1300l tank and 1ml of experience...

dw1305

Expert
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
10,520
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
I suspect the determining factor is what happened before I received the plant
That would be my guess as well.

When I worked in commercial horticulture ~35 years ago it was right at the start of the tissue culture revolution and we had a lot of problems with tissue cultured Roses and the weaning process after they had come out of the propagation flasks (we didn't micro-propagate them ourselves). Every now and then it looked like we had cracked it, but the next batch it would be the same issues of half the plants dying for no apparent reason.

We started putting the newly potted plants in the fogging unit, but it still didn't improve things greatly, so it had to be something that happened before they got to us.

If you are going to have to put your plants in the fogging unit for weaning that doesn't make any commercial sense and by the time I finished work there we had abandoned the idea of setting up our own lab.

Hopefully this should be available to every-body <"Effective Acclimatization of in Vitro Cultured Plants: Methods, Physiology and Genetics">

cheers Darrel
 

Tomiam

Member
Joined
28 Apr 2019
Messages
28
Location
Bristol
Not a lot to report at the moment. Its just a case of waiting for the big tank to arrive but there is good news from my 200l tank
.
For the first time in my experience I have plant growth!!! :)
The Flame moss which was stuck to bogwood two weeks ago turned brown on about 25% of it.
I kept the co2 and ferts going in, alternating macro and micro dosing each day , and today i can definately see a lot of little growths!
Very very happy and it gives me a lot more confidence going forward :)
 

foxfish

Member
Joined
11 Oct 2009
Messages
4,574
Location
Guernsey
You mentioned that your big tank will will quite sparsely planted, you may find that makes things a lot more difficult!
Generally speaking maintaining a large plant mass is more successful than tying to keep just a few plants!
 

foxfish

Member
Joined
11 Oct 2009
Messages
4,574
Location
Guernsey
I am afraid I don’t really know the reason, I have read it is as you suggest but can’t say for sure?
However there does seem to be plenty of evidence if you can go by reading members post on this forum.
It is often recommended to stock a new tank with as much plant foliage as possible.
From my own personal experience... I have tried to set up sparsely planted tanks and minimalist style tanks too.
I have often wanted to see a single specimen plant in the centre of an otherwise clean clean tank but on every attempt it has failed!
Failed due to excess algae overcoming the plant.
There are always exceptions and I would happily encourage you to go with your plan but just wanted to point out that there may well be issues.
 

Tomiam

Member
Joined
28 Apr 2019
Messages
28
Location
Bristol
Gotcha. Thank you for the advice.
My guess is that tanks which havent yet cycled will experience an ammonia spike before the nitrifying bacteria can fully establish. Algae loves ammonia and tries to take advantage of it.
In tanks with low volumes of plants, the ammonia spike isnt buffered as much as there are less plants to make use of it.
Im still a newbie and am happy to be corrected.
.
In my favour... i'll be seeding the sump with media ive had in my fluval 406, running on the 200l tank. Ive also made sure ive got a 10kg bag worth of course sand in the 200l tank, as well as a large piece of bogwood. The water from that tank will be put over too.
In short... everything i can do to put as much nitrifying bacteria into the new tank , i think ive done.
Hopefully... fingers crossed... this will help. :)
 

Tomiam

Member
Joined
28 Apr 2019
Messages
28
Location
Bristol
Not a lot to report but..
Delivery date of tank confirmed. 2 weeks to go. :)
Ive been gaining some experience in the 200l tank growing flame and java moss.
Some things ive learned.
1. Too much light is easy to do amd creates algae very quickly.
2. My two mosses seem to like some flow. The java moss is in the flow of the fluval 406 output and its doing very well. Flame moss, the half thats in the flow is nice n clean. The half that isnt looks a bit messy and has algae.
3. Amano shrimp are incredible algae eaters. They also like some flow. However they will also happily steal algae wafers / pellets from bottom feeding fish. They eat huge amounts of algae but prefer to get it from bogwood than the moss.
4. Cherry shrimp love sitting in the moss and eating algae.
5. Dosing ferts on alternate days is going well (micros one day , macros the next).
6. Moss loves to be a dirt trap.

