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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-11-2005, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Would like to introduce myself

hi my name is Justin,

I have been lurking and learning for a while but thought that now that my tank has cycled and is over the first round of algae that I would introduce myself. This site has been really helpful to me as has Rex Griggs site - THANK YOU!

I am a newb to plant tanks but have been keeping reef tanks over the last five or six years. I suffered a setback with a virulent algae. If you are familiar with reef tanks and are interested, the algae is called Bryopsis. Nothing likes to eat it, (except for a false sea slug that can't survive in most peoples extreme - high flow tanks) and it the algae thrives in tank conditions that are perfect for corals. I fought it daily for about a year. Some people beat it, some don't. It actually grows and roots into coral skeletons and slowly pushes the tissue back antill nothing is left. Anyway, I turned the lights out on my tank about a year ago after the bryopsis had killed the last of my corals. I really lost heart in the fish keeping hobby, which is sad, because there was a time I thought I would be doing it forever. I imagined sharing the reef tank with my children someday and using it to teach them how to be responsible with the earth's resources. (When i have kids.)

Anyway, recently I found myself visiting fish stores when I had nothing to do, and the next thing you know I'm casually looking into planted tanks on the internet, and then BAM! The bug gets me! I have had my tank converted as a plant tank for three weeks or so now, and it just finished a minor cycle (even though the reef tank didn't have corals in it, all the plumbing, tank walls etc. were covered in life forms like sponges, calcarous worms, etc which died when I filled it with fresh water.) I had to do several complete water changes during the cycle because I was concerned about the fact that some sponges are toxic. Once i was happy, I planted.

During the cycle, while the ammonia was going down, and the nitrite had not quite peaked, I had an out break of brown hair algae, but I nipped that in the bud straight away. It's cycled now and has a handful of fish in it: 2 dwarf spotted ancistrus, 2 one inch long SAE, 4 glass cats, and a beta.

Enough with all the talking though, I thought I would show some pictures. The tank is a 105 gallon oceanic. This is a shot of the tank, stand, and canopy:
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-11-2005, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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i know I haven't done some things right and I don't know much about plants, but I look forward to getting to know everyone and hopefully, pick your brains! Here are a few closeups of the aquascape:
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Last edited by cat_rancher; 09-11-2005 at 04:50 PM.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-11-2005, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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i think I messed up the resolution on those, but here are some more:
the lighting consits of an icecap 660 vho running 3 48" bulbs and 0ne 36" bulb.

Filtration is a sump were the wter flows through a sponge for biological till my plants get going. I have a co2 reactor that I reverse enginereed from a calcium reactor that I reversed engineered from a fluidized bed, and a large media container full of carbon.
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-11-2005, 02:53 PM
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Welcome!! There is a wealth of information here and we're all here to help each other out! That is a great looking tank, stand and canopy!!

As far as the scape...a bit too "busy" for my preference...the hard scape needs to be toned down a bit...maybe remove the river rocks on the left? The driftwood looks great and I would suggest using that as the centerpiece and plant around it to accent the wood.

Re-boot!
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-11-2005, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Georgia!

Thanks! Yeah, I have noticed there seems to be a trend on this board for a real minimalist zen layout and I find these tanks beautiful, but I'm not quite sure that is what I am going for. i have seriously limited how many plants I can have, and thats for sure!
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-11-2005, 04:10 PM
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Welcome to the hobby and way to go on your first setup! Just like many of us when we first started out, you probably have many questions, so I'll try to answer some of them for you. First, you may consider toning down the rocky 'scape'. It looks nice, but it detracts from the plants and gives you less room to do your planting. Generally, African Ciclid tanks are the ones with huge rock formations and things like that, and because they like to dig in the gravel so much, a lot of people omit even using plants in those environments. Of course, there are exceptions. Even more importantly for your needs will be getting a good test kit and deciding how you are going to dose the tank (ie, feed the plants). You may have read on various sites about the basic requirements of plants, which includes sufficient light(looks like you have that covered), a nutrient-rich substrate(you didn't mention what you're using, but Fluorite and Eco-complete are great -- plain gravel by itself is bad), as well as Phosphate(Po4), Nitrate(No3), Potasium(K) and other minor types like Magnesium, Iron, Manganese, etc(the minors are included in "trace" mixtures). Ask questions or do some searches on this site or http://www.thekrib.com
A consistent dosing regime, along with a 10-12 hour photo-period and a good substrate should get you started. Some things are easier to learn by just experiencing first hand and then asking questions. Looks like you're off to a good start! Good luck!
-Ryan

p.s. One other type of plant you may consider is a "carpet" type plant. These are typicaly low-growing, higher light requiring plants that cover the bottom area in the front. You may want to hold off until you get the hang of growing the plants you already have, but its just a suggstions. Some of the more popular "carpet" plants include glossostigma, riccia fluitans, micro-swords(ech. tennelus) and various sp. of cryptocorynes and hairgrass.

