Journey of a beginners first planted 50gal

Discussion in 'Journals' started by JaM3z, 30 Mar 2009.

  1. JaM3z

    JaM3z Newly Registered

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    DSCF2916.jpg

    I will get a better picture when its not mid afternoon :)


    Firstly would like to say I’m new here :) and would like to give a big thanks to all those whom have had the time and patience to answer all of my (sometimes stupid) questions over in TPT IRC channel, so i give a big thanks to everyone in IRC for putting up with me.

    I've made just about every school boy error with this tank since i started it to tell the truth so without further ado here is my journal.

    02/02/09

    Bought a 50gal tank + eheim pro II from eBay for the tidy sum of £55

    1932_1.jpg

    Tank is a seabray dolphin series 50gal / 200L, it was then sanded down given a new coat of pain and all the algae that was all over the lid and sides of the tank cleaned.

    04/02/09

    First mistake, I bought grape vine which was very kindly pointed out to me by epicfish from TPT this was then scraped and Mopani wood added instead also substrate of plain black gravel was added (another mistake) and sand.

    Grape Vine

    DSCF2695.jpg

    Mopani wood

    tank.jpg

    05/02/09

    Java moss was added to one of the large pieces of slate that was in the tank (you'll have to ignore the plastic plants at this point it just looked to bare to look at)

    FTS.jpg

    The tank was cycled at this point via taking 50% water from my non-planted 55gal, 50% of the filter media and also adding zeolite to a spare filter compartment.


    06/02/09

    Another mistake here, bought a plant that was non-aquatic this promptly died but before was pointed out to me as being non-aquatic by the guys over in IRC once again.

    DSCF2764.jpg

    However this was just the start of adding plants.

    07/02/09

    Another MISTAKE today, more plants where added however it’s what I added with them, I bought I bristlenose pleco oh how I regret this decision, also added a large piece of driftwood.

    FTS-1.jpg

    11/02/09

    Dwarf Gourami decided to make a bubble nest and start breeding, tank was not disturbed whilst they had their fun bubble nest which had the eggs in was then moved to a 10gal tank and after letting the water of the planted tank go green (for the fry) they were removed and left to develop in piece.

    BubbleNest230309.jpg

    18/02/09

    Fast forward just over a week and what can I say I had a very very hungry bristlenose pleco

    FTS230309.jpg

    To cut a long story short he destroyed all my stem plants but 1 but chewing them from the bottom up, also started chewing at the twisted vallis. He now lives in my none planted 55gal.

    19/02/09

    Rescape day today, I decided I didn’t like the slate so removed it I moved the moss off the slate and bound it to a piece of Mopani wood, then I ran out of idea's after being rather annoyed at just how many of plants the pleco had destroyed I put all the plants into rather tempory places so I could come back to re-doing the tank later after sending the pleco to the seaside :twisted: .

    FTS240309.jpg

    28/03/09

    New plants bought and another piece of drift wood, complete rescape done but have not yet had the time to plant the new plants that I bought , also added a UV filter to get rid of my green water problem and a major 50% water change.

    DSCF2912.jpg

    30/03/09

    Plants planted although not properly, the roots where so far grown into the foam that the plants came in I didn’t want to risk damaging them by pulling them out so some tops of the foam is showing :( Any suggestions on how to safely remove them from this foam would be nice :)

    DSCF2916.jpg

    Now just to wait for it to fill in.

    Lighting

    1x 6500k 42" 38W T8
    2x 10,000k 42" 38W T8
    1x 18,000k 42" 38W T8

    All 4 lights have individual reflectors.

    Ferts

    Will be dosing dry ferts + sechem flourish excel (until I can afford pressurised CO2) using the method from http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk but will not be dosing any ferts at all until this green water has completely cleared.

    Dosing
    Daily
    5ml Seachem Florish Excel
    3 times a week:
    20ml of Macro solution
    10ml of Trace solution

    Filtration

    1x Eheim professional II

    Has zeolite (this has probably all been used by now), purigen, bio rings, sponge and that fine cotton looking stuff I can’t remember the name of, half the media (sponge and bio rings) came from my already cycled 55gal.

    1x 9W UV Filter (until this nasty green water is gone)

    Fish

    1x Male Dwarf Gourami
    2x Female Dwarf Gourami (breeding)
    2x Marble Angle's (soon to be 3)
    4x Pepper Cory
    6x Bronze Cory
    1x Kulli Loach (soon to be 5)
    3x Bumblebee Goby's (yes the TRUE freshwater kind)
    15x Harlequins (not added yet)
    5-10x CRS (after i have enough to spare from breeding them in my 10gal)

    I'll be updating this journal regularly :)

    If I’ve done something wrong (which is most probable) please point it out in the comments I am a complete novice at planted tanks so any advice and constructive criticism would be appreciated.

