Help please questions posted - The Angel Garden Rio 240 Jour

JamieH

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27 Apr 2008
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:rolleyes:
Ok... here we go again!

Last year I set up a 'semi el natural' tank. Why 'semi' ? Well, i used more light than you might otherwise use in an el natural (4 x 38w tubes in a 240litre tank) and had an external filter. I also used a laterite and clay mixture beneth the substrate... but no C02... Well, i started out with DIY C02 but it quickly became a hassle so i used flourish excel

This i what the tank looked like on set up:

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This is what it looked like after a few months:

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So... after a while this tank became really to much work. I revisted it and removed all of the stem plants... Oh, i also removed two of the lights... it became much more el natural... the tank matured into this:

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It went really well until a mistake caught up with me... I used silver sand - my plants did really well, then all of a sudden they died back... and i discovered my subsrtate was rotten. UGH... REALLY ROTTEN. :(

I was quite disapointed having to tear the tank down... and it STANK. honestly... getting 15 - 20 kg of stinky clay, sand and laterite out of a tank is not fun.

Just redid it as a community tank and have raised some parrot fish and severums and a couple of clown loaches in it.

Anyway... The severums mean that my tank doesn't support many plants! ;) and i really miss my old 'lush' looking set up... I was looking at my tank today thinking 'i can do better than this'

Another thing happened... a friend gave me eight 1.5" angel fish... and i started thinking what a lovely idea it would be to do a tank with lots of onion plants for the angels.

So first things first:

I have 2 7" blood parrots and 4 4" severums free to a good home... along with a common plec and a red gibbceps. I am based in Norwich, UK... if you want them, PM me and they're yours.


MY PLANS:

I have another pressure on my hobby apart from a simple desire for more plants... energy prices in the UK are going up and up... so I need to reduce the cost of running my tank wherever I can. This means I can't justify tons of light again... and am going to have to replace my canister filter + UV with a sponge-based eheim internal filter that only uses 6w (aquaball 2012) - doing this alone will save me, over the course of the year, several times the cost of the new filter in electricity - the fact that I can sell the canister filter and UV to fund the changes to the system for what will hopefully be a cheaper to run and easier to maintain tank is an added bonus.


So, at this stage, I have questions...

1 - Do i need to strip the tank down completely? I've read about using frozen soil inserts... if i use these with root fert tabs... will that be enough to get the plants going? Basically, is a soil 'layer' essential?

2 - i've got pea-grade standard aquarium gravel what are the odds that this will stagnate? I REALLY don't want to go through that again.

3 - I live in a flat and don't have access to topsoil have any UK members here used any 'off the shelf' soil products with success? By that i mean commerical soil / compost - not expensive aquarium products,



Thank in advance for you advice.


So... This is where it begins. Again... eek.
 

JamieH

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Re: The Angel Garden - El Natural Journey

:oops: :wideyed: OH HELL.

I meant to post this in the journal bit... can a mod please move? :oops:
 

beeky

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Re: The Angel Garden - El Natural Journey

Looked really nice with the vallis and those stones. Can you remember where you got them from?

I used aquatic soil in my old low tech tank with good success. I tried various plants but eventually they succumbed to the marching forest of C. wendtii! It's sold in garden centres for potting pond plants.
 

JamieH

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Re: The Angel Garden - El Natural Journey

beeky said:
Looked really nice with the vallis and those stones. Can you remember where you got them from?

I used aquatic soil in my old low tech tank with good success. I tried various plants but eventually they succumbed to the marching forest of C. wendtii! It's sold in garden centres for potting pond plants.
The stones are actually bought from the people that water the plants in our office - half a bin bag full for a fiver!!! They called them 'paddle stones' but they're really just pieces of well-worn slate. I had a wall running the length of the tank... i liked the contrast of the purple with the vallis.

I'm really not sure what to do RE the soil... Do i leave the existing gravel substrate and let it mulm up slightly and add some other root ferts when needed (it'll be a few weeks before i make any changes) - or strip the tank down and add soil?

I'm going to be draining the tank down to move it closer to the wall anyway... but i'm so wary of the nasty mess i ended up with last time!
 

JamieH

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Re: The Angel Garden - El Natural Journey

So I've been shopping.... :wideyed:

Decided to keep my external filter (can't part with my pro 2 2028!) and not use the eheim internal.... I want to use smaller tubing though so i can move my tanal closer to the wall - my tank is sideways as you enter the living room and ATM you can see down the back which makes it look unsightly.

I've ordered...

flourish excel
hose 16mm to 12mm reducers
12mm hose
glass lily pipe and outflow (hey, i want low-tech not ugly!)
aquatic compost
medium redmoorland root from AE
ADA Bacter 100

I've aired the compost for a couple of days and have now added some bacter 100, a small amount of water and mulm, and bagged it again... I'll air it some more before using it.

