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60x30x30 Bonsai tank. Trial and error.

lilirose

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I'm just going to begin this thread with a load of photographs, inline so that I can easily caption.

This is my first-ever high-tech tank. It was a year in the planning, but in the end I did a lot of impulse buying. I also made a lot of mistakes at every phase, and it's still nowhere near where I want it.

I'm not looking for advice on this tank at the moment- in fact, today I am sick to the teeth of the thing. But I will probably feel better tomorrow, so here are pics from start until today.

2020-07-09 16.26.46.jpg


Were I a clever woman, I would have started asking for advice round about here. This was the seventh of July and I was planning a dry start method. I also thought that little trail would not be difficult to maintain (lol- such a sweet summer child).

2020-07-09 16.51.32.jpg


This was a half an hour and two XL in vitro pots of Micrantheum 'Monte Carlo' later. I was trying to do the "Lazy Man's DSM" according to Jurijs Jutjajevs. I thought I was going to just leave it alone for a month and have a nice carpet when it was time to flood.

However, by the 14th of July, the substrate was overgrowing with mould. :eek: My first impulse was to treat with H2O2, then I realised that mould would die underwater, so the answer was to flood.

2020-07-14 18.48.43.jpg


As it turns out, it's a good thing I didn't manage to DSM a carpet, because that :banghead: bonsai floated.

2020-07-24 18.53.26.jpg


24 July. The Bonsai sank. Added more MC, a pot of Marsilea hirsuta, a pot of Pogostemon erectus, and planted the bonsai with Anubias barteri var. nana 'Pangolino'. That's bio CO2, which I got fed up with quickly and bought a pressurized CO2 system. I should have tried to fix the little trail at this stage but I did not.

2020-07-24 18.53.35.jpg


Closeup of the bonsai, because I like the Anubias.

Then I let it grow for a while, added pressurized CO2, posted this thread with photos because the carpet wasn't growing fast enough for me:
https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/carpet-not-carpeting.62463/

Took some advice. Now today I have this:

2020-10-13 16.51.06.jpg


The stuff in front of the Pogostemon erectus that looks like crumpled autumn leaves is newly planted in vitro Alternanthera reineckii 'Rosanervig' which I hope will stop looking like crumped autumn leaves soon.

Stocking is 10 Crystal Black shrimp which have somehow survived since I bought them on 31 August. They aren't breeding yet but they've moulted a couple of times- they were very small on purchase.

This has definitely been a journey, and at this moment it feels like a big mess, but we'll see how it goes.
 
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Ags11

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Now that I see the progress over the months I can see that carpet has done quite a lot of growing! I think all the plants individually look healthy and you don’t mention algae so on the whole it sounds like the tank is headed in the right direction.

you mention on another thread the Alternanthera shed a lot of leaves on planting. I wouldn’t be too worried - the same happened with my AR Mini plants, but they are going strong now. Mine still look like autumn leaves, but maybe that is partly because my LEDs are only white and blue.
 

lilirose

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Now that I see the progress over the months I can see that carpet has done quite a lot of growing! I think all the plants individually look healthy and you don’t mention algae so on the whole it sounds like the tank is headed in the right direction.

you mention on another thread the Alternanthera shed a lot of leaves on planting. I wouldn’t be too worried - the same happened with my AR Mini plants, but they are going strong now. Mine still look like autumn leaves, but maybe that is partly because my LEDs are only white and blue.


As I have run low-tech tanks for years, I suspect my tolerance for algae is higher than most. There is certainly a bit but it's not problematic- I am actively avoiding cleaning the glass on sides and back for the sake of the shrimp.

I think the Alternanthera looks a little perkier this evening than it did when I took that photo. Will update when there's something worth seeing.
 

lilirose

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Tank looks great, please could you tell me the name of the plants in the back left corner?

Thank you! The green one is Pogostemon erectus, the pink one added in the last photo is Alternanthera reineckii 'Rosanervig'. Both are in vitro and looked pretty sorry on planting.

