'In Reverie' My Rio 180 Journal

Steven E

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13 Nov 2008
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15
I'd like to bestow upon you all, another journal. This isn't my first dabble in planted tankery, however it's the first time i've ever done it 'properly' using 'High-tech' techniques and plants other than fast growing and cheap (but non-the-less pretty) 'weeds'

The name, 'In Reverie' stems from the fact that a few years ago when I got into fish keeping as a serious hobby I could only dream about having a tank like all of the beautiful ones I'd been mesmerised by on various forums. Now i'm an earning, tax paying citizen I (sort of) have the money to live those dreams.

Info
Tank: Juwel Rio 180 - 101x41x50cm (£50 2nd Hand!)
Filter: TetraTec EX1200 (-carbon +1litre Eheim Substrat Pro)
Central Heating: Hydor In-Line External 300w
Lighting: Juwel High-Lite 100cm - 45w x2 - Day + Nature Bulbs
Arcadia Twin T5 Starter - 39w x2 - Osram 880 + 840 Bulbs
Substrate: 1cm Base Layer Tropica Plant Substrate
2-3" Unipac Black Extra Fine Gravel (2-3mm Grain Size) x8 2.5kg Bags

At the time of writing, I've not set up any of the following equipment. That's for the next day or two.
Fire Extinguisher cO2 (2kg FE)
Lunapet Regulator + Solenoid
Rhinox 2000
Chameleon Drop Checker
DIY TPN+ (James C's 'recipe')

Plants:
Aquarium Gardening
Cryptocoryne balansae (Bunch 5)
Eleocharis vivipara (Bunch 25)
Heteranthera zosterifolia (Pot x3)
Vesicularia ferrei (Weeping Moss) (4g x2)
Vesicularia montaignei (Christmas Moss) (4g x2)

Aqua Essentials
Hygrophila corymbosa "Compact" (x1 Pot - Actually recieved Staurogyne sp.)
Nymphaea lotus (zenkeri) (x1 Bulb)

The Green Machine
Echinodorus bleheri (bleherae) (Amazon Sword) (x2 Pot)
Echinodorus 'Red Flame' (x1 Pot)
Alternanthera reineckii Purple (lilacina) (x2)
Vallisneria spiralis Tiger (x1)
Anubias bart v. nana (x2)
Microsorum pteropus (Java Fern) (x2)


So, let's begin!

Months of research and a significant dent in my pocket, here's what I have. (Minus the filter)
01.jpg


02.jpg


Here's the EX1200 sitting inside my (Old style) Rio 180 cabinet, with a 70cl Balvenie for comparison. I'm used to 15gallon internal filters, so to me this thing is an absolute monster.
02_2.jpg


1cm base layer of Tropica Plant Substrate
03.jpg


And in case anyone's interested, here's what Unipac Black Extra Fine Gravel looks like. I'm not entirely happy that it has lots of amber coloured bits throughout, but I can live with it.
04.jpg


Hardscape, bogwood from my garden center. Got it all pretty cheap with friend's staff discount..!
06.jpg



Planting
AG's crypts. A little disappointing, but healthy and they should grow out just fine.
07.jpg


AG's Heteranthera zosterifolia, this was in tropica pots with tropica labels... To me, this looks nothing like what it should, though maybe it has to grow in...?
08.jpg


AGs Weeping Moss, got three clumps this size, two of the Christmas Moss
09.jpg


TGM, Tropica Java Fern. Absolutely fantastic service from The Green Machine, couldn't be more pleased. I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to recommend them to anyone.
10.jpg


Everything from them was packed in bags like these, 2 plants to a bag, each plant+pot individually wrapped in bubble wrap.
11.jpg


Spotted some hitch hikers on my red flame and bleheri though
12.jpg

13.jpg


Aqua Essentials provided not such developed Tropica plants but healthy and of high a quality as I would expect. Lotus bulb and Staurogyne sp. (Not Hygro "Compact")
14.jpg



Filling from the garden hose, draped through the landing, bathroom and out the bathroom window. Girlfriend was thrilled...
15.jpg


90% of plants in, filling more..
16.jpg


Filled
17.jpg


And here it is in situ, in my studio room. (Plant plates by the way, not dinner..)
18.jpg




And as of 11pm tonight, here's it is. The cycle has also begun, hopefully jump started with some filter media from a friend.
19.jpg



Looking back at the original plans I made, I've stuck pretty closely to them.
newnewtanklayout.jpg



The next stages are of course to implement the cO2, dose ferts and add the Arcadia lighting units to get me up to full light. I'm currently only running the Juwel lights while I'm not 'ferting' or co2ing.

I'll be sure to keep this journal updated as regularly as possible and whenever I make any modifications.

In the mean time i'd love some feedback, criticism, ideas, anything!

Thank you very much for looking,
Steve
 

George Farmer

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Nice journal. Welcome to the hi-tech side of the hobby!

