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26 Jun 2013
Hello everyone,

After reading a few journals on here and everyone sort of asking for more journals to be made, especially new tanks etc I thought id share my story and progress!

Im going to generalise the last year or so and get into more detail when the journal becomes more recent

It all started in April 2012, I really wanted to have a tropical set up which I had never had before, so it was all new to me and quite overwhelming. But to make it harder I wanted and was determined to self teach as I believe you make mistakes and end up learning far more as you recover from said mistakes!
I bought a Juwel Koral 60ltr tank which came with; hood/light, heater and internal filter. I used theses bits for a little while but they soon become outdated to me, as I wanted bigger and better, and to much disappointment to the fiancée, more expensive (i KNOW weve all been there!). So I updated the hardware gradually (a couple of times) to what I have now. Hopefully the pics will tell all, If not i'll be obliged to answer any questions on the hardware and what I used to have and the new stuff.


That was a picture of how it all started, I had a mixture of plastic and real plants and some quite clearly naff pebbles and decor. But we all live and learn! The plants didnt exactly do very well as the lights were pants, there was no ferts and no co2 so they died after a few months, a shame but again it was a lesson learned which in all fairness I was happy to learn.


That second image was taken in March 2013 so you can see it rapidly changed as I learned new stuff and become aware of different filtration, lighting, heating etc. I went from hood lighting to a luminaire, internal box filter to a external canister (soon to change again) a bigger heater 100w as the 25w was crap and couldnt hold temp very well especially in winter. And now theres plants!! Some survived and some didnt yet again, the saggitaria sabulata died very quickly as my flow, substrate and ferts were rubbish, the mystery stem plant (reddish) died even quicker, it was terribly ugly though as the leaves were stunted again down to the above. The Bacopa caroliana (amplexicaulis) is still alive but it grew like crazy so its been propagated a few times but again down to low levels of ferts etc it didnt do too well so some parts of the plant look terrible as you'll see in another photo. The Echinodorus amazonicus is still alive a now looks great now ive trimmed the unhealthy leaves away, you'll see the difference in another photo. I took the egeria densa out as it did do very well, but my goodness is that hard to maintain, it goes beserk!!!


Two days ago I did this, it looks terrible compared to pic 2 BUT, what ive learned since then is that you shouldnt over plant straight away especially with poor flow, no ferts etc as everything will die, algea will go mad and you'll be pulling your hair out!! Pic 2 didnt look like that for very long unfortunately and so I rescaped! This pic was on day 1, plants look depleted after being shoved into a bucket for 24 hours, stem plants have drooped and look terrible!

Mother wanted to put a new carpet down so i thought that would be the perfect chance to do it! I purchased a new filter JBL crystal profi e 701, and new substrate, caribsea eco complete, also a couple of weeks ago, I started using EI ferts to great results, which you can tell on the stem plants as the bottom half look terrible and the top half look great due to the ferts, better flow, and better co2!

I decided to trim everything and plant thinnly as I didnt want a repeat of before, which is why it doesnt look great.
Im not particularly happy with the hardscape but im not good with that kind of thing so any advice would be great I have one piece of driftwood and 2 pieces of rock, please use your brilliant imaginations and help me out!
I went for the symmetrical look so having the substrate rise on the flanks and at the back, an Echinodorus amazonicus on each side with vallisneria nana clumps behind each amazonicus. Sat infront is both bacopa amplexicaulis and limnopila aromatica(which has thrived since the ferts were introduced. I have Microsorum pteropus superglued to the driftwood and also vesicularia dubyana attached to the rock, hence the white patches where the glue has dried, hopefully the moss will cover that soon!
Ive just purchased (from aqua essentials) Eleocharis acicularis, Hemianthus callitrichoides, sagittaria sabulata and some Limnophila aromatica, so that will all be going in soon, obviously the foreground plants will be going at front in front of the rock.




This is today 23.07.13 just 24 hrs after the scape was done and already the droopey stem plants are starting to stand up so im hoping (fingers crossed) they'll start to flourish and look healthy, but time will tell.

Im doing a few more water changes than normal for the next few weeks as the total drain and new filter (old filter media) and new substrate (mixed in with some of old substrate) has upset my biofilter so need to keep an eye on everything! Im thinking about doing two water changes per week anyway instead of one, I just dont want algae taking over again, it really annoys me and I find it hard to keep it away, seems to grow on my leaves and it kills them off, very frustrating. BUT onwards and upwards, co2 is running at 1bps, flow is now good, ferts are feeding plants (EI ferts, 1ml of profito and 2ml of easy carbo) and lights on on for 7 hours per day. Water changes will be done on Wednesday (30%) and sundays (50%) obviously once my biofilter has regrown so im thinking in a month or so.

In a few months time I will be getting a 2kg FE with a reg/solenoid from aqua essentials as currently im using disposable 95g canisters 24/7 (solenoids dont work with disposable regulators) and its costing me a bloody fortune!!

I hope youve enjoyed to start of my journal and sorry for it being so long, but I wanted to get across where I started and where I am now in one thread!!


Looking good mate. The val is looking a bit sorry but give it a week and you will have runners all over the place. Did your baby shrimp survive the move? Also I see you got rid of you drop checker and moved diffuser to the front. Are you getting good circulation of the bubbles?

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I think if you where to bury the stones slightly into the substrate it would give it a more natural look, like they have been there a while.

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Vals okay, just caught in the flow of the jbl, which is kinda i what i wanted, yeah hopefully it'll grow loads so i can have a decent covering on top. Yeah drop cjecker was annoying me so took it out. Yeah figured best place for it would be at front seeing as spray bar points back to front, it makes it undertow as it hits glass ane re circulates, also got power head pointing right to left at the front to make stuff around and also to take crap to eheim prefter which is hiding behind the left amazon sword! Thanks so mucb for the val and the moss dude!
Fe and reg/solenoid is next.


Looking good mate. If you are about later when its dark try taking a FTS with only tank lights to get a good impression of the overall look. The window creates a lot of reflection.

I'm sure a few more of the folks on here will give you some feedback soon.
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Is there any way to pu the wood at an angle? Also, is the other side more gnarled? Might give a bit more texture.
Still stood up you mean? And kind of diagonally from back left to front right? Yeah i could do it and post a pic up for you, see what you think. Yes kind of, its got a few more holes and is kind of more concave than the side showing. If that works, should i keep the fern and moss attached as it is and maybe add a few more on the other side too?

Thanks for replying mate.


Been a busy boy and done some more shifting round and planting. Henry, youve got a good i mate, ive turned the wood on a diagonal wonk and spun it round on its 'ugly' side and planted a whole lot more java moss on it. Have a butchers folk and tell me what you think. My photoperiod is now 9hrs and im dosing 2bps.
Do i need to up my ei ferts, im dosing 11ml micro 3 times a week 11ml macro 3 times a week, profito 1ml per day and easycarbo 2ml per day. Do you think its worth upping the ei ferts to 15ml each per week? Ive got a 60ltr tank.




I have this tank too and I'm fairly certain it is 54l so that may alter your calculations. Looking much better now.
If you keep adding them in it shouldn't have any effect. the idea is unlimited nutrients so there should never be a shortage. If you think about it you are currently having a day off but not worried about lack of nutrients, so if you do a 30% water change but dose your daily fets after then there is no chance of a shortage. I wouldn't change your dosage either, your plants look really healthy.

Maybe think about splitting the eleocharis into smaller portions (even plant each blade seperatly if you have the patience) it should spread a bit quicker that way. Also is that all the HC you got in one pot?

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