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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I started my adventure right after Thanskgiving 2014 with my first planted tank. I planned on a 55g but well, they had a sale on the 120's so I went for it. I kept a 7g tank with guppies for several years and gave the setup away to my sister about three years ago and decided to get back into the hobby. My ultimate goal was to end up with a school of Discus. I am still researching this to see what plants will prosper with the warmer waters.

Specs and Equipment:
  • 120g - 48x24x24
  • Black Sand Flourite
  • Pressurized CO2 with VIV glass diffuser
  • [STRIKE]2-EcoTech Marine Radion XR15 FW[/STRIKE] 2 BML Dutch 6300k XB MC Series running 8 hours (4/14/15)
  • Eheim Pro3 G90 canister + a G160
  • RO water only (transitioning to add tap, at least 50%)
  • 21" LED bubble wand running on opposite schedule of CO2

Fauna:
  • 5 Sterba's cory cat, Corydoras sterbai
  • 8 Lemon tetras, Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis
  • 11 Cardinal tetras, Paracheirodon axelrodi
  • 1 Neon tetra, Paracheirodon innesi (sold to me with Cardinals and didn't realize it)
  • 9 Rummynose tetras, Hemigrammus bleheri
  • 9 Harlequin Rasboras, Trigonostigma heteromorpha
  • 4 American flagfish, Jordanella floridae
  • 1 Female guppy, Poecilia reticulata, "Gina" is blind in one eye (inbred I'm sure :hihi:)
  • 6 Panda cory cat, Corydoras panda (3/28/15)
  • 1 Female golden mystery snail, Ampullariidae - "Gary"
  • 1 Zebra snail, Neritina natalensis sp. "Zebra", "Zebrina"
  • 2 Tiger nerite snail, Neritina natalensis, "Paprika", and the other added (3/28/15)
  • 5 Assassin snail, Clea helena, (3 added on 4/6/15)
  • 1 blue mystery snail, Ampullariidae (4/6/15)


Flora (far from inclusive):
  • Glossotigma
  • Riccia fluitans
  • Java moss, Taxiphyllum barbieri
  • Banana plant, Nymphoides aquatica
  • Java fern, Microsorium pteropus
  • Broadleaved amazon sword, Echinodorus blehari
  • Giant bacopa, Bacopa caroliniana
  • Broadleaved anubias, Anubias barteri
  • Anubias barteri var. nana 'petite'
  • Water primrose, Ludwigia repens
  • Dwarf hairgrass, Eleocharis acicularis
  • Brazilian pennywort, Hyrdrocotyle leucocophela
  • Rotala rotundifolia
  • Rotala wallichii

Other details:
Eheim heater set at 78
pH 6.4
Modified EI dosing
KH 2
GH 5

Fish names courtesy of my niece :hihi:

I've already been through some pretty big learning experiences with this tank unfortunately. Learning the hard way I suppose! I unknowingly stocked too quick at one point and overloaded my filter. I battled ammonia for three weeks and I think I scarred my cory cats for life. Lost a few fish as well. I've also lost quite a chunk of change trying to grow plants that just wouldn't grow with my lights. I also tried my hand at a DIY auto doser and failed miserably... at separate times, both timers malfunctioned and dumped two months worth of ferts into the tank at once. That was quite a headache of water changes! I only use RO water and I have to haul it in 5g containers that I get filled at a water store. Dumping 17 5g jugs at a time into another 5g bucket to be pumped into the tank is quite a doozy. Then do it twice a day for a few days. Expensive... time consuming. lol So, no more auto dosing for me. Dry dosing it is until I cough up the cash for a dosing system.

I'll post pictures of the evolution of this tank from beginning to current in the next post. I look forward to, and appreciate any and all feedback as I'm learning as I go! Thanks for reading!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
My boyfriend had to climb under the house and add support under the living room where the tank was going to sit. We have a 1950s house with a raised foundation and wood floors. Better safe than sorry! That's about 1000 lbs I believe.




First fill


Swapped the wood around. Lots of tannins.


More plants. Time passes.


New EcoTech Lights


More plants!


Right about the time my driftwood stopped leaching I decided to go with spider wood and started over planting.


It's a jungle


Rescape. Trying to make a driftwood island and create some negative space on the sides. Focus.


After the heavy water changes from the auto dosing mishap, the water is so clear. Looks like a different tank.


