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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So after an extremely one-sided poll (27-1) in favour of the Finnex 4g over the Fluval Edge, I did the needful: I returned the Edge to PETCO and got myself a Finnex 4g Deluxe (i.e. the one with the Finnex PX-360 canister filter included). So a major hat-tip to all of you who voted and helped this TPT-er out.

I got myself fluorite black gravel, which looks absolutely spectacular. Fellow planted tank enthusiast dtsuyuki was the source this very handsome collection Iwagumi style Seiryu stone.



Sadly I will have to dismantle this tank by the beginning of December since I'll be out of town for 3 weeks, so I didn't spend too much time with the layout. I spent about an hour playing with a few of the stones and this is what I got. (I'll try and take another picture during the day so the lighting is a little better)



Though I probably won't have time to rescape this I would really appreciate your comments and suggestions. I'm relatively new to Iwagumi as a style and it would be great to have any input on it. And the reason I won't have too much time is that I went ahead and bought this from PetSmart.



The plants look good and after tax it came to about $8, which is a pretty good bargain (HT: larcat).

For the time being (i.e. until after I get back and have enough time to invest in the tank) I'll be dosing Flourish and Flourish Excel and not have any CO2. I'll look into investing in some equipment for the CO2 in a few days. Until then let me know what you guys think and I'll keep updating these pages as time goes on!
 

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Congrats!!

But, "Sadly I will have to dismantle this tank by the beginning of December since I'll be out of town for 3 weeks"

What's up with that?

Just don't put fish or inverts in, put your lights on a timer, buy two gl. of distilled water and have someone top off the tank every few days. Water change & ferts before you leave.
 

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Very nice so far.:proud:

And +1 on what DogFish said. I left mine for 10 days with fish in them and someone to feed them and had no problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just don't put fish or inverts in, put your lights on a timer, buy two gl. of distilled water and have someone top off the tank every few days. Water change & ferts before you leave.
Well, in addition me being gone for 3 weeks, my aquarium currently sits on cardboard and cinderblocks, which to say the least looks absolutely hideous. I'm planning to DIY a decent looking cabinet over the next few months and move it there.

Very nice so far.

And +1 on what DogFish said. I left mine for 10 days with fish in them and someone to feed them and had no problems.
Thanks a lot! And yes, I wasn't planning on putting any livestock in there for now.
 

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Well, in addition me being gone for 3 weeks, my aquarium currently sits on cardboard and cinderblocks, which to say the least looks absolutely hideous. I'm planning to DIY a decent looking cabinet over the next few months and move it there.



Thanks a lot! And yes, I wasn't planning on putting any livestock in there for now.
Looking forward to the stand build.

On another note, I see you are from Chicago. So am I.:icon_cool
 

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Darn you Finnex. Why you so attractive? Plant this bad boy and let the growth begin! :) Also, it's only a 4g...even planted and filled I don't think it'll be a PITA to move it. All that shouldn't amount to more than 40-60lbs (filled)....if even. Just make sure you drain it well. No harm in letting the dhg get a nice bit of growth in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Darn you Finnex. Why you so attractive? Plant this bad boy and let the growth begin! :) Also, it's only a 4g...even planted and filled I don't think it'll be a PITA to move it. All that shouldn't amount to more than 40-60lbs (filled)....if even. Just make sure you drain it well. No harm in letting the dhg get a nice bit of growth in.
Thanks! Photos will be up very very soon! Just finished planting :bounce:.



I had a few questions:
1. How quickly should I turn the filter on? Should I let the HG get rooted for a while before turning the filter on, or is it something I can start off right away?

2. I was considering a thermostat for the tank, and it seems that for aquaria this small, most heaters are huge overkill. Is it just best to stick to a tiny Hydor?

3. How quickly should I start dosing? Immediately?

Thanks!
 

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I actually think that DHG works better if you do it dry start method style (you can read up on that here). Many other carpeting plants grow very well using this method as well. Assuming you do the dry start method, you won't have to worry about your filtration or anything for the time being and the beneficial bacteria will develop in your plant roots/substrate. Not to mention your plants will also be grown in enough to filter out excess waste quite well while your filter establishes its own colony.

