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Jim's 120gallon (450 litre) 4x2x2 - revamp

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by AquaticJim, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. AquaticJim

    AquaticJim Guru Class Expert

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    I pulled down my planted tank that I set up in 2007 recently and made it an easy care fish only tank, gave all my plants away (the tank had become almost impenetrable wall to wall C.balansae) in preperation for some extended travelling around Australia for my wife and I. Well circumstances have changed (we've become first time Grandparents) and it's now being set up again as a planted tank. So the Co2 has been dusted off etc and all re-connected. The only thing that I haven't re-installed this time is the Red Sea under substrate heating cable I don't think that the pay off for the cost of electricity running it actually was worth it.

    Tank: 4x2x2 10mm standard glass, braced tank (I'd love an unbraced tank!).

    Substrate: Plain inert gravel thats now over 4 years old and full of mulm, DIY iron rich clay balls and Seachem root tabs.

    Fertilizer regime is EI -

    4.5x teaspoons of KNO3
    3x teaspoons of KH2PO4
    Dissolved in 140mils of distilled water and dosed 20mils per day and 10mils per day of Seachem Flourish and either Seachem Iron or DIY iron mix 2x times per week and Seachem Trace mix 2x per week.
    (I have a 13% Chelated Iron and SimpleGrow Trace Mix and also PMDD crystals)
    I have very soft water so I do add Calcium Sulphate and Magnesium on water change times.

    Also for the first time I have used Osmocote 'ice cubes'.

    CO2 is administered via a Dupla regulator, Dupla Magnetic Solenoid, Dupla bubble counter, Dupla Reaktor 400, Dupla Drop Checker and a BOC 'D' size 6kg cylinder and a high bubble count.

    Lighting: Aquamedic Aquaspacelight 2 x 150w 10,000k metal halide lighting unit. I made a timber shroud around the spacelight and it makes it much nicer cutting down any escaping glare.

    Filtration: 4 x Eheim 2217 canister filters. One returning through a spray bar and the other through a curved return pipe.

    Heater is a 300watt Eheim.

    60% - 70% water changes 2x per week, in winter I heat the water in a barrel (4x 300w heaters and an Aquaclear powerhead) with some Prime added, in Summer it's straight out of the garden hose and Prime added to the tank.

    Initial setup 26th July 2011 -


    [​IMG]



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    My plant list -

    Bacopa sp Japan
    Cardamine lyrata
    Crypt "Undulatas"
    Crypt wendtii "Brown"
    Crypt Balansae
    Limnophila aromatic
    Heteranthera zosterifolia
    Micranthemum umbrosum
    Rotala rotundifolia
    Ludwigia arcuata
    Hygrophila polysperma "Sunset"
    Hygrophila polysperma
    Hygrophila difformis
    Ambulia aka Limnophila sessiliflora
    Glossostigma elatinoides
    Helanthium tenellum "Micro"
    Lilaeopsis brasiliensis
    Pogostemon helferi
    Riccia fluitans
    Staurogyne
    Ranunculus inundates
    Microsorum pteropus
    Microsorum pteropus needle leaf
    Echinodorus gracilis
    Echinodorus quadricostatus
    Echinodorus latifolius
    Nymphaea lotus Red Tiger Lotus
    Java Moss



    I suppose I'm guilty of collectoritis.
     
  2. AquaticJim

    AquaticJim Guru Class Expert

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    On the 2nd of August 2011 I moved out some DW and did some harsh pruning and replanting as there were heaps of stems hitting the surface and trailing across, it's starting to bush out slowly and the basis of the jungle is in there somewhere :)


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    Ten days later the plants are starting to move along -


    [​IMG]
     
  3. AquaticJim

    AquaticJim Guru Class Expert

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    I was never very happy with the Dupla CO2 reactor and finally got around to making an external CO2 reactor -


    [​IMG]
     
  4. AquaticJim

    AquaticJim Guru Class Expert

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    [​IMG]


    Beefing up the original 2x Eheim 2217's up to 4 has been a big improvement in my tank. I'm using the fishtail returns on all of them. The water movement is now excellent in the tank and approaching 10x turnover and all my plants are swaying nicely. CO2 is circulating everywhere better now as plants that didn't get a lot of flow before and didn't pearl are now pearling.
     
