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816 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Earthdate: 09.24.08
Subject: It Grows

This is my first truly planted aquarium. After my last goldfish died in May, I decided, it was time for a change. Time for something different and time for something I had always wanted to do.

The Planted Aquarium.

I have learned more in a course of five months more than I had learned in a lifetime of having fish. Perhaps this time I decided I would sit down and take the time to learn about everything that went into my tank. I know there is much room for improvement in my system, but right now, this is the best I have ever had in an aquarium.

This learning curve has not been without hassle though. I think I have had every type of algae in my tank and I am currently seeing BBA. Which does not impress me. I have a thai flying fox, but I may have to locate a true SAE.

My current substrate is inert. It's pea-gravel. Some from a local playground, and a couple bags of white and light brown stuff. I wish I had the $$ at the start to get fluorite or eco-complete. If the necessity of a re-scape occurs, I will then get the right rocks for the job.

I realise it is perhaps over planted. Too many types of plants all in one tank, but for me, living in an apartment, this is as close to a garden as I will have. For now, this is my tank and I am quite pleased with the fact it's actually grown.

System Specs:
25 Gallon
55Watts of light total:
20Watts Flora-glo
20 Watts Sun-glo
15 Watts compact fluorescent spiral
Two DIY co2 Yeast bottles, changed alternating weeks.
1 Aquaclear 50 HOB filter
1 UGF with a Powerhead

Plant species:
"Coffee Leaf" Anubias (Anubias barteri 'coffeefolia' ) (may be incorrect)
American Val (Vallisneria Americana)
Amazon Sword (Echinodorus amazonicus)
Tiger Lotus (Nymphaea Lotus (Zenkeri) 'RED' )
Sunset Hygro (Hygrophila polysperma 'Rosanervig' )
Glossostigma (Glossostigma elatinoides)
Dwarf Sagittaria (Sagittaria subulata)
Chinese Ivy (Cardamine Lyrata)
Java Moss (Vesicularia dubyana)
Weeping Moss (Vesicularia ferriei)
Pellia (Monosolenium Tenerum)
Riccia (Riccia fluitans)
Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus)
Windelove fern (Microsorum pteropus 'Windelov' )
Cryptocoryne (Possibly: wendtii 'Green Gecko' )
Cryptocoryne (Cryptocoryne cordata var. blassii)
Aponogeton ???
Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes)
Amazon frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum)

I am not sure if I have Brazilian micro sword or pygmy chain sword.

My animals are:

Sunburst Wag Platy and offspring
Rainbow Platy and offspring
Zebra Danio and offspring
Thai Flying Fox
Two Mollies
Cherry Shrimp and offspring
Orange bee and/or Sunkist Orange
Zebra Nerite Snail x 2
Malaysian Trumpet Snails.

Problems the tank has had, almost a weekly event. The problem of the week sort of thing:

Fertiliser tabs "exploded" into the water column. Several water changes later....
Brown Algae,
Blue-green Algae (I got video of it growing under a microscope...)
Staghorn Algae
Blackbeard Algae
Spot Algae (need I continue?)
Hydra (killed them off YAY!)
Main driftwood log came adrift.
Located shrimps living in my filter...argh!!! scared me silly.
Macrobrachium Pilimanus (long armed chameleon shrimp) nibbling on my Danio's fins. She's got her own tank now.

Okay, to start, I want to show a picture of my tank to start and then a couple in between and finally the now, shots.

July 31: Which is my earliest pic.

August 7th: Added the driftwood branch and tied it down, moss, most other plants and val. Note the sand which has, more or less been removed during the bout of BGA.

Tank Side Shots: (A week or two ago)


My lotus, that was moved from the back to the front after the gravel settled. Glosso taking off well.

Yay, wendelov!

816 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think it's very pretty. Most all of us suffer from collectoritis, that's why we have more than one tank. I like many different plants. Hey if you like it then who's to say it's not right! Besides, like you said - it's a garden. :D
Thank you. Collectoritis is what i have indeed. I see plants or plant sales/swaps and twitch like a lunatic. I have three tanks, one bowl and one bottle(with baby ghost shrimp/brackish).

