Aqua Barren's Osaka 320 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-04-2009, 05:36 AM Thread Starter
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Aqua Barren's Osaka 320

Hi Everyone,

I've been reading posts here, posted a few of my own for ahwile now as I was preparing to get into the hobby. The information here has been very helpful and I appreciate all of the replies and information that I;ve received from so many. It's clear that many of you genuinely take time to provide thoughtful thorough answers.

It's been two weeks now so I thought I'd put up a tank journal and really join the community.

I had been looking for an aquarium/furniture combination that we liked for quite a while. Selections in store has been thin. While I'd been searching I also started checking eBay and Craigslist to see if I'd get lucky.

A few weeks ago I stumbled into a Fluval Osaka 320L (84 Gallons) near home. It was 6 months old, in great shape and had a few upgrades such as a Rena XP3. It was for sale for half of its retail cost. It was in great condition and an attractive tank that I hadn't seen before, so I decided to just go for it.

The only donwside of that was that I wasn't prepared to pull the trigger - meaning that I hadn't decided on substrate choices, what kind of plants to plant, how to aquascape, etc... Since I've been traveling a lot lately (you've probably seen me post that ad nauseum) I couldn't get things ready in time for pickup day. so I just went with what the previous owner had.

Yes, I could have just dumped everything, cleaned the tank and waited, but the owner was generally concerned for his fish, my daughter\t fell in love with a pair of gold/silver veil angels and the die was cast.

The tank and furniture are pristine. Very fortunate and I really like the look. We have a transitional-style home, my study, where the tank is located, is full of cherry cabinetry with hardwood floors (gulp) and finding a cabinet that looked at home wasn't easy. The Osaka, being modern and simple in design, compliments without looking like a poor match. So the starting point was all great.

http://home.comcast.net/~rdstrause/osaka1.JPG

Parts that weren't great:

The CO2 system included is a low-end paintball CO2 system with a tiny diffuser that looks like it hasn't been cleaned in 6 years, let alone 6 months. Still it was a throw in, but its clear that it isn't adding much CO2.

The substrate, well, that may be the worst part because its the most difficult component to upgrade. It is Flora Max. The grain is large and very coarse. Rosette plants seat fine, but stem plants w/o roots are a challenge. For any it is less than ideal. I don't like the color either. Well, actually that isn't fair. It isn't bad - typical flourite red with gray - like flourite red on steroids. But the color isn't what I wanted - I wanted dark/or black. Having had it up and running I think the fish certainly would look better against a dark substrate. And of course the coarse grain, workable or not, isn't ideal and I'm sure will not grow some plants.

The fish. An uneven collection, but mostly nice fish. 2 large angels, 4 Cardinals, 3 Rummynose, 2 Otos, 5 Gold Barbs and 4 Harlequin rasboras. All nice fish. They don't mix well though I don't think. I intended to do an asian tank with Rainbows and a few others, but that's out the window for now until I get my daughter her onw tank for this angels. They look the most out of place, but they are really pretty fish. So, you see what I mean. Nice fish, school sizes not quite in balance, but what's a dad to do (get his daughter a tank !)

The plants were very well thick, but..I didn't like them. A very large bunch of wisteria wasn't bad, but it dominated the tank. An 84G tank! There are a couple of Vals that are nice and tall, but full of algae. There is one lotus and one coffee plant, two bronze crypts. Except for the Wisteria, not bad again. There was a large bunch of something else and some baby tears. The something else was not good so I discarded it. The Wisteria I trimmed back to 10% of its size. The baby tears just didn't go back into the substrate so I gave up. Everything that I kept is doing well.

