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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not sure were to start of with this other than the basics. This tank was my first adventure into the planted tank world, and helped get me hooked into the hobby. Had it running for 3 years, and it was going well, just a simple little low tech tank.



Then, Sandy hit. My house lost power for 2 weeks, and I was away at college with my parents taking care of the tanks for me. Even if I had been there though, I don't think I could have saved this tank from its fate.

Came home from college yesterday and saw what became of this tank.....went a bit into shell shock at how bad it was. Today, I tore the tank down, and in the coming days, I plan on re-building it with whatever I could salvage from the original tank, combined with my newfound planted tank knowledge and ability to procure more plants.

I plan on going dirt with black sand cap, and starting off low tech with a sponge filter and two penguin 100 HOB filters, but then getting a Ray II Slim fixture and go high light, semi-hi tech on this thing. Its working well for my 5.5 in my dorm room, so I figure it will work well at home as well. As it currently stands, I am unsure of what plant species I will ultimately have in here, and even less sure of what fish species, but so far I have a few things lined up.

Here is the tank as I came home to it.









As you can probably guess....the Swap and Shop is going to be my best friend for the next few months....
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'll be home in about a week to update this tank. I'm a little stumped on what to do as far as plants though.

It is now dirted with a sand cap, and I plan on making it hi-lighting. I only have Microsorum pteropus – “Java Fern”, Cryptocoryne wendtii - “Red/Brown Crypt”, Sagittaria subulata - “Dwarf Sag”, Egeria najas – “Narrow Leaf Elodea”, Cambodia furcata - “Red Cambodia” so far, and I probably need more of the species I currently have, but I want to get my hands on some small stems like Ammania sp. bonsai and R. macarandra, and then maybe get some large anubias or cyprus so that it sticks up and out of the water. I also want a carpet so I'm going to try HC or UG
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
so I'm finally home, and this tank is a bit messy but that's okay. still tinkering with what plant species I want in here. I got some c. wendtii growth that is going well, along with some E. najas that got uprooted and needs trimming. I have a few plants comming to me within a week, and some of those are going into this tank for sure.

I might also get some plants if I go fish searching, so that will be interesting. As far as critters I want in here, there are already some hitchhiking snails that I am okay with, but I want to see if I can get a ton of nano fish, akin to what mistergreen's stock list is, with a few minor changes and swaps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Finally, I can show pictures that make this tank look like, well, a planted aquarium.

Before showing any pictures, I will say what is in this tank as of now. I completely drained the tank, changed out the substrate, and started anew with some pieces of the old tank.

The only inhabitants right now are some ramshorn snails and pond snails, which I'm okay with this time around. I found it too annoying trying to keep "pest" snails out of this tank my first go around, so I will let them be in there for now.

As far as plants go, I only have, as of now, very little of the following things.
Microsorum pteropus – “Java Fern” (mostly bare rhizomes tied to the rocks and driftwood)
Cryptocoryne wendtii - “Red/Brown Crypt” (around the wood and showing a nice bit of growth)
Sagittaria subulata - “Dwarf Sag” (I have it around the rocks for now, and I want it to get nice and dense in that area)
Egeria najas – “Narrow Leaf Elodea” (I removed this from my 5.5 and placed it in here)
Cambodia furcata - “Red Cambodia” (its in the back, but I'm sure it will become a monster soon)
Nymphaea zenkeri - “Red Tiger Lotus” (I took this little plantlet out from my 75, and I'll let it grow as much as it wants in here, coming up from behind the driftwood)

I have some more dwarf sag and Echinodorus parviflorus (going to go in the back left) comming from 245Bettalover that will be very welcomed into this tank. I also plan on getting some HC to carpet in here, along with a group of Ranunculus inundates on the left side and a group of Utricularia graminifolia on the right side. Or I might just so the UG and the Ranunculus, I'm not really sure yet.
I also want to get some other stem plants in here, for sure I know I want Ammania sp. 'Bonsai' to be implemented into this tank, and probably some Rotala species or whatever plants I want that I can't fit into my 75. Of course, if I come across any small fancy plants, I'd probably throw it in here as well.

