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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
After about 5 years of reefkeeping, I got sick of mixing saltwater, being stung by corals (let alone the expense!) and decided to return to freshwater this past spring. Only this time I decided to start my first 'real' planted tank. I couldn't be happier! I've dabbled with plants with no success before, but have never really attempted a serious planted tank until now. I've run into some challenges and had some losses along the way, but don't regret the decision at all.

I'm a bit late starting a journal, but...better late than never, right?? Honestly, I think the planted tank is far prettier and more rewarding than my reef tank ever was. Here's what I've got today:

Hardware:
56G 'Column' Marineland aquarium on a Marineland stock stand
2 Marineland LED lights: 1 'Double Bright' and 1 'Reef Capable'
Eheim 2215 Classic canister filter w/ glass in- and out-flow pipes (from eBay)
Hydor ETH In-Line 200W heater
2 Hydor Koralia pumps
60 lbs. of black Eco-Complete substrate
Glass drop checker (from eBay)
Foster & Smith Aquatics Semi-Automatic CO2 System (minus the horrible bubble counter)
Glass CO2 diffuser (from eBay)


Flora:
Echinodorus amazonicus 'Amazon Sword Plant'
Hydrocotyle leucocephalus 'Brazilian Pennywort'
Limnophila Aromatica
Vallisneria americana 'Corkscrew Val'
Hemianthus callitrichoides 'Dwarf Baby Tears'
Nymphaea zenkeri 'Red Tiger Lotus'
Crinum calamistratum
Cyperus Helferi
Ludwigia sp. 'red'
Cabomba Palaeformis 'Purple Cabomba
Lilaeopsis mauritiana 'Micro Sword Narrow Leaf'
Heteranthera zosterifolia 'Stargrass'
Uglius bluegreenish stufficus 'Blue Green Algae' (grrrr)
There have been others lost along the way...

Fauna:
2 Symphysodon sp. - some form of 'Blue Discus' and a 'Pigeon Blood Discus'
3 Phenacogrammus interruptus 'Congo Tetra'
9 Paracheirodon innesi 'Neon Tetra'
4 Puntius titteya 'Cherry Barb'
3 Otocinclus sp. 'Otocinclus Catfish'
2 Ancistrus sp. 'Albino Bristlenose Pleco'
12ish Neocaridina heteropoda 'Red Cherry Shrimp'

I've had some bumps along the way but I'm pretty happy with how the tank has progressed although it's still far from perfect. Here are some pics of the tank's progression. The pictures were taken on 3/13 (reef - yuck!), 5/1, 6/24, 7/24 and today respectively. One of these days I'll figure out how to post them correctly so that I can label them individually.

Thanks for looking! Any input is appreciated. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Your tank + fish (especially those discus) are gorgeous.
Thanks!!! :biggrin: It's been a struggle at times, but I'm quite happy with it overall. Here are some more pics...just cuz I can and now that I've finally started posting I can't stop. :wink:
 

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People use photobucket to upload pics then link them individually.

How do you like the 56g? I have one, the layout is a pain sometimes I have a bunch of pics in my journal if you wanna check it out (there is a bunch of my shrimp tank too so you will have to weed through it heh) Definitely gonna follow your thread to see how you plant it and what not!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
People use photobucket to upload pics then link them individually.

How do you like the 56g? I have one, the layout is a pain sometimes I have a bunch of pics in my journal if you wanna check it out (there is a bunch of my shrimp tank too so you will have to weed through it heh) Definitely gonna follow your thread to see how you plant it and what not!
Thanks for the tip. I'll admit I was hoping there was another way without having to upload to another site, but I'll try photobucket next time anyway.

I like the 56 because it has a smallish footprint for its volume, but its depth makes it a bit of a pain to work with. I originally chose this tank because i had a 29G and this tank offered an opportunity to go bigger and use the same light as both tanks are 30". I'll check your tank out, too. I always like to see what other people do with this layout.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Tank looks great, great selection of plants and animals
Thanks, 2in10! Now if I could just overcome my BGA issues... I've researched how to get rid of it and have tried everything but a blackout with limited results. The one thing that has seemed to help is dosing nitrogen, but I'm not sure how much to use so I've been a little hesitant to up it. :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
How is your plant growth using the Marineland LED lights? Are you using the single strip or the double? im planning to pick up one
I have one 'reef capable' and one 'double bright' on this tank and I love the low profile look of these fixtures. The 'reef capable' is plenty bright, but I suspect it's not the best color of light for a planted tank...though my plant growth is quite good. One issue with the light is that it is somewhat concentrated straight down. In fact, I purchased the 'double bright' to fill in the shadows in the upper back part of the tank. The 'double bright' is not very bright at all...and not even close to the output of the other fixture. It serves my purpose well, but is far from sufficient lighting for a tank of this depth (25" I believe) on it's own. I would not purchase the 'single bright' version of this light for anything but a very shallow tank.
 

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I have this exact tank, and have a very similar setup to yours. I'm running two 2215s, though, and have this lighting fixture: http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=71_136&products_id=1414

The BGA could be due to your LEDs. LEDs put out a ton of light, but there isn't much light spread relative to T5HO, etc.

As for fertilization, read up on the Estimative Index (EI) method. There are a lot of threads on here about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Oh yeah, and this was completely unintentional and unexpected so any advice is appreciated!! It's probably a longshot, but I'd love to actually end up with babies!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
In case anyone's interested: the eggs are still there this morning. I was somewhat concerned the Congos would eat them with those scary teeth they sport. I haven't had much luck finding info on how to handle this unexpected spawning. Subatantially mpst of the info on the internet is about getting discus to breed and not what to do if they happen to do the deed by dumb luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'm not to knowledgeable on the discus, are those black dots on the orange one natural? Looks great also.
Thanks! I'm no expert either, but I read somewhere that the black dots on a Pigeon Blood discus are normal but are increased when using a dark substrate. I love the coloring of that particular fish....it's my favorite.
 
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