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Short intro on me and after some general advice to getting started.

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by Barney, Jun 30, 2007.

  1. Barney

    Barney Junior Poster

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    Hi,

    As this is my first post I thought it would be an idea just to give a brief run down about myself too as I hope to be here for awhile and eventually be able to contribute.

    Basically I have kepts tropical fish for a good 4 or 5 years now and while my fish have always been very healthy any plants I have had died rather rapidly. this of course was because I didnt have any idea how to keep them (not ferts, poor lighting, etc. no wonder they all died).

    Anyway I have been reading up about doing a proper job of a planted tank for the last few months and I was planning to get started earlier this year. Unfortunetly I never got chance to due to a change in jobs but now everything is stable again I have just bite the bullet and ordered by stuff.

    After reading through the various methods I decided to go the ADA route. Mainly because it is relativly simple (and I'm a simple kind of guy :)).

    My shopping list:
    Plants and lots of them:
    (Because I'm new to this side of the hobby I have got a couple of "collections" coming which are mainly made up of fairlyu common fast growing easy to manage plants. I think I probably have enough to fill two tanks but it was a lot cheaper then buying single plants).

    ADA Amazionia soil (seems to be the popular choice and apparently has the biggest PH dropping effect which if very good for my High PH/Hardness tap water). I'm hoping that it is effective enough to save me having to run all my water through a peat filter to soften it and drop the PH.

    ADA power sand special S & ADA Tourmaline BC: from what I can gather this are the only addtional substrate ferts i will need (at least for the first 12 months). Please let me know if there is something more I should have though.

    ADA Brighty K and The step ferts - This is what really attracted me to doing things this way. Very simple and easy to follow and I didnt have to change my normal fish keeping routines drastically.

    JBL CO2 starter kit - CO2 is where I start to get unstuck. I'm sure once I actually get it going I will be able to figure it out but there are a couple of points I'm not 100% sure of (see below).

    Arcadia 120cm T5 Luminaire - Better then the single strip I have on the tank right now....

    Filters, heaters, hardscape etc I already have. Later I will get external heaters and glassware for inside the tank but have already gone way over budget on the above :)

    I dont have any firm ideas for the exact layout of the tank yet. I do have some interesting driftwood that will be a feature and I also plan to have clown loaches in the tank so will have a cave of some sort for them to hide in. Other then that I'm just going to "wing it" for this first one. I dont plan on having any fish in it for quite awhile (until i'm 100% confident that I know the water chemistry of the tank inside and out). so I have some freedom to alter things later down the line.


    Anyway my questions (there arent that many I promise):

    Any general advice you can give with setting up or general maintaince would be appreciated.

    CO2 - I know how to check the CO2 levels in the water and understand how it all works but again some general advice would be great (just to confirm that I DO actually know what I'm doing :) ). I have a big fear of CO2 because the one time I used it I managed to kill a whole bunch of cardinal tetras :( (It was a crap cheap one from the LFS and didnt have good instructions, it increased the CO2 levels way too much and killed them all overnight).
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Howdy,

    That makes two of us.


    The main thing in power sand is really NO3, you can add KNO3 and do the same thing. Then all you have is ADA aqua soil in there.
    Don't beliebe the tourmaline stuff, that's homepathic baloney with far infra red energy emitting monkey business.

    Quite popular in the homepathic I do not have prove anything just trust me it works crowd.

    Brighty K and the traces...........well Tropica Master Grow and KCL or K2SO4 are much cheaper, work better if not the same.

    pH and plants, they do not care, they d care about CO2 though, some species do better in softer water, but in fact most plants do better in harder water.


    I think CO2 will be the biggest issue for you, or most anyone new.
    Take a look at any and everyone' set up.
    Ask all your questions here about CO2.'
    Nutrients etc are easy by comparison.

    Regards,

    Tom Barr
     
  3. Barney

    Barney Junior Poster

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    Thanks a lot for the reply.

    Finally all up and running, still waiting for a couple of bits to come through (Ricca for the slate and a replacment soleniod) and I need to cut down the filter pipes and make a reactor as a lot of CO2 is being wasted.

    Not as pretty as most peoples but I'm fairly happy with it for a first attempt :)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  4. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I think you would be surprised if you knew how many of us don't have an aquarium that looks that good. You have a great start there, so the next challenge is to keep it looking that good. Don't get disappointed if it takes awhile to learn how to do that.
     
  5. Frolicsome_Flora

    Frolicsome_Flora Guru Class Expert

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    That is a stunningly scaped tank. I love it. Its very hard to scape the longer, narrower tanks.. you have a very good eye for composition and planting.

    I particularly love the slate, something that Im toying with trying at the moment actually.

    Like Hoppy says, dont get discouraged about taking a good deal of time to learn how to keep it like that, once youve gotton your head around it you have all the hallmarks of a very talented scaper.

    Lovely work!
     
  6. Barney

    Barney Junior Poster

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    Thanks for the kind words!

    The JBL CO2 ladder was a bit rubbish so I now have the CO2 going directly into the outflow pipe of the filter which is working much, much better. I have built an external reactor but need some silicone sealant to finish it off.

    I trimmed out all the dead leaves today (looks like one bunch of the Vallisneria died off but had new shhots growing so i cut all the dead leaves back to the substrate).

    I also had a big puzzle in that the CO2 was obviously going through and the plants where using it but my drop checker was showing up blue! turned out the bottom of the drop checker had gotten blocked! :)

    Couple of pics from today of the plants pearling like crazy (it has been a massive supprise to me how quickly plants react when you turn the lights on and get the CO2 going).

    [​IMG]
    Can anyone tell me what this is? I think its Micranthemum Umberosum.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Great!
    Now you are growing and have a standard to compare too.
    This is a new tank, so plan on doing 2x a week 50-70% water changes, dosing after for the first 1 month.

    Do this.
    It will help!

    You can work more on the scape, the pruning etc as you progress but you have some hardscape and can work with that or sloping the gravel etc.

    You have time, main thing is to have the plants fill in more, grow them well, then garden.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. Frolicsome_Flora

    Frolicsome_Flora Guru Class Expert

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    Thats such good news! and some very nice pics as well! Its so satisfying when your tank looks like a soda bottle. This will be a really cool tank to keep an eye on, let us know how its going fromt time to time :)
     
  9. Barney

    Barney Junior Poster

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    Thanks, I was planning on doing a 30-40% change every 3-4 days but will step this up a bit. I made a DIY Python over the weekend and it is such a time saver (wish I had made one years ago, all them buckets of water!!!!)
     
  10. Barney

    Barney Junior Poster

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    Couple of small updates. I have now added some Riccia to the slate which is pearlying like crazy and I removed the dead hair grass from the back and move a few bots around.

    Everything is growing really well. Pretty much everything has doubled in size over the course of just 1 week!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I have started seeing some brown algae and thread algae coming in but have just manually removed it at the moment and beleive this is common in the first few weeks? (its only showing on the slower growing plants and rocks).
     
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