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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been keeping fish for quite some time (Mbuna). I while ago the itch to have live plants got strong enough that I couldn't ignore it anymore. At that time I set up my old 29 Gallon. Got a set of T5 lights, pieced together a 5 lb CO2 system. This tank I had trouble keeping my stem plants happy. variable CO2 and not enough light we're the main issues. but my plant maintenance was probably not the best either. This tank had Eco Complete and root tabs. Anubis and a giant sword loved it. My Crypts grew well, but I shamefully let them grow way to leggy.

I hated trying to scape with the shallow depth of the 29g.

The GLA diffuser probably needed a good cleaning, but the 7-up look and the high rate of requited tank refills convinced me that I was not getting the CO2 to stay in the tank. So I did a bunch of reading and built a Cerges reactor.

I upgraded the filtration with a new Eheim 2215 and connected that to the Cerges.

When I saw the $1/gallon sale at a big box store....I jumped on it picked up a 40B and vowed to make some changes and jump in the deep end.

I had this tank sitting on my kitchen island for a week or two, playing with hardscape. I settled on some mopani that was just collecting dust in my fish tank supply closet. the arrangement took a while, but I made tweak after tweak and then I just happened to try one more arrangement and felt settled that I found it.

Finally I had a open time window to get to the LFS and pick up some Aquasoil. yes it's pricey, but I its proven and if I was going to due this I wanted to have a good base for success. Dirt or MG capped with sand scared me a bit.

I was trying to wait until my new lights came in but I couldn't help myself. So I ripped open the bag of AS. Here it is prior to flooding and planting



I made a light holder from conduit. After more reading on TPT and other forums, I convinced myself to splurge again and get a BML 6500 Dutch XB. (w dimmer). I figured with a shallow tank like this I should have solved any low light issues I had with the 29G.

I actually found myself just sitting looking at the tank in this form. Clearly I had a look I will enjoy.

With light in hand, I couldn't wait for another window to cross town and get some new stem plants, so I started the flood and took all the Crypts, Anubias nana petit and Marsilea Minuta started planting. I could never get the MM to take root in the 29G. but I learned that I planted it wrong. so I cut it up into small plantlets and am hopping it takes hold better this time.

Plant list:

Crypt Wendtii "green"
Crypt. Parva
Anubias nana petit
Marsilea Minuta
Riccia fluitans

Stems....left to right across back of tank:
Rotala rotundifolia
Ludwigia palustris
Alternanthera reineckii
Limnophila sessiliflora
Bacopa amplexicaulis
sold as "Nesaea pedicellata" (Ammania pedicellata)

Initial planting:












Limnophila sessiliflora thanks Aqua-Bontanicae!!





 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Looking at the pictures from starting this tank do stoke my desire to make this tank beautiful again. But it's also a reminder that I didn't do too well with my goal of a high tech planted tank.

List of issues.......

inconsistent CO2. reason two fold. diffuser not up to task. blew a LOT of CO2 right out of the top of the tank. solution....DIY cerges reactor. Regulator and needle valve too finicky. Solution, new set up from CO2 art.

Next I started dosing way too soon. nutrients got out of control before I noticed.

Still nothing grew well. The MM really filled in the carpet, so I was excited, but could not get even the easy stems to grow. This made my organics and other waste go through the roof. I lost motivation and things quickly went as one would predict.

What am i doing to "fix" this.....I think a major source of my failure is my water. I have liquid rock. My African Cichlids LOVE my start tap PHX water. but plants.....not so much.

Since the kH and gH are so high, I could not get pH to drop so never got CO2 levels where I'd need them for the lights. I my next sin was to use my softened water. kH and gH are acceptable so Co2 better, but there is so many other things wrong with soften water that I was ignorant too.

So, getting a system in place to use RO water plus Equilibrium and Baking Soda. Hopefully that will be a path to success.

Now to deal with the Cyanobacteria take over. I'm hoping that if I can finally get some fast growers to succeed in my tank then I'll have a fighting chance.
 
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