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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Newbie with first attempt at a larger, proper planted tank. Very low tech; low/medium light. Reading this forum has given me a lot of help as well as inspiration. Very excited to start this project!


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EQUIPMENT:

Tank: Aqueon 55 gallon (48x12x20)
Light: Finnex Planted Plus 24/7 (48")
Filter: AquaClear 70
Heater: Aqueon Pro 200 watt
Substrate: Eco-Complete w/root tabs

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Hardscape is consisted of Malaysian driftwood as well as small pieces of petrified wood (lower left corner).

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Playing with black backdrop vs none (white wall). Like the contrast black brings, but don't like the shiny plastic material.

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Not impressed by Aqueon's glass Versa-Tops. Quality seems cheap. Plus, the dark plastic seam/hinge sits right in the middle and obstructs the light too much. Looking into other options. Would appreciate any suggestions.

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Also, the Finnex 24/7 on full blast does not seem as bright as I have baselessly imagined. Let's wait and see how the plants do.

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These fern-looking plants came unidentified. Anybody can help name it?

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Still want to add a number of plants. Want something taller on the right third area. Possibly Java Fern or even vals. Or propagate the baby Amazon Swords and wait for them to grow. (Doubt I'll have that patience :) Also want something maybe with a hint of red for the lower right corner. Not certain what that can be yet.

Started day one of Stability today. Thinking about moving three zebra danios over soon from a smaller overcrowded tank. But will hold off on additional stocking until tank settles.
 

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Might be more involved in a larger tank. I only have 10g tanks/w this.
I get glass cut to fit the top. I allow one inch at each end to allow access.
Like heater cord/air line. On a tank that long, I'd do it in two pieces. Doesn't hurt
anything to have an inch gap in the middle either so it's easy to remove.
Nice wood. Good direction on the slant of the petrified wood. Seems to go/w the
other wood very well like that.
Might want to try one or two Flamingo Crypts in back of the petrified wood.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/153-sale-trade/1046809-fs-plants-rotala-mini-butterfly-more.html
 

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absurd wood

That wood is absurd, looks like a wooden lobster or shrimp!!!

Newbie with first attempt at a larger, proper planted tank. Very low tech; low/medium light. Reading this forum has given me a lot of help as well as inspiration. Very excited to start this project!


***********
EQUIPMENT:

Tank: Aqueon 55 gallon (48x12x20)
Light: Finnex Planted Plus 24/7 (48")
Filter: AquaClear 70
Heater: Aqueon Pro 200 watt
Substrate: Eco-Complete w/root tabs

View attachment 636473


***********
Hardscape is consisted of Malaysian driftwood as well as small pieces of petrified wood (lower left corner).

View attachment 636489
View attachment 636497
View attachment 636505


***********
Playing with black backdrop vs none (white wall). Like the contrast black brings, but don't like the shiny plastic material.

View attachment 636521
View attachment 636529


***********
Not impressed by Aqueon's glass Versa-Tops. Quality seems cheap. Plus, the dark plastic seam/hinge sits right in the middle and obstructs the light too much. Looking into other options. Would appreciate any suggestions.

View attachment 636537


***********
Also, the Finnex 24/7 on full blast does not seem as bright as I have baselessly imagined. Let's wait and see how the plants do.

View attachment 636545


***********
These fern-looking plants came unidentified. Anybody can help name it?

View attachment 636553


***********
Still want to add a number of plants. Want something taller on the right third area. Possibly Java Fern or even vals. Or propagate the baby Amazon Swords and wait for them to grow. (Doubt I'll have that patience :) Also want something maybe with a hint of red for the lower right corner. Not certain what that can be yet.

Started day one of Stability today. Thinking about moving three zebra danios over soon from a smaller overcrowded tank. But will hold off on additional stocking until tank settles.
 

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I've got the same 55 gallon Aqueon tank and agree about the glass tops obscuring the light. That's a fantastic piece of driftwood!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks everyone for the comments and suggestions.

I love that piece of wood. Took a while to find, but was super happy when I saw this one. Just added a smaller piece on the right side for balance. The wood also has tons of little nooks and crannies, including a fairly large hollow section like a caves. Little fishies are going to love it. (Sorry about the bad cell phone pics. Will take some real photos in the future.)

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The rocks were in a 5.5g I'm taking down. I think they add a nice visual anchor to the whole layout. Hopefully the micro swords survive and do well.

Overall, still want quite a few more plants. Having a hard time finding what I want for good prices. Local stores don't have much selection. Some online retailers charge more for shipping than they do for plants.

