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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all. I've lurked here for some time now and figured since I use this forum for more reference then any other site, may as well man up and pay my dues. So here's my path to my planted tank and my background in hobby I really respect what you all do and your dedication to the hobby. I'm not new to tanks but as stated, new to a serious attempt at a fully planted community. So you guys and girls are and have been my Yoda. Raised cichlids for years and still have them other tanks. American as well as africans, But their mostly grown and I'm sure as others can understand, it gets old cleaning up after a huge brute whos tank holds a sole flower pot and one fish lol. So my attention and obsession turned to the green side of the hobby(rather then the average mid 30 s jump to frags :)) so after a few attempts at planted convict/oscar/JD tanks that always ended bad, I had an open tank and went with it. I started by using triple black diamond blasting sand.... Mistake one.... Inert my as*.... It put my ph up to 8.2ish.... with diy oscemote root tabs was still no go... Even lowlight plants were hurting. I was using clip on cfls [email protected]= 72 watts plus this phillips grow light contraption I had rigged up. Now mind you, I'm married with kids, lol, my light setup was sadly vetoed by the Mrs. So I got a 4 bulb t5 setup, 96 total watts. 6500 k.... Doesn't seem so bright tbh.... Doesn't seem like the wpg rule applies much anymore but even more so with them. Because my tank is basically a 29 gallon footprint the in a way.... I'm thinking humbly that 96 watts of t5 with good reflection is enough for meds high light?? An I good for hc guys? Lol... I'm 20 inches from bulb to substrate. Anyway, I can't afford co2 and ada amazonia.... Sad but true... So I went with dirt... Miracle grow nature's choice organic potting mix.... Did not have what Ive seen on u tube and on here in the pink bag at home depot.... That was it.... So I dirted it and used silica play sand as a cap... Also I feel was a mistake so far.... Just seems too tight, too compact. U know all about the anaerobic brew haha.... As far as deadly gasses... I call bs.... I guess in the perfect situation, anything is possible. I just hope that plants will be able to root through it and then is acceptable exchange with water column.... So did the dirting process with a lil help from Dustin and you all. Went surprisingly smothe, slow fills, drain, had good filters still, so was lucky there.... Planted it with some testers, so I could get the feel for the whole dirt thing. Waited about a week and had algae brown brush type. Was dosing liquid co2 junk... Completely melted my ancharis. I was going heavy to fight the algae. Anyway went with an aquatek mini 24 Oz paintball setup, Glass Rhinox diffuser. That's been going for 3 days now... Really helped beat the algea back anyway.... Not very impressed with the needle valve adjust rate on the regulator, but thats probably a different post. Needed a cleaning crew so I got 2+2 oto and s.a.e...5 aminos, lil squad of neons, and a baby bristle nose.... Who probably will grow into another tank of mine. Also a gorami.... This is because I'm to poor for discus and my waters entirely too screwed up here to attempt that lol... No, but I honestly knew I'd have to learn the co2 rates and how the fish react.... I use a drop checker which seems pretty accurate, but I've heard the key to finding that line is watching livestock. Co2 is all new to me. This was all done without ever seeing a co2 injected system in real life so forgive me if I screwed some of this up. My tanks perimeters are 0/0/20ish. I dose flourish and api leaf zone(iron and phosphate?) every other day, dosing broken down from recommend amount. Should I be using oscemote root tabs yet? I didn't use clay. Hoping ammo spikes are done now. I've been going about 9/10 hours a day on lights... Co2 on about a half hour before lights on.... Air stone all night...filters a 55/75 quite flow which I'm hating because of the current flow beating on my plants... Speaking of plants, I've got some wisteria growing ok so far I bought submersed, the emerged top fin tube ones, not so well.... Although I have come compactia temple? Hygro I believe from a tube that seems to be ok..... Some red crypts that are green. A few amazon swords, kinda have a corner filled with Java fern. Some sketchy a.g. Money wort, pennywort , dwarf sag I think. Some little top fin crypts which are growing nice, little, but cool. And some red ludwigia that's growing like a carpet lol.. Horizontal instead of vertical... Ph in that tank is 7.4. I can swing it to about 6.4 with about 3 bps. I live kinda in the middle of nowhere... I have no lfs except petco.... :/ pretty much sums it up. Getting the plants I want to scape with seems to be an area I may struggle... EBay/amazon seems a lil sketchy with plants. Nor do I know a single person who has a fishtank..... Just me n the wifey and our tanks. So hope to meet like minded people here. I do have early concerns that my lighting isn't strong enough for say h.c. Or some of my nice red plants I want to use. O well I still got the clip on cfls in the closet :) also, is the silica fine grained playsand going to be able to hold up as a cap for dirt? I'm using a water softener pillow atm.... I've also been using seachims neutral regulator trying to adjust this tank down.... Better for plants and the fish I'd like to end up keeping in there. I was toying with getting it lower then doing wcs with mostly rain water. Sorry if I jumped around or left stuff out. Thanks to all who have added the knowledge to this site over the ye
ars that helped get me to this point. I hope I can be of some assistance and thanks for having me. Sorry pics are poor, kept resizing on me. ?
 

