'A Simple Plain' a post project aquajournal by S Lancashire

Discussion in 'Journals' started by REDSTEVEO, 21 May 2009.

  1. REDSTEVEO

    REDSTEVEO Member

    Messages:
    1,217
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    ‘A Simple Plain’
    Aquatic Journal
    By
    Steve Lancashire

    Well, we finally managed it, we sold our house and we’ve moved. On the 9th of April we moved into our new house in Hawarden, North Wales. Obviously I couldn’t set up the Aquarium until I was satisfied that ‘her who must be obeyed’ was happy with everything else. ;)

    So I waited patiently for two weeks, dreaming every night of how I was going to set up the new tank, what sort of layout, how I was going to plant it, you know the usual stuff. I should add at this point, there was one overriding factor influencing my whole trend of thought on this, and that was the fact that, we are only renting the house for six months until we find somewhere to live permanently. :(

    With that in mind, I had to keep it basic, keep it simple, keep it plain. And so the name of the new scape was born, :idea:
    ‘A Simple Plain’

    The other things that I had decided on was that I was going to invest in some glassware, a glass lily pipe and inlet pipe. Also I wanted an inline heater and an inline CO2 diffuser. The idea being that finally I was going to keep the technology out of the tank and under the cupboard instead. So the only things visible – ish in the tank are the glass inlet pipe, the lily pipe and the glass drop checker for the CO2.

    I gave my mate Jim a ring at The Green Machine and told him what I wanted and talked about substrate and ‘stuff’. :? At the first opportunity I drove over to Wrexham armed with my credit card and some cash I had saved up. You can never let her indoors see what you really spend, can you? :oops:

    Once at The Green Machine I got the usual treatment, a firm handshake and as much tea as I could drink while I decided on what I wanted. :D

    I left with a 300-Watt Hydor Inline Heater, an Aquamedic inline CO2 diffuser, glass Lily pipe and inlet pipe, a quality pair of planting tweezers, (what did I used to do without them) two bags of Zambezi gravel, a bag of ADA Amazonia substrate, some plants, and a few hundred quid less in my bank account. :wideyed:

    Keeping with the ‘Simple Plain’ plan, the only plants I bought were, Hair Grass, Hemienthis, Blyxa Japonica, and a nice piece of rock with Flame Moss on which Jim threw in for free because I had spent half my kid’s inheritance in the shop. I already had some rock for the hard scape bought some months previously.

    The tank was already full of prepared water and the filter and heater had been running for almost a week. The next job when I got home at 3pm was to re-arrange all the technical stuff, drain the tank, get the gravel and the substrate in, place the rock work, get the water back in with the filter and heater back on.

    I put one bag of Zambezi, unwashed straight into the tank as the base layer, then half a bag of thoroughly washed Zambezi on top of that before finally tipping the whole bag of ADA Amazonia on as the top layer.

    Easy peasy – only took me until 2 am. :? I sat and watched the whole tank for an hour checking for leaks, drips etc before I went to bed at 3am. Can’t have 200 litres of water draining out all over some one else’s carpets! :rolleyes:

    Up the next morning at 7:30am to get on with the fun bit, the bit we all love, the planting. A quick breakfast of cereal and tea and I got stuck in. I re-drained the tank, leaving just enough in to cover the low growing plants. Used my ACE new planting tweezers and finished the job in just over an hour. Job done I refilled the tank switched everything on and sat back to watch the plants grow. Three hours later the plants were already photosynthesising, I didn’t see it though, I had fallen fast asleep on the couch!!

    Please excuse my spelling of Hemianthis :oops:

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    Some shots taken later that day after I had woken up.

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    My verdict on what I used is as follows:

    Glass Lily Pipe and Inlet Pipe – :D Very Good. One tip I will give you is, when placing them for the first time in the position you want them, use some bubble wrap to protect them while you are fiddling with the pipe work. You know that bit where you are jiggling everything about trying to get it all to fit and look tidy.



    Tweezers – :D Great!!

    Inline Heater – :D Great bit of kit. The key thing here is to make absolutely sure you have got the measurements right before cutting any pipe work. I bought 3 metres of brand new 25 ml piping off Jim while I was at The Green Machine. I practiced using all my old piping from the previous tank, and when I was completely satisfied that all the lengths were spot on I used the old bits as templates to cut the new stuff. The only thing I had to do though, was reverse the heater and put it into the intake pipe going into the filter. The reason for this is because I simply could not fix the CO2 diffuser and the inline heater both in the same outlet pipe going to the tank. I had some concerns about this, but there was nothing in the instructions saying that you should not do it and Jim seemed to think that it would be okay. So far I have not noticed any ill effects. If anyone is aware of any potential problems please let me know.