I've got my scape planned out two...

in the far left corner i want a large clump of vallis, in front of that will be some crypts, hairgrass and blyxa... then for the mid ground i want a carpet of E tenellus front to back of the tank... I really like the root that has arrived so i'm going to use it vertically placed in the golden section (roughly!) and i'll plant a small clump of vallis behind that to add to the verticality of that... to the right of the wood will be a large amazon sword, which will be balanced by some more blyxa to the right of that... the E Tenellus will cover the foreground pretty much end to end.

Can someone reccomend a red plant i can add into that mix that's not too demanding of lighting? (currently 3 X 38w powerglo tubes with reflectors... to be upgraded to 54w T5's shortly)
 

JamieH

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27 Apr 2008
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Re: The Angel Garden - El Natural Journey

Just wanted to say that Aqua essentials offered amazing service today... my glass filter inflow arrived smashed. A new one was in the post within hours.

Amazing...

Also... everything i need should be here by the weekend..! Time to redo my tank!!
 

LondonDragon

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Re: The Angel Garden - El Natural Journey

Looking very good, love it :)
I would be very afraid of placing such large rocks on my tank, had a bad experience before on my 60l tank! :bored:
Now that the plants have grown in it looks brilliant, very simple but effective :)
 

JamieH

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27 Apr 2008
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Re: The Angel Garden - El Natural Journey

So I redid my tank today... Lot's of pics below!


First things first, there's one essential ingrediant that anyone should have to hand when stripping down a tank:

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:D

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My replacement glassware from aqua essentials arrived - amazing service after the original order arrived broken. Thanks!

I had some bits and pieces laying around that i decided to use in the tank after the discussion in this thread viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1582" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Graeme Edwards said:
Hi guys,

Ive planted up a small tank in the Green Machine recently. I work the substrate with an influence from ADA's notion of thinking. When setting it up, I added a layer of Tropica substrate, then a layer of SERA syporax mini filter media granules and the Zambezi sand over the top of that. I added the syporax for the sole purpose of bacteria colonization. Now Ive not compared the cost of that to the power sand, but it works a long the same theme. you could use Ehime bio balls or anything that is small ( gravel size ish ) and highly porous.
I think its a clever idea. The tank Ive set up is only 4 weeks old now, so its still to early to say, but its looking good, healthy and the fish are very happy.
.
Namely I had a small amount of perlag (basically pumice pieces) and a larger amount of eheim Ehfi Substrat Pro that came with a filter i bought of ebay but never used because i already had mature media to put in it.

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I also had my potting compost ready, which has been 'tinkered' with - the addtion of a small amount of sand, some dried out and powered red potters clay. and a few handfuls of crushed oystershell (all this things are reccomended on the el natural forum at Aquarium Plant Central) There's also a couple of litres of akadama in there (got a small bag from a local garden centre, but that's all they had).

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The first job i had was to clean out my Eheim external and leave the resulting mulm to settle in a bucket...

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(mmm - lovely!)

While the mulm was settling i refilled the filter and set it up on a polysterene fish box, drain my tank, bagged my plants and transfered my fish to the box. I had to chuckle at the fish box - possibly the best filtered couple of gallons of water in the world (Vecton V2 600 UV, Eheim Pro 2 2028, Eheim 2012 internal)!!! :lol:

Obviously all the filters were turned down to a trickle in such a small space

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Once the fish were taken care of, i started work on the tank...

First I added the mulm from my filter (having drained off most of the water), then the pumice - which actually didn't go very far but i chucked it in anyway. Then I added roughly an inch of the potting compost mixture. I had some ADA bacter 100 and sprinkled that on top of the soil too...

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On top of this i added the Eheim Substrat Pro - worked out that i had just enough to cover the soil to a depth of a couple of CM.

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And then the gravel went in to a depth of about 1.5" (the gravel was completely unwashed during the strip down, so i'm hopeful i preserved all the 'good stuff'

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After this, I got to work on the hardscape, this was actually quite easy because i knew in my head exactly what i wanted - a 'hill' type structure with the pinnacle slightly off-centre... this is made of of red moorland root, a large piece of bogwood and slate pieces.

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This is actually the first time i've planted a tank before adding water - SO MUCH EASIER! I could plant much closer together... why have i never done this before? :rolleyes:

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after this it was a simple case of filling up - with two surprises... 1, not a single plant came loose (touch wood) and the water remained very clear considering the layers of crap on the bottom of the tank

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And so.... Drum roll.... this is how the tank looks filled:

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It's going to take a fair while to fill out i think... and the crinum on the left is going to need some time (they arrived as bulbs and are currently wedged into tropica pots with rockwool and weighted until they start to root... So far though, I'm REALLY pleased!

