Fluval Flex planted tank

Joined
11 Apr 2013
Messages
100
Location
Republic of Ireland
Hi All,

I am into the third day of my first planted tank. Have spent years reading about it and I am in position to join the club. I have planted heavy from the start. My only goal is to maintain it, learn something and hopeful get to a point where I can say its a success but I am mindful there is no real end. I absolutely loved this first plant. It was fantastic and focuses the mind. Im starting this Journal because I know I will run into issues and I hope I can avail of the massive amount of experience on this Forum.

Bits
Flex 57 L
Pressurised Co2 injection in tank diffuser
Stock light
Stock filtration
Surface skimmer running 24/7. Thanks to @Wookii

Tropica Plants
Background

Ludwiga palustris x3
Hydrophila Siamensis 53B x2
Limnophil Sessiliflora x3 (love this plant appearance) as suggested by @hogan53 thanks!

Midground
Bucephalandra sp. Red x3
Anubias Nana x 2
Anubias Gracilis x1
Cryptocoryne Wendtii Tropica x1 XL pot
Cryptocoryn Petchii x2
Java Fern Narrow leaf x1

Foreground
Eleocharis acicularis mini carpet x3
Sagittaria Subulata (planted by mistake in place of Helanthium)

Fauna
Nothing yet but one Betta is on order.
Shrimp and Sails?? to be added.

At the moment I am tuning my flow distribution with a view to optimize Co2 using two drop checkers and checking my pH profile using JBL aquatest kit. So far I have achieved a nice lime green in both DC's and a nice mist in the tank however the stems at the back could do with a better flow at the bottom. I am building a spray bar that I might trail after a couple weeks. I have increased my Co2 feed over three days from 0.5 bps to 1.75 bps by following the pH profile and Co2 mist appearance.

I downloaded the Tropica App and suddenly I find myself following the instructions. Today is day 3 so water change and add snails and shrimp (I have neither yet). Would anyone like to comment on the Tropica Method?

To my surprise the Tropica app says don't use Ferts for a couple weeks. Anyone got an input on that?

1. Empty tank.JPG
Yes, I do have to remove the tank and top shelf to take out the Co2 tank. I have a toddler in the house so this was the safest and most ascetically pleasing way of storing it. Eventually I will paint cylinder black.
2. Hard scape.JPG
Hardscape
5. Plan.jpg

Plan I had beside me whilst planting.

6. Planting.jpg


3 FTS.JPG
4. Upclose.JPG


7 Side View.jpg


Last thing. I ordered all my plants from Andrew at www.guppycentral.ie. He is a breeder of high quality Guppys. If you decide to make any purchase tell him Paul sent you. I have no affiliation with this fellow but check out his site. He is a really great guy to deal with.

Thanks for looking!

Paul
 

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,657
I applaud your CO2 solution - it’s brilliant as the CO2 cylinder is properly fastened (most aquarists neglect that basic safety regulation of compressed gas cylinders :()

That is ALOT of plants :D
(quick order another Flex, CO2 manifold :angelic:)

I’d suggest splitting the hair grass into smaller adjacent portions (it seems to fill in more quickly)
And beware of sneaky underground wandering by the S subulata (you’ll easily see the surface runners) - this is a funny plant as it may grow short leafs for months, fitting perfectly into a foreground, then suddenly switch to much taller growth ... so you move it to the background ... and then it decides on smaller leafs again :rolleyes:
Trim leafs at the base

I’d suggest adding snails for algae crew sooner rather than later
If you want shrimps and Betta, it’s more prudent to establish a shrimp colony first
(though I did have one Betta that instantly engaged in a Death to All Shrimp Mission - he managed an easy dozen in the time it took me to run for a net and remove him ... he didn’t waste time attempting to eat Tasty Creatures)

Andrew has stunning guppies :wideyed:
and a nicely designed website
 

Andrew T

Member
Joined
9 Apr 2019
Messages
170
Location
Seattle, WA
The fact that you have so many plants from the start will help big time.
The advice Tropica gives in general is great...having said that, in a high tech co2 injected tank I always dose full dose from the get go; I feel like while the soil releases a lot of ammonia, it doesn’t release the nutrients in the same fashion otherwise the soil would be exhausted in weeks . And if you have plants on rocks/wood then they rely on nutrients dissolved in the water column.

