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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ok, getting back in the game. Just inherited a 55 truvu after more than five years of breaking down my 29. lots of questions more so looking for advice as i never had much luck/experience with planted tanks.

I plan on acquiring a led Light to replace the standard hood (but thats a different question) I was thinking about the marineland with integrated timer

equipment that came with:

Marineland Magnum 350

lifegaurd Fluidized Bed Filter FB300

Aquariuam Systems (instant ocean) Protein Skimmer

Underground filter

Multiple Powerheads (largest is Penguin 550)

I did already purchase 40lbs of Eco Complete (i know i will need more of something, but what is a good question)

there are some heaters but i think i will replace them as i am unsure of there quality and effectiveness.

What i am looking for is some ideas as to what i should keep, scrap and basic setup ideas for filtration as i have no real idea on how these filters work. I have only previously run ugf and hob filtration. from what i've read you can use the canister with the fbf? i'm confused.

The main goal is a simple low maintenance (i know nothing is set and forget...don't we all wish) planted community tank.

any thoughts, ideas, criticisms and encouragements are welcome and appreciated.

included is the picture of my blank slate

thank you ahead of time.

pghkid
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Tank Update

After some planning and hoarding pennies, I splurged and got myself started.
Purchased a Marineland led plant light w/timer. Threw in 100lbs of Eco-complete and some driftwood and rocks that I liberated from Nature.

Bump: Fiiligree Frill
 

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Sorry to see no one gave you any ideas. :(

I'm curious how the marineland plant led is going to do. The HC might not do so hot without high light. If you're looking for ground cover, I love me some staurogyne repens, doesn't quite require the high light. I'm just trying my hand at glossostigma elatinoides, but I hear it's good for low tech. Have you perused the low tech forum here for ideas?

How would you like this tank to look?

For the moment it is very sparsely and randomly planted... I might suggest planting the taller stems all together so they'll grow up behind/around the driftwood. So definitely the val and the sword in back as they are tall. I believe the nasea will also get quite tall, so it may be good in back unless you want to regularly trim it. The others may be ok where they are. I think some shorter plants that may be good in front of the wood are hygrophila compacta, I have found it easy to maintain and stays about 3-4 inches tall. There are other hygros that are good too, like araguaia. Some anubias would be good as well, they do well in low tech. Also, the easiest, hardiest plant I've ever had, water wisteria (hygrophila difformus). That thing does not die and in my tank grows probably 6 inches a week and has a nice spikey leaved look. Maybe some moss tied to the wood?

Sorry for the long paragraph, just kept having things come to mind. :hihi:

Best of luck to you! Hopefully some others will chime in!

Edited: I almost forgot to say you should either DIY or invest in some root tabs since ECO doesn't supply nutrients to the plants. That and/or do some light fertilizer dosing. Otherwise, you're plants are going to be upset with you before long...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you

Thank you for taking the time to look and resposnd.

I hope the light will be enough to keep me satisfied for a while.

Do i really need to consider fertizer this early? I am under the impression that eco-complete was the substrate thats used as it was filled with nutrients?:icon_ques

This was my initial purchase of flora and fauna to get this tank up and running.

$84.00 in stock less less 3 in flake and 4 in this api quick start the fish guys rung me up for.

Hit the lfs on sunday, so its now been 4 days

I'm interested in setting this up for a community,more so Angel / Tetra mix. As for now. I'm going to watch and see what happens as to plants acceptance and hope for some growth. that will allow for some fill for the sparcity.
I am definitely needing some more plants! I was hoping for some dwarf hair grass but the lfs had only tears so i was ready to try anything as i know little.

Briefly, the gold nesae has got a few dark spots now and algae is moving in.
 

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As far as I understand it, Eco is essentially just crushed lava rock with what appears to be a little bit of flourite sprinkled in. I believe it has some nutrients, but where Eco is better than plain sand or gravel is in the porous nature of the material and it's ability to retain and transfer nutrients to the plants' roots (this is usually referred to as CEC though I don't know what it stands for). It's not a bad substrate by any means and I use it in my largest tank with success. I am dosing fertilizer and also have root tabs under the root-heavy stems to give them extra encouragement. I still recommend root tabs, but you can always hold off on any other ferts and just see how the plants are responding. If they are struggling or showing deficiencies, then you'll have to add something or algae will take over.

As the tank is only a few days old, you're likely to see algae. It takes time for the plants to really establish themselves. So long as it doesn't go too crazy on you, algae in the beginning is totally normal. You can look through the algae forum here on causes and preventative measures for algae. If you're looking to stay low tech, you could invest in some Flourish Excel (or generic alternative) as this has a secondary effect of helping algae control. Just don't dose too much as vals are sensitive to the stuff and require a little time to get used to the chemical.

I would highly suggest more plants. Maybe check here for a stem package or something. The more you can plant at the beginning, the better off you'll be with regards to algae.

Do you have a test kit? Out of curiousity... I see you have fish in there in the young tank. While I have also used tank starter bacteria cocktails and put fish in after just a few days, I would rather monitor ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates just to be safe. As the bacteria process waste, your nitrates will climb, this can lead to algae if the plants can't use it up fast enough. Probably want to wait another week or two before you add more fish.

All in all, patience is best. Watch the plants and how they respond. If you spy a lot of algae growth, take action before it gets too bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
test results

I do have a test kit, it is old. It is also for marine tanks so the ph i believe is a different range. I ran tests earlier and had same results.
The tank has been running with substrate and lights and filters since July 3rd.

