Celestial Glade - 125Ltr Low Light, Low Maintenance

Discussion in 'Journals' started by GreenNeedle, 1 Jun 2008.

  1. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    I thought I would start this journal earlier than normal to include my research period and maybe 'bounce' a few ideas off people before I get to the moment of truth.

    The current scape (under the forest canopy) will be in residence for a couple of months until I am ready to rescape so as a reminder the setup is as follows:

    Fluval 125Ltr/33USG tall tank
    Tetratec Ex700 filter with glass Lily pipes
    Hydor 200W external heater
    Pressurised CO2 with a Rhinox 2000 diffuser
    Realux T5 HO 30W Plant Grow
    Arcadia T8 18W Freshwater

    LIGHTING - I will be reducing the light to just using the T5HO on its own (0.9WPG) for the whole 10 hour photoperiod and just use the Arcadia to balance the colour when taking photos/when people are visiting.

    FERTILISATION - I shall be returning to the PMDD+P formula which I found to be very successful previously.

    SUBSTRATE - I am trying to keep the cost right down and so I am intending to use mulm - ½" Leonardite - Previous Tropica mixed with a product called Aquagrit Underworld - topped with some 3mm Dorset gravel.

    The Tropica has been in the previous scape for 9 months and as I have been water column dosing should still have some oomph in it. I will only use half and top it up with 2kg of the Aquagrit which is clay base like the Tropica and has trace elements in it. The trick I have up my sleeve which could all go pear shaped is that the previous setup has play sand which is quite easy to suck up through the siphon leaving the Tropica behind (already seeded of course.)

    CO2 - I will be running at 2bps because I like to keep the Lily outflow permanently at the surface disturbing the surface which means that some CO2 is lost. I shall also be using a solenoid again.

    PLANTS - I shall only be buying some Cryptocoryne Parva as I will mostly be using plants from the current setup which I can separate. They are producing runners everywhere too and with no pruning for the next 2 months should give me a lot more coverage than present. I also have Ferns and Anubias in there to use. I shall be removing Lotus' and Blyxia from this scape entirely.

    Known species that I have are:
    Crypts: Wendtii (Brown), Wendtii (Green), Undulata, Balansae (3 variants), Spiralis + some stray unknowns.

    Anubias - I think they are all Barteri but I have 3 sizes 1 species has 1" leaves, 1 has ½" leaves and the other (petite) has ¼" leaves.

    Ferns - Philippine Java Fern (This is a huge plant at the moment), Needle leaf Fern (Also huge amount of growth)

    HARDSCAPE - I am removing the plum slate and Mopani caves that I have used in the last 2 scapes, I will probably start this scape with totally new rock and wood as I want to utilise more of the footprint of the tank with plants.

    MY IDEA OF THE SCAPE - I want to get this scape more structure. The last 2 were more of a scattered natural effect and using crypts has made it even more so with their runners popping up large plants at the front etc. This time I want to start with the plants tall at the back and ascending toward the front where Parva will be the smallest. The Anubias and Ferns will of course be on wood somewhere in the midground.

    I am veering toward the redmoor style of wood but I don't want this tank to look like the ones I am always criticising for looking like Amano copies. I want to use the wood without it being a focal point. It will just be there to use for depth with the narrow leaf ferns and Anubias mainly and should eventually be hidden. I may take a trip to my local nature reserve to see what I can find there before I look in fish shops.

    FISH - 4 x Pitbull plecs, 4 x Bolivian Rams, 3 x Otos, 20 x Cardinal Tetra (I am going to restock the full shoal again.) Heavy stocking but that’s what I have done since the very beginning and with the plants they all seem to get on nicely.

    So there we go. Another scape to plan for and something for me to look forward to.