Ive bought 2 x maxspect xf350's for the new tank with the aim being to have a small amount of flow gently wafting over the plants but then for 5 mins every day to have a pulse of stronger flow to clean anything settled on the plants.

Starting to get a plant list together now and will update a lot more, especially with photos once the tank is here.
 

Zeus.

Member
Joined
1 Oct 2016
Messages
3,222
Location
Yorkshire,UK
Ive bought 2 x maxspect xf350's for the new tank with the aim being to have a small amount of flow gently wafting over the plants but then for 5 mins every day to have a pulse of stronger flow to clean anything settled on the plants.
Great choice IMO. Think I've used most of the 24 scheduled from various speeds from zero to 90% at night have one on at a time so cleanup can do their job.
I have an intense flow about every 30mins during photo period with them alternating for 5mins
 

Tomiam

Member
Joined
28 Apr 2019
Messages
28
Location
Bristol
Ok... well... where to begin....
So much has happened since my last post and there is a lot of ground to cover. I have a feeling this update will be slightly abbreviated and cover a lot of the negatives in spending close to £3000 with 'a company'. My head has gone through "woooo!! Ive ordered the tank of my dreams!" to "err... thats not right" to "oh no..." to "have I just wasted a LOT of money with a company which is not good.... oh gawd!".
.
The tank, cabinet and hood were purchased from a well known aquarium supplier with the initials ND A or if you'd prefer the less cryptic way of saying it... "ND Aquatics".
I went to their premises and ordered the tank face to face as I believed that would be a good way for me to discuss what I wanted without risk of misunderstanding.
The tank took longer to arrive than initially stated but I'm ok with that, it's one of those things. Sometimes things take longer, sometimes not. Its a bespoke item after all.
However, the three days around when the tank arrived is when it all just went... "pleco poo".

A. The wooden trim around where the base of the tank sits was meant to be left off to make it MUCH easier to get the tank into position. The tank weighs 235kg and is only able to be lifted from two sides (one short and one long) when putting it into its final spot. I got a phone call saying it had been put on and was I ok with that?.
I was far from happy as this would mean a potentially problematic installation of the tank. Especially as I'd specified for that item to be left off the cabinet.
235kg is a tricky weight to manage from only two sides of a 90" x 26" rectangle and dropping it into place didn't fill me with confidence. If I messed it up, that was going to be MY fault!!
In the end NDA said they would bring a hydraulic lift and, after discussion & negotiation, some glass sucker handle carrying thingys which would help.
End result.. the tank went in pretty easily with help from the NDA delivery chap and their hydraulic lift. I'm happy with how this went in the end.

B. The hood has 3 access panels. The right edge of the middle hatch is 5mm higher than edge of the hatch next to it.
When I pointed this out on delivery, the chap said he was surprised that no one phoned me as they'd just spotted it that morning. When I phoned to complain, no one seemed to know anything about it. My gut feel is that it was spotted and sent out to me anyway with a "see if he spots it" attitude.
End result.. I'm meant to be getting a new access lid. I was told it would be a 2 week turn around and that was 17 days ago. Nothing so far.

C. I was asked at the time of ordering if I wanted to take delivery of the tank and wait for it to cure, or if I wanted a tank which could be used straight away.
I went for 'use straight away' and ordered my plants to arrive 4 days after taking delivery of the tank. I figured that 4 days would be enough time to plumb it in and get ready.
The tank arrived with a sticker on it saying I couldn't use it for another 7 days.
Thankfully Aqua Essentials were very understanding and rescheduled my delivery. Thank you Aqua Essentials.

