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Ludwigia Carpet

4736 Views 29 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  jacobsears
I set up this tank back in May(?) I believe. It started out as a bit of an experiment. I'd been using my 7.5 gallon Finnex cube for reef tank until I tore it down and moved everything over to a standard ten gallon. I sort of forgot about it for awhile, until one day when I saw some ludwigia growing in a ditch near my house. I went back later and dug up a 10x10 inch piece of the stuff. The roots were really dense and held onto dirt like a roll of sod. I took it back, put it in the tank, and let it grow emersed for about a week before I flooded it. The only substrate was the 1.5-2 inches of dirt that was stuck to the roots, plus some gravel to fill in the corners. It was basically a dirt tank without a cap. A few things floated up when I flooded the thing but the water stayed surprisingly clear. A few months later, repeated trimmings and high light has caused the ludwigia to stay very short and compact. It's also beginning to turn red.

At some point along the way I added an airstone, which was later replaced with an Aquaclear 20. A few days ago I added a cheap co2 system, which I think I'm going to return. It's just too much of a hassle for me. I'll probably just use diy excel instead. I've been doing frequent water changes, as the tank is still fairly young. I don't dose anything. Lately the water has been exceptionally clear and the glass free of algae. I get a bit of that green spot algae from time to time, but nothing else. As far as livestock goes, I've got a random assortment of snails, four white cloud mountain minnows (which have been breeding) and two black neons. I sort of rescued them from a friend who was tearing down a tank.

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The leaves are much more red than orange. My iphone does something weird with the light.

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I expect the leaves to grow back smaller and smaller as I continue to trim and re-plant. I really need to go back and find some pics of what it looked like originally. The ludwigia looks like an entirely different plant now.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I wish I could find some wild plants , I dont think any rivers in oklahoma would have anything
You might have some luck looking for plants growing emersed. I see a few different species pretty regularly but never actually in the water, only in damp, shaded areas around ponds or ditches.
 

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Very cool! You said you got it from a ditch, how deep was the water? I wonder if you could mimic this effect by growing the Ludwigia in a super shallow tank/tub, say two to three inches. Really like how it looks. Nice post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Very cool! You said you got it from a ditch, how deep was the water? I wonder if you could mimic this effect by growing the Ludwigia in a super shallow tank/tub, say two to three inches. Really like how it looks. Nice post.
No water, it was dried up. Just damp soil. I think it would look cool in a wider, shallower tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I just got back from California this morning, I was out there for two weeks. While I was gone I had the lights set on a shorter than usual ten hour photoperiod. It also seems as if I accidentally forgot to plug one of the two lamps into the timer. The lower light caused the stems to grow taller and greener than they had been. The carpet that I had going on turned into a forest.

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I trimmed it all down (picture below), but it's still not as red or as dense as it once was. Not to worry though, it should be all back into shape in a week or two at most.

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I figured while I was here I could post some pictures of a few of my other project tanks. Below is a picture of my ten gallon and adjacent five and half gallon tank. The 5.5 was actually just planted this afternoon with trimmings from the ten gallon. They're both planted with the same type of ludwigia that's growing in the 7.5 gallon cube. I let it grow out more naturally in the ten gallon, and I plan on doing the same in the five and a half.

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And here's my ten gallon crypt tank. It's just starting to recover from the initial melting that it went through a few weeks back. I've got another 5.5 gallon tank next to this one that's waiting to be flooded. I'm sure it won't be long before I'll see something at the lfs that'll give me a reason to fill it up. I really just need to find some good looking plants. The selection has been sub par the last few times I've been.

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I've also got a 2.5 rimless reef tank that I don't know what to do with. Maybe something with shoal grass? I'm not sure though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
A few big changes today- first of all I returned the co2 setup that I had and ordered a gallon of Metricide 14 to use instead. At one milliliter per day, a gallon should last ten and a half years. Go big or go home, right? In the long run, this has to be the cheapest possible way to do carbon in a tank of this size.

Then I ran by the lfs and picked up a few things. I added two otto cats, ten cherry shrimp, and a couple of bronze wendtii. I'm hoping the stems will give the crypts enough competition to keep them from taking over the tank too quickly. Once they get big they'll be impossible to remove. I'm excited to see the cherry shrimp breed, but that will likely take a few months. The ten that I got were exclusively juveniles.

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You wouldn't believe the mess I ended up with after planting those two crypts in what is essentially a dirt tank without a cap. Pulling up the stems was bad enough.

While I was at the lfs I also picked up a bottle of Flourish Comprehensive. I figured I might need it down the road now that I'll be dosing carbon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Really quick update here-
Today I switched out my two 13 watt 5000k cfl bulbs for a 12 inch finnex planted+ fixture. It seems to be quite a bit dimmer than the two cfls, but the colors look a bit better. I'll leave it on for a week or so and see how it does. I really wanted to get the planted+ 24/7, but it doesn't come in a 12 inch size.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
First things first, I was less than impressed with the brightness on the planted+. I guess I'm just too used to using a lot of cfls (probably more than I need). I do like the colors though, and for that reason I'm keeping it. Unless anyone can give me a good reason not to, I think I'll buy a second planted+ and use it in conjunction with the one that I already have to increase brightness. Also, I've spent part of the past three days working on an overflow/sump for this tank.

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This setup was inspired by i4x4nMore's five gallon cube. That thing is awesome (so are the rest of his tanks). Anyways, construction was really a pain. I went through enough pvc and tubing trying to get it to work that I could've just bought a small canister filter and been done with it. I really wish I could've drilled the tank, but that would mean emptying it and starting over.

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The tank itself doesn't look too great right now. While I was working on it over the past few days the lighting has been sporadic and I haven't dosed anything. It'll recover soon enough though.

My next priority, besides getting a second fixture, is to buy a dosing pump and have it automate my daily dosing of metricide. I'll put that whole setup down with the sump below the tank.

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Finally, someone asked me to post a picture of my substrate on a different thread, so I figured I could post it here as well. You can see sections of the soil layer that aren't capped in the middle and far right. Even where it is capped, there's not much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Edit- I deleted the picture because it was awful. Just scroll down.

Here's a decent picture of the tank in it's current condition. I'm still working on my photography skills. The crypts never went through a serious top to bottom melt like the ones in my ten gallon crypt tank did. They have been losing a few leaves though. I should be getting some hygrophilia angustifolia tomorrow, and I'll probably plant it in and around the crypts and overflow pipes in the back left corner. I really want to get some pinnatifida to plant back there as well. I'm just waiting until I see some at the lfs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
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Here's a much better picture. My photography is slowly improving. I've still been using my iPhone camera. I do have a canon dslr that might work better, but I haven't tried it yet. As you can see, I got the angustifolia planted. It looks a bit ragged. All it needs is some time and a few trimmings though.

I'm out of town until sunday, but I figure that sometime soon after I get back I'll go ahead and order the second planted+ fixture. Just a side note- I'm not sure if it's due to the glutaraldehyde, or some other combination of factors (I don't want to confuse correlation with causation) but this tank is now by far the most algae-free tank that I've ever had. I've bumped the photoperiod up to 16-18 hours the past few days in an attempt to grow something for the oto cats to eat.
 

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Hey, very cool! I live in Carmel and am always trying to find wild plants. Where did you find all of this? Any suggestions up around Carmel?

Ben
 
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