I have two more 25G tanks kicking around. One leaks and needs re sealing. the other I want to fuss with the wires on my main tank before I set it up. I've been getting more driftwood and baking it, and eyeing up rocks.

my shrimp tank should be almost ready for shrimp as I've been cycling it with MTSnails and plants.

87 Posts
It looks great! when you read the amount of species in the tank that you listed... it seems like it is over the top but in the photos it really ties together well! In my tank i have only one species of plant and everytime i go to the lfs i think about adding another species. It very hard to resist temptation hahah!

816 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am considering this my feeler tank. So I can get an idea what plants I like, and what ones I seem to kill. So far, my hard to keep plants are the floaters like water lettuce and the frogbit. I put them into my nano bowl.

I would like to do one of those gorgeous nature aquariums.

816 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Earthdate: 10.07.08
Subject: Excel and the algae within. The tale of three tanks.

This entry will include the three tanks I have in my apartment. Not including the nano vase on my desk. That is still doing well, but I need to replant most of the plants later. They floated up.

I thought I would add that I have been adding Excel to the tank since Friday. I have been putting in between 15 - 20ML per day as an OD treatment against Staghorn. I don't mind the other algae so much, just the hairy black stuff. I do have BBA as well It seems to be surviving this.

Main 25 Gallon tank.

I do hope to tear this tank down in about 4 - 6 months and replace the substrate with something like fluorite or eco-complete. One of the black ones appeals to me.

So things are really starting to take off. I think I say that every week. I have to make a remark about the glosso. It's really thickening, however the staghorn seems to thrive in some areas of this. I have removed stubborn bits and I am just keeping ahead of the game. I think the excel has slowed the spread down and is in some cases eliminating it.

Tomorrow is Wednesday: or the first day of my Aquarium's week. This is the day I do my Water changes (about 20%) Change co2 (Bottle #1) de-lime my glass lid with vinegar, clean filters and filter head. Prune where it needs to be pruned.

I usually sit for a good 30 minutes and look deeply into the leaves and decide what needs what work, where the algae is spreading, what new lives have appeared and so on. I am almost finding a new fish in my tank every week to two weeks. I spotted some juvenile shrimp that were born in the tank and have evaded being eaten. I wish them luck.

Speaking of new born fish. One of my young platy who was born in the tank days after I put the platy in there, has decided to be male. He's busy trying to couple with other platy, and the mollies. Silly platy. He will be one of the ones I take to a LFS. I do not want more than one male in my tank. Actually I need to remove at least 8 of my young platy as it is....

Sunburst Wag Platy
Rainbow Platy
Zebra Danio
Thai Flying Fox
Cherry Shrimplets

Claude's Tank

Claude is the name of the animal that is within. I think its a she although I am never entirely sure. She often gets fed houseflies by hand. She's a Macrobrachium Pilimanus (Chameleon Shrimp). She's predatory which is why she has her own tank. At least until the mollies are big enough to not be eaten by her.

Her tank contains off cuts of Sunset Hygro, java moss, java fern and some Chinese Ivy and one really weak growth of Amazon sword (which is growing new leaves) Claude likes to dig. She loves to dig and shove rocks out of her log/cave and as a result tends to dig up my plants.

I love the look of the pink granite stones.

Claude's Tank. (5.5 gallon)

Shrimp tank

This tank is growing quite nicely, although it looks hazy, that's just the crappy plastic.

Shrimp tank (5 Gallon Hexifun) plastic gone to hell because my mother scrubbied it. Thanks Mum! This tank has the same plants as Claude's with the exception to some Aponagetons, I think Brazilian Microswords and Riccia. I have added a couple oak leaves to the bottom and the shrimp seem to enjoy hanging off that.

The problem with this tank, is some sort of strange growth on the glass

Growth through a microscope lense taped to side of tank.

Similar growth on the thermometer.

I have no idea what this is and if anyone had anything similar, please tell me what to do with it. I put a young platy in there to nibble at things incase.

Most shrimp in here have berried so I hope to see baby shrimp soon.

On a small note: I have successfully sprouted my Hardy water Lilly seeds. At least two have sprouted and are sending up their first shoots.

