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Old 06-17-2020, 11:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dow's 40 breeder journal

It was mentioned in another thread that I start a tank journal, and after thinking about it, I decided that it was a good idea. So here goes.

In deciding to start a planted tank, my first decision, tank size, was decided for me. I still had the aquarium stand that I built when I was running a reef tank, about 20 years ago. Add to that the fact that Aqueon puts their "standard" size tanks on fairly deep discount several times a year, and the decision to go with a 40 breeder was made.

In preparation for the tank sale (you never know exactly when one of these events will occur), I visited a friend and gathered some holey limestone rock from his pasture to use in the tank. Then I got to work on layouts. Here's what I came up with as a prelim:



Then in the June 2020 monthly flyer, Pet Supplies Plus announced their dollar a gallon sale, which meant that the 40 breeder would be 40% off. After picking one up, the real design work started.

After moving and shifting and stacking and epoxying and moving again, I came up with this layout:



But the rocks were too close to the same height. So following up on something that was mentioned in another thread, I got some tile to use as a platform. Now we're getting somewhere, I thought:



And on to the substrate. Substrate is garden soil left over from the raised bed I built for my wife this spring. It's good, fertile soil, very clean, with hardly any large pieces of organic matter in it (I think the largest I removed was about 2" long and maybe the width of a pencil). I had a partial bag of miracle-gro soil, but it had gotten wet at some point in the past and was really rank, so I rejected it. So the soil went in and was capped with Black Diamond Blasting Media courtesy of Tractor Supply, which brings us to where we are today:



In retrospect, I would have liked to have more slope from the front to the back, but the sand is in there, and I think I'll go with it for now.

Now I need to figure out what plants will be going in to it. For that I need your help. I'm wanting to stick with North or possibly South American plants if possible. Not really a biotope, but I thought it'd be neat to do so. I'd like some kind of carpet in the front, but I think I'd like something grass-like, so no HC or Monte Carlo. I'm shooting for maybe 1-1/2" tall in the front. I've looked at DHG or maybe Helanthium Tenellum, both regular and broad leaf. Is there any consensus on whether the DHG or the Helanthium Tenellum would be the better choice? I might have some S. Repens in the foreground as well. Then for the midground I'm thinking maybe some Alternanthera Reineckii Rosanervig, some Bacopa Caroliniana Red, and maybe something else around the rocks. Probably some some Ludwigia Arcuata in the background and possibly another plant back there, but I'm not sure what. Does that sound like a good selection?

I'll also be doing DSM on this, so I'm planning on doing the front at least from tissue cultures. Several of the other plants I've listed are also available as tissue cultures. How do stem plant TCs do from dry start?

Thoughts? Recommendations? Criticisms?
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Old 06-17-2020, 11:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dow's 40 breeder journal

It occurred to me that it's customary to list your equipment.

The lighting is a BeamsWork DA FSPEC LED Aquarium Light Pent Freshwater, to which I added their new Rise Dim Dual Channel Timer Dimmer LED Aquarium Light Ramp Dimmer from their ebay store. The timer/dimmer works great, by the way.

Filteration/water movement will be provided by a SunSun HW-3000 Canister filter.

I'm also putting together a CO2 system, which should be complete by the time the tank is flooded at the end of the DSM rooting period. I'm not sure how much CO2 I'll actually use, and at this point, I don't have any plans to do any dosing of the tank. I guess we'll see where that leads me.

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Old 06-17-2020, 06:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dow's 40 breeder journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by dow View Post
It occurred to me that it's customary to list your equipment.

The lighting is a BeamsWork DA FSPEC LED Aquarium Light Pent Freshwater, to which I added their new Rise Dim Dual Channel Timer Dimmer LED Aquarium Light Ramp Dimmer from their ebay store. The timer/dimmer works great, by the way.

Filteration/water movement will be provided by a SunSun HW-3000 Canister filter.

