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Discussion Starter #1
At least one person recently has stated I should start a tank journal, so, here we go, a tank journal.

I started this tank back in August 2014 using fishless cycling, and on 9/1/2014 I got my first fish in the tank.

Pardon the blue theme, but my 8 year old loves it, so I appease her.


My equipment:
tank - Aqueon 36 bowfront with glass topper
lighting - 30" Finnex planted+ modified with dimmer
Filtration Fluval C4 with purigen and Aqueon Quietflow 30 using a C4 pad.
Heater - Aqueon Pro 150w


Parameters:
KH - 11
Temperature 77F
EI low-light dosing, seachem root tabs
1.4x CO2 booster dosing (5ml in 36 gallons).

Substrate: mixture of tri-color blue painted gravel and black eco complete, 3" deep.


The tank is currently stocked with:

2 Female dalmatian mollies
3 female juvenile dalmatian mollies
2 Female orange tuxedo platies
12-or-so juvenile and-fry platies (I need to thin these)
4 Bronze cories
2 tracked nerites
a small horde of red ramshorn snails

Plants:
hygrophila corymbosa v. 'angustifolia' (willow hygro)
Hemianthus glomeratus (Hemianthus micranthemoides)
alternanthera reineckii (not visible in shot, it is back-center)
Anubias Barteri (I think normal, it is just behind the crypts mid-front of tank)
Anubais Barteri var nana
Anubias Congensis
Microsorum pteropus 'Windelov'
cryptocoryne wendtii 'green'

Technically there's 2 stems of rotala rotundifolia in there, but they have been melted badly and there is currently only a few tiny leaves on them... work in progress on getting those back to health.

And a picture

 

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Discussion Starter #2
To keep track of things, here's a list of plants that I've tried to grow and have failed under these conditions...

1) Amazon sword... this did its die-back, and grew new leaves, but after 3 months or so its roots melted and the plants died. I had seachem root tabs near them, but apparently that wasn't enough.

2) Myriophyllum Mattogrossense .. didn't seem to get enough light, melted from bottom to top and eventually died.

3) Rotala Rotundifolia .. Partially melted from bottom, and then the tops suddenly died off. New leaves are sprouting but I'm thinking this is carbon limited... (work in progress).
 

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Looks good. Rotala rotundifolia grows pretty good in my 36 bowfront worth the planted plus. I do have miracle grow oorganic for a substrate though.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yeah, I've been thinking that dirt helps a lot with this one. Most of the success stories of doing rotala rotundafolia in low light appear to be folks doing dirt.

I actually started a thread about that issue with pics and stuff.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=848522


On other topics, I've been working on converting to an arduino-controlled dimmer, and have been looking at my lighting schedule..

Currently I use a long-siesta cycle in order to allow me to view the tank in the morning and late evening...

7am-11am on (4h)
11am-3:30pm off (4.5h)
3:30pm-9pm on (5.5h)
9pm-7am off (10h)

This effectively nets me 9.5 hours on, with neither "on" period being under 4 hours. I'm using 90% for my "on" period.

I'm thinking about doing something like this proposed Schedule:
6am on
6am - 10% par 1-3-ish
7am - 20% par 6-ish
8am 30% par 9-ish
10am 90% par 28-ish |
2pm - 100% par 36-ish |8 hours, 1 at 100%
3pm - 90% par 28-ish |
6pm 30% par 9-ish |
7pm 20% par 6-ish
8pm 10% par 1-3-ish
10pm off

This gets me some extended viewing hours, without overdosing the tank on high-par light levels.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Ok, so some changes are underway...

First, I made my first DIY Osmocote plus tabs today. Thus far I've been doing a mix of Seachem root tabs (mostly micros) and API root tabs (mostly iron, but has NPK too), although I absolutely hate the API tabs.. As a preliminary test, I sunk one deep into the substrate in between what's left of my rotala rotundafolia and my alternanthera reineckii (which isn't thriving, but isn't dying either.) I only put in one because I want to make sure I don't have any issues with it surfacing, etc... If it goes ok over the next week or two I'll drop a few more (I made 15 as a first batch).

I also placed an order mostly to get some Ludwigia sp Red, to add some faster growing color, and some low-growing foreground plants (Marsilea minuta, and Lilaeopsis Chinensis). While I was at it I ordered some rotala colorata and rotala sp green, just to give rotalas a second shot.

Finally, I decided to take my 5 gallon tank, originally intended as a QT tank and replace it with a 10 gallon I got at Petco's dollar-per-gallon sale, and try to make a decent planted tank of it too.

We'll see how all the experiments go :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Ok, so in the past 10 days I got in the ludwigia red (6 stems) , rotala sp green (3 stems) and rotala colorata (3 stems). I placed about 2/3rds of this order into this 36g tank, and 1/3rd into my 10 gallon. I'm looking to hedge my bets on growing conditions.

