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I know you all see a million of these threads, but once again I am a newbie with my first planted tank and would like some help from you pros out there. So here it is:



t is a 135 gallon, so 72" long, 18" Wide, and 25" tall. The lighting is two 72" 10,000K VHO bulbs (160 watts each). I am not running CO2. It is running two sumps, overflows, and return lines. Currently it houses a Pacu, Green Severum, gold Gourami, and an Opaline Gourami. Soon I will be adding 3 L200 and L134 Plecos, 6 Gephagus Altifrons, and 6 Corydoras Sterbai. More fish to come later.

In the tank right now are Vallisneria, various Crypts (ciliata, wendtii (bronze, red, and green) and lutea), bolbitis, Java Fern, Amazon Sword, and a Rose Swords. There are also two large pieces of drift wood in the tank.

This was all done today, and I just cannot seem to get it to look "right". What am I missing here? Any suggestions? Thanks.
 

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There are VAlls in the back right, but it is hard to make them out in the picture. Would you move some of the crypts from the lower left into the center enar the swords?
 

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In front of the swords, I'd have either the crypts or some java fern sp. needle leaf just so there's something there. Something shorter than the swords would definately be nice.
 

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I have some red, green, and bronze Wendtii on the left there, all in a bunch, I think I may move some of the stems over there in front. Thanks for opinion! Keep them coming!
 

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You do know how big pacus get, yes? :eek! You're already overstocked if you look at max fish size, and you plan on adding MORE? Hmmm... personally I would reconsider your stock. Also, pacus have been known to be lawnmowers and may shred your plants. They have a big mean grin, but they are really herbivores.
 

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Everything can be improved.

I would change the substrate, not pleasing to look at. Ugly color, not flat, very thick. It would also help the plants.

I would add CO2. It would tremendously help the plants. And you are going to get algae with 220 watts of light and no CO2.

Do a lot of water changes or start running Purigen/carbon. Water tint isn't very pleasing to me, although some people like it.

Your decorations are not placed well. Not aesthetically pleasing. Slate seldom looks good in a tank, and is difficult to pull off. Your wood is leaning against the glass, not good looking either.
 

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get rid of your pacu or else your going to regret it.
from what i can see everything else looks ok except the cloudyness of the tank doesnt look good.
 

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If it were my tank?

move the swords to the rear corners, vals towards the center rear and crypts in front of them

increase co2 to 20-30ppm and do lots more water changes! I do at least 50% every week.
 

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You do know how big pacus get, yes? :eek! You're already overstocked if you look at max fish size, and you plan on adding MORE? Hmmm... personally I would reconsider your stock. Also, pacus have been known to be lawnmowers and may shred your plants. They have a big mean grin, but they are really herbivores.
I completely agree that you are overstocked. You really need to consider the size your current fish will reach and adding more is not the thing to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You do know how big pacus get, yes? :eek! You're already overstocked if you look at max fish size, and you plan on adding MORE? Hmmm... personally I would reconsider your stock. Also, pacus have been known to be lawnmowers and may shred your plants. They have a big mean grin, but they are really herbivores.
Jen, yes I do know the size of full grown Pacus, at over 2 feet and over 40 pounds, anything less than 1000 gallon tank is too small. Unfortunately, no LFS will take him as of now. I am waiting patiently, but this fish WILL be removed from the tank as soon as I can find someone to take him. In addition, the Gold and Opaline gourami are being moved to another thank. This leaves only the green severum there prior to the other fish being put in. In addition, it is not the Pacu that seems to have taken a liking to the plants, its the gouramis!

Everything can be improved.

I would change the substrate, not pleasing to look at. Ugly color, not flat, very thick. It would also help the plants.

I would add CO2. It would tremendously help the plants. And you are going to get algae with 220 watts of light and no CO2.

Do a lot of water changes or start running Purigen/carbon. Water tint isn't very pleasing to me, although some people like it.

Your decorations are not placed well. Not aesthetically pleasing. Slate seldom looks good in a tank, and is difficult to pull off. Your wood is leaning against the glass, not good looking either.
Thank you for your honesty. How should I arrange the wood differently? Should it just lay on the substrate? The tank is only coming into its full cycle (readings today finally show the 0 nitrites I was looking for), so I will begin to treat with the Purigen soon.

get rid of your pacu or else your going to regret it.
from what i can see everything else looks ok except the cloudyness of the tank doesnt look good.
The cloudiness is just from the tank not being setup long and me rooting around in there trying to get the vals to stick down.

If it were my tank?

move the swords to the rear corners, vals towards the center rear and crypts in front of them

increase co2 to 20-30ppm and do lots more water changes! I do at least 50% every week.
I am planning on a very rigorous water changing schedule, probably 20-25% two times per week. I do not have CO2 as of now.

I completely agree that you are overstocked. You really need to consider the size your current fish will reach and adding more is not the thing to do.
Thanks Jeff, I do know about the Pacu and he will be gone as soon as someone will take him.

Once again, thanks to everyone for their criticisms, this is really helping me a lot.
 

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Hi IN, I agree with the suggestions given to you, specially the Pacu one. About the big piece of slate, I'd take it out and put a nice piece of driftwood or a fast grower plant, it'd look more natural. You have a lot of space to work with, I'm sure you'll get a very nice tank in the near future... what filter(s) are you running by the way ? Iask this because of the cloudiness.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks Guillermo, I have three more pieces of driftwood on their way. They are below.





They are about 10.5, 9,5, and 21 inches long respectively. I am thinking of taking the current driftwood and putting more of it together, to make more of a "jumbleness". Then use the other, more rooty pieces on the other side with open areas in the middle.

As far as the filter goes, I am running two overflows into two sumps and then two returns. This tank has just recently finished its cycle (tank is only 2.5 weeks old) so I attribute a lot of the cloudiness to that. I have my Purigen at ready, and will be adding it this evening most likely. The tannins from the wood have really clouded the water, I expect this to be gone when the Purigen is added.,
 
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