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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello All,

So this is going to be my journal for my 55G. I have had this tank for 3 years, never really had any real plants in it until now. I'm fairly new to planted tanks. I have a 10G that I have been practicing on and now I want to start putting plants into my 55G.

Here is my setup:

Substrate: Organic potting soil (2 1/2 inches), play sand (1 inch)

filter: HOB Aqueon QuietFlow 55/75 (400 GPH, it says for upto 90G)

Lighting: 4 23W 5000K spiral CFL's ( I also have 2 6500K 23W bulbs on my 10G, so I might swap them out)

Ferts: I have an EI package of dry ferts (NPK and CSM + B)

- I haven't started with ferts, just put plants in today. I only have a couple plants so I figure I would hold off till I get more plants in there. What do you guys think?

CO2: I have a basic paintball setup on my 10G right now. I think I'm going to hold off on the co2 for now. see how things go without it.

Current Plants: 6 stems of Hygrophila Kompakt, 1 Anubias nana.

Plants I will be adding in the near future: Micro sword, DHG, Rotala Sunset, Luwigia Rubin, Jungle Vals.

I don't have a whole lot of each one of these, so as they grow I will propagate as necessary.

Current Fish:

6 cherry Barbs
5 Tiger Barbs
4 Siamese algae eaters
3 Chinese Algae eaters
2 Black Neon Tetra's
3 Serpae Tetras

and also 5 Ghost shrimp


The dried out wood is fairly new and still floats so I have a 2by4 and a weight on top to keep the wood in place till it sinks on its own. The tank is a bit bare right now, I have big plans though. I want to get moss growing on the wood, carpet the floor with Dwarf hair grass in the front and micro swords towards the back and add in a ton of plants. Maybe some rocks, we will see.

Anyways, here is my setup right now, I will update when I make changes. Any suggestions? Let me know what you think or any tips you might have.

Thanks for any input!!! (The pics are super bright, I will take better ones next week when I get new plants in there).
 

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You need a lot more plants sooner then later, I like that wood though. But you could run into some serious algae with fresh soil and to little of plants. Get fast growing plants in the mean time to absorb the nutrients in the water column, and I would definitely hold off on dosing ferts until the tank has lots of plants. But all in all it looks good and has great potential
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You need a lot more plants sooner then later, I like that wood though. But you could run into some serious algae with fresh soil and to little of plants. Get fast growing plants in the mean time to absorb the nutrients in the water column, and I would definitely hold off on dosing ferts until the tank has lots of plants. But all in all it looks good and has great potential
Thanks, next week I'm going to be adding more plants. Not a whole lot (just the list of plants above). As time goes on I will be continually adding plants.

Ya, I agree with the dry ferts, I think for now, the fish waste, food and soil will be enough, until I get more plants. I may add the micro sword, hairgrass and jungle val this weekend. And possible go to Petsmart (only option in town) to pick up a few more plants.

It is a 3 day weekend for me, so I'm sure I'm going to want to spend money on some plants and make some changes.
 

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Thanks, next week I'm going to be adding more plants. Not a whole lot (just the list of plants above). As time goes on I will be continually adding plants.

Ya, I agree with the dry ferts, I think for now, the fish waste, food and soil will be enough, until I get more plants. I may add the micro sword, hairgrass and jungle val this weekend. And possible go to Petsmart (only option in town) to pick up a few more plants.

It is a 3 day weekend for me, so I'm sure I'm going to want to spend money on some plants and make some changes.
The petsmart plants aren't bad, I've bought some and they never melted and have grown real well. But I would try and pack it with some fast growing stem plants until u get the plants u want, the soil will leach a but which could cause some algae issues. Maybe keep ur light time low until u get more plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The petsmart plants aren't bad, I've bought some and they never melted and have grown real well. But I would try and pack it with some fast growing stem plants until u get the plants u want, the soil will leach a but which could cause some algae issues. Maybe keep ur light time low until u get more plants.
I'll keep that in mind, maybe keep the lights on for a shorter period each day. I have had the soil in the tank for maybe 3 weeks with gravel on top. I didn't get any algae with it like this and I ran the lights for about 8 hours a day maybe more some times.

I do see air bubbles in the sand and gravel since the change. Should I be poking at it during water changes to release some of that air?

I wanted to switch to sand and paint the back black so I drained the tank, removed all the gravel (some dirt), painted the back, added the wood and sand.

