Tank Reborn

Tom Raffield

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Joined
18 Apr 2017
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129
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Coulsdon, UK
DAY ONE:

So it is up and running! Spent the best part of two days to get the fish out, substrate cleaned and replaced with the soil and new plants. Had a few hiccups along the way so it is not exactly what I planned but it's done now!

I claim to be no expert in scaping or particularly creative in any sense but I think it looks alright!

Need to decide on my lighting, ferts and CO2 regime. Any thoughts?

My plants are all easy, low light and low CO2 tolerant with a few fast growers thrown in. As some of you know I want this setup to be easy, low maintenance and 'lower', tech than my previous problem tank. I have never gone down this route before so it is all new to me. All thoughts and feedback welcome.


The Setup:

Tank: Juwel Vision 260
Substrate: Tropica Aquarium Soil on top of old EC and gravel mix (mainly for height)
Filter: Fluval FX4 and custom spraybar
Light: Arcadia Tropical T5s 54W x2

Fish: Cherry barbs (4), pentazona barbs (10), neons (2), amano shrimp (handful), ottos (2) and a bulldog blec.

Plants Front: Monte carlo, crypts lucens, crypt wendtii kompakt
Plants Mid: Sagittaria subulata, various crypts from old tank, java fern (attached to rock and wood)
Plants Back: Crypts balansae, hygrophila siamensis, rotala rotundifolia, amazon swords, vallisneria spiralis tiger
Plants Floating: Limnobium laevigatum
 

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Tom Raffield

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18 Apr 2017
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Coulsdon, UK
1 WEEK IN:

Everything appears to be alright. Some of the Monte Carlo likes to float off fairly regularly but this is no bother. Just replant when I do my water changes.

I think the plants are looking healthy. Not a lot of melt from any of the crypts yet and the stems appear to be doing well.

Currently still running 4 bps on CO2, lights 10-4 and dosing macro and micro every few days. Will start scaling this down eventually - how long should I wait before lowering CO2 and only dosing when the floating plants need it?

Have done 50% WC everyday day so far so may now scale back to every couple of days.

If anyone notices anything I should be watching more carefully then please shout!
 

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Tom Raffield

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18 Apr 2017
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Coulsdon, UK
Ok I'll be honest! The floating Monte Carlo is becoming a little annoying :p I blame the amanos or ottos... Or barbs... Or any of them! Any tips on how to protect it until it can become more established or is it a case of just plant it deeper and hope for the best?! :D
 

Melll

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8 Feb 2018
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Location
Leicester. UK
I cannot help you with the escaping Monte Carlo I`m afraid. Do you have a run down anywhere of how you made the spray bar, I would be interested in how you did that. I have seen videos but mainly from the US and they do not have B&Q.
 

Tom Raffield

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Joined
18 Apr 2017
Messages
129
Location
Coulsdon, UK
I cannot help you with the escaping Monte Carlo I`m afraid. Do you have a run down anywhere of how you made the spray bar, I would be interested in how you did that. I have seen videos but mainly from the US and they do not have B&Q.
To be honest I had a lot of help from the very knowledgable guys on UKAPS but especially @Andrew Butler - here is the old message thread (https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/pipe-diameter-flow-rate-and-velocity.53917/). It got quite scientific as many of the discussions on here do which went over my head somewhat but the bar appears to do the job! All my pipework and joints came from an online store called Aquarium Plumbing. I had a number of attempts playing with pipe diameters, various numbers of holes and hole diameters before settling on the bar I have; I also have a load of old bits and bobs that I didn't use or need that I have lying around. Some of it might of use to you depending on the size of your tank and filter setup.

Essentially I have a 1m pipe which I cut in half, used a T join which fits directly into my FX4 pipe work. No glues or joining products used at all, probably more by luck than planning! I use an FX4 hose end inside the T where the hose comes in to make the join tighter - I will take some photos for you this afternoon when I do my WC if you like.
 

JackH

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15 Apr 2017
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49
Location
Sheffield
Nice looking tank!
Re: co2 - do you have a dropchecker or some other way of seeing co2 concentration? As that will help inform when/whether dialing back is good or not?
 

aquascape1987

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6 Nov 2014
Messages
228
Ok I'll be honest! The floating Monte Carlo is becoming a little annoying :p I blame the amanos or ottos... Or barbs... Or any of them! Any tips on how to protect it until it can become more established or is it a case of just plant it deeper and hope for the best?! :D
I think your issue with the Monte Carlo or any carpeting plant like that is the powerful filter that you are using, which would benefit the plants health in the long run, but is uprooting it before it gets chance to establish its grip and spread on the substrate. Bit like a chicken and egg situation :(. It’s annoying but it can be overcome.
Make sure you regularly trim it to thin it as well, as it grows, as you don’t want it getting too thick and lifting, which it will do. IME at this point it’s game over for large parts if not all of your lovely carpet. I’m in this situation right now actually. As much as it pains you to trim a lush and thick carpet and it turn yellow for a week untill it recovers, it must be done to increase its overall lifespan. Better to do this as a light trim more regularly than realising it’s too thick and hacking centimetres off of it to try and fix it.