D. Not enough pipe fittings in the 2 x pipe kits and extra bits I'd paid for to plumb the tank.
1 T-piece in the whole kit, and there are meant to be at least 4. After about 8 phone calls back and forth to NDA, the missing bits eventually turned up a week later. Despite being told that I had already delayed my plant order and that I needed the (insert parts) ASAP, and being promised they would be sent out... it took from Thursday to Wednesday to 8 or so pipe pieces (which were in stock) over to me.
I got so frustrated I ordered my plumbing bits from aquariumplumbing.co.uk and they managed to get two separate orders to without fail. Each one arriving the next day after ordering (I was happy to pay a bit more for express delivery). Great service from aquarium plumbing, cant recommend them enough! Without them I would have had to delay my plant order again.

E. When the tank, cabinet and hood were ordered it was specified that it should match, as closely as possible, to the dark brown oak wood of a coffee table myself and my wife own.
A photo was sent in an email, several phone conversations had, we agreed to stain the cabinet to match as closely as possible, and so it was with a somewhat "what the hell?!" attitude that I took delivery of my dream tank and ...err.. natural pine cabinet?!! So those that don't know, natural pine is a very light coloured wood.
Back and forth went the negotiations, with them 'offering' to take back the cabinet and stain it. Which is ridiculous. The pine is varnished. To acceptably stain it would mean stripping all the varnish off else you'd get a patchy result. Not to mention that I'd need to arrange for the 6 blokes from work to help out again.
End result.. £150 compensation agreed. Minor compensation and it saves them a LOT of money having the cabinet redone but , I will be honest at this point I was in full "I've had enough of this crap, I just want to get the tank up and running".

F. VERY very basic instructions with the tank , sump, cabinet etc. You get a bunch of pipe fittings (mostly) and a tank, cabinet and hood.
Hows it go together? ... well... yea. If you mess it up , you might find yourself short of a section of pipe and considering the wait thus far for bits...
At least 2 days were spent laying out pipe sections, cutting pieces and trying to wrap my head around how a tank like this should be best plumbed. Not just how it could be done in a simple manner, but how could I do it so that it's as best as it can be?
Example: I ignored the basic instructions for setting up the durso pipe. Which, as far as I can see would be permanently solvent welded onto the pipe work leading to the sump.
My way... I've got a length of pipe welded (solvent weld) to the tank bulk head connector (inside the tank). The length of pipe has a pipe connector on it, allowing another pipe to be push fit onto it.
My durso pipe push fits onto this. This way I can remove my durso pipe and be able to reach down around the inside of the weir.

Good bits?
The tank is well made from what I can see.
The dual weirs (top and bottom scavenging) work very well.
It's been an adventure and as such, there is a story to tell about the journey from "nothing" to "where we are now".
.
I've set up the tank and it's awesome. Seriously... far better than anything I've done before.
But... thats for another post (in a few minutes)... :)

Sorry for the negatives but this is a journal after all. I intend it to be a true and accurate reflection of my journey. I dare say that others will have good service from NDA but for me... it was barely passable as 'embarrassingly bad'.
 

Tomiam

Member
Joined
28 Apr 2019
Messages
28
Location
Bristol
Ok... breathing .... thinking positive thoughts now..
Clear water... pearling plants.. all gonna be fine.... This next post will summarise the set up and hopefully go into the thought processes behind what I've done.

Sump test day.
Connected all plumbing up. Held breath. Filled sump. Didn't find any leaks. Remembered to breathe again..
Sump test complete!
My confidence went up a bit at this point.
.
Right! An admission / explanation / errr.. something that means "I did it my way and it might not be your way and you might know better than I but that's ok".
I'd ordered 100kg of Unipac limpopo sand and a further 6 bags of Tropica Aquarium Soil. I washed the sand over the course of 2 sunny afternoons on the weekend (damn... how much dust does sand hold?!!) and my plan was to lay a base of Aquarium Soil, with a layer of sand on top. I'd done a bit of research and whilst it says on the Aquarium Soil bag and Tropica website that you don't need to cap it, it doesn't say you can't. I wanted something for the plants to be able to get their roots down into and I also like the look of sand, and know my intended fish stock of plecos & corys would appreciate sand too.
I appreciate that some people might not agree with putting a layer of sand on top of the aquarium soil, but it's what I wanted to do and could see no reason why I shouldn't and why it wouldn't work.
A layer of Aquarium Soil was laid, with more being placed around the middle and back than the front. This was then topped off with a layer of sand.
I took the two large pieces of bogwood out of my bath, thanked the lord my wife hadn't divorced me for hogging the bath for the last 2 weeks with bogwood (Thanks NDA for the delay...). It was at this point I worked out that large peice of bogwood are MUCH heavier when full of water.
Hanging over the edge of your dream tank, with what feels like 100kg of damp wood in your hands as you desperately try not to drop it... or fall off the ladder.. is a memory I will keep for a while.
You never see this in Mr Farmers videos do you... oh wait.. yea I think I did. Crap!

