Nick's ADA 90 cm

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Harlequin, 21 Sep 2007.

  1. Harlequin

    Harlequin Member

    OK, having promised this to George, Neil and Richard for a long time, and having spent more than 2 years planning and getting everything together, I thought it was high time I got my journal going on my latest tank.

    Since inception more than 2 years ago, I've had other tanks come and go. I've moved house (the main hold-up), and procrastinated over the cabinet and a host of other things. 4 1/2 weeks back I finally got the tank planted up.

    I'll post a bit more about this tank, objectives, inspiration and so on as I go along. I'll also put a up an equipment list and plant list later on. In the meantime, here are the set-up pics.

    Basically this is an all-glass ADA 90 cm tank, using ADA CO2 distrbution parts and filter parts. The cabinet is custom (made by the same German tank manufacturer to my spec). Light is MH and T5. Filter is Eheim. Substrate and ferts are ADA. Finally, water comes out the tap, and that is about all I can say about it.

    1. Bare tank and cabinet


    2. ....and now with a bit of the wood I used


    3. First thing, add ADA Tourmaline BC...


    4. Then add some Power Sand Special M...


    5. Finally, top it off with a load of Aquasoil Amazonia.


    6. Get wood...and set as you like


    7. Begin planting, fixing ferns and moss first


    8. Then plant up the mid-ground. Densely...


    9. Then do the same for the foreground...


    10. Finally, plant the back up, and start filling.



    11. Top it off (and hope it doesn't leak ;))

  2. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Worth the wait, Nick. Mighty impressive indeed.

    Looks like the 'scape will do the gear justice, and vice-versa. ;)

    Thanks for sharing.
  3. CJ Castle

    CJ Castle Newly Registered

    You sure did plant densely, Harlequin... Looks like the mid/back ground has been planted for weeks... ;)

    Looks very good!
  4. Moss Man

    Moss Man Member

    Kent, UK
    Looks brilliant, it already looks like it has grown.

    Who knows how great it will look when it has matured.
  5. Harlequin

    Harlequin Member

    Well thank you for you comments. You can be sure I'll be posting more stuff over the coming weeks. Anyway, I think you'll like it when I post some pics of how it has grown in. Suffice to say, it is my pleasure to share this with you guys! :D
  6. Harlequin

    Harlequin Member

    OK, here are some specs for you. The only other thing to add here is that I have purchased an Aquamedic 3 channel Reefdoser, whcih I will be using to automatically dose my ferts. We're off on our hols for a couple of weeks from Sunday, so I needed something to dose the tank while I'm away. Anyway, here are the specs. I've included numbers of plants I used. I hope this is helpful for folk. Planning a tank is a big job, and I am a big believer in planting up very heavily from the beginning, and if you've not done it before, I figured it would be good to know how that translates into numbers of pots.

    Plants, all Tropica:
    Liliaeopsis brasiliensis (10)
    Bolbitis heudlotii (3)
    Microsorum pteropus ‘narrow’ (3)
    Vesicularia dubyana (6)
    Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘green’ (6)
    Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘brown’ (6)
    Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘Tropica’ (6)
    Cryptocoryne crispatula var. balansae (6)
    Rotala rotundifolia ( 8 )
    Rotala rotundifolia ‘green’ (13)
    Rotala sp. ‘Nanjenshan’ (Mayaca) ( 8 )
    Micranthemum umbrosum ( 8 )

    Light: Arcadia Series 4 (1 x 150 W 5200K MH & 2 x 24 W T5 ‘Plant Pro’)
    Filter: Eheim Professional 3 Electronic w/ ADA Lily Pipes (inlet & outlet)
    Filter Media: Ehfimech, Ehfi substratpro, Seachem Purigen
    CO2: Pressurised; JBL regulator and solenoid
    CO2 distribution: ADA Pollen Glass Beetle w/ grey parts set
    Heater: Hydor inline external heater-stat
    Tank: German made Opti-White high clarity ‘ADA-style’ 90x50x45 cm
    Cabinet: custom ADA copy (German-made; as tank)