Bump:
I get glass cut to fit the top. I allow one inch at each end to allow access.
Like heater cord/air line. On a tank that long, I'd do it in two pieces. Doesn't hurt
anything to have an inch gap in the middle either so it's easy to remove.
I'm thinking about taking the VersaTops back and just cut pieces of plexiglass. The hardware store has a 24x18 piece for $16. If I make two 23x9 pieces, that's pretty much the exact footprint of the VersaTops.

Only reason I even want covers is to protect the light. Otherwise I wouldn't mind going no top at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Nice start! That driftwood piece is awesome! Have you had any algae issues with the 24/7 yet?
Thanks!

No algae so far. But it's only been three days and there is quite a bit of tannins in the water. I kind of don't mind the natural look of the color, but it is certainly cutting down on the light. Once the tank is cycled and settled, I will probably use Purigen to help clear up the water.

The way things are currently, I'm not sure the 24/7 mode offers enough light. I might at some point switch to full sun mode and put the light on a timer with two photo periods.

The fixture itself also seems to run fairly hot. Not sure if that's a function of it being actually on 24/7 or not.

Added two long fin leopard danios last night. Was going to wait longer, but they were not only in stock, but on sale for a dollar! So I couldn't resist. Hoping that Stability works as advertised.
 

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I love that driftwood. On my 65 gallon, 24" deep, with a planted plus 24/7 on 24/7 mode I was getting a lot of hair algae with versa tops. I switched to a 6 hour photo period at 80% and the hair algae went away. Your tank may be different but just letting you know.
 

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I'll be Johnny rain cloud.

The 24/7 will grow algae sooner or later. By week 2, I imagine you'll have major algae on the glass and substrate if you do not scrub it regularly. Nothing really against the plant choices, but they won't out compete the algae. As far as the top goes, the plexy glass will sag soon too. I suggest glass lids. I do cheap DIY sliding glass lids that I would suggest looking at for ideas. The hinges on those lids you had before are annoyingly placed.

The finnex 24/7 will run hot. It has no exterior fans and basically no cooling functions aside from dissipating the heat out of the back side.

The driftwood is beautiful by the way and I wish you the best of luck. I have a 24/7 on my 55g tank and it produces a lot of algae even on 24/7 mode (only 4~ hours of full power light). I introduced floating plants to my tank to cut the light intensity and absorb nutrients. I'm still doing my fishless cycle, approx. 3 weeks in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks everybody for the ideas/suggestions.

Slim, thanks for sharing the info on the 24/7. Appreciate it.

Free, thanks for the heads up on the algae issue. I suspect I will need to tinker with the lighting to get to a level that works. The tannins are acting as a neutral density filter right now and I think they cut the light by at least a full stop at substrate level, if not more. That might help with algae control, but I'm not sure if it'll be enough for the plants. Though most of the plants have perked up nicely since being placed.

As far as plant selection that outcompetes algae, any specific suggestions? So far, I've mostly gotten stuff from local stores that have limited options. Didn't see any low tech fast growers that I like. So any suggestions on what to get and even where to get them would be super appreciated!

I have five danios in there now, three of them veterans that have helped cycle tanks before and done very well. I'm going the 7 days of Stability route. But so far, very unexciting parameters. Has anyone successfully cycled with Stability and can share some insights? I'm very impatient and this part will be hard for me. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
A bit more info about the filter. From bottom to top:

Foam block that came with the filter.
Bag of new media that sat in an established filter for ten days.
Sponge pad from established tank.
Bag of new media that came with the filter.
 

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Fast growing plants such as stems, vals and floating plants are all good choices. Wisteria comes in a lot of varieties and may suit your fancy. There is a for sale section and a freebie section on this forum you can check out for plants.

As for cycling, I've always done a fishless cycle with ammonia. It takes about 3-4 weeks, so I can't help ya there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I might borrow some more plants from my other tank. One bunch of Ludwigia Palustris and some unidentified floating stems from a friend.

Will also continue to look at the sale section here. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Did a 20% water change today. The tannins are making the tank look like 55 gallons of green tea. Actually is kind of soothing to look at.

Afterwards, I noticed that the baby amazon sword plantlet is releasing a single stream of small bubbles, at a good steady pace. Looks like it's coming from the end of a short and thick root. Any one know what's happening? Oxygen? Broken root from wc?

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I recall reading that when you see a steady stream of bubbles like that from one part of a plant it's typically the result of some damage to the plant in that area. I think I read that over on the Barr Report, but it's hard to say. My hair grass does this after I trim it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hmmm, I wonder if one of roots was damaged during the water change. I've never noticed anything like this before though.

Does this damage the plant at all? Maybe I should cut this plantlet off and put it in the substrate?
 
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