Aquatic Plant Forum banner

1 - 20 of 68 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all, I'm relatively new to APC and really have found this to be a fantastic resource. As such, I felt compelled to tell you all a little about the recent trials and tribulations about my recent ADA 120 build in this photo journal in the hopes that the information herein might be informative.
I've been keeping fish for about 5-6 years and doing a bit of aquatic gardening, but I've recently had the itch to go all out and put together a top of the line planted aquarium. Before I purchased, like so many of you, I did a great deal of research and encountered some helpful and not-so-helpful characters along the way. I would give my highest praise to Jeff of ADG and Orlando of GLA. I've purchased equipment from both of them and found both to be extremely helpful and informative as well as first-rate businessmen.
I live in a large, open loft space, and as such, wanted a planted aquarium as an eye-catching room-divider. I decided on the ADA 120-P as the tank that would make the room pop. I had a friend build the aquarium stand for <$500 (because I didn't want to spend $1500 on an ADA stand and didn't like anything else out there) but really went all out on the remainder of the equipment. Here's the list:

-Lighting: Tek Light Elite T5 HO 5 x 54 W hanging fixture with a DIY conduit stand
-CO2: 10 lb. cylinder with regulator, pH controller, solenoid valve, diffuser; purchased from GLA
-Filtration: Eheim 2217 with ADA inflow/outflows
-Substrate: Tourmaline BC (Base); Power Sand (Mid); Aquasoil Amazonia (Top)

So, I moved into my new space and eagerly set up my new aquarium:







After getting everything set up, I search for an aquatic plant supplier. To make a long story short, I ended up buying from aquariumplants.com. I don't like to be overly negative, but suffice it to say, I'll never buy from these guys again. Poor quality plants upon arrival and very skimpy on the quantities. Ah well, I made due with what I had, and set out to create an aquascape. I felt that this particular aquascape was going to be a bit more challenging since it was going to be visible from three sides:



Here are the plants:

Foreground: Elecharis Parvula, C. wendtii, C. walkerii
Midground: Heteranthera Zosterfolia, One Red Tiger Lotus Bulb, Crinum Calimistratum, a few rubin swords
Background: C. Crispatula v. balansae

That was the original setup which began about two months ago. That's all I have time for today, but there's plenty more to come....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,302 Posts
Hi nicewicz,

Welcome to APC! It looks like you are off to a good start with your project, you did a good job on the hardscape. That is a large window behind the tank, what direction does it face? I will be curious if the ambient light level creates algae issues.

As for getting healthy, quality plants, with good portions; I have never been disappointed purchasing plants from our hobbyist members in the "For Sale and Trade" ("FST") sub-forum. Once you get 25 quality posts you can place a "Want to Buy" ("WTB") in the "FST" sub-forum. In the mean time, if something is offered that you want you can send them a PM.

I am looking forward to pictures as your project moves forward, keep us updated!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Roy. The window could be a huge issue. The problem is that we have nothing but windows in our place. It was an old mill that was converted to apartments recently. Each window set is 12'x7' and we have 6 sets of windows around our place. There are literally no dark areas in our apartment. I have plenty more to share from the past two months, but it'll take me a few days to upload photos/chronicle my tales....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Three weeks passed with little or no event. I did not fertilize, simply did 50% water changes every other day. Then I had my first bout with GWA. :(



I tried diatom filtering for 2 days with no effect. Then I finally broke down and bought a UV sterilizer. This is THE only thing thing that started to work.

Day 1:



Day 5:



Presto! GWA finally gone. Plants are growing nicely and now it was time to add some fishes...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
From my old tank, I had two full grown angels that I brought with me, and to that I added 10 o-cats, 24 shrimp (12 Amano, 6 cherry, 6 Brazilian), 18 serpae tetras, 4 neons (from the old tank), and one clown pleco (from the old tank):







I added the fish incrementally over the span of three weeks so as not to overburden the biological filtration (the quality of the pics will get better, I promise, as I was just using my phone to take these photos).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,302 Posts
LOL! I thought I saw snow outside the window in one of your earlier pics and was definitely wondering where there was snow this time of year!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks! Oh, a lawn is eventually where I'm headed, stay tuned for more photos in the coming days...
I'm new to this, but I intended this to be a more long-term layout. The c. balansae is on the far left in the photo, which I intend to let grow very long. It wilted as soon as I planted it, but it is coming back nicely now. The tiger lotus was started from a bulb I transplanted from my old tank, but after three weeks, it started to poke its head out:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
Your aquarium is looking amazing! It is amazing how fish change the perspective of things. The angels almost dwarf the tank! Still i would love to do what you are doing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
134 Posts
I really like this tank. Your stand is perfect for a loft. The exposed edges of the plywood give a very "industrial" look to it.

