Steve's 200ltr... First Attempt

Discussion in 'Journals' started by SteveW, 28 Jun 2009.

  1. SteveW

    SteveW Newly Registered

    Wimbledon, London
    Well after a few months of getting all the bits and bobs together and reading most of this forum I finally got the new tank set up this weekend.

    The specs are:

    Clearseal 48/15/18 210 litres
    1x T5 54W Lumilux cool white
    1x T5 54W skywhite
    2x Fluval 205 external filters, all the plumbing has been replaced with Ehiem tubing etc.
    Hydor 300w external heater
    27 litres of Aqua Soil Amazonia
    Bogwood and Redmoor
    JBL Pro Co2
    Boyu external Co2 diffuser

    Anubis Nana
    Cabomba Caroliniana
    Didiplis Diandra
    Cryptocoryne Balansea
    Vallisneria nana
    Limnophilia Aromatica
    Weeping moss
    Creeping moss

    Sorry for the picture quality, the camera died a death at the hands of my 2 year old a couple of weeks ago... So the phone had to do.

    The hardscape...


    and the finished product...



    I was happy with that for about 24hrs and then decided that the sand had to go, and I could do a much better job of the planting... so tank take 2!



    Today has been the first day running the full light and Co2 cycle and everything seems to be working ok so far. I have one filter with the diffuser attached and running to a full length spraybar along the back of the tank. I also have a second spraybar form the other filter providing the output from the heater. I have the lights on for 8hrs, with the Co2 coming on about 2 hours earlier and shutting off 2 hours before the lights out.

    Bit I do have a few questions:

    I am getting a slight cloudiness to the water, is this down to the Amazonia?

    The leaves of the Crypts are starting to melt. I know this is common so should i cut them back to encourage the new growth or let nature take its course?

    I'm also starting to see a lot of melting on the Vallis, is this normal or do I have a problem? Again should I remove the offending leaves?

    At the moment I'm dosing with Tropica Nutrition +, but I'm unsure of the amounts and frequency I should be using any thoughts?

    Probablty the first of alot of questions over the coming weeks.
  2. CeeJay

    CeeJay Member

    Surrey UK
    Hi SteveW
    Nice first attempt.
    Sorry I can't help you with all your queries as I'm fairly new to this planted tank game myself but I'll give you my thoughts on the bits I've learnt so far.
    I had this same problem on my new setup and was about to throw my crypt. in the bin when I took a chance and chopped all the leaves off back to the base and they are now growing back nicely. I'm not sure if this is accepted practice though. :oops:
    I had this too, I just kept cutting the dying leaves off and it finally settled down. After that it was my own fault as I started using Easycarbo and I now know Vallis doesn't like that, so I've now moved mine to another tank temporarily.
    I believe the recommended dosage is 5ml per 50l of water per week, I make that 20ml per week on your tank size.
    I will just add that I was advised to start with 6 hours of lighting and half dosage for the first few weeks until the plants settled down. I'm now up to 8 hours lighting and full EI dosing. :D

    I think you done a wise thing getting rid of the white sand. (Plays havoc with the fish poo!) :lol:

    I'm sure the rest of the gang will chip in with their thoughts/answers pretty soon.
    Good luck.

  3. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

    Very good attempt and I like it without the sand too, sand if not properly divided will become a nightare to keep clean anyway so you probably made the right choice, with the ADA Amazonia it would be full of dust most of the time too.

    Most likely, did you use Amazonia or Amazonia II?? but generally Amazonia lifts up a cloud everytime you mess about with it.

    Cryps melting is normal whenever you plant them from new or recape the tank, I had this happen in my tank too, just cut the leaves out and the rest should recover in time.

    Vallis are fussy on the type of water, can't remember now if they do well in hard water or not, I never had much luck with this plant in the past.

    For your size tank I would recommend you start with 10ml per day. You should look into the dry salt option though as it will be much cheaper in the long run, but would mean a 50% weekly water change if you go the dry salts route, there is a nice article in the articles section of the forum. Increase this amount after a couple of weeks if you start seeing deficiencies, also make sure you measure your CO2 with a drop checker.

    Fire the questions away ;)
  4. Tony Swinney

    Tony Swinney Member

    Cobham, Surrey
    Hi Steve, and well done on the tank -the wood is cracking !

    Aesthetically I prefer the look of the sand foreground, I think it helps give the tank more depth visually, however it would be a nightmare to maintain against the amazonia, so probably best not to have it !

    I think chris and LD have answered your questions. One thought mught be to reduce your light period to maybe 6 hours for the first few weeks. Too much light at an early stage could invite algae troubles.

    God luck with it !

