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· Fresh Fish Freak
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well, the time has FINALLY come, I start the final setup tonight, and hope to start planting by this weekend. I started working on this tank back in January, believe it or not- and it has become quite a project! This is going to be a VERY abbreviated pictoral journal- if you want to read through the whole thing, see the link in my Sig. There will be lots of posts at first to bring it all up to speed...

I started this with a $500 budget, and so Tank #1 was a major fixer-upper:







After some time, lots of elbow grease (involving vinegar, CLR and acetone), removing the background and refinishing the canopy and stand, I ended up with this:





Which I then promptly sold!!! Honestly, I only broke even on the deal, but I learned so much reasearching in the meantime that I was able to replace what I had with better equipment for about the same money.
 

· Fresh Fish Freak
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24,398 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Tank #2 came from Tpt's own Forddna, it has sat here in my office next to me for the last century, it seems...:



The stand came from Drs.F&S, and will be assembled (hopefully) by tonight.

I'm VERY happy with my new light fixture; for only $40 more I upgraded from an Odyssea 260w PC (it went with the old tank) to this Solar T5HO with individual reflectors and moonlights:





There are currently 2 actinic bulbs and 2 10k bulbs, which I'm calculating will give me 108 watts of T5HO 10k lighting for the plants. Remember, this is a low tech tank! I'm going to start with 8 hours of 10k, run the actinics during the rest of the day for my own viewing pleasure, and then moonlights at night. This tank is in my home office, and since I work from home (spending a lot of time in my office!) I want to be able to view the fish all the time.

For filtration I'll pair a Rena Filstar XP2 with an HOB filter; first an Emperor 400 (used) though I'll likely upgrade in a little while to a new Aquaclear.

I plan on using a heater for the first time in probably 15 years... I got a Hydor 300watt inline, and will start with about 80 degrees for the tank. If/when I get discus I'll bump it up to 82/83.

Substrate issues sparked a huge amount of research for me. I originally was going to use EcoComplete, but after purchase learned that Eco has a tendency to raise and buffer pH and hardness. As this tank may house discus in the near future, I took it back and traded for Fluorite black and Fluorite black sand. My entire substrate plan:
-bottom layer of peat mixed with established tank mulm
-mixture of 2 bags Fluorite black, 4 bags Fluorite black sand, + 50lbs black Colorquartz T grade
-35lbs of black gravel for an unplanted "river" (I HATE white sand! LOL)

I'm going to see how this tank does with no fert dosing. Instead I'll be using WonderGro fert tabs (from TPT's own Orlando).
 

· Fresh Fish Freak
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24,398 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OMG I cannot wait to see this tank up and running. What ar you going to do plant wise?
Lots and lots of swords- I'm totally infatuated with them!!

Echinodorus tenellus and E. tenellus 'narrow' will be the carpet. An E. "Kleiner bar" will be my Specimen plant. I have a new species, E. africanus on order that should come in next week. I have some E. angustifolius 'vesuvius' floating in my 10gal ATM waiting. I also want to try E. parvaflorus 'tropica,' though I hear that they may need additional lighting. I keep going back and forth whether I want Jungle vals, V. nana, or E. angustifolius in the background... I may also go for some Rubins and/or Indian Reds.

For stems I have Cabomba floating in another tank ATM, Bacopa carolinia and Blood Stargrass (Didiplis diandra) on the way next week.
 

· Fresh Fish Freak
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24,398 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
You would ask... LOL :icon_mrgr

These are pics I've collected from various places for inspiration:

Echinodorus angustifolius 'vesuvius'


Vallisneria nana:


OR

E. angustifolius:


E. tenellus 'narrow' (carpet plant, these are some of the actual plants since this is my 10gal I will be pulling from, that cory cat (Corydoras schwartzii) will go over, too ;) )


E. 'Indian red'


E. 'Kleiner bar'


E. parviflorus 'tropica'


E. 'Red Rubin'


Oh yeah - Frontinalis antipyretica (Willow moss) will go on the Manzanita driftwood


Didiplis diandra (Blood stargrass)


