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Another newbie has a go: Dartmoor tor-inspired (maybe!)

sarahtermite

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Joined
9 Nov 2010
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202
Location
South Devon
OK, so I've been reading up a LOT on this marvellous site for a while, and now I think it's time I actually made a start on my first 'proper' planted tank. This is what I've got so far:

Tank: Do!Aqua 31 x 18 x 24cm (13.932 litres, 3.538 US gallons)
Filter: Azoo Mignon.
Heater: Newattino 10 W (for tanks 10l – 20l, fixed at 25 deg. C)
CO2: Do!Aqua CO2 starter kit.
Lighting: ArcPod 9W & LED 3W (mostly white, some blue – to balance pinky ArcPod?)
Substrate: ADA Aquasoil Malaya (powder) and ADA Mekong sand.
Hardcape: Seiryu stones x 3, heather twigs (collected in Wales over Christmas).
Ferts: Tropica Plant Nutrition+
Other: Purigen (thank you Antipofish!)
Plants: final list to be decided, but probably hc ‘cuba’, hairgrass (can’t yet decide between E. parvula & E.acicularis), moss(es) (again, to be decided), and either Hydrocotyl verticillata or Pogostemon helferi.

I'm sure things will change as I go on - the only way to really learn is to make the mistakes after all! :lol: I suspect I'll end up upgrading the filter (might not have good enough flow?) and lights. I've taken some pics of how I might arrange the rocks, and got as far as uploading them to Dropbox, but now I'm stuck! Back to searching the site to work out how to make them appear here...

Any comments/tips/hints/guidance gratefully received :)
 

sarahtermite

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9 Nov 2010
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South Devon
Ha! Just needed to look in the right place for photo-posting advice. So this is the general layout I had originally envisaged, with a sand path running between.

scaled.php?server=190&filename=054xp.jpg


Possibly with this heather twig:

scaled.php?server=580&filename=056cr.jpg


But then when I was playing with the rocks, I thought I might rather go with something like this. It makes me think of the way the tors emerge from the top of hills on Dartmoor (where I live).

scaled.php?server=828&filename=048sm.jpg


Not sure if adding in the third is overkill - but then, most things look better with odd numbers. Can't decide!

scaled.php?server=822&filename=051zpp.jpg


And from an earlier picture (if with a messier background - sorry!):

scaled.php?server=820&filename=010hnj.jpg
 

sarahtermite

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9 Nov 2010
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Location
South Devon
Re: Another newbie has a go: Dartmoor tor-inspired. Plus pic

Sentral said:
Imageshack.us couldn't be easier.
Lewisr said:
Try using photobucket or flickr

Thank you Sentral & Lewisr. Clearly I need things to be as simple as possible, so I've got with imageshack. I really hope it's worked this time. :crazy:
 

sarahtermite

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9 Nov 2010
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South Devon
Right, so one last mock-layout, and tomorrow I'm going to decide on one to go for. Not sure this quite works, but I do like the effect of creating a hollow, with the substrate backed up behind. Although it's not easy to see in this photo :(

scaled.php?server=825&filename=0012md.jpg


darren636 said:
heather twig lay out for me.

Thanks Darren. I may well end up with this layout, as it's closest to what I've been thinking for ages!
 

Ian Holdich

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18 Feb 2010
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3,286
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lincoln uk
hey Sarah, the fourth pic down on the main pics is the best for me, it has loads of potential!
 

faizal

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1 Mar 2011
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Location
Alor Setar , Malaysia
Yeah,..I think so too!!! If you could just move the rear most rock a bit diagonally to the front,...I'd think you would have some nice space for planting a small background plant like hemianthus micranthemoides.
 

sarahtermite

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9 Nov 2010
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South Devon
First step completed :D .I've finally decided on an arrangement - pretty much as per picture four (although when I tried to recreate it, I found it impossible to get it exactly the same!). Anyhow, I guess nothing is set in stone; even if this turns out to be awful, there's always the next iteration :lol: . Filter is now running, so that the whole system can cycle, as per Jim @ TGMs recommendation. I'll add some mulm from my main tank's filter tomorrow to kick start it.

20120129nanov1002.jpg


I am a bit worried about how steep I've made the substrate, although I have put in some supports which I hope will stop it all levelling out. We'll see how well that works...
 

sarahtermite

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South Devon
Been rather quiet on this journal, but things have moved on a bit now, so time for an update. I left the filter to cycle for just over a month without the lights, and with a weekly water change of ~80%. Heating was a bit of an issue - I accidentally bought the smaller Newattino heater, which only got the temp up to 21 - 22 deg, so I bought the larger one, but that only got it to 22 - 23 deg. So now I have both in, which doesn't look brilliant, and still only keeps the water at about 24 deg! I'll probably replace them, once funds are a bit healthier :lol:

In the end I've used plants from my LFS (Maidenhead Aquatics, Teignmouth): Eleocharis acicularis, Bolbitis difformis and Pogostemon helferi.

scaled.php?server=688&filename=20120302nano001.jpg


I separated them into plantlets before planting/tying onto wood (took about 3 hours!). Oh and I trimmed back the hairgrass before planting. All done at the start of the month (3rd Feb).

scaled.php?server=850&filename=20120304nano003.jpg


Since then, lighting consists of a 9W ArcPod and a 32 light LED (on from 7am to 5pm), fertilisation is 1ml of TPN+ and 1ml Flourish Excel daily. Water changes are 50 - 70% each week, when I've also done a little scrubbing of the rocks and cleaned the glass. I added four shrimps two weeks ago; they were labelled as 'green neon shrimps', but I'm not sure that's right, because they all looked different from each other! Anyhow, they've been mostly hidden since then, and don't seem to like any of the shrimp food I've tried them with so far, but I have seen them picking at the rocks. I hope they're going to be OK. I might add some otos, but I have reservations having added four to my main tank, and three of them died within a week (I've since added a couple of pitbull plecs, which I love, and they keep everything amazingly algae-free, esp. the wood).

Anyhow the plants have been growing slowly but surely, no major algae issues, and it now looks like this:

scaled.php?server=37&filename=20120320nano001.jpg


Next step it to get the lighting on a timer, and then working out how to put together the Do!Aqua CO2 set, plus the solenoid & timer. Bit nervous about that step :? . Any advice?? Or any comments generally - I want this tank to be as good as it can be, so the more feedback the better!
 

darren636

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5 Aug 2011
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1,912
Location
dorset
that is a long lighting period. As for otos- they mainly suffer poor conditions on their way to us. Regarding co2- just follow the instructions and double check everything.
 
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