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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey everyone. After a lot of reading and research I decided to start my first high tech planted tank on October 2nd. (My only other planted tanks were extremely low tech, like a 30 gallon tank overrun with java moss with only an old 15Watt cheap bulb and literally zero maintenance.) The tank in this journal is going to be high tech and eventually densely planted. I've been keeping a diary but I didn't find out about this site until after I started the setup so I'll just post little by little until I catchup to the current setup. Hopefully that will keep you in suspense. Looking back, it's a pretty amazing difference.

Here is the setup on October 2nd, 2009:
• 10 gallon glass aquarium
• Duetto 100 internal filter
• 96Watt 6700K compact flourescent running 10 hours/day (9.6 WPG, kids don't try this at home!)
• DIY Yeast CO2 generator into the venturi valve on the filter
• Eco complete substrate
• Seachem line of liquid fertilizers (Flourish, Trace, and Excel)

Weekly water changes:
• Drain ~1 gallon of water
• Topoff with ~1.5 gallons of treated tap water (lots of evaporation with the open top and high light)

Pictures from October 11th, 2009:






The plants include Anubias eyes in the left and right back corners, red crypt, green crypt, pellia on a rock, tiny mesh of fissidens fontanus in front of the peacock moss mesh that's leaning on the back wall, flame moss mesh, riccia mesh, and java fern on a rock. Oh, and an xmas moss mesh, but I discovered that plastic floats lol. There are some of those mystery bulbs too but they never sprouted.

In a day or two I'll post my diary from November 1st, 2009... the suspense...
 

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If you stick with those slow growing plants, this tank will probably become a giant war on algae. You should get some faster growers, like stem plants, and use a lot of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Soon after those last pictures, I added 2 feeder guppies to start cycling the tank, but I grew attached to them so I left them in there. A couple weeks later I added 5 cherry barbs.

For plants, I added 3 Amazon Sword bulbs. Also, a fellow hobbyist gave me a moss ball so I put that in the front right. The riccia was pale white in my last posting due to shipping and it barely survived so it is now floating. Some plants are doing very good, like the flame moss. The tiny mesh of fissidens fontanus also took off and is now covering the rock in the center. Some plants don't really like high intensity light though. The crypts crinkle up and eventually start hugging the gravel and the pellia sort of looks dry and opaque.

Pictures from November 1st, 2009:




I knew you'd mention algae... and so it begins. This much light doesn't allow for any imbalances. That's why I say don't try this at home, I'm sort of experimenting with this tank. What inspired me on this super high light tank was some tanks I seen by Takashi Amano. One of his tanks had maybe slightly less light than me and had zero algae so I knew it was possible.

The algae really took off on the sides of the aquarium and almost looks cool. I had my liquid fertilizers lining both sides of the aquarium and they are bright white bottles. You can't really tell by the pictures, but there was an algae outline of each bottle, so the white bottles acted like reflectors.

The DIY CO2 was throwing off loads of ethanol or some extra gas that turned to clear gooey stuff that clogged my Duetto every 3 days and I only cleaned the filter once a week. I noticed whenever the flow came to a near stop the algae would bloom like this because of no nutrient flow. It was also a pain to take the internal filter out and drip water all over every week, so I began shopping for a canister filter.

Judging by the dark green drop checker, another problem here is not enough CO2, so I began shopping for a pressurized CO2 system. In the meantime, I added a 2nd DIY bottle and connected the two airlines via a T-valve.

Maybe a little later I'll post my next journal entry where the algae is more under control.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I used an algae scraper to get rid of the algae on the glass and cleaned the filter to get the water flowing again. On November 6th I added 5 stems of Glossostigma. I also added 3 small Java Fern Windelovs around the peacock moss mesh. You can see them better in the second picture, they are about the height of the Amazon Swords. Here are some pictures:





One thing I don't like about the CO2 going into the venturi valve is how it makes a fine mist of bubbles all over the tank. It looks like there's dust floating in the water. Other than that the water is crystal clear.

When I was at my local pet store I saw that they had "Otto cats." I got real excited because I heard so much about these so I immediately bought 3 of them. One looked sick but the storekeeper said it'd be ok. That one didn't make the 10 minute drive home. I really enjoyed how energetic the other 2 were though.



An observant viewer will notice those aren't Otocinclus Catfish. I compared pictures once I had them and they ended up being true Siamese Algae Eaters. Oh well, I ended up liking them a lot.

I have a few more entries and then I'll be caught up with the journal...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here's a picture a week later on Friday the 13th:



Not much has changed. I really love the glosso, it's sprouting out nicely.

Algae is pretty under control... knock on wood.