Now for the tank specs, this tank is being filtered by two marineleand penguin 100 filters, which have been very good and reliable for me in the past with this tank. However, I got rid of the old 19W t8 light that I had on this (it wasn't a good light lol) and replaced it with a nice, 22" Ray2 Ultraslim DS (early christmas present, thanks parents :D).

As for the substrate, I decided to do organic potting mix, the same as what I used in my 5.5, and cap it with black sand that I got for a few bucks at a lfs. I'm really starting to like the whole, dirted tank thing, although, as the pictures will show, my water doesn't look that great currently and some of the dirt is above the sand atm :\ Not that it worries me much, because I'm sure things will be better once there are more plant in this thing.


Anyways, here is the tank as of now from the front. All of that Java Fern and Dwarf Sag was taken from the tank as it was when I first made this thread, so the fact that it is alive is more than enough to make me happy. And besides, I know it will grow even bigger and better now that I have hi lighting and all of these nutrients, so I'm not worried. For the past 3 weeks, these have been planted and living with just the 19W light, so now that I have the Ray2 on this, I'm sure growth will be even faster. The crypts were a combination from this tank and from my 75, I removed them only because I would rather condense them into this tank and have different crypts in the 75. But they are growing well, considering


This is what the backside of that driftwood looks like. I just want the crypts to become a mini jungle in there, and have that little red tiger lotus send leafs up from around the driftwood. If I let this be an open top tank, I would even consider letting it flower or something, but not sure if I want to keep the lid on or not.

This and my 75 are tanks that I am most excited for, so stay tuned cause I promise this will be interesting. Also, check out my 5.5, because the success of that tank is what I'm basing this tank off of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I also need to replace one of my filters, since it just decided that it no longer wants to be a working filter :\. Unless of course I figure out how to fix it, but for now, the single filter is more than enough for 4 Pygmy Cories and a single blue velvet shrimp.

Going to be getting more blue neocardinia shrimp and make a total of 12 pygmy cories for this tank. Not sure exactly what I want to do with having other fish, but I might wait until the tank is either a lot more planted, or for the shrimp to have a nice breeding population going.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So....that new shrimp I bought that was berried, apparently at least some of the eggs hatched cause I saw a few baby shrimp. That's always nice.

But, I think I discovered why the is some dirt above my sand cap. Apparently, the dirt covered areas of sand have these worms coming out of them, but they retreat back into the substrate right when there is light. I'll try and get a pic but I doubt it will happen.

Not sure where they would have come from though....although, the first thing that came into my mind was from the soil I used. Something I did differently between this and my 5.5 was that I added some top soil I had laying around, and while I shifted through it to make sure that there weren't any wood chips or anything going into the tank, I kinda didn't think about worm eggs, even though I saw an earthworm in the top soil................................it might also explain why the look so much like earthworms, but then again they also look different (they don't have that wider part that looks like a bandaid) so they could be something else, which would still be odd because all of these plants came from myself.

As long as the worms aren't harmful I don't mind their presence. In fact, since I apparently can't get MTS to get going (Ramshorns do fine for me though) these might be good for moving around under the substrate.

Anyone know what's going on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Pics, and progress, are slow on this tank so far. I'm STILL waiting on an order of plants (I'm worried, its been over a week and its cold now), but I did add a few things to this tank, namely the Echinodorus parviflorus and some sort of Val (probably jungle), as well as more dwarf sag. However, I also have begun placing the livestock I've been wanting into here as well. Right now, I've got 5 otos, 4 pygmy cories, and a blue velvet shrimp (I should pick up at least a male to go with this female, she just had eggs hatch and is nearly ready to make another batch).


Here is the one little blue velvet. This was right before the eggs hatched, and I'm hopping the offspring do well. You can also see some growth from the java fern rhizome (they started bear, have been growing noticeably since the ray2 has been put in). I still probably need to cut the rhizomes up a bit more though, since it seems only the ends are growing new material.

