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150g Wormcasting / ZeoSand "high tech"

Discussion in 'Articles' started by JDowns, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    From a previous thread and discussion here. I decided to setup another tank with higher light, CO2 injection, and a mineralized substrate using wormcastings and "ZeoBest" Zeosand. This recipe is following Tom's advice on startup materials / methods.


    Startup Substrate Materials

    Base:
    1" old substrate (established bacteria)
    1 handlful per sqft 100% peat
    1 tbsp per sqft Osmocot Plus


    Middle:
    2 - 4" Zeosand / Wormcastings. 2.5:1
    Wormcasting boiled until foaming ceases. (appx 30 min)
    Mix with Zeosand.
    1lbs dry powdered clay / Barnard Slip (caution stains everything 22% Fe2O3)

    Cap:
    1 - 2" Zeosand
    1 tbsp Bio Barley

    First month will be 50% wc's twice weekly, then retire to single wc's weekly.

    I settled on a lower lighting level then I've previously used to slow growth to a point where I'm not trimming weekly. Tank will
    be run at 160w for the first 4hrs, then 240w for the last 4hrs, for a total 8hr photoperiod. If this proves to be to low then I can
    reconfigure. I have a total of 480w of HOT5 available, 240w on each switch, so there is alot of room to play with. I'm considering
    also hanging the light, removing the canopy, that would also give me more wiggle room for light control. All bulbs are Geisseman Aquaflora.

    Dosing will be normal EI. 3/4 tsp KNO3 (daily), 1/4 tsp KH2PO4 (daily), Micro's from Pfertz 20 pumps every other day with 15ml Flourish Fe.

    Water is RO reconstituted with GH Booster and mixed with 25% tap. This gives me a dKh of 2-3. And the only test kit I own / care
    to own and test.

    Current plant list:

    Common hobbyiest names used unless a "scientific peer reviewed" name is known.

    Dwarf Riccia
    Blyxa Japonica
    Hemianthus Micranthemoides
    Micranthemum Umbrosum
    Staurogyne sp.
    Lindernia Anagallis
    Ludwigia Guinea
    Hemigraphis Traian
    Ludwigia Brevips
    Microsorum Pteropus sp.'s
    Fissedens Fontanus
    Peacock Moss
    Cryptocoryne sp.'s
    Hottonia Palustris
    Pogostemon Stellatus
    Lileaopsis sp.
    Myriophyllum Mattogrossense
    Rotala Rotundfolia
    Rotala sp. 'Green'
    Echinodorus (Helanthium) sp.'s
    Anubias sp.'s
    Japanese Hairgrass
    Ludwigia Inclinata
    Tonina Fluviatilis
    Rotala Vietnam
    Ammannia sp.
    Poaceae sp

    A little cloudy right now. This is the same experience I had previously on the 29g no CO2 tank. Took a couple weeks to clear up completely.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    Made a few minor adjustments. Added some rockwork and split up the dwarf riccia, added more Lileopsis for higher density.

    Just a clearer initial pic, but still a little hazy (to be expected). So far so good. No issues to report.

    [​IMG]

    Will update in a week or so.
     
  3. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    Just a timeline update.

    Did the second wc today. After an hour, water clarity is near perfect. Giving 7 days until clarity was restored to normal.
     
  4. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    I'll get pics up this weekend.

    So far so good. Did a trim on the Lileopsis sp. today to remove the submersed growth. New growth is coming in nicely. Most everything adjusted fine, Rotala Green has been a little slow to adjust (which has been my past experience), along with the P. Stellatus.

    I'm also testing a different Fe supplement. DTPA chelated.

    Setup has been nice so far as per algae. No diatoms, GSA, or anything else to speak of. A light dusting on the wood which was to be expected.
     
  5. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    Just a quick shot.

    I really need to get my Nikon back from my brother to get better shots.

    Did a slight trim to balance things out. Should start to fill in nicely in the next few weeks. Foreground a little bit longer.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Looks like it's coming along good.
    Add some SAE's and Amano shrimp, do 2-3x a week water changes for another 2-3 weeks,.

    Keep on top of it and keep it clean and the CO2 up.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    I started the tank with

    40 Ember Tetras
    10 Beckford's Pencilfish
    05 Otto's
    05 Hillstream Loaches
    04 Dwarf Puffers

    and well over 100 wild type cherry shrimp.
     
  8. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    Just a note:

    Reconfigured the lighting to a lower level. Growth is faster than I wanted.

    8 hours 160w with a 2 hour burst of 80w midday. I have a hunch that 160w total will be my end result.
     
  9. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Jdowns,

    Looking very good, but you need some more fish lol

    Looks bare but I know the critters are in there.

    Very nice work!
     
  10. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    Yes more fish are needed. I just can't decide on more embers or pencils. But I plan on waiting until the tank matures more. I like the idea of another 100 embers.

