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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This 55g is my first real try at a planted tank. I set up a 10g a while back with some plants and shrimp but snails eventually took over and so I pretty much gave up on it. My tank currently:




Equipment:

Standard 55 gal tank
2 x 48" T5HO and 1 x 36" T5HO with decent individual reflectors (all 3 are Sunblasters)
2 x 6W LED "Moonlights"
Hydor Professional 350
5lb CO2 tank
Aquatek dual-stage regulator
DIY Rex Grigg reactor
Elite Heater (not sure watts, soon to be changed to a DIY inline)
SunSun JVP-110 powerhead (not currently in use, too powerful)
National Geographic aquarium sand substrate (with some river stones mixed in) - about 4" in back right corner sloping to about 1" of river stones on the far left
2 small clay pots with MGOCPS capped with 1" of PFS
Custom stand and hood (work in progress, please don't be too harsh :grin2:)

My light/CO2 schedule:



Fish:

4 clown loaches
3 angelicus botia
1 "hitchhiker" yo-yo loach
4 albino corys
1 female BN pleco
1 zebra pleco (not sure on ID or if it's even still alive, haven't seen him in a long time...)
~15 cardinal tetras
~15 rummynose tetras
2 angelfish
1 male american flag killifish

Plants:

Nymphoides aquatica - Banana plant
Anubias bateri "Nana"
Microsorum pteropus - Java fern
Vallisneria americana - Jungle val
Aponogeton madagascariensis - Madagasgar lace
Nymphaea stellata - Dwarf lily
Nesaea pedicellata "Golden"
Hygrophila pinnatifida
Rotala macrandra
Echinodorus osiris - Melon sword
Echinodorus red flame - Red Flame sword
Cryptocoryne wendtii "Green"
Limnobium laevigatum - Amazon frogbit

Ferts:

Currently trying to dose EI using pre-mixed NPK and Micro solutions from ThePlantGuy. I'll soon be switching to making my own solutions using dry ferts.

I'll add a post later on about my water parameters and my target nutrient levels.

Time for pics!

01/05/17 - modest start


01/08/17


01/16/17 *Day 0* - decided to move the tank into my living room


Day 1 - still a little cloudy


Day 2 - "moonlights"


Day 4 - cleared up
 

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I've never been a fan of white substrate since it isn't natural-looking, but I have to say your tank looks amazing! Very well executed!

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good choice with a sand sub. IMO it looks natural since sand, is natural... Good scape you have so far. Would place the java fern in the back somewhere though, as well as those stem plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@FLOutlander - Thanks! My crappy phone camera can't handle the contrast between the white sand and rest of the tank so it looks a lot more washed-out then it does it person.
@BettaBettas - I really appreciate your help! I am really poor when it comes to plant placement and find myself rearranging them constantly, and still being unhappy haha. Because of the way my lights are arranged I think I have a significant drop in PAR toward the ends of the tank, which is why I'm hesitant to move the stems there, and my driftwood greatly limits the amount of planting space I have in the middle of the tank. My plan at the moment is to see if I can get the stems to grow at all, and if so, maybe trim/top them often to keep them low.
 

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I also really love the white sand. Really makes the plants stand out which I love. I think when I get my 75 hopefully in a couple weeks I will also go white sand. Looks killer.


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good choice with a sand sub. IMO it looks natural since sand, is natural... Good scape you have so far. Would place the java fern in the back somewhere though, as well as those stem plants.
Not disagreeing with you but let me be clear. While this particular tank looks amazing, and while "sand" is certainly "natural", pure white sand is not. In nature, sandy bottoms are typically tinged slightly yellow due to the natural tannins found in lakes and streams. I feel that pool filter sand or play sand would be more "natural". Just my opinion, tho. As I said before, this tank looks amazing!

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Not disagreeing with you but let me be clear. While this particular tank looks amazing, and while "sand" is certainly "natural", pure white sand is not. In nature, sandy bottoms are typically tinged slightly yellow due to the natural tannins found in lakes and streams. I feel that pool filter sand or play sand would be more "natural". Just my opinion, tho. As I said before, this tank looks amazing!