Tried my best to get a shot of all four, but man is it hard. Then again, maybe the fact I've only been using an iPhone for my picture taking could be a factor. They seem to be nice and spunky, I'll add 8 more at some point in time.

My smidge of Cambodia furcata. I might buy more when I get more pygmy cories, but I find that the stems you buy from the LFS tend to be leggier than I would like, so I almost prefer to just keep trimming and replanting from this small amount of growth. I'm sure it will take off in growth very very soon.

FTS again, going to look a lot nicer ones everything fills in more. One thing though that is bugging me, is that I really need to get better intake covering ideas, because this is just some floss I had lying around tied to the intake with fishing line, and it clogs up way to quickly. Should I get a mesh thing or a sponge thing, and do they make these for the penguin 100 filters?

The Echinodorus parviflorus, I know these things stay smaller than most swords, but I still want it to grow upwards and outwards significantly.

Otos, at least when first added, are somehow another difficult fish to capture well in pictures. I hope they do well, my luck with otos has never been great, but since this tank is much more understocked, I'm confident that I can keep them satisfied.

Anyways, there the tank is for now. I'm waiting on some plants that I hope are here wednesday, so adding those in will be nice. And hopefully I can setup the co2 system I just got asap (I'm waiting on the regulator actually getting to me, then I need the rest of the parts).
Merry Christmas everyone :)
 

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Sorry for the loss, but glad to see you restart it. :icon_smil

IMHO, dirt is the best substrate for crypts. I have some in dirt and in AS, and the ones in the dirt are outgrowing the ones in the AS. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

What is this doing here you might ask? Well, as of December 30th, I'd noticed that this old pot of amaryllis (it hasn't done anything in two years, I didn't even know it was still around) was putting up some sprouts. And I figured, since my light on this tank spills over the side, I might as well make use of it. The plant is now taller than my tank itself, but I'll update the pics on this later this week. An ID would be cool when it flowers :p


Okay, so, now onto the tank. I've updated the stocklist a bit. The ramshorn snails and the physa snails have more or less taken over the tank. I also now have a total of something like 12 pygmy cories (that are never around each other, they are as of now still shy as hell) and 3 otos (I'm debating if I should add more to make it more like 8, or if I should get rid of these later on and replace them with hillstream loaches. That might depend more on how much hillstream loaches go for, and if they like the fact that this tank seems to like being warmer, hovering just under 80 usually...that'll be interesting in the summer for sure)


I cleaned up my E. najas, it got too long and stringy looking so I trimmed it down a tad. I also moved the E. parviflorus up front, since they don't seem like they are going to be getting tall enough to be where I had them in the back. I put some Cabomba carolinia in the back as well, especially since the C. furcata seems to be doing a whole lot of nothing. I've got a good deal of plants comming within a week for this tank, so that might be getting replaced with something else, and I feel like even the carolinia will be scraped as well. Or I might keep it, who knows.


You can see what I mean with the cabomba species here. Also of note is my dwarf sag slowly chugging along and my single Jungle Val runner growing day by day. Not sure how jungle val will do in a 10 gallon, but I guess we will see. I'll remove it if it gets out of hand, but I get the feeling I might end up liking it.


This little red tiger lotus is basically all that is left of this gigantic monster of a mother plant that I used to have. Its chugging along, being relatively compact and all. It would be nice if it decided to get tall, but the original plant stayed fairly low for a while as well, but eventually did decide that up was a good place to go. I'd love it for the leafs of this lotus to be creeping around the wood. Also of note is the little green crypt next to it. I did pull all of the crypts for my 75 and my 10, so there might have been a mix of green wendtii and "brown" in there. I'll explain the quotations around brown in a minute.