Please keep us posted with periodic updates.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok, it's Saturday and I have time to bring this journal up-to-date. Continuing...the shrimp I introduced to the tank experienced rapid death to the point that it decimated the population. After two weeks, only ~10% were remaining. My ammonia levels were 0 ppm, but the nitrate levels were around 30 ppm. Could the high nitrates be the main cause of the die off? I'm going to try again in a few weeks...
Shortly thereafter (about 5 weeks into the new tank's life) I began to notice cyanobacteria (BGA) formation. It was a manageable amount that I mainly picked out or spot treated with hydrogen peroxide (it's totally awesome to see cyanobacteria fry). That took care of everything on the surface, but there are still pockets of cyanobacteria in the substrate (below the surface) along the walls of the tank. As for other algae, I haven't noticed much else other than GDA that seems to crop up 4 days after cleaning the glass.
So, week 6, I went out of town for 6 days. When I returned home, I was greeted again with green water to the point of pea soup. To address the previous concerns about the ambient light from the large windows, we keep the shades down during the day. Of course there is still a great deal of ambient light that comes through, but no direct sunlight reaches the tank. Anyway, I took the usual course of action and the GW was gone in a few days.
Now, to the ferts....after I returned from my trip, I took nitrate and phosphate readings... 0 on both accounts. The heteranthera was fried in some spots, so I cut back to healthy growth and started dosing nitrates. My levels are around a constant 20 ppm and the new growth looks spectacular. My tap water is very soft but already contains ~2 ppm of phosphate, so I do not dose phosphate. My typical dosing regimen is 3 TBSP of KNO3 spread out over the week and a dose of Flourish Iron. I've closely monitored the nitrate and phosphate levels after water changes, and what I've found is the the nitrate stays at a constant 20 ppm, while the phosphate starts at 1ppm on day 1, then drops to 0 ppm at day 3. I'm going to keep this dosing regimen for a few weeks to see how things go, then I may try an experiment where I start dosing small amounts of KH2PO4 (~1/2 TSP) on day 3 and see how that turns out.
Now we're up to date....and now I have another GW outbreak.....GRRRR. Should I consider running an in-line UV sterilizer at all times given the amount of stray ambient light in my place? I would appreciate any advice on this one.
For now, I leave you with the more recent pics of my tank:


Serpaes, Tiger Lotus, and Green Water:




The obligatory ADA "cube" photo:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I really got tired of having too much equipment going into the tank. I decided to contruct my own CO2 reactor based on some previous designs that I've seen on APC:



It's nothing really special, simply some PVC plumbing and brass hose barbs that you can pick up at the local hardware store. This setup incorporates the pH controller, all of which are neatly tucked away under the tank:



Now, all I have are the filter inlet and outlet in the tank. I even splurged and snagged an ETH in-line heater:



These are really awesome, work as well as a traditional heater and don't clutter your tank. I highly recommend.

These are photos I took today after most of the GWA had vanished:





I admit that the Red Lotus may be a bit over the top, but it just looks so darn good and actually I think it balances out the size of the angels relative to the other life in the tank. Thoughts?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,863 Posts
IMHO thoes angels are nice but the are absolutly HUGE man. so ya the lotus does balance it out. with a setup like such a couple or 3 rubin swords would help soften thoes angels a bit and add some color to the tank.

looks great. nice stand man.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Thanks Elliot, I appreciate the input. Funny you should say that, because I actually have two red rubins embedded in the heteranthera. They are growing quite nicely, but they're not quite as red as I had hoped. Dosing Iron helps, no?
Also, the aquascape needs another month or two before it comes around to its true shape. The c. balansae on the left is barely halfway up the tank. The plan is to let it grow out until it floats on the surface. I'm hoping that between the c. balansae, the red rubin swords, and the red lotus, the angels will seem more of a normal scale.
The angels actually have an interesting story. I've had them for 6 years now and they've made two major moves with me (from NC to NJ and back again). They were literally strapped in a tank next to me as I drove the moving truck:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,863 Posts
yes yes dose iron, and as your rubin leaves get bigger and nearer the top they will color up nicly.

i didnt see the rubins there i was too busy looking at your massive angels. lol.

good luck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Figured I'd post an update since I've cleared up the GWA (hopefully permanently) by investing in an in-line UV-sterilizer. Water is crystal clear now. I'm finally seeing the crypts peeking above the hairgrass. Second round of shrimps should arrive late next week. Also, in keep with the 'large' theme, I've ordered a Barclaya Longifolia bulb that will break up the green stargrass bed a bit. Also, several stems of Camboba Furcata should also add some color. Until next week, here are some pics (and I know, the angels are big):



front view:



back view:



crypts:

 
1 - 20 of 68 Posts
Top