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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-11-2005, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
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Hi ringram!

Thanks for the response!

Substrate is probably where I made the biggest mistake: I just used unwashed sandblast. I have been considering mixing in some flourite or something similar.

For test kits I have PH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate, and alkalinity.

For ferts I am using Kent phosphate, iron, and nitrate, but am currently researching how I will set up my dosing regimen. It looks like I will burn through these little bottles pretty quickly so I am going to order dry bulk from Greg Watson once I have a handle on how I am going to do things.

As for a carpet plant, I have some glosso planted sporadically through the substrate which I purchased from a member of this board:

The aquascaping has a plan behind it and will (I hope) make more sense as I finish my purchases and things fill in. While I do truly love all the amano style tanks here (and envy them) I was trying to create something totally different. Not to highlight any one plant or to make plants the focus but to recreate what one might find scuba diving in a plant filled area. As if you were to take a large 18" by 48" chunk out of a lake environment. I want a full size environment if that makes any sense, with all the haphazard placements that make up that kind of area. I've noticed the amano style tanks seem to be miniature terrestrial environments that replicate hilly ranges, areas around volcanoes, etc. All very Japanese if you know anything about Japanese art.

Really, if things go as I have planned, the rocks are going to dissapear to a large extent, but you are entirely correct that I don't have much room to plant which is a drawback, because every time I go into a fish store I see a new plant I want

I've got more questions than you can imagine actually, but I am trying to bite my tongue and research the board before asking

Thanks so much!
Justin
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-11-2005, 05:09 PM
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By all means, use your creativity. I like the idea and look you're going for. What it all comes down to is whether it makes you happy, b/c you're the one who will be able to see and enjoy it everyday. Having said that, I now see your glosso and it looks like you have the right idea of trying to seperate it a little, rather than planting it in one big clump. It will spread faster that way and you won't risk parts of it dying due to having light blocked, etc. Way to go. Can't wait to see future pics of this tank. Nice tank by the way -- I hope to get a big 75 gal+ someday.
Cheers,
Ryan

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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-11-2005, 05:16 PM
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welcome looks like you are off to a good start


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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-11-2005, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks ryan and bigstick!

As far as for making me happy, I must admit I have had thoughts rolling around in the back of my mind about setting another tank up and doing an Amano style tank. They are so super peaceful!

Do you think a school of like 50 or more little fish would be cruel or unwise? I haven't decided yet, but I've narrowed it down to either cardinals, rummynose, or white cloud mountain minnows. Any thoughts?
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-11-2005, 06:28 PM
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A school of small fishes would be really nice. I think 50 of one type may be a little too much though. Once your plants grow in (if you go for a full grown look), they will all be pretty crowded and this could detract from the look if they're all swimming in a little circle. But with your setup you may not have this problem- since you have all the rocks in there. The layout you have may not be the fad around here but personally I think it looks very nice. If I had your tank size and layout, I would go with probably no more than 25 or 30 of the same school of fishes and build them up slowly over time. Keep us updated on your progress!

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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-11-2005, 06:38 PM
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Welcome, cat_rancher. Looks like you've got a great start going. Sounds like you have some some tank battles in the salt water arena, and you can certainly expect to face some in the planted set-up also. But, they're not likely to be as costly . I've been at this for about four years now, and just battle my first significant BBA (black beard/bush algae) outbreak. I lost a fair amount of plant mass, but since I've got it battled back and got things more properly adjusted now, the plants are screaming back to life. So, just stay patient, read, read, read and try to enjoy the journey!

Keep the pictures and the questions coming!
Brian.
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-11-2005, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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If I had your tank size and layout, I would go with probably no more than 25 or 30 of the same school of fishes and build them up slowly over time.
Yeah, I think that makes alot of sense; I do plan on planting as heavily as space allows and letting everything get pretty tall.

Thanks Carpet-pond!
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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-11-2005, 06:43 PM
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Welcome!
I guess comparatively, I'm one of the odd ones around here, who tends to lean more towards an overgrown jungle look. From the looks of your tank, in a few months you'll have accomplished it! Seriously, I love it. Would love to see pics of your old reef if you have them lying around.
Good luck in the hobby, get a journal and keep it up, I'd love to see how this plays out.


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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-11-2005, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the welcome Brian!

I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. Man it hurts when something we love goes downhill. You feel so helpless even though you're doing every thing you can to fix it.

This is a picture from when the tank was a reef. Everything you see eventually died. I might have been able to save the corals if I could have moved them to another tank but I wasn't about to infect anyone elses tank with this stuff. If I had set up a new tank to move them to temporarily I would have just taken the problem to the new tank. The affected areas can be cut off of the corals similar to trimming a plant, but there comes a point where you have to stop trimming.

I won't comment on the cost of what I lost but I will say I felt worse about killing incredible wild creatures from the ocean. I figure if I kill some plants, live and learn, right?
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