Here's the tank with things in place and saved original water in:

http://home.comcast.net/~rdstrause/osaka2.JPG

Tank topped off and the XP3 working on the full, cloudy tank. Unhappy fish and plants in place at about 2AM:

http://home.comcast.net/~rdstrause/osaka3.JPG

Next morning the water was clear and fish were happy:

http://home.comcast.net/~rdstrause/osaka4.JPG

One week later, all's well, no deaths, fish and kids happy, water parameters all good, we went to the store to add some plants and a few fish:

http://home.comcast.net/~rdstrause/osaka5.JPG

Few days after that I brought a new piece of driftwood home from DC and in it went, replacing one of the original pieces that I just didn't like.

http://home.comcast.net/~rdstrause/osaka7.JPG

So, we're out of the gates. Here is what we added last week:

5 large Swords, 2 Crypts - Florida Sunset.
3 Rummynose to bring the total to 6. ( really have taken to these. They cruise low in the tank, like stealth fighters over driftwood, around stems. Their colors have brigthened and I really llike watching them most of all of the fish so far.
1 beta (daughter again)
7 Threadfin Rainbows. I know, a risky choice at this stage, but I wanted small bio-mass rainbows in my "supposed-to-be" rainbow tank. They're doing fine actually with males displaying away (bought 4 males, 3 females)
4 Otos

So today at 15 days, the crypts are melting a bit, but no surprise. A little bit of diatom algae is appearing. Everything that's been added is doing well. One of the new Oto's died next day, so we have 5 total. Others are busy as beavers.

In the coming week I'm making these changes:

-A new Sumo Regulator is due for arrival early in the week.
-A Red Sea 500 Reactor is ready to go. I also have a 2" ADA-style diffuser coming. I may try that as well.
-Drop Checker on the way
-Master Test Kit on the way (been using strips)
- I want to add a lot of plant mass, but local selections are pretty week both on selection and size, so it looks like I'll be callng mail-order houses on Monday.
- 5 Chain Loaches are on the way from Invertz...I think for FRiday delivery.

We've had plenty of snails from the original owner's setup and they have really exploded in the last week. We may be over feeding, doesn;t seem so, but we're dialing back a bit to see. The chain loaches are coming to be partof the cleanup crew and will hopefully thin the snails a bit. I did watch a Cardinal swoop in and suck a baby snail off the glass the other day, but clearly that isn't happening enough.

When the chains arrive, we will have a bout 50 (when adult) inches of fish in the tank. It should be able to hold a lot more, but I won;t be adding any fish beyond the chains until I get the aquascape more advanced and things seem stable.

By then I may weed some of the fish out - like the Gold Barbs and Cardinals....and Rasboras... We'll see. Ther eare some Dwarf Neons and Connieae out there wiht my name on them.

Next Steps:
Figure out what and how to fert.
Get the new CO2 system up
and find some darned plants to add

I'm going to have a busy Friday this week.

Updates to follow.
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-04-2009, 05:58 AM Thread Starter
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Some observations on the Osaka:

The lights T5HO at 54w x 2. Didn't sound like it would be enough light. However the previous owner had good luck with easy plants. They seem very bright, though that isn't an indication of their adequacy for plants. A watt is not a watt and if T5HOs are 2x the effectiveness of T8s than I have the equivalent of 2.5 watts per gallon as the guideline is often cited. We'll see. Have to watch the balance obviously and I will try few high-intensity plants at this stage. Once the tank grows out, a slower growing balance will be perfect for me....if the lighting proves enough to sustain some nice plants.

The tank is tall. at 26 inches bottom to rim, my 35" sleeve arms just reach bottom. I do most scape maintenance during a water change when the level is low.

Its personal taste of course, but I think the Osaka tank and cabinet are a nice looking setup. It comes with a mat to cushion the aquarium which I think is a good idea. Getting it seated properly was entertaining, but it only had to be done once.

