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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It was suggested by another member that I start a journal for this tank on this forum--so here I am!

The tank is now currently at the end of week 3, but I shall attach all the pictures I have since day 1.

Tank specs:
Hardware
UNS 45s (5 gal shallow)
Aquatek paintball dual gauge co2 regulator with built in bubble counter
Aquario neo diffuser
20oz paintball tank
Twinstar 450 EA light
UNS contrasoil
UNS delta 60 canister with double tap valves to adjust flow as needed
Aquario neo flow inflow outflow set with skimmer

Stocking and plants
1 female betta
Foreground:
Monte carlo
Staurogyne repens
Pogostemon Helferi 'downoi'

Midground:
Hygrophila sp. 'Chai' RARE
Alternanthera Rosanervig 'Mini'
Alternanthera Reineckii 'Mini'
Tiger lotus
Rotala butterfly 'Mini'
Limnophila Mini Vietnam
Bucephalandra kedagang rainbow mini

Background:
Rotala sp green
Bacopa salzmanni-RARE (purple)
Mayaca Fluviatilis
Rotala hra
Alternanthera Lilancia (purple)
Alternanthera Reineckii 'pink sunset'
Alternanthera Reineckii 'Variegated'
Ludwigia "Triple Red"

So far I have been tinkering and tweaking as the weeks have passed since setup. Originally I started at 1bps but because of my high surface agitation and shallow footprint oxygen exchange is high so I had to up it to 2-3bps to achieve a yellow drop checker. Around week 2 I introduced RO at 50% through a water change and have been topping off with RO. This weekend the water will be completely changed and converted to full RO to help make fert balancing easier as well as start to get the tank parameters proper for caridina shrimp which will be added once it matures more.

I didnt dose any macros for the first week and started dosing full EI through nilocg's separate macro and micro liquid fert. I like it enough but would like less nitrogen, so after the water reset I am going to try APT complete instead.

Around week 2 I also got a mild BGA outbreak. It is currently limited to my monte carlo carpet thankfully. However it is starting to spread all over the monte carlo slowing its growth and is starting to choke it out. I did a second dose of ultra like green slime remover and upped the nitrogen dose, hopefully in a few more days I will see results. If not, I bought APT fix and will give that a go to see if it can knock it out.

I have my photoperiod at 6 hours, co2 comes on via solenoid timer 1 and a half hours before lights on, and shuts off an hour before lights off. Light may be a bit intense currently but despite the BGA my stem plants have had exceptional growth.

Here's the current pictures starting from the beginning of setup. From here I will post weekly updates :)
Plant Green Plant community Light Botany

Plant Flower Property Photograph Plant community

Flower Plant Plant community Green Light


Here's some miscellaneous pictures:
Plant Flower Terrestrial plant Petal Groundcover

Flower Plant Petal Terrestrial plant Groundcover

Flower Plant Leaf Terrestrial plant Pink

Plant Light Nature Purple Grass

Plant Green Purple Rectangle Grass
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
that is a damn fine start u have goin there.
Thank you so much, your comment is very reassuring! I was starting to get discouraged because of the BGA. This is my first plant only tank so I was kind of going in blind without having harscape to play off of. I tried to follow some traditional dutch rules but actual dutch tanks are so stringent on placement I felt like it would be offensive to label mine as a true dutch. I also wonder if I should make the monte carlo street more narrow to allow more room for the background stem plants. There are a few tweaks I'd like to make, but I think I will grow the plants out bushier through aggressive trimming and replanting like I have been and revisit my opinion on the planting structure later. I may change my mind when they have filled in more, hopefully this tank will age like fine wine and I won't feel the need to rearrange when it's matured!
 

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are you planning on putting this tank in a compitetion? If not than you try follow the rules the best you can, and call it dutch inspired. Don't stress about following rules, but rather enjoy aquascaping and learning new things along the way. You will enjoy your tank more if scape it to what pleases your eye.