This is a shot of both tanks after I got the first order of plants in, but not all of the ones in the 10 gallon are planted:


I also placed a second order and just got today an order with 15 stems of rotala rotundifolia, and some water sprite. I scattered the largest stems around the main tank, planting in many locations hoping to find a spot it will thrive in. I also planted a few in the 10 gallon.

The water sprite is being used as a robust floater in both tanks.
 

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I actually really like the smaller tank... (other than the pvc? pieces)(fish hidey-holes?)

Maybe it's the crypt planted right in center front of the larger tank. When it gets larger its going to hide a large part of your "scenery".
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah, the PVC bits are hidey-holes left over from when this was intended as a QT tank. I've not bothered to take them out yet, but I should. That small tank has also had a lot of rescape, and is very densely planted now.

Maybe it's the crypt planted right in center front of the larger tank
There is a C. Wenditii front-center in the first shot with just the 36bow. However, if you look at the shot with both tanks, it has been removed and the anubias has moved up more front-and center.

Behind the anubias and just to the left of center, with lighter green leaves, is hygrophila corymbosa 'compacta', it shouldn't get too out-of-hand size wise.

At the time the 2-tank shot was taken, I was planing to give that crypt from the center of the 36bow to a friend, so it was off in QT land... That ended up not happening as they had tank issues, so I put that one into the 10 gallon tank. (not shown in any pictures)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
For those that want it, a more recent shot of the 36bow, taken from my review of the Finnex 24/7 that now sits on this tank:

 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
And for those following the 10 gallon, I finally removed the PVC hidey-holes and took this updated shot:

[url=http://imgur.com/6h4m5Pq][/URL]

I personally really like the way this one is looking these days..

Pardon the uprooted plant or two...
 

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For those that want it, a more recent shot of the 36bow, taken from my review of the Finnex 24/7 that now sits on this tank:

Looks great. As you've seen, I have a similar setup. Which plants have worked well for you in the bowfront so far? Any doing better or worse since you switched to the 24/7?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So, I have been doing a lot of tinkering with the tank since the last update, and some of that tinkering has had adverse effects on my plants...


That said,

things that are growing well no matter what I do:

Hygrophilia corymbosa 'angustafolia' - tries to take over the tank constantly.
Anubias Barterii - that foreground anubias is doing well, grows fairly slow.
Anubias congensis - far-right front of tank, it seems content, but doesn't really grow much.
Cryptocoryne wendtii 'green' - very happy plant, grows at a medium rate

Things that have always been a challenge:

myriophyllum mattogrossense - something in my tank destroys this plant, but it seems happy other than being stripped of all leaves regularly, with obvious signs of fish nibbling. I think my Mollies eat the fine leaves, just like the eat thread algae.

Rotala rotundifolia - I have tried multiple times, something in my tank destroys this plant, although I do have a stem or two that is hanging on and thriving.

Rotala sp green - I have tried once, but it didn't grow any better that R rotundafolia

Rotala colorata - I have tried once, but it didn't grow any better that R rotundafolia

Things adversely affected recently, probably due to lighting experiments and/or fish behavior:

Ludwigia sp 'red' - Seemed to be doing OK, but not really thriving. It died off during light adjustment that was too low.

Alternanthera reineckii - For a long time this just lived, but didn't really grow. died off during light adjustment that was too low.

Hemianthus glomeratus - This grew like a weed for me for quite a while, 9 months or so. It was by far one of my most successful plants I was throwing out about a cup or two of it every 2 weeks. Recently something in my tank has started eating it, and it is disappearing fast. Not sure if some of my lighting changes weakened it or not. I now have more light than before and it still isn't really recovering. I recently tried planting a couple stems down in the substrate and by morning they had been stripped completely of all leaves, so I suspect the fish are eating it aggressively.
 

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Hygrophilia corymbosa 'angustafolia' - tries to take over the tank constantly.
I almost picked one of these up for a vacant spot in my background. Oh well. Instead, I went with Ludwigia arcuata. We'll see how it goes.

Bump:
Rotala rotundifolia - I have tried multiple times, something in my tank destroys this plant, although I do have a stem or two that is hanging on and thriving.

Rotala sp green - I have tried once, but it didn't grow any better that R rotundafolia

Rotala colorata - I have tried once, but it didn't grow any better that R rotundafolia
Yeah, I'm staying away from any Rotalas; my indica (assuming it was indica) melted away super quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yeah, the H. Corymbosa Angustafolia is all the long-leaved stuff all over the back of the tank. The leaves look like willow-tree leaves, hence it's common name of "willow hygro".

I have to keep it hacked back pretty often or it grows over the top of the tank and blocks out all the light.

As for the rotala's, in theory the 3 I tried should do fine in low tech, but mine keep slowly melting away.. It may be specific to something in my tank. I started a thread about it a long time ago, but really nothing other than CO2 limitations makes sense, but those three rotala's are supposed to grow in low-co2 conditions..

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=848522&highlight=

Who knows, maybe one of my experiments will suddenly spring it to life, we'll see...
 
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