Ben_K 55Gal tropical

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Ben_K, 27 Sep 2007.

  1. Ben_K

    Ben_K Member

    27 Sep 2007
    Bursledon, Hampshire
    Hello everyone!
    Ive been fortunate enough to come across this handy website so Ive registered up and it sure looks like a valuble reference! Ive been active on '' for a while now and thought Id bring my Journal over!
    So, here's the story so far...

    I picked up the tank itself from ebay. £50 for a 48x15x18 tank seemed pretty good to me. It also came with a load of cleaners, pumps, tubes etc. that I wont use but they are always good for back-up.

    I then designed and eventually built a stand myself. I wasnt happy with the units that you pay hundreds of £££s for and still only get chipboard or MDF. When I consider that the tank will weigh around 250kgs (550lbs) when full, I want to know it will still be there when I get home! So, I came up with this. Its a frame built from treated outdoor grade 4x2" with pine panelling and detail outside.

    Despite being able to woodwork, Im not a carpenter by any standards and was quite happy with the result.

    It was then Oak stained.

    And finally reached the living room! At this point the tank sat on polystyrene tiles, however I have added special foam mats as well as the polystyrene to make sure the surface is suitably flat and load bearing. The doors were still being treated (As I cocked them up the first time! :oops:

    Next was the substrate and my swanky new Eheim filter. I wanted to get it cycling as soon as I could. It also had a few pieces of bogwood in there as they were sitting around or in spare tanks anyway.

    A week or so ago, I had received some new bogwood (From LFS and ebay) and a few days ago I received my first batch of plants. I took a risk and decided to get some from ebay that seemed cheap but reliable. The plants I have are actually very good and Im quite happy with them.
    It now has:
    - Amazon Swords
    - Cabomba Aquatica
    - Marimo (Moss Balls)
    - Pistia stratiotes
    - Java Moss (Previous inhabitant)


    I am currently awaiting a new batch of
    - Amazon Swords
    - Vallis
    - Anubias Barteri

    I am also wanting to get some ground coverage, although Im not sure what to get yet. I'm awaiting a response in my 'First planted tank' thread... :)
    I also think the lighting is a little weak in this tank (A mere 38W tropical tube) so I need to somehow get more into the tank. The hood doesn't have a lot of extra space for it and I haven't been able to find any double tube mountings yet. Guess I'll have to keep searching.

    Any thoughts or ideas, please let me know!!

    Attached Files:

  2. Ben_K

    Ben_K Member

    27 Sep 2007
    Bursledon, Hampshire
    And here is a recent update to what's written above:


    Ive finally got the full set of plants and it now contains a few non-plant inhabitants now too! :D

    The tank in general:

    It contains:
    - Amazon swords
    - Cabomba
    - Vallisneria Spiralis
    - a group of Marimo Moss Balls
    - A patch of Java Moss.
    - Anubias Barteri in the centre
    - a rapidly growing ceiling of Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes)

    There are now 7 Black Neon Tetras in there plus 2 of the most stunning Loricariids Ive ever seen! I believe the first one is a Spotted Gibbiceps (Tha pattern is rather like a Giraffe) and I dont know the exact species of the latter. Im in the process of confirming these though. Since adding these 2, the tank is so clean its quite amazing!
    Edit - Ok, Ive found out what they are.
    Left: Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps L083/L165
    Right: Chaetostoma sp. (1) L187b - Striped Bulldog/Rubber Pleco
    th_DSC00565.jpg th_DSC00571.jpg

    Its settling down in there now and the nice thing is that because the wood was bought fairly recently, it has a nice authentic tannin brown to the water. Im quite happy with it so far. The plants are settling although the swords and vallis are looking a little rough. Im hoping its carriage damage that will grow out but Im keeping a close eye on them. The Cabomba is doing well and as you may have noticed, Ive already had to cut it into smaller groups as it grew so tall! :)

    Anything you guys notice or want to mention, please do! Im always looking for advice and guidance! :D

    Attached Files:

  3. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    30 Jun 2007
    Welcome to UKAPS, Ben!

    Your tank and cabinet look great, well done.

    My main advice would be to consider planting more heavily with fast growing stem plants. Algae issues are very common in the early stages (first 8 weeks or so) and the fast growth of plants helps to fight off algae.

    What is your lighting? Do you have CO2 injection? Substrate and liquid ferts?
  4. Ben_K

    Ben_K Member

    27 Sep 2007
    Bursledon, Hampshire
    Hi George, its great to be here! :D

    So you reckon a few more bundles of Cabomba? Or any others? It seems strong although you're right, there are some small patches of brown algae around. The 2 loricariids do a good job but they don't get into the 'spindly' plants. Ive got a Flying Fox to put in at some point soon too.

    Lighting: A rather meagre Arcadia 38W tropical tube (7500k). Im looking into getting a twin T5 unit and 2 55W tropical tubes when money will allow.
    CO2: Just dosing Seachem Excel at present. Well, started the Excel today as it happens. I do intend to knock up a pressurised system, again, when money allows.
    Substrate: Just the gravel as you see in the pic. 1-2mm gravel. Its not fertilised at the moment, although I do need to get some root tabs as soon as I can. Im trying to decide if Seachem tabs are worth twice as much as the API ones. Any thoughts?
    Liquid Ferts: I run Flourish twice weekly plus I dose Flourish Iron every other day.
  5. Ben_K

    Ben_K Member

    27 Sep 2007
    Bursledon, Hampshire
    Good news:
    A week ago I got hold of 6 Cardinal Neons and 4 gorgeous Angelfish (2 silver and 2 dark). :D:D They suit the tank really well. I'll try and get some pics when I get a chance, although they are all too active to get a non-blurry shot! :)

    Bad news:
    4 days ago, during my morning inspection, I found a Cardinal dead. :( Guessed it was stress as the water conditions are fine and no marks or otherwise on the body. Just decided to keep an eye on the tank.
    2 days ago, I was pruning the swords and adding root tabs when I saw what I thought was a rotted leaf underneath a sword. On closer inspection, it was my beautiful L187b Plec (Striped Bulldog Plec). It had been there for a few days. :(:( It was such a quiet fella that we didnt worry too much if we didnt see him as he would come out at some point. I feel a bit bad I didnt notice earlier. :(
    Yesterday, when I fed them, the now VERY keen Angelfish were straight up to the top awaiting my tasty hand. However, there were only the 2 silver ones. I searched for the dark two and found them hiding behind some wood and plants. They eventually came out. The larger one can swim, he is just quiet. The smaller of the two was bouncing and drifting in the current. The smaller of the 2 has a fungal infection. Despite being a small area, it seems to even be partly on its eyes. :( The large one seems ok except for one white spot, an Ich type spot, on its RH fin. Ive quarantined the smaller one in a large net and Im treating the whole tank with Interpet Fungal treatment and some esHa Exit Ich treatment. I aim to get some Protozin at some point and will move on to that.
    Hmmm... I hope they pull through! :?

    Ive also started aerating the water a little more as they seem to feel more comfortable with more air going (I think the plants arent working to their most efficient with the current set-up).

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