In the early morning of a Tuesday, the tank was filled to about 3 to 4 inches deep and left to soak for the day whilst I went to work to await delivery of my plants.

With a fellow aquarist from work, I headed back home with a cardboard box full of Aqua Essentials plants. Never having ordered plants online I was somewhat skeptical about the condition and size they might arrive in. Overwhelmingly the condition was superb. The size was excellent. Many of the plants being split into 3 or more.
After splitting them out from their bunches, removing the pots etc, we calculated that it worked out to be 3.5 plants for every 1 purchased.
.
We began planting and after a few moments I realised that ..errr.. bloke with the initials GF... makes planting look sooooo easy with plant tweezers! Arghgh.. It's like trying to use chopsticks for the first time.
I just couldn't get on with them and was soon planting with my fingers. My fellow aquarist, Tom, was whizzing along with the tweezers though... I didnt comment on this. Much..
Ok, maybe once or twice during the 4 hours we were planting
.
The next three and a half hours were spent waiting for the tank to fill and at 11:43pm I very nervously opened the taps to the sump.
No leaks!! WOooooohoo!! :D :D :D
Oh wait?!! no no no no... whats that?
A fair amount of water was on the floor on the right side of cabinet, but then I remembered thats where I had put the gyres when putting them in / out of the tank.
Phew... no leaks.. :D
Digital read outs on the temperature, flow and gyres all looked good and so I went off to bed slightly more confident!
I went off to bed feeling pretty good.
.
More updates to come. :)
 

Attachments

19Lee81

Member
Joined
31 Oct 2018
Messages
39
Location
Derbyshire
Ok... well... where to begin....
So much has happened since my last post and there is a lot of ground to cover. I have a feeling this update will be slightly abbreviated and cover a lot of the negatives in spending close to £3000 with 'a company'. My head has gone through "woooo!! Ive ordered the tank of my dreams!" to "err... thats not right" to "oh no..." to "have I just wasted a LOT of money with a company which is not good.... oh gawd!".
.
The tank, cabinet and hood were purchased from a well known aquarium supplier with the initials ND A or if you'd prefer the less cryptic way of saying it... "ND Aquatics".
I went to their premises and ordered the tank face to face as I believed that would be a good way for me to discuss what I wanted without risk of misunderstanding.
The tank took longer to arrive than initially stated but I'm ok with that, it's one of those things. Sometimes things take longer, sometimes not. Its a bespoke item after all.
However, the three days around when the tank arrived is when it all just went... "pleco poo".

A. The wooden trim around where the base of the tank sits was meant to be left off to make it MUCH easier to get the tank into position. The tank weighs 235kg and is only able to be lifted from two sides (one short and one long) when putting it into its final spot. I got a phone call saying it had been put on and was I ok with that?.
I was far from happy as this would mean a potentially problematic installation of the tank. Especially as I'd specified for that item to be left off the cabinet.
235kg is a tricky weight to manage from only two sides of a 90" x 26" rectangle and dropping it into place didn't fill me with confidence. If I messed it up, that was going to be MY fault!!
In the end NDA said they would bring a hydraulic lift and, after discussion & negotiation, some glass sucker handle carrying thingys which would help.
End result.. the tank went in pretty easily with help from the NDA delivery chap and their hydraulic lift. I'm happy with how this went in the end.

