First journal: 75 gallon office tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-30-2009, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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First journal: 75 gallon office tank

This is the first journal I've done and it's not even my tank!

I convinced my brother to set up an aquarium in his new office. It's going be in the pediatric room of his and his wife's Chiropractic office in Lincoln, Nebraska. I wanted to make it a lower maintenance tank since weekly maintenance is typically a killer for people new to the hobby....

First step was getting a the equipment. He found a used 75 gallon and stand and canister filter on the local craigslist:



It was also going to be a mineralized soil tank so he got topsoil and started with the process. I also ordered a 2x54 watt T5 fixture (Aquatic Life brand) and an Eheim filter from Big Al's, ordered a CO2 system and tank, diffusor, and drop checker from Green Leaf Aquariums, and ordered fish from Invertz Factory. Despite all this prior work, it still took another day and a half once I arrived at his place collecting more supplies: a supply of iron and potassium, a python for filling, Flourite for capping, heavy duty plastic template from a crafts/quilting store, filling the CO2 tank, finding rocks,etc.....luckily we took a lot of lunch/dinner breaks

Next step, defining the possible focal points, using the Golden ratio. My brother took art in college, so it helped to provide familiarity for the hobby to him. The marker is easily removed afterwards with a little bit of rubbing alcohol:



It was going to be too much trouble finding a source of clay and was very difficult finding Potash, as well as impossible to find a calcium source other than 40 lbs of crushed coral from PetSmart. So as substitutes, we used laterite from a pet store and potassium chloride pellets for water softeners as substitutes. The "Heavy Duty Plastic Template" can be found at JoAnne Fabrics or stores like it (possibly Michaels, but the craft store near the office didn't have the 'heavy duty' version). These were cut into 1.5 inch pieces and then connected with paper clips (found in the office) to form the barrier between the sand and the soil/flourite mixture:



We used play sand from Home Depot for the foreground, and Flourite for a cap. There is no utility sink at the office so we did 1/2 bag of flourite at a time and dumped the water in the 'loo'. Didn't wash the sand:



Filling the tank - a shallow bowl with a paper plate underneath and slow filling initially, water looks pretty darn clear for flourite!:







And no leaks! woohoo!



Next is the rock placement. I asked him more than a month ago to look for possible rocks for the tank, either in a landscaping store or collected locally. Despite that he wasn't able to find anything usable. Luckily when we went to get the CO2 tank filled in the north of town, there was a landscaping store with large piles of landscaping rock out on display right beside the welding shop. We picked up some fieldstone after being able to pick out the best pieces....a nice stroke of luck. They actually had moss rock on site, which the GWAPA boyz have obtained for their use, but it was too 'blocky' for immediate use and we were already well behind schedule.

Having the potential focal points helped out a lot. We put down a piece of cardboard on the floor and played with them for a bit to get the best layout possible with what we had. The rock used had the most 'character', and we were able to make a layout relatively quickly (10 minutes). Unfortunately I needed to add more sand to fill in the foreground and path. Instant cloudy water Hard to see the hardscape by itself because of it.


Despite the cloudy water, we started with the scape - we were behind schedule and had to put the fish in the tank.

My brother had a 10 gallon planted tank while in chriopractic school that eventually failed. According to him it was the outbreak of snails from the plants. That was his only stipuation for the tank - "there better not be any snails from the plants!!!" In the petstore we picked up Jungle Labs Water Clear - this is the easiest source of potassium permanganate I can find. It used to be in small bottles and was called Clear Water. Apparently they changed it since the last time I bought it to "Water Clear" and I could only find it in those dissolvable fizz-tabs. We placed 8 tabs in 2 gallons of water to get a nice purple color and soaked the plants for several hours. The plants were well rinsed under running water before placing them in the tank.

The initial layout was set up to make a low-maintenance tank. That means moss, Anubias, Crypts, and Java fern. After seeing the work and cost involved, my brother was willing to try some stem plants as well with the promise of maintaining it. Luckily, I brought a few stems just in case ....we are going to add some stems in the background and see how it works....if it doesn't we can add more crypts for the background.

The initial plan: moss rocks for foreground, Anubias nana/petite, Narrow leaf and 'regular' Java fern for the midground, and taller crypts for the background. I considered Marsilea sp. for the foreground, but even in a low-maintenance tank the runners move encroach into the negative spaces and require more mainentance than desired.

initial setup in cloudy water:







With the stem plants, we decided to put Ludwigia repensxarcuata in the back left corner, Polygonum sp. 'Sao Paulo' just over the left focal point, and Pogostemon stellatus 'Broad leaf' that will be kept at as a shorter bush on the mid-right of the layout. Hopefully that works out over time. If not, more crypts can go into those locations.

The focal point is going to be the major rockscape on the right. It will be surrounded only by Anubias in order to keep it from getting to covered up - a pet peeve of mine....




After a day of letting the tank clear up, the 'final initial' setup:



left side:



right side:




more soon! Comments and suggestions welcome......

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-01-2009, 10:39 PM
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I read it through and through and I must say you have started the tank up fairly well! The drawing of the golden ratio thing on the front is a good idea.

The lack of foreground plant is interesting in a mineralized topsoil tank... But it is looking pretty nice for now.

Since java fern, anubias and moss are water column feeders, some dosing might be needed eventually...

My tank sucks now

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-01-2009, 10:52 PM
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Promising start! I'm eager to see how it matures.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-02-2009, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies, guys!