Bacopa caroliniana


Cabomba furcata (on the left)


This tank has the only pics of E. africanus I can locate ATM, they're in the back (I'm buying them from this owner, I REALLY like this tank :D ):
 

· Fresh Fish Freak
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24,398 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
wait, willow moss isn't SA, is it?
Nope it's a New World themed tank, not a straight up biotope. There are some plants included from the USA (aka willow moss), plus some that are cultivars. I'll also have Amano and RCS, LOL

James, I'm not looking for contrast with my river, just with the totally gravel portion there should be no or minimal plant growth... this strategy worked pretty well for me in the past when I had a pea gravel "river" surrounded by regular Fluorite...
 

· Fresh Fish Freak
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24,398 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I hope it ends up low-maintenance, Eyebeat! Not sure what bulbs you were referring to, though, and swords don't grow from bulbs? I'm going to try and get away without dosing the water column at all, just stick with fert tabs; we'll see how it goes.

Here's my stocking plan ATM:

10 Amano shrimp Caridina japonica
10 Red cherry shrimp Neocaridina denticulata sinensis
10 Oto cats Otocinclus affinis
10 Cory cats Corydoras trilineatus
2 6" Clown loaches Chromobotia macracanthus
1 Clown pleco Panaque maccu
50 Cardinal tetras Paracheirodon axelrodi
20 Rummy-nose tetras Hemigrammus bleheri
12 Colombian tetras Hyphessobrycon columbianus
12 Dwarf silver hatchets Carnegiella schereri

Amano shrimp


Red cherry shrimp
http://i269.photobucket.com/albums/jj72/lauraleellbp/NeocaridinadenticulatasinensisvarRe.jpg

Oto cats


Cory cats


Clown loaches (these are the 2 that are moving up in the world from my 46gal)


Clown pleco


Cardinal tetras


Rummy-nosed tetras


Colombian tetras


Dwarf silver hatchets
 

· Fresh Fish Freak
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24,398 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·
why don't you go for a HUGE school of corydoras hastatus? they are soooo small. Also, where do you find your pygmy hatchets? I could not find 'em online anywhere.
C. trilineatus is my personal favorite. I already have one, and I'm pretty sure he'd like some buddies! If it were a smaller tank I'd go with dwarf cories for sure, though- I really do like them!

I haven't located the dwarf hatchets yet, but I'm pretty sure I'll be able to get my LFS to special-order them for me, if nothing else.
 

· Fresh Fish Freak
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24,398 Posts
Discussion Starter · #29 ·
SUBSTRATE WASHING DAY

Here's what $175 worth of substrate looks like, laying in the sun to dry:


In order of ease in rinsing

AquaPebbles 6 bags = 30lbs (black gravel on far right of main pic)


Fluorite Black (far left of main pic, 2 bags = 31lbs)


Fluorite black sand (2nd from left in main pic, 4 bags = 62lbs)



Colorquartz T grade, 2nd from right, 1 bag = 50lbs (I was surprised that this took the MOST rinsing!)

 

· Fresh Fish Freak
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24,398 Posts
Discussion Starter · #36 ·
I got the Fluorite all from my LSF for $20/bag (6 bags x 15.4 lbs/bag)
Colorquartz from local pool supply company $23 for 50lb bag
AquaPebbles on Ebay, $25 for 30lbs shipped

Approx. 175lb total and approx $1/lb

(No one had better say a THING to my hubby about my using "his" knives to open bags hehehehe)

ROFL @ "weighs about as much as a pleco fart"
 

· Fresh Fish Freak
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24,398 Posts
Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Seachem still hasn't posted any, at least not that I'm aware of? I did read through a Seachem thread where they said that they should be posting "soon," and the substrates are "comparable" to the old Fluorite.

LOL @ James- so did your mom catch you?
 