    Substrate: ADA Aquasoil Amazonia (3 x 9L), ADA Powersand Special M (1), ADA Tourmaline BC

    Fertilisation: ADA Brighty K, ADA Step 1, ADA Green Gain (dosed as per instructions)
    Other: Seachem Excel (as required), Seachem Prime (at water change)

    Photoperiod: 10 hrs/day; MH on for 4 ½ hrs in middle of photo period

    Week 1: Brighty K 8 ml/day
    Week 2: Brighty K 8ml/day, Step 1 4 ml/day; Seachem Excel full dose on 3 consecutive days
    Week 3: Brightly K 8ml/day, Step 1 4-6 ml/day
    Week 4: Brighty K 10 ml/day, Step 1 8-10 ml/day

    Maintenance: Trimming of Rotalas after 2 ½ weeks. First 2 weeks, 50% water change every 2-3 days, then every 4-5 days. 20 drops Green Gain every day after trimming until good new growth is seen. After week 1, very minor brown algae on emmerse L. Brasiliensis leaves and some stringy green stuff. Normal dose of Excel added for 3 days with frequent large water changes eliminated this. Normal water changes will be 50% weekly, with Seachem Prime added at water change. Purigen (1 bag) checked every 3 weeks, and will be re-charged as required. Use of Purigen requires use of Prime (or similar treatment that does not contain amine-based polymers in the slime coat) to allow re-generation. Job done.
  7. Harlequin

    Harlequin Member

    OK, here are a few shots after a week. The main thing that happened in the tank is that the Rotalas started to change from their emmerse to submerse form. They also started to sprout a lot of roots...Which is a good thing.

    Here is a shot of the system. Awaiting a new beetle counter from ADA, but other than that, it is all here.


    Here is a shot of the Rotalas. The 'Nanjenshan' doesn't really change much, just gets bigger, but the rotundifolias change a lot.


    And here you can see the roots. So, a good start all round after a week or so.

  8. Harlequin

    Harlequin Member

    These shots are after 2 weeks. Excuse this splurge of photos-I've taken a load, and it has taken a while to get organised to get them up on the site. Anyway...

    After 2 weeks, things have grown on. The rotalas are doing very well at this stage. The crypts have all started putting out new growth, after some of the original leaves began to die back. At this point a bit of algae appeared. No big deal, just some long hair algae and a bit of brown dust on the Lilaeopsis. I hit it with a regular dose of Excel every day for a few days and just changed about 50% of the water every 2-3 days. It disappeared after a couple of days.

    Flourishing stems..


    One of my favourite Crypts, wendtii 'Tropica' variant settling in


    One of my favourite plants, the Congo water fern, and the moss, both growing in


    ...and some more shots of things when the tank is half empty.



    Attached Files:

  9. zig

    zig Member

    Dublin Ireland
    Looks quality Nick

    Lots of stems there to keep you busy :D after 2 weeks hols :wideyed: jungle (joking!)

    Looking forward to see how this grows out should look excellent.

    Edit: just counted 83 pots :wideyed: :wideyed:
  10. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Hey Nick,

    You need to replace that 500g cylinder with a 2Kg fire extinguisher... £22.
  11. Harlequin

    Harlequin Member

    :lol: Yes, it is a bit of a jungle when the stems get going!!

    I hadn't acutally counted up how many pots I actually had altogether, but you're right! It was quite an outlay, but I believe it is the best way to get a good start with your tank. Too many people plant sparesly at the outset, in my opinion. This way the tank has the best chance of starting up without too many issues in my experience.

    I think you're right about the CO2 canister George. I might have to look into it when I get back, those 500g ones don't last that long...
  12. Harlequin

    Harlequin Member

    OK, this is the last update for 10 days or so; I'm off on my hols. The tank is currently about to enter the 6th week, but here are updates from the 3rd week. Had a big trim of the stems today. Talking of which, week 3 saw the first big trim of the stems....

