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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, this is my first planted tank set-up. My goal is low-maintenance, low (or moderate) tech, and just to get a good feel for planted aquaria.

-Tank is 48"x13" and 18"tall (50 gal...or more like 48...).
-Substrate is "planted aquarium substrate" from aquariumplants.com, 3" deep.
-Filters: emperor w/bio-wheel; 1 powerhead on undergravel filter for right side of tank only.
-Lighting is 130 W PC of 50/50 10,000K and Actinic and a 2x15W "aquarium bulb" (came with original hood). Light duration is for 10 hrs (but only 8 with the PC hood).
-DIY CO2, 2x 1 gallon jugs with same ingredients for smaller containers (gives just a bit of CO2)
-dose excel and ferts

Plants are val, swords, crypts, anubia, egeria, mosses, java fern, hygo. difformis...low-mod light (due to half my light being actinic and non-productive)

Fish are random fellows I've been trying out, haven't yet decided what to keep in there. Getting rid of 5 SAE's and a Pictus Cat soon.

Many of the plants still need to do ALOT of filling in. Feel free to critique/comment. I am totally open to suggestions (unless it involves buying more plants for awhile). ;)













Here is the moss-rock I just tied-up a couple days ago. The SAE's liked it alot...yummy treat...hence, I'll be trading them in soon...:boxing:


Thanks for looking,
Dave
 

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I think it really looks nice. I had the same problem with my sae's. They ate my Rotala wallichi. One of mine was about 4.4" and one 6". They went to live with somebody else. I really love your little tiny crypts. and your vals look so nice! :D
 

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say good buy to that silver dollar! those things will just eat all your plants!
but i like the tank alot!! subscribed
 

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Oh, this is very interesting, especially because my goal is pretty much the same! I am very happy to find this thread. Your tank looks great! :D

I am starting my 50 gal with plant eating fish and random plants; I am about a couple of month into this hobby. Would really love to see how your tank is progressing. :D
 

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i like the start, few questions though..
1. hows the aquarium plant substrate?
2. any thoughts on foreground plants?
3. which way are you using to diffuse the diy co2?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think it really looks nice. I had the same problem with my sae's. They ate my Rotala wallichi. One of mine was about 4.4" and one 6". They went to live with somebody else. I really love your little tiny crypts. and your vals look so nice! :D
HAH! Yes, my SAE's are about to move in with a friend. (He's the only other aquarist within 15 miles of me that I know of!!! And the closest pet store is 50 miles South in Abilene.)
Funny thing about the Vals, I heard they wouldn't do well with poor lighting and low-tech. But, from day one (when I only had 30 watts of questionalble light and no ferts/excel) they've been trying to take over the aquarium. I started off with 10 little baby plants and now I clip out runners every 2-3 days just to keep up! I'm going to let them eventually crowd out the egeria and then try to keep them just in the back and the left corner.

As for the Silver Dollar, he hasn't touched the plants yet, but he's still very young. I was thinking about trading in all the 'other' fish for maybe 20 serpae's and 10 or so bleeding hearts (they seem to be easy keepers for me). Of coarse, my wife gets her say in it....we'll see how it goes. Either way, the only fish I'm 100% going to keep are the Oto's. They are great fish!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Howdy, Shurik and inareverie85!

Shurik, I think you are more skilled in this hobby than I am at this point! I'll be going to you for advice.

"inarev", I haven't started looking for adapters yet, but I'll let you know what I find. Today I'll be out at the zoo, though. My two yr-old wants to fee the giraffes!

-dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
i like the start, few questions though..
1. hows the aquarium plant substrate?
2. any thoughts on foreground plants?
3. which way are you using to diffuse the diy co2?
oooooooooo, I was hoping no one would ask about my CO2. I'm going to catch a lot of flack on this one. :rolleyes:

Okay:

1. I think the substrate is nothing more than Soil Master with a different label (according to rumors). It has done WONDERS for the plant roots, but it's VERY light-weight, so you'd have to be extremely careful when siphoning and adding water.

2. as foregrounds in my particular set-up, I've done well with Crypt. wenditii and C. parva (very slow). (I've managed to kill 5 pots of HC.) I'd like to try pygmy chain sword some time.

3. I'm rotating 2 bottles for DIY CO2 with the same ingredients for smaller set-ups (2 cups sugar, 6 cups water, 1/4-1/2 tsp yeast). I have these connected to a "T" valve and run the output line to my powerhead directly to the air intake (the venturi...it literally sucks/vacuums the CO2 as it is produced). I DON'T RECOMMEND THIS...IT CAN SUCK MUCK INTO YOUR TANK!!
The only reason I get away with it is because I'm using 1 gallon containers instead of 2-liter (1/2 gallon). This gives me a great deal of air space and prevents the vacuum from being enough to suck out liquid from the CO2 containers. I have a check valve at the "T" to prevent back suction in case the powerhead fails.