This is confusing to me. I got this plant when I first started out a few years ago, getting it as what I believe to be crypt wendtii 'brown'. But look at that leaf, with the pattern and all. There are the same as what was in this tank when it was low tech, and last I checked I thought wendtii 'brown' didn't have pattern in its leafs. Its pretty pronounced throughout all of the leafs as well, and throw a lot of the plants (minus that one green one that I can explain from the 75 gallon). I want any crypt experts looking at this to tell me what species or variety they think this is. I got it from a petstore that gets everything ordered from some farm somewhere, so it shouldn't be anything too spectacular. But I just find it very interesting since this is the one plant that can do well for me anywhere and everywhere.


I'll leave with this pic to prove that I actually do have fish in this tank lol. To re-state the stock, its 3 oto, 12 pygmy cory, and 2 adult sized blue velvet with a bunch of baby ones all over the place (the original one was berried when I got her). I also had a pair of dario dario, but that only lasted like two days. I'll try them again from NOT a lfs next time around.

Now, I do have some exciting things to say about this tank. As of today, my co2 tank came in. I got a nice, 20lb aluminum tank. I also have that regulator sitting around that I got for christmas, a duel stage thing that will greatly help this tank and my 75. I have the tubing and the bubble counters, the drop checkers and solutions, and a diffuser. Only thing I don't have is gas in my tank and some mineral oil or w/e for the drop checker.

Before next week is over, I should have co2 running in this tank. And I'm SUPER excited for that :p.

As far as new additions though, I think I'm done trying to get fish for this tank for now. However, there are quiet a few plants I have comming in for this tank. Enough so as to make this thread worth watching :p

I don't want to say too much atm, but I will say that I am going to be attempting to carpet HC in this tank. I think it will help as well, since I feel it would help keep the sand held together and all. And I just kinda like carpets in general anyways. I'm getting a slew of cool stems, some of which I will have to propagate out so that I have enough to make them look nice, but I'm excited to be finally having plants in this tank that aren't exactly super simple. A lot of ludwigia and rotala.

I'll update this again sometime after I get all the new plants planted and the co2 running.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The jungle Val is throwing out runners...I'm thinking of just removing the plant and throwing it into my 75, or just getting rid of it entirely.

CO2 and new plants should be happening soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
New plants from Barthog. Also update on the amaryllis.


Yah, this is tall.....I need to keep this watered more, but it seems to like being watered with old tank water, which is fine by me :p


Full tank shot, with ALL of the plants. Let me show what the current list of fish and plants are. Not sure how many other plants I will cram into here, but I will update as that all goes on.

Current Fish:
Corydoras pygmaeus – “Pygmy Cory” x12
Otocinclus sp. – “Oto” x3
Neocaridina heteropoda – “Blue Velvet Rili” x Alot
Physa sp. – “Pond Snail” x Alot
Planorbis rubrum – “Ramshorn Snail” x Alot

My plants...
Foreground:
Echinodorus parviflorus – “Tropica Sword”
Lobelia cardinalis – “Dwarf Cardinal” (NEW)
Ranunculus inundatus (NEW)
Sagittaria subulata - “Dwarf Sag”
Egeria najas – “Narrow Leaf Elodea”
Cryptocoryne wendtii - “Red/Brown Crypt”
Cabomba caroliniana – “Green Cabomba”
Cabomba pulcherrima – “Purple Cabomba” (NEW)
Cabomba furcata - “Red Cabomba”
Nymphaea zenkeri - “Red Tiger Lotus”
Ludwigia inclinata var. Tornado (NEW)
Ludwigia sp. ‘Atlantis’ (NEW)
Driftwood:
Microsorum pteropus – “Java Fern”

As you can see, I got some new additions, which really seem to fill in the tank nicely. Of course, I need all the stems to straighten out, and I should give everything a good trim so that it can all grow more compact for this tank, but that will happen later.


My Ranunculus, kinda messy looking, but I will trim it down and all once it is established. Looking at this though, I'm somewhat afraid it is going to try and take over the tank lol. Its a bit bigger than I thought it'd be butI'm happy with it. If I end up needing to thin this, I'm sure my 75 would appreciate having this as a foreground or something.


