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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

First off, thanks to those who continually post great information on this site (And others like it). Without the useful threads on co2, fertilizers, light, equipment, do's/don'ts, I never would have been able to pull any of this off. My grandfather got me into fish tanks way back when I was a wee lad, but looking back I really had no clue. I never knew that stepping into a local fish store a couple years ago would have completely reignited that aquarium spark in me.

After getting a 12g fluval edge, and then a 6g fluval edge, and learning ALOT about the planted aquarium, I decided to take the plunge into a larger, higher tech planted tank. I started doing my research about 10 months ago. It was a challenge to find the right gear, in my budget.... what tank to get? Canister or sump? Which led lights and settings would I want? How on earth is CO2 used and managed? I set a budget and started acquiring the right gear...

List:
Eheim 2217
Hydro 300 watt inline heater
GLA PRO CO2 system and 5lb tank
UP Aqua Inline CO2 diffuser
Jaebo 4 pump dosing kit
Hydor Koralia Nano
CAL Aqua In flow and out flow glass pipes
ADA Amazonian normal and powder types

The choice of light was especially difficult. I wanted a high tech tank, with having a ramp up capability, and a nice warm spectrum. Most of the powerful LEDs on the market today would have ended up costing the same... 2 satellite plus Pros, 2 radon xr15s, 2 buildmyleds... but nothing stood out. Being a noob when it comes to light spectrums and PUR, I was clueless. Thanks to some of the members here (I'm looking at you Jeffkroll!), I got some excellent recommendations. I ended up with a Reefbreeders Photon 32-W with a custom planted tank spectrum. It took a while to get the spectrum right, and there were some roadblocks, but Reefbreeders were very accommodating, and I ended up getting a best of an LED fixture that could grow anything I put under it.

Originally, I found a seller of a used ADA 90p which I thought would have been excellent. However, as the time passed, and as I realized the budget I made up for myself was going to get obliterated anyway, I decided to go for broke, and get something special. The place I would put the tank had a bit more room than the 90P. I placed an order for a custom, 3 sided, 1/2 inch Starfire rimless tank from Reefomania. It ended up being more than a new 90P, but they are based out of Brooklyn NY, which is somewhat local to me, so at least I was able to pick it up and skip out on shipping costs. The final dimensions that would fit the best ended up being 40x18x20H. Approx. 62 gallons.

So I got all the gear and the tank picked out.... but what about a stand? I'm no carpenter, but luckily my brother in law is a great wood worker. He drew up some designs, and we got to work on the many poplar boards I got from Home Depot. 60 hours later, tons of glue, sanding, staining and polyeurathaning, I ended up with a sleek ADA style stand with a rustic touch. I ended up leaving the top trim unstained, since I wanted to show this beautiful purple piece of poplar I grabbed.







The stand was actually finished a couple weeks ago. All the gear was tucked away in my basement... all I needed was the tank. This past Friday, I finally picked the beast up. My girlfriend and I carefully brought the tank into our house. I'm still somewhat shocked we did it ourselves without dropping it and smashing a foot (or our floor for that matter). I was a little paranoid about doing that, since I tried picking up and moving a half full 20 gallon fish tank in college and it cracked and drained all over my apartment (but that's another story).

Finally got the tank on the stand. I think it ended up looking pretty awesome. I'm digging the black silicone, as I don't see it too often at least with planted tanks. Now came the fun part of setting it all up. My goal was to make the stand as neat as possible, while allowing room for tools and future "Stuff". I put some color changing LEDs on the ceiling of the stand, which looks cool at night since it shows a bit through the sides of the stand.





I setup the dosing pumps today and tested them all successfully. I stole someone's idea of using Nalgene bottles for my macros and micros. I'm not 100% sure if I mixed the dry ferts right into the solution, as I could not find a good calculator. I know Wets has been down, but I think the rotala calculator is also giving some funky numbers... I have some white stuff at the bottom of my Macros jar, which I hope is ok. The CO2, ferts and light will all get adjusted over the next few weeks.

So now comes the hard part... what to stock it with? At first I wanted to do a nature style, but something about the colors, textures and history of a Dutch style tank drew me. Of course I did research on what the common plants are, how they are arranged, what the official Dutch rules are etc.... Well all the research and pictures didn't help me much when I went to the fish store and had to actually select all of the plants. Deciding what to get for the back, midground and foreground was a challenge. I figured I would start with a bunch and just see what grew best, and go from there.



I still need some more plants for the mid and foreground. I'd like to get some dwarf baby tears in there, and maybe some dwarf hairgrass and AR Mini. I measured the parameters today, and as expected the ammonia is pretty high. I still need to perfect the water changing system, as up until this point I've been using buckets for my 6g and 12g tanks, which needless to say will NOT work for a 60 gallon tank.

