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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone, I was hoping that, because I believe the opinions of the people on this forum to be of expert level, you could all critique my current planted aquarium setup.

The Basics
29 Gallon
30Lx12Wx18T
Root Tabs in sand substrate
Daily dosage of Flourish and Natural Aquarium Vital

Current Lighting

Compact Fluorescent Sunpaq 1x65Watt (10,000K & 6700K)

Other Equipment
150Watt Stealth Submersible Heater (Set to 75F)
Marineland Emperor 280 Bio-Wheel Filter
Koralia Nano (Not in use)

The Flora


Java Fern "Windelov"

Also, I have a second Windelov and I'm concerned about it's health and whether I should cut the dead part off or just trash the whole thing.



These two plants were sold to me as Hygrophila Polysperma, they are about 8" tall and have been growing over the past two weeks.


This is obviously some type of Ludwigia, but I'm not sure if it's Repens or something else, it's about 3" tall. Here's the other one...



I just recently got a bunch of Cabomba "Green" which range from 3"-8" tall.


The last of the flora in the aquarium is the Frogbit, I think it's North American...




Finally here's the FTS and a nice picture of a Red Cherry.




So with that out of the way, I'd like to ask for opinions regarding my prospective material for a future re-scaping.

-Fluval 205 Canister Filter
-Plant Gro CO2 System

I'm also looking at planting Dwarf Hairgrass or Dwarf Baby Tears, and would like to know if that would be possible with this current setup.
 

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Hmmm. Something more dramatic in the hardscape... bigger rocks, or maybe tie some of the driftwood together to make a bigger piece.

Love the white sand, but it's a royal pain to keep clean.

And the java ferns are buried too deep. You need to keep the rhizome above the substrate or it will rot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm awaiting a large piece of Manzanita and have a planned aquascaping for when I have all the materials, I'm just curious about the plants and whether or not they will be able to thrive or at least survive in my aquarium right now.

So, with the Windelovs how do I keep them from floating up if there is nothing in the substrate?
 

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I would bury the round rocks partially in the sand. That one rock you have near the front looks like a softball just sitting there on the sand. If you bury it a bit, it'll look more natural. I also think the driftwood all the way on the right looks out of place. One thing you'd done well (but could work on) is utilizing the golden ratio. Your focus should be the rock pile at the two-thirds line on the right. I'd work around that.

I would tie the Windelov to one of your driftwood pieces (you can use black sewing thread).

Also, keep an eye on that algae. I see hair algae on some of your plants, and you have diatoms on your sand. Id nip any algae in the bud right now before it gets out of control.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I would bury the round rocks partially in the sand. That one rock you have near the front looks like a softball just sitting there on the sand. If you bury it a bit, it'll look more natural. I also think the driftwood all the way on the right looks out of place. One thing you'd done well (but could work on) is utilizing the golden ratio. Your focus should be the rock pile at the two-thirds line on the right. I'd work around that.

I would tie the Windelov to one of your driftwood pieces (you can use black sewing thread).

Also, keep an eye on that algae. I see hair algae on some of your plants, and you have diatoms on your sand. Id nip any algae in the bud right now before it gets out of control.
I relocated both the Windelov so the rhizome is out of the sand. Also, are you positive that the brown spots are diatoms? I assumed it was just the root tabs leaching out of the substrate, is there something I should do to help stop both the hair and diatom algae?
 

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Looks like diatoms to me. How many root tabs did you use? You only really need them directly under heavy root feeders (like swords or crypts). Diatom is sort of expected in a newly set up tank, and it should go away on its own after a while. It's hard to keep white sand clean looking, though...

Regarding hair algae, I'd just cut away the dying Windelov leaves that look like they have algae on them. I'd also potentially bleach dip the rotalas if they have hair algae, too. Never bleach dip Cabomba... it will melt.

I'd just watch the tank and see where it goes. The hygro, cabomba, and floaters should suck up excess nutrients quickly.