· Fresh Fish Freak
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24,398 Posts
Discussion Starter · #46 ·
Sea- if you go to your User Profile you can change your setting to view more posts on one page; sure makes reading long threads faster! :)

James- good thing she's got bad aim? :icon_eek: lol

Buck- I'm quite happy with the bees OUTSIDE, lol

Dekstr- The tank is a standard 90gal AGA; 48"L x 18"W x 25"H I'm nervous about the Clowns loaches, as well... they'll probably go in last, after the plants have had plenty of time to root and establish. I'm hoping they just play in the gravel "river" that won't be planted?
 

· Fresh Fish Freak
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24,398 Posts
Discussion Starter · #47 ·
Layering down the substrate:

I poured in a small bucket of established tank mulm mixed with a few handfulls of Sphagnum moss (peat)



Next I put down a layer of Colorquartz to hold all the mulm and peat in place so I could lay the rest of the substrate without the mulm mixture all getting pushed into one corner of the tank (it worked really well!) I used a garden trowel to lay down one trowelfull at a time. Used about 1/2 the Colorquartz (25 lbs)



Next I sprinkled over just a few more handfulls of peat:


Then I laid down my gravel "river"



Then I laid down the rest of the CQ mixed in with the Fluorite black sand:


And finally capped the planted area with the regular Fluorite black:


And here's a FTS with the stand and light fixture:


SOOO tomorrow I get to design my Manzanita 'scape, figure out how to fill this beast with water, and hopefully start planting what plants I have!!
 

· Fresh Fish Freak
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24,398 Posts
Discussion Starter · #50 · (Edited)
Fish- the Manzanita is from Badcopno.. in the S&S here on the forum :thumbsup:

Biscuit- I definitely have to use a stepladder and do some serious stretching to reach the bottom of this tank with my little 5'4" self! LOL My 6"1" husband doesn't have any problem, though. For me, it's jus another reason I really hope this tank is low-maintenance. :)

With mostly swords in the long run (I anticipate I'll eventually only keep one stem plant once everything gets established) I'm hoping my hands won't need to go in there all that often? I'll have to see if I can twist my hubby's arm more to take some pics of me planting :)
 

· Fresh Fish Freak
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24,398 Posts
Discussion Starter · #55 · (Edited)
INITIAL PLANTING BEGINS:



The plan:

Echinodorus tenellus will surround the driftwood. A carpet of E. tenellus 'narrow' will be planted along the front and run up to the "river."

Twisty E. angustifolius 'vesuvius' will grow up among the driftwood, just in front of "regular" E. angustifolius, which will be in the back right corner of the tank. A total of three E. africanus will be planted to either side of the "stump."

Bacopa caroliniana will be a backdrop across the other 1/2 of the tank (where the Cabomba is currently) and Blood stargrass (Didiplis diandra) and Stargrass (Heteranthera zosterifolia) will go in front (eventually the one stem that does best will probably become the only stem plant in the tank; I'm guessing this will be Bacopa?)

A specimen Echinodorus 'Kleiner bar' will go in front of the "broken limb" and become the focal point of the tank. The "riverbank" will probably be lined with either E. parviflorus 'Tropica' or Hydrocotyle?

Current plants (too bad my photography skills are so lousy! My apologies!): Cabomba furcata, Echinodorus tenellus, E. angustifolius 'vesuvius'







These shots were taken IMMEDIATELY after planting- NO CLOUDY WATER! (All I did was scrape the bubbles off the tank walls.) Drying the substrate before putting it in the tank makes a BIG difference- I didn't cloud the water at all throughout filling the tank or planting!
 

· Fresh Fish Freak
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24,398 Posts
Discussion Starter · #56 ·
Hmmm looking at the FTS I'm not sure I like the placement of that "broken limb;" the piece sticking up is to centered in the tank? I might play with that some tomorrow... it doesn't look quite so prominent in real life, though.
 

· Fresh Fish Freak
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24,398 Posts
Discussion Starter · #59 ·
Yep the Cabomba furcata will either end up a floating plant or go away all together... it's there now just to be a nutrient hog, and it's planted to make sure it gets some light and keep it out of my way. I still need to set up the filter LOL

I'm going to throw in some MTS, and I'm debating which fish from my other tanks to move over tonight to keep the cycle going...
 
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