And nice dog

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post #13 of 119 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 11:15 PM
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ok.. I am waiting

75 Gallon Planted Tank.

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post #14 of 119 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 02:34 AM
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I hope it's gonna end up beautiful I am subscribing to this one as I am starting thesame size tank very soon. How is your catalina light?

Ckeck out my photography&travel blog

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post #15 of 119 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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okay... I promised pics.

So... pics it is!


First off we'll start under the stand...

Mag 350



Co2 reactor



UV Sterilizer



There's also an inline 300W heater, and a Fluval 404 on the other side of the stand, and timers blah blah....

Okay. enough of the boring stuff.

Let's learn about dirt! lol


I ordered the mineralized soil kit and got it in recently, so I went to work on that. Torpedobarb (from theplantedtank.net) did all the work mineralizing this stuff for me. I'm just doing the final mix and pour.


Here's the raw mineralized soil. Hard to explain the texture of this stuff. Like grainy DUST. smaller than sand, but very heavy if that makes any sense at all.



Also a bag of powered potter's clay as a binding agent for the soil.



Poured the both into a bucket...



....and began mixing...



notice the mud glove? lol well here's a better look...



... it should end up being about like cake batter in texture, but believe me it does NOT taste like delicious chocolate cake in ANY WAY!



one taste of this stuff and you turn into....




sorry I had to...

enough silliness. more to come in the next post.

stay tuned!


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