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300L hi/med-tec scape (now low tec) For sale!

SalvadorNL

Member
Joined
8 Apr 2013
Messages
30
Location
Cambridge UK
Dear Ukaps,

1.5 month ago I introduced myself to the forum.
I bought Iain Sutherlands 300L optiwhite tank he used for his barb island, which is absolutely brilliant.

Although I haven't posted for 1.5 month I am really grateful for this forum as it is a valuable source of information I probably couldn't have done without. The tank is now 5 weeks old and doing resonable well. I went on two 8 day holidays in that period, which was not smart at all.

My original plan was to go with a Roma 200L tank, however Iain was on time with his offer as the roma was delayed (Seap***, temporarily discontinued whilst on offer....o_O ). However I did buy everything for the 200L tank including filters, two external 1000 L/H filters, which means I do not reach the recommended 10x turnover for 300L.

My other setup includes:
a fire extinguisher CO2 setup with two UP atomizers.
two hydor 200W inline heaters.
Two auto dosing pumps for my dry ferts dosing.

I wanted to aim for medium growth and thus reduce light considerably. However, the unit that Iain used for the tank needs to be attached to the ceiling and as I am renting I am unable to do so. Therefore I bought an el cheapo unit T5HO from allpondsolutions and must say it is rather brilliant for the price!

However, It is rather small, and considering I have a 75cm deep aquarium, the spread is not even. I would like some advice on buying another unit and how to balance the light. As right now I have 1W per gallon, but considering the spread, the light is rather hi underneath the unit and rather low at the edges of the aquarium. I don't think a more expensive unit can solve this, unless I can place the unit higher above the tank for more even spread and lower light.

Lights are on 7 hours a day (I started with 8, but rotella started to fold leaves 1 hour before lights went off.) CO2 goes on 1.5 hours before lights on and goes off 30min before lights go off. (I am still tweaking the CO2, more on that later though)

The flow is from back to front using spray bars.

Hardscape:

The hard scape used is from Freshwater shrimp and I'm really pleased with it. Redmoor wood and I believe petrified wood rocks, I am not sure about the rocks though.

Substrate is Eco-complete, and would not recommend it, but I bought it already. I also used Unipac Maui Coarse Quartz Sand.

Plants:

Most plants come from Aquaessentials, and some from freshwatershrimp. I wish I knew what they all were, but my wife threw away all the labels so I can only guess (I ordered a box for 200L tank and several plants of my own liking). Plants were of excellent quality!

I dose half EI as I wanted lower growth, however I fear that there are some deficiencies, I would again like some advice on that, I'll add pictures later.
Trace is added as per EI and all other dosing regimes (they are all the same for trace? PPS-Pro, dupla drops etc. why is that?) I also added flourish iron to the micro mixture and flourish excel to both Macro and Micro which equals half a dose a day. (I did not know it was Gluteraldehyde or I could have mixed it up myself or buy easycarbo which is cheaper)
I do 30% water changes each week and started off with daily 30% changes in the first week and two 50% changes the first two days of setup.

I hate doing the 50% changes as I need to switch everything off, so could I up the dosing regime and stick to 30% changes? I know buildup of the nutrients shouldn't be my concern, however, I live in Cambridge and my water has 33ppm nitrates (as indicated by water company, ~30ppm according to nutrafin test) and off the chart phosphates which equals more than 8ppm. Still need to do dilution range and use spectrophotometer at work, however, it won't change anything to the tap water anyways.
 

SalvadorNL

Member
Thread starter
Joined
8 Apr 2013
Messages
30
Location
Cambridge UK
Here is my initial scape. However I did not have a drop checker at that time and was pumping in way to much CO2
When I bought a drop checker after 1 week, it turned yellow instantly.
This is probably also the reason all plants grew like mad the first week, and most plants did great going from emerged to submerged.
I also have no crypt melt at all (still not in week 6)

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Perhaps the images are a bit overkill, if I need to make them smaller please let me know.

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Here you get a clear view from the side and the light unit. As you can see it is close to the surface and is rather small for the depth of the tank. Should I add an extra unit and dose more ferts?
 

