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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We just setup our tank today. Here is a run down.

Equipment
  • 60 Gallon Tank – 48 x 15 x 17
  • Hydor 350 Professional canister filter ~ 240 – 280 gal/h
  • Hydor 300W inline heater
  • Inkbird temperature controller
  • Finnex Planted + 24/7 light
  • 120 lbs Eco-Complete
  • Driftwood and rocks
  • API Test Kits – PH, Nitrite, Nitrate, KH, GH

Dosing
  • Seachem Excel Flourish - planning on starting light (~1/4 dosage)


Initial Setup – 12/4/2016
Sprinked some Oscomote Plus lightly on tank bottom. Added eco-complete, approximately 2 gallons of treated water to keep from drying out and laid out driftwood/rocks. Large piece of driftwood still floated like a bobber, even after 4 weeks submerged in water and one boiling water bath. Using rocks (lots of them) to keep it weighted down. Received a good squeeze from filters at LFS and added to the tank. Will start dosing Seachem Flourish Excel tomorrow morning. Planning on keeping temperature at 76 F. Planning on lights initially from 10 AM – 4 PM at about 80% white/red custom setting.

Planted the following
  • Java Moss
  • Red Wendtii – front right, cutting on front left
  • Java Fern
  • Anubias Nana
  • Hygrophila Corymbosa (Kompakt) – mid left and mid right
  • Hygrophila difformis (Wisteria) – front left
  • Nymphaea Zenkeri (Red Tiger Lotus) – back right
  • Bacopa monnieri (Moneywort) - background

Test results about 45 minutes after filling and running filter
  • PH: 8.0 – 8.2
  • Ammonia: 0.25
  • Nitrite: 0.25
  • Nitrate: 0
  • KH: took 9 drops, ~160 ppm
  • GH – Unsure how to measure. Should I wait until it goes bright orange and then count drops to green?

Questions
  • Should I be adding Ammonia (pure) to the tank to keep the level up to aid in the cycle or just let the tank run?
  • I wasn't planning on adding any ferts other than the Excel for a couple weeks. I did order the DIY EI liquid fertilizer from NilocG.
  • I realize that some of the plants are probably not ideal in the long term (monywort), but we wanted ones that were quick growing and would suck up the nutrients when getting started. Any problems with this?
  • Any criticism, constructive or otherwise is definitely welcome. Great way to learn.

Pictures









 

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looks neato, that driftwood though isn't where I would think it should be. but when the plants grow out and cover it a bit, should look nice.
 

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That's an awesome tank, neat dimensions. Is there no center brace on the top?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
All of the plants are doing really well, with one exception. The moneywort is growing like a weed and will reach the surface today. I'm sure I will be giving it away or throwing it away if this continues. The crypt has not started melting yet and the anubias has some new growth. The moss hasn't floated away yet. The tiger lotus is in a spot with too much water flow so it is not doing well and I'll probably pull it today. It probably was not a good plant for this setup in the long run any way so we are fine with that.

The PH is still somewhere between 8.0 and 8.2. The ammonia is sitting steady at 1.5 - 2.0 ppm. Haven't seen it drop yet but it has only been a couple of days. I'm dosing one capful of Excel each morning and the lights are running for 6 hours each day.
 

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All of the plants are doing really well, with one exception. The moneywort is growing like a weed and will reach the surface today. I'm sure I will be giving it away or throwing it away if this continues. The crypt has not started melting yet and the anubias has some new growth. The moss hasn't floated away yet. The tiger lotus is in a spot with too much water flow so it is not doing well and I'll probably pull it today. It probably was not a good plant for this setup in the long run any way so we are fine with that.

The PH is still somewhere between 8.0 and 8.2. The ammonia is sitting steady at 1.5 - 2.0 ppm. Haven't seen it drop yet but it has only been a couple of days. I'm dosing one capful of Excel each morning and the lights are running for 6 hours each day.
If I didn't just have some fish die I'd offer to bring some bio media to you. Don't want to risk it now though.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If I didn't just have some fish die I'd offer to bring some bio media to you. Don't want to risk it now though.
Thanks and I really appreciate it. Luckily I'm patient so I should be fine, just need to wait it out I'm assuming.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Guess it is time for the 1 week update. Everything appears to be moving along smoothly. Ammonia is at 0 now. I added enough yesterday to get it up to 1.5 ppm and it was back at 0 again this morning. Nitrites are still around though. Nitrates are high as well.
  • Ammonia - 0
  • Nitrite - 2.0 ppm
  • Nitrates 40 ppm
  • KH - 140 ppm
  • GH - 360 ppm (That is using API test kit. SD water analysis states it should be 251-323 ppm)

I have not done a water change yet (no need as far as I'm aware). Only addition has been 1 cap full of Excel each morning. I do have some new plants coming this week so there will probably be some rearranging and not sure if I want to keep the crypt (Red Wendtii). We will also probably remove some of the moneywort to make room for some diversity of stems. Everything appears to be doing really well, no real die off of any type. I was expecting some melting in the first several days but that has not happened either. Hopefully we can start adding fish in the next week or so if the Nitrites go down to 0. The moneywort is definitely a quick grower. The wisteria has new growth as well. Here are some pictures after one week.





 

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Hi there, looks like a good start! Here's some suggestions you might want to consider:

1. I like the layout the driftwood and the rocks. The space underneath the driftwood allows you to put lots of slow growing stuff like the anubias nanas and java ferns.

2. The scape is looking pretty sparse because there is not enough plants. So rather than spreading the fast growing money worts and hygrophillas throughout, why not consider bunching them towards the left side of the tank and leaving your right side looking spacious. You can consider planting a simple plant like the Amazon Sword (or any variants of it) on the right side such that it takes centre stage later.