I think once it fills out a bit more (there's more Anubias going into the midground around the rocks) it should look pretty nice....that's the plan anyway

There is the possibilty some fertilizing may be needed....but I'm hoping not I have had moss growing well in previous soil tanks without fertilizing, and a lot of the Anubias and Java fern that is in the tank came from 'fish-only' holding tanks that they have been growing in for the past several months, so I'm hoping that they can grow in this setup without fertilizing as well.



Fish-wise I got a shipment from invertzfactory.com. Well packaged in what looks like heat-sealed bags....first layer with a nice air pocket and the water, another layer around it to prevent leaks....very inventive!

These were acclimated in a bucket using....more or less....the 'drip' method....actually it was a cup of tank water tossed in every few minutes until the bucket was 3/4 full. At that point it was half-emptied and the process was started over again x 2....probably 3 hours total to get them acclimated, with only 2 rainbowfish shipping casualties overall.


Stocking list is as follows:

Praecox Rainbowfish
Celebese Rainbowfish
Ember tetras
Zebra Snails
Yellow Rabbit snails
Otos

Eventually I want two pair of German Blue Rams to inhabit the 2 sections of the tank, but unfortunately they weren't ready for shipping yet....likely later down the line.....

The tank from Craigslist was up and running with three larger fish in it and with a cannister filter, so I asked my brother to keep the filter going using the "fishless cycling" method - i.e. using clear ammonia added daily. This should allow for a larger stocking initially.

Ember Tetras:


Rainbowfish:


The fish are after day 1 are doing great - the tetras are schooling together well, and both the rainbowfish and tetras are darting back and forth across the tank...very cool!


Unfortunately the snails were the first casualty. They were all moving around in the bucket in great shape, once we put them in the tank they weren't moving. Next day, they hadn't moved from the spot we placed them....not a good sign. In retrospect once we were cleaning up, there was a 3/4 empty bottle of "Algae Destroyer" in the boxes from the previous owner....another bad sign Because of logistics, my brother wasn't able to rinse out the tank other than marginally.....I suspect this is likely the cause of their demise. We put took them out of the tank and put them in a bucket with clean water, and changed it a few times, but no luck so far.....



Lesson learned #1 - if you use a used tank and plan on adding inverts, wash thoroughly and check if at all possible there hasn't been any copper added to the tank at some point.


A closeup of some of the glassware from GLA. I was thinking about using glass lily pipes for the filters, but I think that would add too much to the maintenance load of the tank.....






Finally, a video of the tank in action:

[HTML]I'll get a journal of one of my tanks up....soon


Fish-wise I got a shipment from invertzfactory.com. Well packaged in what looks like heat-sealed bags....first layer with a nice air pocket and the water, another layer around it to prevent leaks....very inventive!

These were acclimated in a bucket using....more or less....the 'drip' method....actually it was a cup of tank water tossed in every few minutes until the bucket was 3/4 full. At that point it was half-emptied and the process was started over again x 2....probably 3 hours total to get them acclimated, with only 2 rainbowfish shipping casualties overall.


Stocking list is as follows:

Praecox Rainbowfish
Celebese Rainbowfish
Ember tetras
Zebra Snails
Yellow Rabbit snails
Otos

Eventually I want two pair of German Blue Rams to inhabit the 2 sections of the tank, but unfortunately they weren't ready for shipping yet....likely later down the line.....

The tank from Craigslist was up and running with three larger fish in it and with a cannister filter, so I asked my brother to keep the filter going using the "fishless cycling" method - i.e. using clear ammonia added daily. This should allow for a larger stocking initially.

Ember Tetras:


Rainbowfish:


The fish are after day 1 are doing great - the tetras are schooling together well, and both the rainbowfish and tetras are darting back and forth across the tank...very cool!


Unfortunately the snails were the first casualty. They were all moving around in the bucket in great shape, once we put them in the tank they weren't moving. Next day, they hadn't moved from the spot we placed them....not a good sign. In retrospect once we were cleaning up, there was a 3/4 empty bottle of "Algae Destroyer" in the boxes from the previous owner....another bad sign Because of logistics, my brother wasn't able to rinse out the tank other than marginally.....I suspect this is likely the cause of their demise. We put took them out of the tank and put them in a bucket with clean water, and changed it a few times, but no luck so far.....



Lesson learned #1 - if you use a used tank and plan on adding inverts, wash thoroughly and check if at all possible there hasn't been any copper added to the tank at some point.


A closeup of some of the glassware from GLA. I was thinking about using glass lily pipes for the filters, but I think that would add too much to the maintenance load of the tank.....






Finally, a video of the tank in action:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B59cIIwXvhI

Member of PAPAS and GPASI - Pittsburgh Area Planted Aquarium Society and Greater Pittsburgh Aquarium Society

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-02-2009, 07:12 PM
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Very nice job with the tank. I have to say I am usually not fond of sand in a planted tank but what you did looks good.

How is your ammonia level? I set-up a 15 gal tank with mineralized soil several weeks ago and bought fish and lost 10 of them to I believe high ammonia levels because of the tank cycling.

Again. great job on the tank!

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-03-2009, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I have started using sand in a lot of my aquascapes lately....it helps keep the 'negative space' from being overgrown. People (and apparently Amano) have stated that it's hard to keep clean - i.e. you get a brown/black dusting over it over time. If you gently stir it up during water changes that seems to keep it in check.

The fish status is the subject of a near-future update once I get more info

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