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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, I figured since this is my first planted tank I'll give a journal a try and see what you guys think. I'm just a poor college student so I had to set up my tank paycheck to paycheck. After saving enough, here's my set up:

Size: 55 gallon aquarium
Substrate: Eco-Complete
Heater: 200w Aqueon
Filtration: Eheim Professional II
Carbon Dioxide: Green Leaf Aquariums Choice regulator, 5 lb tank, 3-4 BPM

Inhabitants:
- 5 Cherry Shrimp (strangely dying off here and there over the past couple of weeks)
- 4 Ottos
- 1 Loxozonus Cory (also had 4 die off in the past couple of weeks)
- 2 Angels (half dollar sized)

I set the tank up about a month before starting this journal, but I had been taking pictures so I'll upload those and keep everyone posted once a week(ish).

Cheers,
Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Ok, here's the first day, the third week, and the fourth week. I haven't dosed any fertilizers so I've been basically only doing 50% water changes once a week. I am starting to get a little Green Spot Algae on my red hygrophila and anubias leaves.

I wanted to only dose Phosphates because I read that that will take care of the GSA, but one of the moderators here suggested dosing PPS-Pro from the get go. As of today, 3/13/14, I've started dosing the PPS-Pro method with fertilizer I bought from Green Leaf Aquariums. I'm starting with Macros and alternating Macro/Micro/Macro/Micro/Macro... for 5 days, then not dosing for two days, and doing a 50% water change on the 7th.

What do you guys think?
 

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Nice start man! I had a high-tech 55g as well (ill link a pic) A problem I always had was flow. I would recommend either putting that spray bar on the left side glass and spraying all the way across the tank or moving the intake to the other side of the tank.

It gets to be a major pain once tall stem plants start lining up along the back glass... theyre so narrow its hard to get good flow going around, for me anyway.

Either way, nice. Also, If this is your first tank... be careful with surface agitation and co2. I was running 4ish bps of co2 on my 55 as well but when the water would evaporate a bit and the outflow was rolling the surface of the water my co2 would drop dramatically... this is not a good thing.

Good luck man! Cant wait to see it grow in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh man, thanks guys! I have two 52 watt 10,000K bulbs in a Glo t-5 HO lighting system. I did read about water flow movement through the water column. Unfortunately my spray bar doesn't fit the width of the tank unless I made a customized one. I just added a small water pump to the opposite side of the intake; hoping that helps. There appears to be rippling of the leaves at all levels of the plants, but I'll definitely keep an eye on it as they fill out. I still need to decide on midground plants for the right and center bare spots. Possibly get something to fill that in when I get my next pay check.

Thanks for the feed back!,
Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
5th Week Picture

Here's the pic of the 5th week now. Everything is still growing in nicely. I'm headed to the LFS tomorrow to look for midground plants to fill the two bare(ish) spots on the right and to the left of the sag in the middle.

Still have an outbreak of GSA but I'm hoping PPS-Pro dosing will help that out. I've only been dosing for 3 days, so it's early to gauge progress. On my to-do list is getting water parameter test kits. Any suggestions on brands and the basic parameters for a planted tank? Plant Terrestrial plant Vegetation Rectangle Grass
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Trim/Midground Enhancement

Ok everyone,

I trimmed the excess ludwigia on the left and transplanted some over to the right. I also added some green crypts to the midground to soften the transition toward the taller growing plants. I'm having strange die offs of some of my fish and shrimp, one by one. Any ideas on what might be happening? I think it may be due to the pH swing after the co2 shuts off and the lights go dark. I'd like to start getting readings of all my parameters though. Any suggestions for what to be testing for and which test kits work the best?

Cheers,
Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, after dosing PPS-Pro for a week now things are falling apart. I still have really nice new growth, but there seems to be an outbreak of BBA and GSA on my anubias. My dwarf sag and rotala both are losing their green chlorophyll color and the leaves are turning clear. I don't know what to do besides a couple large water changes and stop dosing. What do you guys think?

Cheers,
Michael

Here's the 4th week photo
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A few people mentioned (in other threads I posed my tank problems in) that the PPS-Pro nutrients aren't causing the BBA and GSA, it's more likely due to a lack of co2 and water changes. That being said, I increased my co2 bubble rate to about 8 bpm, increased flow throughout the tank with a more powerful powerhead, and trimmed my plants back a bit.

Here's a picture post-trim:
 

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Wow! I can't believe Eco-complete can grow plants that look so full, lust, and colorful.
This definitely gives me hope that floramax will work on my 10 gallon. Thanks! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Still having trouble with BBA and GSA. For some reason the GSA prefers leaves from the cut plants. The new growth is algaeless. I've also noticed some leaf deformity where the new growth starts on my ludwigia. I'm thinking maybe my dose of phosphates in the PPS-Pro pack is a little low causing the BBA and stunted growth. I'm going to mix a new batch later this week. I added a tank long spray bar from the water pump to more evenly distribute the water flow, hopefully this'll address any dead spots, and promote even distribution of the ferts.

Here's a picture of the end of the 4th week:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
No shrimp are dying, and I've actually seen some come out of hiding that I thought I'd lost. Had a random neon die yesterday, cause unknown. My pH is stable throughout the day, so I can rule that out. I'm just a college kid, so with my next pay check I'm going to get the API Master Kit to rule out anything else. It's bizarre honestly... I don't know why I'm steadily losing randoms... Thanks for the concern though! The site really keeps a nice community of hobbyists together.

Cheers,
Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well, I started dosing the EI Method this week. I think it'll be better suited for my plants and hopefully better suited to address the algae. Still having algae issues, removing as much as possible as soon as it crops up throughout the week. My new growth doesn't have algae, but the old growth is riddled with BBA and GSA. I'm going to do a major trim again, hopefully getting rid of a good amount of algae. We'll see what happens. Enjoy the new photograph!

Here's the day 36 photo:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well, 10 days later it's looking like EI dosing is the way to go. The green spot has dwindled in growth, however the BBA is still spreading like wildfire. It's only on the plants that I've trimmed and on old growth; none on new growth.

I'm going to start water changing 50% twice a week and see if that helps. Anyone know how to get rid of BBA? I've been trying to trim it off, keep the co2 levels high and steady, and water change 50% once a week after a 3x EI dose weekly... I don't know what to do.

Good news is that I haven't had any fish or shrimp die offs for a while now so things seem stable. So stable in fact that I have three berried Cherries and a batch that has grown out to about a quarter of an inch. The colonization of Cherries has started!

Here's a photo of day 45 after a little trim:
 

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