PetSmart isn't that bad, there just isn't much as far as variety goes. Okay, so I think I'm going to PetSmart tomorrow to get some more plants! lol
 

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You might also want to cut back on lighting too because you don't have enough plants to absorb the nutrients and could end up with algae problems. You said that you are going to put the micro swords towards the back of the tank. I find that interesting. How do you plan to do that? I love the driftwood by the way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You might also want to cut back on lighting too because you don't have enough plants to absorb the nutrients and could end up with algae problems. You said that you are going to put the micro swords towards the back of the tank. I find that interesting. How do you plan to do that? I love the driftwood by the way.
One idea I was thinking was to have the center of the tank be some what of a field with DHG in the front and micro sword towards the back.

In the picture below (quick paint sketch), if we were looking down at the tank. The brown thick line would be the wood. The green line going towards the back of the tank would be tall thick background plants. The orange line going back to the green line would be smaller midground plants. And the orange line going foward would be the foreground, with DHG in the very front and Micro sword near the back of the foreground area.

I'm going to try to have it look natural, so the lines are really a general guide. I want the hair grass to grow in really thick and the micro sword be sort of patchy and random.

Thats the vision in my head right now, I'm super excited to try to get it going.
 

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You could get some floaters like frogbit or similar to eat up nutrients while you wait more plants. Its cheap, or at least it should be because it grows ridiculously fast. Some people will throw flosters in for free if you buy plants from them. If you don't want floaters get something easy like rotala rotundifolia or stargrass they both are fast growing easy plants. I know your getting dhg and stuff but listen to everyone's warning. Hairgrass isn't a fast grower and its not really gonna pull from the water column if all it needs is in the substrate. Hairgrass is also prone to getting algae and without much else in the tank its probably going to happen to yours. Good start on this would just hate to see it sabotaged due to low plant mass.
 

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I like that wood, nice and bold! I'm finilally starting to realize that hardscapes need to be bold in order to not get lost once all the plants take over. Super gluing mosses and ferns (regular java fern would be quite impressive) onto that wood would look awesome. Like everyone else said, get more plants in there asap! Give me a shout if you're looking for plants, I need to do some maintenance on my 90 today and could put together a trim package for ya.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the advice, making a trip to petsmart today, see what I can get.

You could get some floaters like frogbit or similar to eat up nutrients while you wait more plants. Its cheap, or at least it should be because it grows ridiculously fast. Some people will throw flosters in for free if you buy plants from them. If you don't want floaters get something easy like rotala rotundifolia or stargrass they both are fast growing easy plants. I know your getting dhg and stuff but listen to everyone's warning. Hairgrass isn't a fast grower and its not really gonna pull from the water column if all it needs is in the substrate. Hairgrass is also prone to getting algae and without much else in the tank its probably going to happen to yours. Good start on this would just hate to see it sabotaged due to low plant mass.
Thanks for the warning, I'm actually going to go to Petsmart today to get some more plants. Don't know what I'm going to get, but I will put up some pics tonight when I get everything situated. I just realized I have spent a lot of money on things to get ready for a planted tank, but not much on actual plants.

I also have a small plant package coming in the mail from a user on here. I bought some Rotala Sunset and Luwigia Rubin, so that should get here next week.

tattooedfool83 said:
I'm excited to see how it turns out for you
Appreciate it man! I love the support you get from others on here.

I like that wood, nice and bold! I'm finally starting to realize that hardscapes need to be bold in order to not get lost once all the plants take over. Super gluing mosses and ferns (regular java fern would be quite impressive) onto that wood would look awesome. Like everyone else said, get more plants in there asap! Give me a shout if you're looking for plants, I need to do some maintenance on my 90 today and could put together a trim package for ya.
Hardscapes look amazing with plants everywhere. I have some Java Ferns, but they are small right now. Once they fill in a bit I will add them to the tank, not sure where I will place them yet. PMing you right now about the plants thanks...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update:

So I added 3 new plants to my tank from Petsmart:

Corkscrew Val
Red Ludwigia
Anacharis

and I also added some of my own Micro Sword.

I started my planted tank journal with my 10G. I put a pot worth of micro sword and DHG in that tank and they have both done quite well. My Micro Sword has quadrupled in the past 3 weeks and my Hair grass has done even better than that.

I'm going to be moving over the majority of each to the 55G. I moved about a third of my Micro sword over before these pics. It took quite a while, uprooting them and putting them in the 55G, so tomorrow I'm going to move some more and also the hair grass sometime this weekend.

I have two packages of plants coming from people from this forum next week as well ( Big thanks to xmas_one!), so I'm looking forward to receiving them and getting them in the tank.