The fun thing is, you can change you scape whenever you want. There is no major harm to rescaping. Let it grow in a bit, and if you don't like something, change it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
are you planning on putting this tank in a compitetion? If not than you try follow the rules the best you can, and call it dutch inspired. Don't stress about following rules, but rather enjoy aquascaping and learning new things along the way. You will enjoy your tank more if scape it to what pleases your eye.

The fun thing is, you can change you scape whenever you want. There is no major harm to rescaping. Let it grow in a bit, and if you don't like something, change it.
No I definitely do not have the skills or knowledge for competition! It's just a display tank. I'm working on slowly converting all my noob tanks into better display tanks.

I have always leaned towards nature scape but recently fell in love with the fluorescent colors and structure of dutch tanks. I followed certain basic rules like leaf texture and color combinations to achieve a proper look to the tank. I also attempted to plant some "streets" to add depth since the tank is so small, for example my monte carlo street curves and tapers off behind the Alternanthera Reineckii mini so when it's finally all grown it should make the tank appear bigger than it is. But I work full time and don't have time to keep up with super strict trimming to ensure that all the different plant species stay separated neatly like traditional dutch so mine will be like a relaxed dutch which I'm actually okay with! This is why I consider mine dutch inspired, not a true dutch. This weekend I will be doing a 100% WC to get full RO since I still have some tap left in there. When I do that I'm going to uproot all the back stem plants so I can cut off the old bottoms and replant the new tops. I may adjust some things at that point. After that it will just be getting the BGA under control, and test driving the remineralized RO for a few weeks to ensure I can maintain proper parameters for taiwan bee shrimp. I plan on stocking about 15 shadow pandas eventually.
 

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There are a few tweaks I'd like to make, but I think I will grow the plants out bushier through aggressive trimming and replanting like I have been and revisit my opinion on the planting structure later. I may change my mind when they have filled in more, hopefully this tank will age like fine wine and I won't feel the need to rearrange when it's matured!
I see this a lot. Someone has carefully laid out plans and figure once they put it together than that's it, it's done.

The truth is a planted tank is constantly changing and evolving.

I've posted hundreds of pictures of my tank and there is always something new or things have been moved around. It's like a puzzle that you keep trying to solve. That's what keeps it interesting. New species to try, new scapes to explore.

Just saying what the tank looks like now might be completely different months from now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I see this a lot. Someone has carefully laid out plans and figure once they put it together than that's it, it's done.

The truth is a planted tank is constantly changing and evolving.

I've posted hundreds of pictures of my tank and there is always something new or things have been moved around. It's like a puzzle that you keep trying to solve. That's what keeps it interesting. New species to try, new scapes to explore.

Just saying what the tank looks like now might be completely months from now.
Yes definitely! My first co2 injected rainbow shiner tank just hit the 3 month mark and it's absolutely crazy what you can do with pressurized co2 injection. I want to convert them all over to high tech now lol!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quick update:
I did a major maintenance session tonight. Took me like 3 hours. I did a 100% water change to transfer to full RO, pulled out almost all the stems and cut the old parts off and replanted the healthy tops. Moved the rest of my h'ra to the right to make more room for my mayaca fluviatilis because I like it so much, and also make an empty area to plant my rotala yarabje when it comes next week. It's a variant that is still super rare in the US, seller says it doesn't need nitrate limitation to grow red like rotala blood red. Well see how it goes! I meticulously picked off as much BGA off my monte carlo as I had patience for, with tweezers no less. Seems like some of the BGA is melting so hopefully a sign that the ultralife is starting to take effect on it.

Made a fatal mistake because my little brother was hounding me about when I was going to fix us dinner, so rushed reminerlizing and adding my ferts in. I stupidly added 5x the daily dose of APT complete for my tank volume. So currently I am doing another 90% WC......I hate myself so much LOL.

