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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi All,

Let me introduce myself, I'm Merv from Australia. I've been lurking on this forum for months now gathering information and passing time at work! :red_mouth .

Let me just begin by saying thank you to all the people on here because without you guys, I would have spoken to some pimply school boy working part time at the fish store telling me that plants would go nicely with my 4ft tank full of African cichlids...:icon_surp

Anywho on with the show. I filled this tank up with water and cycled it for about 3 weeks before putting plats inside it.




This picture was taken just before I planted...

Dimensions: 24inch x 15 x 18 jeez i hope thats right...:icon_smil

Lighting: 24 x 3 T5 HO lights bought from Ebay for under $100! Not bad at all... i replaced the bulbs with 10 000k lights and boy the colours look amazing. Much crispier than before.

Equipment: Eheim 2215, Jager 200w heater, and a dodgy old thermometer.

Substate: I went down to the local hardware store ( Bunnings ) for all you Aussies, and grabbed a 25kg bag of this stuff called "Napean RIver sand". It courser than normal play sand and has small rocks in it. I then laced it with some trace element mix also from Bunnings.

It took over an hour to wash out 25kg worth of sand and I still had bits of debri floating inside. :icon_evil

Others: I also got an electronic timer and a DIY Co2 for the meantime...





The DIY Co2 was great fun to make! I recommend it to anyone! So easy and simple! Oh just to let everyone know, method of diffusion is straight into the INLET of the eheim. No problems at all, and I havn't seen or heard it burp any type of gas back into the tank...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
So now lets pretend its Jan 8th! :smile:

All the Aquarium store here in Sydney sux balls when it comes to aquatic plants! I visited at least 8 of them and they just didn't have the variety I was looking for.

I finally located on the internet a place in Perth, (Western Australia), that stocks an amazing variety of plants and they did mail order. I ordered the plants and the following day, to my surprise it arrived at work! :icon_surp Unbelievable! They also gave me free postage because of the big order...

Took the rest of the day off :icon_smil , and got home and broke open the package...



Here they are on my floor...Oh and here's the list of plants...

EUSTERALIS STELLATUS
LYSIMACHIA NUMMULARIA
ROTALA WALLACHI
LUDWIGA NATANS
LUDWIGA REPENS
MICRATHEMUM UMBROSUM
HEMIANTHUS MICRANTHEMOIDES

A few plants were missing but I was happy with the order.

I started planting, not knowing what the hell I was doing and just started randomly placing stuff inside. Two hours later, with a sore back the tank was finally planted. :icon_smil



This is the view from my bed! Aint it georgous!:tongue:



And a different view...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Now a week has passed, lets pretend its the 15th Jan! :smile: During this time I have done nothing! :icon_surp . I don't have any tests kits, so I can't give you guys out the readings. What I can tell you is that the CO2 must have a great effect on the plants!!!! :icon_smil

The outlet of the eheim is directed onto the back wall, it shoots across and onto the right side of the tank. The plants on that side are growing like mad and the plants on the left look like they are falling behind.

I think its to do with the CO2 distribution around the tank, but it alos could be that those plants are just fast growers. Only one way to find out...:icon_smil I took the outlet pipe out and drilled a few extra holes so that some of the water goes to the left and middle. We'll see what happens now...



This is only after 1 week!!! :flick:



Lalalala...



Ludwigia Repens going skitz!



And what do we have here....:flick: Yeh!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Another week later and it was now time to add some fish! :icon_smil . I did alot of research on this and grabbed myself 2 of these wonderful fish...:icon_surp



Otocinclus....:icon_surp Beautiful fish and they seem so peaceful. They have done a great job on the glass so far. I've heard of people having trouble keeping them alive but so far they seem to be doing well... Fingers crossed!:icon_smil
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A few days later and I bought these guys...



Well you can't actually see them but there are 2 flying foxes in there, and 10 neon tetras.

I had a bit of a problem with hair algae that the Otos weren't eating so hopefully the flying foxes will take care of them for me.