More pics to to follow once ther water's a bit sharper and the plants look less bedraggled!
 

LondonDragon

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Re: The Angel Garden - El Natural Journey: NEW PICS PAGE 2

Great work on the new scape :) will keep an eye on it to see how it develops, I am in the process of looking for a Rio 240, since the project I wanted to carry out seems a distant dream. So this is a good reference for me ;)

Some guy offered a Rio 240 for 195 quid, does that sound decent? Was hoping for a better deal LOL

Keep us posted and good luck :)
 

aaronnorth

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Re: The Angel Garden - El Natural Journey: NEW PICS PAGE 2

Looks good, when i saw the 1st pc of the hardscape positioning i didn't like it but now the plants have gone in it isn't to bad, you could make a great hillscape out of that :D
 

nickyc

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Re: The Angel Garden - El Natural Journey: NEW PICS PAGE 2

Looks great! Thought 3 cans was slightly under spec for such a big job though ;)
 

JamieH

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Re: The Angel Garden - El Natural Journey: NEW PICS PAGE 2

nickyc said:
Looks great! Thought 3 cans was slightly under spec for such a big job though ;)

I'd already drunk one!!!

:lol:
 

beeky

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Re: The Angel Garden - El Natural Journey: NEW PICS PAGE 2

I had the same thought as Aaron. Wasn't sure at all about the dry stone wall look, but once filled and planted, looks very good. It seems to gently lead the eye towards the focal point. Very nice.

Any new pics with the fish back in?
 

JamieH

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Re: The Angel Garden - El Natural Journey: NEW PICS PAGE 2

Ok... update time.

First the bad news... looks like i'm being made redundant from work. This is fairly tought because i realy love my job and in the two years I've worked where I am, I've never had a project not succeed or come in over budget. However, we've got a new MD and he wants to 'refocus' our marketing team (i.e. get rid of it) - it's fairly annoying to have achieved everything that was asked of you and then have someone say 'oh well, you shouldn't have been doing those things anyway'. I've only worked there 2 years, so will get about £600 as a pay out. great.

In light of this, I'm putting some of the 'luxury items' that I can sell on ebay - specifically some fish things people here might want (if you're in the UK that is). If you want an Eheim filter, Vecton 2 600 UV, of the glassware in this thread, you can check it out here :

http://search.ebay.co.uk/_W0QQsassZgenki-rocket

On a brighter note, the tank is doing GREAT.

Some changes, though:

- removed my pair of jewel cichlids. They spawned twice since the tank was changed. At first i was delighted... then they started pulling up every plant within 6" of their eggs. Given that the roots weren;t well formed they made quite a mess and so had to go. This made me sad because they were STUNNING when in breeding colours :(

- just after the tank was planted my vallis took a weird turn and lots of the leaves started to melt - never seen that before, it looked like it was going to die. this stopped after a week or so, and growth is V good now... my red serpent vallis still looks a bit grim though and only has a couple of leaves left.

- by big common angel spawned with the smallest common - i'm assuming the small one was the female because they only laid about 15 eggs! they managed to last 2 days before eating them. typical angels! :D

- crypts have loads of new leaves, but v-small ones as yet.

- swords starting to really grow fast over the last few days.

- water clarity is amazing in this tank, not sure why that should be, but it's gin-clear.

Anyway... on with the pics.

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I'm quite pleased so far. No algae to speak of.

Stock:

9 angelfish
4 bronze corys
9 ottos

Thats all for now!!
 

nickyc

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Re: The Angel Garden - NEW PICS ADDED 25TH MAY, PG2

Sorry to hear about your job!

Those angels are beautiful though - shame they won't leave their eggs alone!
 

Steve Smith

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Re: The Angel Garden - NEW PICS ADDED 25TH MAY, PG2

Shame about the job :( I hope they are giving you enough notice to find another job!

Tank is looking nice! Lovely angels!
 

JamieH

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Re: The Angel Garden - NEW PICS ADDED 25TH MAY, PG2

SteveUK said:
Shame about the job :( I hope they are giving you enough notice to find another job!

Tank is looking nice! Lovely angels!

Steve, thanks for the comments.

They are being VERY careful and diligent about following due processes. We will find out the full extent of the 'refocus' this week, at which point a 30 day consultation begins. after that 30 days i could be without a job.

I don;t worry about finding work... I worry about finding another job i actually enjoy and is relevant to my qualifications - i went to Uni as a mature student so i didn;t have to do shitty jobs that i hated anymore. Trouble is, the local jobs market appears to be, well, PANTS.
 
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