Shattered Tree Mk II

GreenNeedle

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And so it begins continues. Shattered Tree MkII is a reworking of the original shattered tree.

However I am completely changing the "tools" used and trying to make it look more like your normal aquascape, albeit with the usual intention of it being a long term scape. Of course I can't promise I will keep on top of it because I never do, but at least it will have a good start.

A reminder of the setup which hasn't changed.

Tank is a 140ltr Optiwhite - 80cm x 40cm x 46cm

Filter is an Eheim 2224 (700lph) with glass inlet and outlet. Media is the original setup, Ehfimec and SubstratPro is about 10 years old and came with the filter when new. Newish coarse blue sponge on top of the ehfimec in the bottom tray and new fine wool on top of the SubstratPro in the top tray. I will put a Purigen bag in the top tray soon but it needs recharging/cleaning first so for now no Purigen.

Heater is a 300W Hydor style external filter set at 25ºC. An unbranded version off ebay which has been working nicely for 6 months since I bought it. My old Hydor seemed not to be heating anymore and it was already my third one.

CO2 is supplied from a 2kg fire extinguisher into an Up inline atomiser. About 3bps and measured by a hang on drop checker and an in-tank chameleon type drop checker (latter not in yet.) Colour at pale blue. Will try and dial the CO2 in so it gets to green over the coming days but I don't feel a need to push it. As long as it is consistent it doesn't need to be 30ppm.

Light is supplied by my DIY LED luminaire Mk3 (18 x 3W 5500K) which is still running. This allows me to either use the centre row on its own, the outer 2 rows without the centre or all 3, so 18W, 36W or 54W. Currently set to run for 6 hours with only the outer 2 rows on. (The centre row needs an LED replacing and I keep putting it off. I will get some soldering done in the next week or 2. lol)

So that is the existing unchanged setup. Onto the new:

I have gone all Tropica as I fancied being posh for a change.

Substrate is Tropica Aquarium soil. Bought 3 x 9Ltr bags and had about half a bag left.
Fertilisation is Tropica Specialised and Tropica Premium. 2 squirts of each daily and I will monitor how that goes.

Hardscape is the cobbles and manzanita from the previous scape.

Plant list as per plan below. Hard to identify each Cryptocoryne within each group as this is from 13 years of using them and thus they have all mixed over time. Some are easy to identify, others are quite similar. Most of these were originally bought over the years in standard Tropica pots other than the Staurogyne which I bought new in 1-2 grow form. The "non Tropica" exceptions are the Bolbitis which came from a UKaps member many years ago and the Needle Fern which I imported from Malaysia about 11 years ago:
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1 - Cryptocoryne Balansae
2 - Cryptocoryne (Green) Wendtii / Willisii / Undulata / Walkeri
3 - Cryptocoryne (Brown) Wendtii / Becketti Petchii
4 - Cryptocoryne Wendtii Tropica
5 - Staurogyne Repens
6 - Eleocharis Acicularis mini (Dwarf Hairgrass)
7 - Cryptocoryne Parva
8 - Microsorum Pteropus sp. Needle (GreenNeedle ;) )
9 - Anubias Barteri v Nana
10 - Bolbitis Heudolotii
 
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GreenNeedle

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Onto the process. I didn't take the stage by stage photos of building the scape and there was no real plan to the change. I decided a couple of weeks ago I was going to sort it out and the day after the substrate arrived I changed it. Hardscape repositioning and substrate shaping was done on the hoof as I put it in.

So the first thing I did was to get a bucket of clean water from the tank to put the livestock in. I also filled a 25ltr container with existing tank water to add in on the refill.

Then I took down the old scape. The wood hardscape with all its attached plants were put in a bin bag to keep everything humid. Then all the plants were removed. Filter was left running throughout to help clear the water.

Once all the plants were out then I netted the fish and as many large shrimp as I could and put them into the "clean" water bucket. Out came the syphon and I used it to hoover up the little shrimp which I then netted out and put into the clean water bucket which then had the lid closed and put in a blanket out of the way.

I emptied the water right down to substrate level at which point I scooped out the substrate running it through a sieve to get the dirty substrate water into another container. After getting about 5 ltrs of dirty water from the substrate area I then just scooped the rest out leaving a small amount of the akadama (0.5ltr x 2) pushed into the rear corners. I then thoroughly cleaned the front and sides of the tank glass substrate area and put a barrier line of the new Tropica Aquarium Soil around the front and sides. This was so none of the brown akadama or its dust would end up being visible.

