My mess of a tank - can you help it?

Discussion in 'General Planted Tank Discussions' started by Assaye, 9 Jan 2010.

  1. Assaye

    Assaye Newly Registered

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    **Total planted tank newbie alert**

    This is my main community tank. I want to run it as a "mid tech" planted tank so I can get everything growing really nicely and in a controlled manner and be able to support more varied plant life. Once I have all the techy stuff sorted (or at least understood) I'll feel better about adding new and interesting plants.

    At the moment most of my plants are growing like wildfire. I have to trim every couple of weeks. However, I also have to take out a good handful of dead/dying leaves . . . =/

    I also have algae problems. I think I have black brush algae (probably caused by my ineptitude with CO2), brown diatomic algae and green spot algae. The brown and green isn't bothering me too much - I just wipe it off the glass once a week or so. Obviously I'd prefer if it wasn't there though. The black stuff COATS the leaves of the plants and is really slimy. The plants don't seem to mind - they keep on growing - but it looks pretty awful.

    I've just bought this http://www.aquaessentials.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=4245 for ferts and carbon but not used it yet.

    I love scapes with rock work and lots of grassy plants/mosses. However, I need lots of high mid and background plants for the female bettas. I'm planning on a very green set-up -I'm not too keen on reds and such. I particularly like emerald greens, tall grassy plants, well defined leaves (I hate wisteria and stuff with frilly leaves) such as amazon swords and crypts, rock work, bog wood and mosses.

    These are some tanks I quite like: http://i44.tinypic.com/20z6y5h.jpg, http://www.aquamoss.net/Aquarama_2007/images/008-Planted_Tank-2nd.jpg, http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2008/5/aquarium_album/sideview.jpg.

    Here are all the tank details I can think of. I'm not trying to pretend I've set this up right or that I know what I'm doing, plants wise. Feel free to point out where I'm screwing up.

    Tank Size

    65 litres

    Water Changes

    50% a week (as of two days ago, was 25% ever 1.5-2 weeks before)

    Will move up to 50% twice a week if necessary but I'm really busy (job, university, volunteering, etc) and have 6 other tanks to maintain so I'd rather not.

    Lighting

    2 x PL-11w

    About 1.5 WPG

    Filtration

    Fluval U2 - 400 lph
    Interpet PF3 - can't find lph info, but it's designed for 80-130 litres

    Water Movement


    High, with both filters causing surface disturbance. Considering a powerhead as well.

    Plants

    Various crypts
    Anubias
    Vallis
    Duck weed
    Moss ball
    Amazon sword
    + some others I've not IDed

    Peacock moss, fissidens fontanus and frogbit coming in the post (although I always kill frogbit - giving it another go!)

    CO2

    Fermentation kit avaliable but not currently in use. Have used it on this tank in the past.

    Substrate

    Play sand with about an inch of fine gravel on top
    2.5-3 inches at back sloping to 1 inch at front

    Will consider plant substrate if I can get something good and cheap.

    Ferts

    I *think* I put some tabs in the gravel but other than that, nothing. New ferts coming in the post. Planning on EI dosing once everything gets here.

    Livestock


    3 corys, 7 neon tetra and a female betta

    This is being increased to 6 corys, 10 neon tetra and 5 female betta over the next few weeks.

    Temperature

    28 celsius (planning on lowering it to about 26 over the course of a week or so)

    DSC03581.jpg

    Please help me achieve my dream tank without breaking the bank! Thanks in advance for any help.
     
  2. Dolly Sprint 16v

    Dolly Sprint 16v Member

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  3. Assaye

    Assaye Newly Registered

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    Thanks for the reply.

    I know the cause of the algae - it's just a matter of sorting it out now. I've tried less light but my plants didn't appreciate it. CO2 I'm trying to sort but the fermentation kit is all over the place so I'm going for liquid carbon. Instead of less light, I figure more plants will have the same effect?