B. The hood has 3 access panels. The right edge of the middle hatch is 5mm higher than edge of the hatch next to it.
When I pointed this out on delivery, the chap said he was surprised that no one phoned me as they'd just spotted it that morning. When I phoned to complain, no one seemed to know anything about it. My gut feel is that it was spotted and sent out to me anyway with a "see if he spots it" attitude.
End result.. I'm meant to be getting a new access lid. I was told it would be a 2 week turn around and that was 17 days ago. Nothing so far.

C. I was asked at the time of ordering if I wanted to take delivery of the tank and wait for it to cure, or if I wanted a tank which could be used straight away.
I went for 'use straight away' and ordered my plants to arrive 4 days after taking delivery of the tank. I figured that 4 days would be enough time to plumb it in and get ready.
The tank arrived with a sticker on it saying I couldn't use it for another 7 days.
Thankfully Aqua Essentials were very understanding and rescheduled my delivery. Thank you Aqua Essentials.

D. Not enough pipe fittings in the 2 x pipe kits and extra bits I'd paid for to plumb the tank.
1 T-piece in the whole kit, and there are meant to be at least 4. After about 8 phone calls back and forth to NDA, the missing bits eventually turned up a week later. Despite being told that I had already delayed my plant order and that I needed the (insert parts) ASAP, and being promised they would be sent out... it took from Thursday to Wednesday to 8 or so pipe pieces (which were in stock) over to me.
I got so frustrated I ordered my plumbing bits from aquariumplumbing.co.uk and they managed to get two separate orders to without fail. Each one arriving the next day after ordering (I was happy to pay a bit more for express delivery). Great service from aquarium plumbing, cant recommend them enough! Without them I would have had to delay my plant order again.

E. When the tank, cabinet and hood were ordered it was specified that it should match, as closely as possible, to the dark brown oak wood of a coffee table myself and my wife own.
A photo was sent in an email, several phone conversations had, we agreed to stain the cabinet to match as closely as possible, and so it was with a somewhat "what the hell?!" attitude that I took delivery of my dream tank and ...err.. natural pine cabinet?!! So those that don't know, natural pine is a very light coloured wood.
Back and forth went the negotiations, with them 'offering' to take back the cabinet and stain it. Which is ridiculous. The pine is varnished. To acceptably stain it would mean stripping all the varnish off else you'd get a patchy result. Not to mention that I'd need to arrange for the 6 blokes from work to help out again.
End result.. £150 compensation agreed. Minor compensation and it saves them a LOT of money having the cabinet redone but , I will be honest at this point I was in full "I've had enough of this crap, I just want to get the tank up and running".

F. VERY very basic instructions with the tank , sump, cabinet etc. You get a bunch of pipe fittings (mostly) and a tank, cabinet and hood.
Hows it go together? ... well... yea. If you mess it up , you might find yourself short of a section of pipe and considering the wait thus far for bits...
At least 2 days were spent laying out pipe sections, cutting pieces and trying to wrap my head around how a tank like this should be best plumbed. Not just how it could be done in a simple manner, but how could I do it so that it's as best as it can be?
Example: I ignored the basic instructions for setting up the durso pipe. Which, as far as I can see would be permanently solvent welded onto the pipe work leading to the sump.
My way... I've got a length of pipe welded (solvent weld) to the tank bulk head connector (inside the tank). The length of pipe has a pipe connector on it, allowing another pipe to be push fit onto it.
My durso pipe push fits onto this. This way I can remove my durso pipe and be able to reach down around the inside of the weir.