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Welcome to the board. Our stories parallel quite a bit so I will share a few of my experiences. I am like you, came from the cichlid world. In my case I started off with a freezer bag full of hornwort I got from a friend. In an effort to better control nitrates I stuck it in pots and placed in a tank with some hongis who simply found it to be the aquatic version of caesar salad.

I started doing some research and now have 2 planted tanks. One is a shrimp tank, red cherries that I had planned on growing as food for a pair of Altolamprologus calvus. I will be danged if I didnt get attached to the little buggers finding they are entertaining to watch.

The learning curve for a nice looking planted tank is steep. it gives me admiration and respect for the members here who are so knowledgeable about not only about the process and techniques but the hardware and tools as well.

I commend you for taking the plunge with co2. I have thus far stuck with dirted low tech setups to keep it simple and minimize the variables that can cause issues, eventually I will dive into the deep end of the pool as well.

As far as blasting sand I didnt have a ph issue but our village water comes from wells and is rock hard. I used white silica sand that I had used in a tank with Placidochromis milomo and struggled to keep it clean. I didnt like the scape (that danged learning curve and a lack of any type of artistic talent) so I used that as an excuse to dump it and go with bdbs.

Your setup looks nice and thanks for sharing with us. I look forward to hearing more from you and seeing your progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
**** One month update


https://youtu.be/IlwrwQjYRlw

To avoid being one of the one time posters :) here's my one month update video...

I did end up changing the fine play sand cap over to black Diamond blasting sand. Felt the plays and was too compressed and prohibited water exchange. Planted new plants and growth really took off. I also bought an ei dry fertilizers kit from green leaf online so I dose micros/macros and do the 50% pwc on the 7th day. Love the growth I've seen from it. Doing 11 hour photo. Still not loving the lights. Lots of propagating and filling out. Thanks again to all who helped me through the process on this site, y'all rock ??
 

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I like it a lot.
Were those Angelfish egg's on long leaf of val's in the video or just pearling?
I think you have plenty of light, and would not press too much more with it.
Can always try different spectrum/color combination's with the bulb's to find something pleasing to your eye's but you have plenty of light in my view.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Haven't had any angel eggs yet. Keeping fingers crossed. Just some pearling on the j. val. A blessing in itself lol. I'm wondering if they laid, would I even see the eggs before the neon rainbows and the neon tetras got to them? Never had a tank this dense and thick lol. This is my first go with dwarf rainbows. But so far love the guys :) I do plan on switching out the bulbs around 5/6months. I'm just going out on a limb here but I'm guessing that Odyssea stock t5s aren't top of the line by any means lol. Not sure which bulbs to buy though as of yet. Thanks again for the posts, I learned it from you guys.
 
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