Month old planted aquarium, and advice or direction is helpful (W/ Pictures) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-08-2012, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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Month old planted aquarium, and advice or direction is helpful (W/ Pictures)

I want to introduce myself, My name is Cory I lover in Raleigh, NC. I am new to the planted aquarium. I have 2 Dispaly tanks, a hospital tank, and a terrarium for my Pastel Ball Python. Now on to the planted tank...

I set this aquarium up about a month ago. I really wanted to get into more of a peaceful, natural look, because I have always had my 125 gallon CA/SA Cichlid aquarium.

Just to give you guys some idea about where I am at with my planted tank so far:

Size: 55 gallon

Inhabitants: 5 Angelfish, 2 Super Red Plecod, 3 Oto Catfish, and 6 Black Neon Tetras

Plants: 3 Anubias Barteri, 1 Anubias Nana, 3 Amazon Swords, Pellia, Java Moss, Lutea, Micro Swords, Water Sprite, Wisteria, Duckweed (Slowly trying to get rid of), and dwarf hairgrass.

Fertilizer: Seachem Flourish Comprehensive, Seachem Root Tabs for Swords and Lutea, and Seachem Equilibrium (I have very soft water, and need to stabilize the minerals in my tank)

Lighting: Dual 48" Shoplight, with 2 T8 6,500K bulbs, on 10 hours of the day.

Substrate: Pool Filter Sand

Background: Black Paint

Filter: Emperor 400, but will be changing to a Eheim 2215 here in the next few days.

Food: Feeding Tropical flakes and sinking algae waffers.

As you can tell, I am going the low tech route. I just want to see how everything looks to you guys. If you have any advice on anything, even aquascaping, please feel free to express them. I am open to all.

Here are some pics of when I first set it up and how it looks now.




55 Gallon Planted

Fish
3 GBR, 2 Bolivian Rams, 1 Juvenile Super Red BN Plecos, 9 Oto Catfish, 9 Bloodfin Tetras
Plants
Rotala Indica, Cardamine, Crypt Spiralis, Pygmy Chain Swords, Dwarf Sag, Lutea Crypt, Wendtti Bronze and Red, and Floating Frogbit
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-08-2012, 02:06 PM
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Hey, nice start there.
I reccomend changing your substrate to dirt with sand cap or a substrate with alot of nutrients like aquasoil.

Id get some more defining driftwood and rocks, that are big to make the tank look larger. Then you could attach anubias and moss to it, grow stem plant/vals behind it, and crypts in the foreground. Try to designate one side as the vocal point to give it some negative space.
Google aquascaping technigues and it will give you all sorts of great tips.
When your ready, i reccomend upgrading to co2 and a better source of fertilizing, so you can grow more plants and have more fun, thus a better experience.
Look into fish that will complement the plants and the black background, like denison barbs or a school of neon tetras.
Oh, and red plants always help!
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-08-2012, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicalmackdaddy View Post
Hey, nice start there.
I reccomend changing your substrate to dirt with sand cap or a substrate with alot of nutrients like aquasoil.

Id get some more defining driftwood and rocks, that are big to make the tank look larger. Then you could attach anubias and moss to it, grow stem plant/vals behind it, and crypts in the foreground. Try to designate one side as the vocal point to give it some negative space.
Google aquascaping technigues and it will give you all sorts of great tips.
When your ready, i reccomend upgrading to co2 and a better source of fertilizing, so you can grow more plants and have more fun, thus a better experience.
Look into fish that will complement the plants and the black background, like denison barbs or a school of neon tetras.
Oh, and red plants always help!
I have thought about the C02 way, but I think I may want to just keept this as low tech as possible. I do like the idea of adding larger river rocks. The ones I have do looks a bit on the small side. I will also be adding another smaller piece of driftwood to go on the right side. I do really like denison barbs, but there are fairly expensive where I am at, $10 per fish. Also with the low tech method, I really just plant to grow anubias, and swords, while also have java moss scattered, and some other easier plants to compliment. Maybe down the line I might like to try out a high tech setup, but as for now (and being new to planted aquariums) I will stick with the low tech method. As far as red plant, would ludwigia work out?? I used to have one in my larger aquarium, but ended up getting rid of it to someone locally. Also negative space??? I was thinking that I should possibly move the larger driftwood closer to the middle a bit, not much, but just a little bit more. Currently all the anubias are attached to smaller rocks. The substrate was such a hassle to switch out the first time, I went from play sand to substrate. It kind of scares me to switch again, and I have moved things around so much, so none of the plants have had time to settle and acclimate to the aquarium and its environment....or does this matter?