    Shot inside the cabinet of the Inline Heater
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    Inline CO2 Diffuser – :) This is a great bit of kit and also acts as an additional biological filter. I am not absolutely sure that the usage and distribution of CO2 is at its optimum level and may need some tweaking, especially if you are using a CO2 computer set to PH levels. So the jury is still out on that one at the moment. I am happy that it is out of the tank though.

    Shots inside the cabinet of the Heater and Diffuser

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    Zambezi Gravel – :D As always – Brilliant, I would recommend it – with the right under gravel fertilizer though.

    ADA Amazonia Substrate – :?: :) This product is described as a ‘One stop’ use product, substrate – fertilizer all in one, no washing required, just pour in, add water and plant. I can’t argue that it is quick, easy, simple to use and looks absolutely brilliant….but there are one or two things I am not 100% convinced about, and that is the nutrient capability. There is nothing on the packaging listing exactly what is in it or any description of how it works. One thing I did not realise until I got it in the tank and started planting, is how lightweight it is, and how easy it moves about or shifts in the water. It takes a bit of getting used to when planting small and delicate plants like Helianthus for instance. It was difficult to get the plants to stay put especially when the filter goes back on and there is some water movement.

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    The Hair Grass and the Blyxa Japonica seem to be doing very well in it, but not so well the Helianthus. Still it is early days yet so I will wait and see before making my mind up on it completely. One thing I would have done differently is that I would have used a pot and a half of SERA Mineral soil on top of the first layer of Zambezi, and then mixed the Amazonia with the half bag of washed Zambezi and added that as the top layer of substrate. This would have given the top layer a bit more weight and a bit more substance and in my opinion would have given the plants a bit more to grip onto in the early stages.

    One thing a lot of you will have noticed is that I have not used any other ADA supplement or sub base product such as the Powersand or any of the pre nitro bacteria enzymes and fertilizers. The reason for this omission was purely financial. Not because I did not want to buy them, just because there is the distinct possibility that this tank will be getting dismantled again in October at the end of our rental period and I did not want invest in something, which is only short term. So, that said, when we do move again to the place we want to live in, I will be giving it the full Monty. ;)

    I have already started putting a few bob to one side for this so that it won’t be as painful when the time comes.

    So that’s it, ‘A Simple Plain’ for what it’s worth. The fish which were added 10 days later are the fish that I had in my last tank, 2 x Striped Angels, 2 x Marbled Angels, about 20 x Ember Tetras, 8 x Ottocinclus, 2 x Corydoras, a sucking loach and a handful of Armano shrimps.

    There has been no Algae blooms yet :) Ammonia spike that I am aware of, some techie details and water Parameters at present are:
    PH 6.4, GH 16, KH 7, Temp. 26 degrees, Lighting 4 x SERA Tubes on timers with CO2 coming on 2 hours before the lights and off 1 hour before lights go out.

    Here are the photo’s I took after 3 weeks. As usual if anyone has got any great ideas or suggestions, (remembering of course that this only a short term stop gap until we move again) please let me know.

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    Cheers.
     
  2. Nick16

    Nick16 Member

    Messages:
    1,761
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    wow, im loving the hairgrass. its gone bananas in 3 weeks! i think the background actually looks ok, normally they dont but yours is nice.
     
  3. Hi,

    And "yay" another corner tank user.... :D

    What model is it? I couldnt get HC working in my one with stock lights.

    Personally i'm not a fan of the back drop as I can't get over the fact it is same in each panel. I use shiny black on mine which creates a mirror effect of what is in the tank from certain angles.

    The hairgrass is making me want to give it another shot, great growth in such a short time.

    Best Regards,
    John
     
  4. glenn

    glenn Member

    Messages:
    358
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    great tank...and a good journal with the reviws i like it, are you shure the 'striped anglefish' are not altum angelfish? :)
     
  5. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    Messages:
    3,955
    Location:
    worksop, nottinghamshire
    i like reading your journals, :D Nice start.
     
  6. samc

    samc Member

    Messages:
    1,381
    looks good :D

    i think if you put a bit of redmoor with moss where the red stone is would look cool
     
  7. StevenA

    StevenA Member

    Messages:
    514
    Location:
    Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire.
    Excellent start with the journal, love the reviews too, nice touch :D If it were me I'd like to see a bit of instant height in there, but I guess that's not the style you're going for. Nice plant choice too, the hairgrass looks great.
     