Regarding your question about hair grass and dwarf baby tears (most of us call it HC on this forum), I wouldnt add them unless you're going to run CO2 into your tank. There are less demanding carpeting plants for a low or medium tech tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So, will the 2.24 WPG that I'm currently running be sufficient to grow the following:

-Hygrophila Polysperma
-Ludwigia Repens
-Java Fern "Windelov"
-Java Moss
-Cabomba Green
-North American Frogbit
-Dwarf Hairgrass/Dwarf Baby Tears

and will the light be able to penetrate 18" of depth sufficiently?

EDIT: For the DH and DBT (or HC) if I use the CO2 System I linked earlier will that be sufficient or will I have to get a regulator and everything?
 

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Your lighting is fine. The HC might try to grow up instead of across, but that remains to be seen. I would go with a less demanding foreground if this was my first planted tank, though.

The CO2 system you mentioned can be easily made yourself for about $3 with a soda bottle and some airline tubing. Just google or search "DIY CO2". However, these systems don't stand up to pressurized especially in a tank as large as yours. You're going to have to run several bottles to keep the CO2 constant. Going pressurized (regulator, etc) is an option for the future if you choose to go high-tech. It's a large initial investment, though.

Either way, I would remove the bio-wheel on your filter if you choose to inject CO2. The biowheel increases surface-agitation and water/air contact, which results in out-gassing of the dissolved CO2 in the water column. You want as little surface movement as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's one of the reasons I'm getting the Canister Filter.

So, what's a foreground plant that will create a lawn look that I would be able to grow?
 

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You mostly have stem plants (except the fern of course) which will grow to the top of your tank and will look very nice. In my opinion I would also add midground and foreground plants, thinking maybe some anubias on the driftwook, crypts and if your good at, some carpet plants.

I think blyxa japonica would look lovely besides your round rocks to the left of the tank!

I like it, I think it will grow out nicely!
 

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Firstly, I should say I would love to have that aquarium in my home. Secondly, since you asked for a critique, you need an attention getter. I'm in the process of setting up my first planted tank, so I'm just a novice. Still, when I look at your tank my eyes are searching for something to focus on. Lots of cool specimens to take in, but nothing that makes me stop glancing around. The rock pile could be your ticket for a centerpiece if you either built it up more, or added a large red-leafed plant just to the right of it. Something is definitely missing.
 

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I don't think Blyxa would be a good choice with the low light and no CO2.

If you want a carpeting/foreground plant to try for your tank, Marselia minuta and E. tenellus are 2 options.

I've never had much luck with Cabomba in my own low tech tanks... and based on how leggy your L. repens is looking, I suspect it may start losing leaves in your tank, as well.

Bacopa caroliniana and Hygros (especially H. difformis/water wisteria) are the stems I have the most success with in low light.

Some Crypts would bring in some more color.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
One last question regarding CO2...

The Bio-Wheel filter I have on the aquarium makes a lot of surface agitation, and I don't know whether I should

A) Use it with my DIY CO2 system regardless of the surface agitation.
B) Go out and buy a cheap Tetra Whisper filter so I can use the CO2 immediately.
C) Wait until I get my Canister for Christmas and then start dosing CO2.

If it's possible, is there a way to tone down the surface agitation of the outflow on the Bio-Wheel filter without having to remove it so I can efficiently use my CO2?

(I've tried removing the Bio-Wheel itself, but that doesn't help. Can I put some extra pillow stuffing or something like that in the filter cartridge to slow the flow more?)
 

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Go with the extra pillow stuffing. Any way you can reduce surface agitation will prevent unnecessary C02 drive off.

Liquid carbon can be a little pricey as tank size increases (I wouldn't use it for anything bigger than what you got), but as a temporary fix until you have read up on and can afford a C02 system it may not be a bad idea. Its worked for me in controlling algae and promoting plant growth early on.
 
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