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Tank Overhaul is Completed - Thank You Everyone!

Discussion in 'Aquascaping Journals' started by EChord, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. EChord

    EChord Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I want to start by thanking everyone that replied to my various threads of questions. The advice and information was incredibly helpful and vastly appreciated. You helped me avoid a number of mistakes/problems and I am happy to have been able to benefit from other people's experience and knowledge. I wouldn't have accomplished most of this without that assistance - Thank you all!

    Now on to the tank.
    Tech Specs:
    Tank Size: 29 gal
    Lights - BuildMyLED 10K planted
    Substrate: ActivFlora Floracor Black - smaller grain size and much darker than Eco. Also easier to plant in, and no Ammonia spike (which is why I did not go with aquasoil)


    Also dosing pressurized CO2 - currently at about 5-6 bps. Ferts are hooked into a GHL doser, and am dosing micros and macros according to PPS. I am also dosing extra Fe as I have several plants with heavy iron reqs.

    Livestock (all have been in tank a long time):
    6 Black Phantom Tetras
    5 Cherry Barbs
    6 Kuhli Loaches

    I literally just finished planting last night. Here's the plant list:
    Pogostemon helferi
    Pogostemon erectus
    Rotala 'Magenta'
    HC 'Cuba'
    Lobelia cardinalis
    Heteranthera zosterfolia
    Isoetes lacustris
    Cryptocoryne parva
    Cryptocoryne sp - probably lutea or willisi
    Cabomba furcata

    Now on to the pics (all of these were quick shots that I did with my phone). Also - planning to get tank backing, just haven't done it yet.

    Fully Planted.jpg
    Left Corner.JPG Right Corner.jpg Center.jpg
     

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    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014
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  2. greenfinger 2

    greenfinger 2 Active Aquascaper

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    Hi EChord, Nice Scape (y) One thing the paint on the rocks ?? Spoils the overall look IMO.
    A couple of Anubias would look good in the dip of the DW :)All it need now is time for the plants to fill in ;)
    Looking forward to your updates :)
     
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  3. EChord

    EChord Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Thanks! I do want to put something into that dip, I just haven't decided what yet. I thought about Anubias, but am a little worried since I seem to be the only person on the planet that has managed to kill Anubias - at least in the past. lol It might be time to try it again though. :)

    On the rocks, it's a bit hard to see, but it's actually the stone itself and not paint. The green is druzy peridot, and the gray is basalt - here's a pic of a similar stone since those tank pics are definitely not macros, making it hard to see. http://freespiritemporium.com/RGH353.jpg

    I'm looking forward to seeing how things grow in too - especially since I'm taking a risk on a couple of those plants. It will be interesting to see how I do with them. We'll also see how much gets moved around since I'm not totally sold on the placement of a couple things. Of course that seems to be par for the course. I'm definitely enjoying the tank though - it's making me very happy. :D
     
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  4. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Echord,

    You have certainly done your homework. The most important thing is that you enjoy the tank. With that being said I hope you don't mind if I make a few design critiques. For most people scapes are works in progress, things get moved, plants changed, etc. My first observation is that since you are using one dominant piece of hardscape it should align with the focal region and be balanced. At the moment the hardscape does not seem balanced. The stones on the left and the wood on the right are distinctly different and do not harmonize together. To change this I would move the wood several inches to the left so that the first vertical part is aligned with the right third focal point. I would also move the stones so that they act as a base or appear to be a base for the wood. Group them together so that they appear more natural. The even spacing is a classic "newby" thing and looks unnatural.

    The wood naturally flows low to high from right to left. Use that to guide your plantings and the shape of your aquascape. Consider leaving the left rear clear of tall plants so it appears like a horizon.

    You could just leave everything, too! :D After all the most important thing is that you love it not to meet conventional design. ;)
     
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  5. EChord

    EChord Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Thanks for the feedback! I've been a little on the fence on a few things, and I think that helps focus me a bit. I'll prob wait on any major changes till the plants have had a chance to settle a bit, since they've already been through at least one tank change recently. Plus some of them are also emersed form transitioning to submersed, so don't want to add stress till they've completed that process.

    Def appreciate the tips - it gives me good direction for tweaking. :)
     
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  6. Glomeridae

    Glomeridae Active Aquascaper

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    Hey!