3. The Tiger Lotus is also a good candidate on the right. Alternatively, it can be right smack in the middle with java ferns behind it to create a contrast.

4. I am a big fan of the red wendtii. The red wendtii could be shifted to the left front.. so that it will be a contrast against the green hygrophillas and money wort.

5. There is a nana on the left side of the driftwood near the water surface. Do watch out for it... as green spot algae will grow on it when it is under strong lights.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
SGdiscus, thanks so much for taking the time to look at our tank and offer advice, it is greatly appreciated.

We do have some more plants coming tomorrow afternoon:

I really like the idea of moving the red wendtii to the left side of the tank, especially since I'm planning on planting the new stems on the right side. There should also be a decent contrast with the wisteria on the right as we spread it out (going to keep it low).

We removed the red tiger lotus, there was way too much water movement on the right side and it did not do well (tangled leaves/stems). It probably would've been too much for our tank regardless.

I will definitely keep an eye on the anubias, especially since since we have several more coming. Unfortunately there are some rocks holding the driftwood down in the middle as it still floats like a cork, even after 6 weeks in water.

Hi there, looks like a good start! Here's some suggestions you might want to consider:

1. I like the layout the driftwood and the rocks. The space underneath the driftwood allows you to put lots of slow growing stuff like the anubias nanas and java ferns.

2. The scape is looking pretty sparse because there is not enough plants. So rather than spreading the fast growing money worts and hygrophillas throughout, why not consider bunching them towards the left side of the tank and leaving your right side looking spacious. You can consider planting a simple plant like the Amazon Sword (or any variants of it) on the right side such that it takes centre stage later.

3. The Tiger Lotus is also a good candidate on the right. Alternatively, it can be right smack in the middle with java ferns behind it to create a contrast.

4. I am a big fan of the red wendtii. The red wendtii could be shifted to the left front.. so that it will be a contrast against the green hygrophillas and money wort.

5. There is a nana on the left side of the driftwood near the water surface. Do watch out for it... as green spot algae will grow on it when it is under strong lights.
Bump:
Looking forward to seeing the new plants and all! Out of curiosity, why are you not sure you want the red wendtii?
I think I just didn't like the location of it. However, moving it to the left side is a great idea and we will try that when we receive the new plants.
 

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Looks like you're off to a nice start! I agree with one of the others that the driftwood looks too centered but depending on how you plant around it this can be adjusted. I love the looks of Tiger Lotus, it might be an ideal plant to put just behind the piece of wood so that as it grows it pops up over the wood. Definitely looking forward to seeing it with the next batch of plants added!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Looks like you're off to a nice start! I agree with one of the others that the driftwood looks too centered but depending on how you plant around it this can be adjusted. I love the looks of Tiger Lotus, it might be an ideal plant to put just behind the piece of wood so that as it grows it pops up over the wood. Definitely looking forward to seeing it with the next batch of plants added!
Thanks Johnson18. Unfortunately the red tiger lotus is not going to be part of this setup, too much water flow. I should have a new picture with new plants in a couple days once we figure it all out. I'm not expecting the Ludwigia peruensis 'Diamond' to do that well initially since it was grown immersed.

I think the layout will look at bit better (less centered) once we can remove the rocks sitting on the wood, but that may be a while based on how buoyant it still is. We played around with the layout for a long time before settling on this one. Here is is "dry" when we were trying a bunch of different options.

 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well, we got all the new plants into the tank.

  • Marsilea crenata (front left)
  • Cameroon Moss (upper left branch of driftwood)
  • Anubias pinto (lower left of driftwood)
  • Anubias nangi (tied to a rock for now, not really sure what we want to do with it)
  • myriophyllum red stem (back left)
  • Ludwigia peruensis 'Diamond' (back/mid left and some on the back/mid right)

I also did some rescaping based on the suggestions on this thread (thanks again). I moved the moneywort from the back left over to the back right. I think this gives a nice contrast with the red wendtii and hopefully the ludwigia does well although I'm not counting on it. I also moved the hygrophila corymbosa (kompact) from the shade in the driftwood towards the front. It was not receiving enough light there and was suffering. I'm hoping this change helps. It will also help break up the wisteria from the crenata. The cameroon moss was a huge pain in the ass and I have the superglue all over my hands to prove it. However, I really like the way it looks and I hope it does well. Here are some more pictures. I will be doing a water change and filter cleaning this weekend.









 

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Discussion Starter #18
Quick update.

The tank finished the fish-less cycle several days ago. All of the plants continue to seem happy. I performed a 50% water change last Sunday (brute trash can on wheels, a pond pump and some PVC "builds" made this really simple). I also changed the Planted + lights to 24/7 mode (6 AM - 10 PM) at that time. The other change I made was a very small dose (5 ml) of Nilocg DIY liquid macros on Monday and 5 ml of micros on Tuesday. This is the recommended dosage for an EI regiment in a 20 gallon tank several times a week. I figured this would be a good place to start once a week on a 60 gallon tank.

There are two other changes. Last night we decided to add a few animals to the tank. We wanted them to be hardy while adding visual interest to the tank. Hardy was a must since the tank just finished cycling and we will be away on a vacation after the new year. So we now have 4 male guppies and 3 nerite (1 zebra, 2 tomato) snails in the tank.

The other addition is the appearance and growth of brown diatoms. They are not terrible yet but have definitely been spreading at a notable rate. I just changed the lighting back to 80% white/red running 10 AM - 4 PM to help control this. I'm not worried yet as I've read that this is pretty common in new tanks.
 

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Niiiice. Congrats on the cycle! Tedious but worth the wait.

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