Good bits?
The tank is well made from what I can see.
The dual weirs (top and bottom scavenging) work very well.
It's been an adventure and as such, there is a story to tell about the journey from "nothing" to "where we are now".
.
I've set up the tank and it's awesome. Seriously... far better than anything I've done before.
But... thats for another post (in a few minutes)... :)

Sorry for the negatives but this is a journal after all. I intend it to be a true and accurate reflection of my journey. I dare say that others will have good service from NDA but for me... it was barely passable as 'embarrassingly bad'.
I was considering buying a tank from these until a read their feedback on eBay... I soon changed my mind!!!.. glad to hear you’re finally sorted though, can’t wait to see the end result!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Zeus.

Member
Joined
1 Oct 2016
Messages
3,222
Location
Yorkshire,UK
Got my tank from same company and had lots of mods as tank is a room divider and no complains here for the price I paid. Shocked me how heavy the base was, heavier than the tank :eek:
 

Tomiam

Member
Joined
28 Apr 2019
Messages
28
Location
Bristol
Originally I had plans on having a very detailed layout with various plants ranging from beginner plants to rare and unusual ones.
After many hours pouring over aqua essentials, aquarium gardens and tropica website I ended up with a spreadsheet detailing the difficulty, temp, co2, height and 'notes' on various plants. I eventually decided to go with a beginner friendly approach and ditch the wild ambitions. With a tank of this size, I didn't want to throw a lot of money away on plants which were beyond my skill level and end up disappointed. My previous experience of growing plants, if you can call it that, was very poor and if the plants even managed to grow 10mm... that would be a success vs my previous best.
The list contains low light (tank is 30" deep), easy difficulty (Im a beginner) and low to med Co2 requirement plants. I also want to keep a reasonable amount of the tank bottom open sand, as the plecos & corys will need some room.
20190621_204927_resized_1.jpg
My list is summarised and shared below with the notes I've collated.
Rotala Rundiflora --- low light / medium growth / good light = red leaves.
Cryptocoryne Becketti - low light, looks good in groups.
Eleocharis Montevidensis - lowish light, low co2, 50cm tall. (Thin grass. Good for creating depth).
Limnophilia Sessilflora - lowish light, low co2, can be tall & bushy
Lodelia Cardinalis - low light, med co2, mid range plant, big leaves, looks good around anubias.
Aponogenton Longiplumulosis - low light, low co2, 60cm tall. large leaves.

Taiwan Moss - low light, low co2, grows horizontally very well.

Anubias Nana - low light, low co2, avoid bright light.
Anubias Barteria - as above.
Anubias Nana Gold - above, and looks good against red / dark background. Don't plant roots. Glue Rhizome.

Microsorum Pteropos (Java Fern Normal & Narrow) low light, low co2, don't plant roots. Glue Rhizome

Echinororus Bleher (Amazon Sword) low / med light, med co2, 60cm tall. Background.
Echinororus Amazonicus (Amazon Sword) low light, low co2, smaller variety than the above.

Vallisneria Spiralis Red. low light, low co2, doesn't like strong flow.

I apologise if I've spelt any of the names wrong! :)

Some decisions had to be made with the placement of plants needing more co2, light, aesthetic reasons etc than other plants. The overall look, I'm very happy with.

Co2.
Co2 arts pro diffuser with an extra diffuser.
Link: https://www.co2art.eu/collections/c...uarium-co2-system-with-in-tank-flux_-diffuser
I went for this as it looked a well built piece of kit and seemed straight forward to set up & use. Granted its a bit pricey, but hey... it is what it is.
Thus far, 3 weeks in I can't fault it. Very sturdy and feels 'solid' if you know what I mean.
I was going to put two diffusers into the sump right next to the pump so that all the equipment for the tank is kept out of sight. Once the tank etc arrived, it quickly became apparent this was not going to work as I'd overlooked an important factor.
The return pump takes water for the sump and sends it back towards the tank. Shortly after the pump there is a T piece which takes water from the return feed and flows it through a UV steraliser. The UV unit then returns the water going through it to the start of the sump.
By putting the diffusers next to the return pump this would mean a proportion of my Co2 (20%) would be going straight back to the start of the sump and likely lost in the tumbling water.
Thus the diffusers are currently positioned at either end of the tank, as far down as they can go on the side glass. Co2 then rises , where it meets the XF350 gyres, which then suck in the co2 and fire it back down and across the tank. This is the most efficient way I could think of getting maximum Co2 exposure to water.
A drop checker sits on the side of the glass giving me an easy way to check what level I'm achieving.

