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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've decided to go ahead and make my own journal for my 75g tank. I have pictures and discussions about it in various threads which I want to put in here so my journal includes the tanks modest beginnings and the changes that have taken place over time. So bare with me while I get this journal together.

When I first got my 75g tank, I wasn't ready to go high tech with bright lights, pressurized CO2 and ferts even though I actually had the equipment to do it. I felt too overwhelmed with the whole thing.

So I started out very modestly by using a plain, one bulb 30" lightstrip that comes the those plastic hood/light sets. This is dim lighting at it's best! :icon_lol: With no light, came no live plants. I used silk plants to give the few fish I had at the time a little comfort. I continued this while the tank was cycling and while I was getting my act together.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The beginnings of my tank's aquascape: The driftwood. I attached these pieces of driftwood to a 6" x 6" square slate tile using SS screws. You can see that I have a few other pieces for my aquascape thrown in there, such as some plants and caves, but the silk plants still ruled the tank.

Fish included at this point was my L204 Pleco that has gone from a 5g tank to my 20Long and then, finally, to my 75g. I also have some male guppies that helped to cycle the tank. And by this point, I had added about 11 cardinal tetras that I had in another tank.





 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Once I decided on my driftwood design, the next step was to attach some Fissidens fontanus to the driftwood. At this point, I also removed all of my silk plants. The plants in the tank are not actually planted. They're still in their pots or were just dropped in. It's a start!

Also, I forgot that by this time I also had about 40 amano shrimp in the tank, a blue german ram and an apisto cockatoo. I was trying the ram and apisto to see if they could handle my 8.0 pH water. The answer: yes, they can! The guy at the LFS said if my water could handle Cardinal Tetras, then the rams and apistos would be fine. It helps that the fish I buy has already been acclimated to our high pH by having been in the LFS tanks for at least 10 days.

My canopy is not on the tank. It's on my floor! I'm rigging up the lighting.













 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I started out with an Eheim 2128 filter which I like. But I wanted to add a second filter. My choice was to add a Rena XP4. Since I already know I will be overstocking this tank, filtration is very important to me.

The big question for me was where to place the filter intakes and outputs! Having good filters doesn't matter if you don't create a good filtration circulation in the water. So I created a few diagrams to ask others what they thought. Nobody liked idea #1! #4 turned out to be the most popular.

I purchased two of the Customflo kits to be able to design a customized intake/output system. Each intake and output connection comes with its own flow control so you can ensure they all work together. For example, to ensure the second intake screen had enough pressure to actually suck in water, you turn the first one down. This way, both intake screens suck in the same amount of water equally.







 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
At this point, I have managed to get the pressurized CO2 working, using a rex reactor custom made for me by Orlando (thanks again!). It's connected to the Rena XP4.

I've bought a bunch of java fern and anubias to serve as my basic plants for my tank. I did this because they would help me go through the transition from a low light tank to a high light one; plus, they would work as my backbone plants to lower my overall plant maintenance since they need so little care. I intend to add stems to add color and texture to the whole design. But the stems won't be added until I get my lighting set up the way I want.

I also have new fish! I very recently had the incredible surprise of finding lots of my favorite fish at one of my LFSs! They had a large selection of Pelvicachromis taeniatus available. They had so many different ones, it was very hard to decide which to get! I decided on three pairs: Kienke (my definite favorites!), Moliwe and Nigerian Red. I decided on the Nigerian Red because they reminded me of the old fashioned, regular Kribensis that I had over 30 years ago. Their overall pattern and fin shape is a little different from the other P. taeniatus.

I also added 10 Torpedo Barbs, Puntius denisonii. They are also known as Roseline Sharks, Red Line Sharks, and Denison's Barbs. Whatever name people use, these fish are incredible! They grow to a fabulous size of 4"-5", like to shoal (but also swim independently, as well) and — best of all — are peaceful! They are an incredible fish to add to a community tank! Their coloring is outstanding. Very true, very bright and clean red and yellow with a strong black, all of which stands out nicely from their overall silver color. You have to see these fish to believe them!
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
So this brings me up to now.