Then I poured in the 5 ltrs of dirty substrate water, squeezed my filter sponges out into this pool and also emptied in the dirty water in the filter.

The reason for all this is seeding. I wanted as much of this mature mulm and substrate bacteria in the tank without anything being visible. At this point I poured in Aquarium Soil to a depth of about 1.5 inches (4cm.) This soaked up the dirty water nicely with the top glistening and no puddles.

I already had some black 2mm correx which I cut into strips to hold the substrate rises like a terrace and fitted them in through this inch. Then I filled each section up with more Aquarium Soil and tested how the old Manzanita would sit. Once happy with how it sat I poured more Aquasoil in to slope the corners rather than them being correx walled terraces.

At this point the old Manzanita section was pruned and trimmed. I wanted it to be more of a bubble of Bolbitis/Anubias/Needle in the centre of the wood and only the top half as I don't want it shading the plants below, giving them a chance to fill out in this area. Of course the nature of Anubias and Bolbitis will mean that they will intrude into this space over time and will need to be pruned as and when needed.

Then the pruned hardscape was put in the tank. At this point I arranged the cobbles in more prominent positions at the front, they will blend in a little over time as plants grow but I don't want them disappearing into the Crypts like they did in the last setup.

Then I planted all the other plants as per the plan in the first post. I call it a plan but it is more a map. I did that plan to detail how I had done the planting, so planting came first, then it was mapped :)

Photos to come in next post :)
 
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19Lee81

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31 Oct 2018
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Derbyshire
Onto the process. I didn't take the stage by stage photos of building the scape and there was no real plan to the change. I decided a couple of weeks ago I was going to sort it out and the day after the substrate arrived I changed it. Hardscape repositioning and substrate shaping was done on the hoof as I put it in.

So the first thing I did was to get a bucket of clean water from the tank to put the livestock in. I also filled a 25ltr container with existing tank water.

Then I took down the old scape. The wood hardscape with all its attached plants were put in a bin bag to keep everything humid. Then all the plants were removed. Filter was left running throughout to help clear the water.

Once all the plants were out then I netted the fish and as many large shrimp as I could and put them into the "clean" water bucket. Out came the syphon and I used it to hoover up the little shrimp which I then netted out and put into the clean water bucket which then had the lid closed and put in a blanket out of the way.

I emptied the water right down to substrate level at which point I scooped out the substrate running it through a sieve to get the dirty substrate water into another container. After getting about 5 ltrs of dirty water from the substrate area I then just scooped the rest out leaving a small amount (0.5ltr x 2) pushed into the rear corners. I then thoroughly cleaned the front and sides of the tank glass substrate area and put a barrier line of the new Tropica Aquarium Soil around the front and sides. This was so none of the brown akadama or its dust would end up being visible.

Then I poured in the 5 ltrs of dirty substrate water, squeezed my filter sponges out into this pool and also emptied in the dirty water in the filter.

The reason for all this is seeding. I wanted as much of this mature mulm and substrate bacteria in the tank without anything being visible. At this point I poured in Aquarium Soil to a depth of about 1.5 inches (4cm.) This soaked up the dirty water nicely with the top glistening and no puddles.

I already had some black 2mm correx which I cut into strips to hold the substrate rises like a terrace and fitted them in through this inch. Then I filled each section up with more Aquarium Soil and tested how the old Manzanita would sit. Once happy with how it sat I poured more Aquasoil in to slope the corners rather than them being correx walled terraces.

At this point the old Manzanita section was pruned and trimmed. I wanted it to be more of a bubble of Bolbitis/Anubias/Needle in the centre of the wood and only the top half as I don't want it shading the plants below, giving them a chance to fill out in this area. Of course the nature of Anubias and Bolbitis will mean that they will intrude into this space over time and will need to be pruned as and when needed.

Then the pruned hardscape was put in the tank. At this point I arranged the cobbles in more prominent positions at the front, they will blend in a little over time as plants grow but I don;t want them to disappearing into the Crypts like they did in the last setup.

Then I planted all the other plants as per the plan in the first post. I call it a plan but it is more a map. I did that plan to detail the planting, so planting came first, then it was mapped :)

Photos to come in next post :)

Cannot wait to see this!!!... pics now!!!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

GreenNeedle

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So the "deal" here is I am using Tropica substrate, Tropica fertilisers and mostly Tropica plants. I am following their 90 day plan as far as I can although not religiously. My plants are not new so I am fertilising (albeit lean dosing) from the start and my fish need a home so they are in straight away. I have however done the 3 day water change (about 25%) which is good seeing as I am notorious for being lazy and not doing water changes for ages.

