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80L corner tank - (first planted tank)

7891 Views 32 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  VincentK
Hi all, thought I would start a journal here as I have been lurking for a while trying to soak in as much information as I can :)

I recently started out with the hobby and bought an 80L Corner tank on impulse and not really doing any research into planted tanks prior. The tank is an all in one type, with the lighting and filter housed in the hood. The tank came with only 22w of lighting and after doing some reseach that I should have done sooner realised this just wasn't enough. I had to make a few cuts and modifications inside the hood to get single 55w power compact tube (duel 6500 & 10000k) and ballast fitted which seems to be ok.

I also decided to use a canister filter (Eheim 2213) and not use the filter housed in the hood as the powerhead and intake tube took up too much space and looked a little intrusive. So I made some modifications in that area to fit in some moon lights, and there is some room for additional lighting if required.
I also gave the back / sides of the tank a coat with some black spray paint for the background.

I decided to go with DIY C02 (yeast etc) and ADA aquasoil for the substrate. I went hiking in my local area and found some nice driftwood and suitable rocks which I treated / soaked for a month. Below is my initial hardscape setup prior to filling with water.

When I was happy with the setup I got planting! I put in (from memory) HC, Dwarf Hair Grass, Lilaeopsis, Ludwigia, Anubias nana petite, Anubias bateri, Amazon Swords, java moss, java ferns and some other fern type plant I dont know the name of. Below are some pics of the tank just after filling after planting.

After the initial setup the tank was going ok, I was monitoring the water and hoping the cycle wouldn't take too long. I was getting pretty big ammonia spikes and after doing a little reading worked out the soil will leech for a while and this is normal. I kept up with water changes but was having some issues. The ludwigia pretty much melted away, and there was not much sign of plant growth and some snails that hitchhiked on some plants had a population explosion, I'm assuming due to plenty of rotting plant matter for food.
The HC then started to melt and there seemed to be a lot of particles in the water that the filter just couldnt keep up with.
The filter is graded for an 80 to 250L aquarium but it just wasn't cutting it so I decided to spend a little more money and upgraded to the Eheim 2215. I also decided to keep the 2213 going as well for some extra flow.. maybe an overkill im not sure, but it seems hard to get a good flow in a corner tank, not that I would know as it's the only tank I have :p

At this stage I ripped out the plants that weren't doing that great - ludwigia, amazon swords, anubias bateri and the java moss and replaced them with some rotala green, wisteria, fissidens and some xmas moss.
I also spent a little more and upgraded to pressurized c02 which seems to be making a good difference. The parts of HC that survived have started to carpet along with the dwarf hair grass. The java ferns has been having some good growth and I have managed to propigate a few new little ones.
I had some initial problems with some brown algae that the snails seemed to control. I don't mind the snails, but there are just too many so I plan to get a few Dwarf Loach (Sidthimunki) to help with population control. I am also getting a little green spotty algae on the glass, hopefully some oto's will fix that also. I am dosing a little bit with excel and flourish.
The tank hasn't quite cycled yet, the ammonia has dropped right down and the nitrites have spiked.. so hopefully it's doing the right thing..

Below are some pics of the tank currently.. sorry about the crappy photo's..

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I'm impressed! This is your first planted tank? Very nice placement of the rocks and wood. It looks great! What kind of fish are you planning to keep in it?
Wow man, lurk less! Great arrangement and equipment, any pictures of previous tanks?
I'm impressed! This is your first planted tank? Very nice placement of the rocks and wood. It looks great! What kind of fish are you planning to keep in it?
Yup its my first planted tank.. well, first tank of any kind really..
When I was 8 years old or so I saved my pocket money for what seemed years and tried a tropical fish tank, of course all the fish died within a week.. I was devastated haha.. as an 8 year old my income (and understanding) just wasn't enough. So fast forward 22 years and I decided to give it another go :tongue:

For livestock I'm thinking 3 x Dwarf Loach (Sidthimunki), 3 x oto's, a few red cherry shrimp and some small tetras, not sure on which type yet, any suggestions?

