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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My original post is below. For those who just want to view my progress through photos, check the end of this post.

ORIGINAL POST
I had a try at my first planted tank about a year ago with DIY CO2. It turned out decent, but I let it get a bit overgrown and algae started to set in. Recently I tore it down and was deciding whether to try my first SW reef, bare-bottom Aro (have had a couple in the past), or have another go at a planted. In the end I decided I'd give the planted setup another go because of it's visual appeal (the SW reef is equally beautiful but costs a lot more).

Anyhow, here is how my first planted setup looked like :




I tore down the tank above and am starting anew. Began about a week ago but am still in the process of acquiring all the equipment and plants. Ordered a CO2 tank online and a regulator from Rex Grigg, both of which should hopefully get here next week. I have a basic idea of how I want the scape to look, but for now it looks a bit incomplete. For now, I added a couple plants in there since I had two SAE's from before (and two neons I had in my 2.5G mini planted, which I'm still working on as well.) and wanted to give them some plants to 'clean'.

Once I get the CO2 tank and regulator, I'll be going to my LFS to grab a diffuser, some fertilizer (still have KNO3, etc. left over from before), and as many plants as I can currently afford. For now, I'll just be adding the plants and see how well they grow before adding more fish. Here are some sneak peeks of the current incomplete setup.



PHOTO SUMMARY (APR 2007-DEC 2007)



After HM trim :



Miscellaneous Aquarium Photos (DEC 03 2007)



















 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
just asking if there was plans for other plants in for the second scape.
I have a general idea of the plants. Thinking of having a Blyxa Japonica lawn from the middle to left (sectioned blocked off by driftwood) with some crypts here and there as a semi border behind the Blyxa. A bush of stem plants towards the back. To the right, thinking of some hairgrass, riccia, moss balls, separated by a sand trail and some more random crypts and stem plants. :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
UPDATE April 18 2007

Finished adding some sand for a little river effect. Also, the hairgrass I added started yellowing (probably adjusting from emmersed to submersed form) so I thinned it out and replanted/respositioned it slightly.





I should be getting my CO2 tank in the next day or so, then the regulator next week. Waiting is a pain ...
 

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55 gallons are a dog to scape. But i think you've done well in going with a minimalist. I pretty much wanted to kick my own ass trying to create depth in mine. Your riverbed does the trick though, well done.
 

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Fantastic job! It looks sweet just how it is. It reminds me of a lake or ocean bottom how the gravel sweeps in. The driftwood and plants are placed elegantly. I don’t like the white sand though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
ianmoede, thanks for the compliments. Still a long way to go, but hopefully it turns out nice.

Lee, thanks for the comments. The sand does stick out right now, probably due to the lack of surrounding plants. Once I get more plants in and they grow in, hopefully it won't stand out too much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
UPDATE April 19 2007

Got my aluminum 10# CO2 cylinder today. Still have to wait for my regulator though which I'll hopefully get next week from Rex.



One of the main flaws in my setup is that for filtration, I am using a wet/dry. I've researched the wet/dry in a planted tank and the general consensus seems to be that it'll outgas the CO2 too much, requiring the CO2 input to be pumped up. During the course of my researching, I came across some information from Tom Barr who stated that the actual trickle area in the wet/dry is not the main source of CO2 outgassing, but rather the overflow. Decreasing the fall of water from the overflow will substantially decrease CO2 outgassing. And as for the trickle section, sealing the top area off (w/ tape, etc.) would create a large reactor where CO2 would degas, then be reabsorbed.

Sealing the trickle section would be easy, but I place a sponge filter inside and removing/reapplying the tape would become a hassle. So I've come up with a simple (and hopefully effective) design for the overflow which would decrease the distance of water falling and which would incorporate a sponge filter to trap larger debris.

Here is how the original overflow on my tank looks :



And here is the design I've come up with :



It might be a bit difficult to see the concept since I'm horrible at making graphics. I will be sticking a long piece of PVC pipe into the outlet of the overflow tank which will block off any water going directly into the wet/dry. This will cause the water to rise up until it reaches holes in the PVC which I will be drilling. This will significantly minimize the distance which the water overflows.

So what's with the cylindrical cap (which by the way won't be red)? Well, after thinking about it, I figure that some of the CO2 outgas from the trickle section may find it's way up to the PVC and out into the atmosphere. Thus, the cylindrical cap. This will be siliconed to the top of the PVC pipe and will extend down below the water line. This way, any CO2 which may reach this point will have nowhere to go, trapped inside the cylinder by the waterline. At this point, I can easily add a sponge filter at the top for quick filtering of any large debris.

Sure I could go out and purchase a canister but I'm broke now after buying my CO2 setup and I still have to purchase a diffuser and more plants. DIY is fun anyways :)

If you see any flaws or have any advice/suggestions/comments, let me know. Thanks.

Toshi
 

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If you have a trickle, the gas exchange rate will be very high and the co2 will be wasted. Other than that I really like your tank, so dark and mysterious! I would bet the white sand will also get a little darker over time. What kind of sand did you use?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If you have a trickle, the gas exchange rate will be very high and the co2 will be wasted. Other than that I really like your tank, so dark and mysterious! I would bet the white sand will also get a little darker over time. What kind of sand did you use?
Thanks for the comment esarkipato. I used regular sand from a LFS which I purchased a while back.

My filtration will have a trickle. And as I mentioned in my post :

I came across some information from Tom Barr who stated that the actual trickle area in the wet/dry is not the main source of CO2 outgassing, but rather the overflow. Decreasing the fall of water from the overflow will substantially decrease CO2 outgassing. And as for the trickle section, sealing the top area off (w/ tape, etc.) would create a large reactor where CO2 would degas, then be reabsorbed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
UPDATE April 21 2007

Couple of updates to the tank. I actually went to go buy some plants for my 2.5g nano; some Hemianthus callitrichoides and an unidentified stem plant. I only used a small portion of the HC on the 2.5g and had a lot leftover, so I decided to plant it on my 55g. Also had like two stem plants left over so I planted those just for the hell of it as well.







Also picked up a CO2 diffuser, some Seachem fertilizer, and some PVC parts to create my redesigned overflow which I'll take photos of later as I start to modify it. Now all I'm waiting for is the regulator and I'll finish adding the plants, modify my overflow, and everything will be set ... for now :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ah, right. Should have read more closely!

Looks great, the HC is gonna take over your river bed :hihi:
I don't blame you, it was a lot to read :smile:

The HC probably will take over; I already see some growth. Hopefully I can keep trimming it. If not, I might just let it grow freely for a natural look :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
UPDATE April 21 2007

As suggested by others, I narrowed the sand area down a bit. It did feel a bit cramped on the right side; this kind of opens it up a bit more for plants.



Better? Worse?

The HC is already starting to grow, as well as one of the stem plants, which is peeking above the driftwood now. Couple more days until I finally get the CO2 running!
 

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Really like the minimalist look. Is that Eco or AS?
Going to be great when it fills in!
 
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