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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here I will be explaining the progression of my planted tank. I will talk about everything from hardware to inhabitants (Plants and fish) and how they have changed.



Simple eh? I knew I wanted to start a planted tank and keep it really low tech, so here is where I started. Everything you see here I bought for $100, stand, tank and all!



Here i added some real driftwood. Some more plants and river rocks. Also may have rushed adding the fish, but I was a little naive thinking that the plants would remove the whole cycling process...WRONG!



Here I added a few more plants. Still hated the look, and I also hated the play sand as the substrate, way too messy and foggy, so I changed to pool filter sand!



Now things are starting to look better, not great but better. I learned some simple things about basic aquascaping and tried my best to incorporate those tips, like off centering the drift wood and what not. I also changed the lighting, went from half watt led lights by marineland and changed to a 48" dual shop light with 2 GE 6,500k bulbs.







Throughout these pics, I changed things up quite a bit. Added more plants (I assume most of you know the plants in there) and some better floating plants like frogbit (wasnt pleased with the wisteria). I also added more fish, especially 2 cool super red bn plecos!

I also started dosing some ferts and minerals like equilibrium and flourish, added some root tabs, and also removed the small vals I had in there, my water was quite soft for them.



Here I added a larger sword to help fill in the aquascaping. Beginning to look better, but there still seemed to be something missing. One of those things was swapping out the bulky driftwood piece with manzanita branches.



Now! This is where I am at now. Still dosing with Seachem Flourish, Seachem equilibrium, and Seachem root tabs. I had a problem several pictures ago with my swords looking like they had mineral deficiency, so I was directed to equilibrium and root tabs, and everything seems to be improving. The 2 larger swords were recently purchased so I hope all is well. I finally got ahold of the larger manzanita branch, and WOW! am I stoked! Also added 2 german blue rams, and some chain swords. So this is where its all at now, I am definitely pleased with it.

The only other thing I would like to do is change to a shop light that holds 4 48" fluorescent bulbs, instead of the one I have now that holds 2 bulbs.

Here are my current plants:
4 Anubias Barteri (Middle)
1 Anubias Nana (Middle)
4 Anubia Petite Nana (Right/Middle)
2 large Amazon swords (Left)
2 smaller Amazon Swords (Middle and Right)
Frogbit (Floating)
20 nodes Hydrocytle Sp. Japan (Front/Middle)
Scattered Java Moss
Ball of Pellia (Front/Right Corner)
Chain swords (Front/Left)
Lutea (Front/Left)

Inhabitants:
4 Angels
3 Oto Catfish
2 Super Red Bristlenose Plecos
2 German Blue Rams

I am still very new to planted aquariums, but I wanted to show my progress from the very beginning.

Any thoughts, advice, ideas and critics please bring them on and post! I want you to. I will accept any and all advice, everything from lighting, fish, plants and substrates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Forgot a couple things.

To the inhabitants, I also have 5 black neon tetras. Thinking of swapping these out with a different schooling fish...any ideas?

Also meant to add a hardware and fertilizer section for the setup.

Hardware:
Standard 55 gallon aquarium
Emperor 400, have an Eheim 2215, but currently working in a leak issue with it.
1 300w Aqueon Heater
1 dual 48" shop light with 6,500k bulbs

Ferts:
Seachem Flourish
Seachem Root Tabs
Seachem Equilibrium (to help with my really soft water)

P.s. Please forgive me if I don't know all the scientific names for the plants
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Any ideas, suggestions or advice? Open to all!
 

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I really like the evolution of this tank! It has the potential to be an amazing tank once it fills in some more! The new dw is awesome as well, your manzinita scape is kind of what i hope to use on my next tank. I also like your stocking. Black neons are nice, and you could add to them and then compliment them with rummynose or cardinal tetra! I am going to use the rummynose/black neon combo in my tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I really like the evolution of this tank! It has the potential to be an amazing tank once it fills in some more! The new dw is awesome as well, your manzinita scape is kind of what i hope to use on my next tank. I also like your stocking. Black neons are nice, and you could add to them and then compliment them with rummynose or cardinal tetra! I am going to use the rummynose/black neon combo in my tank.
Funny you mention that. I have a nice lady that is going to be bring over 25 cardinals for free. Will add them after a week of qt!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Also what is it with rummy nose? I war everyone talking about them. Good fish?
 

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Rummynose tetra have a checkerboard tail with a bright red nose. Arguably the best schooling tetra, but a little bit more sensitive than most tetras. Great fish. But you have the cardinals coming, so you can do 25 cardinals and maybe even 10 black neons. Not sure about if that is too stocked though. Generally it looks better to have higher numbers of less species
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I will be moving the black neons, and just keep the cards as the schooling fish. I may have to look into rummys though, especially if they are the best schooling tetra. I also saw that they are pretty precise with their water parameters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Are there any shrimp that will be safe in my set up? Looking to get a cleaning crew in there to help with uneaten food and what not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I really like the evolution of this tank! It has the potential to be an amazing tank once it fills in some more! The new dw is awesome as well, your manzinita scape is kind of what i hope to use on my next tank. I also like your stocking. Black neons are nice, and you could add to them and then compliment them with rummynose or cardinal tetra! I am going to use the rummynose/black neon combo in my tank.
Thanks by the way on the compliment!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

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You could try a bamboo shrimp, they get big and are great filter feeders. Might be worth the try since they are cheap and when they are full grown can be very impressive. If you get a decent sized one at a LFS your angels shouldn't bother it. They are a cichlid so you have been warned!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Nice looking tank, and a good progression.

I really like the Manzanita Branch. Do you have a local source, or do you order online?
I did for the larger one, but the smaller ones I bought from the guy in cali.
 
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