    Any ideas welcome (please note I'm terrible for sticking to my guns and ignoring advice. lol)

    Andy
     
  2. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    Messages:
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    Re: Celestial Glade - 125Ltr Low Light - Low Maintenance

    I like 'under the forest canopy', i hope this will be as pleasing to the eye :D
     
  3. Arana

    Arana Member

    Messages:
    1,058
    Location:
    London
    Re: Celestial Glade - 125Ltr Low Light - Low Maintenance

    Sounds good but you may want to consider an EX1200 instead of the 700 :) it will get you nearer to the 10x rate we would normally advise :)
     
  4. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    Re: Celestial Glade - 125Ltr Low Light - Low Maintenance

    You mean the between 5 to 10 x "we" used to advise before someone somewhere sometime dropped the 5 to ?

    I have 5.6 with only half the media. Been working fine and dandy for a long time. lol

    Aaron - UTFC is a bit of a BBA fest at the mo due to me ignoring it and not doing water changes (this means not cleaning diffusor too!!!) It is recovering but I'm getting pee'd off with having to prune all these 'slow growing, low light' plants that grow like mad under my massive 0.9WPG. He, he.

    The Lotus' are definately going as they disturb the flow too much and are becoming monsters.

    As a guide, my Phillipine Java Fern at present is 12 inches diameter and 18 inches tall!!! In January I pruned it back to about 6 leaves!!

    This will be much more of a low maintenance, even less light setup.

    Andy
     
  5. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    Messages:
    3,955
    Location:
    worksop, nottinghamshire
    Re: Celestial Glade - 125Ltr Low Light - Low Maintenance

    :wideyed:
     
  6. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    Re: Celestial Glade - 125Ltr Low Light - Low Maintenance

    Currently
    10 hours 0.9WPG T5HO with an extra 0.6WPG T8 as a 2 hour burst in the middle

    Will be
    9 hours 0.9WPG T5HO (No noon burst)

    I am a firm believer in the uselessness of the WPG rule when using T5 Linear or PC/CF. I think they are applicable to at least 2x the WPG rule. I also think that some plants labelled high light (Blyxia Japonica under 0.9WPG at present, Amazon Sword/Bacopa under 0.6WPG previously) are not actually high light plants. I think there is a light intensty that they may need (not so much coloration) which would mean that it is the delivery of the light to the plant that matters rather than the quantity in watts above the tank!!!

    Controversial hey.

    Andy
     
  7. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    Re: Celestial Glade - 125Ltr Low Light - Low Maintenance

    After the 'washing up liquid incident' on Thursday I am now set with the task of deciding who the inhabitants of this new setup will be. Same timeframe really. I shall rescape the tank in July/August and then stock it almost immediately.

    So far I am quite fancying trying some Corys this time and C.Aeneus-Black are the ones catching my eye at the moment. I prefer my fish in groups and therefore I am thinking of 10 of these.

    I will of course be putting 5 or 6 Otos in as well.

    I also want to add some Cherry shrimp into this tank.

    The final piece of the jigsaw will be my mid to top dwelling shoaling fish. Ides welcome on this but with no meat eaters in this setup I don't want any livebearers or easy breeders. I may go for Neons or Cardinals in shoal of 20 but not made my mind up yet.

    I'm quite looking forward to getting this all setup.

    Andy
     
  8. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    Re: Celestial Glade - 125Ltr Low Light - Low Maintenance

    Due to the washing up liquid incident I will now have to replace all the fish and this has burnt a big hole in the budget for this scape therefore the gravel and fresh Tropica has now gone out the window!!!!

    However I have decided that I am going to crack on with this tonight.yippee.

    I have 2 new pieces of wood (pictures below) yes it is redmoor and yes I always moan about samey samey copycats and how boring it is seing redmoor wood etc BUT with my tank being tall (20") and this wood being quite low it should look different to the usual 'branchy' ones. These 2 pieces cost me £24 so I think they were a bargain and as you can see spread nicely across my tank.
    wood.jpg

    I'm going to remove all the current hardscape & plants (trying to get all the roots out too) then I shall remove all the anubias and narrow fern from the current Mopani. Then reattach it to the new wood (spraying it to keep it moist.)