    Here is a view after 16-odd days, and a nice close-up of the Rotalas (before I took the old scissors to them!). Plenty of clippings to go 'round! At this stage they don't have a lot of shape to them, and this is just how they've grown from planting. Over the coming weeks successive trimmings will thicken them up. When the other plants have caught up, I can start to think about shaping the aquascape a little more...




    So, eventually you have to take the old shears to your prize plants. If they are strong and healthy and conditions are good, they won't mind having a serious haircut. I can say that, after this, they soon grew back, thicker than before. At this point, I've only trimmed the Rotalas, and left the Micranthemum alone, as it grows at about half the speed of the Rotalas. Since this first trimming the Micranthemum also got the same treatment. Again, all I'm doing here is trimming them down, keeping it level. Shaping will come later.



    Attached Files:

  13. James Flexton

    James Flexton Member

    Stotfold, Herts/Beds
    Thats a cracking tank Nick. it's nice to see the progress of an ADA setup i have seen plenty but only a snapshot from a single point in time. Watching a long term layout develop will be great. Almost all on here as i'm sure you know are using EI methods so the comparison will be interesting. it's certainly off to a flying start. those background stems will really bush out when they regrow i'm sure. The effect should be stunning.

    Out of interest what sort of monthly outlay are those ada ferts? very roughly obviously.

    looking forward to seeing the next update, have a good holiday.
  14. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Man, those stems are gonna be to die for once they bush out proper.

    You're making me want to try out stems again...

    Nick, are you aiming for a near symmetrical layout? With the fern in the centre and even groups of stems it appears that way ATM.

    I guess you can prune the stems to suit and once the crypts establish, that will introduce a whole new dimension.

    Anyway, great journal so far. Keep up the good work.

    And have a nice holiday. May you return to an algae-free tank. :)

    James - The ADA system is not so different from EI. Add nutrients every day, large water change every week. The main difference is in the substrate, where the ADA system provides NP, rather than through the water column, as per EI. Even then one can add NP to the water with ADA via Special Shade and Special Lights.

    This said, the ADA system is super effective and more user-friendly than EI. If I had the spare cash then I'd try it out for sure. But we've just bought a horse for Emily....
  15. James Flexton

    James Flexton Member

    Stotfold, Herts/Beds
    ahh i see. i'd never really looked into it TBH. i am put off by the branded nature of the ADA ferts. not disputing they are excellent and produce fantastic results. obviously the nature aquarium gallery speaks for itself. i prefer to know exacly what i am putting in the water from an educational perspective. i am quite happy when a plant is difficent and i subsequently "cure" it by working out which nutrient is lacking. if i was to add a big dollop of fert X and it fixed said problem, unless i knew exactly what was in fert X then i would still be wondering what nutrient was lacking in the first place.

    plus a bag of dry powder goes a long way

    to clarify i am not knocking ADA ferts at all, whatever is in them works, period.
  16. oldwhitewood

    oldwhitewood Member

    Nice journal old boy. It will be interesting to see how this develops. I am noting the clarity as we go along.


    The growth you can see here is brilliant. A fine nature aquarium sir I take my hat off to you.

    Attached Files:

  17. Fred Dulley

    Fred Dulley Member

    Cardiff, Wales
    Fantastic. Looks so green and healthy. Worth the wait.
    I hope to be able to create something similar in the future when I'm not so busy with 6th form education.
  18. Harlequin

    Harlequin Member

    Many thanks for your comments!

    Well, back from my hols now-had a trip to New England for a couple of weeks with the wife. Very nice, except arriving in Boston to find a heatwave at the end of September!!

    Neil - of course, the clarity! :lol: On that note, I must say the Purigen I've been using certainly has done the trick with removing staining from the water due to the bogwood. I don't mind a bit of colour, but when I took it out to recharge it the other week I was amazed at how quickly the water began to look like tea. Suffice to say, not long after putting it back it cleared up really quickly. Good stuff. That and the Eheim Pro 3, which is a cracking filter.

