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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Since I keep asking for all kinds of help I thought it would be best if I started a journal thread.

Here is the tank right after I purchased it:


The next day I purchased a Current-USA 96W CF Light (shown on top) and 20lbs of Flourite along with 20lbs of Tahitian Moon Sand for the Substrate. I also added 2 pieces of driftwood for looks.



I'm aiming for a cycleless startup so I have a variety of plants and partially stocked with fish now.

So far there are 4 Sword Plants, Water Wysteria, Red Ludwiga, an anubias that I doubt will make it, and one I can't remember the name of.

Along with that I have 2 Sunset Fire Dwarf Gourami's, 3 Bronze Cory's, 2 Khuli Loaches, and 7 Neon Tetra's in the tank.

Now, I'm at a stand still deciding whether I need more light or not and getting everything around for CO2.



The aquascape is definitely not final. I'm kind of waiting for things to settle down now and trying to decide what next so all advice is welcome.

I'm not sur about the lighting, but a new hood isn't an idea I relish either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've fixed the picture. From what I understand of the composition of both Flourite and TMS there shouldn't be a problem. I could be wrong, but I can't see a problem with the mix.

In regards to plants, I know I wan't some Vals in the tank and I'm looking for a moss, but I don't think I want Java Moss, to put on the driftwood.
 

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I've fixed the picture. From what I understand of the composition of both Flourite and TMS there shouldn't be a problem. I could be wrong, but I can't see a problem with the mix.
There are no problems mixing them chemical-wise, the problem lies in that the TMS will eventually settle below the flourite due to it's smaller size, thereby negating any aesthetic effect you may have desired. You'll wonder why you didn't go with one or the other... ;)

As far as lighting and CO2, you have 2WPG which is a good place to start. I'd get CO2 up and going before adding anymore light. It's certainly the safer and easier way to go.

BTW: More stem plants pronto.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There are no problems mixing them chemical-wise, the problem lies in that the TMS will eventually settle below the flourite due to it's smaller size, thereby negating any aesthetic effect you may have desired. You'll wonder why you didn't go with one or the other... ;)
I actually expected them to mix giving the Red & Black combination then I'm considering adding a bag of Eco-Complete in about 3 to 6 months to help increase the fertility of the substrate and increase the black color.

Not sure if this would be good or bad though.
BTW: More stem plants pronto.
I bought out the stock at PetSmart and Petco doesn't have things labeled so not sure if I want to purchase there again.

But what amazes me is yesterday I had a Nitrite of .05 and an ammonia level of .25.

Today I have a Nitrite of 0 and an Ammonia of 0. I even double checked. I was definitely showing Nitrite and Ammonia yesterday readable on the test in minute levels, but today nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
petsmart n petco is a no no, the best place is here in our own SNS .... It has the most plants for very cheap... heres how i got started,
I intend to order online. But for a start Petco/Petsmart is a place to get them since I wanted some right away.

The LFS plant tank is a joke, unfortunately.
 

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I actually expected them to mix giving the Red & Black combination then I'm considering adding a bag of Eco-Complete in about 3 to 6 months to help increase the fertility of the substrate and increase the black color.
Commercial substrates (except Florabase and Aquasoil) only have traces in them. They don't really make the substrate more fertile. Unless their CEC somehow pulls in NPK from the water column.

If you stay with this hobby, in about 5 months you will realize that you hate the way your substrate looks. Especially if you just mix them all willy-nilly. Or, perhaps you could somehow completely cover the substrate with a carpet plant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hmm, Learn something new everyday. I thought the Flourite and Eco-Complete were top ones. Well, at least two years ago they appeared to be. :(

I'm not sure I will hate the way it looks. Not sure I wanted that combination to begin with though but I didn't feel the Tahitian Moon Sand would make a good substrate on it's own.
 

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They are good substrates. Very nice to plant in, some people like the color. Also, the fact that they are inert makes them "cleaner" than, say, a soil based substrate, plus no ammonia spike or pH effects.

However, for some reason many people think that having a commercial substrate gives them a great advantage in nutrients somehow, when this isn't true. You get the same results with a $5 50 lb bag of soilmaster select as you do with Fluorite, or any inert, properly sized substrate.

What I'm getting at is that your water column fertilization will matter much more than the substrate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That much I did actually expect about the fertilization. My last tank was Sand based. I will have to see if I can dig up any pictures of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, I kept stating this would be long running but I haven't been good about keeping this up.

Essentially with the wife pregnant and then all the ensuing, including snails, algae, etc... I ended up with a disaster.

Now I'm in recovery mode and trying to decide where to go......

Here are a few current pictures, I'm open to thoughts.

FYI, the rocks are a recent addition. They are "Lava Rocks" not lace or other forms of "Live Rock" or live rock substrate and they are "Land Based" lava rocks.

This first picture is the "Survivors" of the over heat, 2 Amazon Sword Plants, 1 other type of sword (not sure if it will pull through) along with the Java Moss. There are a couple other "sprouts" that survived of other plants, but will have to wait and see on them.



This is the current status of the whole tank:



Here is a good shot of a Cory. :)



A new "unkown" Fern??? I picked up also:


And, hopefully I rescued this guy not to just have another mess and kill him, but a nice looking anubius that was "Potted" up to the rizome. :(

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, the lava rocks didn't work (cost me 3 fish I believe due to the roughness) so I redid the entire aquascape.

As you can see below the substrate is not all the original Flourite & Tahitian Moon Sand as it was before. I used playsand (something I had good luck with in the past) for part of it and divided it with two taller slate blocks.



Here is a good shot of the barrier..

 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, it is time for an update I guess. I've added some vals, cabomba, and pressurized Co2. Overall it's starting to come together, but as always I'm always open to advice.

I also split off all the baby java ferns and placed them on other points of the driftwood in hopes of them taking off.

Overall I'm much happier with the current scape, just waiting for it to fill in and kill off the rest of the Algae.

You will have to excuse the Algae as I haven't fought all of it off yet, just some.

So, here are the pictures:









The last picture is an unidentified sword plant I have.
 

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Nice update. :)

I would recommend putting a wallpaper behind your tank (a single-coloured one, such as blue or black). It would help hide the cables and the wall.

Also, I believe more plants will be needed to beautify your setup further, and also to help deter some of the algae growth as they will have to compete with your increased plant load.

When I started out mid last month on my new setup, it looked very bare with a few plants. But once I started added more plants along the way, things started to get better.

Hope these help. Have fun! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The algae is there to let me know when I'm finally "Winning" the battle. I have won the battle against the long hair type algae I had, now it's just regular algae.

I have 3 Otos in the tank that do a fairly good cleaning job, just need to get the plants outcompeting the algae.

I have been thinking about a background, just haven't done it yet.

And I agree on more plants, I just haven't decided what ones yet. I did have hornwort in there for a while, but it would have over taken the whole tank.
 
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