The cabinet itself is well made. Having a full, pull-out drawer is nice to have. The shelves below it look good, but are in the way. The vertical cabinets are about 14" wide, 23" tall and 17" deep. One has a shelf and is needed to store larger items like food containers, nets, fertz, tools, etc.... That leaves the XP3 in theother side. A 5lb CO2 tank will fit, but nothing taller. Filter and Tank will crowd the cabinet, so there is little room for inline CO2 reactor, UV, inline heater, etc... Only the inline reactor is a drawback. I'm sure it could be worked out. The Red Sea 500 may do the trick if an in-tank diffuser doesn't. We'll see.

The setup is a looker. All comment on it. The lights are the only question mark for me out of the "kit". Time will tell, but I'm thinking that the development of some minor algae (so far minor) means I have some headroom on light and plant mass, cos and fertz need to catch up. Stay tuned. I think this i s a great tank overall. Its funny, I hadn't seen one while out shopping and in the last week I've seen them appear in three stores.

Regards,
Rob
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-04-2009, 03:50 PM
 
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The 2x 54wHO fixture should be enough light to grow most plants. My suggestion would be to get them as close to the surface of the water as possible. I added a couple of chains to the supplied hooks on my 320 to be able to adjust the height of the fixture accordingly. Nice looking tank by the way
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-04-2009, 11:53 PM
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The tank and stand look nice, that particular brand is very unique, which is nice. You have a good sized tank to grow lots of plants, and will be a beautiful setup once it matures.

If you're not happy with the substrate, I'd go ahead and change it now, rather than later. You can plant anything in there if you stick it far enough down into the substrate. Personally I really like my black sand that I use in my 29 gallon tank, but you should find something now that makes you happy. You can find several threads on how to change substrate with fish still in the tank, basically it just involves removing 1/2 or 1/3 at a time, and keeping the two separated, taking your time.

As far as fertilizers, the only way to go is dry fertilizers. They are cheap, and as easy to use as baking a cake. Here is a good link to find some info, check out steps one and two. Liquid ferts work fine too, but will add up very quickly with such a large tank as yours.

Your lights are probably fine, CO2 is really where you want to focus. I would get the biggest tank you can possibly make fit in the stand. If you take out one or more of the shelves, you should be able to get a 10 or 15 lb. tank in there, which will last you a lot longer than a 5 lb. tank. Also, I would try to find some kind of inline diffuser in order to keep equipment out of the tank, simply for aesthetic reasons. This is a popular one, called the Rex Reactor, or PVC reactor. Here a cheap one that I'm using now, some folks have had issues with them. Once you get your Co2 fine tuned, you'll see how much flexibility you have in the lighting department.


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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-07-2009, 04:50 AM Thread Starter
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AB's Osaka 320 update -2009-11-07

Hi folks,

Thought I'd post an update. Its been about a month and a half and the tank is doing well. I've added several batches of plants. The Combamba Furcata and Red Temple are just starting to grow. Had a lot of trouble getting them rooted in the large Flora Max substrate (Yes, I still don't like it). I let them float for a while until roots started to grow and they are staying put now...mostly....and are starting to grow.

Been swapping out fish. Remember I inherited some and decided that they weren't what I wanted. So I've been slowly netting some out and replacing. The most interesting addition is a pair of Kribs - Milowe strain. They are very pretty. Daughter loves them and they seem to be doing fine.

Thanks for all of the advice on the forum. Wouldn't be having any success without it.

AB

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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-07-2009, 04:55 AM
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What are those foreground green plants on the right side?
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-07-2009, 05:10 AM Thread Starter
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I'd love to tell you Az, but I ordered them from AquaBotanic at Bob's suggestion from my car. Bob was to send me a list of all of the plants we discussed and I ordered, but he never did.

I.m pretty sure though that they are Hygrophila Corymbosa Kompakt. They are very nice plants. They stand just a little above the substrate so you can "see" into them a bit, but they are very lush and a great shape. They were very easy to plant, have grown without any trouble at all and grown together into a nice dense thicket. Of all the plants I ordered that day, these are my favorite. They made just the foreground planting that I wanted in front of that piece of driftwood. They stand about 4 inches tall right now. They are growing thicker, but not taller.

