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1st 'Scape: how many TC cups for 36gal? Plant list, tank photos enclosed.

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Hi all - love the forum, first post, first planted tank. It's a UNS 75P (136L/36G, 76X45X45cm).

How many of these Tropica tissue culture cups should I buy? I want to plant densely at the beginning. This is 17X Tropica cups, a range plant types and growth speeds. Generally Tropica 'easy,' few 'moderate'.
  • Bucephalandra 'Kedagang' 2X
  • Bucephalandra pygmaea 'Bukit Kelam' 2X
  • Eleocharis acicularis 'Mini' 2X
  • Rotala rotundifolia 'H'ra' 2X
  • Hottonia palustris 1X (??)
  • Rotala indica ‘bonsai’ 1X(??)
  • Hydrocotyle tripartite 1X (??)
  • Lobelia cardinalis 'Mini' 2X
  • Micranthemum tweediei 'Monte Carlo' 4X
I think I should add 1X to the three with ?? at a minimum, for 20X cups. What do you guys think? Is it enough plant mass? More details, photos, and plant locations below. How many these plants would you get for 36gal?


A little background...

The Substrate -- Amazonia Aquasoil ver2 (about 13L to add before planting, will have 5L extra). 30lbs slate rock veined with quartz, 20lbs lava rock, little sand for gaps.

The Support -- Pressurized CO2, inline diffuser. Oase Biomaster Thermo 600 customized trays. RO water, Seachem water parameters. Fluval 3.0 light, love the programmability.

The Start -- Following ADA recommends for a wet start, daily water changes for first week, etc., dosing potassium and traces in water column, etc.etc. No shrimps for first month or two, and tetras even later.

I'm patient and can divide the plants into tiny portions if it is worth it.

More detail on location...appreciate your thoughts...
  • Bucephalandra 'Kedagang' 2X -foreground/midground left
  • Bucephalandra pygmaea 'Bukit Kelam' 2X -foreground/midground left & center
  • Eleocharis acicularis 'Mini' 2X -foreground
  • Rotala rotundifolia 'H'ra' 2X -background left, back row
  • Hottonia palustris 1X (??) -background left, middle row
  • Rotala indica ‘bonsai’ 1X(??) -background left, front row
  • Hydrocotyle tripartite 1X (??) -far left, foreground to midground
  • Lobelia cardinalis 'Mini' 2X -fore/midground right (may mix in far left)
  • Micranthemum tweediei 'Monte Carlo' 4X -mid+background right carpet, and spots among background rocks flowing over rock edges

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I think those plant amounts are fine. Though, you'll probably want to get double the amount of Eleocharis acicularis you think you'll need. It's one of those plants where you always need more than you think.

If you end up having too much of something, you can also stick it in a container of some sort with some extra substrate. Just cover it with plastic wrap and keep it wet. Open the container up once a day to spray things down - that'll also provide airflow without need to poke holes in the plastic. You can then use the extras that grow out in your scape or sell/trade them with other hobbyists. I like to use clear-ish "shoebox" storage containers or even the large, shallow, clear-ish bins from IKEA. Both types have lids so no plastic wrap is necessary. Just stick them under some kind of decent light source and they'll grow.

No shrimps for first month or two, and tetras even later.
Definitely no shrimp until the tank is fully cycled and you've had time to get things dialed in. Though, keep in mind that once it's cycled? You'll need to begin dosing ammonia on a daily basis of 2-3PPM in concentration in order to keep your beneficial bacteria alive until you add livestock. Shrimp are going to become Tetra food/prey in a tank like that for sure. So keep that in mind and accommodate with plenty of hidey holes and plant cover. The more the better.

You'll also want to start with fish instead of shrimp. That's because fish will have a much greater bioload than shrimp. Bioload from shrimp will be negligible at first - so small that a dozen or two wouldn't produce enough waste to support enough bacteria to accommodate even 5-6 Tetras. On the flip, if you start with a school of fish? They'll produce enough waste to keep everything alive and you'll be able to add shrimp whenever you want without much worry about impacting the bioload.
 
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