Once I get the ammonia down, I will stock it with some fauna. No clue what to get for that... perhaps a school of some smaller fish, some bottom feeders, and maybe something a bit bigger like an angel fish?

I will keep this thread updated as things progress. Hopefully the plants grow beautifully, and it doesn't end up to be a mess of algae in a few weeks. I figure if I keep the light in check, I wont totally overdo things. Thanks for reading!!
 

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That stand is a beauty!!
Looking forward to more updates, I'm excited to see your tank :)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Amazing. A lot of promise. I build a stand myself a couple of weeks ago and I know how much work it can be (including the design). But its also very rewarding to have a self made product ;-). Keep up the good work and I am looking forward to see the progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It was definitely rewarding to have a self made product. I learned a lot in the wood working process. It probably would have gone faster if we had a more accurate table saw and didn't apply 10 gallons of glue to all of the biscuits and joins... but the stand will hold an elephant and will last hundreds of years.

So I had the CO2 on yesterday during the light period for perhaps 4 or 5 hours. I noticed this morning the co2 checker was still lime green, even though it has been off all night. Is that normal?
 

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I noticed this morning the co2 checker was still lime green, even though it has been off all night. Is that normal?
Yeah, I wouldn't worry night is when plants are respiring so they're releasing CO2, but not taking in CO2, causing the lime green colour. As long as you're not hitting yellow at any point you're good. Also, I would just go ahead and have your CO2 on for your entire photoperiod. (Well like have it on an hour before and have it off an hour before)

Lovely tank by the way, once you get a carpet going then it will be super baller. Also in regards to fauna I would get some Amanos as a clean up crew and schools of smaller fish like some Harlequin Rasboras and who doesn't love some Cardinals. But, of course, it's up to you and an angel or other more 'centerpiece' fish could look great as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Almost a week in. I haven't had much time to tweak anything, other than do a water change. I accidentally let it fill up too much and had a nice overflow. My first "OH CRAP" moment! Nothing a couple towels couldn't dry up, but I was lucky it didn't pour down the back. The water is starting to look much nicer, and the plants are acclimating a bit. CO2 has been stable, and I can only assume my macros and micros are getting dosed. Only pulled out a tiny bit of hair algae so far (knock on wood)

I'll test the ammonia tomorrow. Hopefully something more reasonable, so I can get some fish in there this weekend. Plants are nice and all, but its just so empty looking without those lil guys in there. I should be getting some more plants soon once the LFS restocks, and I going to try to fit in some small shards of wood for some moss and some rocks I got from Lake Champlain. I'm thinking Christmas moss, mini AR, a java fern, another buce and who knows what else.



I definitely wish I had a par meter. This light is the most powerful one I've had, so not much to compare it to.
 

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Almost a week in. I haven't had much time to tweak anything, other than do a water change. I accidentally let it fill up too much and had a nice overflow. My first "OH CRAP" moment!


Don't worry, there will be plenty more of those to come xD


Especially me trying to get things done as quick as possible, but turns out I'm not very good at multi-tasking trying to do water changes/maintenance on so many tanks at once. I've warped plenty of the laminated wood flooring.


Keep an eye on those rimless tanks though, more chance of overflowing fish onto the floor!

Nice stand by the way! Did you use a glossy sealant? (looks nice and glossy in one pic)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nice stand by the way! Did you use a glossy sealant? (looks nice and glossy in one pic)
After everything was built, I sanded it down with 60 and 220 grit sandpaper so it was nice and smooth. Then I used 2 coats of Minwax Classic grey stain. After that, I added 2 coats of Minwax Semi-Gloss polyeurathane (3 on the top surface and top trim). Between the coats of poly, I used steel wool to smooth out the surfaces some more. Poly sometimes leaves tiny bubbles, which after drying, become rough to the touch. The steel wool really helps with that, although it does make kind of a mess and you will have to blow it off with an air hose or blower or something.
 

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Maybe you could give use a stock list of the plants in the tank? This is sometimes hard to grasp from the picture alone ;-).

In the Dutch style, pruning/trimming and balancing growth levels is very challenging. Have you thought about how you are going to do that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Ok, so I was able to sit down and document what I have in there. I added a bit more plant yesterday and ad some lighting issues this week, but those are resolved as well.

So my light schedule is as follows. Channel 1 is a mix of 7.5k, 10k and 495nm Cyan. Channel 2 is 3.5k, 4.5k and 660nm red. Channel 3 is just for moonlights, with just 5 14k leds. The 24 hour time is a little wonky compared to the 12 hour time, and originally i assumed 0:00 hours was 12am. This caused my light cycle to click off every day at 12pm (since the ramp timer then thought it was 12am and went to nighttime mode for 5 hours). The light is probably a foot and a half off of the tank.

