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Simple Planted Tank

goldscapes

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21 Aug 2018
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Surrey
Here’s a journal for a simple medium tech 54L (14 US Galllons) planted tank roughly 60x30x30cm.

417F3DB4-E771-4B22-9C4C-C19FC7C3E051.jpeg


This is my first tropical project and was the result of having a spare tank after moving some goldies into a new and much needed home. That journal is the “155L Goldfish Cube” listed on this site should you be interested.

Whilst the Nomaphila is Asian, most of the rest is South American although more through good fortune than design.

It’s been a lot of fun and I have learned so much in the process of creating it. Thanks to the UKAPS forums without which it would have been impossible to achieve so quickly.

Hardscape
Dragon stone
Finger wood

Substrate
Flourite, Flourite Black and light coloured aquarium sand

Plants (front to back)
Micranthemum Monte Carlo
Eleocharis Acicularis (Dwarf Hairgrass)
Echinodorus Cordifolius Mini
Myriophyllum Mattogrossense
Nomaphila Siamensis Parvifolia
Some kind of Cryptocoryne found floating in the goldfish tank
Phyllantus Fluitans (floating)

Fish & Shrimp
6 Cardinal Tetra
2 Otos
Pair of Apistogramma Viejita II
Amano Shrimp

Tech
Inline CO2 diffuser
External filter 450lph
7w LED light
Flourish & Potassium, twice weekly

Method
Created hardscape then carried out a fishless cycle for a month adding small amounts of Ammonia (I wouldn’t do this again, from what I have read on this site since, it’s unnecessary in a planted tank and can kill the bacteria you are trying to grow).
I then added the plants and let them root in for a further two weeks before adding shrimp then fish slowly over a period of about a month. Really glad I did it this way, slow and steady worked really well for me.
 
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Costa

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Athens, Greece
Very nice scape, good job! Maybe the more experienced members can comment whether 7W are enough for MC. So this wasn't a dry start was it?

Do you consider adding some more cardinals? They are more comfortable in a group >12
 

Konsa

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Lostock Hall
Hi
In my experience Monte Carlo is happy in low light just grows slower.Had it growing almost in dark shaded by hardscape and other plants.The most healthy bit of it too.Same with lilaeopsis brasiliensis
Regards Konsa
 

goldscapes

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Thank you for your comments. Originally there was even less light that didn’t reach the entire tank and nothing was growing. There is still some MC remaining but it doesn’t seem to want to grow. I’m not too concerned though I wouldn’t want any more light in there as it is already a little to stark for my tastes. In fact I am waiting on an order of straw coloured lighting gel to knock it back bit and warm up the colour so it looks more like a blackwater environment. Not least because the Apistogramma’s seem to like finding shady spots, I think they find the light a bit bright.

I have been thinking about adding some more Cardinals, there is definitely room for them in there so thanks for the tip!
 
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dw1305

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Hi all,
Pair of Apistogramma Viejita II
Nice fish, they are a colour form of Apistogramma macmasteri. Apistogramma vietija is in the hobby now but is a much rarer (and less colourful) fish.
Not least because the Apistogramma’s seem to like finding shady spots, I think they find the light a bit bright.
They are definitely a genus that likes lurking in the shadows, A. macmasteri is actually a bit more out-going than most other species. If they breed (and they probably will) you may find that they aren't very keen on the Cardinal Tetras, the Tetras are great pickers off of fry and females Apistogramma are quite protective.

cheers Darrel
 

goldscapes

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Thanks Darrel, it’s gems like this that make this site such a valuable resource!
Any suggestions for more suitable tank mates for them would be well received.
 

goldscapes

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A couple of updates to the flora and fauna.
Monte Carlo didn’t take hold, no growth so removed the little that didn’t melt.
Myriophyllum Mattogrossense removed, barely any growth and the lower leaves rotted away, I think this was due to insufficient flow.
Nomaphila Siamensis Parvifolia started well but barely any growth, eventually pin holes in leaves followed by complete meltdown.
Phyllantus Fluitans was too delicate and didn’t like the surface adgitation, removed and fed to goldfish.
Eleocharis Acicularis isn’t doing much, it’s not dying but there’s not much growth, very few new roots and a few long strands. No runners.
New plants added marked with a * below.

Plants (front to back)
Eleocharis Acicularis (Dwarf Hairgrass)
Echinodorus Cordifolius Mini
Some kind of Cryptocoryne found floating in the goldfish tank
* Pistia Stratiotes (floating) aka Dwarf Water Lettuce mini version, not pond sized.
* Pogostemon Erectus
* Rotala Rotundifolia

Complete disaster with Otos added 5 in total but ended up losing 4 of them. I’m sticking to captive bred species from now on. All the others doing fine, seem happy enough but could do with more space.