733 Posts
The tank looks very healthy and clean. Excellent work.

816 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Earthdate: 10.13.08
Subject: Lush and Green.

Tank Prognosis: In need of Iron.

The hygo isn't doing a whole lot of red at the moment and I think I am a bit iron deficient. It might be an easy enough fix. The question I have, and I wonder if its a deficiency or an effect of using excel. But Some of my Anubia's leaves are getting rather holy. Rather disappointing, but such is life.

I moved out the dwarf sag to the 2.5G tank. I can use it there and it was getting smothered by the Glossostigma. I am impressed with that plant. I remember being dubious about it as I heard it's rather tough to grow. It seems to like that tank. Not so much the other tanks though.

I can see me putting up some of my plants for trade in the near future. I am getting an abundance of Cardamine Lyrata, the Hygro and certainly the Glosso. My Val in the front of the tank, which is a wild and local specimen, is sending out a runner into the glosso bed. I will have to cull that shoot and put it in the 2.5G tank.

I think with the treatment of the staghorn, I managed to succeed in seriously impeding its progress. I am pleased with this as I was getting rather upset. My pride and joy was almost to get overrun.

The tank is lush, green and needs a prune. Believe it or not, I pruned it last wednesday. Growth with the excel was impressive. I can't wait until I can get proper co2 system.

816 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Earthdate: 10.24.08
Subject: My favourite plants

I thought it migth be a nice time to show some of my favourite plants. Although its hard to point out a plant favourite

Red Tiger Lotus.

Each new leaf is larger than the last. I think my largest is 2 inches now. This will be a spectacular plant when it's mature. It is so pretty to look at. Depending on how you look at the plant, it the leaves appear either more green or more red. Sort of like that "shot through" fabric.

Note, glosso is going bananas.

Hardy Water Lilly seedling.

There are two in this tank, this one happens to be the biggest and almost lost in the glosso. But in spite of that, the plant is doing well. I ensure it has enough care and if it appears overwhelmed, I will move it somewhere else. I extracted the seed from a pod and sprouted it myself. I am to tickled by this!

I may permit one to reach the surface.

Cryptocoryn wendetii ???

Not sure what it is, it has a redish underside and was at one point getting over grown by staghorn. Excel did wonders. Anyway, this poor plant is being walked all over by the glosso; however, it is sending out new leaves and is doing well regardless.

You can see what I mean about the light and the way the lotus appears. It seems very pinkish.

Wild Val plantlet.

This is a offshoot from the large wild val I have growing near by. The leaves are nearly 2 feet in length and are, for the moment, quite thin. This plant is growing in a spot I don't want it, but I will leave it for the time being to mature so I might transfer it elsewhere later.

The spot where this plant is growing was an epicentre of staghorn growth. It was terribly annoying and I shot excel directly in this area quite frequently.

These are some of my favourite plants growing well in the lowest area and the for-most area of my aquarium.

341 Posts
Awesome tank Sunstar! I like how green everything looks, the lotus and cryptocoryne pop out at me without being overwhelming, nice subtle color! I also like your layout, it looks very relaxing. Glad to see the pond lily is growing, can't wait to see what it does in your tank!:cool:

930 Posts
The hygo isn't doing a whole lot of red at the moment and I think I am a bit iron deficient. It might be an easy enough fix. The question I have, and I wonder if its a deficiency or an effect of using excel. But Some of my Anubia's leaves are getting rather holy. Rather disappointing, but such is life.

Sounds like you have a calcium and iron deficiency. Perhaps calcium sulfate and iron would help.

930 Posts
It can't be phosphates for ratio needed is 1 part phosphorus to 10 parts nitrates to 20 parts potassium. Do you have soft water? Then gh booster should help. It has Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium.

Are certain you are putting enough iron in? Iron brings out the red when there is a deficiency in red photons from the lights. To get 1 mm of iron in tank add 1x gallons of aquarium. You can measure with a baby medicine item.

I think I am wrong about the calcium deficiency. Sorry I am ill and not concentrating well.
Here is a link for deficiency symptoms:
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