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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)


Hi everyone.

EDIT - REDID FIRST POST AS PLANS ARE FINAL

So I'm about to strip down and rebuild my tank - for the last year or so it’s been home to an assortment of small / grow-on cichlids and my 4 blood parrots.

Recently my blood parrots... which have reached about 6" each... have become terrified of anything that moves – they thrash around the tank madly whenever anyone comes in the room.. and when anything is going on they cower behind a piece of wood, clearly terrified.

To my horror one evening i discovered my gibbiceps has been 'rasping' on their sides... i had been watching them with the lights off in the room and staying very still (ridiculous, but the only way to have them come out), the gibby, bold as brass, swam up and under one of them and started trying to suck on to it... this triggered a mad panic in all of them.

I now realise this must have been going on for a fair while... as the fish used to be super-friendly have slowly gotten more and more timid. The catfish has been removed... but it's actually no fun watching a tank of terrified fish, so i;ve decided to pass them on in the hope they will be happier in a change of surroundings. I’ve tried adding more hiding places. – keeping the lights low, putting a bit of food in every time I approach the tank… nothing is working.

So, like many others, I am going to convert to a planted tank…


This is my plan…

EQUIPMENT
Rio 240
Eheim 2217 filter
Hydor 300w external heater.
Hydor heating cable – controversial I know, but I have read a lot about using these and I’m going to give it a go.
D-D C02 set... MAYBE... will see how it goes before shelling out on this...
Juwel ‘Lime stone’ structured background
Lighting – 2 x Juwel T5 Tubes with reflectors


SUBSRATE
Base 1” or so – mixture of peat and JBL floropol clay (currently used in plant pots in the tank), topped up with some bonsai compost for organics and a 2nd box of floropol, this layer will also have a few handful of crushed oyster shell added to stop it getting too acidic. I’ve used this mixture in a low tech tank with incredible growth – so I’m hopeful it will work similar wonders in this tank.

£10 for the floropol, £3 for the compost and next to nowt for the oyster shell – works out a lot cheaper than many branded ‘complete’ substrates.

Top layer – either ordinary gravel or equivalent, not sure what colour I want yet.

DÉCOR
I have some red moorland root and mopani wood, along with some slate stones I plan to reuse

PLANTING
Current plan is for 1 or 2 large swords to dominate, and strategically placed vallis to hide the filter pipes I’ll fill in around these with a bank of crypts and some red stem plants. Sorry this is a ****-poor description… it’s clear in my head… honest.

STOCK
Toying with the idea of discus – however it’s most likely my current ‘other’ fish will stay. Some platy’s, 2 ancient keyholes… i'll add some more dwarf cichlids.

To this I’ll be adding some ottos, some snails and I’ve got a real soft spot for angels, so would like to add 6 common angelfish.


QUESTIONS

Some help appreciated with the following…

1 - Will the otto’s be OK with the Juwel background? I’ve had a tank with a piece of fake wood where a plec eventually took the paint off the resin and left it white – how likely is it the Ottos will do the same?

2 – can someone recommend a c02 reactor I can connect to my eheim? I’ve seen some on ebay from china but I’m worried about the concept of cheap plastic fittings and 240l in my flat!!! I don’t want to use one in the tank if I can help it…

The parrot fish should be getting picked up this weekend… and I’m waiting for a bunch of things from ebay, but I’m hoping to do the rebuild within the next two weeks.

All comments appreciated… especially at this early stage where nothing is set in stone.


here's a few pics of some of my recent tanks while i get things going.

Current Blood Parrot Tank



Old 'el natural' Angel tank



That tank was always hazy... drove me mad!!! It improved a lot when i added a canister filter... proper 'el natural' tanks have little to no filtration... tbh this tank was the most problematic i've owned. could never get it to balance.


My previous low tech plant tank

]

Anyway.... wish me luck on this new adventure!!!


More pics soon.
 

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Welcome to the forum, JamieH!

I your Old 'el natural' Angel tank! Absolutely beautiful! Your other tanks are very nice too. :)

Sounds like this is going to be a great set-up. Keeps us updated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
First update... already... LOL>

Today i ordered...

