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Thanks for the review on the stainless hardware! You got me into thinking of getting a set of them. I'm real annoyed that the outflow is not adjustable though. Got me thinking that I'll need to cut/saw it.

Oh, and great job on the crypt flamingo you have. Congrats on the pink leaves. I dunno what it is that I've got even though it was sold to me as crypt flamingo. Whilst its got its own charm, it sure hasn't gotten bright pink like yours yet!


 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Yeah if you are not seeing pink leaves I don't think it is Flamingo. I wouldn't even say it is a matter of light or other conditions because I had a few extra bits that I planted in my low tech quarantine tank and another in one of my little Betta tanks and they are just starting to get the pink leaves as well.

New pink growth on Cryptocoryne 'Flamingo' by Kaveh Maguire, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
Looks like a Bolivian ram.

Comparison of the plants on day 1 and day 21. This is one of my favorite things about digital cameras. It makes it so much easier to document and compare changes in time in a garden or aquarium.

I am actually kind of surprised at the difference. When you are looking at it every day growth seems so slow. But looking at day 1 I can really see how far things have come in just 3 weeks. The only plant which has not grown much is Cyperus helferi which is a slow grower.

Pogostemon erectus is starting to put out some longer stems, a few Pogostemon helferi are starting to come back from melting and put out their standard submersed growth. Right now I would say that the plant in the worst shape is Ranunculus inundatus. One completely melted and fell apart and the rest are not exactly robust. But I am hopeful that they are just the sort of plant that needs to put its energy in root growth first and it will eventually come around.

Do eventually want to do some Fissidens moss on the wood but will probably wait at least another month to see how the Hygrophila fills in. Purposely left the front an open sandy area in consideration of Corydoras but now that I probably will limit the amount of Corydoras in this aquarium I may do some sort of carpeting plant across the front. Have to think about it more and look at some images and videos and see what I like best.

21 Days of Plant Growth in the 40g Aquarium by Kaveh Maguire, on Flickr
 

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It's looking fantastic! At 3 weeks all of my tanks are algae inundated cesspools. That's what inwas going to mention about fissidens. It's beautiful, but in newlywed up tanks with low plant mass they can really get trashed with algae. Then again your tank isn't the algae farms that mine are at that point. It's all relative to total plant mass. Once you've got some it's easy to get new things added and dialed in. The Corys will love that open area. I always liked how that looks, but I almost always end up planting something there. I've got crypt Parva in the top tank in the front. The bottom one doesn't really have an open area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
Yeah that is why I am waiting on the Fissidens. My experience with it in the past was not good. I may even wait a few months to introduce it when all the rest of the plants are big and full and more of the back is concealed. You can't tell from the front but the wood is completely filled with Hygrophila pinnatifida so I need to see where that fills in to figure out from a design standpoint where the moss will look good.

Honestly I am kind of surprised at how well this tank is doing as far as growth and lack of algae is concerned. I chalk it up to about 3 years of hard work and trial and error and watching video after video of scapers on Youtube and seeing how they do things. My first high tech attempts 3 years ago were mixed. All of them ended up algae nightmares in the first few months. Some recovered. Others did not. In most cases I ended up caving and going with simpler plants.

I tried Aquasoil, Flourite, black Flourite sand, regular sand, different types of wood and rocks, different brand lights, different types of fertilizer. And pretty much every type of plant that I thought looked cool from every different online vendor I could find.

I am going to attribute my success so far with this tank to using RO water (with Seachem planted tank additives), lights that are adjustable, and tissue culture plants. I was worried that the single non TC plant I tried (the Rotala wallichii) was going to bring algae but so far it has been fine. But it is still fairly early days. There is still plenty of time for disaster to strike!