Tank Equipment:
  • Eheim Pro II 2128 — I regret getting the version with the heater because the electrical and temperature probe cords are connected to the filter base and not the top like normal. This means I cannot remove the top and pick up the base without having to deal with cords. I have to unplug the probe and heater electrical cord and drag these around whenever I move the filter base. While I don't need to move the base very often, it's just an extra hassle I would have avoided if I had known better. My tank temperature stays around 76°F without a heater so I really didn't even need the heater in the filter. I just thought it would be handy. Turns out, it's more of a hassle than handy.
  • Turbo Twist 12X 36w UV Sterilizer — this is setup inline from the output of my Eheim. I replaced my 3X 9w sterilizer for this larger one because of my flow rate from the Eheim. Rather than slow down the flow of the Eheim, I opted to get a much larger sterilizer that can handle the flow.
  • Rena XP4 — My second filter to ensure that I had more than overkill for filtration in the tank. It also allows me to clean out one filter while leaving the other running and with undisturbed bacteria. I also think this will be a good idea as the filters age should one filter break down for some reason. I won't have to panic that my tank is left without filtration while I'm fixing one of the filters.
  • Rex CO2 Reactor — this was custom made for my by Orlando! I love it! He did a fantastic job of making it. I'm still trying to get the CO2 setup so right now, I'm getting some bubbles, but I think I can clear that up with better experience on my part.
  • Customflo kits — I bought two of the complete kits. Obviously, I'm pretty anal regarding filtration. The kits help me, as a beginner, to have enough parts to do just what it says — customize the intake and output flow of the filters. I very much like them! However, I think they are inherently designed with one flaw. The "u" that takes the filters over the tank edge use slip on joints on both sides, the part that goes into the tank and also the part that connects to the filter's output hose. This means that if the output hose gets pulled accidentally, it can very easily become disconnected from the "u" going over the tank edge which would then result in having the output water hose start blowing water all over the room! No way could I live with that risk. So I used JB Weld epoxy to glue the slip joints. Now an accidental tug won't cause my room to become flooded!
  • TEK 4 x 54 lighting — What a nice fixture! But I'm not using it yet. I am rigging up my canopy so that the lights will be able to shine down on the tank, as normal, when I'm not working on the tank or am just opening the canopy while feeding the fish, BUT the lights can also be hung on the canopy when it's open! This way, instead of having the lights blinding me in the face when the canopy's open, they will be hung up in a way that allows me to work inside the tank while the lights are up and out of the way, but still shining light into the tank so I can see what I'm doing. When I get this finished, I'll take pictures of how I rigged it and how well it works.
  • Giesemann Lamps — I'm running two Giesemann 54W 11000K Aquablue Plus and two 54W 6000K Midday Sun lamps. I can run the fixture with either 2 or 4 lamps turned on so I'll start with just 2 lamps, one of each type.
  • Pressurized CO2 — I have a 10 lbs canister with the normal Milwaukee regulator, solenoid, and bubble counter setup. I'm also using the ADG Double Check drop counter to help me learn how much CO2 to put in the tank to reach a good level. I've been scared to setup my pressurized CO2 (my phobia), but lots of really great people on this board have held my hand through each step so that I'm finally becoming comfortable with it.
  • Eco-Complete substrate — I chose it mostly because I wanted a black substrate and could not find the black Flourite anywhere! Funny thing is that I got what has been called a "bad batch" of Eco-Complete so it's not completely black. It has pieces of different colors (all dark). Turns out I like the color mix as it looks more natural to me.
  • DFW red oak stand and canopy — this rivals the Oceanic red oak stand and canopy, but I actually think it's prettier because it has a lip on the stand that hides the tank's trim. This is made by a company in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex (as if the company's name doesn't give that away). I don't know how far they ship their stands and canopies, but I really recommend them.
  • All-Glass brand 75g tank — Not much to say here other than it's a quality tank. I like the 75g size due to its dimensions of 48L x 18W x 21T. The 55g is only 12" wide which limits the footprint for the fish, and the 90g tank is 25" tall which makes it harder for me to reach into for scaping. So the 75g was the perfect choice for me.