Anyways here's some new pics
Plant Light Rectangle Purple Grass

Plant Flower Green Purple Wood


Here's some cool pics of a baby hygrophila 'chai'....the coloration on this one is extremely interesting. The rest of the plants are still completely pink.
Flower Plant Leaf Petal Terrestrial plant


Here's the underside of one of my Alternanthera species, no filter just my twinstar
Plant Leaf Petal Botany Flower
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Excellent work! Following.
Thanks! This is the tank I accidentally dosed 5 days worth of fert in one go LOL. Everything looks good today, kh is 0-1 and gh is 4. Tds is 103 hoping my ferts throughout the week don't raise it too high. If everything looks good by the end of the week I'll be ordering some taiwan bees :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Update:
This scape finally hit the one month mark. Like most high techs the first month it had its ups and downs, but mostly it has gone well so im pleased so far. The BGA breakout is all but dead however it triggered filamentous diatoms or brown thread algae to bloom during the BGA melt off. It's a pretty aggressive grower. I've been manually removing some daily and daily spot dosing APT fix but it hasn't gotten much better. I ordered 3 oto cats and 5 crystal red shrimp to live in here temporarily to see if they will help contain the new tank algae.

My hygrophila chai has been slowly melting off, but I still have about 5 strong pieces of it left, given at least one piece survives it will be OK. Time will tell but I went into this knowing this was a difficult plant. I got my hands on a rare rotala variant "yarabje" off another hobbyist, I'm hoping it will hang onto its purple/maroon coloring.

So far I've managed to keep the TDS at 140 when the tank is due for its weekly WC so I think it's a go for some more expensive caridinas once I get the algae under control. Kh is 1 and gh is 4 after my 70% WC I just did.

I switched over from EI to a more lean fert, APT complete. The plants definitely went through a sort of "shock" phase from me abruptly cutting back on macros but they are still growing well, just slower than before. The s. Repens will be due for its first cutback next week.

All in all it's looking well, like always here's a comparison photo from last week to this week and some extras showcasing the colors and growth for documentation.
Leaf Plant Vegetation Terrestrial plant Grass

Plant Botany Vegetation Grass Terrestrial plant

Plant Plant community Flower Grass Brick

Plant Flower Flowerpot Houseplant Purple

Plant Plant community Green Light Leaf
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So the tank is now 6 weeks old, it has kind of taken the back burner since I'm working on my paludarium, however the tank got hit with filamentous diatoms BAD. I haven't ran into the cotton candy forms of diatoms before but they are a formidable enemy. Nothing seems to help, messing with lights, ferts, temp. Not to mention manual removal is futile since it sends thousands of litte fibers into the watercolum and it grows back twice as fast as you can remove it. I had been manually removing it daily just so it wouldn't choke my plants out. My last Ditch effort were amanos, petco only had small juvinelles so I grabbed 3 of them. They were definitely eating it but were too small to put a serious dent in it. I found a 6 pack of large amanos online which just came today, and they have already cleaned up a good bit of it. A few more days and it will be all but gone. I'll keep the amanos in there for awhile to manage it as it grows back and eventually I'll move half of them to my 12 gallon. Here's a picture of a small portion of what they were able to do in 3 hours
Plant Flower Plant community Leaf Botany


I'm still trying to get my hra to get red, or even pink again. I did a massive water change and hacked back a good bit of the plants to get some bushy regrowth. Now that the amanos are present I can crank my lights back up to 100% which should definitely help my red plants. I'm still dosing apt complete but I think the rotala is still getting too much nitrogen which is why it's staying green. I also had to add more than the bottle dosage because I noticed some GSA and other deficiency signs. Once the contrasoil exhausts some I'm thinking I can get some better reds. The hygrophila chai is still in contact but is growing super slow. Time will tell if it will remain pink or not.
 

