10 years of stumbling .. - Page 3 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #31 of 194 (permalink) Old 09-01-2017, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisX View Post
Nice journal!

What is amazing to me is that you stayed with the same tank all these years.
Hi ChrisX,

Yea! I dunno, I guess I get sentimental with stuff. I'd like to think that there's still descendants of the first beneficial bacteria that populated this tank in 2007! To my chagrin, though, there's definitely remainders of that blue gravel in my tank to this day. I'm slowly picking them out every now and then. If the Doctor can punch through azbantium over billions of years, I figure I could at least pick out my stupid blue gravel!

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Originally Posted by JJ09 View Post
Oh, that is beautiful. I thought the java fern was lovely- Where did you put it? or did you just take it out to have more room while you did trimming.
Ahh, the java fern, the ever troubling conundrum with it. It's annoying what little scaping ideas I have, but it probably was one my first true plants. Ever since I've picked up a bottle of this excel back in the day, ,
it's been a goal to have a great big java fern. I'll have more updates. We shall see what becomes of it...


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Originally Posted by Angella View Post
What a great story! Tank looks awesome, too.
Fun to read and great pictures, thank you!
Thanks and you're welcome!


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post #32 of 194 (permalink) Old 09-01-2017, 02:31 PM
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Always wanted Cardinals, never around when I have the cash!

Take only pictures, leave only footprints.
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post #33 of 194 (permalink) Old 09-01-2017, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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2017-07 Java Fern Rides Again!




Here is the tank, 5 days later from the picture in the last posting. As always, I'm behind in my posting. Of course, I couldn't part with the java fern, but I did find a niche for it. It will still perform the duties of hiding my big ugly sponge prefilter, but in a much more limited way. Missing stems were trimmed, restored, and remaining ones got a good trimming to get a tighter look.

Doesn't look like much, but I feel the silhouette looks okay ..



---------------------------


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Originally Posted by StevieD View Post
Always wanted Cardinals, never around when I have the cash!

Agreed! You would think for such a quintessential planted tank aquarium fish that it'd be more ready available. And THEN, whenever I try to add some, the collective population knows, and roughly whatever number I add, tend to die off from some sort of disease or something. I have decided to not add anything and just let the remaining ones dwindle.


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post #34 of 194 (permalink) Old 09-08-2017, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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2017-07



Rotala Macrandra Type IV is getting a little scraggly, so it was cut back. I don't think the AR likes where it's at.

2017-08



August was mostly spent just trying to fine tune the new look. Did some re-org on the right side. Moved the AR back to the middle row. The pains of having a narrow light strip. I'm seriously thinking about adding a fixture to help with the light spread. Trimmed cardinal plant to tighten the look a little.



New plants!! Got some mermaid weed and hygrophila araguaia from @burr740. Very healthy. Trying to make the tank a little less scraggly and more filled in. Mermaid weed takes middle back and hygrophilia araguaia takes right corner duties over the cardinal plant. Also trying to extend hydrocotyle tripartita over to the right side starting with a little patch. East shall meet west!



Mermaid weed is getting weedy! One week's growth from last pic.



I love silhouette pics. I actually try to trim for it too!



Messing around with different lighting colors. Cheating to get my plants red! Mermaid weed grew tall enough to be cut and it's now filling in the middle even better. Managed to make two rows of it. Hydrocotyle patch on right is filling up and going westbound. Moved cardinal plant from front right towards the back as filler instead.



Going nuts with all colors!
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Last edited by ipkiss; 09-24-2017 at 12:34 AM. Reason: .
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post #35 of 194 (permalink) Old 09-24-2017, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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2017-09



Post-trim update. The hydrocotyle has met! Hmm, I guess you can't see it with this pic angle too well. Ahh, you'll just have to believe me Otherwise, things were getting a little wild again so I tried to work on it instead before it got completely nuts like my other trim cycles. I think those AR stems are shot -- but I guess I'll let it ride to see what happens. I thought the rotala macrandra was gone but a conversation with sohankpatel made me hang on with them a little longer. He pointed out that his woes went away after he added more light. I couldn't see how I could put in more light with my GSA issues, but then I doublechecked my last batch of ferts and realized that I miscalculated and my phosphates were indeed low. GSA is now more in check now after that mistake was corrected. @sohankpatel, thanks! I've also started to begrudgingly accept that I need to cut bottoms and replant if I want any semblance of a tidy trim. Obviously, it also gets rid of older growth that's starting to get covered with GSA. I suppose the extra work is worth it. I could be wrong, but I think the hygrophilia araguaia is having some trouble. I get random leaves being dropped off from the stem. The leaves themselves look like they're in good condition, but it's the connection point that loses it. Weird. Almost like stem melt. Will have to keep an eye on it. Cardinal plants are restored to their smaller form because they were just too distracting otherwise.
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Last edited by ipkiss; 10-04-2017 at 07:59 PM. Reason: pic sizing
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post #36 of 194 (permalink) Old 09-25-2017, 11:10 PM
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@ipkiss Glad to help, macrandra is pretty tricky, and you will see it stunt for no apparent reason every once in a while. Nobody in my local planted tank club has been able to explain it either. Good news is that it rebounds pretty quickly and looks great. The tank looks healthy and I like that plant on the left, the one with broader leaves.