  8. steve2tanks

    steve2tanks Member

    Messages:
    172
    Location:
    Durham
    Great write up for a journal,looking good for 3 weeks in,wish my hairgrass would grow like that :D
     
  9. nry

    nry Member

    Messages:
    1,239
    Location:
    Cumbria, UK
    If you loop and route the pipework well it is possible to get the heater and reactor all on the right pipes. You've got loads more room in the cabinet than me so if you ever get bored it can be done :)
     
  10. REDSTEVEO

    REDSTEVEO Member

    Messages:
    1,217
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    Hi, Yeh I have always been a big fan of the hair grass ever since I saw it growing in Alan's tank at Alisons Aquatics in Caergwle! His always seemed to do better than mine though. I am sure he had some magic formula that he never told us about. Big fan of SERA products though.

    The background is only temporary until I can make my mind up on what would look best taking into account I am keeping the planting as basic as possible.

    Cheers.

    Steve.
     
  11. REDSTEVEO

    REDSTEVEO Member

    Messages:
    1,217
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    Hiya, The tank is a Juwel Trigon 190. Its a great tank, but IF I was going for a corner unit again and the Missus would allow it I would go for the bigger one, 360 I think it is.

    I agree with you about the background. The background is only temporary until I can make my mind up on what would look best taking into account I am keeping the planting as basic as possible. If I get any really good suggestions I will change it when I do the next really big water change. When the tank is three quarters empty I can slide it away from the wall and get the backing off.

    Cheers.

    Steve.
     
  12. REDSTEVEO

    REDSTEVEO Member

    Messages:
    1,217
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    Yes I am pretty sure, I have seen Jim's Altums at the Green Machine and mine look completely different.

    Cheers.

    Steve.
     
  13. REDSTEVEO

    REDSTEVEO Member

    Messages:
    1,217
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    Hi, Is that 'Journals' plural, i.e more than one? Which other journal have you read? :?

    Steve
     
  14. REDSTEVEO

    REDSTEVEO Member

    Messages:
    1,217
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    Hi, I've still got some Redmoor from my last tank set up, but no moss :( How big a piece would you suggest? And are you saying replace the red stone with the Redmoor or in addition to it?

    Cheers.

    Steve.
     
  15. REDSTEVEO

    REDSTEVEO Member

    Messages:
    1,217
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    Yeh, I must admit I was tempted, but for the first time ever I stuck to my guns and left The Green Machine with only what I went in for in terms of plants. I nearly went for the Glossistigma instead of the HC though. The HC is not doing that well, maybe I have not got enough light for it. I'll have to wait a bit longer and see how it turns out. Trouble is the hair grass will have occupied its space by the time it takes off.

    Cheers.

    Steve
     
  16. REDSTEVEO

    REDSTEVEO Member

    Messages:
    1,217
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    Hair grass grows pretty well all the time for me, can you think of any reason why yours doesn't. :? Minerals? KH?

    Have you got any pictures of it?

    Steve
     
  17. REDSTEVEO

    REDSTEVEO Member

    Messages:
    1,217
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    Yeh, dead right! I would need to be bored for a whole day at least. But now you have mentioned it I will give it some thought. I must admit I never thought of looping the pipework, I was concerned about kinks in it and restricted water flow.

    What have you got in your cabinet that takes up so much room? :?

    Cheers,

    Steve
     
  18. samc

    samc Member

    Messages:
    1,381
    if it were me id replace it, depends on the piece you have though you dont have to but it would give more height
     
  19. Hi,

    Are you using the standard lights fitting that came with the tank? or have you tweaked it? My corner tank is somewhat lacking in that department with only 2 x 24w T5's, which i am slowly adding too (LEDs keep tweaking my interest).

    Best Regards,

    John
     
  20. REDSTEVEO

    REDSTEVEO Member

    Messages:
    1,217
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    Hi John,

    Yes I have tweaked it. As you know the Juwel Trigons come with two 24 watt tubes fitted into the hood and run along the centre. It was Alan who used to be at Alisons Aquatics who showed me what to do. Basically you drill two holes in the front and rear section of the lift up lids. Attach your reflectors underneath with the clamps for the tubes and screw them in place.

    You will obviously need an extra light starter unit to run the extra tubes, or you can do what I did and buy a dual starter unit. However I have gone back to two separate starter units so that I can stagger the times they come on with timers.

    It looks quite tidy and you can use T5's or T8's or whatever you want.

    Next time I am taking any photos I will take one of the additional lights.

    Cheers.

    STEVE
     

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