    Then I'm going to replace the huge Java Fern (on same bit of bogwood as it is now) which is similar in size to George's specimen that moves from tank to tank. lol Add in the 2 pieces of wood and finally plant up the Crypts.

    No Blyxia or Nympheae/Nuphar in this scape. Just Crypts, Ferns and Anubias.

    I have got the Tetratec working again (hit and miss when closing the lids on these filters wether you get a seal or not!!!.) Due to me noticing my Fluval3+ which was in for 4 days gave much more flow even though it is rated 700lph same as the Tetratec I have added my Maxijet MP400 powerhead to the left of the tank aiming at the stream of CO2 bubbles. It doesn't alter the direction of the current as it is directed in the same line. Just gives it a second push in the same direction.

    Looking forward to doing this now. No plan for the plants, I'll just lay them out on the table and stick them in where I see fit. More structured this time tall at the back, small at the front.

    I have decided on the fish being 4 x Otos (maybe Zebra Otos if I can get them), 8 x black corys and 10+ Thick Band Zebra Rasbora (Microrasbora erythromicron) These will be the stars of the show and are similar in size to galaxys (if I can find them) pic below
    zebrasb.jpg

    I will add the fish in July/August as and when I spot them so this scape can be blasted with CO2 from now until then allowing for all the current crypts to 'bush up' a little.

    Will add some completed pictures tomorrow.

    Andy
     
  9. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    Messages:
    3,955
    Location:
    worksop, nottinghamshire
    Re: Celestial Glade - 125Ltr Low Light - Low Maintenance

    sounds like a plan! :D Hope it all goes well
     
  10. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    Well after the troubles of the Tetratec filter's constant leaks and the washing up liquid incident here it is and I have to say I have impressed myself at last (about time)

    These are the plants that I removed last night:
    plants-1.jpg
    Top left to right
    Cryptocoryne Undulata, Cryptocryne Spiralis (large version - speckled), Needle Leaf Java Fern, Anubias Barteri ver Nana (1 inch leaves), Anubias Barteri ver Nana 'Petite' (¼ inch leaves)

    Centre left to right
    Cryptocoryne Wendtii Brown, Cryptocoryne Balansae Sp, Cryptocoryne Balansae 'crispulata', Anubias Barteri Sp (2 inch leaves)

    Bottom left to right
    Cryptocoryne Wendtii Green, Cryptocoryne Spiralis Sp (smaller version - non speckled), Phillipine Java Fern.

    The picture doesn't show just how much actually came out of the tank!! I pruned and discarded any bad leaves etc leaving me about 2/3rds of the quantity on this table. It would've looked much better from the left hand side but this is a 5ft table and I couldn't get a decent pic of it whilst showing as much as I could in this picture.

    As usual I have done things that others wouldn't. I couldn't soak the redmoor wood for 3 weeks as I have a family that needs the bath and nothing else large enough to contain it (and I didn't want to wait 3 weeks) therefore it is soaking 'in situ'. You are now expecting that I have created a 'floating' hardscape. Well you can see the result below.

    Also with the Tetratec playing up I have been using my old Fluval3+. I managed to get the Tetratec working again but I have also left the Fluval3+ in and it blows the CO2 about perfectly as you will also see below. This means I have 2 filters with a rating of 700lph (I know realistically this is reduced drastically) so a total maximum flow rating of 1400lph. When I get the fish in a month or two I will replace the Fluval with my maxijet MP400 which is much smaller and inconspicuos but until then I may as well make use of the extra filtration I have on hand.

    As expected with 're-using' the existing substrate the water is still a little cloudy due to each plant that gets pulled through the sand barrier having some clay stuck to its roots. The pics below show the cloudiness but you could not see into this tank last night when I finished at 1pm. This is a testament to the Tetratec's capabilities when it doesn't leak (It has no filter floss in it, just foam, bio balls and ceramic hoops!!)