I'm also putting together a CO2 system, which should be complete by the time the tank is flooded at the end of the DSM rooting period. I'm not sure how much CO2 I'll actually use, and at this point, I don't have any plans to do any dosing of the tank. I guess we'll see where that leads me.
Very cool. To protect the bottom of my glass tank, I found a place that custom cuts marine grade plastic and I was able to order a 1/4" piece of black plastic for only around $40 delivered, which I thought was a fair deal, then I didn't have to worry about moving rocks around and scratching the bottom.

I love the look of rocks and wood in an aquarium. Keep us updated as to your tank. I'd love to watch the progress. Have fun!
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Old 06-18-2020, 06:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dow's 40 breeder journal

You are going to hate me for this.

Numbering the stone masses 1 through 4 left to right, move #2 closer to #1. Right now, all four stones are very evenly spaced. Moving #2 creates an asymmetric spacing and opens the the center of the composition.

The tile under #4 is a very good idea.
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Old 06-18-2020, 06:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dow's 40 breeder journal

I would do a grouping of 3, odd numbers. Even numbers like 4 can create static designs. I'll make design videos to share soon.
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Old 06-18-2020, 06:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dow's 40 breeder journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael View Post
You are going to hate me for this.

Numbering the stone masses 1 through 4 left to right, move #2 closer to #1. Right now, all four stones are very evenly spaced. Moving #2 creates an asymmetric spacing and opens the the center of the composition.
LOL! I agree with you, but my wife likes it like it is, so she trumps both of us.

With that said, I might see if I can shift it a little bit without her noticing. Need to see how settled it's gotten in the last four days.

Quote:
The tile under #4 is a very good idea.
Thanks! I believe that you had mentioned using tiles to raise the rocks. Is that correct? Regardless of who suggested it, it's a good idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen
I would do a grouping of 3, odd numbers. Even numbers like 4 can create static designs. I'll make design videos to share soon.
Well, static or no static, it's like it is for now. I look forward to seeing your videos.


Any thoughts on the plant selection?

Last edited by dow; 06-18-2020 at 09:33 AM..
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Old 06-18-2020, 10:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dow's 40 breeder journal

Well, static isn't necessarily a bad thing .. It can be calming but a bit boring.
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Old 07-01-2020, 07:59 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dow's 40 breeder journal

Update:

Last Tuesday, my plants arrived from Buceplant:



As you can see, all plants are tissue cultures. Here's what I got, from left to right:
All cultures arrived healthy and in good shape. Two other plants on my list were out of stock, and after planting these, I was glad that they were, otherwise, I doubt I would have had room to plant them. There are LOTS of little plants in those tissue cultures!

Before planting, I sprayed the tank several times over a day or two, to build up the humidity and to let the water start dispersing down through the black diamond to the soil beneath. After planting, I misted everything again, and then buttoned it up with saran wrap (except for a narrow strip about 1/4" wide along the back of the aquarium.

This picture isn't that good, because of the moisture on the inside of the tank, but here it is after planting. Michael, as you can see, I was able to move the second rock a little to the left without disrupting anything:



In the week since, I've been opening the tank up each night, and letting the air circulate through until the humidity dropped below 80, and then closing it back up, usually for around 30 minutes or so. Typically the humidity is back up around 90 by the time the lights go out. Speaking of lights, I've been running them from 7:00 am to 10:00 PM at about 50%. I wonder if I should ramp up the level to 100? The reason for running them at 50% is that I read that once water was in there, I'd maybe need to increase the light to make up for the water. Thoughts?

I've seen a little die-back and yellowing, but overall, I think things are moving forward.

Well, that's it for now. I'll post again when I have something worth reporting. Thanks for looking.
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Old 07-01-2020, 11:32 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dow's 40 breeder journal

Looking good! I would run the lights at 100% during the dry start. This is the only time you will never need to worry about algae, LOL.
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Old 07-01-2020, 11:54 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Looking good! I would run the lights at 100% during the dry start. This is the only time you will never need to worry about algae, LOL.
LOL! Will do.
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