    I also yanked the Brevips yesterday. Some Ludwigia Inclinata fell in my lap, and since its a plant I haven't grown yet I couldn't resist. Should contrast well with the Mattagrossense. The Traian will eventually be yanked also. Just doesn't fit the scap well. But is a good nutrient sponge for the startup, and IME develops roots very quickly.

    I hate to say it but the Japanese Hairgrass is also gonna get yanked. Not pleased with the double foreground. But was a fun test anyways, it roots and fills in very quickly. I'll just trim some of the Lileaopsis and Echinodorus and fill it back in.

    Went to the studio this afternoon and stole my camera back. So I'll be able to take much better photo's next update.
     
  11. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Well I have always loved pencils so they get a vote......

    However,

    having always been a community keeper, I recently have narrowed my display down to cardinals, dwarf cichlids, and cories. Took me a LOOOOOOOONG time to change lol

    I really have to say that more embers in a large school with a small group of pencils as an offset would look AWESOME.......

    My school of cards looks great as there are NO other species swimming with them now. The dwarves and cories are more substrate level dwellers, and the cards get the rest of the tank. Have to admit I like the look. Juvies and elders look very natural.......

    L. inclinata IS NICE. I have the cuba and it is lovely...

    Best of luck with it all.
     
  12. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    Well just about a month in.

    Everything seems to be going swimmingly. I'm enjoying the lower lighting levels. I should have taken Tom's advice way back when :p . Growth rates are about where I want them, without the constant trimming. This should allow me once things fill in to just do shape trimming and enjoy the layout.

    Added some Tonina Fluviatilis, and transplanted some crypts from the 29g no CO2 tank. Eventually I would like to replace the Myrio with Belem, Inclinata with Pantanal, and slowly replace the Lindernia with Fluviatilis clippings. But plenty of time for testing different species.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Dmaaaaax

    Dmaaaaax Prolific Poster

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    Wow nice update....the tank looks great! BTW is that a CO2 diffuser right under your filter intake? It looked like you had a diffuser on the far right on the first few pictures but now I just see the drop checker?

    Sorry still a bit new to the plant keeping, so I am trying figure out what is what. :D
     
  14. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    In the first few pictures the drop checker is either at the far right or back middle. Now that things are growing in, the back middle is a hard spot to get a reading. So I leave the drop checker at the far right buried in the plants. It gets the least amount of flow / mist.

    The diffuser is under the intake / polisher for the Mag 5. The Mag 5 has been modified for better mist. I would have to take it apart for pictures to explain.

    One thing I have noticed, with the extra water changes. The filter needs less cleaning. Still wondering why people think wc's are only good for removing the nutrients we put in.
     
  15. Dmaaaaax

    Dmaaaaax Prolific Poster

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    Great idea and placement for a diffuser. BTW, is the japanese hairgrass in the center or on left and right of the grass in the center?...and what is the other "grass" in your foreground?
     
  16. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    The japanese hairgrass is in the center.

    The left and the right are a mixture of Lileaopsis sp. and Echinidoris sp.'s.
     
  17. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    Looks as though the Japanese Hairgrass is going to win the foreground war.
    Just like regular Hairgrass IME it takes trimming really well.
    I've topped it twice now and it comes back nicely.
    Reminds me I need to get a Brine Shrimp net for cleanup, a regular netting doesn't quite do the job, to much makes it through.

    Things are starting to fill in nicely. A few weeks and a good shaping trim will be in order.
    The Narrow Leaf Rotala Green is painfully slow in that corner, mixture of shading from equipment,
    and least amount of flow, which is something I need to address for the long term health of the lower stems.

    Overall I'm enjoying the soil.
    Haven't had any issues besides the initial cloudiness which lasted a few weeks.
    But the heavy w/c's put a serious dent in that.
    Its the first light colored top substrate that hasn't "browned up" on me.

    Removed the P. Stellatus, just wasn't feeling it anymore.
    Replanted some of it in my 29g no Co2 tank.
    Added and moved some Microsorum Pteropus' to fill the dead spots.

    Gonna eye-ball things and start to phase into once a week w/c's now.
    I bumped the lighting back up last week to 240w for the full 8hrs,
    wasn't happy with the spread and growth seemed to be about the same pace.
    That wattage seems to be the middle ground of compromise to fit my goals.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    Quick shot for a post trim update.

    Removed a few species, was getting to cluttered.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    Quick update.

    Pre and Post trimmings.

    Really liking the soil setup so far. Very stable and not to much of a mess if you uproot. I would compare it to AS. Still very easy to root in, but noticable heavier then startup.

    This was the second full week of once a week water changes.

    Dosing as been consistent normal EI.

    [​IMG]

    and a major hacking back of the Mattogrossense and Rotundfolia, and another hacking down on the Hairgrass, Lileopsis, Echinodorus (Helanthium), and Blyxa.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. ccLansman

    ccLansman Guru Class Expert

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    great looking tank! seems like your on the right track. I didnt read the thread just checked the pics but if you havent make sure you add a little extra co2 as more plants grow in.. That hairgrass lawn is amazing!
     
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