Current Plants: This list isn't complete, but these are the most significant plants in the tank at the moment.
  • Anubias barteri 'barteri' - a super large plant I got from the swap-n-shop (SNS) forum here. It arrived with BBA on it (which I knew when I bought it) which I have treated with a 1:20 ratio of bleach for 2 minutes. The plant is left with a white beard on the leaves which I'm hoping will disintegrate over time. Some of the leaves have turned yellow, especially around the bottom, but that's because it hasn't received CO2 or ferts since I got it. The CO2 is now turned on so I just have to figure out the ferts which I know will really help this plant.
  • Anubias barteri 'nana' — received from same person as the 'barteri' above. Same BBA, same bleach treatment, same results. But the plants are HUGE for being nanas so I think they are still worth having.
  • Anubias barteri 'coffeefolia' - I found a very nice specimen at a LFS. I'd like to add a few more.
  • Cryptocoryne willisii 'lucens' - Three nice pots of this from a LFS. Not planted yet. They're being held in the tank while still in their pots. They've been doing great that way for over a month.
  • Microsorum pteropus (Java Fern) - just a few small plants that I removed from another tank.
  • Microsorum pteropus 'Windelov' (Windelov Java Fern) - a really nice, large, well shaped plant I got from the SNS here.
  • Microsorum pteropus "needle leaves" (Needle Leaf Java Fern) — I have a LOT of this! Again, from a SNS deal. Unfortunately, one of the large plants was damaged when I had to stop working on it while I was in the middle of rinsing it in plain untreated water. Then the plant stayed like that for 3 days. So the leaves aren't as wonderful as they were when I first got them. But my kids needed my attention so the plant lost out. It's still very healthy so it'll do well once I clean it up and give it some CO2 and ferts.
  • Vallisneria — I don't know what kind it is. It's not corkscrew because the leaves are straight. They're pretty long so it's a tall variety. I got this as a freebie in a SNS deal. Right now, they're bundled together and weighted to keep them alive, but they are not planted yet.
  • Fissidens fontanus — Yet another great buy from the SNS here. I have it tied to my driftwood. Very pretty plant!