UV Steraliser.
Fed from a T piece off the return pump. Takes water flow up to 1900 litres / hour and then returns it to the start of the sump.
The UV steraliser is also used for water changes (see below)

Return Pump.
4000 to 12,000 litres / hour.
This allows me to adjust the water flow to suit me needs. If the poop is building up and maintenance isn't helping too much than I can increase / decrease the water flow and change the direction of the water returns through the four directional nozzles.
Each return feed (I have 2 weirs, one left and one right) from the sump come out the side of the weir comb. Each separate return feed then immediately hits a T piece which splits into two separate directional nozzles giving me complete control on where to aim the returning water. (Thanks again to aquarium plumbing for their assistance with this).Each return feed (I have 2 weirs, one left and one right) from the sump come out the side of the weir comb. Each separate return feed then immediately hits a T piece which splits into two separate directional nozzles giving me complete control on where to aim the returning water. (Thanks again to aquarium plumbing for their assistance with this).

Gyres.
The two gyres are positioned at opposite ends of the tank on the side glass, just down from the top of the water. On each gyre, one half is aimed straight out and slightly up which creates surface ripples. Nothing massive but enough to stop any films forming on the surface. The other half of the gyre is aimed down at a spot about 1/3 of the way across the tank.
This way I've got flow going across the front and down towards the middle.

Between the gyres, the return pump, the directional nozzles and the top & bottom scavenging weirs, I don't see any dead spots yet. Water flow seems to be good.

Water changes.
Oh boy... this is where I struggled to come up with a solution which wouldn't see me rocking back & forth at some point in my life. Do you know how many 14 litre builders buckets it would take me to do a water change on this thing? Short answer: Lots. So many 'lots' in fact that this needed to be solved in order to ensure my enjoyment wasn't going to die at the hands of a 3 hour tag team event between me , the kitchen sink and the tank.
The solution is simple, albeit it took me a while to get to it...
I bought a 350 litre water tank and shoved it into a cupboard we have under our stairs (about 12ft from the tank).
I then employed a plumber to take a copper pipe to the water tank, with an on/off level valve and put a ball valve into the tank. That way if i forgot to keep an eye on it when it's filling up I would still have a marriage at the end of it.
A cheap pump pump and a heater where then installed (dropped in) into the water tank.
The pump was then connected to an 8m length of pvc hose (about 16mm diam). With an output of 1200 litre / hour I figured this would be enough to empty the water tank at a rate which didnt cause too much disturbance to the tank for the fish and plants, but likewise didnt leave me waiting for hours and hours for it to fill up.
So that's the 'getting a lot of water to the tank' sorted. All I needed to do was figured out an easy (and non divorcing) way to get water out.

This is where the UV steraliser comes into play. By shutting off the taps on the return feed pipes , it forces all of the water coming out the return pump through the steraliser.
I simply shove a length of pond pipe onto the end of the 'return to sump' pipe coming off the steraliser and drag it out to the garden. The return pump can dump 12,000 litres of water an hour out this way and easily keep up with the pond pump in the water tank.

I do a 300 litre water change in about 25 minutes. Blinkin fantastic! :D
 

Tomiam

Member
Joined
28 Apr 2019
Messages
28
Location
Bristol
Lets jump forward to present day now.. (about 2 weeks after the above events).
What has changed, what have I learned, whats gone wrong / right and etc...

Things I think I did right.
4 x Fluval Plant 3.0 set up to be on 5 hours a day (including 30 mins ramp up / down at each end). Keeping the light low helps stop the algae from getting a grip.