55 Gallon Planted

Fish
3 GBR, 2 Bolivian Rams, 1 Juvenile Super Red BN Plecos, 9 Oto Catfish, 9 Bloodfin Tetras
Plants
Rotala Indica, Cardamine, Crypt Spiralis, Pygmy Chain Swords, Dwarf Sag, Lutea Crypt, Wendtti Bronze and Red, and Floating Frogbit
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-08-2012, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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Also, it seems like the dwarf hair grass is not doing so well. Does this need more light and/or C02 at all? If so, I am willing to get rid of it if need be. I do not want to have plants that are not right for my setup. I know the anubias, swords, lutea, and moss are just fine. Just not sure about the Micro Swords and the dwarf hairgrass.

55 Gallon Planted

Fish
3 GBR, 2 Bolivian Rams, 1 Juvenile Super Red BN Plecos, 9 Oto Catfish, 9 Bloodfin Tetras
Plants
Rotala Indica, Cardamine, Crypt Spiralis, Pygmy Chain Swords, Dwarf Sag, Lutea Crypt, Wendtti Bronze and Red, and Floating Frogbit
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-08-2012, 04:01 PM
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If you switched the substrate the anubias and crypts would probably be fine, especially since you would have better nutrients in the substrate, and the anubias should be tied to driftwood/rocks for best growth

The DHG (dwarf hair grass) probably needs more light/nutrients/co2
There are tons of diffrent anubias species ranging in size shape color and price.
You could make a whole aquascape out of them
Same goes for java ferns and moss, and crypts.
There are tons of bright colored fish besides denisons,
Harlequin rasboras, neon tetras, green tetras, ect.
Google aquascaping techniques and you'll get tons of stuff about negative space, the golden rule, ect.
I reccomend new substrate and better dosing for the best low-tech experience, sand with roottabs doesnt provide much
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-08-2012, 04:23 PM
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Don't worry about switching out the substrate, grab some root tabs and you will be fine, all of my tanks utilize it and as you can see, I have no problems growing substrate feeding plants. The dwarf hair grass might not be getting enough light. You could try dwarf four leaf clover and get a good effect, it's a slow grower, but it might do ok with limited light


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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-08-2012, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Whats considered good light then? I though a 48in dual T8s with 6,500k bulbs would be fine, or am I wrong?

I do dose with ferts, flourish comprehensive and equilibrium. I also have the tabs for the lutea and swords. All the anybias are tied to rocks, none are planted.

55 Gallon Planted

Fish
3 GBR, 2 Bolivian Rams, 1 Juvenile Super Red BN Plecos, 9 Oto Catfish, 9 Bloodfin Tetras
Plants
Rotala Indica, Cardamine, Crypt Spiralis, Pygmy Chain Swords, Dwarf Sag, Lutea Crypt, Wendtti Bronze and Red, and Floating Frogbit
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 04:14 AM Thread Starter
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Here is where I am at now...



Whats considered good light then? I though a 48in dual T8s with 6,500k bulbs would be fine, or am I wrong?

I do dose with ferts, flourish comprehensive and equilibrium. I also have the tabs for the lutea and swords. All the anubias are tied to rocks, none of them are planted.

