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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone! After spending 2+ months gathering ideas/equipment/plants/etc. and constantly rearranging things, I've finally come up with something I'm ready to share with all of you. What started as a bare-bottomed experimental betta breeding tank has slowly evolved into what you see here :redface: :



Current Stock List:
3 Corydora habrosus
2 Otocinclus
4 Amanos
~6 RCS (started with more but had a mysterious die-off that has since stabilized)

Background:
- Water sprite
- Hygro 'sunset'
- Rotala rotundifolia
(not 100% the last 2 are what they are, they came as single stems with my RCS and just waiting for them to grow out)
Midground:
- Weeping and flame moss tied to Mopani wood
- Java fern, bolbitis, Taiwan moss tied to driftwood
- Hydrocotyle verticillata
Foreground:
- Sagittaria subulata (I think...got it randomly with some other plants)
- Marsilea minuta
- Dwarf hairgrass

I'm still not totally set on the layout of the tank and am always drawing up pictures in my head. There are some things in there that I'm not sure what to do with (i.e. banana lily, xmas moss 'wall') and some other things standing-by that I'm thinking of putting in.

For filtration, I'm running a DIY sponge filter (from my betta experiment which needs to be taken out, just concerned about upsetting the bio-filtration balance) as well as an old Cascade 100 HOB that I had back when I wasn't planted tank-enlightened. I put some sponge over the intake and stuffed the media chamber with another sponge, some polyester fiberfil and a Bio-max insert used in Aquaclear HOBs.

I'm running 2x13w spiral fluorescent bulbs with DIY CO2 and Eco-Complete as my substrate. I dose macros (from Rex Grigg) and micros (Flourish and Flourish Iron) twice a week and staggered on different days with a shot of Excel when I remember. I also do a 20ish% water change once a week using Prime.

Since this is my first attempt at a planted tank, any comments, tips, suggestions, etc. are definitely appreciated. Thanks for looking! :biggrin:
 

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Nice looking plants! Looks like they'll grow out in no time, then you can decide on a design better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My tank has gone through some changes so I thought an update was in order. The day after I posted I pulled out the sponge filter and wood with the Java fern attached to it to make room for some new arrivals. After some slight rearranging I came up with this:



Added a bunch of L. arcuata, HM and some Mexican oak leaf. I really like the look of the HM and thought about filling the entire foreground with it (I had a ton left) but I figured I'd wait and see how everything else fills out. I also took notice to how dark the mopani wood was making my water and was about to buy a carbon insert for my HOB. Then I remembered all the things I've read about Purigen and decided to give that a shot. Here's the tank after just one night of having the Purigen in the filter:



:thumbsup: That stuff is amazing , I definitely recommend it. The next thing I plan to do is upgrade my lights. I thought about going the AH route but I don't think I really want to deal with making a canopy for it at the moment, so I'm looking towards getting a refurbed 40w Current Satellite. I may go with a temporary fix and get some higher wattage screw-ins while I wait for the Satellite. Other than that, I'm expecting some cherry babies in the near future :proud: . Of the six I have left, one is berried, two are saddled, and the other three I hope are males. I'm a little worried because I bought a few berried cherries from the LFS a while back and I did eventually see a lot of babies, but I'm almost certain they all died. We'll just have to wait and see. Until then, a few more pics.

HM patch - should I have planted them in bunches?


Open area of the tank


Random moss wall


Please tell me this is a guy!


Greedy Amanos in the minuta


Saddled cherry


Berried cherry
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Update 7/23/2007

Been a while since the last post and quite a bit has happened in that time. The biggest change was that I was able to upgrade my 26w of spiral compact lighting towards the end of last month. I had read of a few people who had ordered refurbed light fixtures from Tri-City Tropicals and was fortunate to live close enough to actually pay the shop a visit. I picked up a refurbed 40w Current Satellite (as well as an 18w version) and I must say I'm very pleased with the purchase. Not only is it helping with growth and color, but the built in moon light is a very cool feature. Here's a full-tank shot taken a few days after the purchase:


The oak leaf and sag growth was getting out of hand fast so I had to pull those out. I also pulled out the hairgrass for use in another tank and removed what was left of the watersprite. My Amano shrimp went to town on this stuff, not to mention a pellia stone I had in there and some of the moss.

Ravaged water sprite


Berried terror


The berried RCS in the pic from the last post did successfully hatch her eggs a few days after posting. Much to my surprise, a day or two after hatching that clutch, she was already berried up again. That clutch just hatched two days ago and the saddle she has now is giving me hope for more shrimp babies in the near future. I had a really hard time keeping track of her first clutch and presumed they had all been eaten by my cories or the Amanos. However I did recently spot one and now have hopes that there are more and they're doing a great job hiding in the tank. To be safe, I relocated the four Amanos to other tanks where they wouldn't be as much of a nuisance. I also recently lost one of my cories and another seems to be on it's way out, so I'm hoping to see a lot of the baby shrimp from this current clutch survive to adulthood.

I have also recently purchased some new shrimp for the tank and definitely intend to add a few more in the following weeks. I picked up two shrimp labeled as "black algae eating shrimp" thinking that they might be wild-type RCS:




These guys are pretty cool because I've noticed that they become red in color some evenings and are practically indistinguishable from my RCS. Their carapace looks too dark to see any sort of saddle, but they both appear to be females. I still have no clue what species these could be, but hopefully plenty of time spent with my RCS will tell. I also picked up five bee shrimp, one of which has the wild-type coloration (I've also seen this called 'orange bee').

Wild-type Bee


Regular Bee


I have noticed that three of these are definitely saddled, and I'm hoping at least one of the other two is a male because I really like these guys and hope that I can get them to breed in my tank. I'd also like to get my hands on some CRS of any grade soon just so I can get the red gene mixed into the population.

In the meantime, I need to settle upon my tank's layout so that I don't disturb it as much. What was once a single clipping of rotala is now becoming a decent sized bunch and should soon fill out more of my background. My ludwigia is growing nicely but it has not grown as thick and bushy as I thought it would. The hygro is growing fast and thick as I expected, but the big leaves are starting to turn me off. I'd eventually like to pull it out and replace it with another stem plant. In fact, the entire right side of the tank could use some redecorating. Here's my still-very-unorganized tank as of today:


Comments/suggestions are always welcome.
 

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Love the tank! and the use of mosses! i have the same light as you and love the dawn/dusk lkighting effect also! Only i got mine new from bigals with the help of some discount codes :biggrin:

May i ask how long you keep your lights on? and how often/ how much you dose your flourish excel? i am dosing flourish excel and iron 1ml every other day and have run into sooo much algea:mad:

Thank!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks rodney! I run my lights from 10am to 6pm (8 hours). I dose close to 2mL of Excel maybe once every two or three days. I used to dose this tank more often but I'm starting to use the Excel more for my nano. I also dose 1mL of Flourish Iron daily, and I don't have any noticeable algae problems aside from GSA and GDA.
 
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