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The progression of my 37 gallon planted tank.

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by ShadowMac, May 10, 2011.

  1. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I thought I would share a series of pictures, poor ones, of my first planted tank. It has been running for over a year and see many changes. some plants worked, others didn't. As I learned more, more plants worked. I want to thank everyone here who helped me during the learning process, which is still ongoing. This site has been invaluable.

    I will soon be breaking down this tank and rescaping. Hopefully, getting a much better looking tank with improved aesthetics

    A couple updates as well. I had asked multiple questions regarding water quality, RO, buffers, pH, kH, etc.; in regards to keeping my electric blue rams alive and healthy. I have since discovered that my biggest problem was my source. I have recently found a shop that ordered some in for me and they have done wonderfully with no issues. This was my last try with them and I am happy to say they are doing very well. My last batch from my previous source did not survive more than a day in what I considered to be the most friendly acclimation and quarantine environment I could provide.

    Here are the tank Specs:

    37 gallons

    Lighting: 4x24w T5HO's on an ice cap 660 ballast for much of the time. I have since reduced it to two T5's and hopefully things will remain stable. It was WAY too much light and a bit like driving a stock car with a blindfold.

    Pressurized CO2- GLA ultimate CO2 reg. with inline atomizer at roughly 3 bps

    Filter/flow: eheim 2215 (i believe I could use a bigger filter) with 2 koralia 1's for flow. I have since changed it to a single powerhead pump connected to a spray bar.

    Substrate: ADA aquasoil with powersand (I will not be using powersand in the future)

    Ferts: of course EI dosing

    Now for the pics, excuse their poor quality:

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    Once again thanks to everyone. I hope to keep improving and I will continue to ask all of you for your advice.
     
  2. chopsticks

    chopsticks Prolific Poster

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    Very nice tank!

    It is nice to see it progress, thanks for sharing.

    Did you tried the wood without the fissidens?

    I kinda of like it better how it looked in the next to last pic, don't know if it is because of pic quality, though.

    Very nice tank anyway :)

    Cheers,
    Juan
     
  3. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I didn't try the wood without the fissidens. That was the plan from the start, although I don't think it worked with the look of this tank. I have the branches in a low tech 29 gallon shrimp tank and they look really nice with some larger pieces.

    Some stages looked better than others. My biggest issue was the really high light. Things went wrong quickly when something wasn't quite right. usually if my filter flow decreased, my CO2 levels would drop due to an inline reactor cue the algae and stunted growth. I have had just as good of growth with 2 bulbs.

    I'm still struggling getting the rotala macandra red to be ....well...red. I figure if I can get that plant going healthy I am on the right track.
     
  4. youjettisonme

    youjettisonme Junior Poster

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    Are you dosing iron to bring out the red?

    Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk
     
  5. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I dose CSM+B with Iron DTPA added to that 1 part iron DTPA and 4 parts CSM+B. I also add about 1/16th tsp of Iron DTPA when I dose traces as well. I dose 3 times a week, at water change on sunday then tuesday and thursday.

    Should I test? I assumed I was addding enough. The macandra is the one that seems to get stunted tips occassionaly while the rotala macandra green doesn't struggle in the same way. Although it has had some stunted tips at times.
     
  6. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    I really like the look of the various stages and how it has progressed/matured over time.

    Nice job all around. Very healthy scape!
     
  7. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    Try less light on macandra? The irony I have discovered lately is that some of my plants are getting redder in my el natural tank (now enhanced with dry ferts) then in my high tech plant tank. Namely the rotala indica in this tank has a much more pink color and my cambomba is turning red as well. These plants are healthy but green in my high tech with 2x54 t5 ho lighting. Tom has mentioned here in numerous threads that this plant was frequently kept by those he knew in 2wpg t-12 lighting and the plant was incredibly red.

    Another thought perhaps if there are too many "weeds" perhaps its being out competed for CO2, you could try raising your CO2 level very gradually. I doubt with all the iron you are adding that its iron.
     
  8. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    decreasing my light has helped for sure. It has been about 2 weeks since I have done this, so might be a bit too soon to know if that is all that needs to be done. 2x24W T5HO's with reflectors. If I want to decrease lighting further I can remove the reflectors. Would anyone suggest removing the reflectors? I would like to give it another 2 weeks before messing with the light.

    I think increasing CO2 could be done slightly. I recently turned it down after adding a few new fish who appeared stressed. I could up it I think. I did a little yesterday and no issues with stress. I will up a little again tomorrow.

    I figured I had enough iron.

    I would like to see the macandra become healthy as I have some plans for it in the next scape. It is also one plant I haven't been able to grow well.
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Thicker stumpy wood might be better than branches sticking up.
    Using branches as dividers for the plant groups: this goes way way back to Dutch scapes, they often used wood as barriers between plant groups, you may add moss if you prefer something darker green vs wood color etc.....the effect is similar.

    It is better to put moss on the mid parts of branches vs the tips, otherwise you end up with Dr Suess's Lorax Trees.
    Rocks look good.
     
  10. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Nice tank. It looks very pleasing and radiates tranquility. I'd try to hide the hardware more.
     
  11. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    This being my first tank, there were several mistakes I made in design. I agree I didn't like the look of the branches as the moss grew out. I liked the moss, but agree it would have looked better along the "trunk portions" and mid parts of branches.

    Dr Seuss's Lorax trees! AAH! i didn't even think of that, now I really don't like them.

    Dutchy, the one shot where the pump and hose is so visual was while I was running my UV filter to clear up the water as it was a bit cloudy. It wasn't just my poor man's camera and limited photo skills.
     
  12. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I removed the reflectors today. I've noticed that the macandra struggles once it reaches a particular height. Also around that same height the rotala indica seems to begin to grow horizontal. These two things make me think that even with reduced wattage, the intensity is too high directly under the bulbs.

    Suspending it would be ideal, however that would require a different hood I could wire the ballast into. I have been tossing around the idea of building something out of aluminum. Since their is a black rim on the top a suspended light wouldn't look as cool as over a rimless.

    Also, what about replacing the ballast with something a little less intense since I've been told ice caps overdrive the bulbs?
     
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