5.5g Journal - Aquascaping attempt [56k Warning] - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-16-2009, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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5.5g Journal - Aquascaping attempt [56k Warning]

Hi guys,

Ok so i decided to start a 5.5g tank in my room. It's going to be my first attempt at scaping (just plants, no hardscape..yet?).

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Tank Specs:

Tank: 5.5g all glass tank, plastic cover cut from large sheet.

Lighting: Goose neck lamp; compact fluorecesnt spiral bulb (13w, 6500k). Might use another lamp if necessary.

Photoperiod: Approxiamately 12 hours right now, might lower when i submerge the set up.

Filtration: Elite mini internal filter (mostly for circulation)

Heater: Tetra Submersible Heater - 100watts

Substrate: Miracle Grow Organic Choice (http://www.miraclegro.ca/UserFiles/F..._Mix_17.6L.pdf), this stuff has a lot of wood chips in it. 0.5" in front, 2.5" largest hill. I might decide to top it off with some small sized gravel later but i'm not sure about that yet.

Plants: As of now i have Glossostigma (glosso) and Hemianthus Micranthemoides (HM). Plan on adding Rotala sp. Green when i submerge the set up.

Fauna: No clue, some female bettas perhaps but i'm open to suggestions.

Fertilizers: Potassium Nitrate (KNO3), Potassium Sulfate (KSO4), and Mono-Potassium Phosphate (KH2PO4) if necessary, and possibly Flourish Comprehensive.

CO2: Since the setup is emmersed i've been removing the lid and circulating the air by blowing into the tank; i started doing this about a week in and on that one day, there was explosive growth compared to the whole week. As of now, there are no plans for any CO2, might invest in some flourish excel later on if necessary.
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In terms of aquascaping and plants i want to keep it as simple as possible...might not be the most attractive but i want it to be an easy and satisfying project. I have two slopes in the tank to the back left corner there's a 2.5" slope and to the back right corner there's a 2" slope.
I want to have a rotala bush to the left, HM bush to the right and then the middle filled with glosso. Might add something in between the two slopes...not sure yet.


The tank has been running for about 2 weeks. This is also my first attempt at trying to grow plants emmersed (HM and glosso) and so far everything is doing well. I also spray the plants a few times every morning when i turn on the lights manually with normal tap water, no special fertilizer solutions.

Here are some pictures of the equipment and progress:








The following pics are from week 1-2:










Progress: (Tank started on March 1)
March 1

March 3 - No change.

March 7 - Slight growth but not much has happened.

March 14 - Up to this point the glosso have only been growing vertically (no side shoots or anything yet), the HM is slowly creeping around, the aquatic leaves are dying off and new leaves are growing through the creeping growth.

March 21 - Some horizontal growth, decent overall growth i would say...HM doesn't seem to be happy though o.o

March 28 - More horizontal growth, everything seems to be happy.

April 4 - Even more horizontal growth. Everything is happy, if not happier.

April 11 - Trimmed some of the glosso and replanted in some of the empty area. Growth is continuing for both plants.

April 18 - Crazy growth, that's all there is to say.

April 25 - More growth, the glosso carpet starting to fill in. HM hill filling in too.

May 2 - Progress pictures will now be a full tank shot from the top. Overall good growth this week. Starting to notice some weird growth. I suspect it to be algae from nutrients, from the soil, leaching into the water.

May 9 - More growth, the glosso carpet is starting to fill in.

I'll try to make the pictures more consistent, sorry about that

There are some weird white worms in the tank which i was surprised to see..any clue what those might be? They are everywhere in the tank, on the glass, in the puddles, in the soil. They are tiny though, i thought they were some sorta terrestrial planarians at first, lol.

Anyway, thanks for looking. All Comments/Suggestions/Criticism are welcomed

-Daniel

Last edited by gamexeater; 05-09-2009 at 03:02 PM.
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post #2 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-17-2009, 04:29 PM
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I believe that the extent to which a plant will opt to grow horizontally is a function of the light intensity. I'm wondering if your light source is too modest for that size. If you want to stick with the CF desktop fixture you're using now, maybe get two of them and position them side by side.