    Thanks for taking the time to read.
     
  2. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

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    Blimey thats quite a change :) good start keep us posted on how it progresses.

    Sam
     
  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Must be nice to wake up next to that in the morning :) Great price for the tank and filter!

    I wish LFS's would stop selling non-aquatic plants. It's just pointless :rolleyes:

    You might find the hair grass you've got grows better if you devide it up, almost into individual plantlets. It's a big job but worth it. I'd also suggest trimming it back to about 1 or 2cm above the substrate, as you'll find it should brow back stronger and hopefully resist the usual algae build up when first planted.
     
  4. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

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    Trouble is some people buy the non-aquatic plants fully aware that they will not survive, but they want them anyway because they like the look of them. They are happy to pay the money every few months to replace them.

    Sam
     
  5. Fred Dulley

    Fred Dulley Member

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    Makes a lot of money. 9 times out of 10, the customers choose the "most pretty" plant, which are usually the non-aquatic plants. The customer simply "stock back up" when the plants eventually die. Just like what Sam said.
     
  6. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    nice tank & write up.

    with the foam just try to remove as much as you can, it doesnt matter about leaving small pieces on. And with stem plant you can just cut the bottom off.
     
  7. JaM3z

    JaM3z Newly Registered

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    Well my ferts and 2L of flourish excel arvived earlier today from aqua essentials so hopefully ill have something worth posting soon unless you guys really want to some hair grass that has just gorwn and grown and grown :) .

    The tank is a joy to wake up next to in the morning (i even set the lights so they turn on for 15mins when my alarm wakes me up :D ), i have to admit i was lucky with the price of this tank was just browsing eBay and couldnt beleve the asking price, i even offered the guy more money which he would take.

    I know i should really sort the dwarf hair grass out but tearing down the whole tank to do it will have to wait untill the weekend unless i throw at sickie at work to do it sooner, hopefully if ive done my research right i wont get much in the way of algae the UV steralizer has just about finished killing off my green water issue and hopefully within 24hours it'll be all gone :) .

    Thanks man i appriciate all the comments and tips i can get, i just really wasnt sure about taking chuncks of foam out of some of the peices of dwarf hairgrass the roots are so fare into the foam if i try to remove it i will pretty much destroy all of the roots :? .

    Thanks all for the comments, ill be sure to give an update when i start dosing the ferts and give the hairgrass its first trim as the water flow is pushing some peices half way over the tank already!
     
  8. YzemaN

    YzemaN Member

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    Hi JaM3z.
    Welcome to UKaps and congratulations on swallowing the red pill. This is probably going to be a steep learning curve, but don't worry, we're all here to help enlighten you. Head over to the Tutorials section and brace yourself for a bit of information overload. It'll all fall into place soon enough. :D
    The tank's looking great and what a bargain! A couple of pointers though:

    50% water change does not count as major in this part of the hobby, it's what you'll be doing at least once a week from now on, so you might want to do a search for The LondonDragon Water Changer elsewhere on the forum. Now 70%-80% would probably count as a major water change for most.

    Your worst enemy will be not supplying enough ferts/carbon to the plants, so not dosing until the algae is gone is counter productive. As long as there's organic matter decaying in the tank you cannot starve them. Take care of your plants and they'll take care of themselves. Start dosing yesterday!!! The Excel will act as a carbon source and a mild algaecide. Just dose as per bottle instructions. With Vallis and hairgrass in the tank you should avoid overdosing Excel. Liquid carbon is great for setting up tanks and for beginners, there's plenty of other information that needs to be taken in as it is, but it's expensive in the long run on anything but smaller tanks and you'll most likely end up with pressurised CO2 anyway ;)

    Now that the ferts are sorted you have to look into how to get them to the plants. Recommended filter output is around 10x the tank volume per hour, calculated using the outer dimensions of an emty tank. You don't state what Eheim II filter you have, but if the rated output is lower than 10xtank you should look into adding more circulation. Hydor Koralia or similar stream pumps seems to be the weapon of choice around here. I added a regular 1700 L/h pump connected to a spraybar along the entire back of the tank in a closed loop for CO2 distribution on my 180L, but there are lots of different ways to ensure proper circulation. It also depends on your plant and hardscape layout. Just make sure all plants are swaying gently in the current, and you've most likely hit the sweet spot.