    James, regarding the ADA ferts, at the moment I'm dosing about 10 ml a day of Brighty K and Step 1. At that rate 500 ml lasts around a month and half, give or take. That is around £45 worth of liquids every month and a half. So, it is quite costly to use these liquids, and I think it has been said elsewhere that anything above a 90cm and the cost of using them can become pretty significant.

    George is right, in many ways there is similarity with EI. I do large water changes weekly. I guess this method just takes EI to its logical extreme, where you don't even consider ratios of NP for example, never mind shooting for a certain ppm per day, you just put your faith in whomever made the ferts and dose it accordingly. Of course, I would tend to modify the dose at the beginning and ramp it up accordingly over the first month or two. Anyway, glad you like the journal-as you say, a lot of these kind of tanks tend to 'appear' done on the internet, so I just wanted to document it a little more.

    George - the stems are going great guns, and they really are the best I've grown. At the moment the layout is quite symmetrical, and this was intentional. I didn't plan on having so much green at the back, but when I orderd the plants Tropica were out of L. inclinata var. verticilata 'Cuba', and this would've added some different colour and texture to the back ground. That said, I am chuffed with that growth I've had and there response to a really harsh trimming-as Fred mentioned, really green and healthy. Anyway, once the slower growers have settled in I aim to start shaping the stems a little more, to get the 'final' impression. The other thing that is interesting will be to see how many times I can hack back the stems and still get good re-growth before the whole lot need to be re-planted.

    Now, regarding algae-funny you should mention it....

    While away my mind did occasionally wander to the tank and I must admit to a bit of concern-would the dosing pumps do there job etc...Any, sods law, when I got back the other day, there was some algae. Mostly in amongst the Lilaeopsis, which is really thick. It is the kind of slighty fuzzy green stuff. The other thing was that the stems had barely grown from where I chopped them nearly 2 weeks previously. The crypts and ferns were fine, as was the Micranthemum. What appears to have happened is that one of the suckers holding the CO2 line came of kinking the line and more or less cutting off the supply of CO2. In addition, there were some air bubbles still in the dosing pump line, which may have prevented correct dosing. Anyway, having cured this, and in addition done some big water changes and dosed Green Gain, the stems responded immediately, and have sprouted a lot of new growth within days. I'm also dosing Excel at 150% dose per day. Along with the water changes, steady supply of CO2, this should sort out any further algae issues. I may have to pull and re-plant the Lilaeopsis though, or at least thin it, as it really is thick.

    Anyway, I'll post more pics in the next week or so, get this up to date with weeks 4-6 photos, then shoot some more of how the tank is now.

  19. James Flexton

    James Flexton Member

    Stotfold, Herts/Beds
    thanks for the update nick. what a bummer about the co2 and ferts. i hate leaving my tank for any length of time. last time my autofeeder was all set up and the damn batteries died. fish were like anorexic piranhas when i returned.

    good luck sorting it, your getting there by the sounds of it.

    what is that purigen stuff? i have 5 huge pieces in my 100G at present and i am getting through massive amounts of dechlorinator doing daily water changes to try to remove the staining. got charcoal filter pad in as well and it's still leeching. the cardinals love it though so I'm not too fussed, no plants in there yet either i just hope it stops soon.
  20. Harlequin

    Harlequin Member

    Purigen is made by Seachem. Check out their website for more info on it. In a nutshell it is a less aggressive alternative to carbon. A lot of folk worry about carbon stripping nutrients, whether that is the case or not, Purigen claims not to do it. It aims to remove nitrite and ammonia, rendering them easier to deal with via biological filtration, and also is also a 'polisher' of the water. I've found it very effective, and would recommend it. As you can see, it has had no adverse impact on my plants, so I don't think you should worry about it stirpping stuff you want in the water column. My advice would be to get a couple of bags for your size tank. At a tenner a pop, might seem expensive, but it works and you can easily regenerate it with bleach, so I think it is a good alternative to carbon. One thing-make sure you use a non-amine based de-chlorinator/slime coat. I use Seachem's Prime now (I used to use Nutrafins product), as this is compatible with Purigen-the problem comes when it comes to re-charging basically. There is plenty of info on the Seachem website about this.


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