SalvadorNL

Member
Thread starter
Joined
8 Apr 2013
Messages
30
Location
Cambridge UK
Here the tank is in week 3 and growth is getting on nicely. I used Bactuur and have to say, the tank was cycled in 2 weeks (not sure if this was due to the bactuur though, I know it is not the correct bacteria as those do not stay alive in a bottle...).
Therefore I added the first fish (otocinclus to eat the white slime off the redmoor (they did a brilliant job! and cardinals (yes I know risky buisiness, I won't do it again). I lost 2 cardinals leaving exactly 10 alive today (I added another 10 in week 4 and there are now 20). also sadly 2 of my otos died but at later stages (1 killed due to my CO2 changes). I now have 12 left.
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After this things went bad though. I went on a holiday and left the neighbour to look after the tank. Sadly though, a combination of bad things happened.
 

SalvadorNL

Member
Thread starter
Joined
8 Apr 2013
Messages
30
Location
Cambridge UK
So when I went on holiday, one of the auto dosing pumps (macro) started pumping out double doses... The CO2 stopped working, or was at approx half a drop per second when I returned, and my neighbour overfed the fish. Needless to say, I had an algae problem (hair algae to be precise, which shows that excess Iron is not always the culprit as it was one of the things that was actually in check.). I had one week before I left for holiday again. As all the fish were doing great at this stage I bought 10 more cardinals and 10 amano and 10 cherry shrimp (hoping they would clean part of the algae). The algae was battled within days with CO2 being back up and amano shrimp in the tank. However, a lot of the plants had suffered, especially Bacopa myriophylloides which sadly never managed to return to strength after the next holiday and a lot of leafs were melting.

When I upped the CO2 I upped it too much and apparently otos are very sensitive to CO2, much more than shrimp in this case. They were all acting strange moving up and down in the front corner like mad against the flow. Two otos were most affected being sort of petrified (unable to properly move but still alive). 1 died in a few days, and the other died a week later. CO2 wasn't that high, drop checker was only slightly yellow but now I make sure it is never yellow. However, I find it difficult to find the sweet spot as there is a 2 hour delay in colour change and the CO2 rises towards the end of the photoperiod. Also, the drop checker does not turn blue overnight, but remains green?... How dark green is it supposed to get? How much CO2 is expelled by the plants and fish? There is plenty of surface agitation, however, I cannot get the surface film to disappear completely, I even considered buying platies.

As the new growth and the wood were blocking flow, in the middle of the planted corners there was a lot of necrosis. To battle this I bought two small internal filters that blow in the plant mass at the substrate. This has stopped necrosis at those places and Nitrates have fallen from ~100ppm to ~50ppm. Before anyone starts, I rarely test, and only test if I feel something needs confirming or something is wrong. As a scientist I don't trust them and always do triplicates. Also I use them as indicators not as factual measurements.

When I went on holiday again, the tank looked good again:

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SalvadorNL

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Thread starter
Joined
8 Apr 2013
Messages
30
Location
Cambridge UK
I went on holiday again (I returned 2 days ago), and this time CO2 stopped working again (half a drop per second):mad: as well as my micro pump had leaked, causing mess in the cupboard and probably less micro dosage in the last few days (I use peristaltic pumps). This time the neighbour did not overfeed, however, the lower CO2 and reduced micro was not good for the plants, and there is now brush algae, however not a severe infestation.

There are now several other issues, The plants in the middle of the tank in the left corner are now necrotic/melting, as flow has stagnated there (I have to find a new solution for that).

Also some of the new leafs of the rotella are deformed, very small and shrivelled, but not dead or melting, just normal colour, just shrivelled. Same goes for several other plants. I had noticed this before, and is unrelated to flow, but not present throughout the tank and not every plant? (even the same plant next to the other, one shows this phenotype, the other does not??) I also don't understand why this phenotype shows up, as it usually indicates calcium deficiency. However, calcium is plentyful in Cambridge water with a Kh of 17:confused: . I now am at a loss of what might be deficient in the water, or what might cause a depletion/ block of take-up of calcium in the water. If someone has any advice it would be much appreciated. Pictures will follow later today. I know calcium phosphate precipitates in hard water, so maybe the high phosphate in the tap, or the dosed phosphates precipitates the free calcium? Although I do find this hard to believe considering how hard Cambridge water is.
Here are two pictures:
Rotella:

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Alternanthera sessilis?.. and somne spot algae on the glass

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There is a pond snail explosion. They love eating the surface film though, which is a good thing. However, they compete for oxygen and eat the zucchini meant for the otos. Would introducing nerite snails outcompete them? I also have a new green algae on the wood that is not eaten by pond snail, amano shrimp or the otos which hopefully is eaten by the nerites. (Picture will follow). I fear the week holiday without removal of any dead leaves or organic material, has stimulated the pond snail population.