Fish and Inverts:
  • Pelvicachromis taeniatus 'Kienke' — I have a fabulous pair that I think was already paired off at the LFS's tank. They coupled together instantly and are already showing lots of breeding signs. These are absolutely beautiful fish!
  • Pelvicachromis taeniatus 'Moliwe' — Another fabulous pair of dwarf cichlids. The Kienkes have taken over the entire front of the tank so I don't see my Moiliwes as much. When I actually get my tank scaped, I will do what I can to break things up so each Pelvicachromis pair has it's own territory. If this doesn't work, I can always move a pair to my 20Long (which I'll be changing out for a 29g tank).
  • Pelvicachromis taeniatus 'Nigerian Red' — My 3rd pair of what I sometimes refer to "fancy Kribensis" (Kribensis is supposed to be used only for the old, traditional Pelvicachromis pulcher, but most people seem to know all of the Pelvicachromis species better if you just say Kribs). While these were the most expensive of my three pairs, they are not the fanciest by pattern or color. They are more like the old, traditional Kribs which is one reason why I got them. The male's tail will be pointed and both sexes will have the traditional black spot markings. So I got them since they bring back fond memories from my first set of Kribs over 30 years ago.
  • Puntius denisonii (Torpedo Barbs) — How many common names can a fish have? They are also called Roseline Sharks, Red Line Torpedo Barbs and Denison's Barbs. Geeez! By whatever name, these are absolutely incredible fish! I have 10 of them. They grow to about 4"-5", have outstandingly bright and pure red, yellow and black markings on a shiny silver body, and they will schoal together and swim independently. They are always in motion, usually in the middle of the tank, but they'll go up and down, as well. But the best part of these fish is that they are peaceful! They make a great addition to a community tank. Definitely a star among fish!
  • Apistogramma cacatuoides (Apisto Cockatoo) — I finally got one to see if I could have one in my high 8.0 pH water. The answer is YES! Unfortunately, he scraped himself when I was adding rocks into the tank so he's currently in a H/T (hospital tank) being treated until his wound heals. He's doing really great in his H/T. I think he likes having the whole tank to himself!
  • Mikrogeophagus ramirezi (Blue German Ram) — Another fish I was testing to see if it can handle my high pH. Yes, he can! And he's so beautiful. I'm not sure if I'll give him a mate or not. He is a bit more shy with all the Pelvicachromis fish in there, but he seems to be coming around. He also seems to miss his buddy, my apisto that I mentioned above. I'm hoping that when his friend rejoins the tank, the two will keep each other company, helping to ease the stress for them both. If not, then I'll move one or both to other tanks.
  • Paracheirodon axelrodi (Cardinal Tetras) — I've been slowly adding these to be my main small shoaling dither fish. I have 11 in the tank so far with 10 more in Q/T. I'm not sure how many I'll get in total. It'll just depend on how many it takes for them to make a real show of themselves in the tank. I can say that 11 is not enough. We'll see what it looks like when I get the other 10 in there.
  • Poecilia reticulata (Guppies) — All male! I started out with just a few, right? Now I have the males and females seperated. Yes, I know the females will continue to give birth, but it will eventually stop with no males around. I like the guppies just as colorful dither fish. But as they die, I won't be replacing them. I just noticed one of my smaller males (from some fry I had) has lost its tail. So I have a bad feeling he got into the Pelvicachromis' territory and did not move out fast enough. This particular male has always been strange. He never socialized very well and grew much slower and smaller than all the rest. So I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that he'd get hurt in that tank. I'll probably euthanize him if his tail is too far gone. Poor guy. But the other guppies are doing well. Kind of a dumb, but happy and colorful dither fish.
  • Caridina multidentata/japonica (Amano Shrimp) — Yes, this is the algae eating shrimp made famous by Takashi Amano. I absolutely adore these shrimp! I have about 40 in the tank, 30 of which are thanks to yet another great SNS buy. These shrimp have personality. Not only do they do their job of cleaning, they are so much fun to watch. If you drop an algae wafer in the tank, one shrimp will snatch the wafer right out from underneath a group of fish and then swim off with it! They walk and swim everywhere in the tank. They will even swim upside down at the surface of the tank to catch floating food. They eat anything and everything (except living animals in the tank). I got a few on a lark a long time ago when I saw them for a great price, and ever since then, I've been in love with them. No, they aren't the most colorful shrimp, but what they lack in color, they make up for in personality!
  • Panaque sp. (L204 Flash Pleco) — This fish has been with me since early on when I started back into having tanks. He started out as a little guy in a 5g tank and was then moved to my 20Long tank when I got that set up. He finally was placed in his intended home, my 75g tank, when I got it. He was the first fish I put in my 75g tank. If you haven't seen a L204, you're missing out. They are very beautiful with an incredible tail! They are shy and like wood. They can also be territorial when they get older. I have a male who has shown some territorial aggression, but not bad. I only know of one fish he bit, a female guppy in my 20L who was trying to steal his algae wafer. He could also be the one who has bitten off the tail of my male guppy in the tank now, but I doubt it. He doesn't ask for a very large territory which is good. I have a new slate cave I've made for him, and once I decorate the outside so it will look more natural, I'll see if he'll take to it when I scape the tank.


Still on my plans for this tank, other than a LOT of colorful plants, is to add about 5 zebra loaches (Botia striata) and possibly a few SAEs (the true ones). But that's it. The tank is already getting very crowded and overstocked (one reason I'll let the male guppies fade out over time).

Right now, I'm doing my best to finish getting the equipment going and working to have a good environment for plants. Then I can worry about finishing the aquascaping. I have a few ideas that may or may not work, such as using waterfall foam to make clay pots and PVC pipes blend in more naturally into the aquascape. I also want to add some natural rocks to make more natural caves. I think this tank will require A LOT of caves to make it successful. But if I do run into fish conflicts, there's always room for more tanks! :D

Okay, that brings the journal up to date. I'll edit this thread as things change to keep my equipment, plants and fish lists as up to date as I can.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
that looks awesome can't wait to see more plants in there
Thanks! I can't wait for more plants, too, especially some colorful stems. I'm getting much closer to being able to add them. I might be able to get my lights rigged up today which just leaves getting ferts and figuring out how to use them correctly. Then, bring on the stems! :D

if you are going to use 2 input and out put i would use the last sketch it is perfect for your tank or i think the way you have it in the real pic is realy good.the out take on the left side of the tank and the intake on the right side of the tank perfect water flow.good luck with your new tank looks nice
Yeah, that last one is what most people suggested so that's what I'm using right now (on my XP4; I haven't changed my Eheim to use the Customflo kit yet).

