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Odyssey Project (Warning Picture Heavy)

1920 Views 4 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  bsmith
My name is Carson Albright, and I got interested in the concept of a planted aquarium around January of this year. I decided that instead of taking a ceramics class to satisfy an artistic creativity odyssey credit for my college, I would apply to get credit to aquascape my fish tank. I started this project in June, and in order to satisfy my artistic creativity credit I am now publicly displaying my “art”.
· Alternanthera Reineckii Roseafolia
· Cambomba Furcata
· Eleocharis Acicularis
· Hygrophila Difformis
· Myriophyllum tuberculatum
· Microsorium pteropus
· 1 betta
· 3 otto’s
I would also like to add that these plants may be considered invasive species and to take care when disposing these plants in order to avoid releasing them into a native ecosystem.
Other important specifications
· Ten gallon tank
· 2 18 watt “fish and plant” bulbs from Lowes
· Black fluorite sand
· Diy co2
· I dose macros and micros by premixing two solutions
o In one 16 oz bottle I mix
§ 3 tsp KNO3
§ 1 tsp KH2PO4
§ ½ tsp Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salts)
§ I dose 1 oz of this solution of macros every other day
o In one 16 oz bottle I mix
§ 1 tsp csm +b
§ I dose 1 oz of this solution of micros every other day I’m not dosing macros
Before I start here is a picture of my tank before I started the project

Day 1

This is the first day of the project. I added new hanging lights (which I made myself) and removed the blue gravel and replaced it with black fluorite sand. I also received the hairgrass in the mail that day, so it is the first day the hairgrass is in the tank. As you can see I was preparing for this project by growing water wisteria, which does amazingly in low tech setups
Week 1

I was still working on my dosing regimen, and had a little mix up with units of measurement and was dosing 1 ml instead of 1 oz. Water was getting pretty cloudy.
Week 2

Everything was consistently going downhill; as you can tell I still didn’t have my dosing regimen down very well. The tank is slowly getting infested with algae.
Week 3

I’m pretty sure I realized I was dosing wrong by the end of week 2, but I was still having an algae problem nevertheless. I also received a Marineland c220 canister filter this weekend to help diffuse my co2. You get a nice view of my dwarf puffer fish Megatron in this photo. This is actually the last photo taken of Megatron because unbeknownst to me the previous owner left stagnant water in the canister filter which was released when I started the filter. I was too new to canister filters to know to check out the impellor area, and had just spend the last few days soaking everything else but the impellor area to prepare it for the tank.
Week 4

Algae problem is getting pretty bad. I’m dosing 1 oz a day of macros and micros, but I was not dosing as strongly as I do now.
Week 5

Getting to about the point where I’m seriously regretting turning my fish tank into a planted tank. Algae is completely taking over my tank and I really didn’t want to add any other plants for fear of them dying immediately. My wisteria is starting to get taken over by algae too.
Week 6

I probably figured out that dosing the recommended amount was not enough in my situation, and I started dosing more macros and micros. Algae is finally starting to clear up. Starting to wonder when my hairgrass is going to spread. Unfortunately I did not remove the rockwool when I got these plants, which explains why they don’t spread.
Week 7

Tank is finally starting to look better, but I still haven’t lowered the light yet.
Week 8

Received my shipment of red plants that week. I’m starting to feel a bit more confident about the tank, as I’m starting to get control over the algae.
Week 9

Algae is finally under control, hairgrass is still not doing anything, and quite a bit of my red plants were liquidated, probably shipment stress.
Week 10

I got fed up with the hairgrass not spreading, so I finally individually separated each piece of hairgrass from the rock wool and planted it. The majority of my Alternanthera Reineckii Roseafolia died, along with some water milfoil. I also added a betta to the tank
Week 11

The plants are doing well. I decided to stop trimming my hairgrass as I gave up on it spreading.
Week 12

Everything doing great and the hairgrass is growing pretty quickly
Week 13

Nothing really to say, but everything was growing well
Week 14

This was last Sunday. Really just waiting for the hairgrass to grow, but I’m really happy I decided to do this project. It’s been a learning experience and I feel like I am finally getting some control over my tank. If anyone has any suggestions or advice I would love to hear it, and if anyone is just now starting up feel free to ask questions. I’m no expert but I know how confusing it can be to just start out, and having just started my first planted tank I will give my best advice.
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I've been considering root tabs to help with the dwarf hairgrass. I'll probably pick some up next time I'm at the lfs that actually has plant equipment
Thought I would add a follow up about what I'm now experimenting on. I'm trying a plant filter on my axolotl tank. Took about 2-3 weeks for my plants to acclimate to the roots submerged, but it's a low maintenance way to keep my nitrate to 0. All the filter is, is a plastic window planter with a hole in the side for the output of my canister filter, some golden pothos, and peace lily I threw in, and an 18w desk lamp.
Just to clarify, this is a totally different tank.
Here's a before picture, when I still had my tank:

Heres what it looks like now that it's had time to acclimate

Peace lilly even started flowering

Even though using plants as filtration isn't a new concept, I thought I'd post the thread that originally inspired me to give this a go.
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That's pretty cool. I'm not sure if it will keep nitrates at 0 (since you really dont want that) but its certainly a very neat idea.
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