    Any recommendations on how I can not only tidy up the tank and sort the algae, but also how I can make use of the space for a nice aquascape that also gives the bettas enough cover? Does my planned fert regime look OK and how much would you suggest dosing each day?

    What plants would you suggest to give a mossy, emeraldy feel to the tank?

    Actually, lighting is one of my problems. I need to replace my bulbs (they've been in for about two years, I think) and I don't know what kind of colours would bring out greens best without washing the tank out.

    I plan to do a moss carpet in the front of the tank and was thinking using slate, but would that look too stiff? I want something more natural that holds the moss well. I'm also planning to tie moss to some bogwood.
     
  4. Goodygumdrops

    Goodygumdrops Member

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    Hi Assaye!!!Good luck with the tank,dosen't look too bad,I know what you mean though,the greens don't seem vibrant.I think a lot of that will sort itself out once you've got your ferts and co2 sorted.
    I think introducing a bit of hardscape would help,two or three interesting pieces of redmoor or similar.
    Looking at that pic again,I thik you could do with bringing your smaller plants forward a bit and going for a bit deeper planting at the back,you could still have your mossy carpet or 'glade'.In fact it would really show off a mossy glade if densely planted behind.Oooh listen to me with all the arty advice eh??!!My own tanks are no masterpieces so I hope you take my observations kindly as they are meant,I'm like someone who appreciates fine art but can't draw!!I can see what a good tank it could be with the ideas you have.
     
  5. Assaye

    Assaye Newly Registered

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    Fancy meeting you here, he he.

    I totally agree with your ideas. What I thought about doing was having a "tree stump" off to the right a bit and covering it with moss, then planing around the stump with some smaller plants. Then plant up the back really heavily and bring everyone around in a kind of semi-circle with the "glade" in the front middle.

    Would like some "branchy" hardscape in the back that could poke through the background plants and look like an overhanging branch, or something.

    It's a bit of a mess in my mind!

    I'm not sure what plants to use though =( as I said, I like strong greens (although I also like crypts and some of them are quite reddy/brown) and I like well defined leaves. I'm not a fan of plants like wisteria that have all the really jagged leaves, although I do like plants like cabomba and limnophila aquatica that have really small, soft leaves.

    I think once I know what plants are good and what they look like, I'll be able to put the idea together better.
     
  6. Assaye

    Assaye Newly Registered

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    Found this - http://img.auctiva.com/imgdata/9/9/7/5/ ... 5218_o.jpg

    Very similar to what I want to do! Maybe bring the whole thing forwards and add some background plants. Plant some java fern around the "roots" of the tree.

    I don't really want background plants but as I've decided to keep female bettas, I need the extra places to hide.

    How do you think I could incorporate some natural looking caves? Don't want to just dump a coconut or pot in there, lol!
     
  7. Goodygumdrops

    Goodygumdrops Member

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    Imo,I'd go with the stump,or the snaking branches,not both.If you need caves,you can hide them in the background plants.If you want to see them though,your link made me think,you could cover flat/large pebbly shaped stones with the moss and net as shown,do the same with two or three coco caves,you could even sink them into the substrate a bit.let the moss grow out and cover the whole thing (keep the cave entrances semi trimmed).
    Could look pretty interesting if you get the curves and bumps in the right places and I think you mentioned carrying on the moss up the root?That would look good imo.
    You say you're unsure about a lot of background,you're getting frogbit,why don't you just let that grow on a bit and it'll give plenty surface cover for the bettas.If you can get nice java fern growing on your stump it'll look cracking,your sea of moss,with the leafy stump (java has great green,I have a fab stump with a big java on it),then the roots of the frogbit hanging down,I always think they look really delicate.
     
  8. Assaye

    Assaye Newly Registered

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    That's a great idea! Never thought to cover the caves as well, lol.

    Got a couple of bits of wood and stone already prepped with your moss. Looking great and should grow out nicely. I can use cuttings from that for the extra stones and stump and use the wood as roots for the stump.