Clive was mentioning that the so called root feeders benefit greatly from water column dosing and absorb vast amount of nutrients through the leaf structure.
Keep in mind water changing, general maintenance, good co2, very good circulation and lots of nutrients for your plants to grow healthy.
Also slightly rubbing off plant leaves at water change would make sure slime /waste build up on the leaves will be eliminated so co2/nutrient is easily absorbed.
 
Joined
11 Apr 2013
Messages
100
Location
Republic of Ireland
it’s brilliant as the CO2 cylinder is properly fastened (most aquarists neglect that basic safety regulation of compressed gas cylinders
I’m happy the way it worked out. The other idea was to install a hatch in the wall but this way I can show off the hardware and it’s safe. Going nowhere.
That is ALOT of plants :D
(quick order another Flex, CO2 manifold :angelic:)
I went overboard. Call it a noob move

I’d suggest splitting the hair grass into smaller adjacent portions (it seems to fill in more quickly)
And beware of sneaky underground wandering by the S subulata (you’ll easily see the surface runners)
I have two other options being Littorella Uniflora or Helanthium Quadricostatus in pots. Initially I meant to plant Helanthium but I picked up the wrong pot should I replace or stick them in a covered bowl with tropical soil and leave on window?

I’d suggest adding snails for algae crew sooner rather than later
Hopefully delivered on Tuesday. Amano and Nerites. Shrimp will come soon after that.

Andrew has stunning guppies :wideyed:
and a nicely designed website
Yep he’s passionate.
having said that, in a high tech co2 injected tank I always dose full dose from the get go
I have started dosing as per the bottle guidelines but I’m splitting it to daily doses. What about a “fast” day for plants on water change day then dose next day 6/7 day dosing?


Keep in mind water changing, general maintenance, good co2, very good circulation and lots of nutrients for your plants to grow healthy.
I mentioned I put together a spray bar. I banged it in after observing the flow and now I’m getting a lovely circular flow in the tank. I think stems are now getting good flow. video below shows nice downward flow against front pane. I removed sound so you don’t have to listen to Peppa harping on


lastly, there’s some difference in four days. All stems are rocketing up and I can see runners from grass. This is class.
 

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,657
have two other options being Littorella Uniflora or Helanthium Quadricostatus in pots. Initially I meant to plant Helanthium but I picked up the wrong pot should I replace or stick them in a covered bowl with tropical soil and leave on window?
Littorella uniflora is a foreground plant but not exactly a carpeting plant (Jurijs mit JS mentioned this in a recent video so I stopped thinking “It’s me” ;)) - it is a nice accent plant but given it’s slow growth and leaf type, I suspect it’s not going to appreciate trimming (to reduce leaf height) so I’d hesitate to mix it into a carpet that you’ll trim regularly

H quadricostatus is a beast - watch it grow and grow and grow in the UNS 5N aquarium - though I might be inclined to replace some of the stems with this when you get tired of trimming them :D
https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCLgPlYlHA8HtIcKp33x0hdw/videos


Which Betta have you ordered?
 
Joined
11 Apr 2013
Messages
100
Location
Republic of Ireland
H quadricostatus is a beast - watch it grow and grow and grow in the UNS 5N aquarium - though I might be inclined to replace some of the stems with this when you get tired of trimming them :D
I had ordered the smaller version H. Thenelum green but the quad was delivered. I might stick to what I have and out the remaining pots into an emerged setup.

these stems man. The sessiliflora has grown an inch and a half in four days. I’m already thinking I need “nicer” feeling scissors and tweezers

This Betta is being held for me. I think my daughter will like it. U thinking flow or suitability?

https://www.guppycentral.ie/bettas/beautiful-butterfly-betta
 

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,657
Just curiosity - he’s a lovely boy (how old?)