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post #37 of 194 (permalink) Old 09-26-2017, 02:35 AM
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It's great that you had held up despite having challenges. Well done.
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post #38 of 194 (permalink) Old 09-27-2017, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sohankpatel View Post
@ipkiss Glad to help, macrandra is pretty tricky, and you will see it stunt for no apparent reason every once in a while. Nobody in my local planted tank club has been able to explain it either. Good news is that it rebounds pretty quickly and looks great. The tank looks healthy and I like that plant on the left, the one with broader leaves.
You mean the java fern?

Oh, the one directly left of the macrandra. That's supposed to be a crypt flamingo in transition from low to high tech. I'm eagerly awaiting pinker leaves, but in this phase, it's not bad either.


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post #39 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-07-2018, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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And so it's been 3 months since I last updated. Unlike previous times, despite my lack of postings, I was still engaged with the tank and did not let it slide from care. I think 2017 had been a decent year for it. Not the best year for other things in life, but for this tank, it wasn't bad.

First up, a fall equinox shot.

2017-09b



As mentioned a few years back, there's a window of 10 minutes where I can get variants of this shot. The sunrise comes through the right windows from across the room and hits the tank just right. Even then, I did not get the best possible one this year. There's always so many variables that throw the shot off -- especially as I'm not the best photographer and am always out of practice.


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post #40 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-07-2018, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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2017-10

I'm sure some of you guys can identify with me when I say that even when away from our tanks, we're just spinning our brains, never satisfied, wondering how to fix that next thing that could be a little better. Well, if you recall a few posts back, I was trying to get a handle on that rotala macrandra. The prescription was more light, but my green spot algae was too rampant at the time. After I finally figured out that I incompetently miscalculated my phosphate dose, I was granted the pass by my tank to increase the light! The other annoying thing about my existing situation was that that narrow ecoxotic unit just wasn't giving a good enough spread. I was tired of scaping my red plants into that narrow band in the middle. AND, they weren't really getting that red. So with glee, after so many years of spending time in low light purgatory to finally get my algae under control, I was once again in the market for a light!

There's so much fun in searching for high tech toys. But there's also that sobering moment where you realize that you probably shouldn't spend $300 on the next level lighting because...well, priorities. Anyway, seeing that Beamswork units have been getting so much love lately, I decided to jump onto that bandwagon. Super bright, economical, and not built too shabby. Best bang for the buck. What's not to love?

I fleabay a 24" Beamswork F-Spec from the favorite vendor that's selling the most of them and was happy as a kid on Christmas. Christmas 2 months early for meee! With great glee, I unbox, mount, and turn it on. Choir music rings in my ears like a cheesy TV scene. What brightness! It's .. blinding! An already pearling tank starts fizzing like fresh soda as the photosynthesizing take a big spike.

Awesome. Extra light spread and intensity. An order of RED plants please.

Well, that initial glow fades as I start thinking about the situation more. Time to apply this light in a meaningful way. I did not live through an algae war just to trigger another one. As I had spent tons of time on the Beamswork thread, I had the foresight to order a TC-420 controller with the intention of programming in proper lighting cycles. Clearly, I did not research enough, because my post purchase research confronted me with this:



If you look closely at that picture, there's only two control wires (the white ones) for this light unit. Some more desperate research and consultation with our resident LED expert @jeffkrol reveals that I'm stumped for what I want to do. There's only two channels of control! Blue moonlight LEDs and everything else! This may be enough for some, but for me, I've been spoiled with the independent RGBW control that I had over my ecoxotic and the slew of colors that I can throw at my tank. The disappointment dawns upon me and I spend the next two days wondering how I can rig this. I desperately study the board and look into cutting the circuits to isolate the different color LEDs and then redrawing them the way I want with a circuit pen. Did you know there's such thing as a circuit pen?! I digress. Common sense hits me and I cut my losses. I realized I was falling a little too deep into this rabbit hole. Another good reason to not continue this route was that it would've exacerbated the ever worsening wiring situation underneath the tank. Sadly, I return the unit. Hopefully, it will bring someone else happiness. Stuck with a TC-420 tho. Maybe another project will come along for it. It IS a pretty nifty controller.