Tank looks nice with plenty of potential. You'll likely evolve the 'scape as you go. It's the best way to learn.

All the best.
 

aaronnorth

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19 Feb 2008
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worksop, nottinghamshire
nice start & great journal - thanks for sharing. One thing that i would change though is that the left piece of wood is too upright, and the cut off looks unatural
 

Nick16

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13 Aug 2008
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Surrey, UK
wow, whats the pink plant on the left in the second to last photo? is it the Alternanthera reineckii Purple ? looks good though mate.
 

Superman

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29 Jan 2008
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Cheltenham
Good going, that setup feeling of a tank is a very special one. Everything you've planned falls into place.
TGM do generally grow on the tropica pots a bit more before you get them so they will be more developed. They're generally my first port of call for plants if I can find them locally.
The crypt from AG looks a bit iffy, but then depends how much you paid, the problem with crypts is that they do take a while to grow and it could melt!
That java fern looks fab, I love mine that I added.

Nice start, should fill in well.
 

Joecoral

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24 Nov 2007
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686
Location
Carmarthenshire
Looking good, very similar setup to what I'm in the middle of setting up (temporarily stalled to cash problems :( ), same gravel, same tank, same substrate base too
How easy did you find it to attach the heater to the filter outflow, as I find it a bit of a tight squeeze on mine, although I have the Eheim 2026, not sure if this is bigger or smaller? Don't suppose you have a picture of the filter in the cabinet with the heater attached?

EDIT - Just noticed you have the old style cabinet. I much prefer those, I wish they didnt put the stupid shelfy bit in the middle of the new style, makes the cupboards so small, I can barely squeeze my 2026 in through the cupboard door :twisted:
 

Steven E

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Joined
13 Nov 2008
Messages
15
Thanks for your kind words so far everyone. I for one think it's really helpful to have a resource like this whether it be when starting a new tank or simply passing time at work or in the evening. I thoroughly enjoy reading other journals where every intricate detail is documented, and that's what I hope to accomplish here.

Aaron, I do agree, the cutoff does niggle with me somewhat, but i'm hoping that in time it will be hidden from sight by the addition of more plants or what's there. With the sticky outy piece of wood far left I tried to juxtapose it with everything else, and hopefully in time this won't be seen all the time, but will be engulfed in plants, just occasionally seeing it in a swaying current.

Nick, that's right it's Alternanthera reineckii Purple. It looks incredible in real life, the colour under the leaves really is beautiful, and add to that it stands out extremely well against the amazon sword in the background.

Joe, getting the 'bolts' on the heater and tubing was an absolute bugger. I've got a blister the size of a ten pence piece on my hand from tightening them. It's pretty much just brute force. The hydor is 16mm, as is the EX1200 so it actually does fit on pretty snugly. I would go so far as to say i'd be happy to leave the tubing on the heater without even using the bolts, but best to be on the safe side. Another way to do it is to use jubilee clips, which I think I might well do when I get the chance to go to the DIY shop.

Here's it all attached inside the cabinet. I need to shorten the tubes a little, and put up a nail to hang the heater on.
20.jpg


And a close up of the 'bolt' on the standard EX1200 tubing and Hydor 300w.
21.jpg


Looking at that picture, I've realised I think I may well have put those bolts on rather incorrectly. It was 3am when I did it, I wasn't exactly thinking straight. They should probably be left on the hydor, tubing squeezed on then screwed anti-clockwise to screw down onto the tube. D'oh. I'll fix that when I shorten the tubes. Live and learn!
 

beeky

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21 Aug 2007
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Great journal. Good to see the detail especially for those who don't have the time/money to try out lots of different things, so a close up of the gravel for instance is really helpful.

Am I alone in thinking that the wood and gravel on their own are beautiful? It's a volcanic/scorched earth type of thing. It's almost a shame to put plants in it! Weird I know... :oops:

I'm surprised Tropica send out plants with snails on, I'm only assuming it's Tropica as that's all TGM deal with. You expect this kind of thing with your LFS, but Tropica? As for AS sending you staurogyne instead of the hygro, they'd probably done you a favour! Even the compact variety gets huge from what I've heard and Staurogyne if a lovely little plant.
 

Nick16

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have you got the Hydor ETH 300 External Heater? as it is for 16mm tubing? which i think the tetratec has? thats the one i will get then!
 

Steven E

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13 Nov 2008
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That's right Nick, it's the Hydor ETH 300w External. Thus far i've been extremely impressed with it, kept my tank at the exact temp it's set to, no more, no less.

Quick update, i've made up my bottle of DIY TPN+ following James C's measurements

Here's my ingredients
22.jpg


I know I could just as well use tap water, but 2.5l of DI for £1.50 from Tesco (in the car section) wasn't really much to worry about 'just to be on the safe side'. Dry ferts and bottle from Aqua Essentials and Ascorbic Acid, Potassium Sorbate from The Home Brew Shop.