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post #3 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Based on my research and knowledge, i also believe that the horizontal growth is dependent on light intensity. That was actually my intention during the planning stage but due to my small room i was afraid that the excessive heat produced by the additional lamp would cause my room to be really hot (in addition to the heat produced by my computer running and the room light, my betta tank light, and myself). I also looked through several other emmersed set ups and noticed that it usually takes 1-2 weeks for plants to adjust to the immeresed environment and then another few weeks for the plants to start propagating horizontally. So if they don't start spreading within a week or two from today, i'll add on the extra lamp.

Last edited by gamexeater; 03-19-2009 at 10:04 PM.
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post #4 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-21-2009, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Update pictures!

March 21 - 3 weeks since project started, slight horizontal growth sighted in the glosso, HM isn't doing too well, lots of browning of the older (aquatic?) leaves..not sure why...maybe because it's on the hill.


HM on the hill. Crappy pic x_x


Some close up shots of the glosso. The horizontal growth is from new nodal shoots leaning towards the soil and moving horizontally...not sure if that's considered horizontal growth but it sure is horizontal spread! xD




Random shot.


FTS.


Should i be concerned about the huge puddle i have in the lower parts of my soil? o.o
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post #5 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-21-2009, 04:01 PM
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Interesting substrate choice. I'll be watching this to see how it all works out.

I have never had the patience for immersed growth, I like more instant gratification. Due to how stunning some of the tanks that use it can get, I might have to try it out some time.
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post #6 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-21-2009, 05:10 PM
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hope your emerged setup works well for you...it never did for me.

Are you sure your substrate is safe for fauna btw?
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post #7 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-21-2009, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hail
Interesting substrate choice. I'll be watching this to see how it all works out.

I have never had the patience for immersed growth, I like more instant gratification. Due to how stunning some of the tanks that use it can get, I might have to try it out some time.
Thanks. This soil was the only organic one without fertilizers that i could find at home depot...i didn't think to go to walmart or other stores to get soil at the time so i just picked up the miracle grow stuff. The emersed set up is pretty laid back, you pratically do nothing and just watch the plants grow. My daily routine with it is just to turn on/off the lights (no timer), spray the HM hill, and open the lid to circulate the air whenever i feel like it. That's about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Choco
hope your emerged setup works well for you...it never did for me.

Are you sure your substrate is safe for fauna btw?
Thanks, i hope it works too >.< Would you mind sharing your experience and maybe your set up? Did you ever figure out what caused your set up to not work?

I'm actually not sure if the substrate is safe for fauna but nothing about the substrate seems to point towards unsafe. The only thing i can see is just an excess of nutrients which might kill the fauna? But i plan on floating some water sprite or something to help soak up excess nutrients and to also plant heavily when i submerge the set up. I'll probably let the submerged set up sit for a few weeks before i throw anything in there.

Last edited by gamexeater; 03-25-2009 at 12:46 AM.
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post #8 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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Just thought i would do a quick update before the weekend. A lot of horizontal growth over the past few days...at least more than i've seen for the first 3 weeks.
Here's the same plant on March 21 and today (March 25)



Random shot that i thought looked cool with the light from betta tank shining over.


My "puddle" is starting to get pretty big. lol.
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post #9 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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Just a quick update. Here's the progress picture for the 4th week. March 28. HM appears to be bouncing back from what appeared to be a semi die off last week. Glosso are starting to spread out more
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post #10 of 61 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 02:23 PM
 
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That is quite interesting. Looking forward to seeing how it works for you as I have something similar that is in the works that I will be setting up. Just a note, the substrate looks like it is water lodged with water flooding the top of the substrate. From what I have read about others with similar setups, the substrate should be saturated but not water lodged and then if you occasionally mist, it will work. Also, I noticed that you are using one 13 watt bulb. Most people that seem to have success with emersed on a 5 gallon use one of those Home Depot 27 watt compact fluorescent lamps, so your light intensity may be insufficient to start a good carpet, but I could be wrong.
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post #11 of 61 (permalink) Old 04-05-2009, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
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I was too lazy to drain out the water >_< and i didn't think anything negative would come of it since most of the leaves were still exposed to the air. I drained some of the water out using a pippete (took so long T__T), but with this week's photo it's flooded again but not as much. When i had it water lodged, i still sprayed the leaves every morning, still do. But thanks for the comment, i really didn't think much of it until i read your post.