There is no science behind my "2 squirts of each daily" fertilisation. Just a case of see how it goes.

Fish went in about 24 hours after the tank was up and running again. Filter was mature, substrate seeded and the 90 day plan has regular water changes. Lights will stay at 6 hours according to the plan.

Current livestock is: 16 x Cardinal Tetra, 1 x Zebra Oto, hundreds of yellow shrimp. I am going to get some more zebra Otos after the tank has settled. They are expensive so don't want to put more in just yet

Using a crap camera here hence the pictures aren't that good. the tank doesn't look this dark in real life. These pictures are 3 days in:

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DSCF0269.JPG
 

19Lee81

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31 Oct 2018
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39
Location
Derbyshire
So the "deal" here is I am using Tropica substrate, Tropica fertilisers and mostly Tropica plants. I am following their 90 day plan as far as I can although not religiously. My plants are not new so I am fertilising (albeit lean dosing) from the start and my fish need a home so they are in straight away. I have however done the 3 day water change (about 25%) which is good seeing as I am notorious for being lazy and not doing water changes for ages.

There is no science behind my "2 squirts of each daily" fertilisation. Just a case of see how it goes.

Fish went in about 24 hours after the tank was up and running again. Filter was mature, substrate seeded and the 90 day plan has regular water changes. Lights will stay at 6 hours according to the plan.

Current livestock is: 16 x Cardinal Tetra, 1 x Zebra Oto, hundreds of yellow shrimp. I am going to get some more zebra Otos after the tank has settled. They are expensive so don't want to put more in just yet

Using a crap camera here hence the pictures aren't that good. the tank doesn't look this dark in real life. These pictures are 3 days in:

View attachment 127838 View attachment 127839 View attachment 127840 View attachment 127841 View attachment 127842

Looks amazing buddy .... love the lighting..


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

GreenNeedle

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Just a couple of additional things to add. I took the old frosted film off the back. It was too white. I have replaced it with a much more transparent one which looks better.

I do still have the old T4 lamp on the back for backlighting but I have some acrylic materials and RGB LED strips (the type used behind TVs (mine included.) I am going to build and trial a DIY lightbox setup like the ADA ones to give me some versatility. I suspect that it might not work as well I would like, probably not being consistent in colour from the edges to the centre and we all know acrylic warps but will be worth a go.

I have also bought a new camera as the old Fujifilm 7mp is rubbish and can't handle aquarium photography. The light kills it. So I have updated it (don't laugh) to a Canon Ixus 1100 HS. Yes it is only 12mp, Yes it is about 8 years old. However I haven't the slightest interest in learning about photography to any extent so definitely not going the DSLR route. My camera quite literally only gets used to photograph the aquarium or other projects so I just want something I can spend 10 minutes researching to improve the pictures a bit.

And finally tomorrow is day 7 so another water change of about 25%.
 

GreenNeedle

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New camera + water change = new photos
;)
New camera has no internal memory and needs an SD card :( Old camera used an XD card so I am waiting on an SD card to be delivered. Should be here before Monday.
 

GreenNeedle

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OK new camera and some new pictures although not the way I was intending! The LED Luminaire went out last night. Probably just one LED burnt out so I put a couple of floorstanders over the tank while I find some time to problem solve and resolder a new LED in. I quite like these lights though so I might buy 3 more to put over this tank (these are needed elsewhere.)

No idea how bright these look on your screen but on my screen (TV) the pictures are brighter than reality, hence why I would need 3 not 2.

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GreenNeedle

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p.s. pre-empting the question, these floorstanders have 8W LED "reflector" bulbs @ 5500K in them :)

The floorstanders themselves are from IKEA and are about £12 each. Very cheap :)
 

alto

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FWIW I tried those IKEA lamps with similar LEDs on a shop installation - not very effective for plant growth though you may have better luck and can certainly finesse them
Link to higher watt spots is likely a good start - though not sure how effective the IKEA lamp will be at driving them (can’t recall the lamp details)

Sorry about cursing your LED :eek:
:oops:
:sorry:

(hiding another lovely greyhound somewhere?)
 

GreenNeedle

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FWIW I tried those IKEA lamps with similar LEDs on a shop installation - not very effective for plant growth though you may have better luck and can certainly finesse them
Link to higher watt spots is likely a good start - though not sure how effective the IKEA lamp will be at driving them (can’t recall the lamp details)

Sorry about cursing your LED :eek:
:oops:
:sorry:

(hiding another lovely greyhound somewhere?)