  5. AquaticJim

    AquaticJim Guru Class Expert

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    23rd of August 2011


    You can see that the plants are growing quickly -



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    [​IMG]
     
  6. AquaticJim

    AquaticJim Guru Class Expert

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    These photos taken 11th September 2011 -



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  7. AquaticJim

    AquaticJim Guru Class Expert

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    25th September 2011 -

    I love the c.furcata and the 'glow' it gives to the tank -


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  8. AquaticJim

    AquaticJim Guru Class Expert

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    I've been very happy with the progress of this tank in such a short amount of time. Lots of hard pruning to shape it should hopefully stop it from becoming to overgrown.

    Thanks for looking at my tank journal :)
     
  9. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Jim,

    Looks nice....very healthy plant growth...I hope my clover is as nice as yours soon...

    I like the open top too....

    Great job. Keep us posted....More pics please... I love the background. Details on it please?
     
  10. AquaticJim

    AquaticJim Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks Gerry.

    The background is just blue paint. Over the years I have tried countless different colours and different backgrounds, but this colour blue has always been my favourite. It always gives a tank a very vibrant feel and makes the water sparkle.
     
  11. Chunks

    Chunks Prolific Poster

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    I'm in Australia as well! In wollongong in fact.

    I have a question, where do you get your CO2 bottle refilled?
     
  12. AquaticJim

    AquaticJim Guru Class Expert

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    I have an account with BOC Industrial gases.

    There should be one in Wollongong (welding supplies etc) or a home brew shop should be able to help you.
     
  13. bardus71

    bardus71 Junior Poster

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    Hey Jim & Chunks, I lived in Point St Bulli for a few years with a deck looking straight up the coast & escarpment towards Bundeena. Gorgeous.

    Jim, I'm still impressed with your stance on simple inert gravel mate. Your proof is in your pudding, and your efforts are paying off. I have watched the mulm accumulate in the gravel cap I have in my NPT, and surprised on how it works is way down under the surface layer. Brownian motion? I dont know, but its always good to see someone challenge the current trends and keep it (relatively) simple with great results.

    Well done.
     
  14. Chunks

    Chunks Prolific Poster

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    Thanks for your reply Jim, I will shop around and see what I can come up with.

    So you said you dose EI, did you find it easy enough to find all the fertilizers you need, did you buy them in powder form and mix them yourself? I see you have a few squeeze bottles are they loaded up with the ferts you use?
     
  15. AquaticJim

    AquaticJim Guru Class Expert

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    It was really easy to find the ferts Chunks.

    KNO3 (potassium nitrate) you should be able to purchase at any agricultural supply shop, hyrdroponics store or there is even a guy selling it on eBay Australia.

    KH2PO4 you can get from your local Bunnings or any agricultural supply shop.

    Chelated Iron from Bunnings

    Calcium from Bunnings (If you need it)

    I can't sing the praises of EI enough Chunks, it makes having a planted tank a pleasure again. Puts the 'hobby' into the hobby. The people on this site with help you with any questions that you may have, don't let it seem overly complicated and overwhelming....because it really isn't.
     
  16. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Here is my old 1990's tank with plain sand, sort of similar really:

    [​IMG]
     
  17. scottward

    scottward Guru Class Expert

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    Chunks - DuraLite is good, I mail ordered mine from them. SimpleGrow are ok, they have the ferts, but they are very slow at processing orders, you have to chase them up a bit, and they are more expensive. So try DuraLite first. They have a website.

    Scott.
     
  18. AquaticJim

    AquaticJim Guru Class Expert

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    Tom have you any more photos of that old tank of yours?? Is that Hydrocotyle thats growing out the top? Thats one hell of a great looking tank for circa 1990

    Seriously.......I used to dream of Dupla metal halides that looked like those. They featured in the Optimum Aquarium and I literally used to drool over them!
     
  19. AquaticJim

    AquaticJim Guru Class Expert

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    Plain gravel and EI grew this tiny amount of Glosso that was sent to me through the mail by a fellow aquarist, from this -


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    To this in 10 weeks -


    [​IMG]
     
  20. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I had a few pics:

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    Crappy scans from Real Film, they did not have digital cameras at the time.
    I used an old Pentax K1000 and a handheld flash and Kodachrome 64.
     
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