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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I should have started a journal way way before but I didn't know about the journal option so here it goes!

I'm a recent graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University and after that I pretty much bummed around the house. I got a temp job and had some excess money so I thought "Hey, my tank is kind of lonely...maybe I should do something about it." So I started out by adding my malaysian driftwood centerpiece. From there I thought that it was kind of boring, so I added 2 amazon swords. At that point I figured that I could actually do better than this because I've only heard of planted tanks but never really seen them. So I came to this great forum and found soo many inspiring ideas from a huge gallery of great tanks, and I'm very honored to see so many as well! So here is the beginning tank.

August 25th 2009


At this point this is what I had in my tank:

Equipment:
Rena XP3 Canister Filter
Hood light Fluorescent 25w single

Plants:
Amazon Sword
Wisteria
Driftwood
Some type of lily?

Fishes:
1 guppy
2 gourami
2 mickeymouse platy
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
I was pretty much hooked about my project and just couldn't stop! Before my planted tank I was and still am cultivating bonsai. But after seeing soo many great tanks, I came to the consensus that this is very similar to my bonsai cultivation as I would cultivate a tree and utilize moss to mimic a natural scene. So I did some research on how to apply the same basics in my tank. I found out that riccia was probably the cheapest way to go because at the time the LFS did not carry any foreground plants. I went onto youtube and figured out a way to apply the riccia via rocks and netting. By this time I had a pretty good set up goin. I added a few fishes to get some movement in my tank.

September 27th 2009


Plants:
Riccia
Amazon Swords
Wistera

Fish:
5 Neon Tetra
2 Gourami
2 guppies (yep it was an immaculate conception)
2 Mickeymouse platy

***ALSO at this time, I went out and bought a light fixture. Knowing very little about lights I thought that all I really needed was a bigger light. So, I bought myself a double fluorescent 36" light fixture that had 25w bulbs. I will later hate myself for buying that light...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A week passes and there was a family gathering at my house. My cousin who I believe is a fishkeeper expert was criticizing my tank. He had asked me how come I didn't use a proper substrate and how come I had 2 light fixtures. Shamed I told him that I was unexperienced and would be honored for his consulting. He said, "you don't need to go and get stuff, next time if you need anything you can get it from me." My cousin had 70 gal salt water tank before but sold it all cause he had kids. He told me to come over tomorrow and I'll give you my seachem flourite substrate and a nova extreme t5 HO light fixture. Needless to say, I was on top of the world.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I had picked up the stuff from my cousin but I had some urgent issues to attend to so I postponed adding anything to the tank. I didn't even want to add the lights just to it. I was job hunting...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I finally got the time to change my tank and boy was it a hassle. I'll just explain in pictures and a few captions.

October 15th 2009
Here is the Flourite my cousin gave me. Found out that this was just the right amount but wanted more so I went and washed some more.


Draining that tank water, which made my bonsai VEEEEEEEERY happy!!


Riccia that had grown.


Left some of the gravel in there and all that yummy yummy fish waste on the bottom.


Placed the flourite in there.


Placed all the plants in.


Took some riccia and placed it between netting to make carpet.


Tank is full.


I waited a day and a half before putting my fish back into the water. Also, water cleared up within a day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I added the lights to the tank and boy was it bright. Nova Extreme 4x39w bulbs, I had to take it down to just turning on 2 of the 4 bulbs for a good majority of the time and only 2-3 hours of the actual 156w. I found out that the light fixture had 2 regular t5 HO white light bulbs however, the other two were actinic blue bulbs. My cousin called me one day and told me to buy an extra white t5 HO bulb and replace one of the actinic blue bulbs and I should be fine. Here are two pictures to show the differences:

October 19th 2009
ACTINIC Bulbs


Regular 10k white bulbs


Here is the combination of the two
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
By now, I added a 1 liter DIY co2 generator that flows into a powerhead that will chop up the bubbles as it enters a plastic bottle where it will diffuse into the water. Amazed to see some pearling around some areas. However, I feel like I could do better by upgrading the 1 liter to a 2 liter. Will try that next week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
This is an update of my tank as of today.