Dosing ferts. I set up the auto doser and used 2 x large milk bottles for the macro / micro ferts. I'm pumping in 200ml of each on separate days. Micros one day, macros the next. This stops me forgetting and allows me to mix up large amounts each week. I had the auto doser pump into a measuring jug for the first week or so as I wanted to make sure it was working right.

Maintenance. I've been removing any signs of algae I can find pretty quick. I've had some algae on top of the bogwood on the far right. Its VERY close to the light. I scraped it off with a syphon hose to get as much as I could out.
Black beard algae? I've a medium grey fuzzy algae has been appearing in a few places on the bogwood. I've been hoovering these off.
I've bought 85 cherry shrimp for £30. I know!! Great price! :D Found the advertiser on aquarium classifieds. They are a wee bit small at the moment and are growing in my 200l being fed very well. As soon as they are up to a reasonable size I will be transferring them into the big tank as part of the clean up crew.
In hindsight, more shrimp would've been a good thing to have ahead of time.

300 litre water changes once a week. Happy to have the water change system in place. This is a good thing. I also have a TDS meter to assist with the normal test kit.

Plants. I'd like to think that buying fast grow / easy grow plants was a good choice.
The rotala is growing like a crazy thing. I'm genuinely getting 15-20mm of growth per day! At first I thought it was imagination and took a few photos to do a before / after. Then I started measuring them as I was convinced they were coming loose from the substrate and thats how they were getting taller so quick.
VERY happy chappy :D :D :D
I had to trim a few back last night. Must admit I felt very professional with my aquascaping scissors... lol
*In a posh voice* "Oh what am I doing?... Oh, I'm just trimming back this Rotala Rundifolia which is growing so fast I have to keep trimming it all the time you know!" :)

The Taiwan moss is settling in, as are the Crypts. No crypt melt, which surprised me but I've got new shoots appearing from the bottom up through the gravel. :)
The rest of the plants are visibly bigger than they were before with no visable signs of damage / lack of nutrients etc.

Inspecting the leaves of all the plants, I've got a small hole in 1 leaf on an Anubias Barteri but I've no holes in any of the others. In the weeks which have gone since I spotted it, it's not grown any bigger so I'm going to assume that it might have been damaged during planting.
The Anubias Nana Gold is growing nicely, a few leaves are slightly curled on one plant, but those are new leaves so I'm going to assume that this is fine but keep an eye on it. I've got a few new leaves coming from the other Anbuias too.

Rabbit snails. I have three in there. Love em. I find them interesting and a great little attention seeker. So you can imagine my joy at finding a baby rabbit snail speeding across the front glass :)
Got my phone out, couldn't get the camera to focus on it as it was too small :(
Eventually it came off the glass and went onto the gravel.
So I zoomed in, ready to share my first baby rabbit snail with the world and....wait... wait a minute! That's NOT a rabbit snail!!
Sadly the invader suddenly and slightly expectedly, met a quick end.

Whats gone wrong, what would I have done differently?
One piece of bogwood decided to float. It's right on the border line of sinking or floating and at the moment has a cup hook screwed into it. String is then holding it down.
I'm going to give it a few months and then remove the string. I should've soaked this for longer, but it's so big and had been in my bath for nearly two weeks as it is.

I had a leak :( I didnt solvent weld one joint. Thankfully it wasn't anything more than 1 drip per 10 mins. This has now been fixed.

Looking back.. and considering my inexperience, I'm grateful (read as: Astounded) that nothing major has thus gone wrong!

I must admit that I'm still finding my feet and confidence isn't 100% yet.
I'm dosing using the EI method, but turned down a little bit as I don't have a fully planted tank. I'm keeping a daily eye on the plants and thus far, we've got growth and no signs of trouble that I can see (waits for someone to spot something in the photos and point it out...)
The photos attached below are a selection over the previous week.
 

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Tomiam

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Joined
28 Apr 2019
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28
Location
Bristol
..and a bunch of new photos just taken today. Sorry about the glare, it's very hard to stop the camera focusing on it.
If you've got this far in the thread, Thank you! :)
 

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