Oh and I have used Crypt. parva in the past. Was pretty happy with it in my old 29g high tech (which had been my most successful tank in the past) but just last week I removed it from my 36g tank. They were growing well and had amazing roots but they just grow too slowly and I was starting to see BBA, string algae, and green spot algae on the leaves. I could have tried to deal with it but instead I got rid of it. The rest of that tank has been going pretty well so I don't want to court trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Not sure how clear it is in the photo but wider leaves are starting to form now on the new growth of Proserpinaca palustris. Hard to photograph it clearly because it is in the back and the fish always photobomb when I try to get photos from the front.

All the Pogostemon helferi that initially melted are putting out tiny new immersed growth leaves. A few larger ones on the left and adorable tiny ones on the right. Also decided to play around with the new text editor on Flickr so I can label the plants in my photos.

Aerial View of Left Side by Kaveh Maguire, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
And the right side of the aquarium. Thrilled that Hygrophila pinnatifida is doing so well since I could never get it to grow before. The only plant that is questionable is Ranunculus inundatus and there is enough healthy looking growth that I think maybe it will be OK. Just some of the older stems are melting.

It isn't in view of this photo but one other thing I am contemplating is the Cyperus helferi. It basically takes up the entire back wall of the aquarium behind the driftwood. I have had a single plant in the past in another tank get huge. Because this is tissue culture it actually ended up being something like 15 plants! It isn't particularly fast growing but once it fills in it might be overwhelming. I am considering taking out the plants in the right back corner of the tank and replacing it with a stem plant with red leaves. Possibly something like Rotala 'H'Ra' which I ordered but came in all rotten so didn't use. Might wait on this though. Planning to reboot my 60P Do Aqua tank as possibly an Iwagumi design so I might just wait until I need to order plants for that tank.

Aerial View of Right Side by Kaveh Maguire, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
We are having a heat wave here on California's central coast and the temperatures that are usually 60-70 year round have shot up to 100 for 2 days (back down into the low 80s today). Few here have AC (it just isn't needed) so temperatures have shot up in my tanks from 75-76 to 81-82. The plants are pushing lots of new growth in the warmer temperature so I increased the lighting to 80%.

The warmth also seems to have stimulated the reed tetras to breed so they are all racing around the tank in a frenzy. Males flaring at each other and chasing females into the plants. Since the tank is so well planted I guess there is a chance some eggs might hatch but I am not sure any fry be able to avoid being eaten since there are so many tetras in the tank. I have had a few baby cherry barbs reach adult size when their parents were the first fish introduced to the tank so we'll see.

Also introduced 13 Amano shrimp and 8 crystal red and crystal black shrimp. The Amanos should be OK but not so sure about the crystals. I thought the tetras were too small to be much threat (all 1" or smaller) but I already found one of the crystal reds ripped in half and it was one of the larger ones. Most of them seem to have made a base of the driftwood and rocks so maybe they will find hiding spots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
Today the tank is 1 month old. Love comparing the growth to the first day. So far the plants and fish are doing well. Since bringing up the lights to 80% I had my first case of pearling last night (tried to post a video but for some reason it was bugging and not posting the thumbnail) but there is also a light dusting of algae on the sand. So I think I will keep it at 80% for some time. I don't see any algae on the plants or rocks or wood though so that is good.

Really can't wait to see how the 2 month mark differs from now. At this point even the Cyperus is putting on some growth so in another 30 days I suspect I will have to give some of the stem plants a trim.

Still thinking long and hard about what other fish I want to add and how many. Thinking I might make this a bit of a color schemed tank and only add fish that either black/red/white or some combo. But we'll see. That might be kind of silly and when I have tried to do gardens with color schemed in my yard I never stick to it. I suspect the same will go for the fish.

40 gallon Breeder 1 Month Growth by Kaveh Maguire, on Flickr
 

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Looks great. Is everything just planted in the inert subtrate?

The biggest problem I have is with managing growth. High tech with soil substrate, growth is too fast, I have to trim 6" a week.

Maybe my next tank I will consider not using soil.

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Low tech + inert substrate = poor growth
Low tech + soil = good growth
High tech + inert substrate = good growth
High tech + soil = insane growth
 
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