Little Lobelia. I've never had luck with cardinal plant before, but I've also never tried it in a dirted hi-tech tank before either. I feel like I should move this up a bit, but its probably fine where it is now. I really like the small leafs and everything, it looks nice and should grow nicely for me too.


So here is my L. 'Atlantis'. I kind of want to see if I can get this to grow more compact with smaller sized leafs, cause it is a very pretty plant. I know in my 5.5 I have L. 'Red' growing very small leafs but also growing very compact under similar kind of lighting, so I think it can be done. I need to trim some of my crypt leafs as well, or just let the Atlantis grow thick enough to make it look better :p. I might just cut back the crypt though, cause I'd like more room for stems if possible. Behind the Atlantis is a stem of L. 'Tornado', which I plan on cutting and propagating a lot of. If I can as well, I'd love to get some of it into my 75, once I have enough to satisfy my desires for this tank :p


A better shot of the L. inclinata var. 'Tornado'


Its a little hard to tell the Purple from the Green. The Red is kinda looking....bleh though, but maybe it will boost up with co2. I'm hoping that the Purple gets its color in, cause right now it looks a lot like the green, but with less compact growth and different looking leaf shapes (though its very subtle).


And one last shot of everything that is chilling under the little driftwood awning.

More to come in a few days :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Btw, based on my full tank shot, is my drop checker positioned currently or should it be higher?

The diffuser is going to be on the left side, but I figure it'd be better to measure the co2 away from where it is directly coming from, so that I know its spread well throughout the tank and all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Update later tonight, got MORE plants (and might hook up co2, or at least have everything ready so that I can just turn it on once I am ready on the other tank too).
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'll update this later....and my 75 journal. Been re-ocupied with co2 issues so these updates have sort of taken the back burner of everything.
Also, I won't be updating this terribly often since I'm going back to school sunday, but I will update every time I sporadically decide to come home.
I should have a temporary fix for my co2 problems before I leave though, I think...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·


Before saying anything....WHAT IS THIS?
As I believe I've mentioned before, this tank is a dirted tank, and I used a bit of topsoil to get it started, alongside organic potting soil. I guess there were some earthworms in the topsoil, but I thought I got them all out. Only thing I can think of is that some eggs hatched or something. However, what I find odd is the fact that this thing could live underwater....since this has been set up like this since december...and I found this in mid january.......

Anyways, onto the tank itself :p


I forget what's been added since my last update (these pics are everything I have up until the present from whenever my last update was) so I'll just post the stocklist again.


Current Fish/Inverts
• Corydoras pygmaeus – “Pygmy Cory” x12
• Otocinclus sp. – “Oto” x3
• Neocaridina heteropoda – “Blue Velvet Rili” x#
• Physa sp. – “Pond Snail” x#
• Planorbis rubrum – “Ramshorn Snail” x#
Current Plants
o Foreground
• Hemianthus callitrichoides- “Dwarf Baby Tears”
• Hydrocotyle tripartita – “H. ‘Japan’”
• Lobelia cardinalis – “Dwarf Cardinal”
• Echinodorus parviflorus – “Tropica Sword”
• Rotala sp. ‘Pearl’
• Ammania sp. ‘Bonsai’
o Mid-ground
• Rotala sp. ‘Colorata’
• Sagittaria subulata - “Dwarf Sag”
• Ludwigia sp. ‘Atlantis’
• Egeria najas – “Narrow Leaf Elodea”
o Background
• Cryptocoryne wendtii - “Red/Brown Crypt”
• Rotala sp. ‘Mini Butterfly’
• Cabomba caroliniana – “Green Cabomba”
• Cabomba furcata - “Red Cabomba”
• Nymphaea zenkeri - “Red Tiger Lotus”
• Ludwigia inclinata var. ‘Tornado’
o None Substrate
• Hardscape
 Lagenandra meeboldii ‘Pink’ (Until it is big enough to put in 75 or sell)
 Microsorum pteropus – “Java Fern”
 Vesicularia montagnie – “Xmas Moss”removed
 Subwassertang sp. – “Round Pellia”


This showcases the one problem i have with E. najas.....its such a weed and it gets everywhere....in under a week a single stem reaches more than halfway across the tank. It also does not like to branch out unless it is really long....as shown in later pics I'm going to try and tame this beast and keep it towards the back behind the driftwood where it can do w/e it pleases.