I didn't realise this but the neons are fairly aggressive for such a small peaceful looking fish. I constantly see one of them chase the others around the tank, I really don't know if this is normal or not? :icon_roll

I've also taken out the pearl grass on either side of the tank to proide more space. When things start to grow a bit more I'll probably add some glosso in the foreground... But for now I'm fairly happy with what I have...:biggrin:

Oh and another update is that i've turned the heater vertical, its HUGE, and added some Limnophila aromatica on the background. I hope it grows to cover the whole background...
 

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nice job stagfest. You didn't have to wait to add your otos....planted tanks afford you the opportunity to do fishless cycles. Check out Rex's guide it is very good info for starting out. Rex's Guide to Planted Tanks
SO far so good...those are great fish and the tank will grow out. Only recommendation, add more plants ~

BTW where in Oz are you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Good stuff! things are growin' fast.
Is this the fixture you bought?
eBay Australia: BRAND NEW 3xT5 AQUARIUM OVERHEAD LIGHTING 600 LONG (item 140078701534, end time 04-Feb-07 22:28:37 AEDST)
I was wondering, my hood has 61cm of space inside, the seller states those fixtures are 60cm wide, is that accurate? i'd hate to buy the fixture only to have it not fit inside.

cheers

Hi,

Yep that's the one! I will double check for you tonight, but from memory i think its a little longer than 60cm... I'll let you know. If you do decide to buy them I would recommend getting different lights. Tey only come with 14watt, but can take 24watt bulbs.

-Cheers Merv-
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
nice job stagfest. You didn't have to wait to add your otos....planted tanks afford you the opportunity to do fishless cycles. Check out Rex's guide it is very good info for starting out. Rex's Guide to Planted Tanks
SO far so good...those are great fish and the tank will grow out. Only recommendation, add more plants ~

BTW where in Oz are you?
Thanks, I will definitely be adding more plants. Glosso is on my list but they are so expensive and pretty rare to find. I'm in the west of Sydney BTW.

-Cheers Merv-
 

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Looks really nice!

Watch those flying foxes though! They can get big and annoying... I think you wanted to get SAEs (Siamese algae eaters) but those can be quite annoying eating new growth!

The Neons might "peck" at each other a little bit but probably not too much:icon_wink .

Welcome aboard and thanks for sharing!:proud:

-Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Looks really nice!

Watch those flying foxes though! They can get big and annoying... I think you wanted to get SAEs (Siamese algae eaters) but those can be quite annoying eating new growth!

The Neons might "peck" at each other a little bit but probably not too much:icon_wink .

Welcome aboard and thanks for sharing!:proud:

-Andrew
I couldn't find any SAE's but I was told these were in the same family and that they would be fine for my tank! :angryfire ... you've got me concerned now... They don't look as peaceful as otos... but buggered if i'm going to be able to catch them now...:confused:
 

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Merv,

There's a bloke from NT named Dave Wilson who runs a business called Aquagreen (they have a website - just add a com.au) who do mailorder plants, inverts and a few species of natives. He does primarily native plants but has a lot of exotic species too. dave's a top bloke to boot, too. PM me if you want his details. He sells Glosso, but last time I talked to him, he was out of stock.

What brand of lighting did you replace the builbs with in that fixture?

Remmy - that guy on eBay seems pretty reputable. I know of a few different people who've bought metal halides from him and were happy. Ask him about it and I'm he'll be able to give you exact measurements
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Maazo,

Thanks alot for that link. I might be giving him a ring shortly for some glosso! My supplier seems to be always out of stock aswell...

I replaced it with one of these lights...

AquaForce 2' T5HO Artic White Aquarium Lighting

It gives a great crisp colour! :proud:

Oh and I recommend that bloke from ebay! Great communication and although the products don't look like they are of high quality, eg. some bits don't fit snuggly, parts made of plastic, the light unit I got was a bargain and its worked flawlessly!
 

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Merv, if it's a SunSun unit, I have one, although I didn't buy it from him. Wish I had though, as he's dropped the price in the last few months by the looks of things. How have you gone running the HO bulbs. Not too much more heat generated?