Highly recommended.
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-07-2009, 05:19 AM
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Those are some of the healthiest plants I've seen! It seems like the substrate is working for you

And by the way, if you ever want to clean that old diffuser, you can just soak it in a bleach and water solution (I'd say about 2:1 water:bleach ratio) for a day or so, and then soak it in water and a bit of dechlorinator (to clean out the extra bleach). It got rid of all the junk that was on my diffuser

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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-09-2009, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Zoo. Yes things are growing. Rooting stems is a challenge though.

Thanks for the cleaning tip too.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-09-2009, 09:48 PM
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I see you figured out the [IMG] tags.

Great start! And good find, as well. I'm not a fan of that substrate, myself, but if it works then go with it. As far as planting stems... why not just use plant weights? I use them on practically ALL of my stem plants, always have, and probably always will.
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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-10-2009, 04:03 AM Thread Starter
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Hey Church. I did use lead weights as well as a plastic disc AquaBotanic recommended. Neither held the stems in place for long. Can't tell if it is fish or the MTS helping to disrupt the plants, but something was knocking them out.

Things have improved now. It looked like the base of the stems were dead and dissolving. Just a week or so ago, I started pulling them all out, cutting the base of the stem off and replanting where some roots were growing out of a node up the stem. Things are improving now and the stems are starting to take. Hoping...I need those background stems to fill out...a lot.

Thanks for the compliment. 6 weeks and I'm really enjoying the hobby.

Best,
AB
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-28-2009, 03:12 AM Thread Starter
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Here's another update.

It's only been a couple of weeks since my last post. I did some rescaping to give the new plants in the center room to grow and moved some of what I had in the center to the left-rear of the tank. I removed the Swords and Vals. I decided I like these new plants better and wanted to give them the space.

In the last two weeks I've cranked the CO2 p to the max that the Red Sea 500 can handle without burping. Its at about 10bps, but to be honest, I can't count the rate, its just too fast, but that's my best guess. ppm is not quite reacing 30, but things are growing well so I'm satisfied for the time being.

I also completed my Ick Attack treatment and my Excel treatment of BBA and started dosing with Pfertz products. They aren't as inexpensive as dry ferts, but they make it very easy and seem more economical than Flourish products...so for now until I'm ready for a next step in skills I'm happy with the result.

The plants have really taken off. The C. Furcata and Red Temple have finally starting groing well. Lots of filling out left to do before they'll be where I want them, but at current rate that may not be so long.

Having a great time with the tank and here on the forum.

Here's a current pic. The tank is at 8 weeks and virtually nothing but the substrate is left from the original stuff I got with the tank, so it really is all mine now. More changes in fish population coming and a few more tweaks to the tank, but I think that other than growth and minor deltas this is it for a while.

I'm not an expert, but I'm thinking that the tank looks pretty good for just 8 weeks. Goes to show that anyone can do this if they pay attention to what you gurus have to offer. I didn't know a thing a few months ago. I think much has just been some dumb luck too.

And yes "Zoo" I still don't love the substrate, but it is working. The large grain still makes aquascaping a challenge, but it does seem to allow a lot of circulation which must be a plus. It's entertaining to see the snails occasionally flip a stone.

Thanks to all once again and see you on the board.



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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-05-2009, 06:12 PM
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Absolutely AWESOME!
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-05-2009, 06:13 PM
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great tank.
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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-06-2009, 12:07 AM
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That's looking nice. I especially like the healthy patch of plant in the front right. Is that some sort of low grow hygro? How quick does it grow?

And I dig the Osaka tank itself. Such a unique look, modern and retro all at once. I would've bought one if I hadn't moved. A LFS in Wisconsin had a special when they were brought in, only $759 for the big one. In a world of overpriced equipment at stores, that place sure had some wicked specials on select hardware.


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