Anyway, it gives enough CO2 to give me just a bit of pearling, not too much (or else I'd have to have a high-tech...).;)

I'll post pics and complete details of the DIY CO2 I have set up in a later post (maybe tomorrow night) that shows everything set up. For now, I'm off to the zoo! Yippee!!:D

-Dave
 

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Nice looking scape! I love your big driftwood, anubis are amazing.What I know about Val, it's doing poor with high level Fe, stop growing and died. My SAE's love eat dwarf grass, but I usually have them until they grow to around 3" and trade them for smaller one. Adult SAE's usually lazy and don't like to eat algae. About pictus, they growing big(for plant tank) and also can digging your plants. From cat's(if like them) best what you can get for plant tank is cory's. You can get otos too, they are hard workers to algae removing. In left front corner you put crypto ( looks like cr wendtii brown to me), it's growing to big bush, I have some around 8" tall and 8"-10" wide, so if you can plant it in midgroud it's will looks better(for sample between amazon and bacopa is god spot, so some where like that) If you hide termometer from front glass,tank can get better view, so, you ask about small critique-here is it:) You aquarium looks really nice and I hope you get scape of you dream:) Cheers, Steve
 

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Im kinda confused as to why you dont replace the 50/50 bulbs with some good plant bulbs?? btw your tank looks good, but the 10k/act. light is why it looks a bit washed out. Some advice, can the 10k and 50/50 and go with some 9325s. Youll love the look and they arent expensive. If your going to have a nice sized setup like that why cheap out on the last 30-50 bucks for some good bulbs??
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Im kinda confused as to why you dont replace the 50/50 bulbs with some good plant bulbs?? btw your tank looks good, but the 10k/act. light is why it looks a bit washed out. Some advice, can the 10k and 50/50 and go with some 9325s. Youll love the look and they arent expensive. If your going to have a nice sized setup like that why cheap out on the last 30-50 bucks for some good bulbs??
First of all, thanks V.PooH for the advice. I'll look at doing some rearranging and what-not.

Fishman, I totally agree about getting better bulbs. The reason I got the 50/50 is because that's what came with the PC hood. Originally this was going to be a fish-only tank with a few ferns and moss and I wasn't pleased with the 30 watt hood it came with (too yellow). So I bought a PC hood without any concern about color temp (because anything was better than what I had.)

But then I found this web-site and, you know the rest. I've been looking at getting the 9325's, but I've only found straight pin arrangement for them and my hood is square pin. Are there adapters for this? If not, I'm looking at getting a 10000K/6700K mix.

Thanks guys for the critique and advice.

-Dave
 

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Dave PM Me I have the bulbs for you!! 2 square pin current dual day light bulbs. 6700/10000k bulbs. I got them for my hood/fixture thinking it would be easy to go from straight pin to square, but I decided on going with t5's. I will give them to you for $20 each +shipping. Let me know,

Curt
 

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thanks for response, a wooden airstone does decent, currently im using a nano diffuser which does get more slots for micro bubbles compare to the wood lime stone. but i think the best way to get more diffusion is using a reactor n powerhead with diy co2 as well pressurized not using a canister..and now more pictures please -.-b
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Okay, this should probably go under the DIY forum, but since xpistalpetex asked, here is my version of DIY CO2:

Two 1-gallon bottles* (Tropicana OJ) that I alternate. Each has 4-weeks of CO2 production (1/4 tsp yeast, 6 cups water, 2 cups sugar).
(*if you have the output end in a proper diffuser, use a 2-liter bottle to reduce the air space "void")
I have a T valve connecting the two containers and run only one line as output.


The 'make' was simple. I punched a nail through the cap, cut the tip of the tubing to a point, and pulled it through about 1-2 inches with pliers. (The dark color of the contents of this bottle is because I'm trying a cheap/no chemical wine-recipe.)



Check Valve between the T Valve and the output end


The "correct way"* to run the output directly to a powerhead. The CO2 bubbles get sucked into the intake and this provides a fine bubble spray with your waterflow. (*I took the picture this way to show what is recommended, but I actually have mine hooked up to the air suction intake and get a vacuum effect. I can only get away with this because I have so much air space in the 1 gallon jugs.)


Also, I don't use a bubble counter because the amount of CO2 I'm getting isn't near enough to over-dose my tank, but I recommend one for safety (muck guard) for anyone doing DIY and for smaller tanks.

-Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
thanks for posting pics and new updates on the tank?
No real updates. It'll be at least two or three weeks before I have any plant growth to speak of. I did, however, wind up releasing my SAE's back in the tank. The guy that was going to pick them up backed out. So, I have 5 SAE's and a Pictus Cat I no longer want, but I suppose I can wait until my next trip to Abilene to the LFS (50 miles away is local?!:rolleyes: ) and trade them in. I'll probably do that next month.

I thought about selling them here, but the cost of shipping is too much and it's so hot here that they'd likely be too stressed, even with next-day. Besides, it will be fun to bargain with pet store people. They seem very nice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Well, someone wanted the SAE's afterall......so I had to re-catch them. The only problem is that one of them wised up and refused to get in the trap! I tried for 45 minutes to catch him.....looks like he'll be a lone SAE in my aquarium for a long time to come. ;)

On the bright side, I was able to catch the pictus cat without snagging his fins in the net. So, he'll be joining the other 4 SAE's in a new home. And, since I uprooted several plants in the process, I 'cleaned house' a bit. I had enough Val to thin out spots and put it in the corner where the Egeria was. (No more Anacharis for my tank.) This really brought out the moss tied to my "Dino-Tail".
Then I moved the sword back a little and thinned out the crypts into several smaller plants and filled in that corner. I've decided not to have a 'foreground' there, just a thick corner.


Then, I thinned out my foreground plant in the center of the tank and turned 4 plants into 19! So, now I can get a better cover in the front/center of the tank. (I'm still not 100% sure what it is, but it's looking like Crypt. willisii x lucens?)



Anyway, that's what's been happening this morning.

-Dave
 
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