Later that day I decided to start a coconut top covered in flame moss, so I gave the original mesh a mohawk and tied down the clippings with cotton thread:

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Mossboy has an all moss tank, I actually didn't see that coming.
lol. I love mosses and I wanted to sample different ones. My favorite is definitely flame moss. I was thinking it would be really cool if someone ever did an all flame moss tank like covering the whole ground with different slopes and big rocks. Anyway, when I catchup to my latest journal entry there's a huge change in plants...

Around the middle of November I got a pressurized CO2 system. I had to send the whole Milwaukee regulator and pH controller back due to defects. Once I got the replacements, I had to send the pH controller back again since they sent me the same one. So I am actually still not fully setup. Hopefully in a few days it will be all setup.

I also found some real ottos, in Petco of all places. I think it was a one time special so I grabbed 3 of them even though the 50 or so they had looked half dead. I added 1 huge glass shrimp as well.

Then I had a catastrophe with CO2 poisoning. I woke up and the cherry barbs were doing barrel rolls, the SAE were floating, the big shrimp was on its back flicking, and the ottos didn't look any different since they already just laid there. So I immediately stopped the CO2 and plugged in a long air stone. I wasn't sure if transferring them into a different tank would be too much of a shock. About 10 minutes later, all at once, all but one SAE woke up and continued their daily day as if nothing had happened. I thought that was odd. Unfortunately, I lost one SAE before I could attach the airstone.

Here's a picture on November 21st:



With the pressurized CO2 system, I am using a ceramic diffuser instead of going through the filter's venturi valve, so there's less bubbles throughout the tank now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok this is the last of the plain layout. There's not much to say so I'll just post a picture from November 27th:



Nothing really has changed. The flame moss on the coconut took off, but the flame moss that was cut with scissors got mad and has just barely started growing again. Also, I moved the red and green crypt to my low light 30 gallon tank since the super high light was making them hug the gravel. In my last post you can barely see the red crypt behind the flame moss mesh. I also moved the java fern rock into my 30 gallon as well as the 3 baby java fern windelovs since I wasn't seeing any growth and the windelovs were developing brown patches.

Either tomorrow or the next day I'll post pictures from December 4th after I got a shipment of new plants. Then I'll be finally caught up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Last Friday, December 4th, was a big day for my tank.

First, I setup a new Eheim 2213 to replace the internal Duetto filter.

Second, I received a big order of plants, a few nerite snails, and a few malaysian trumpet snails. I ordered the malaysian trumpet snails because I couldn't find my original 3, but after I already placed the order I saw the gravel moving and there one was. So now I have extras.

Here's a picture of the tank with the Eheim setup and the snails added:



I love the ripple effect that the spray bar gives.

Anyway, I wanted a nice dense look so I chose a bunch of cheap plants for the background. I have no luck with stem plants so I basically bought throwaway plants in case I kill them all. Many of them were not rooted, but everything was also only about $37 shipped. They came from AquaticPlantDepot and were all great quality, hopefully I can keep them that way. One crypt started melting already but I expected that would happen anyway. Here are all the new plants laid out on the stove:



Then I added the plants to the empty spots in the tank. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to take off the rubber bands / metal weights on the stem plants so I just planted them how they came.







It's a different style and there's not much design space, but I like it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Great looking plants!

You know that you can cut the intake with a saw to make it shorter so you don't have to angle it like that;)
Thanks. Yeah I know I could cut the intake/outtake but I didn't want to in case I ever want to put the filter on a larger tank.

Ok yesterday I got my replacement pH controller so now I am fully setup.

It's been about a week since I added the new plants. I didn't expect too much growth since most of the plants didn't have any roots. Here is a picture from today:


I noticed that some of the leaves seemed to get burn marks. Maybe from too much light or new water conditions. My favorite new plant is probably the red melon sword and with my luck that burned up the worse, but in 1 weeks time the red melon produced two new leaves. Look at how blood-red these leaves are:


I really like the parrot's feather too. In all the pictures I've seen of them they are all green, but mine started turning rusty red at the tips. The picture doesn't really bring out the redness:


At first I was thinking it was some sort of nutrient deficiency causing the parrot's feather to redden up like that, but it was pearling quite a lot so that makes me think it is happy.

That's about it for this week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I think your "burnt" leaves are really emersed-growth leaves that are dying now that the plant is submersed. It's normal.
Hey you're right. I tried ordering mostly submersed plants but saw a few that I really liked that said they were grown emersed and got them anyway. I just checked my order and the red melon sword was one of the emersed grown ones. Thanks. I was thinking emersed leaves would get soggy and transparent like in crypt-melt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Happy new year!

I just took a picture of my tank a few minutes ago:



I took out most of the cabomba since it kept shedding. The big hygro in the back left has grown up out the surface of the water but it looks cool. I'll probably trim it if it gets too high. The parrot's feather is getting a little out of hand too so I might begin trimming that back.
 
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