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davemonkey's 50 gal journal

47694 Views 290 Replies 49 Participants Last post by  mudboots
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, 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,
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Wow Dave! That's pretty impressive, especially for El Natural. And it's crystal clear to boot! I'm surprised at the Rotala and how healthy it looks without lots of dosing and CO2. I guess your water has just what it needs.

I bet this is a sight for sore eyes coming home from the wetland headaches your facing down south.
Hey Dave. How far apart are your plant clusters? Are you planting the individual stems within each cluster close together or an inch from each other?

Did any of the Apisto fry survive?
Hey Dave. How far apart are your plant clusters? Are you planting the individual stems within each cluster close together or an inch from each other?

Did any of the Apisto fry survive?
I try to take in mind the size of the mature plants when I place one species next to another. For example, my nearest hygro 'angustifolia' stem is about 4" from the closest Rotala stem (at the time of planting...they bump each other now). I usually give at least 1" gap between different species to alow some elbow room and to let each have a chance to fight for that space.

As far as stem plants. I plant individual stems of the larger stemmed-plants (like Hygro) but I plant clumps of anywhere from 5-10 when it comes to smaller stemmed-plants (like Rotala). I plant those clusters about 1" apart and trim very short after a week (giving the roots time to set). Trimming short lets the stems branch out more and begin to fill in the gaps. Then I let them grow and trim as needed.

The apisto fry all were eaten by competing males and the rasboras.
Update, and possibly the last. I'm becoming increasingly interested in Cryptocoryne spp. and I am just about ready to turn this tank into an emersed set-up...with a bit of a twist. I plan on forming soil-islands for emersed plants (with a focus on crypts) and having some underwater habitat for shrimp (probably about 7 gallons worth. It's complicated, but I'll explain it all more concisely in a new thread when the time comes. Stay tuned for that...

In the meantime, here are what may very well be the final pictures of this El Natural set-up:

Is this "Oriental Sword" or Echinodorus martii (or are they the same plant) ? Either way, this will be in the emersed scape plans.

My single female A. caucatuoides

This Java Fern clump spreads from front-to-back and hides a breeding cave (3" clay saucer)
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Looks really good Dave! Will look forward to seeing how the next incarnation progresses. . . I recently set up a crypt emersed tank as well and am enjoying it -- am sure you will enjoy the added variability of having an emersed growth area.

Good luck!

Thanks guys. Yep, it will be hard to part with the scape, but I REALLY want to do the emersed set-up. Plus, it will be easier to move when we have to move again (which might come again in October/November).
I have to say I'm a tad shocked that you're takign down such a nice scape, but I definitely am a big fan of emmersed set ups, and you'll really like Crypt species emmersed, especially if you're letting them out of their cage and not restricting them to pots. They really seem to glow when they are in a good substrate with not much restriction.

Hate to see this scape go, but can't wait to see the next!
Your images are spectacular. Good luck on your next project. This thread has always been my favorite.
It's official. This tank was completely gutted out yesterday evening and I have begun the new set-up. The new thread can be found here.

Amazingly, I was able to find someone to take all my fish (and a few shrimp) and I was able to rehome most of the plants that won't be used in the new set-up...all in one day. It was sad to tear it all down, but I look forward to the next adventure...
So out with the old and in with the new. That's good news on finding new homes for everything; it's tough to toss out nice plants just for the sake of a rescape. I have already subscribed to the other thread, so now you need to start posting more PICS!!!:D

later bro,
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