If you decide to go submerged, you can start dosing from day 1. Also, I'm a huge fan of in-line heaters just because you can hide them and they're quite effective, so a bit of "overkill" never hurt anyone as far as temperature precision is concerned. Also, assuming submerged start again you can start (and should) using the filter from day 1 as well. Just make sure you watch your flow over your DHG and make sure it's not so much that it's blowing substrate or plants around (very gentle swaying is fine...but remember its not going to be well-rooted just yet).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I actually think that DHG works better if you do it dry start method style
I'd come across DSM, but I wasn't sure how much success people had with starting DHG that way. I was under the impression that the emersed form takes a little getting used to an immersed form. I know for sure that it's a good way to do HC. But I've filled up my tank and have the filter and ferts going!


huge fan of in-line heaters just because you can hide them and they're quite effective
I was considering DIYing an inline heater. Something simple with a PVC pipe, a thermostat mounted in an end cap using silicone and two compression fittings. People however recommended using a titanium heater in that case, but it'll turn out to the same price as the Hydor In-line.

Anybody have any experience with the Hagen Elite 25W thermostat heater? (http://www.amazon.com/Elite-6-Inch-...QF84/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1317189550&sr=8-3)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
So I planted my tank yesterday. The DHG from PetSmart was cheap but was a little difficult to plant. Since the roots were in agar, they weren't flat when I separated them into clumps, which made planting a minor PITA. However, I planted them a little deeper than I would have, which should take care of the problem.

So here's the plants separated and ready to go. I actually separated some of the larger bunches into about a total of 50 clumps before planting. The whole thing took about 3 hours to do.



And here's a view of the tank planted. It's dosed with Flourish and Flourish Excel. Here's to hoping it grows quickly!

 

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I'd come across DSM, but I wasn't sure how much success people had with starting DHG that way.
DHG is one of the best plant for using the DSM if not the best IME. I started with one pot of E. acicularis (slightly larger version of your E. parvula) and had it filling the entire back half of my tank in 3 weeks using the DSM.

If the plant you end up with is healthy, you won't experience any melting or die off during the transition to submerged conditions. I didn't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wow, your tank looks great planted! Nice job with the rock layout.
Thanks! I'd been lurking around aquatic gardening forums for quite a while before I actually set up my tank. I guess some of other peoples artistic skills rubbed off on me! Now it's just wait and watch!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
DHG is one of the best plant for using the DSM if not the best IME. I started with one pot of E. acicularis (slightly larger version of your E. parvula) and had it filling the entire back half of my tank in 3 weeks using the DSM.

If the plant you end up with is healthy, you won't experience any melting or die off during the transition to submerged conditions. I didn't.
I did not know that. Hopefully my submerged method works out. I was reading that one of the challenges with DSM is when the substrate is heavily landscaped. I know people have tried misting as a solution. Does that work well?

Also, how long do you think before I start seeing growth? And how long would you guess until I get a carpet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Updates: It's only been 3 days since I planted and I've been dosing Flourish and Flourish Excel. I might be mistaken but my E. parvula already seems to be sending out roots. Some of the stalks are turning brown, but I heard that might happen. I heard that letting DHG take root and then giving it a haircut often helps. Any suggestions?
 

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I wouldn't do anything to it right now. Just give it some time to develop a healthy root system first. Once that happens the plant will fill out in no time. You'll see new growth every day.

Also, It'll grow much faster if you have a CO2 system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Updates (10/19)

It's been about three weeks since planting. I've been on a photocycle of about 10 hours, daily dosings of Excel and biweekly dosings of Flourish. So far the individual bunches seem to have grown a fair amount, but I only see a few new runners and blades. Here's a picture-



Is this rate of growth expected? Should I try to set up a DIY CO2 to speed the growth up?

I've also seen a bit of algae on the rocks, but so far nothing I can't handle. I'll reduce the photoperiod if need be.

 

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I think you are fine & on track. I don't like to do a lot of changes too fast. You didn't mention water changes? If your starting to get algae you might back off on the light a little, either intensity or photo period. Try adjusting the time 1st.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks Dogfish. I've been doing weekly 50% water changes. Hopefully I'll see some growth!
 

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I think you can cut back the photo period to 8 hours. The Finnex light is really great for such a small tank. You might try a paintball Co2 setup as well - can get into it for around $50 or so, and in the long run it will cost less than Excel.
 
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