  5. gerlewis

    gerlewis Member

    Thanks for posting this Steve - I enjoyed reading the thread as I'm about to embark on a very similar project myself. Ive almost finished piecing the bits of equipment together.

    Im going for a 36" clearseal as the Mrs thought the 48" was too long for the lounge! :(

    Anyway - keep us posted. What are your plans for fish?


    ps. I am thinking of going for play sand because it looks so clean, but if its a nightmare to keep clean maybe I need to think again!
  6. mr. luke

    mr. luke Member

    Nice ;)
    vallis require hard water to grow and thrive
  7. SteveW

    SteveW Newly Registered

    Wimbledon, London
    Thanks for the response guys

    OK 2 lessons learned already :oops:

    Firstly always read your drop checker against a white background, plants in the background will always make it look green!

    When I first switched on the Co2 I set the bubble rate at 4bps... way to high?

    Anyway the bpm was either 2 high or I greatly underestimated the effectiveness of the Boyu diffuser. Ive now started at 1bps and I am gradually tweaking it up till i hit the lime green.

    This explains why the Vallis melted the huge amount of Co2 caused the Ph to bomb, and this evening I decided the Vallis was a gonna and just removed the lot :(

    But its amazing how much you can learn in just a few days.

    My latest problem is a bit of BBA forming on some of the wood,(I think a result of my inconsistent Co2) I have started to dose a little Easy Carbo, 4ml every other day, and I think I'm going to invest in some bigger filters this weekend.

    Its a steep learning curve this planted tank business, and the biggest lesson I have learned so far is that a little mistake can cause a lot of problems.
  8. SteveW

    SteveW Newly Registered

    Wimbledon, London
    Amazonia, I read alot about problems people were having with Amazonia II

    I was planning to start dosing with EI from the start but but I Got the tropica nutrition + thrown in with the Co2 kit, and opted to use that until I had everything else sorted and running smoothly. I'm dosing 5ml a day at the moment but will up it if I see any problems developing. Ive also dropped the lights to 6 hours a day for now.

    Probably a large shoal of Cardinals to start with in a few weeks time, and then hopefully some Altum Angels if I can track down some juveniles, and the usual clean up crew as well.

    Well there is an update, I'm off to poke the BBA for a bit... :lol:
  9. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Not bad at all, I'd be well pleased with that :)

  10. mattyc

    mattyc Member

    Thelwall, Warrington
    i like the tank and hope you sort out your porblems soon, just dont give it up too fast!!!

    If it was my tank i would put a small plant in the forground to replace the sand something like hair grass or hc some others on the forum (with more experance can advise you better if you want to do this) but i do realy like to look of the tank as it is!! :D

  11. gerlewis

    gerlewis Member

    Steve, where did you get such light sand? I went to look at B&Q playsand, and even though the pic of the bag was white, I opened it and it was dark grey!

    Also, you thought about removing the black plastic on the top of the tank? - does it just clip off?
  12. SteveW

    SteveW Newly Registered

    Wimbledon, London
    The sand is just general aquarium sand I picked up from Living Water in Croydon.

    If you remove the black plastic strips its going to leave the silicon joins of the supports across and along the top of the tank. I think it tidier the way it is, and I don't fancy removing the supports and possibly getting a room full of water... :lol:

    But Ive got to admit I did think about it.
  13. SteveW

    SteveW Newly Registered

    Wimbledon, London
    Ive no intention of giving up just yet (not after spending this much money... :lol: ).

    I would love some suggestions for good carpeting plants, but I'm kinda looking for something a bit different.
  14. gerlewis

    gerlewis Member


    Could you talk me through which plants you have from left to right?
    if you like I could send you a pic of your tank with some numbers photoshopped on and you could tell me whats what?

    One quick Q - did you add the plants on day 1 of sticking the rocks etc in, or did you have it filled with water, cycling for a bit without plants?

    also, talking of cycling, are you adding ammonia etc or not in readiness for fish?

  15. SteveW

    SteveW Newly Registered

    Wimbledon, London
    The plants were added from the beginning.

    I'm not adding any ammonia. I'm using ADA Amazonia which leaches ammonia for the first couple of weeks, Ive also been using two mature filters, so things are ticking along quite nicely at the moment cycling wise, and I haven't needed to add anything.

    Here are a few more updated pics. As you can see Ive added a few more plants, and everything seems to be settling in quite nicely now.



    I picked up a couple of free but slightly manky pots of Glosso from Living Water in Croydon, and I have done a bit of a salvage job on them. Its going to be interesting to see how they get on. The BBA seems to have given up the ghost as well... no other problems so far... touch wood !

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