Here we are currently. I almost miss the old set up now. Oh well! Full speed ahead.


Shot at night with the LED bubble wand and moonlight.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Go big or go home indeed! Very nice layout! Like your use of all your plants growing off of the driftwood.

Thanks! I plan to do some research on more plants that I can finagle to grow on the wood or somehow attach hidden pots to it. I really want to change the texture layout from so much spikey to softer and bunchier.


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Thanks! I plan to do some research on more plants that I can finagle to grow on the wood or somehow attach hidden pots to it. I really want to change the texture layout from so much spikey to softer and bunchier.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

My advice here--- don't mix and match, group like things with like things. Spikes next to fuzzy will not do well generally, especially when they are different colors like red vs green. My best advice for you is to go sharp and spiky in the center with the driftwood (since it, itself is sharp and angular) and grow your bushy plants on the sides in the background. It also gives the illusion of bokeh, where you see a certain object sharpened but the background is blurred out.
 

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I like both scapes, you definitely went big! Bet the fish like the spiderwood better, more tunnels to swim through.

Soft epiphyte? Bolbitis for sure. Maybe bushes of Fissidens or a trimmed moss?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Thank you guys for the words of encouragement on the new scape! I feel better lol

I am really excited for the new lights to come and hopefully not too much more dies off before they do. It will allow me to have a bigger variety of plants to pick from.

yeah i feel the wildness of that driftwood arangement. what are the fish?
Thanks! Here's what I have in there right now:
5 Sterbai corydoras
5 Lemon tetras + 3 babies (somehow they bred during the ammonia outbreak)
12 Cardinal tetras
9 Rummynose tetras
9 Harlequin Rasboras
4 American flagfish
1 guppy "gina" (raised from fry that bred in my old tank that my sis has)
1 Mystery snail - "gary"
1 Zebra snail "zebrina"
1 Tomato snail "paprika"
2 Assassin snails

My advice here--- don't mix and match, group like things with like things. Spikes next to fuzzy will not do well generally, especially when they are different colors like red vs green. My best advice for you is to go sharp and spiky in the center with the driftwood (since it, itself is sharp and angular) and grow your bushy plants on the sides in the background. It also gives the illusion of bokeh, where you see a certain object sharpened but the background is blurred out.
I really like that idea. That would make for an awesome view with a purpose, and that's kind of where I want to head.

I like both scapes, you definitely went big! Bet the fish like the spiderwood better, more tunnels to swim through.

Soft epiphyte? Bolbitis for sure. Maybe bushes of Fissidens or a trimmed moss?
I think the fish really do dig it as I have seen them swimming in and out of the branches. There is also a huge hollow cave behind the wood and a hole that exits to the front. Haven't seen anyone swim through the hole yet. I almost wish the cave was on the other side so I could see the action in there. It's a great place to hide at least.

The bolbitis looks awesome, like a fern. That would be really neat. Also the fissdens has a great fuzzy texture. I'll definitely look into those.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Go Big or Go Home - Kelly's First Planted Tank - 120g

I added some panda corys this weekend. 6 of them. They are settling in nicely. I cleaned the CO2 diffuser and seem to have upset my fish a little. The drop checker was reading yellow and my snails were moving real slow if at all and the guppy was at the surface. Apparently cleaning that diffuser did wonders and had to turn the CO2 down!!

My anubias is flowering though. Very cool. Although you can see my snail population is a bit crazy. I've ordered some more assassin snails from someone on here and they should be here this week. Though I'll have to manually remove the larger ones which I hate doing because I don't like to kill things.





Moved a few things around. The pirate ship you can see is my BF's. He insisted he get a piece of decor. Sigh

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I was quite partial to the original driftwood, I really liked the look. Not to say the spiderwood isn't great, but I have always been a fan of the big hardscape features like that original piece since I haven't been able to accomplish that look in my own tank. :D

Yeah I've struggled with that a little. I am really tempted to go another route right now rather than pursue the "driftwood island", but the other part of me wants to finish what I've started and hope I will love it in the end. And if not, tear it down and start over. I suppose that's part of the hobby.

I have that huge piece of driftwood sitting on my back patio as I've got nowhere to store it! Was thinking about posting it for pickup on here.


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Nice pics! You got lemon tetras! I love those guys. They act completely different than any other tetra I've had, and I've had lots. They chase each other constantly very quickly and across the whole length of the tank.
 
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