One of the advantages of the Customflo kits is that you really can customize your filtration circulation. I can add intake screens at the bottom of my tank by just piping it down there and using an elbow. The kit also comes with 2 spray bars for each filter so I can have a spray bar at the top and middle, at the top and bottom or at the top and horizontal to form a long, "upside down L" design.

Right now, I have what's pictured in the last design pictured except the intake does not have another intake screen at the bottom (just two in the middle) and the output not only has the spray bar at the top, but I also have a flexible output "bar" of sorts that I can point to any direction to add to the flow at the middle part of the tank.

What I really like is that this gives me a lot of really nice, gentle flow throughout the tank so I can avoid dead spots, but not have any currents that blow over the plants. The kits are not perfect, but they work great for someone like me who's wanting something beyond what's supplied with the canisters, but is not advanced enough to start creating their own using pvc piping from the local hardware store.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, mott! I was afraid it was way too detailed! I just wish I had taken more pictures of it all along.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
LOL! Not fake, I guaranty you. But I did not adjust the colors in the pics so the tank looks much too red. When I took those pics, I was only using them to show the way the driftwood was shaped.

I'll be posting more pics soon, and then I'll concern myself with the colors more.

BTW, what's that big brown thing that keeps following your posts? Is that a dollhouse miniature?

:hihi:
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
And thats also some detailed info you go going there, see my ADD doesnt allow me enough time to read all of it tho :D
Yeah, I knew that would happen. It's there for those who want to read it while others can skip it. This is a "take what you want and leave the rest" thread. :D

BTW, as you can see, I'm a highly focused and detailed person. Now imagine this: my husband and both children have ADD! :eek: There are times in which we all drive each other nuts! :icon_lol:
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
roselinetorpedodenisoniisharkbarbs! :hihi:
I'm busting a gut with that one! :hihi:

Since you put it that way, I have no choice but to oblige! Pictures coming tomorrow. :)

Marko, no problem. I think I did enough talking (writing) for the both of us. :redface:
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
I may indeed have a problem given how aggressive the Kienke pair have become. At least they are my favorites of them all!

I've heard mixed comments on whether I can keep all 3 pairs in a 75g tank. Most say yes as long as I am very good with caves and breaking up the tank to give separate territories. Others think I'm nuts! The real answer is probably a little of both. :D

I'm getting concerned that they are going to spawn or have already spawned in their current cave. I want to move that cave when I actually aquascape the tank. But if they've spawned in it already...

I need to do some research to figure out if either will stay in the cave once they do spawn. I can't remember since it's been so long since I've have kribs.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
I tried to look inside the cave with a flashlight — which neither fish liked at all — but I didn't see any signs of eggs. Also, both fish leave the cave and don't seem to have a driving need to get back right away. They'll graze a little, chase a little, and then go back as if it's home base. But I don't see any major guarding of the cave door so to speak. And I'm also not seeing any moving of the substrate which they like to do to make their cave special just for them.

So all these things put together makes me feel they have not spawned. They are definitely interested in each other and the female looks so purple, you'd think she's going to start glowing! But they're still courting each other.

They're probably not feeling comfortable about spawning since I keep messing with the tank every day. But I have a feeling that once I get the tank settled so they can be together without my constant disturbances, they will probably spawn right away.

I have high pH, and I know the pH affects whether the spawn are males or females or both. I need to look up which sex you get with high pH. It would be interesting to know if I'd get mostly male or female fry. Or maybe a mix since I have pressurized CO2 which will lower my pH. I should probably do a pH test, too, to see how the CO2 is affecting it.