- Hydor Heating Cable
- Some Ferka Aquabase -instead of the floropol as it was reduced on Aqua essentials
- Silicone for the background
- 12-16mm hose adaptor to attach my hydor heater to the eheim
- some dupla substrate additive which similar to an ADA product - minerals and bacteria activator... only it was £5... which makes it not like any ADA product.

(^_^)


So... i just have to pick up a couple of bags of gravel and i'm all set.

eeek!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
i was looking for a co2 diffuser that i could use with diy or pressure c02.... found a cracking looking one on ebay.... it's got a load of internal baffles and an impeller mechanism that spins with the flow to chop up the bubbles. only £12 delivered.






Also... amazing service from some online stores... my hydor external heater came in less then 24hours of ebay... as did my heating cable from aquatics online.... and 2 J5 (juwel-type T5's) plant pro tubes from warehouse aquatics...

i just need the juwel structured background to arrive and it's all systems go!!!
 

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Good luck on your new tank JamieH! I really like your "previous low tech plant tank"!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
All systems go.... the background, silicone, heating cable, substrate additives and other consumables have arrived.

Parrotfish are sold and will be picked up on Friday... maybe tomorrow.

Expect to have it up and running by the weekend...


EXCITED>
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·


the empty tank



my fish and plants in their overnight 35l storage tub home... i wonder if using an eheim 2217 to filter 35l of water is some kind of record??? :)



the juwel background and heating cable installed - and then i waited over night for the silicone on the background to go off



the soil mix in in the tank



the ferka aquabase on top of the soil



the hardscape installed... the plastic lid is to prevent the substrate moving when the tank is filled



the tank with initial plants...

i have a ton of new plants coming this week so will post more pics when my crypts arrive.
 

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Looks great so far! The more i see those type of backgrounds, the more interested i get.
 

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was there an option to install one of the background panels upside down? It probably won't be this way when the tank's fuill of plants but right now the background is immediate duplicity when I look at it. Other than that, the setup looks great!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
was there an option to install one of the background panels upside down? It probably won't be this way when the tank's fuill of plants but right now the background is immediate duplicity when I look at it. Other than that, the setup looks great!
was


no there was a groove where they joined - i investigated cutting it off and turning one,,, but then the ridges of the surface wouldn't line up... and i did a poor job or trimming one side so if i did that in the middle the join would be worse.

the plan is for the plants to hide these parts.


crypts are in... no melting yet and they are growing new leaves already!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·


Quick update and new photo - not a huge change yet but you can see the additional plants

bought some trace elements because i've got pale leaves on the hygro compacta.
 

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Nice backround and hardscape! Good Job!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Nice backround and hardscape! Good Job!
Thanks... happy with how it turned out now it's settled in a bit.

Starting to see much more new growth over the last few days - swords in particular have a lot of new leaves all at once... presumably because their roots are getting bedded in to the substrate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Tank over the last few weeks....


When set up



last update...



Today!


Starting to see some algae - particularly hair algae... might add a couple of SAE's to control this...

The other big news is... BLUE ACARA... Saw this guy in the local shop - heart melted... and home he came. So far he's the perfect gentleman - no agro, ignores keyholes and is quite excitable where food is concerned.

Alternanthera is basically dieing slowly... might replace it with something a bit more robust.

So... thats it for this brief update.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
well an update is LOOOONG overdue

the tank has changed somewhat... redid the hardscape, removed the hygrophilia and spread my crypts out slightly.

the tank is pretty much el natural now.... no c02, in frequent water changes and , while there is an eheim external filter on the tank, it just has coarse biomedia - no foam / filter wool etc. i haven't cleaned the filter in months

i added some amazon frogbit to help control algae... and that did really well for about 3 months and has suddenly started dieing... i may have to resort to fertilizing to see if it picks up. i really liked the trailing roots in the tank, so would hate to see it die back completely.

advice please....?


i ordered some seachem flourish and iron supplement.... so we'll see how that goes.

stock:
2 common angels
a small plec
a few platies
4 SAE's
4 keyhole cichlids

and finally a few pictures.... sorry for the poor quality



 
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