    All that is left to go in is some Cryptocoryne Parva which will surround the base of the redmoor pieces and to the sides, leaving the central front as plain sand (samey, samey) like I have in the past 2 scapes. I have sloped the sand (as much as I could with reduced visibility) from front to back so that the substrate depth is about 9cm at the front and 13cm at the back.

    On with the pictures:

    This is the first full frontal pic of the new scape showing the wood and plant positions as well as the cloudiness of the water (p.s. I forgot to turn the Arcadia Freshwater on for the photos so this is with just 0.9WPG T5HO 4500K pink light. Its a damn good light:
    frontfull.jpg
    No I have not put rocks into my hardscape. I have put them onto the hardscape to hold it down lol. They are just natural limestone I dug out of my back garden whilst digging it through (I have about a ton of this stuff which came out of the ground!!! The rest I am gradually chipping into small squarish pieces to cover my patio area for free.) These will of course come out well before I get fish in there because it is not good for the Ph stability, but until then I can't see the problem.

    The Blackpool lights at Christmas
    blackpoollights.jpg
    Drop checker is still only lime green and CO2 is only on for 8 hours a day (2 before, 2 after lights) yet look at the pearling on the needle ferns. They would usually flair out from the branches but all the bubbles of CO2 and pearling are holding them bolt upright. This is 24 hours after the tank was refilled so I am pretty sure it isn't from the water change as it wasn't there when the lights turned on this morning.

    This is the left hand side (showing the Fluval3+):
    leftside.jpg
    This piece of wood has needles, plus the large, medium and petite anubias on it. You can see the larger Spiralis and the 2 types of balansae pushing over from behind the wood.

    Finally the right hand side:
    rightside.jpg
    This piece just has medium Anubias and needles on it. The Java in the background is much bigger than it seems but I used some cotton to pull it together at the base as it was flattening out from its own weight out of water. It will spread out once it attaches again and I 'cut the cord'

    So there you go. Have I cracked it at last. Doing the 'in thing' inevitably in my own way. I like it but criticism is welcome. As with the last scape though remember that the Crypts will over the next 2-3 months bush up quite dramatically to fill out the space at the moment.

    First fishy arrivals will be at the end of July/early august and they will be 4 Zebra Otos (Cocama)

    Thanks for reading
    Andy
     
  11. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    3,955
    Location:
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    that looks nice from what i can see, he ock at the front spoils it IMO, will that eventually be coming out? or it could be covered in moss
     
  12. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    All the rocks are just there to hold the redmoor down. They aren't any good for fish being limestone as they will alter the Ph. 3-4 weeks time they will be out, broken into small pieces and put with the rest of my 'patio'

    Andy
     
  13. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    Took a 25 mile round trip from work to maidenhead at whisby to my Mums and then home today (on my bike of course. lol

    To my delight I have found the fish I thought would be the hardest. The rasbora (Microrasbora erythromicron). yippee

    Best part is that apparently they have been in the shop for 2 months already and are not selling. This is because Maidenhead Whisby are not so good at planting and have also put them in with harlequins. The micros are really scatty in there and therefore they haven't coloured up. with the blue stripes!!!

    Next best part is that they are one of the fish that has a hand written label so there is no picture to see what they look like when relaxed.

    Therefore they have reduced the price and they are £9 for 6. So these will now be the first fish into the tank in 2-3 weeks. 12 of them for £18 compared with the £48.95 they would've cost from an internet seller.

    I have found a source for the black corys and Zebra Otos but want to get the micros while they are at this price so theother 2 will now follow after.

    Andy
     
  14. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    The scape is now 2 weeks old and still looking good. Tetratec did me proud sending me a replacement O ring and a new in/out hose connector for the filter's powerhead. Is up and running and not a sign of leakage at all.