Quick question about the jungle vals: a couple of them didn't have that long of roots, so I wasn't able to keep them in the sand with the crown above the sand. I put them deeper in the sand to get them to stay in place for now.

Will the roots grow while the crown is buried in the sand?

I was thinking, maybe leave it in like this for now and then in a couple days try to pull them up a bit so the crown is above the sand.

Can I do this, or should I weigh it down with rocks so the crown can be above the sand and then when the roots are long enough take off the weight?

Anyways, here are some pics, let me know what you guys think. I will have more plants next week to fill in the back, I'm also not sure if these are going to be the final resting places. I'm kind of just winging it right now. :)

Pictures still come out super bright. I was thinking of throwing the little one in there too, but I'm not sure if she would get along with the other fishes... (jk lol)

Is the Anabus flowering under water? I'm thinking it was grown emersed before I got it?
 

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Anubias does flower under water, but it was probally grown emersed, they don't melt back like crypts do so it just will seem aort of dormant until it starts setting out new leaves. The look on your daughters face with that bag of skittles is like she won the lottery. Tanks coming along quite nice
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Okay guys, I put this Rock in the tank that I got for free at a local rock and stone whole-seller.

Anyways, I just set it in there for now. What do you guys think of the placement? I want to move it to the right a bit, pretty much centered in the tank, but I don't want to make it look to symmetrical.

Does it look good where it is at right now, or should I move it to the right a bit?

Or should I have it more on the right side? (Click the image so you can see a bigger image)


I'll be growing some sort of moss on top of it eventually, maybe a couple other plants...
 

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In my own favor, i don't like to have things in the middle, especially one stone. Its just my point of view though. I would move the stone to the left side to hide the other end of the tree.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Anubias does flower under water, but it was probally grown emersed, they don't melt back like crypts do so it just will seem aort of dormant until it starts setting out new leaves. The look on your daughters face with that bag of skittles is like she won the lottery. Tanks coming along quite nice
Thanks man. My daughter is crazy; I would have the same look if I won the lottery!

In my own favor, i don't like to have things in the middle, especially one stone. Its just my point of view though. I would move the stone to the left side to hide the other end of the tree.
Thanks for the input. I ended up moving it slightly to the right. It is pretty much centered and in the back. I'm not a huge fan of centering decor as well, but I think it will look nice, once I get some moss growing on it and also when I get more plants and everything grows in, I think it will be less noticeable as centered.

I might take it out if it doesn't turn out the way I'm envisioning it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Update:

Added a few more patches of micro sword and my DHG from my 10G.

I also went to the only LFS in town (Pams Pets) besides Petsmart and picked up a couple plants:

Bacopa
Amazon Sword
And another plant, I forgot the name (Last picture, anyone know what it is?)

Last time I went to Pams, they didn't have much as far as plants. But today they had a huge selection of plants. I guess last time I went they were in the middle of converting some tanks to all plants.

Once I get the packages of plants next week I think I'm going to be done for a while and let them all grow in. I might add co2 to the tank next week.


Quick question about MTS snails: Should I get them for the tank? will they help with cleaning and also since I have 3 inches of substrate (2 soil, 1 sand) would I need them to aerating the substrate?

Someone posted earlier about my substrate being a potential problem, I want to make sure things are good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Maybe the last pic is kompact hygro, I'm not 100% on that. And yeah I would get a bunch of mts, they are good at digging into the substrate. Have u been poking your substrate with a chopstick or anything? U should if you haven't as u will get big releases of air and gas
I should of specified, I meant the one with the red pinkish stem's. I asked in the planted section, it is a Scarlet Temple (Alternanthera reineckii). you are right about the Hygro though that is around the scarlet.

I think I'm going to get the MTS. I've read mixed reviews about them, but mostly positive.

I've poked at it a few times, I need to do it more often though.
 

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I should of specified, I meant the one with the red pinkish stem's. I asked in the planted section, it is a Scarlet Temple (Alternanthera reineckii). you are right about the Hygro though that is around the scarlet.

I think I'm going to get the MTS. I've read mixed reviews about them, but mostly positive.

I've poked at it a few times, I need to do it more often though.
Keep poking, if a pocket is toxic and happens to release and fish swims thru it they could die. I had to do it on my dirted tank for a month or so and even yesterday when I was trimming and replanting I had a couple air bubbles come up. I use a chop stick and just poke every couple of inches, it will also help settle the substrate. I made a mistake in my newest tank but not washing the safe t sorb before I put it into my tank and filled it. It just doesn't want to compact so many air bubbles. Once the plants root become established then hopefully this issue will be over
 
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