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HC 'Cuba' Guru
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello everyone, normally I do the whole scape in one shot and then post my journal... but cleaning two year old equipment all day, racing to LFS's for plants, and creating the hardscape... I'm beat, and its 1am. Planting to be done tomorrow while my RO/DI makes water over night.

My post tomorrow of the planting will have all the tank specs and details. Photo's are from my phone and are underexposed, for the full post coming tomorrow I'll be sure to use the DSLR. Critiques always welcome, I feel the main stone still needs some work. For now, here's the hardscape and a new toy. Thanks for looking and enjoy.


Dry stones





Wet stones





New toy




Until tomorrow...
 

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HC 'Cuba' Guru
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Excellent! I can't wait to see this planted. :)
:cool: awesome hardscape. This is going to be a good one to follow!
Thanks guys! I'll do my best ;)


Woke up to find that the hardscape still needed a bit of work and finishing touches. Starting the full setup now. Here's the final hardscape from a slight angle.

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
As promised, photos of the planting and filling process. I ran out of premade RO/DI water so no FTS until tomorrow, besides it's very cloudy from the aeration of the lilies and my atomic CO2 diffuser on full blast. Also, aquasoil tends to could up a tank start pretty good... Tomorrow I'll also try and acquire a nice white background and install a strip of LED's to light it up. As promised, tech specs are at the bottom, below all the progress pics. Here we go!



Gotta start somewhere when farming HC




Getting somewhere, tedious stuff




I had my RO/DI running across the hall and into the tank after the first 15 minutes of HC planting, hence the tube and the sudden water line




Eleocharis 'japan'/'belem'/'mini'




Another angle




The 'valley' between the two structures




Underwater now...




Almost fully planted




Left structure




Somewhat FTS




The valley again




Now with the CO2 and filter aeration, see what I mean? Extremely foggy.




I'll have a crystal clear and full (water) FTS shot for you guys tomorrow. Thanks for looking, here's the specs for anyone interested...

-ADA 75P - 75cmx45cmx45cm
-150w Aquamedic Metal Halide Pendant
-150w ADA 8000K 'green' HQI
-Filstar xP3, Bio Rio and fine filtration pads (which is currently leaking into a baking tray at a rate that is forcing me to stay up all night until stores open tomorrow so I can replace it. It leaked into my stand a good bit before I noticed, thank god I did before going to bed. 14+ hours of work, then some celebration beers, and then I find out I have to pull an all nighter... coffeeee)
-Pressurized CO2, 5lbs, GLA atomic inline
-9L AS recycled from version 5
-18L new AS Amazonia normal
-9L new AS Amazonia powder
-500mL Brighty K, 500mL Brighty Step 1, 500mL Brighty Lights, ECA, Green Bacter, Green Gain, Bacter 100
-ADA short 'curve' scissors
-Cal Aqua Lily Pipes, 17mm
-Hand built ADA look-a-like stand
-90cmx45cm Garden Mat
-60lbs Seiryu Stone, not all used in scape
-Bunch of other random nonsense, you know the hobby ;)
-Hemianthus callitrichoides
-Eleocharis 'mini'/'japan'/'belem'
-Combination of Nikon D5100 and iPhone 5s for photos, the phone blows me away with its pictures to be quite honest
 

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HC 'Cuba' Guru
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
It's always something with this hobby... my xp3 started leaking at 4am last night at about 1 gallon per hour, what a day I've been having, no LFS's have one in stock. Amazon prime $6 next day shipping saved me, it will be back up and running tomorrow. Those lily pipes aren't hooked up to anything, light only on for the shot. Using a koralia for flow. Will be picking up a proper white background soon; LED strip sunset type setup. True FTS:





Nice. I got sick of the HC/DHG combo in pictures, then I tried it myself and loved it. This tank has some great potential, can't wait to see it start to thrive.
I love the combo's simplicity. Thanks, me too!
 

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After seeing the tank full of what I think the master stone looks just fine how it is, even if it's too late to change it, hahah. The shadow it creates is a nice contrast to the lighter mass of stone and creates a sense of depth all by itself.
 

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Very nice. Sorry to hear you had a problem with the filter that sucks. Can't wait to see the results when it fills in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Tank looks awesome
Thanks!

After seeing the tank full of water I think the master stone looks just fine how it is, even if it's too late to change it, hahah. The shadow it creates is a nice contrast to the lighter mass of stone and creates a sense of depth all by itself.
Thanks! I was unsure about it and then rotated it the little bit I could while it was under water to create that shadow effect :proud:

Looks great!
Thanks man :)

Very nice. Sorry to hear you had a problem with the filter that sucks. Can't wait to see the results when it fills in.
New filter up and running, thanks amazon! $6 next day shipping.

That looks great. You have the best equipment in there. I like that dark shadow under the tallest stone on the left side.
Thanks man! Love your scapes!
 