Measuring
23.jpg


Et Voilà
24.jpg


The above picture is a pretty accurate representation of the colour. I would best describe it as tannin stained water colour. I've read some posts saying it goes green, some it stays the same colour as the trace, the latter being the case in my mix. I'll be keeping it in the dark to stop the trace from breaking down. Though i'll probably get through this 500ml bottle relatively quickly at just over 5ml a day.
 

Steven E

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Joined
13 Nov 2008
Messages
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Hi! Been a while since my last update, Christmas, New Year e.t.c... been all go.

Here's the updates since my last post.

So, as soon as I posted my first pictures I realised i'd put the bolts on the wrong way on the filter and heater. Now rectified, here's how it should be fitted.
32.jpg


Got my drop checker from Hong Kong so finally got the CO2 set up.
25.jpg


And the drop checker in question. A lot smaller than I thought, for some reason!
27.jpg


And my Rhinox 2000 bubbling away nicely. I decided to go for the 2000 rather than the 5000 based on opinions on here. And I'll confirm the fact it works perfectly well on this 180l. Drop checker sits at a constant lime green (though I keep it verging on yellow until the tank settles down)
26.jpg


Here's one of the Osram bulbs from lampspecs, attached to one of the Arcadia dual-started unit plugs. These are secondary to the standard Juwel units, I run them for about 4 hours less than the Juwel ones.
28.jpg


And here's the incredibly complex, technical way of keeping it out of the water. (Foreground is the Juwel bulb, with the reflector removed for the picture)
29.jpg


And here's where I left to go back home for Christmas, for about 2 weeks. My girlfriend kept it cycling adding ammonia every day and dosing the 6ml DIY TPN+ every day. I had the CO2 running for a week or so before I left so it was all stable, on 2hrs before lights on, off 2hrs before lights off (using a solenoid).
30.jpg

Mmm... Brown.

This stuff was covering nearly everything, most of all the weeping moss.
31.jpg


Cleared it all, removed all the brown cotton wool muck, trimmed everything etc. Tank looked great, and was nearly cycled. I of course, didn't take a picture...

About 2-3 days later...
33.jpg

Pain in the butt.

A week or two later, the tank cycled. I left it running for a week continuing to dose ammonia to ensure it would stay. Then I finally got to buy some fish!

3x Badis Badis
6x Lampeye Killies
1x Neon Tetra (snuck into the bag with the Lampeyes...)
3x Cherry Barbs

I absolutely love the badis badis. I've never ever seen them before, so I had to snap them up. Here's one of the males. His colour changes are really dramatic, sometimes he'll be really really dark, sort of chocolate brown with bright blue fins, almost like a betta. Other times he'll look like he's put on a tiger's coat. They don't call them Chameleon fish for nothing...
34.jpg


And what may well be a female, but possibly just a juvie male.
39.jpg


Bad shot of my lampeyes...
38.jpg



Hair algae's started now... Though i've just added 4 Yamato (amano) shrimp a week ago, who are all active healthy and working over the wood slowly but surely
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Brown fuzz covering everything
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And here's the tank to date. I've removed all of the moss because it's just spewing out the brown algae. I'll put it into it's own tank and try to save it before putting it back.
35.jpg


Thanks for looking! I will try and update a bit more regularly from now on
Steve
 

Tony Swinney

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14 Dec 2008
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Great journal Steve. Its really good to see all the detail, as I'm about to embark on my first planted 'mission' ! I look forward to the experts opinions on your algae.

Good luck with it !

Tony
 

Joecoral

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24 Nov 2007
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Good progress so far!
I'm finally setting up my Rio 180 this friday, which is a similar setup so your pictures have been very helpful!
Keep up the good work, and keep the pictures coming :D
 

glenn

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19 Jan 2009
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Leicestershire
hi steven,
i have the exact same tank as you and am close to starting mine up. Icurrently have twin t8's (came with tank) and i want to upgrade to t5's and after that i thought there would be no other way to get more wpg but have since seen you Arcadia Twin T5's and im wondering how you atach them to your hood? do the plastic flaps not fall on the leads going out and leave a gap, i have looked at the picture but i still didnt understand.
thanks in advance.
Glenn.
 

ceg4048

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170 watts T5 over a 45 gallon tank :?: You're getting exactly what is predicted for high light and sub-par CO2. You need to lose about 85 Watts and to improve the injection rate ASAP, otherwise this tank will soon have to be renamed "In Remembrance Of"... :wideyed:

Cheers,
 

StevenA

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30 Jan 2008
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Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire.
ceg4048 said:
170 watts T5 over a 45 gallon tank :?: You're getting exactly what is predicted for high light and sub-par CO2. You need to lose about 85 Watts and to improve the injection rate ASAP, otherwise this tank will soon have to be renamed "In Remembrance Of"... :wideyed:

Cheers,

If ceg recommends it, you'd better do it ;)
 
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