24Hr CH1 CH2 CH3 12hr
0:00 10 30 80 12:00 PM
1:00 15 35 80 1:00 PM
2:00 20 40 80 2:00 PM
3:00 15 35 50 3:00 PM
4:00 10 30 50 4:00 PM
5:00 1 20 10 5:00 PM
6:00 0 10 0 6:00 PM
7:00 0 1 30 7:00 PM
8:00 0 0 30 8:00 PM
9:00 0 0 30 9:00 PM
10:00 0 0 30 10:00 PM
11:00 0 0 5 11:00 PM
12:00 0 0 1 12:00 AM
13:00 0 0 0 1:00 AM
14:00 0 0 0 2:00 AM
15:00 0 0 0 3:00 AM
16:00 0 0 0 4:00 AM
17:00 0 0 0 5:00 AM
18:00 0 0 5 6:00 AM
19:00 0 1 1 7:00 AM
20:00 0 2 0 8:00 AM
21:00 0 5 0 9:00 AM
22:00 0 10 20 10:00 AM
23:00 0 20 30 11:00 AM

Im averaging it out to about 8 hours of light, since I dont consider the early morning, later at night as enough light for the plants to do much. CO2 turns on at 9:30 and off at 4:30, probably at about 4 bubbles per second. The water looks like seltzer a bit, but the drop checker stays lime green during the main lighting period.

Macros at 8:20, Micros at 8:45 every other day. Ammonia was still at 40 when I checked last night, so holding off on fish for another week or until it gets lower. Added some more plants, and I got more on the way this week.

Plants
Nuphos Japonica
Tonina
Buce Green Wavy
Ammania Gracilis
Rotala Wallichii
Vallisneria Natans
Hygrophila Pinnatifida
Ludwigia Peruensis
Cryptocoryne walkeri lutea
Alternathera Reineckii
Rotala Indica
Rotala Macandra Narrow
Cryptocoryne Wendtii[censored](tissue culture)
Staurogyne Repends (tissue culture)
Utricularia Graminfolia (tissue culture)
Hemianthus Cuba (tissue culture)
Glossostigma elatinoines (tissue culture)
Pogostemon Helferi (tissue culture)
Lobelia Cardinalis (tissue culture)

I think I may be missing one in there. As you can see in the pic, a couple are not doing so good. The utricularia is looking particularily grim. A bit of hair algea/melting going on with it. Im hoping stable parameters will bring it back.

The challenge of doing the Dutch scape is partly why I wanted to try it. I understand that there is an art to managing the fore, mid and backgrounds, as well as the groupings of each plant species. Ive been keeping my Fluval Edges trimmed decently over the last year, so i expect trimming this to be MUCH easier in regards to being able to freely move my hands. My hand/arm will cramp up after a while of working inside those tiny nano tanks!

I really wanted to get some kind of hardscape in there, so I added some small stones my brother in law got from Lake Champlain, VT. I have some small pieces of wood I want to use for more buces and some mosses, but unsure how to best fit them in there. The more I look at the tank, the more I kind of figure out how I want each grouping to be, height-wise and width-wise. For now though, im really just wanting everything to grow healthy, with the intent to trim/tweak things as I go.

 

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I would be careful with mixing the carpeting plants (the Glosso and HC), they will eventually grow into each other and one will grow underneath the other and then cause lifting of the substrate which is no fun. So, just separate them (with hardscape etc.) and you'll be A-okay, it's not quite an immediate problem, but it's something to be aware of.

Good progress though! Sure the tank will start to look great soon(ish).
 

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Life will be easier if you add more plant mass to that tank. If you start to run into algae don't be afraid to put in a bunch of 'temporary' plants to suck up nutrients and out-compete algae / save your permanent plants. This is a common and effective strategy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Whew time is flying by as usual! Having a bit of issues but still progressing. Finally got some fish in the tank after parameters stabilized somewhat.
Ammonia went down to .15, but nitrites were 2ppm and nitrates are really high for some reason - 100ppm or so. I think I somehow screwed up my macros, so I am going to remix them tomorrow. Plants are doing well for the most part. Totally lost the dwarf baby tears, and riccia. Didn't seem like enough flow at first, and the surface was getting kind of nasty, so I got another Korania nano 420, but I'm honestly not sure if its too much now. Some ludwigia repents I put in melted really hard from the bottom of the stems up, but a couple survived and are doing very well. I ended up getting the following additions:

Limnophila Hipporoides
fissidens fontanus
Alternathera Reineckii Variegated
Rotala Macandra Narrow
Tonina sp Belen
trithuria 'blood vomit'
buce brownie red
java fern 'thor's hammer'
java fern 'windelov'
Calogloss cf. Baccarin 'red moss'

I think tomorrow I will start trimming some of the longer stems. The rotala macandra narrow in the back right is very stunted and refuses to grow anything but tiny thin leaves. The nuphar japonica is really starting to put out some nice leaves, as is the glosso. I don't know why but the staurgyne repens is starting to fall apart as well. I love this plant and its doing so well in my 6g fluval edge with no co2 or ferts.