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I'm surprised you had problems with your XP3. I've been running an XP3 and XP1 for 5-6 years continuously now. The XP1 has no issues and the XP3 has a minor seal problem that causes the water level in it to drop a bit during operation but it works perfectly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Catastrophic rock failure, the main stone and supporting main stone fell and ruined the entire left side along with the valley. I had a dinner reservation, so I did all I could and left. Who knows if I'll be able to salvage it, I'm very disappointed. Only two photoperiods but the plants were doing fabulously, now they're in a bucket...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Spent the entire night completely redoing the scape from the ground up, just finished, waiting for it to fill, don't have enough made RO/DI water yet. Second all nighter on this scape. If the rocks fall again I'm out of the hobby.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Horror show update

First of all, let me list you the problems and mistakes I’ve ran into/made with this scape, I’m not sure why I haven’t torn it down at this point. I believe journals shouldn’t be a highlight reel, I’m showing you the bad. Here it is in order of occurrence.


• My filter started leaking at 1 gallon per hour, 2 hours after the first filling, no local places had a replacement, so I had to order online and stay awake 48 hours scooping water out of the baking pan it was sitting in until amazon brought me a new one. (after staying awake 24 hours for the scape (started at night), I admit I was losing it a bit)

• 2 days after scaping, planting, and filling… about 12 hours after putting in the new filter, the main stone collapsed and caused all the others to do so as well, completely destroying the scape and burying all the plants I spent 12 hours planting.

• Now, after staying awake for nearly 72 hours, I had to sift through the aquasoil to find all my HC and Eleocharis ‘belem’ (which I had to have shipped from Portugal, not an easy plant to find in a hurry).

• Approaching 80 hours now, nearly a dozen cups of coffee, I start the complete rescape. Most of the plants were destroyed by the stone catastrophe, I knew my planting might be in vein. This all took 6-8 hours.

• I get everything done, I’m nearly delusional from lack of sleep for almost 4 days, and I find I don’t have any RO water left (my tap water cannot be used, pure silicates). Now I have to stay up spraying the plants every 10 minutes while my RO filter painfully slowly fills it up to keep them from drying out; they were already in bad shape.

• Approaching the 96-hour mark, the water is finally passed the highest plant, I can sleep.


Now things seem to go smoothly for a few days until I find that the replanting of the HC was too stressful on it, I had to plant them in bunches of 5 stems, one stem at a time, no roots left (had to sift them out of aquasoil).


Now, my mistakes.

• I use 100% RO/DI water to avoid diatom plagues. The huge mass of seiryu stones usually provides plenty of GH. I was assuming, and I was wrong. Too many massive water changes, the rocks couldn’t keep up, huge growth stunt due to 0GH. At this point I go to the LFS and start planting more HC.

• I determined that the rocks were only seeding enough calcium due to their calcite veins, and not enough magnesium. Dose Epsom salts, problem solved instantly.

• Finally, everything is going smoothly, even at a 10 hour photoperiod and more dosing than I should have (I’m dumb). Eleocharis ‘belem’ starts going crazy.

• Like an idiot, I’m out one day and call my buddy and ask him to do a water change for me, it needed it and I wasn’t around. I fail to tell him to use the RO water. Next day, Diatom soup, my well water passes through a layer of sand, silicates galore.

• Day later, phosphates at 0ppm. Accidentally dose 10ppm’s without knowing it, diatoms have a field day.


At this point I’m fighting the diatoms with RO water changes, but the only place I can set up my RO filter in my house (upstairs) started leaking; water damage in the ceiling of the first floor. So, I’ve been buying 14 gallons of distilled water every day since then. Keeping in mind this tank is still not cycled, riddled with nitrItes.

Prior to every distilled change, I clean all the diatoms out, plants, stones, everything. They’re (diatoms) dying, but not fast enough, something is wrong, some are still even growing. Yesterday I came to the conclusion that I’ve been brushing silicates off the stones, feeding the diatoms… It's the only answer, the tank water is essentially RO water with a GH of 4, some K, and some nitrItes, absolutely no food for the diatoms.

As of today, the plants are starting to fight back, and things are back on track… somehow. I also placed some Rotala ‘green’ behind the stones to help suck up some nutrients. I also think it might end up looking good there. So, here’s the shameful photos… I can't believe how many things I've let slip, I guess 2 years out of the hobby can do that to you (and a bit of a cockiness). Quickly taken, no care at all, horrible shots of an at the moment horrible tank.




The Rotala 'green'




I'm either going to have to replant more HC once these diatoms are gone, or do a lot of trimming, as I do see healthy growth coming up from under the diatom infested growth. I really wish I could start this scape over, it's going to be a huge challenge to get this to look half as nice as I want it to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Fully cycled tank, all diatoms gone. Picked up 30 amanos, no casualties, drip acclimation is amazing. They're chomping up the corpses. Growth took off yesterday. Everything is back on track, perfectly balanced, photoperiod back up to 9 hours from 7, and doing wonderfully. Expect a significant photo update in 5-7 days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Currently dealing with an erosion issue, new xP3 flow is too high, some aquasoil is moving. Ended up completely replanting more HC.

So, big trim of the few stems I have, more or less doubled them. As you can see I got a bit of GSA the other day lol, it only hit stone and glass luckily... not sure how I'm going to get it off but it has certainly stopped growing. PO4 is always 2ppm+, CO2 blasting...

Pre-trim, CO2 on, no prep blah blah...



Trimmed






 
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