Pictures of the green algae and some cherry shrimp:

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You can see the green algae in the background on the wood:
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Another problem is the Echindorus Magdalensis (I believe that is what it is), It grows like mad, it spreads everywhere and sprouts multiple thin, pointy leafs a day. However, all the new leaves are yellowish and most melt away very slowly (not all) There is plenty of flow. The old original leaves are still intact and green. Any idea what is causing this? What is deficient? Should I increase the macro dosage? Again, image will follow.

Here is image. You can see the green original leafs in the background:

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My cherry shrimp are not okay :( . I lost two berried females, and now 1 male. Only the adults and the ones that are the brightest red.... I fear it has something to do with molting failing, as they seem otherwise completely healthy, and the juveniles are growing. Perhaps there really is a calcium deficiency? Amano shrimp have molted however without any problem.... I have always had amano shrimp and can recommend them to anyone, peaceful, hard working and have always survived every situation in my tanks (those were always low tech and not aimed at plants though).
 

SalvadorNL

Member
Thread starter
Joined
8 Apr 2013
Messages
30
Location
Cambridge UK
Here are some initial setup images. After these and the last photo update of the tank today, I'll wait another few weeks and hopefully get some input from you guys.

Layout:
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The mess:

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The plants:
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All finished:

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SalvadorNL

Member
Thread starter
Joined
8 Apr 2013
Messages
30
Location
Cambridge UK
Another problem encountered since my return from holiday, all my cardinals are afraid of me and are continuously between the plants. They were perfectly happy before I left and were at the front all the time. I wonder if anyone knows what can cause such a sudden change in behaviour?

Ok last update photos.

Tank as of today, needs a cleaning and trimming, will do tomorrow.
The quartz sand has turned yellow brownish real quick. Vacuuming does not really help much... Anyone knows what I can do to stop the sand from turning brownish?


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SalvadorNL

Member
Thread starter
Joined
8 Apr 2013
Messages
30
Location
Cambridge UK
Just an update to this thread which I haven't updated for ages.


I changed the white maui sand for unipac fiji, which looks much better.
No more algae. Haven't seen algae for months.
Added
10 white widdow tetras.
12 serpae tetras
Now have a total of 32 cardinal tetras
8 pinguin tetras (those school really sweet and are pretty nice looking)
Cherry shrimp now oficially own the aquarium, there are way to many of them, and my fish aren't keeping them in check.... Even though I feed live foods, they don't eat the shrimp.

I will update some pictures soon
 

Samjpikey

Member
Joined
22 Mar 2013
Messages
859
Location
Devon
Great looking set up , looks very good :) I love the bushyness and the layout :)


Sent from my mobile telecommunications device
 

James D

Member
Joined
11 Jul 2013
Messages
705
Location
Oswestry
Glad to see you've overcome your problems.... remind me never to go on holiday! It looks really nice now.
 

SalvadorNL

Member
Thread starter
Joined
8 Apr 2013
Messages
30
Location
Cambridge UK
This is a final update for this tank.

It will be for sale soon as I will be moving country.

The tank ran high tec for about 1 year, after which my son was born and my PhD and son combined demanded too much to keep up with it. The tank received an additional light unit of t5's going to 2wpg, which did improve things a lot, i.e. see the video.

Here is a vid showing it with the white widow tetra's, the serpae tetra's and pinguin tetra's aren't in yet. I recommend watching in HD on facebook. The pinguin tetra's didn't do well, I only have 3 left, they rapidly went downhill after adding them for unknown reasons... all other fish are still doing fine.



This was more than two years ago. Will have to find a few more photos showing it off proper.

Since about June 2014, about half a year after my son Casper was born and I just didn't have the time, I moved to complete low tec. The only thing I did/do is maintenance and feeding. I lowered the light to 1 unit of t5's (1wpg).
Surprisingly, I did not get algae problems at all, even though it has now been running like that for 1.5 years, maybe my cherry shrimp, otto's, amono shrimp and nerite's are to thank for that.

Here are pictures of the tank today, notice how pretty much all the stems have melted away without light, CO2 and or fertilizers, but the crypts/annubia's are doing well, as well as Riccia, which is a bit surprising, had to battle with that stuff from time to time. This is a deep tank, and it is sad it lost it's sense of depth, but I still think it looks nice. Notice how the crypts have chaned quite dramatically in the low tec setup.

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Anyone interested in the fish/shrimp or any of the hardware let me know.
It is up for sale as I'll be moving country, and a toddler with an open top aquarium is simply a nightmare. More details about the hardware etc, will follow.
 
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