    The best of luck and keep us updated. Remember pictures :D
     
  9. JaM3z

    JaM3z Newly Registered

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    Well the filter is a 2028 model, and yes i would've liked to get in presuerized CO2 but the initial cost was just to expensive for me at the moment even the most basic of kits are like £200 :(

    And i made another school boy error already, when i took half the media from my non-planted 55gal i took the sponge and the active carbon now i was just going to leave the carbon in the filter but was reading about how it would pretty much remove the ferts from the tank so i removed it and replaced it with purigen. Unfortuantly doing that meant that i removed about 25% of the already cycled filter media, which in turn has caused a bacterial bloom in my tank as if it has just started cycling again, sigh i really should think things through before i just crash off and do them.

    The tank at the moment is not so nice and cloudy, hopefully within a few days it'll have re-established itself but would rather wait with doesing ferts untill its finished its cycle and im feeling like rather a pratt at the moment :oops: .

    I loved LondonDragons tank and to tell the truth it was the tank that wanted me to try something planted, the whole reason i found this tank is becuae i was looking for a rio 125 on eBay ;)
     
  10. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Lots of people say that about LD's tank :) It really is very good!

    On the carbon route, as far as I'm aware it doesn't remove ferts from the water column so you should be fine with leaving it. I'm using it in my new setup (first time for everything) because of the substrate I'm using.
     
  11. JaM3z

    JaM3z Newly Registered

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    Some places i researched say that it can have an impact on trace elements and thats why i made the switch from carbon to purigen which has a minimal impact on trace elements.
     
  12. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

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  13. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

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    You can buy just the regulator and selonoid and then just buy some Fire Extinguishers for the CO2, you don't need to spend hundreds of pounds on a bottle than you will never use like it happened to me, FE cost £15 for a 2kg from Dan Crawford here in the forum, or you can look elsewhere if you can find it cheaper.
    Have a look in this post for ebay regulators: viewtopic.php?f=37&t=3090

    Many thanks for the comments :) I am glad I can inspire some people to move to the planted scene, but in the end I am just a noob still trying to learn about the balance between CO2, Ferts, Flow and Light. Once you get that sorted then all you have to do is concentrate on the scaping itself ;)

    Tank is taking shape and has loads of potential, keep us posted :) congrats
     
  14. JaM3z

    JaM3z Newly Registered

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    Thanks thats a really useful website, im glad i took the carbon out when i did, i may have to wait a week for the tank to clear but im glad i got it out the way when i did.

    I'm deffinatly looking at getting a presurized CO2 and really didnt think of using a FE, and i had already checked out the regs on eBay was to see some feedback of what other people have, i personally would go for the most quiet one i could find as my tank is next to my bed and i really dont want to hear it humming away.

    And yeah im currently experimenting with the whole dry fert scene hopefully it'll all work out ok :)

    Thanks for the kind words ill be sure to keep updating :D
     
  15. JaM3z

    JaM3z Newly Registered

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    Update 01/04/09

    DSCF2923.jpg

    Its so dipressing to look at, at the moment :( hopefully this will have sorted itself out by the end of the week.
     
  16. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

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    Keep up the water changes and you will be fine ;)
     
  17. JaM3z

    JaM3z Newly Registered

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    Sigh it seems everything that could have gone wrong with this tank has, have been away for a few days come back to find the sand has gone a nice colour of black and that unmistakable smell of Hydrogen Sulfide has stunk out the whole bedroom, have done 2x 90% waterchanges today and yesterday.

    Tank will be torn down completly on monday will siphon out the remaining sand i couldnt get at today, and stir the substrate up will also be adding an air stone replanting and maybe a minor rescape.

    Just ordered 15 MTS that will do the job of aggregating the substrate for me, lukily have not lost any fish.
     
  18. Ben_K

    Ben_K Member

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    Awesome first set-up JaM3z. :)
    I would add even more caution to this. I was dosing just ferts and Excel before and nowhere near overdosing. Despite that, my Vallis melted within days (and that happened each time I added more Vallis).
     
  19. JaM3z

    JaM3z Newly Registered

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    Update 13/04/09

    DSCF2931.jpg

    No more smell thankfully, and everything seems to be going ok at the moment have been doessing ferts and excel for a about 4days, unfortunatly one of my arcadia dual starters decided to pack up on me so am only running half lights untill i can take it back to the shop a replacment.

    Will update soon :)
     
  20. nry

    nry Member

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    Airstone = bad...not sure if it'll affect the Excel, probably won't, but it will drive off any CO2 that is in the water collumn naturally.

    Looking promising though, don't lose heart :)
     

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