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My First Planted 5 Foot Tank - Need advice !!

fasciatus

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30 Nov 2008
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Hi all,

I'm kind of new here, but browsing around the forum .. found it pretty interesting, and decided to join.

I must say I never kept plants before, except for java moss, which is found in all my killie tanks.

The following are the specs for the planted I started working out :

Tank (Obviously) : 5ft x 1.5ft x 1.5ft (approx. 300 ltrs gross);

Lighting : Arcadia 5ft hood 4 x 54W T5 HO (High Output) + Normal Overhead Luminaire 2 x 36W;

Substrate : 1st Layer : Prodac Humus + Prodac Humus Plus + Aquatic Nature Fertiplant A.B.F.

2nd Layer : Aquatic Nature Ferti-Soil Black

3rd Layer : 40 kg of 4-7mm grey gravel

CO2 : Pressurized 5kg Tank + Regulator and Soleniod (intended for aquarium use);

Filtration : Canister Filter (largest in JEBO range);

Additional Equipment : Ph Controller (which will control the solenoid in-line with the tank);

The aquascape I have in mind is a mix up of Nature style (Triangular) with a touch of Dutch.

The following are some pics of the progress so far:

DSC01173.jpg



DSC01178.jpg



DSC01186.jpg



DSC01192.JPG



What do you think as regards hardscape? I intend to use only the moor wood as I'm planning to have an open free swimming space.

Regards plants, I'm also a bit confused about which ones will be adequate to cycle the tank with .. though my end-result of plants should be some of the following :

Glossostigma elatinoides or HC 'Cuba"
Microsorum pteropus
Monosolenium tenerum
Echinodorus tenellus
Heteranthera zosterifolia
Hygrophila polysperma 'Rosanervig'
A type of moss to cover up the bogwood .. which ??

Sorry for the long post. Hope to get some feedback :)
 

Nick16

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cant see the first pics mate. also the ph controller is a waste as i THINK it drives the co2 out the water but someone will hopefully clarify.
 

fasciatus

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Pics should be fixed by now :)

Regarding the ph controller, you may be right, not so technical re: plants. I only bought it with the intention to sort of protect my livestock from a ph drop due to excessive co2.
 

Nick16

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can i ask where you got the wood from, al i can find are boring bits, nohing large and knarly with lots of bits comming off. pics look good so far. what lighting are you going for? what plants?
 

fasciatus

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Hi Nick16,

That wood is from Amtra (German Brand) classified as moor wood. The brand is imported by an lfs here in Malta, so I guess you have to find an importer in the UK.

As for lighting etc, it's stated at the begining of the first post ;)
 
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I definately think you need more wood. It looks a bit pathetic with just the one bit squashed in the right corner.
 

vauxhallmark

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29 Jan 2008
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569
Sounds great.

I can't quite understand how you will fit the two lights over the tank, and I think you might be able to get away with just the first one you mentioned - it's not clear from your post what equipment you've already purchased. If you haven't got the lights yet, then you could try buying the first one to start with, and only add more if it turns out not to be enough.

pH controllers are a very emotive topic on this site - don't really know why, but they wind people up ridiculously. They don't 'drive CO2 off', only water movement does that. However, if you haven't already purchased a controller, I would recommend you try using a system without a controller first, as nearly everyone manages fine with just a solenoid connected to a timer (usually to come on about two hours before lights on, and go off about an hour before lights off). This seems to work fine (it's what I do), and if you feel in the future that you will get some benefit from a controller, you can easily add it into any system later. If you find the system runs well without it, then that's a fairly useful saving in the setup costs (and the running costs, with calibration and replacement of electrodes).

Your plant selections sounds fine, for the initial period of running in the tank you could have more of the Hygrophila and Heteranthera than you might want in the final scape, and reduce them down when the tank is running well and stable.

It's a great size tank, I'm very jealous. However, as it's more than three times longer than it is high, I don't think you'll get much of a 'triangle' effect, and I think you should draw some scale drawings of the tank and have a scribble at how you imagine it looking. with such a long thin tank you could almost have 'two aquascapes' in it - maybe a 'triangle composition going down to an open, meadowy area, but that can be very hard to pull off - the tank really has to look like a single unit, with a flow of decoration that draws the eye round it. I suppose your first real choice is whether the open, free swimming space is going to be at one end of the tank, or in between two more densely planted areas. Again, the best thing is to doodle it on paper (and try and find pictures of similarly proportioned tanks). Get a little note book, put two scale drawings of the tank on each page (a plan view and a front view) and carry it everywhere for a week. When you've got a free minute, force yourself to think of a completely different layout. You will eventually find there's one that you keep on coming back to and improving, and it might well not be one of the first ones you thought of.

