First Tank - Juwel Vision 260

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Geraint Anderson, 28 Sep 2019.

  1. Geraint Anderson

    Geraint Anderson Newly Registered

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    Hi,

    We've been renovating our house and one of the first things we decided on was that we wanted a big fish tank in the hallway so we had lots of plugs fitted during the re-wire ready. Almost 3 years later we've finally got the tank - a cheap second hand Juwel Vision 260 with a bow front. Originally I thought I would add some gravel, fish and a couple of pots of plants and would be done. Then, I discovered this site.. I was completely blown away with your tanks so decided to set up my own planted tank and many many hours of research later the aquascape is in progress!

    P9194917.JPG
    The stand isn't the original but it's actually the perfect height for my son to see in (and store his wellies in). I bought some bogwood which luckily just about sank straight away with one piece not quite lying flat) but released lots of colour so I gave it a hot bath.
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    Two hot baths later and almost two weeks soaking in the tank it was finally ready.
    I used Tropica aquarium soil and Unipac Silica Sand to create a beach style. I spent a long time getting a really crisp line between the two which will probably mix as soon as I add fish, but it looks nice for the time being.
    P9264941.JPG
    I also added some rocks. Plant wise, I settled for the following mixture after many many hours of research. They are all low light and low CO2 in an effort to keep things as simple as possible. I thought I can always add more light and CO2 later if I need but wanted to try without first.

    - Moss - Taxiphyllum Barbieri
    - Carpet - Eleocharis Pusilla
    - Carpet - Marsilea Hirsuta
    - For growing on wood: Anubias Barteri Caladiifolia
    - For growing on wood: Microsorum Pteropus
    - Mid-ground - Echinodorus Reni
    - Mid-ground - Cryptocoryne Beckettii Petchii
    - Mid-ground - Hottonia Palustris
    - Background - Bacopa Caroliniana

    I was amazed at the quantity of plants. I only bought one pack of each and was concerned that I wouldn't have enough after seeing how many pots go into the pro designs on Youtube but I watched one video where someone said that you can use individual stems if you have enough patience. I certainly needed patience and was really glad I bought a pair of long tweezers rather than borrowing my wife's tweezers as I had originally planned to do!

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    Luckily one pot of grass and one pot of Marsilea was enough to cover the soil without splitting into individual stems which I was quite grateful for. I managed wedge some moss between rocks but attaching anything to the wood was really hard. If I were to start again I would definitely tie them on before putting the wood into the tank but as I had already planted tight up to the wood I had to do what I could. I managed to thread fishing line under the wood by gripping it in the tweezers then poking it under but this made a bit of a mess so I only did that once and tied it in a loop. I then tied another piece of line to that and ran it length ways along the wood and tied it at the cave allowing me to trap plants under it, but as it was really fiddly I couldn't get it very tight. Tying plants to the big piece of wood was easier but they are still not very secure. Does anyone know if they need to be tight to stick themselves or will they eventually attach even with an initially loose hold?

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    5 and a half hours later all the plants were in. After filling to the top only a couple of bits of grass floated to the surface and one Java Fern fell over. When I was done I turned the pump on and found it didn't work. Given the internal filter box I couldn't just buy any pump because it needed to fit in the box. I contemplated cutting it out completely and getting an external but I was a bit overwhelmed at the variety (and cost) of externals, and wasn't sure I could fit a big enough one in the cabinet given it's low height. I also thought it would be simpler to just get a replacement Juwel one which is what I decided to do, but I couldn't get one for another two days, so the water sat there until the weekend.
     

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  2. Geraint Anderson

    Geraint Anderson Newly Registered

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    After adding the new filter, this is how it looks. Day 1 of the full set up:

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    I'm really happy with how it turned out and very glad I found this forum before I started. Now I'm looking forward lo learning how to keep everything alive.
     