    Will try the frogbit - got some of that arriving soon! If the girls start squabbling too much I'll just add background plants later.

    So excited now!
     
  9. Assaye

    Assaye Newly Registered

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    Just thought - would some HC to cover the substrate make the whole thing too cluttered with the moss as well? Should I leave the substrate bare?

    Not planning to buy new substrate if I can avoid it (maybe with the exception of some nutrient rich substrate under the existing gravel).

    Would look much better with some nice sand, though. Ah well.
     
  10. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

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    I'll be honest and say I've not read the whole of this thread, but just wanted to add a word of encouragement and say not to give up, this hobby can be annoy at times as it can take months to see any change in the plants, but it is possible.

    A few ideas - get the co2 sorted first. Get this stable and under control. Then get used to dosing the EI ferts. Once both of these are done, I would look to up the lighting. You might not see much of a change after the co2 and ferts are sorted but getting these right before you up the light will help you avoid making the algae worse if/when you add more light.

    I would also try and pack the tank with plants, anything easy to start with, both to help with algae control and also to give you some experience with lot of different plants, how these grow, what you like and dont, etc.

    Sam
     
  11. Goodygumdrops

    Goodygumdrops Member

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    Tbh,I wouldn't bother with the hc,it can be a pita if your lights and co2 aren't right.I made the mistake originally of getting loads of different kinds of plants,I think less is more really,in terms of species anyway.
     
  12. Assaye

    Assaye Newly Registered

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    Thanks =)

    I'll be using liquid carbon as I can't afford a pressureized system. Would this be OK to add at the same time as the ferts, or should I start the carbon earlier?

    I've got quite a specific plan in mind now, but I have a second "jungle" tank that will be my plant farm, experiment tank and such. It's exactly the same size with the same lighting and I'll be dosing that as well but NOT scaping it. All the plants in that current community tank will be moved to there.

    My current plant list for the scaped tank is:

    Java fern
    Fissidens fontanus
    Peacock moss
    Frogbit

    I'm still having kittens about the female bettas. I have some nice crypts - do you think I could incorporate those as welll? Do you think once it's all grown in, there will be enough cover for girls? I hope so.
     
  13. Goodygumdrops

    Goodygumdrops Member

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    How's the tank coming along?
     
  14. Assaye

    Assaye Newly Registered

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    It's not, lol!

    Hit a brick wall with university stuff so I've been concentrating on that.

    Changed the plan quite a lot since I last posted. Instead of using a large bit of wood (which is proving hard to find), I'm going to use a stone/wood mounted piece of java fern. I'm going to pad one side out with java fern (big and small), crypts and mossy rocks and leave the rest as a sort of clearing or beach. Going to use very pale sand.

    Looking for the right java fern to get me going. Got some lovely bits at work but they are £15-£25 a piece! Huge bits on lovely pieces of wood so I'm wrestling with my conscience at the moment, ha ha.

    Going to wait until I have all my female bettas (got 3/6) before I mess around with the tank. If I keep adding more I'll just need to pull the tank apart and I don't want to do that once it is all scaped!

    Started dosing EI method on my other 65 litre tank. It's got loads of random plants - hornwort, anubias, java ferns, some kind of unidentified grass . . . just seeing how that goes as practice for the other tank. Might even swap the tanks over and scape this one instead. It's a nicer looking tank (black facings instead of tacky silver) and looks much better as it is in my room which has softer lighting. Plus, I look at this one more. Means I might end up swapping the stock . . . or might not! This tank has a male krib, two bumblebee cats, a yellow panchax and a blue phantom plec.

    If I use this one I will need a decent bit of bogwood for the cats and plec.

    Decisions decisions!

    Tempted to get a small all glass tank and try a filterless shrimp tank first . . . might be an easier trial run. Space and time are proving to be in short supply.
     

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