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Enviroman's first attempt at minimalist 'scaping

enviroman

Member
Joined
11 Oct 2009
Messages
26
Location
Chiswick
I have had a D-D NanoCube 24 for a couple of years now and it has been great for plants as the lighting levels out of the box are really high (2 x 36W T5) and the internal filter has a great capacity, seeing as it can also be used as a marine tank. My previous planting as seen below, was a bit hectic; you know, bought a standard set of plants online so that you get lots of species, and just stuck them in without much thought except small at front, large at back.

oldaquarium.jpg


Great for a "jungle" effect, but not so good for anything else. Everything was beginning to look a bit tired and the substrate needed replacing ( this photo was taken a few months ago and you can already see the leaves of the sword are beginning to curl due to nutrient deficiencies - then I got the dreaded crypt melt when I changed a bulb) so I thought I would re-do the scaping. I was inspired by visiting the ukaps stand at the Festival of Fishkeeping a few weeks ago and go for a bit more minimalism this time.

So, temporarily moved my fish to a spare tank and began to remove everything except the filter media and some of the existing substrate to give it a good start in life.

Had trouble finding some good stone at my LFS, so not quite as happy with the hardscaping as I would like. Pieces labelled the same stone at the shop turned out to be two different shades when I got them wet at home and I would have liked at least one more smaller stone to balance the layout, but you have to start somewhere! I have used a dark coarse sand above Colombo Florigrow nutriplus (and some of the existing substrate). The internal filter means that I have a black background, so wanted to see how well bright green plants would stand out in front of a dark substrate too.

After doing the hardscape, my plants from The Green Machine arrived a few days later: 5 pots of Hemianthus "cuba", 3 of Eleocharis parvula and 3 of Rotala rotundifolia. Had taken a little bit of advice from George at the APS stand on planting the HC carpet. Got everything ready, plantlets on the board, tweezers and mister in hand etc, but was much harder than expected! After one week, the plants seem to be settling in though the plantlets were a bit too large really! Nitrate levels are a little high at the moment (50ppm), as I had to put the fish back sooner than I should. No nitrites or ammonia 2 weeks later though, so the existing filter media and substrate must be doing their job.

I have a pressurised CO2 system with 3 bubbles per sec at the moment. I am also trying to find a new home for my swordtails and siamese fighter, leaving just a simple shoal of lampeyes to keep the minimalist aesthetic. Apologies for the slightly blurry photos. Have just got a new camera this week and am only just getting used to it.

Have not started putting in any fertiliser yet, after reading various things on the forums. Any advice for a new member on this topic would be greatly appreciated. When should I start dosing, which one to use......I already have a bottle of Floraboost from an Interpet competition I won a month or so ago. Is it any good and should I dose once a week as suggested, or would it be better to do a small dose everyday?

img0145n.jpg

img0139c.jpg

img0129pe.jpg


Cheers,

Elliot Carter (Enviroman)
 
Joined
21 Feb 2009
Messages
333
Location
stroud, glos
i'm interested to see how this pans out!
i have the same tank in my garage waiting to be set up. :0)

many ppl with high tech set up use EI as a fert regime.
http://www.ukaps.org/EI.htm

floraboost has no nitrates and phosphates from what i can see so on its own it wouldnt be enough.

its better to dose daily or every other day in this sort of set up than one larger weekly dose i think.
 

enviroman

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Thread starter
Joined
11 Oct 2009
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26
Location
Chiswick
Cheers Baron von bubba, will read through the EI posts. The only thing I found with the tank out of the box was that it came with 2 x actinic/white bulbs. I tried using a pink/plant grow with pure white, but didn't like the colour, so at the moment, I have gone with two daylight bulbs. They can be hard to get hold of though.
 
Joined
21 Feb 2009
Messages
333
Location
stroud, glos
i have bought one daylight bulb.
i was planning it as a low tech so dont really want to run both lights, i noticed if one is unplugged from the power supply the fans stop.
so is there any way to have the fans on with one tube or is it ok to run one tube without the fans?
 

enviroman

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Thread starter
Joined
11 Oct 2009
Messages
26
Location
Chiswick
baron von bubba said:
i have bought one daylight bulb.
i was planning it as a low tech so dont really want to run both lights, i noticed if one is unplugged from the power supply the fans stop.
so is there any way to have the fans on with one tube or is it ok to run one tube without the fans?