If these guys do spawn, I have enough tanks to work as a grow out tank. When I replace my 20L for my 29, that will leave my 20L empty which is the perfect size for a krib grow out tank!
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
$10! That is a fantastic price! I paid $18 for mine. How large are yours? Mine are what I would call medium sized. Around 3". I saw some at another store that were smaller, but they were asking for something like $30 each. I agree they are incredibly beautiful! I think it's how pure and bold the colors are. Not a faded, sort of red, but a true, bright red. Same for the yellow. While the black and silver just make the colors stand out even more. They have a really sweet body shape, too.

I'm getting a little further with my tank. The CO2 is going well, and I ordered my dry ferts. I hope to have the lights done today so I can get the canopy back on. That will look much better. And then with some real light in the tank, I'll be able to take some better pictures. Right now, to get the inside of the tank bright enough, I have to increase the exposure which then distorts the cabinet's color.

The plants, caves and all on the inside are crazy! Most aren't actually planted. They're either dropped in or are floating around or are still in their pots, buried in the substrate. I have some dwarf riccia that I'm floating that I had to create a "floating cage" so I didn't get riccia all over the tank. I think I'll make another one for my floating stems since some are getting blown into the plants at the bottom, making a bigger mess. And I have other various plants either melting (new crypts) or turning yellow (bleach treated anubias). At least my large bleach treated anubias is fine, but the nanas need those ferts right away. And then I have rocks, clay pots and pvc pipes strewn about to make quick caves.

I was thinking last night of how I'll have to go about truly planting everything to make some kind of real aquascape. I'm going to have to create a temporary holding bin to put it all in so I can pull them all out to give me the space to actually plant them.

Hopefully, by this time next week, I'll have my ferts, my lights and the plants will be planted. So I'm very close to going high tech! And then the fun begins! I'm thinking of checking to see if there's a record for how many different kinds of algae a person can get in a tank all at once! :icon_lol:
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
OMG, I actually have light on my tank now! All this time, I have used an old 30" single bulb fluorescent fixture. 18watt T-8. So that meant I had only 1/4 watts per gallon. That's right, 0.24 watts per gallon. I did that intentionally to keep the algae at bay. Keep in mind that I started with just silk plants. They don't need much light. But today my husband helped me get the canopy and lights on, and WOW! Even with only 2 bulbs turned on, these lights are incredible! The fish colors are magnificent! With just two of my TEK fixture's bulbs running, I've jumped from 18w to 108w! That's 1.44wpg. And while that's still low, it is a huge difference between the basic flourescent lamp and the Giesemann lamps! Wow, the tank is amazingly bright! And I only have half the lighting turned on so far.

I also noticed that I have a second pair of my pelvicachromis showing mating signs. They've taken yet another cave. So that's two pairs doing their thing, my Kienke and Nigerian Red pairs.

The third pair, the Moliwe, is not quite ready yet. The female seems a big young still, but we'll see. So far, no damaging chasing or anything so they might do well later. They're just not doing the shimmy with each other yet.

I'll have to get a picture of my tank tomorrow now that it can actually be seen with the lights. I have my CO2 running and my ferts are ordered. So I'm about to make the plunge from very low light to high light/high tech this coming week. What this means is that I can now enter the contest for having the most algae growing in a tank at one time! :icon_lol:

Wish me luck for this next week or so. I think I'll need it. :)
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Well, you know how it is. For every day, tomorrow is always the day after. :hihi:

I finally took some pics, but haven't resized them yet. I'm still trying to get things to work!

I got the canopy on with the TEK lights only to discover that the braces I used to hold the lights in place blocked my ability to open the glass covers to feed my fish! :eek: So I had to have my husband help me hoist the canopy back down, move the braces, and give it another try. Now I can feed my fish! :D

Star, kribs are very plant friendly. They do a little digging, but only at the entrance of their cave. And their kind of digging is basically "pick up one piece of substrate, swim over there, spit it out, go back to get another piece..." so it's not like they're diving into the substrate and uprooting everything.

While waiting on me to get the pics ready, there are a couple of threads regarding how I'm trying to get the electrical plugs customized (thanks to BiscuitSlayer's expertise!) and how I'm trying to rig up the lights so they can be moved into a hanging position when I'm working on the tank.