The cabomba had to be trimmed badly...that was even BEFORE I got my co2 running....I'm going to probably end up replacing it mostly with L. 'tornado' or something else....preferably something bushy that doesn't grow super fast. The pelia looks a little silly, but I'm hoping I can get it to cover that rock fully....and maybe even eventually get it on the big rock behind that one as well. L. Atlantis is, of course, not wanting to grow straight....but man that thing stems hard for me in this tank....I'm going to have plenty of this plant around :p


Running co2 (finally). I might eventually get a different diffuser, but this is fine for now. That R. colorata is going to grow massive though, since a ton of bubbles are going directly onto this plant.....I guess that's a good thing though lol. If it grows to quickly for my liking, I'll try and replace it with R. sunset (because at least if I have that growing out of my ears I can probably find more people interested in it)


HC going to eventually start spreading. I couldn't really bother with a dry start, but I feel like it will still do well since I started with submersed plants anyways. Also, the dwarf cardinal plant seems to be doing fine. Going to get that growing nice and bushy soon I hope :p


All the Atlantis offshoots.


I like my otocinclus. But I need more....5 more would be nice :p. Although, I might just also put these 3 in my 5.5 and get some hillstream loaches for this tank instead...besides, that 5.5 has a lot of hair algae that I think the oto's might like (and I'd LOVE to get rid of)


Blue Velvet shrimp :p Getting a single berried female seems to have paid off, cause now I have a good number of these guys chillin in this tank :p. I should get more though, just for genetic diversity, and I might also wanna get a second shrimp species breeding in here as well, maybe CRS. Also, R. Butterfly should prove to be a nice plant, seems to like branching out for me as well....we shall see what this does for me.


This is where more recent stuff comes in. Looks more or less the same, but trimmed up a bit.


Moved that almond leaf off of my R. pearl and A. bonsai. Gotta let these propegate more and get a nice row of both going on. Probably going to let these move in on where the E. najas is now and move the E. najas towards the back more.


Oh hi L. atlantis offshoots. You seem to be doing swell.


Pretty much the same as the pic of this area before.


Who was interested in L. meeboldi 'Pink'? I took this bit off from the main plant in my 75 and am letting it grow up a bit in this tank since I can get it to stay more in one place than I can in my 75. From what I can tell, this plant should be a relatively quick grower, and it gets BIG. I'm definitely looking forwards to spreading this plant throughout this forum :p


My crypts are doing too well in this tank. I think I need to start thinning this out lol. This is what dirt lets you do for your plants :p I'm not even dosing anything yet on this tank.....doesn't really look like I need to lol


I cut this in half so I now have 2 stems. I hope it branches out for me and propagates well....cause I would LOVE to make a jungle out of this plant. Bonus points if it gets red tops too. When I first say this plant online, I thought it was bleh, but now that I have it myself, it does look pretty sweet. Definitely a great plant for filling in spaces with condense thick leafs.

I still gotta deal with fish for this tank, but I'm back at school now, so that will have to wait until the spring. Hopefully I can visit frank's aquarium and get some sweet nano fish :p. And hopefully I can pay for said fish via selling plants from this tank and my other tanks haha.

I'm going to replace the check valves on my co2 system as well, since I got atomic check valves from GLA recently. I also want to refill the bubble counter, since it now has water in it since it came in from the tank after the mineral oil got blown into the tank -_-

I'll keep you guys posted on this tanks progress. Hopefully this will look nicer once I can start trimming this tank up.
 
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