Sorry, not sure about the single bulb/fan issue. I have had a problem with the fans, after a few months they started making lots of noise for about 10 mins after the lights come on each day, then settle down again. Have taken a good look inside, but can't see what the problem is, not that it bothers me that much, but the wife gets annoyed by it!
 

enviroman

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Thread starter
Joined
11 Oct 2009
Messages
26
Location
Chiswick
baron von bubba said:
i'm interested to see how this pans out!
i have the same tank in my garage waiting to be set up. :0)

many ppl with high tech set up use EI as a fert regime.
http://www.ukaps.org/EI.htm

floraboost has no nitrates and phosphates from what i can see so on its own it wouldnt be enough.

its better to dose daily or every other day in this sort of set up than one larger weekly dose i think.

A bit nervous of going down the EI route, not sure why! :wideyed:

My tapwater has pretty high nitrates (c. 40-50ppm). In my last setup, with a larger plant biomass, it normally took a few days after a water change to reduce the nitrates to around 10-15ppm, so was wondering if anybody knows of a fert/anything off the shelf out there which has phosphates only, or a reduced level of nitrates in it. I have a bottle of Brighty Stage 2 at the back of the cupboard which I haven't used yet, but am worried that it might just add too much nitrate to the system. Of course would wait a few more weeks before adding this anyway. Maybe I should just consider the EI regime more carefully.....
 
Joined
21 Feb 2009
Messages
333
Location
stroud, glos
enviroman said:
A bit nervous of going down the EI route, not sure why! :wideyed:

My tapwater has pretty high nitrates (c. 40-50ppm). In my last setup, with a larger plant biomass, it normally took a few days after a water change to reduce the nitrates to around 10-15ppm, so was wondering if anybody knows of a fert/anything off the shelf out there which has phosphates only, or a reduced level of nitrates in it. I have a bottle of Brighty Stage 2 at the back of the cupboard which I haven't used yet, but am worried that it might just add too much nitrate to the system. Of course would wait a few more weeks before adding this anyway. Maybe I should just consider the EI regime more carefully.....

it can be daunting to begin with.
of course its not written in stone as an exact routine to follow.
if you feel your tap water is high in nitrates and you do a 50% weekly water change then you could try skipping the KNO3 (potassium nitrate) all together and add K2SO4 (potassium sulphate)to get the potassium.

http://www.seachem.com/Products/product ... horus.html
this is a phosphate fert, but is basically the same as the powders used in EI but very diluted! you pay an awful lot just for some water! ;0)
 

enviroman

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Thread starter
Joined
11 Oct 2009
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Location
Chiswick
@baron von bubba

wow that was quick. Thanks for this. Have you ever tried using easylife products, they seem to have a good range of compatible fertilisers to be able to play around with different nutrient levels? I have only used their Easycarbo before....

http://www.easylife.nl/english/index.html?id=45

In terms of EI, where do you buy your salts from?
:thumbup:
 
Joined
21 Feb 2009
Messages
333
Location
stroud, glos
enviroman said:
@baron von bubba

wow that was quick. Thanks for this. Have you ever tried using easylife products, they seem to have a good range of compatible fertilisers to be able to play around with different nutrient levels? I have only used their Easycarbo before....

http://www.easylife.nl/english/index.html?id=45

In terms of EI, where do you buy your salts from?
:thumbup:

strangely enough thats what my other half says! :0/

i've only used easy carbo, other than that i've pretty much used powders to mix my own from the outset of this tank.
two of this sites sponsors are the best places to go i guess.

personally i've not used fluidsensoronline, but have used AE a few times and they cant be faulted!

http://www.fluidsensoronline.com/epages ... Fertiliser

http://www.aquaessentials.co.uk/index.p ... 14_145_146
 
Joined
14 May 2009
Messages
316
Hi Elliot

Firstly, it was great to meet you @ FOF, I'm glad you were inspired.
The tank looks fantastic now, you have certainly acheived the minimalist appearance that you were looking for.
You are correct it is more usual not to mix types of rock, however, why be bound by convention, if something looks good I feel you should run with it.
If I remember correctly you are from the Thames water area, so not only will your tap water have 30-50ppm of NO3 but also 3-5ppm of PO4. So there is probably no need to add extra N & P, as long as you are doing regular water changes. What I would recommend is that you add plenty of extra Pottasium, so that the plants can better access the N & P already present in your tap water.
I look forward to seeing some more photos as the tank grows in.

Cheers,
James
 

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