BTW, I just realised that @Ags11 thought I was complaining that the Alternanthera looks like autumn leaves. I was actually complaining because they look very crumpled, unlike what I see in other people's tanks- the "autumn leaves" bit is lovely, it's the reason I chose that plant. They are slowly improving, and hope once they get some roots down I will see a quick improvement (as I did with the Pogostemon).
 

Ags11

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I have seen AR Mini plants look redder in other tanks than they do in mine. I am guessing that is down to better care and RGB lights. But they are red enough to provide the contrast I was looking for vs the greens in my tank!
 

lilirose

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Just a quick update, tank is still ticking over. I suppose that's GSA on the glass and I should scrape it off? The Alternanthera appears to have rooted, I probably should clean the glass again, the MC has grown in a bit more since the trim a fortnight ago but it's not yet where I want it.

2020-10-28 18.12.48.jpg



The shrimp are not yet breeding but they are still alive and seem to be growing bigger so I haven't given up hope. Also, what's up with the brown/yellow leaves on some of the Marsilea hirsuta, should I just chop them off? Any ideas of the cause?

2020-10-28 18.12.57.jpg


I'm considering raising my current ferts (EasyLife Profito, Ferro, and Kalium/Potassium, I also have Nitro but have not used it in this tank, also wondering if I need Fosfo as I am using RO water?

Right now I'm using double what the bottle says to use. I could slowly increase to EI dosing (which according to the calculator here is 5x the dose on the bottle) until I run out, which is the goal so I can switch to dry salts and stop faffing about with many multiple bottles. Advice on this would be most welcome.
 

Wookii

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You definitely need to be adding Nitrate and Phosphate if you want that carpet to grow, even more so if you are using RO as you won’t be getting any from the tap water.

Also what are you using to remineralise your RO water?

Using so many bottles would do my head in - dry salts is the way forward, but failing that, why don’t you switch to an all in one product like TNC Complete?
 
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lilirose

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You definitely need to be adding Nitrate and Phosphate if you want that carpet to grow, even more so if you are using RO as you won’t be getting any from the tap water.

Also what are you using to remineralise your RO water?

Using so many bottles would do my head in - dry salts is the way forward, but failing that, why don’t you switch to an all in one product like TNC Complete?

I remineralise with Salty Shrimp GH+.

As far as using so many bottles- it started with just the one (Profito, which is not bad at all as an AIO for low-tech tanks, and of which I have a 1000ml bottle that's still got about 750ml left) and grew from there. Now I've the whole collection minus Fosfo and I've spent so much money that I want to use them up- if it means buying one last bottle to complete the collection, so be it! :lol: I don't fancy switching to a different AIO, I'll use up this EasyLife stuff and switch to dry salts.
 

Wookii

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That’s their sales pitch I guess - getting you to buy loads of different products.

If you are switching to dry salts anyway, just get the salts and mix a teaspoon of Potassium Phosphate with 500ml if RO water in a dosing bottle, and that’ll be the same as your FosFo for a fraction of the price (10ml dose per 50 litres).

I recommend the APFUK starter kits if you are going dry salts for the first time:

https://www.aquariumplantfood.co.uk/fertilisers/ei-starter-kit.html
 

lilirose

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Today with the water change I added half a dose of NO3. Will see how the shrimp get on and add more in a few days if they don't have a bad reaction to it. When my EI kit arrives I'm going to slowly ramp up to full EI...I've come to the conclusion that, should the shrimp die from it, I will either switch shrimp species or get some fish that can easily cope with it.
 
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lilirose

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Long overdue update. The carpet carpeted and needs regular trimming as does the Pogostemon erectus. I've even seen a couple of baby shrimp! The MC took over the tree after some cuttings became lodged there and I have left it- I suspect the anubias is doing fine underneath, one day I'll fish it out and put it elsewhere. That thing on the top of the tree is a seed pod for the shrimp which will hopefully sink soon.

2021-04-02 18.24.45.jpg
 

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