I also added some fish a couple nights ago
Fish
5 Rummynose Tetra
1 Peacock Gudgeon
1 Flame Gourami
2 Ruby Barb
3 Melanistrus corydores
8 Cardinal Tetra

They seem to be doing OK so far with the CO2 coming on. I just checked and most are just chilling on the bottom of the tank now. I definitely need some Otos to fight the bit of diatoms starting to form on the bottom of the front glass and buce leaves. The cardinal tetras look awesome, and Id like to get 7 or 10 more, maybe a third ruby barb and 5 more rummynose. Would that be too much? The tank still seems kind of empty, but the plants have alot more room to grow.

Its been kind of difficult getting a good mix of light and co2. I feel like I'm continually fiddling with the bubble counter when I'm around, and making the light 5% more or less powerful at a given interval. I need to just leave it alone!!






I got to take some videos, especially with the moonlights. I think it looks the best at night!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well it was a bad idea to go for the Ruby Barbs. They were fun to watch, but unfortunately found my blyxa, nuphar japnica and UG as a nice snack. The tank got a pretty bad bought of diatoms, so had to give it a nice cleaning yesterday during water change. Nitrates are still around 40ppm, but nitrites finally bottomed out to 0. I stopped my Nitrate dosing until things level out. I have a feeling im dosing too much CSM+B, so im going to cut that in half for a week and see if the plants respond better. Some of the tops of the AR are very curled. The rotala is doing incredibly poorly - not dying or melting, rather just growing very slowly and incredibly stunted.

I still need to get the trimming down properly, so the bunches grow in evenly. I traded out the Ruby Barbs, and got a trio of Threadfin Rainbows, along with a beautiful killifish and 5 oto cats. Hopefully the otos keep the tank clean.

Should I be running an airstone or something at night? Would that help with the thin oily film that I sometimes see?
 

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I am using a small Eheim skim 350. It also helps in generating some more flow in the tank. Works really well and is cheap (at least here in Europe).
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well, my beautiful Killifish jumped out after night one. Found a tiny fish jerky on the floor the next morning. Poor little fella! Its strange, the longer I keep fish, the more personal it gets when they die. But at the same time, I had no problem scarfing down some baked flounder last night.

Anyway.

Picked up a couple more threadfin rainbows and some cardinal tetras along with a stiphodon goby.

Current list:
1 x Peacock Gudgeons (Tateurndina Ocellicauda)
5 x Oto (Otocinclus vittatus)
2 x Dwarf Gourami (Colisa lalia)
8 x Rummynose Tetra (Hemigrammus bleheri)
3 x Peppered Cory (Corydoras paleatus)
15 x Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi)
5 x Threadfin RainbowFish (Iriatherina werneri)

I think im going to rip out the stunted Rotala Rotundifolia in the back corner. Its just not growing at all. The rotala walichi isnt coloring up how I would like either, and is staying pretty green. Ill wait until my nitrates finally bottom out, as I've read high nitrates inhibits the redness in plants.
 

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I'm sure the Rotala Rotundifolia will come out of it's stunted state with some time. I'm no plant expert and don't know what causes growth stunts, but I had a Hygro that was stunted for quite some time, but eventually started growing again without me doing anything different, just gave it time.

As for high nitrates, I have tested growing rotala wallichii (other various red plants as well) in a tank with high nitrates and it still had a pretty good amount of red at the tops still (definitely a good amount more than yours are showing).

Again I am by no means a plant expert, and no offence, but from the results I have seen from many others (with similar or even "lesser" set ups), for what you are doing (pretty much high tech), you should be having much better growth results than you are having. I am not sure what is going wrong. Might be worth posting a separate thread (with more appropriate title) asking for opinions on growth results from those more inclined.

Bump: Oh and by the way, add at least 3 more Pepper Corys for a group total of at least 6 since they are social shoaling fish.

The Peacock Gudgeon wouldn't mind 1-3 more of it's kind as well (preferably balanced sex ratio or more females).

Sucks to hear about the Killie, they are natural jumpers in the wild. Stiphodon goby can jump as well if scared of you, they only jump about a inch or so though at the tank walls, so just keep the water level down a bit.
 
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