I think all your substrates are branded products that we don't have in the UK, so I cant comment on them.

Let us know how your planning and this tanks develops,

all the best,

Mark
 

Dan Crawford

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Hiya, UNIPAC have the same wood and it's available on request from most MA and World of Water stores. It's called Jumbo Sumatra. I have a massive piece and no where for it to go, if your interested then we could come to some arrangement for a UKaps donation. One piece in each corner would look real smart :D
 

fasciatus

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Hi vauxhallmark,

Thanks for your detailed reply.

The luminaire I talked about is already there. Since the tank is just under a gypsum partition, I fixed a normal outdoor lumainare taking 2 x 4ft fluorescent lamps just under it, being only 20cm above the tank. The arcadia 4x54w is already purchased. So I'll guess I'll be using only the arcadia, if that's enough.

Regarding the ph controller, I already bought it but will defiently give it a try without it. If it works I'll then use it only as a continous ph meter :?

Regarding the scape, this is something like I want to acheive (just to be understood better):

http://img67.imageshack.us/img67/6656/pict0115eb5.jpg

It's a scape I saw on the forum, and regarding aquascape I like it.

Would you go for HC or glosso as a carpet plant??? With HC I'm more worried when it comes to rooting, as I'm afraid it will continously uproot itself, but it's nicer.

The substrate will be partioned by flexible plastic strips as to prevent mixing of the different foreground plants, in the result of one taking over the other. Pics to follow.

Dan Crawford, if you decide to come to Malta for a holiday, bring the wood with you, I'll be glad to give a donation for it :lol:
 

beeky

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HC seems to be preferred to Glosso, as it's less of a thug.

As for a general aquascaping idea, you could have a kind of jungle area at each end, but with one being twice as large. This would give an open area at around two-thirds of the length - an anti-focal perhaps?! Just an idea.

The picture is of LD's (LondonDragon's) tank I think. I like it too :D

pH controllers are generally considered to be unnecessary at best, and an algae trigger at worst. They are supposed to maintain stable CO2 levels by measuring the pH, but they can't respond quickly enough and are a the mercy of acids other than carbonic, which occur in a planted tank. This can lead to yo-yoing of the CO2 levels which can cause certain types of algae. If you already have one then I say use it, but only as a safety measure to prevent against your CO2 being dumped, which I think you mentioned.
 

Ray

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This looks like fun. Jungle transitioning to Iwagumi could be very nice.

Is this 1500lph your filter: http://www.shopjebo.com/62/aquarium_canister_filter_5_ply_829_detail.aspx

If so the main challenge will be to get enough flow through the tank, which is long and thin. I've no experience how to get good flow in anything longer than 3', but you will either need two filters or just this one plus a Hydor Koralia or powerful powerhead to get the circulation you will need to maintain a carpet in your open swimming spaces. IMO the Jebo is so cheap its tempting to get a 2nd & run one on each end.

Your T5HO light will be plenty for 300l, you can even start with just 2 tubes (108w) out of 4 and later try a midday burst once you have the hang of things.
 

beeky

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That ferti-soil looks nice stuff. Does it need to be covered over? Seems a shame! Quite pricey though, at around £30 for 5KG. Still, if it's light, 5KG might go quite a long way.
 

fasciatus

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beeky said:
That ferti-soil looks nice stuff. Does it need to be covered over?

I've seen setups using ferti-soil before locally, and they got excellent result, almost better than flourite. It doesn't need to be covered nor washed, but it would have been much more expensive to make an approx 7 cms layer completely with it . To make a 2-3cm along the whole tank I used 5 bags, which together with the peat used underneath costed me 150 euros (with a bit of discount) :)

Ray said:

It's similar to mine with 5 media containers, however mine is a previous model of the one shown in the link.
 

fasciatus

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The following is the list of plants I ordered today at my lfs:

Bacopa australis
Hemianthus micranthemoides
Heteranthera zosterifolia
Hygrophila polysperma
Hygrophila polysperma 'Rosanervig'
Micranthemum umbrosum
Echinodorus tenellus
Fissidens fontanus
Blyxa japonica
Flame moss
Glossostigma elatinoides
Microsorum pteropus
Monosolenium tenerum


What do you think???
 

fasciatus

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Malta :? Nothing to be woaahh about, I guess lol.

We have only around 6 lfs in the island, but most of them can get you what you order from abroad : eg, the plants will be delivered from singapore.
 

jay

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Oh right :lol: Thought you had a lfs that stocked that sort of stuff near you. Well if they order it for you then thats all good.
 

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