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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Starting up a new tank down here in Australia so figured I'd start a journal thread and try and keep it updated so I can track how it grows, and hopefully get some constructive criticism along the way :) I've done CO2 enriched tanks in the past so figured I'd try and give a non-CO2 tank a go. This is also my first go at an aquascape, so it will be interesting to see how well (terrible?) it will turn out haha.

Long term plan is to keep blue cherry shrimp in here after it has matured for a month or two.

Tank size: 30cm cube - low iron glass
Substrate: River sand with Master Soil Next HG cap where the plants will go.
Filtration: A single Petworx WXI-250 (a bit unsightly but had one lying around and trying to keep costs low)
Lighting: A single 'Make My LED' 40W pendant lamp with 8 stage dimmer.
Heater: 25W Aquazonic Eco


A couple of days ago I laid out the hardscape as shown in the pictures. The 'rocks' are Malaysian petrified wood and there's two entwined pieces of gold vine/spider driftwood.
My opinion is that the wall of petrified wood is a bit too short but I couldn't find any larger pieces in the store unfortunately. Will post pics with plants in next post.

Cheers,
Despo

Lighting Art Wood Sculpture Tree



Art Wood Fossil Visual arts Display case
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Today I went and grabbed some plants from various places. Didn't have any definite plans going in so figured I'd see what plants were locally available and make it up as I went along!

Pics with plants below. After it was all said and done I ended up with:

  • 3 Java Ferns, which I threaded into the driftwood
  • 1 unknown crypt, located at the back left of the tank
  • 2 Anubias Nana, which are just sitting on the petrified wood for now
  • A bunch of pink baby tears, at the back center of the tank
  • a tub of tissue culture AR mini, which is in the left 'planter box' area
  • a tub of tissue culture Staurogyne Repens in the front 'planter box' area

I learnt that I definitely didn't have a thick enough layer of soil in the front planter box area, but I can't build it up any further due to the height of the retaining wood unfortunately.
Other than that, planting went reasonably well. I'm hoping once the ferns and the baby tears grown they will obscure the heater and filter.

I believe the AR mini and S.Repens are in their emersed form so will see what happens over the next week or two there. I've never had crypts before but I've heard they often melt so will similarly be keeping an eye out there too. I've kept AR mini in my last CO2 tank which went well. Curious to see what will happen here without the CO2. Never had S.Repens before but i think i read they can be kept in non-CO2 tanks. I'm fairly confident the rest will all be fine.

I will be fertilising with an all-in-one fertiliser supplied by Liverpool Creek Aquariums here in Australia.
Initially I'll keep the photoperiod at 6 hours, on level 3 of the dimmer (equates to roughly 37% intensity). Depending on how that goes with algae etc. i'll slowly ramp it up to 50% for 7 hours.

I guess the journey officially begins now :) That's all for now and i'll try and keep this updated over the next few months.

Cheers,
Despo.

Purple Organism Pet supply Wood Plant



Purple Organism Pet supply Aquatic plant Marine biology
 

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I like the layering you did with the "Planter boxes"! I'm thinking of doing the same concept with black sand in front. I have eco complete in my other tanks, and it's a real bugger to get stem plants to stay put. The blue shrimp will really stand out against your rocks and sand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I like the layering you did with the "Planter boxes"! I'm thinking of doing the same concept with black sand in front. I have eco complete in my other tanks, and it's a real bugger to get stem plants to stay put. The blue shrimp will really stand out against your rocks and sand.
Thank you :) I didn't originally plan on those areas but when I was laying things out they just seemed to make sense to try and give the tank more depth and layers. Black sand would look cool! I was originally planning on black sand to contrast against the petrified wood, but my girlfriend wanted a beach for the shrimp so I ended up using river sand 😄

Both my previous tanks (100G and 10G) had eco-complete in them so I know exactly what you mean! In the 100G I think I had so much though that I could really shove them in and they stayed put. In the 10G though they would sometimes float away. This is my first time using any sort of aquasoil. I like it, but I think I should have gone for something like the ADA powder in the front planter boxes as the soil grain size seems a bit large in comparison to the tank scale. It may have made planting a bit easier in the confined space too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
1 Week Update

Not too much has changed in the first week, which I guess is unsurprising given it's a non-C02 tank 😅 Very different experience from my other tanks that required trimmings weekly!

I moved an anubias all the way to the back corner and it's sprouting a new leaf, and a new leaf is slowly emerging out of the crypt. There's also a baby Java fern growing on the tip of one of the bigger Java Fern leaves in the mid-right of the tank.

S.Repens seems to have grown slightly and the leaves are looking quite vibrant. Pink baby tears is also doing ok but the new leaves seem to be smaller and growing tighter than the older ones. Not sure if it's a nutrient deficiency or if my lighting is stronger than theirs and it is just becoming more compact. Happy to hear any thoughts on that :)

No visible algae yet which is interesting, lights are still on 6 hours a day, although the tank gets a fair bit of ambient daylight (not direct sun) so was expecting a bit at least. Lots of white biofilm developing on the driftwood. I've had this before and I think it'll go away in a couple of weeks hopefully.

Tested my water at the end of the week and had the following:
pH: 6.4
Ammonia: 1ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 5ppm
KH: 4 dKH
GH: 6 dGH

This soil is supposed to leach ammonia less than the amazonia. I've never used amazonia myself so I don't know if it's normally more than 1ppm in the first week.


pH out of the tap (after some time to allow off-gassing) is about 7-7.2 so driftwood and the soil is definitely lowering it a bit which I'm happy with. I might try and up the ferts slightly as there's been no algae and 5ppm Nitrate is getting slightly lean. I'm following the manufacturer dosing for a low-light/low-tech tank however my lighting is probably a bit stronger than a normal low light tank. Will see how we go next week.

Got some Bucephelandra on the way too which I'm looking forward to inserting into some nooks in between the petrified wood.

1028348


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