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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've introduced myself and asked a few questions and many of you have heard this story before. To quote myself in my introduction.

I'm Paul and I've decided to take my planted tank to the next level. What does that mean? I means I'm going to be less ad hoc and more pro-active. I've kept planted tanks for a bit more than 20 years now. I've always had decent success and, of course, decent failures. I enjoy building stuff, so DIY is really in my game.

Here's a picture of my my main tank, a 75 gallon from late 2018.


And here's the tank last week or so.



Forum user Greggz nailed it, "Neglect" and I'm now going to correct that.

I've been keep planted tanks for 20 years now, nothing fancy. The most high tech I got was using the Jello in the DIY yeast bottle. I didn't even know there were styles of tanks. I guess I had heard of Dutch and Amano but that was it.

So here's my plan.
  1. Put the fish and plants in a holding tank with the existing canister filter
  2. Wash the gravel removing almost a decade of mulm.
  3. Rescape as Jungle style using existing plants
  4. Buy new plants as the weather and LFS permit (It's winter here!)
  5. Pressuried CO2 (soon to be ordered)
  6. Weekly micro/macro
  7. Log here so I'm can't hide that I'm not doing my weekly water changes
  8. Same lights for now. Should be 4,100 lumens but one of the LEDS is old so it could be less.

Last weekend I started setting up the 65 gallon holding tank. Built a stand out of cinder blocks, got the tank out of the shed and filled it in stages.



Sadly, one of the bulkheads was a seeper. I pulled the bulkhead out and replaced it with a glass patch.



The silicone was one of the few that was not Mold/Mildew resistant. But it also says "not for underwater use." Huh? It's just 100% silicone. Anyway, It is only for a few days. I'll fill it tonight today for a leak test. Then drain it. Then fill it with mostly tank water, and fish, on Friday.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I threw 2 pieces of driftwood in the 65. One was stored outside and I wanted to bring it up the temperature. Plus, I wanted to remember what it looked like. Both these pieces and the hidden one in the 75 came from the same super large piece. I had to saw it up so I could use it after I sold my 125G tank.



I'm not sure which one or ones I'll use in the 75G Jungle. It will eventually get covered up by plants, even the Neglect Tank of Plant Death was able to cover the driftwood!
 

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Yesterday I started the transfer of the fish and plants into the 65 gallon tank. I took about half the water out.



Then I started trying to catch fish. I knew it would be hard, I forgot about how impossible that would be. So I moved the hardscape and that threw up a lot of mulm. Now it was even harder since I couldn't see into the tank. So... all the plants came up next. Man, some of the crypts had roots that were 30" long! I also made a big mistake, I forgot to turn the pump off so a lot of the silty water made it into the 65 gallon.

I got about half the fish but the 75 was now coffee colored, I couldn't see anything. So I drained it down to about an inch or two. Then filled to about 4 inches. This was essentially a 50% change so the water chemistry shouldn't shock the fish too much. Then I drained it down to an inch or two. It was now a simple, LOL, matter to outsmart the fish. I had dinner and let the silt settle and found one more fish.



I made some gravel dams in the lowered tank to restrict the fishes' movements.



Hours later I did a fry check. I use a bright flashlight angled obliquely. Everything casts a shadow and if a shadow moves, fish! I didn't see any fry.



Today's task is to clean the gravel and try to decide on the hardscape. I think I know what I want to do but I need to try both of the huge pieces in various configurations.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I got all the substrate out and washed and 90% of the mulm out that was leftover in the tank. I found a shrimp still alive. I had been dropping my culls in there. They became fish food or they became good at survival. This one was a survivor. He was now living in 75 gallons of chlorinated tap water! I drop some de-chlor in, baited a shrimp trap, but he was too clever. I eventually had to drain the tank and caught him when it only had an inch of water.

He went back into the shrimp tank, I want those survival genes!

Placed with hardscape, made a poll here. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/...-jungle-scape-help-me-place-my-driftwood.html

Oh, it was 7 hours straight today, just a short break for a lunch! Yikes.
 

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Another long day, 6 hours. But the tank is setup and running! Much of the time was spent sitting and thinking, or letting by back stop aching from bending over the tank!

No pictures since the fines need to get filtered out and some random bits of root also need to get filtered. I've netted them three times but more keeps coming up off the substrate.

Oh, I spent a bunch of time with vinegar and various scrapers trying to get the scale off the water line. It is much better but not perfect.
 

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Another long day, 6 hours. But the tank is setup and running! Much of the time was spent sitting and thinking, or letting by back stop aching from bending over the tank!

No pictures since the fines need to get filtered out and some random bits of root also need to get filtered. I've netted them three times but more keeps coming up off the substrate.

Oh, I spent a bunch of time with vinegar and various scrapers trying to get the scale off the water line. It is much better but not perfect.
I read somewhere here that if you soak a paper towel with vinegar and let it rest on the glass for a while it will do a really good job. You might need to lay the tank in various positions to get it all off but this is the time to nail it!
 

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I read somewhere here that if you soak a paper towel with vinegar and let it rest on the glass for a while it will do a really good job. You might need to lay the tank in various positions to get it all off but this is the time to nail it!
Too late!

I had read that putting the tank on it's side and soaking was the answers. That's mighty hard to do with a 75 gallon. I got much of it off and my hope was that as long as the scaled parts was underwater it wouldn't look so bad, and it turns out I got lucky. I don't see it now unless I'm looking really closely.

I will use that paper towel trick on the covers though. That should work out really well, so thanks!
 

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And here it is!



I really hope the fines clear out more. Overall I'm quite happy with the layout. The plants are all ugly but that was true before. I've dosed the water with Thrive and I'll get the Thrive roots tabs in soon. I've been told to go slow with them, that sick plants are slow to take up nutrients.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
2 weeks later it looks like this:



The Aponogeton ulvaceus is dying off, but it did send out a second flower stalk which is huge, this one must be 3 feet long, usually it just makes it to the surface. It also has some leaves on it. The middle and right crypts are melting, but that's no surprise. The left hand crypts seem to be growing, or maybe just unfolding.

The tiny swords you can't really see aren't thriving. I'm surprised, but it might be too soon. I've put 2 new swords in the back right.

I've started dosing the micro and macros DIY from Nilocg, but only doing it once a week, not every other as they suggest in the EI method. (I wanted to go slow.)

The "bad" news is that I wanted to show off my Cerges reactor. I just got it glued up but I screwed up and need to repair it.

In the better habits category, I timed myself doing all the maintenance on the 75, 40 and 4. 64 minutes for glass cleaning, water changes, and dosing. That includes fetching all the gear and putting it away. Really, I don't have any excuse to not be a better fish keeper. I'll keep it up.
 
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