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My first nano tank (7.1 gallon Landen) had really bad diatom issues the first month, but it gradually disappeared as the tank "seasoned." I added some amano shrimp, but I really think the (accidental from a plant from the LFS) snails did a better job. YMMV. Try using a plastic fork from your LFFS (local fast food shop, lol) and twirling the diatom mass like spaghetti. Works well!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
My first nano tank (7.1 gallon Landen) had really bad diatom issues the first month, but it gradually disappeared as the tank "seasoned." I added some amano shrimp, but I really think the (accidental from a plant from the LFS) snails did a better job. YMMV. Try using a plastic fork from your LFFS (local fast food shop, lol) and twirling the diatom mass like spaghetti. Works well!
I have a tiny cylinder shaped brush for cleaning lily pipes that worked really well. I would just twirl it and it would wrap the filaments around. Taking aquascape tweezers and twirling it around it works also. But when you do that it releases tiny fibers everywhere which just spreads the diatoms about the tank. They started at my monte carlo but made their way to the stem plants too. My mayaca fluviatilis got hit especially bad because of the tiny feather like leaves. I don't do snails but am happy to keep amanos. I tried crystal reds but this betta is a hunter. Luckily the amanos I got from aquahuna are as big as she is and since they are adults they are constantly eating and not as skittish as the smaller amanos I got from petco.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Another update,
No wonder why Takashi Amano introduced these guys into the hobby. In the past I have kept amanos just as a preventative cleanup crew and this is my first experience utilizing them during an active diatom/algae bloom and it's crazy! They have cleaned up all the monte carlo except for a small patch on the left side of the tank. This is a picture of what they did in 24 hours:
Plant Flower Plant community Terrestrial plant Vegetation


I also realize I didn't post a full tank shot in the last update so here it is, I'm still doing a lot of heavy trimming and replanting on the stems. Once I get everything bushy and filled in I will trim them into nice mound shapes which will make the dutch tank look more put together. Until then I'm just letting it do its thing and ensuring I keep filling them in.

Plant Flower Plant community Light Rectangle


Ignore the seran wrap. My glass lid doesn't cover the entire top of the tank and I know from prior experience amanos can be jumpy when first introducing them to co2 injection so the seran wrap will have to stay for a few weeks while they settle in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Another update:
The tank is 7 weeks old now so it's just turning the corner at 2 months. My amano army has cleaned up this tank beautifully and there is no trace of the diatoms. Because of them I was able to up my light intensity to 100% and switch the twinstar legs to the shorter side which lowered the light closer to the tank by an inch and a half. Hoping I can pull some nicer reds now that I can blast the light. I'll keep all of them in here for another 2 weeks and then move half over to a bigger tank.

I just did a trim and WC today, still aggressively trimming and replanting the stems. This was also the first time trimming the monte carlo carpet which was exciting, and it seems to be pretty well rooted so I'm happy. I've never appreciated my shrimp so much in my life lol.

Plant Flower Plant community Light Leaf
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Im pretty happy to finally see some greens turning red since I was able to up the light intensity and drop them down closer! My yarabje is starting to turn bright red on the new leaves and stems which is good news because I bought it off another hobbyist and it was deep purple but turned green in my tank. I'm still struggling with my hra though, it's starting to turn slightly yellowish orange like rotala orange juice, so maybe I'm headed in the right direction. You can see my yarabje behind the bacopa salzmanii. It's might brighter in person.
Flower Plant Botany Terrestrial plant Petal


I bought some trimmings from another hobbyist, some more bacopa salzmanii and rotala macandra mini butterfly since these are slow growing and its taking awhile to get a nice full bunch of them growing. I also managed to get 10 cuttings of rotala blood red which Dennis wong says doesn't need as strict nitrate limitation to get red as hra. I'll be shuffling some plant groupings around this weekend to accommodate the blood red. I'm having a hard time getting nitrate lower without stunting my Alternanthera species, which is starting to show some deficiencies after starting apt complete. I'm going to try upping the co2 ever so slightly since I'm running more light and dose a little extra potassium ontop of the apt complete to see if that helps. I've also seen a few spots of GSA so I may buy some seachem phosphorous and dose an extra .5ppm a week.

I'm also thinking about selling my twinstar and buying a chihiros vivid mini. It's a more expensive light but I've been really intrigued by them since they first came out due to the unparalleled color rendition with green and red plants. Not to mention it's 100% customizable unlike my twinstar. I heard the fan can be kind of annoying on it, but I'm thinking a RGB instead of WRGB may be better to pull reds.
 
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