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I lived at the beach for 2 years and the sand was white...
 

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obviously saltwater. Freshwater I do see beaches with dirty sand and that's yellow. Clean natural sand is usually a white colorations or tint, with the sun shining directly onto it. Freshwater lakes and rivers, streams (not sure about streams) do consist of sand to but depending on the area it is usually not as pristine, beach sand is more pristine due to the amount of cleaning life that lives right where your feat step. Lake sand (ex) is bit more unclean, has a yellow tint as a "cover" but that's not its true color that we see, Usually at your local lake you will see pebbles or something though. If there was sand there, it would be dirty and stained yellow, due to people walking on it and "stirring things up" and releasing acid through the bottom of their feet and hands. @FLOutlander Causing sand to not only be yellow-y but also vary in size.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
@JEFF9922 - Like this? :grin2:



You've got a good eye though, and thanks for the suggestion!

This was the first stand I built and I completely overlooked that I left the whole tank "hanging". It was a bit of a pain to retro-fit the supports, but I'm confident it can take the weight now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Day 26 - Some green algae on the glass :frown2:


Day 27 - Back shot


Day 32


Day 33 - Camallanus worms! Treated with Levamisole. Lost a few small fish over the next week or two, but nothing drastic.


Day 36


Day 55


Day 69 - The current look


Day 69 - Back shot


Day 70 - My fishys saying they want food :grin2:
 

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Looking awesome. You really made my mind up to go with white sand on my next tank most likely 75 getting from dollar a gallon sale. Makes it look like a tropical paradise lol. Lucky fish.


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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Oh man, my nitrates are still pretty stupid... roughly 40-80ppm by the API colour chart, but after doing that kit calibration I'm pretty sure I'm in-and-around the 50ppm mark. I had been dosing full EI levels with some premixed solutions (one for NPK and one that was essentially CSM+B for Micros) but I'm unhappy with not being able to adjust the individual levels of ferts, so I've just recently purchased KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4, MgSO4, and some GH booster in powder form. I know, GH booster is made up of K2SO4 and MgSO4, but because my nitrates are so high I'm going to try dosing KNO3 at lower levels and use the K2SO4 to make up the K. I just mixed my first batch of the NPK solution this morning. I'm aiming to dose these levels weekly:

NO3 - 10ppm
K - 30ppm
PO4 - 2ppm
Mg - 8ppm
Fe - 0.8ppm

When I test my tank I get somewhere between 2-5ppm of PO4, but it's pretty dark so it looks closer to the 5ppm. So I've purposely under-dosed both NO3 and PO4 and then I'm going to do a few water tests this week to see what happens. I think my K and Mg targets are fairly normal, but I'm a bit confused on the Mg side. I think I have hard water, ~161ppm GH, and looking at my water report I see roughly 3:1 Ca:Mg, so do I need to add any Mg or am I covered by my tap water?
 

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55 Gallons of Planted Tank

Wish I could help with the mg but I am very knew to the different ferts and stuff. So much so I just got the nilocG pre mixed packets so I cannot even control the levels of each one. Just have one bottle of micros and one of macro. But I was doing some research today and starting to get it. Did you see the windows program you can download from greenleafaquariums? It tells you all of that. Just put in some info and gives you exact doses for everything. I just downloaded it today and started playing with it. Very handy.

Give it a try and see if that tells you or not

When I am out of these ferts by then I will go with the mixing of my own based more on needs as I should be ready by then. Will see how the basic EI goes for now. Problem though is roughly $25 will last me a good 6 months. Where as using Seachem that amount in 2 weeks lol. Huge difference.


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55 Gallons of Planted Tank

I think you are on the right track of dosing less kno3 for sure. That I do have a little knowledge of as of recently due to doing a bit of overdosing cause of my API test kit that you know of LOL. If I were you maybe dose kno3 once a week instead of the normal dosing until it gets to the 15-20ppm range.

Heck because I had to get the metricide stump remover I have enough kno3 for my tanks for a VERY long time.

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