Thats the longhorn beetle that flew into the tool box this eve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Tank Update

Went and aquired two new plants today and four angels to help fill in the tank.

New plants are:
Red Wenth and a Lutea

My Gold Nesaea seems to be rotting. many of its leaves have been shed and when i touched it it mostly disintegtated, so i moved the tip which seemed intact and left the melted stem in place.
 

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Eco-complete is a decent substrate, and it's what I've got in most of my tanks. Still, without fertilizers, everything is going to be slow to grow or possibly deficient. I've recently started hitting this wall myself, particularly with swords and faster-growing stems. I recently buried some dry ferts in gel caps at the bottom of the Eco-complete in my tanks. It's only been a week, but I can already see the difference it makes.

Dwarf baby tears did not do well in my tanks (all low-tech).

Things that have really thrived for me, in no particular order:
- Crypts
- Anubias
- Downoi (pogostemon helferi)
- Dwarf lotus
- Dwarf sag
- Xmas moss and fissidens fontanus
- Jungle val
- Rotala rotundifolia
- Ludwigia repens

Things I am on the fence about:
- Monte Carlo
- Water wisteria
- Water sprite
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
thanks

thanks everyone for responding!

So far im just chugging along picking out from whatever the lfs offer. last time when i purchased the angels there was little selection. the tears so far seem ok. nothing in the tank is exploding with growth. I wasn't really expecting it to. I am curious about adding some tabs as it seems to be coming at a strong suggestion.

I'm sure someday i will play around with diy co2 (is this the distinction between low and high tech?), but for the moment i will run with finding more plants to fill in.

I have found some snails now in my tank, should i care?

Again, thank you everyone for your time and consideration.
 

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thanks everyone for responding!

So far im just chugging along picking out from whatever the lfs offer. last time when i purchased the angels there was little selection. the tears so far seem ok. nothing in the tank is exploding with growth. I wasn't really expecting it to. I am curious about adding some tabs as it seems to be coming at a strong suggestion.

I'm sure someday i will play around with diy co2 (is this the distinction between low and high tech?), but for the moment i will run with finding more plants to fill in.

I have found some snails now in my tank, should i care?

Again, thank you everyone for your time and consideration.
Add the tabs, your plants need nutrients and contrary to popular belief eco complete doesn't have any in it from the start...it just retains nutrients rather well once you've been dosing.

Pressurized CO2 makes a tank high tech, DIY isn't really high tech.

Snails are generally harmless, let them do their thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Tank Update

Went out to another lfs and got some Flourish Tabs and some Flourish Excel.
I placed 9 tabs amongst my vegitation.

I dosed 4 caps to my 55gal, (label says 1 per 10 gal.)

Picked up a few new plants as to continue fighting the good fight.

Plant list:

Dwarf Sagittaria

Cryptocoryne wendtii (Green Gecko)

Java Fern Tropica
I have a big clump of it just tucked in the back corner / as im not sure what to do with it all.

I got a freebie bonus Snail (Olive Nerites) It came with the plant as a hitcher
 

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Had a little blossom of some hair algae and the tank has progressed. I did hand removal and scooped much bulk out with a net, came right back.
A "little" blossom indeed, haha. I had the same thing in my 12 long. I noticed a little, then went out of town for a week, came back and BAM! Hair algae everywhere.

What I found worked: Removed as much as I could by hand without ripping up a bunch of my HC, I cut back the lights a little, restarted my EI dosing with some excel dosing, and picked up a small army of amano shrimp (24 total, lost 3 so far, which is ok cause I only paid for 20, haha).

My suggestion to you: hand removal, excel or metricide dosing, and an army of amanos.

They have already in about 4 days eradicated almost all the algae, they love the stuff.

Best of luck and keep at it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Tank Update (vacation algae regrowth)

Well, after vacation and a week left unattended, the algae had made some amazing formation (thick carpet) blossom on the rock surfaces. the plants seem to have cleared a bit from the coverings of hair (still there just not as obscene). It seems primaraly located on the rock tops.

perhaps, i will grab my better camera and see if i can do the algae some justice.

Snails? there are more little ones.... at first i had knowledge of a few and then knowingly added the other from the lfs. but now there are many more than a dozen on cursory glance..? should i be concerned?

I will resume cleaing on another day and perhaps either top of the evap or perhaps the tanks first water change? would one do so when dosing with flourish? wouldn't you be diluting the product?

Thanks again everyone for taking the time to check on this little project of mine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Tank Update

Pulled a few rocks and gave em a quick scrub with some scotch brite and scalding hot water, said to myself hey! I read somewhere about peroxide as an effective tool in the battle against algae. So I added a little splash over top, sat, rinsed and replaced. couple days now and all seems normal

For giggles I threw the tank a couple of shots of it tonight.

Some plants have now all but died off. Heteranthera , Nesaea both gold and red are all but toast some little root strands are all that remain.

The Sword seems to be suffering a bit

Dwarf Baby Tears have given me trouble with this algae thing. They seem to be growing ok but I keep loosing some when thining the hairs away.

Red Wenth and a Lutea seem to be doing quite well

I have now used up my little bottle of Excel and have Just recently added more Flourish tabs.

Thanks again for checking out my little project!

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