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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

After months of waiting, I have finally set up my first planted tank. I have many other "tanks with plants". This is my first real attempt at aquascaping.... except I didn't really scape it, because there were plants crammed in other tanks waiting for it. It was impossible to look at them. Also I ordered from 2 different online sources, one of which took 3 weeks to ship and sent the plants in the box with the zip-lock bag open (in very cold weather). The other source sent mostly green plants instead of red, as you will notice, and the rotala that was going to be the centerpiece was pretty much mush. So when everything got here I just stuck them in sort of randomly to see how they would grow.

Here are the specs:

Lights: Nova Extreme Pro T5 (4 x 39w) and 4 plant bulbs that I've forgotten the name of
Filters: 2 Fluval 405
Substrate: Eco-complete

Plants: Cabomba furcata, dwarf hairgrass, mermaid weed, hornwort, red foxtail, red Rotala, wisteria, anubias minima, anubias nana, Hemianthus callitrichoides, pellia, 20 Vals, Amazon sword, some other sword, 10 crypts, bacopa.

You'll see a floating thing, since removed, which was a lovely piece of driftwood I'd had sitting around waiting for a big enough tank to display it in. Unfortunately it developed a fungus. It's out now!

Fish: I started this tank with 24 Endler's livebearers, to cycle it. There has been no real cycle. So I felt comfortable moving about 20 other fish in: Otos, Corys, pleco, betta, tetras, Danios, and flying fox. Of course as soon as I did that, two things happened: an algae outbreak and an ich outbreak. Ugh. So now I'm trying to treat for everything. Here is the tank on Jan 25 when I first set it up:
 

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Good start. You'll have better success with the stem plants if you space the individual stems out more (about 1" apart) . That way you won't start losing leaves from the bottom portions.

The fungus on the driftwood will eventually go away on it's own and won't hurt your fish or plants. If you wanted you could also slosh the wood in some bleach water in the sink or tub and then rinse THOROUGHLY with dechlorinator afterwards. The fungus will still probably come back, but only long enough to eat up whatever is in the wood that's feeding it.

I'm anxious to see how this turns out. :)

-Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good start. You'll have better success with the stem plants if you space the individual stems out more (about 1" apart) . That way you won't start losing leaves from the bottom portions.
Thanks! I figured that out yesterday, and I've already moved part of them. The leaves were not falling off yet, but the lower ones had turned pale.

The fungus on the driftwood will eventually go away on it's own and won't hurt your fish or plants. If you wanted you could also slosh the wood in some bleach water in the sink or tub and then rinse THOROUGHLY with dechlorinator afterwards. The fungus will still probably come back, but only long enough to eat up whatever is in the wood that's feeding it.
Oh. I didn't know this. We took it out, and hubby bought a (somewhat ugly) fake root thingie. I'm thinking of covering it with moss. :D Maybe I will try the real root again, it had a lovely twisted shape.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
More pics

Here are more recent photos...

Dave, when you say to separate the stem plants -- does that include the small foreground plants? (Hem. Callitrichodes and the other one I think is also a Hemianthus....) What about the dwarf hairgrass? It is in a bunch but it's already sending out new little shoots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Amazing growth

Huh. I've been dosing PPS-Pro about 5x/week, and we added injected CO2 awhile back. Last week we were going out of town all week, so I told the pet sitter to just feed the fish and skip the ferts.

Now I admit I sit in front of the tank willing things to grow....and like the watched pot that never boils, watched plants don't grow. :D So we came back, and everything seems to have tripled in size (photo attached). The growth is amazing!

We also found an awesome piece of driftwood, so I will be rescaping ,removing the big thing on the left (we call it the Monster) and replacing it with new real wood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
New Scape

OK I have spent 2 days rescaping. I added the new driftwood and moved about half the plants around. Funny thing is I am still not thrilled. In a way I wish I had just trimmed the tops and left it overgrown. I think I am after a much fuller look than what I have (more full at the bottom, not the top)

Any suggestions? Two photos attached. I will cut off the baby swords later today and list them for sale. The stuff over on the right was trimmed Sun night and is already back at the top! LOL Also, the empty looking space over the right end of the log actually has some foxtail, it was trimmed down quite a bit but it isn't really showing in the photo. I'm about ready to give up on HC as a groundcover...will start a diff thread about this.

Thanks for your help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
A few more changes

Can't seem to keep my hands out of the tank......

I thinned the rotala on the right quite a bit, and moved the twig hut to the side. Adjusted a few others just a little.

Front view:


Left side:


View from the left end:


And my favorite -- the sword garden in the center:

 

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Don't worry about not having a "full" look. The plants will continue to grow until you have a jungle in there. Think of what you can do to tie the two sides together, ie similar or repeated plants, repeated color and/or hardscape. Congradulations on your growth! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks! It seems that everything is well balanced right now. We cranked the CO2 up a little, plants are pearling, fish doing great, water crystal clear. I'll work on the "rhythm" across the tank.

Actually I am trying to cultivate some red colored plants in there, but various things have happened to them so I only have a couple stems of each one. They'll be a great help, once you can see them :D
 

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For your first tank you sure have scape it great. Looking at considering the golden rule of aquascapeing you have the sword situated as your center piece.

With the golden rule you divide the tank in thirds then from right top corner to left lower corner and finally from the top left corner to bottom right corner. Center pieces are to be off center. That is the zist of it. Tex Gal just had a wenibar on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
May update

A few shots, I'm mostly letting new cuttings grow in a little right now. I moved one or two plants in anticipation of some new ones that are on the way.







I'm not totally happy with the corner shown below. It seems too busy. Part of that is because it is the Corner Of All Things Unknown ~~ several clippings that are still small/adapting, and either I don't know what they are or I'm just waiting for them to grow before they go to their more permanent locations. Part of it is just that there are so many small-leaved plants in one place....not sure that shows so much in the pic.

 

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Your tank is filling in quite a bit. I know what you mean about "busy" corners. I just got finished pulling out several plants because I just had too many different ones. The large sword on left is absolutely gorgeos!

-Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Dave! I've added 2 red diamond swords. Swords are my fave plants.

I'm trying to catch all the endlers to give to someone local who is crazy about them. What a mess. The females are too smart, they hide behind the plants as soon as I show up with a net. Even feeding them doesn't help. Aaaargh.
 
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