    Really nice scape! I'm agree with ShadowMac, the balanced of the tank isn't usual but I like the form of the DF, perhaps, with the tank's evolution, you will see some little things to change, in order tu best balanced the tank with the piece of DF! ; )

    Anyway, I find it really interesting! I will be happy to see pictures of the tank's evolution! =)
     
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  7. EChord

    EChord Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Thanks! I def will be tweaking, just holding off for time being till plants are more solid since a couple are def transitioning. Moving any of the hardscape def affects the planting, and a couple of the plants don't need the additional stress.

    On the up side, the HC seems to be doing well so far, but the P. helferi is struggling a bit. That one was tissue culture, so I know it needs to transition, and that will take a bit more time. The Heteranthera is also struggling a little, but I think that was either from the store tank or shipping to the store. The tops of those were looking much happier last night, so I think they'll be okay. :)
     
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  8. EChord

    EChord Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Well here's a 'verbal' update. I'm currently going through the stages of algae so didn't want to post pics. lol

    Algae actually wasn't too bad to start, but then I had to lower my CO2 for the otos (they were swimming around like they were drunk and trying to stay near the filter outflow), and I lowered it too far meaning I now have hair and staghorn. Been edging it back up again, and plan to get in there with a toothbrush in the next day or two.

    Plant status updates:
    Cabomba furcata - Quite happy and I've already had to trim
    Cryptocoryne parva - much happier now that there are otos in there cleaning them off. I had a little bit of melt, but only a couple leaves over the entire group, so not bad at all.
    Cryptocoryne sp - probably lutea or willisi - This was the pre-existing plant. It's also quite happy and pearls a lot with the CO2. There was almost no melt with this plant during the changeover. :)
    HC 'Cuba' - doing okay, but slowed down when I lowered the CO2, so doesn't look too different at the moment. Also, there's hair algae in there the cherry barbs like to pick at, meaning some of it gets uprooted as a result. Probably going to put in a small amount of Excel to help with the problem (I believe otos are sensitive to it so don't want to OD).
    Heteranthera zosterfolia - Has adjusted after initial leaf melting and is happy. I have already had to chop (trim sounds too dainty for what I cut on these) this one too.
    Isoetes lacustris - Has some new leaves and I will be trimming off a few of the older damaged ones soon
    Lobelia cardinalis - has actually given me the most headache. A bunch of it kept melting at the base, but it was the only plant doing that, and I had it in multiple locations. Some of it does seem to be doing okay though, so we'll see what happens there.
    Pogostemon helferi - tissue culture, and most of it died off. I now only have one stem, but that stem looks like it's transitioned and is healthy, so I'm hoping I'll eventually have more
    Pogostemon erectus
    - about halfway through its changeover from emmersed to submersed (seemed to take that one a long time), and it's showing signs of being happy, so I'm thinking it will have a growth spurt soon.
    Rotala 'Magenta' - So I assumed this was a rotundifolia variant when I bought it, but after looking it up realized it's actually another name for R. macranda 'narrow leaf' (oops - I hadn't intended to get such a touchy plant). On the up side it's actually starting to make the change over. It has gotten some new leaves, seems to be retaining color, and I'm leaving it the heck alone till it's better established.

    That's it for now. Hopefully I'll get the algae back under control soon, and get things looking pretty again. :)
     
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  9. greenfinger 2

    greenfinger 2 Active Aquascaper

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    Hi EChord, Spot dose the Staghorn and Hair Algae with Excel;) The Staghorn is the easy one it will go in a week or so :D The tooth brush good idea:) I used a cotton bud to get right in there with the hair algae :) The Hair algae takes a lot longer to get rid of but when your plants start to grow in the algae will be starved out :D
     
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  10. EChord

    EChord Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Thanks for the tip! I hadn't thought of the q-tip/cotton bud, and I think that will be very helpful on a couple trickier spots that would be difficult with the toothbrush. I have to say I def find the hair algae more irritating than the staghorn. Thanks also for the time estimate on that. I wasn't certain how long it would take to treat those.
     