If it were me, to get it going, I would turn down the filter with a valve and limit the flow and bashing that the MC is getting, until it establishes and shows signs of spreading with runners. Then slowly increase the flow until you are on full and have a luscious carpet. Even to the initial detriment of other plants in the tank perhaps, but this is a careful balancing act. The next tank I do with a carpet, I’m considering seeding the carpet first and letting the tank run for a few weeks before planting the rest of the tank to avoid this and allow me to run the filter lower until it establishes without then having to go through the tough period afterwards when the other plants have to recover from the period of lower flow. You will always have to replant the odd clump of MC over the first week or two, but if you can get the flow lowered to the correct balance to allow it to take, without being too limited, this period should only last a few weeks at most and there shouldn’t be masses of clumps to replant ;)
 
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Tom Raffield

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Location
Coulsdon, UK
@JackH Thanks. I do have a drop checker but the levels of CO2 being added in a tank of this size leave the checker blue. If there are other ways to check CO2 then I could do this but I intend to keep levels minimal (if anything) by the time the tank has established itself.

@aquascape1987 This could be a factor. The amanos are definitely also not helping out much! I'll leave what I have and see if it takes hold but might research a new carpet plant or very short option for a low tech setup.

@Melll Have a look at the photos below. Hopefully they show you a little detail.

Update WEEK 2 (and a bit):

Not a lot to report but I have noticed a few things today. The 'salvaged' swords have started rotting from the middle. The leaves looked fantastic and healthy but are rotting from the base. Any ideas why this might be?

The Solar Natur and Effect are now in place. I have also switched from a T5 retrofit to using the supplied brackets. I felt that the Juwel light unit was blocking the light dispersing effectively. Anyone who knows the old Juwel light units will know the huge black block that runs down the middle of the two T5s. This does mean the tank is more 'open' now with no lid. Do you think the Juwel light block would be a problem with light dispersal?

Has anyone had experience of the JBL LEDs? Hopefully they will supply enough light for my easy plants but not too much light (I am on a 10 hour programme with sunset and sunrise. Think the actual 'growth light' time is more like 6-8 hours. I could programme my own light programme but this looks a little daunting at the moment with regards to choosing how much red, blue, green, warm white and cold white I need and when. Anyone done this on their LEDs that offer some tips?
 

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aquascape1987

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6 Nov 2014
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@aquascape1987 This could be a factor. The amanos are definitely also not helping out much! I'll leave what I have and see if it takes hold but might research a new carpet plant or very short option for a low tech setup.
Try HC Cuba for a smaller more compact option. But it is still subject to the same issue of clumps floating up, until it manages to take root :)
 

Melll

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8 Feb 2018
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Location
Leicester. UK
Thank you for the photos and the links to threads which has links to other threads to read 😃 off to B&Q tomorrow then so I can get the bits of have a play, I run 3 x FX6 on the 2.4metre long tank.

Are the crowns of the Swords buried, if so lift them slightly so the crown is above the substrate.
 

Tom Raffield

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18 Apr 2017
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129
Location
Coulsdon, UK
Thanks for the compliments @hypnogogia and @Melll Good luck with the spray bar adventure @Melll . And it's your limnobium floating around up there @hypnogogia - thanks for that. I really like it. Just becomes a bit of a pain when trying to work under it or around it! Haha! I'll take it though as long as it shows me the way with regard to ferts.

I raised the swords a little to see if that improves things. I'm already beginning to eye some changes I might want to make to this setup as time goes on. For now I am just working out when to start ferts dosing and hoping the light will work out having switched from T5s to LED.

Thoughts and feedback always welcome. I always feel I need help along the way as I think I just fumble around in the dark a lot of the time. Just watching the 'sunset' in the tank. It is actually a really cool feature from a viewing perspective!
 

hypnogogia

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6 Apr 2017
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Oxfordshire
Just becomes a bit of a pain when trying to work under it or around it! Haha! I'll take it though as long as it shows me the way with regard to ferts.
I thought it might be. First thing I do for maintenance is harvest it to create space, as otherwise it always sticks to my arms. I think you’ll find it grows quickly with those LEDs.
 

Tom Raffield

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18 Apr 2017
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129
Location
Coulsdon, UK
This courgette is going down really well! Thing is I was hoping more of my ottos would find it as I have a few very skinny ones! The shrimp are so greedy!

Changed the light programme on my LEDs to DreamScape today as this offers slightly brighter light for the main photoperiod. It is aimed at planted tanks rather than just 'community' tanks. I did have a play with the manual programmes this afternoon and may use one in the future when I am more confident and have more time to watch the tank.

I'm away for 10 days as of Thursday so will squeeze in two more water changes by the time I go. Is there anything I need to be aware of whilst away? I haven't really started dosing ferts yet and will ask someone to drop some food in a couple of times and give the shrimp their courgette kebab.
 

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