October 30th 2009
Added a few more plants to the tank can you figure out what it is? lol


Look at that lawn grow!


Another view of the new riccia carpet growing with riccia rocks.


Close up of riccia rock.

***This rock actually had alot of riccia that melted... I guess they didnt like the new tank. but They are doing fine now.

Side view of the tank. No idea why the picture is flattened lol.

***My amazon swords also melted alot...Hoping for it to come back to life with new growth.

Plants:
Scarlet Temple (anyone know the proper name of the plant?)
Anacaris
Wistera
Riccia
Melted Amazon Swords

Fish:
16 Tetras
3 Guppies (WHERE THE HECK DID OTHER ONE COME FROM?!)
1 Platy (Gourami got the other platy)
** Gourami died 1 day before the water change...do not know why.
5 Ghost Shrimp
8 Amano Shrimp (yay)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
To this point, I'm pretty much satisfied. With the exception of the CO2 increase which I plan to do next week. Is there any suggestions as to what could be added i.e. fish plants?

I'll keep this posted when the riccia lawn comes in full.
 

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It really looks great. I love the 10k lighting. The greens really pop.

I think that instead of wisteria you could go with windelov java fern. It would give you a similar look, and it will adhere to the driftwood for more permanence.

Are you concerned at all with all that riccia about what you'll do when it starts to die below the netting? Do you think that constant trimming will keep it from falling apart? I've always liked the look of riccia lawns and rocks, but I'm concerned about the mess-factor in my tank--floating pieces and whatnot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It really looks great. I love the 10k lighting. The greens really pop.

I think that instead of wisteria you could go with windelov java fern. It would give you a similar look, and it will adhere to the driftwood for more permanence.

Are you concerned at all with all that riccia about what you'll do when it starts to die below the netting? Do you think that constant trimming will keep it from falling apart? I've always liked the look of riccia lawns and rocks, but I'm concerned about the mess-factor in my tank--floating pieces and whatnot.
thanks for the suggestion! i never knew that the java fern looked like that. i might consider that because the java fern kinda gives me two things in one plant, the bottom being swords and the top being wisteria like. and about the riccia, i have not encountered that problem yet. it's been 2 months with my older riccia and i havent had that problem. but i guess that trimming will be my only way of maintenance. have you had that problem before?
 

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i really want to do a riccia carpet in my 55 but i've also heard that it will eventually die under the netting/mesh and float to the top. i think regular trimming will take care of that? but what a mess it will make to trim an entire carpet of riccia! good luck i can't wait to see when it fills in :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
i really want to do a riccia carpet in my 55 but i've also heard that it will eventually die under the netting/mesh and float to the top. i think regular trimming will take care of that? but what a mess it will make to trim an entire carpet of riccia! good luck i can't wait to see when it fills in :)
Thanks alot, I really do believe that trimming it is the best thing to do. it would be a hassle but i plan to take out the whole mesh and just cut it outside the tank. but man, if these were actually practical I'D BUY IT just for the purpose of cutting riccia in the tank. haha



They are bracelets btw, created by a french designer Thomas Jaillot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I got my drop checker in the mail today! It took a while for it to come though...Not really happy about it taking almost 2 weeks to arrive. It didn't even come with an indicator sheet...Anyways, I placed it into the tank and waited about 3 hours for the water to reach equilibrium. I went back onto ebay and complained to the seller and asked if he could tell me what the colors meant. He told me that blue was insufficient, yellow was too much and green was good. After close evaluation, my drop checker had a very obvious blue but also had a slight hue of green. I figured that it could use some more CO2. I also noticed that alot of the water wistera were pearling a bit; but, it happens inconsistently. So, I decided to upgrade from 1 Liter to a 2 Liter bottle and plan to install it tonight. It's been about 2 weeks since i installed my 1 liter, I figured that it's about time I changed the yeast compound anyways.
 
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