55 Gallon Planted

Fish
3 GBR, 2 Bolivian Rams, 1 Juvenile Super Red BN Plecos, 9 Oto Catfish, 9 Bloodfin Tetras
Plants
Rotala Indica, Cardamine, Crypt Spiralis, Pygmy Chain Swords, Dwarf Sag, Lutea Crypt, Wendtti Bronze and Red, and Floating Frogbit
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 11:36 AM
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Good start!

110g Tropical Community & Sakura Shrimp
55g BN Breeding Grounds, Peacock Gudgeons, Panda, Pygmies, & Smudge Spot Cories, Rili Shrimp
10g RCS and show guppies


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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 12:53 PM
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The shop light has good reflectors so you have a solid amount of light, not excessive however.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Its funny, the tank looks like it has tannins all throughout it, but in person it doesnt look like this at all. The shop does not have reflectors on it.

55 Gallon Planted

Fish
3 GBR, 2 Bolivian Rams, 1 Juvenile Super Red BN Plecos, 9 Oto Catfish, 9 Bloodfin Tetras
Plants
Rotala Indica, Cardamine, Crypt Spiralis, Pygmy Chain Swords, Dwarf Sag, Lutea Crypt, Wendtti Bronze and Red, and Floating Frogbit
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 01:41 PM
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I would put gravel or sand over potting soil, get some larger, more dramatic rocks, and add an array of crypts.

I think the mix of broad, bright green leaves associated with Anubius coupled with the (usually) narrow leaf shape of crypts is pretty interesting. You can also get a good mix of color with different crypts. I would also mess around with some java fern.

In a slower growing tank like this, you can really add a good number of plants at once and not overwhelm yourself.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 01:53 PM
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It looks nice to me except the heater, I would move it to a corner. I like the piece of driftwood in first photo. Also I would lose all the "pebbles" they will end up being algae/debris collectors and not much else. Also the large piece of driftwood might look better turned at more of an angle or even upright to be more stump like. Just a few thoughts mostly depends on what you like
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merth View Post
It looks nice to me except the heater, I would move it to a corner. I like the piece of driftwood in first photo. Also I would lose all the "pebbles" they will end up being algae/debris collectors and not much else. Also the large piece of driftwood might look better turned at more of an angle or even upright to be more stump like. Just a few thoughts mostly depends on what you like
The larger piece of wood will not stand like that. I have already tried it. As far as turning it, how do you mean? Which was are you think I should turn it. I will moving that heather this evening. And the peebles are in there to show where I have placed my root tabs, ha! You think I should still get rid of them?

55 Gallon Planted

Fish
3 GBR, 2 Bolivian Rams, 1 Juvenile Super Red BN Plecos, 9 Oto Catfish, 9 Bloodfin Tetras
Plants
Rotala Indica, Cardamine, Crypt Spiralis, Pygmy Chain Swords, Dwarf Sag, Lutea Crypt, Wendtti Bronze and Red, and Floating Frogbit
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaky Filter View Post
I would put gravel or sand over potting soil, get some larger, more dramatic rocks, and add an array of crypts.

I think the mix of broad, bright green leaves associated with Anubius coupled with the (usually) narrow leaf shape of crypts is pretty interesting. You can also get a good mix of color with different crypts. I would also mess around with some java fern.

In a slower growing tank like this, you can really add a good number of plants at once and not overwhelm yourself.
You know, I would say to add more, but the wisteria looks like its browning out, so I assume its eating up all the nutrients and not having enough, so I am kind of unsure if I should add anymore plants at the moment.

Although I do want to add a nice Java Fern in there.

55 Gallon Planted

Fish
3 GBR, 2 Bolivian Rams, 1 Juvenile Super Red BN Plecos, 9 Oto Catfish, 9 Bloodfin Tetras
Plants
Rotala Indica, Cardamine, Crypt Spiralis, Pygmy Chain Swords, Dwarf Sag, Lutea Crypt, Wendtti Bronze and Red, and Floating Frogbit
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