Investing in some sharp scissors is worthwhile (grooming/hair cutting scissors are often better quality than aquarium marketed scissors at same price ... I have an old pair from a dissecting kit)

The plants should be fine emersed as long as humidity is good, most seem to prefer no standing water in substrate
 

Witcher

Member
Joined
15 Jan 2020
Messages
236
Location
London
To my surprise the Tropica app says don't use Ferts for a couple weeks. Anyone got an input on that?
I think the main reason for this is that plants when freshly planted are in some kind of shock and need to adapt to new water parameters before they will go on full throttle and they don't use too much nutrients in the water at that adapting time, that also includes conversion from emersed to submersed state - in that time they mainly use mobile nutrients stored in their tissue (especially nitrogen, that's why old emersed leaves usually melt and nutrients are being moved to new leaves). Whenever I start new tank with new plants, I dose only potassium (in carbonate form) for first 1-2 weeks (plus Mg, Ca, Cl, S obviously present in the water), followed by Iron at 2nd week or so and then the rest of the nutrients (phosphates, nitrogen, micro etc.) after 3-4 weeks.

Those guppies from guppycentral are absolutely stunning!
 
Joined
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Messages
100
Location
Republic of Ireland
Update: 12 days in and so far so good. Quite a bit of melting on hairgrass, Ludwigia and crypts but crypts are showing signs of new leaves. Ludwigia is shedding all bottom leaves so quite a bit of maintenance required. Added 10 Neo reds, 4 Amano and 3 nerites on day 6. All doing good.

Any thoughts on hairgrass browning? I can see the odd runner and shoot. Have added spray bar to even out flow. Just trialling at the mo but also noted a leak in my Co2 system.


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Joined
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Messages
100
Location
Republic of Ireland
Day 23: everything seems to do well at this time. No algae issues however, I note there is brown fuzzy algae on the underside shaded parts of the wood. Not sure what it is.

spray bar has really provided a nice laminar flow.

Hair grass is not moving much but my understanding it takes a while for it to get going.

ludwiga, for my own note, sheds the bottom leaves and reaches for the light. Lovely red colours showing.

I am double dosing Tropica specialised ferts. I reacted to pin holing in leaves in some of the plants and now I’m a bit afraid to cut back.

lights on 8 hours with stable Co2.
Added a lovely Betta fish. He ate all my shrimp in the first 48 hours. 50 quid gone. Oh well I was aware it was a risk adding him.

Daughter however is fascinated by Giant George. He is a big lad indeed.

If I were to start again, less wood in the scape. Less is more.

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alto

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Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
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Commiserations of the shrimp annihilation (hopefully they are in Shrimp Heaven) - it possible some have escaped to the filter area or have gone into crevices

What happened to the butterfly Betta linked above?

(“Dark Horse” Bettas such as Giant George seem more likely to be the Shrimp Annihilator type than some of the other colors (not so fanciful an idea if you look at Bettas fighting lines))
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Republic of Ireland
Commiserations of the shrimp annihilation (hopefully they are in Shrimp Heaven) - it possible some have escaped to the filter area or have gone into crevices

What happened to the butterfly Betta linked above?
Hey Alto, hope all is well with you and yours.
The previous fella came on hard times and between myself and Andrew at guppycentral.ie, we decided he should retire and Andrew would nurse him to health and keep him as his own. I picked George based on his short Finn size. I love his dark colours.

The three Amano shrimp I have are also in hiding. They fairly big but maybe he was having a go over night.
 

alto

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24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,657
Is he actually a “Giant” Betta?

I’m sure he was “investigating” every movement so shrimp are on high Predator Alert
He’ll get the Amano as well if determined
 
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South Carolina
Day 23: everything seems to do well at this time. No algae issues however, I note there is brown fuzzy algae on the underside shaded parts of the wood. Not sure what it is.
This may be fungus if your wood is of the “spider wood” family. It will go away eventually, when exactly isn’t an exact science as many people including myself have different experiences with it.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Republic of Ireland
Is he actually a “Giant” Betta?

I’m sure he was “investigating” every movement so shrimp are on high Predator Alert
He’ll get the Amano as well if determined
I don’t think he is a true giant.Just a bit bigger than your average store bought Betta. I’m contemplating on getting a few more Amano to keep algae in check.
Did a big trim, removed all ludwiga and replanted less stems. So far so good.
 
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