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post #41 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-08-2018, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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2017-10b



So, as I'm waiting for my next light, I resign myself to just keeping the tank stable. A trim here, a nip there. Some slight reorganization to spread the color plants out. Trying to play up the contrasting colors a little bit.

2017-11




November finds me admiring @Triport 's tank and the cold glint of stainless steel inflows and outflows. I believe he has since changed his mind about them, but I haven't tried mine yet. I realized there were a ton of these that were probably made by the same factory and labeled under different brands. I got the one named 'Mufan'. Apparently not 316 stainless, but I'm not about to try to afford those. Here's the box and this is how they come packed. I hadn't mounted them yet because there's two problems for me.

1. The size of the plastic holders are not wide enough for a plastic rimmed tank. 20mm is necessary for that.



I knew this going in so I had some alternate ones on order.

2. The direction of the outflow would require me to hang it on the left side of the tank instead of the back as it is now. That left a bad impression on me. I also knew this going in, but I didn't want to order another outflow facing the direction I want because I'd have to buy another set. Apparently, even after my extensive search, the application that I desired is not addressed. I wanted a skimmer AND rotated outflow. Well, maybe there was one made of 316 stainless, but go back to earlier comment. I didn't want to 'afford' that one.

So, I over researched on how to cut stainless pipe. At the end of the day, my jigsaw, some files, and a couple of clamps did the job:



A quick snip of 5/8" ID tubing and some hot water and I've got what I wanted.
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Last edited by ipkiss; 01-08-2018 at 04:05 PM. Reason: more info
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post #42 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-08-2018, 04:55 PM
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hi ipkiss, beautiful tank, really enjoyed your story.
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post #43 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-09-2018, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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2017-12

So after parting with the Beamswork, a multitude of mental calculations led me back to the Current-USA fold. As someone mentioned on this site before, they have some pretty good sales on refurbished units on fleabay. So I sucked it up and shelled out for a refurbished "A" 24" Current Satellite Plus Pro. One of the reasons I chose this was that I can tap into my existing iAqua Lite Controller as I discovered the relevant IR codes used for the lighting cycle are the exact same as the ones for the Ecoxotic. This bodes well for not having to add unnecessary wiring. FYI, the IR codes between the Ecoxotic and the Plus Pro are roughly 90% alike. There's a few side buttons/functions that don't match up, but the important ones like M1, M2, Daylight, Moonlight, RGBW up and down, Power, etc do. This only applies to the Plus PRO, NOT the regular Satellite Plus. So why didn't I get another Ecoxotic and call it a day? Well, they don't make them anymore, and the Plus Pro has more color LEDs (9 vs 4) to help with color rendition. Thought about going with a refurbished B unit, but according to their own description, the B units have more hours burnt into them. LEDs last long, but I swear my Ecoxotic feels a little dimmer than when I first bought it. When the package arrived, the box was a little beat up but the unit itself was pretty pristine.

The white LEDs on the Plus Pro are definitely warmer than the Ecoxotic. I'm sort of happy about that. It's also brighter, but I'm just going to attribute that to age on the Ecoxotic. The color RGB LEDs feel a little colder so it makes for interesting colors being thrown between the two throughout the lighting cycle. The net result is a much brighter tank with a better spread. I tweaked the lighting cycle for the whites to 2 hours at max down from 2.5 just to head off a possible algae bloom. The other 5.5 is spent at an average of 25%. .. because it's almost always too much light -- until it isn't Red plants, here we come!



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post #44 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-15-2018, 03:37 AM Thread Starter
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2017-12b





Unknown crypt is getting pretty big. Might be due for a trim soon. That extra light is kicking stuff into a higher gear. Not too visible here, but the rotala macrandra is responding somewhat favorably. Just trying to fill the tank now. Realized things were a bit .. sparse.

2018-01



Did a small trim of the macrandra to tighten the look a little. Letting the others get a little taller before splitting and planting.

Last edited by ipkiss; 01-15-2018 at 03:59 AM. Reason: added 2018-01
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post #45 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-15-2018, 03:08 PM
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Tank looks much better with the plants filling in more. If you trim the lobelia cardinalis heavily it will really fill in and cluster nicely. It looks even better when you top them and just replant the tops.

Twin high tech 75's -
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