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  11. greenfinger 2

    greenfinger 2 Active Aquascaper

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    Hi EChord, Glad all going well with the plants :rolleyes: Sorry forgot to mention that in my last post :)
    Any update photos:whistle: Only it will help members see how to get algae under control ;)
     
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  12. EChord

    EChord Aspiring Aquascaper

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    lol - well I just spent the last two days moving plants around and manually removing any algae I could, so there's less there now. Problem isn't gone yet, but it is reduced. HC ended up getting slightly culled as there was more hair algae in there than I realized. I ended up pulling plants up just getting it out, and there were some pieces that were so entangled it was easier just to toss them. There's still plenty of stems, though, and in some ways, they're distributed better than they were before anyway, just more as single stems now. I'll try to get a pic tmrw. :)

    Also this is a side comment on Petco sand - do not buy it, it's way too lightweight. I got some to help fill in a small section (only needed 2 or 3 cups) and I regret it. I almost wonder if it isn't made of some sort of plastic. Water doesn't penetrate between the grains in the normal way (hard to explain but basically it traps a lot more air), and the stuff is so freaking lightweight it moves all over the place at the drop of a hat. Makes a total mess, and I regret ever getting it. :p
     
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  13. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Can you post an updated photo please.

    In all the years (close to 50 now) I have never seen purple rocks its so distracting it spoils the aquascape but its your tank and if you like it that's OK with me.

    Keith:):)
     
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  14. EChord

    EChord Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Oh my - I promise they aren't purple. I took that shot with my cell phone, and I think it was probably picking up too much blue from the light fixture. The rock is dark gray basalt with green peridot on it, and they truly don't look purple to the naked eye. I've been a bit busy - both with work and family stuff (3 month old niece had heart surgery - she's doing great so no worries there :) ), but will try to get a new shot in the next few days.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2014
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  15. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    EChord

    Great even the small stones look purple.

    Keith:):)
     
  16. EChord

    EChord Aspiring Aquascaper

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    lol - I noticed the filter (which is black) also looks a bit purple, so the color balance was def a bit off. The fixture is an LED, so there are different colors mixed into the strip. I think it prob messes a bit with cameras. I do have good studio lights for when I shoot jewelry, but it's a bit of a pita to bring them up to where the tank is. I might decide to do it though - if only to prove the rocks aren't purple. :LOL:
     
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  17. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    EChord

    I think it would be a very good idea to ask for help re your lighting here on ASW.

    Better still see if you can get someone to actually look at the light for you.

    Keith:):)
     
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  18. EChord

    EChord Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I have a pair of daylight balanced studio lights I can use if I really feel like it - it's just that they're a bit large. The reflectors are about 16" diameter, prob around 10"-12" deep, are on stands, and are a bit unwieldy to carry up 2 flights of stairs. Honestly, it's plain faster and easier to just carry my camera up (Nikon d80) and use photoshop to correct the color if needed.
     
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  19. EChord

    EChord Aspiring Aquascaper

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    So I did a large water change and cleaned the filter at the same time, and I seem to have a bacterial bloom now. :eek:

    I have to say, it's been a very long time since I've experienced one of those, and was rather surprised. The large water change and filter cleaning is the only cause I can figure out for it happening, although I've done it before with no ill effects. I've been totally wracking my brain trying to figure it out since there was no ammonia spike or anything. It's a fairly significant bloom too - water is quite cloudy. I'm hoping it clears soon.
     
  20. greenfinger 2

    greenfinger 2 Active Aquascaper

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    Hi EChord, Nothing to worry about ;) I did the same thing about 3 months back :confused: It cleared up in 3--4 days
    So long as it white cloudy :) This was in water chemistry Forum, Solved there cloudy water


    Purigen™ is a premium synthetic adsorbent that is unlike any other filtration product. It is not a mixture of ion exchangers or adsorbents, but a unique macro-porous synthetic polymer that removes soluble and insoluble impurities from water at a rate and capacity that exceeds all others by over 500%. Purigen™ controls ammonia, nitrites and nitrates by removing nitrogenous organic waste that would otherwise release these harmful compounds. Purigen’s™ impact on trace elements is minimal. It significantly raises redox. It polishes water to unparalleled clarity. Purigen™ darkens progressively as it exhausts, and is easily renewed by treating with bleach. Purigen™ is designed for both marine and freshwater use. This product is sold by volume. Cited weight is minimal weight.
     
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