  3. alto

    alto Member

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    Well done :)

    Some caveats
    - more plants generally means less chances of algae - likely various causes but nothing definitive I’ve seen reported, nonetheless it’s a pretty accurate observation, so I recommend you invest in more plants
    (eg, I’d increase the density of the ground covers, they tend to “like” near neighbours (preferably their own “sort”) and this seems to stimulate more growth, I’d also add a good number of fast growing stems (such as George Farmer’s favorite Hygrophila Siamensis 53B ;))
    - without CO2, growth will be much slower than the high tech version of such a scape, so again, I’d increase plant density
    - sand is quite deep, it will (very) likely develop anaerobic zones (released gases are often toxic to fish etc) so make sure you give it a good stir during water changes (I’d stir at least weekly - you can just gently move it about with your planting tweezers)
    You can also add sand sifting fish (though these will certainly add some variance to your sand/soil border ;)) and they may just as happily sift soil

    - loosely bound moss is NOT going to attach itself to wood (at least not in the places you chose :rolleyes:), though wood that is more “cracked” in appearance (softer to invade) will help
    Why not pick up some gel type “super” glue (eg Seachem Flourish glue) and use small amount of this to attach epiphyte plants and moss (it dries white so take care)
    All plants are more likely to attach more quickly to wood when there isn’t a “space” to traverse first - and it looks better

    Even though this is low tech, I’d still do frequent large water change over the first month (you might check out Tropica’s 90 Day App)

    You’ll want some fertilizers for the water column - eg, Evolution Aqua all in one, or Tropica Specialized and Premium (allowing you to add separate micro and macro) etc


    Generally with Juwel tanks, I prefer to use a double fluorescent tube and reflectors (substrate light will be low re height of tank) ... Juwel does stock LED lighting these days but I’m assuming this tank predates that
     
  4. Geraint Anderson

    Geraint Anderson Newly Registered

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    Thanks for your advice, that's really helpful!

    If I added another carpeting plant like Hygrophila what would I do as I haven't got much space on the substrate left. Would I just pluck out a patch of the existing grass and move it in between other clumps of grass, and plant the Hygrophila in the new empty space?

    When you mention slow growth without CO2, does that cause any problems or is it just that it will take much longer before it looks good?

    Should I remove some sand? The substrate is between 5 and 6cm deep which was the recommended depth on the packets of Tropica soil so just kept that going onto the sand, but I would have thought I could just siphon some up to reduce the depth? I plan to add some fish that like sand. Part of the reason of having sand was because I read that things like corydoras like sand. Although 'plan' is quite loose at the moment.

    I hadn't realised the moss wouldn't just stick! Will glue work now that the tank is full of water and the moss and wood is wet? I assume I can also stick the java fern down with it?

    I have the Tropica app. It suggests adding shrimp on day 3 but everything else I read says shrimp need established tanks and not to add them until everything settles down. I'm not going to be able to get shrimp on Monday but could for the next water change day but should I wait longer?

    Thanks, I really appreciate it!
     
  5. alto

    alto Member

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    Sorry the Hygrophila 53B was a suggestion for a background stem plant (that has a finer leaf than some other Hygrophila species)

    For more carpet, I’d just add additional pots of the mini grass and marsilea
    Depending where you’re purchasing plants, you might add some H tenellum ‘green’ (eg Tropica 1-2-grow) as a foreground or midground “carpet” - depending on light levels, this may remain quite short or grow 15cm or so
    It’s usually faster growing & more determined than the hairgrass species, as it’s somewhat unpredictable in height, I’d plant it as a transition midground plant or at the edges etc

    Staurogyne repens is another plant that can be used for a carpet effect should the hairgrass be a reluctant grower - again you can “trial” a single pot for effect, and then expand the area by replanting the trimmings

    Slow growth without CO2 is just that, there are a couple very nice non-CO2 tank journals on ukaps (title often includes ‘low tech’) BUT the lighting and flow are very different (these are much shorter tanks etc)
    Plants do need Carbon C (easiest access is dissolved CO2 gas) for growth so often plants in low CO2 aquariums are less vigorous (and possibly less healthy) - lots of healthy growing plants seem to help control algae

    If you’re thinking of adding CO2 anyway, I’d do it now (a basic CO2Art kit is good value)

    You can just syphon away sand to decrease the depth BUT the soil will flow into the sand as you do so (often rocks are placed as part of this border or if one does a “dry start” then the carpet plant will help secure the border)