About the lighting, Fishwood mentioned too that the lighting might be a bit short of enough for a good carpet and i have also considered this from the start. The addition of the second lamp, which is still sitting in my basement in the box will be based on any signs poor carpet growth or any other factor related to light. Until then i'll be sticking with the single lamp to save on electricity and mostly because of the excessive heat. It gets really hot and humid in my room with two lamps on my desk, my room light, my computer, the heating system in the house, and myself...but ya...
I actually wanted to get that Hampton Bay Lamp at home depot but i read somewhere that it was discontinued? and i wasn't able to find it anywhere in my local home depot.
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post #12 of 61 (permalink) Old 04-05-2009, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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It has been a little bit over a month since i have started the project. A lot of horizontal spreading going on in the tank, the leaves on the glosso are getting bigger. HM is doing great, spreading in a different way than when submerged. Everything is happy, very slight dying of the older leaves, but that's pretty much done, mostly growth since last week.

Pictures!

HM.


Progress shots. So it's been 5 weeks since the project has started. Great growth all of the glosso has started spreading sideways. The "yellow" leaves in the second picture are actually green, the reflected light make them look yellow (my bad >_<).



FTS from above.
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post #13 of 61 (permalink) Old 04-05-2009, 12:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamexeater View Post
...I actually wanted to get that Hampton Bay Lamp at home depot but i read somewhere that it was discontinued? and i wasn't able to find it anywhere in my local home depot.
Growth looks like it is coming along really well. I hear you on the light. I also was not able to find that lamp at Home Depot. But I did find some clone lamps(same bulb) at Superstore(in the lamp section) and Wal-Mart(again the lamp section).

The one at Supestore is Globe brand name with a 27 watt compact fluorescent 6500K bulb. It was $29.99. The one at Wal-Mart is a Vision Max(tensor) brand name also with 27 Watt compact fluorescent 6500K bulb. That one was $39.99. The replacement bulb which fits both lamps can be found in the craft section(of all places) in Wal-Mart and is about $7.00 before taxes.
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post #14 of 61 (permalink) Old 04-08-2009, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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Sounds like you've spent quite some time researching/browsing/shopping for different lamps. Doing the math though....i spent about $6-$7 for two 13W 6500K bulbs, about $15 for the two lamps i have...that equates to about $22. If i end up using both lamps i'll have a 26w total output (some of which is expected to be wasted through the spiral feature of the bulb and the inefficiency of the lamps).
On the other hand the Supertore Globe brand lamp that you've mentioned is about $30 and the Vision Max brand at about $40 (assuming that both these lamps come with a bulb). It's about $8+ more but i would guess that they are more efficient. So it really comes down to how cheap i am (very >.<) and i guess my available time + laziness.
But ya...when i start up a new nano (oh gosh...more money to spend >.<) i'll probably look into these lamps that you've mentioned. I do appreciate the sharing of you're hard work and time though, so thank you for that.

Anyhow, i wanted to do a small update. Some of the glosso started invading the hill reserved for the rotalla. I trimmed some of them and planted them into the empty areas to fill them in a little more. The root systems seem to be pretty well established. Oh and secondary nodal shoots have begun growing out of the primary nodal shoots!
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post #15 of 61 (permalink) Old 04-12-2009, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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This is the sixth week. Glosso is doing very well and HM is growing but very low, keeping to the soil.

Anyway here are the pictures.

Progress pic. I guess i should maybe start using the above FTS as the progress pics? o.o


FTS from above.


Shot of the glosso from the front showing the roots.
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