Fish & Shrimp
6 Cardinal Tetra
1 Oto
Pair of Apistogramma Viejita II
4 Amano Shrimp

Also upgraded the filter from an Eheim 150 to a 250T not a hugely noticeable difference in flow rate between the two from the extended spray bar (poor with both, barely enough to break the surface film) so may need an alternative approach to circulation (narrower bore, smaller holes). Very handy to have an external heater though and frees up the 150 for the next project, a 30cm cube garden. Watch this space...
 

goldscapes

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4EA47D75-5B99-4A49-932B-09D253148E3C.jpeg


A couple more changes, out with most of the Dwarf Hairgrass and in with B. Japonica.

Slowly increased the light period by an hour but this has caused an influx of hair algae of some sort (cloudy and brown). It’s attaching to the roots of the water lettuce and getting caught up in the hairgrass. Some diatoms too. Full filter clean due with the next water change.

There’s new green growth on the R. Rotundafolia and P. Erectus, probably not enough light to maintain the red colouring on the former.

Might up the CO2 a little after adding the new plants and see if that helps with the algae. Lighting period is back down to 6hrs.
 

goldscapes

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BE534A2B-B53D-4BAB-B3FB-987A341DA952.jpeg


RR looks a bit shabby, hoping it’s just the emersed growth dying off. New growth is definitely healthier. PE growth is there but slow.
More B. Japonica rescued from the goldies, hoping that will reward me with some new growth soon.
Some BBA starting to appear and still plagued with fluffy stuff between most leaves despite regular cleaning.
Added a surface skimmer and some Buces from the goldie cube. Probably going to add an air stone tomorrow after lights off until CO2 on to try and see off the algae.
 

goldscapes

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Just coming round to updating this after 3.5yrs of no posts! Can’t believe how time has flown by.

This tank is still up and running but has had a number of changes over this time. It now houses 3 Cardinal Tetra, 1 Otto, 6 Guppies and a pair of unidentified Gourami types. Probably on the limit for stocking now so thinking about upgrading to a bigger tank.

Plants (mainly various crypts) need some TLC, as after a period of no CO2 they have died back a bit and need a prune. Glass needs a good scrape and might treat the pest snails, not that they seem to do any harm.

CO2 is back up and running so just need to give the bed and pipe work a good clean.

Here’s a quick pic after the clean up:
FE18FF40-58B9-4264-B434-321FB6A2D73C.jpeg
 

goldscapes

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Hi all,Nice fish, they are a colour form of Apistogramma macmasteri. Apistogramma vietija is in the hobby now but is a much rarer (and less colourful) fish.They are definitely a genus that likes lurking in the shadows, A. macmasteri is actually a bit more out-going than most other species. If they breed (and they probably will) you may find that they aren't very keen on the Cardinal Tetras, the Tetras are great pickers off of fry and females Apistogramma are quite protective.

cheers Darrel
By the way, @dw1305, they never did breed and when the male died I found out why. The “female” was in fact another male masquerading as a female, he transformed back into a male once the dominant one was no longer on the scene! Fascinating behaviour 😊
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
By the way, @dw1305, they never did breed and when the male died I found out why. The “female” was in fact another male masquerading as a female, he transformed back into a male once the dominant one was no longer on the scene!
Sorry to hear that, "sneaker males" are really common in most Cichlids.

cheers Darrel
 

plantnoobdude

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17 Mar 2021
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uk
In my case it was simple, I started out with plants that needed it. I kept it running out of habit to start with. However, when I have occasionally let the tank run empty, the plants have suffered and died back, so I keep it running because it works for me, leads to more pleasing plant density and healthier looking plants.

Granted, I do need to be more careful introducing new fish and it’s a bit of a drive to get top-ups but I enjoy it and it’s a good learning experience.

I have a second tank, mainly anubias and elodea/hornwort, which doesn’t benefit from CO2 so I don’t use it.
What were the plants you had that required co2? In my experience and research. almost all plants grow well without co2. In my experience the only plant that truly requires co2 in my tank is eriocaulon quinquangulare, I have not seen any examples of this plant grown in Low tech on the internet either.
 

plantnoobdude

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Hard to say, it was a while ago now, perhaps:

Eriocaulon cinereum​

Or something similar at least, spiky round ball with stalks.
I have grown that in Low tech successfully.

C7C1FBCC-B176-4ABD-848E-60D91AADFD6D.png
Sorry for the green water, haha. This is the only pic I had of it, pic was taken to showcase the green water and not the plant….
But it is growing fine with that characteristic spiky look. At the time it ha been in Low tech for a few months I believe.

Here is how it looked in the high tech.
DE4053A0-0BD4-4CCA-8E42-BFC3E9417FC5.jpeg
 

goldscapes

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Ok, @_Maq_ and @erwin123 there don’t seem to be any obvious supplies of Eriocaulon ‘Vietnam’ or ‘Japan’ in the UK. So I removed the Kyoto and replaced it with some Anubias and C. Helferi I had spare from my other tank. I was careful to keep the rhizomes out of the substrate so hopefully everything will take nicely.

92077ABC-08F4-454A-A538-F7549CB91527.jpeg
 
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