New planted tank

4 Jan 2010
Sidcup, United Kingdom
I set up a 90 litre tropical tank about 8 months ago and quickly become very addicted to this hobby. I was keeping Cardinal Tetras, Rainbow fish, Betta's, Amano Shrimp and an Angel fish. All was going well untill someone turned off the heater by mistake and my tank dropped from 27 C to 9 C. So as you can imagine the fish did not survive.

So I decided to set up a new bigger tank that I would not rush into like I had with my previous one. For example I had not put soil under they sand for the plants to grow and it was hard to add after the fish was in it. So I decided to research everything. My first tank looked like this:-

I done my research and slowly each month I bought equipment. I looked at a few tanks but decided to buy a Juwel Rio 125, just because it was cheaper than the Fluvals and had better lighting. Also it had good reviews.

Tap Water Parameters:-

PH 7.2
KH 13 dKH 232.7 ppm
GH 19 dGH 304.1 ppm
Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 10-20 ppm
Prosphate 2-3 ppm
Copper 0 ppm
Iron 0 ppm

Tank Specification:-

Juwel Rio 125 (33 US Gallons) with 2 x 28w T5 bulbs. (1 x Warm Light & 1 Day Light)

I have decided to have the lighting on intially for 6 hours then I will increase by an hour over the coming weeks.


I have opted for a bottom layer of Laterite topped with TetraPlant Complete/JBL Aquabasis. I have then topped it with 1 inch layer of light coloured sand. In all my substrate depth is around 3 inches combined.


My office has no heating so I have bought 2 x 100 W heaters and placed them at either end of the tank.


I have removed the internal Juwel filter from the tank simply because it is ugly takes up loads of space and I wanted better filtration. I have bought the Eheim Professional 3 2071/250 filter and fitted that to the tank, it fitted perfectly. I am running Eheim MechPro, Eheim SubstratPro, filter floss and Purigen, to remove the tanins from my bogwood. As the tank is planted I have tried to achieve 10x the flow rate of the tank. I am also running a Hydor Korolia Nano pump for extra circulation.


I am using the JBL Proflora u402 system (pressurised) at about 1-2 bubbles a second, however I have had a set back as the regulator I had was faulty. So at present there is no CO2 being added apart from Easy Carbo. I am hoping to receive the new regulator by Thursday from Germany. I am using a drop checker with 4dKH solution in for measuring the CO2.


I am using the EI Dosing method as shown below.

I have bought Potasium Nitrate, Potassium Phosphate (Monobasic) and Chelated Trace Mix of (Boron 1.06%, Copper 0.23%, Iron 8.2%, Manganese 1.82%, Molybdenum 0.15%, Zinc 1.16%)

Made Solutions:-

Macro Solution
33g Potassium Nitrate
7.2g Potassium Phosphate
in 250ml Water

Micro Solution
10g Chelated Trace Mix
in 250 ml Water


5ml of Macro solution per 50 litres of water
2.5ml of Trace solution per 50 litres of water


Sunday 50% water change. Add Macros (KNO3, KH2PO4)
Monday Add Micro
Tuesday Add Macros (KNO3, KH2PO4)
Wednesday Add Micro
Thursday Add Macros (KNO3, KH2PO4)
Friday Add Micro
Saturday Rest day

I placed my bogwood, rocks and redmoor root wood in the tank to get the layout right and after lots of opinions and suggestions opted for the layout below:-

I then added sand and planted the tank quite heavily, in my opinion. See below:-

I have not added the Redmoor Root wood yet as I am waiting for some java fern and flame moss to arrive which I will be attaching to the Redmoor Wood. Will post a picture when that is done.

The tank has been running about a week now and the water has stayed a kind of white/grey cloudy colour so after a bit more research most people have said that it is maybe a bacterial bloom. I was hoping that a 50% water change would make a difference but it hasnt seemed to. So I have taken out the Purigen from the filter for now and will add later on once the cycling process has finished. At the moment I don't think any Ammonia is being produced from decaying plants so I may add 5 cardinal tetras at the end of this week once the CO2 is re-set up. I will let you know how I get on.

My plants seem to be doing okay although I have noticed some slight problems with them. See below:-

Some of the leaves seem to be twirling.

And this plant seems to be getting transparent edges.

So overall things havent gone exactly to plan, but I hope I will overcome my small problems.

Would appreciate any comments or suggestions. Thanks UKAPS members as you have been a great help throughout the set up of my new planted tank.


17 Oct 2008
Thelwall, Warrington
your tank looks good, i am quite new to planting tanks (against some ukaps members) you will lern a lot from your first tank even if it goes badly. so good luck