You can also email Dave - it's [email protected]. He'll email you a price list if you ask for it
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Merv, if it's a SunSun unit, I have one, although I didn't buy it from him. Wish I had though, as he's dropped the price in the last few months by the looks of things. How have you gone running the HO bulbs. Not too much more heat generated?

You can also email Dave - it's [email protected]. He'll email you a price list if you ask for it
Mate, with the heat over here lately its been hell trying to keep the temperature below 30c! :angryfire I have to leave the aircon on when it gets too hot. I don't think it the HO lights though, more to do with the ambient temperature. it helps that the lights are about 15cm from the water...I havn't noticed a huge temperature spike compared to the old 14watt lights...:icon_mrgr
 

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Merv,

There's a bloke from NT named Dave Wilson who runs a business called Aquagreen (they have a website - just add a com.au) who do mailorder plants, inverts and a few species of natives. He does primarily native plants but has a lot of exotic species too. dave's a top bloke to boot, too. PM
Yep, Dave is a top bloke and very generous with is plants. Also has shrimps that I purchased from him.

Also try www.aquariumsuppliesaustralia.com.au for plants and any other aquarium products. Prices not too bad either and their monthly specials are awesome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Good stuff! things are growin' fast.
Is this the fixture you bought?
eBay Australia: BRAND NEW 3xT5 AQUARIUM OVERHEAD LIGHTING 600 LONG (item 140078701534, end time 04-Feb-07 22:28:37 AEDST)
I was wondering, my hood has 61cm of space inside, the seller states those fixtures are 60cm wide, is that accurate? i'd hate to buy the fixture only to have it not fit inside.

cheers
Hi,

I measured the fixture and it is just over 60cm... It might fit but it will be really tight...

Oh, thanks for the link shake! I just bought some ferts off them so hopefully they will arrive before the weekend!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Update,

I won this sodastream thingymibobs on ebay for next to nothing and removed the co2 canister from the back of it heres what it looks like...



It looks fairly old but can hold 250g of co2 inside the thing. I called up K-mart and asked them if i could refill it there. They told me to bring it in and they will exchange it for a new bottle full of co2. A trip to the shops and $12 later and this is what they gave me! :proud: hahahaha....



I couldn't believe it I got a whole new bottle that can hold 330g no questions asked.... This thing brand new costs $45... mmmm now to look on ebay for some more old sodastream thingymibobs! :icon_mrgr

I also received this in the mail,



A Harris Co2 regulator that once again I won on ebay!:red_mouth . I found a bloke that sells the adaptors, so that I can connect the sodastream bottle onto this baby. I'll let you know how it pans out... Yehaaaa... i'm almost pressurized! :icon_bigg
 

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Mate, with the heat over here lately its been hell trying to keep the temperature below 30c! :angryfire I have to leave the aircon on when it gets too hot. I don't think it the HO lights though, more to do with the ambient temperature. it helps that the lights are about 15cm from the water...I havn't noticed a huge temperature spike compared to the old 14watt lights...:icon_mrgr
Yeah, up here in Brisbane my tank is sitting at 31-32°C most of summer. Until I win big at the casino a chiller is out of the question.

So those other bulbs fit alright I take it? The reason I ask is a few others on an Aussie planted tank forum were asking whether they take standard length bulbs or would they have to import them. I've been thinking about going up to the HO lights myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yeah, up here in Brisbane my tank is sitting at 31-32°C most of summer. Until I win big at the casino a chiller is out of the question.

So those other bulbs fit alright I take it? The reason I ask is a few others on an Aussie planted tank forum were asking whether they take standard length bulbs or would they have to import them. I've been thinking about going up to the HO lights myself.
Yep they fit like a glove. i was worried myself until I spoke to someone adn told me the standard sizes for T5 HO lights. For two foot T5 light fixtures they are the 24watt HO. The higher the wattage the longer the tube. So if they stick to 24watters they should be fine to fit on this fixture.
 
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