    For moss etc, easiest is to just drop the water level, use a fine spray (bottle) to keep any exposed plants damp, the gels glues will set quickly
    (this is shown in George Farmer, Jurijs mit JS, Green Aqua (& more) videos)


    I’d hold off on shrimp
    While they are amazing cleanup crew, they are also quite sensitive, I’d sooner add some Nerite snails (they’re much keener on the wood mould/slime that often develops) - I’d still wait a week or so, until you’ve finished any changes (new soil can release ammonia when disturbed)
    Several snail, 20 -40 shrimp won’t produce significant ammonia etc in a tank this size (from respiration etc), obviously don’t feed (or feed very lightly 1-2X a week) as there will be plant detritus etc

    I’ve not observed any ammonia release from Tropica Soil or wood (I do place a Seachem Ammonia Alert for continuous monitoring if a new tank and no “cycled”/established media)

    If you like sand, there’s no reason to change it out, I’d just reduce to 1-2 cm depth, save what you remove
    Sand does need maintenance, and often it’s replaced at intervals (it does discolour from various algaes)

    Many dwarf Cichlids will sift through sand, as will Corydoras (except mine - they only sifted the Tropica Soil Powder :eek: eventually I just removed the sand as I dislike the maintenance of it ... even a single soil particle drives me :mad: :crazy: )
     
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  6. Geraint Anderson

    Geraint Anderson Newly Registered

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    2 Week Update

    I'm surprised by how well it's going so far! The bigger of the two Echinodorus Reni had a few brown spots on the leaves that appeared in the first couple of days but seemed to stop and now there are lots of new leaves coming up from the middle. The smaller one melted quite a lot more and doesn't show much sign of new growth but the melting seems to have stopped.

    PA045014.JPG PA045013.JPG

    The less healthy one is to the side of the filter so it doesn't get as much flow, so I'm guessing that's the issue, especially as the Hottonia planted behind it isn't doing so well either.

    As suggested, I've removed a load of sand and significantly reduced the depth which didn't cause too many problems on the border although I did need to replant some Eleocharis.
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    The Marsilea seems to be growing the best with a few new shoots. I can't see any change in the Eleocharis but it hasn't melted yet so that's a win! I didn't like the idea of using white glue so instead I've re-tied the moss but this time it's much tighter. I also pushed some strands into the cracks in the driftwood using a cocktail stick in the hope it will take. It's jammed in fairly tightly so hopefully it won't float away. There seems to be a fair bit of new growth on the moss too with new strands stretching up towards the light. There's not a lot of options buying plants locally so I haven't bought any new plants.

    I did add two Nerite snails and two Amano shrimp though. The horned snail is only about 5mm long but seems much more active than the bigger red one. I didn't notice until I got home that it had a cracked shell. So many of the snails at Pets at Home were dead so I picked these out of the only rack that didn't appear to have any dead ones, even though most had badly broken shells. The shrimp are really interesting hopping over the wood and plants! I put a jug in the bottom of the tank when filling to stop the sand getting washed away and during the water change they keep swimming into it and getting whizzed around in the flow. The first couple of times I turned the water off and got them out but they kept going back in so in the end I let them carry on. It doesn't seem to do them any harm even though the water is much colder than the tank water.

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    I also saw this thing floating around which I pulled out with tweezers. What is it and is it a problem?
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  7. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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    Hi all,
    It is a dead thing that has gone fungal, the fuzzy threads you can see are the fungus.

    My suspicion is that it was a mollusc, I use rain-water in the tanks and very occasionally end up with a slug in the tank and they go like this if they die in the water. Assuming it isn't a slug? I would suspect it is the body of one of your snails.

    cheers Darrel
     
  8. Geraint Anderson

    Geraint Anderson Newly Registered

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    I only put two snails in and both are fine. The two shrimp are doing well too so it must have been something that came in on the rocks, I don't use rain water but I did leave the rocks soaking outside for a couple of weeks and then left them on the floor to dry so a slug could well have crawled into on of the cracks. Thanks, glad to know it's not something growing in the tank!
     
  9. chefski

    chefski Member

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    Nice, like the wood it looks natural
     
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