No we are going dogless at least for the foreseeable future :)

I'll see how the growing goes with 3 (already ordered them. lol) and if needed I'll get some higher W bulbs for them.
 

GreenNeedle

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Just to update. The LED luminaire has been ditched. I couldn't be bothered to do the soldering and had fallen for the "industrial" style lights so...........the base of the floorstanders has been removed and they are now attached to the back of the cabinet. Next water change I am going to move the cabinet and raise them up another 4-6 inches as they are a little close to the top but I like the look. Very clean, very cool, "on trend."..............I think anyway:

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And a few piccies of the yellow shrimp feasting:

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GreenNeedle

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I'm going to update this at some point this week. Yes it is still going. Currently CO2 and heater free and is approaching re-stocking time as the Cardinals are starting to die off due to old age. Currently 11 left.
 

GreenNeedle

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So the tale of this tank so far is my usual loss of interest after a while. This has been without CO2 since sometime around Feb/March 2020 so nearly a year. In that time it has had minimal water changes (when I can be bothered) which at times has been 3 or 4 months between. Each time has had a pretty heavy prune of the Bolbitis and around 50% water. I would guess it has had 4 or 5 water changes in the past year but I haven't counted. Dosing has been very minimal.......meaning a couple of squirts after a water change and then forget to do it from then on. lol.

I suspect the lack of water changes doesn't help shrimp colonies too much as the GH becomes depleted and thus I am left with a lot less yellow shrimp than at the beginning of this scape.

I have been looking at Buces for quite a while, possibly before I even set this one up but short term inspirations would go by the wayside when I thought "can't be bothered." However on the 4th I took a corner on my roadbike (push not motor) and some ice that shouldn't be there meant I slapped the floor and broke my hip. Screws, plates and pins (not DIY) sorted that out on the 6th (6 days ago) and stuck at home bored, I decided that I was going to do my major tweak.

Wallet sufficiently reduced, Buces have been ordered from 2 suppliers (options very scarce due I assume to Covid) and they should be here before the end of the week. I also impulsively bought some H.Vesuvius from @papa_c which I intend to use to gain a little more height in the rear left corner.

Buces bought (in various quantities) are:
Mini black carpet
Kedagang mini
Biblis
Godzilla (kedagang red)
Super blue Kalimantan
Red mini
Catherine (already arrived.)

My plan is to remove as much of the Bolbitis as I can because it really is a weed blocking out so much light below it (hence no hairgrass in the foreground on the right) and remove as much hairgrass as I can. Then from the half ton of cobbles and pebbles I have in the back yard (is actually the excess/rejects from me buying loads just to pull out what I want for scapes) I'll be attaching Buces to them to let it spread out over time (plenty of time) to form a carpet. Some of the Buces will replace the Bolbitus in the centre mid section of the scape.

I will be adding Otos in again but not Zebra ones this time. They aren't available anyway at the moment. The main "school" will wait until the cardinals have gone but am looking at either White cloud mountain minnows or Emerald Dwarf Rasboras (Erythromicron) which I have had before and are very shy (but beautiful.)

This is where the scape is currently. Forgive the shocking photo but I was balancing on my good leg's knee on a bouncy sofa 😆 TBH for a neglected setup it looks pretty good and there is minimal algae.

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GreenNeedle

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The DHG and Bolbitus has now been stripped out plus the narrow/needle fern (mixed) has been thinned out substantially. I also took it out of the centre front as it was distracting. The whole scape has lightened up so much with the pruning and has left me a frame for the Buces to take centre stage in the centre and fore:

IMG_0003.JPG


I have drawn up a revised plan based on the one in the first post. The green areas are the revised sections/new plants:

1 - Cryptocoryne Balansae
2 - Cryptocoryne (Green) Wendtii / Willisii / Undulata / Walkeri
3 - Cryptocoryne (Brown) Wendtii / Becketti Petchii
4 - Cryptocoryne Wendtii Tropica
5 - Staurogyne Repens
6 - Bucephalandra Mini Black Carpet
7 - Cryptocoryne Parva
8 - Microsorum Pteropus sp. Needle/Narrow (Mixed)
9 - Anubias Barteri v Nana
10 - Bucephalandra Kedagang Mini
11 - Bucephalandra Biblis
12 - Bucephalandra Godzilla (Kedagang Red)
13 - Bucephalandra Super Blue Kalamantan
14 - Bucephalandra Red Mini
15 - Bucephalandra Catherine
16 - Helianthimum Vesuvius

new plan.jpg
 
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