Let me get the links to those threads and post them. The thread about the lights has some pictures of my canopy!
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Electrical plugs:

Okay, this thread is where everyone is helping me design a customized electrical panel with water protection in the event of a catastrophic failure (tank breaking). The water protection won't be perfect, but it should be helpful.

Once we get the design figured out, BiscuitSlayer will do the actual work and post a DIY thread so others can give it a try.

The electrical panel will be awesome when it's done! I can't wait!

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/g...50-how-you-handling-all-electrical-plugs.html
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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5,106 Posts
Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Hanging lights:

In this thread, it shows how I'm using retractable brackets to create a place to hang my TEK light fixture from the canopy lid so I can get the lights out of the way, but still have light shining in the tank when I'm working on it.

This was my own design, and whether it works or not, I'm proud of it. It took a lot of searching and thinking to finally come up with a way to do this. I didn't even know these kinds of brackets existed!

In this thread, I'm trying to find the best method of supporting the lid open to carry the weight of the lights.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/equipment/68966-need-help-selecting-lid-support-diy.html

I just posted the thread so no replies yet. But there are pictures of the design if anyone wants to see. I'll copy the pictures over here once I finish with the lid support. That way, it'll all be in this single thread.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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5,106 Posts
Discussion Starter · #33 ·
I'm sure some of the hinges will work, too, but I just don't know which ones. And no way am I risking my TEK fixture and bulbs (not to mention glass all in my tank) to test out the wrong ones.

When I'm not working on the tank, the lights will be removed from the hanging brackets and placed inside my canopy where I have put braces to hold it in place. The hanging brackets on the canopy lid will be closed, and I have some strips of velcro to keep them from opening up accidentally when I lift the lid.

So I will be literally moving the lights from resting inside the canopy to hanging off of the brackets.
 

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Pelvicachromis Lover!
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5,106 Posts
Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Finally, pictures! :)

This shows the whole setup together. The color of the wood is much more true in these pictures. It's a beautiful red mahogany stain on oak. I love the rich red color!



You can see the box for my Rena XP4 that I just installed! I still have a few things out of place as I work on getting the CO2, lights and other hardware matters taken care of.

So far, the CO2 is running well (just a few bubbles coming out). I'm using my TEK fixture with only two bulbs running (makes it 1.44wpg which is still pretty low/med lighting). And my ferts should be arriving today or maybe tomorrow.



If you look at the bottom right corner, you'll see my mess of electrical cords. This is why I really need to do something about this. At first, I had the power strips further away which seemed okay, but as I added more stuff, not only did I fill up the power strips, but the cords were too short to allow me to keep them far enough away to make them safe. I even have one power strip on the floor! Bad idea. Hopefully, with Biscuit's help, this can be made much more safe.



Ah, the "drag and drop" method of aquascaping! Yes, this is a total mess. There is absolutely no scaping done at all. Looking closely, you'll see plants still in their pots, one is turned over sideways, one plant is floating upside down, lots of stems floating wherever, with leaves caught in my filter strainer! I created a holding container for my riccia so it wouldn't overtake my entire tank (that's the big square thing floating on the left side).

Caves of all sorts are strewn about. I hadn't planned to get my pelvicachromis (kribs) when I did so I didn't have time to make nice caves for them. Instead, I took everything I had on hand that could be considered a cave and dropped it all in. So there are some lace rock caves, some caves made by placing plants tied to holy rocks together, some plain clay pots and lots of pvc pipes. Not very pretty, but they serve the function intended.



And a close up of the tank itself. What a mess! :icon_lol:

Trying to switch from low tech to high tech is a bit of a challenge so I've trying to get a number of plants that can handle both environments, mainly java ferns and anubias. Plus, I want them to serve as basic green low maintenance plants that will then let the more high maintenance, more colorful stems take front stage. Being a regular gardener, I guess these are the shrubs, and the stems will be the centerpiece plants. At least that's the idea.



I have some more pictures to post a little later. They're more of the fish themselves. I'm not a great photographer and I have a very old camera, but I did my best. So more pictures coming soon!
 
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