    The tank is looking nice and lush, just wish it had fish in it but 2 weeks more waiting and I shall have the microrasboras in there.

    Some of the crypts have a few melting leaves but overall they are holding up really well. They are starting to blossom with life now. This has cause some very minor hair algae outbreaks though but when I say minor I do mean that. they are very small and isolated. I have however left the melting leaves in there as with me not having fish and therefore no leftovers the MTS need something to eat. They are eating up the melting leaves pretty quickly too.

    Just re-installed my nightlights and thought that I would show you a pic.
    nightlight.gif

    Roll on 2 weeks time when I get put some life back into the tank.

    Andy
     
  15. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    This is the reason for 'Under the forest canopy' finishing prematurely. I guess you could say the inspiration for the new scape.

    Those doors were closed and locked very soon after I took this pic I can tell you and the canopy put on before Bob went for a swim:

    Onlyme.gif

    Andy
     
  16. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    Went to Maidenhead Aquatics today and bought 12 of the zebra microrasboras for £18. They were virtually plain white but within a couple of hours in the tank they started to colour up.

    Will take a pic of them next week when they fully colour up. They are great shoaling fish from what I have seen so far and tend to do complete 'laps' of the tank following each other like a swarm. They also seem to enjoy getting blasted by the MP400 powerhead which with them being such small fish sends them spiralling out of control for 6 inches or more at which point they return for a similar fate. Is quite funny to watch but they seem to like it. Being from Myanmar I guess they are fish that like a reasonable current anyway.

    I will probably get the Zebra Otos next but this will be in mid September as I am now going to Portugal for 11 days at the beginning of September (Moscatel Wine Festival in my wife's village.) I think it will be best to have less fish in the tank for this period whilst it is going through its initial stages.

    On the algae front there is still a little green hair algae where some of the crypt leaves melted but it is still minor and I am still not worried about it. For once in one of my setups there is no sign of any BBA (4 weeks in now) which has been an occurrence in all of my setups before. I think this is probably due to the improved current created by the powerhead.

    The rocks are still in there but I will be removing them on Friday. If the broader piece is still not soaked enough I shall put non-limestone rocks on it for another month. Not sure why but my Ph hasn't been affected by the limestone being in there?? I have only been doing 10% weekly so it's not a dilution factor. Does anyone know why this is? I was assuming that the limestone would've made the Ph go down though I'm not complaining.

    Andy
     
  17. Mark Evans

    Mark Evans Expert

    Messages:
    6,492
    Location:
    newark notts.
    i went to MA this weekend too. i got some ember tetras. much better quality. didnt realise how red/orange they should be.

    whos looking after the tank while your away. i cant bare tobe away for 3 days max!

    mark
     
  18. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    I saw the ember tetras in there today. Although not a fan of red/orange fish they did look very healthy. I wonder if they do ember tetras in a blue? ;)

    When I go on holiday I turn the CO2 off, no dosing, reduce the lighting period to 5 hours and only minimal wattage. Then put the autofeeder in position and set to 1 small feed a day (very small in this case. lol)

    My Dad will pop round half way through the hols to check on them.

    Last time I was away for 15 days and no problems apart from an overgrown tank. lol

    Andy
     
  19. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    True to my usual nature I have changed my mind already. I will not be waiting until I return from Portugal in mid September and have ordered the Zebra Otos and Black Corys already ;) God bless working tax credits.

    The Zebra Otos (4 of them) will be here on Tuesday and the Black Corys (6 of them) will be here on Friday.

    I am also thinking about getting anothe 6 of the microrasbora to make their shoal more impressive.

    May sound like heavy stocking but a total of 38" IN MY 33usg would be my lowest fishload yet. lol

    Can't wait till Tuesday

    Andy
     
  20. Mark Evans

    Mark Evans Expert

    Messages:
    6,492
    Location:
    newark notts.
    :lol: :lol: just like me, it burns a hole in your pocket. nice
     

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