Wow man, lurk less! Great arrangement and equipment, any pictures of previous tanks?
No previous tanks, only this one
I have to echo the other comments for this being your first tank. The stone and wood placement is great. Some folks just have that knack.
Now its just a matter of learning to grow the plants around the nice hard scape. Well done and great start!

Are you dosing any NPK? If not you should look into it for the near future. As the aquasoil settles in you'll probably want to at least start adding in some nitrates and potassium. That wisteria is going to do a good job of stripping nitrates out of the water column so be sure it doesn't bottom out too much.
Cheers for the comments guys :)

Now its just a matter of learning to grow the plants around the nice hard scape. Well done and great start!

Are you dosing any NPK?
Yeah I guess thats the hardest part! At the moment im just dosing with some seachem flourish, currently reading into EI Dosing.. is a little confusing, and I need to work out where I can grab some dry ferts in Australia...

Quick question about my cycle.. I initially had a pretty high spike of ammonia which lasted for almost 2 weeks, this has dropped down to about 0.0 or 0.25, can be hard to read the colour sometimes, I guess its settled somewhere inbetween, and the aquasoil may be still leeching a little maybe?
When the ammonia dropped my nitrites spiked and has been reading 5.0 ppm for over 2 weeks now, and im guessing its probably above 5.0 ppm.. and it's yet to drop, should I be concerned with this? Can I do anything to help with the nitrite eating bacteria? I initially used seachem stability in the beginning and followed it's directions, and now only use a little with a water change.

ok, 1 more question.. :p

The new growth on the wisteria, rotala and anubias seems to be of a paler green colour, is this normal or is this be due to a lack of nutriants? Just took a reading of the nitrates which is sitting at 10ppm...

Cheers all :)
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The bright green new growth is going to be normal on those plants. New growth on the ferns will be transparent tips.

As far as the cycle goes... that seems odd. Maybe the bacteria colony just hasn't quite established itself totally yet. You have 10ppm of nitrates which means something is happening. Are you still doing the multiple large weekly water changes for the aquasoil? Now that the ammonia has calmed down a bit you could maybe cut those out and let the cycle finish.
Ahh so normal growth thats cool..

re: cycle..

Was just thinking about it and I assume when I added the new filter it may have slowed things down a bit maybe? ..even though I did use the exhisting media?
I will slow down with water changes now and hopefully that helps. Will I need to add any ammonia source to keep things going along at all.. is snail waste enough or do I not worry about it?

cheers :)
That is a beautiful aquarium. Excellent job!
Just a quick update..

The tank finally finished cycling about a week ago and I finally added some livestock :icon_smil

Ended up going with some good ol neon tetras to start with, and will have some oto's and red cherry shrimp in the next few days..
The wisteria has been growing really fast and have had to trim a few times already, the rotala sp green is going well also. The HC has continued to spread, but the hair grass looks like it will take it over.. oh well! This week I have started with dry ferts (NPK) and will be trying out EI..

Anyways.. some update pics below..

..and my lil friends :p

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Looking really great. Excited to see where this one goes in the next month or so.
Man that's amazing!

I love the Tv look of that tank!

Time for an update :)

I now have all the livestock in..

8 x nean tetras
3 x dwarf chain loaches
4 x ottos
2 x blue rams
5 x red cherry shrimp
15 x darwin algae shrimp

Just put in the 2 blue rams last night, they have been having a great time exploring their new home :)

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Really beautiful. Great job!
very nice, also the water is looking very clean and no algae :)
Beautiful! Love the style of the tank, too. The trim is awesome.

Looks like the DHG needs a little trimming, though. :hihi:
Nice job! The grass is beautiful and what is your stem plant? I have a 90 gal corner bow and if you ever figure out how to get good flow, let me know. I run two Fluvals and a Koralia but still have dead spots. Great job with the tank!
Beautiful tank! Looks nice and natural. Great job! :D
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