Aquatic Plant Forum banner
1 - 20 of 34 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was thinking about getting out of the hobby. Then my wife gave me a 60p for my birthday. I have slowly been collecting the materials needed for the setup. I am starting this, my first journal, because I just finished my DIY ADA stand. I am pretty happy about it. I need to stain and seal it and I am looking for thoughts about that. I am pretty new to working with wood so you can't be too basic. I know I need to protect the wood, I think there are different ways to do that but I don't know what they are. I want stick with the natural wood but would like opinions on what color to go with. Most of the wood in my house is dark. I have wood floors, you might be able to see their color in the photos. I do like the natural light color of the wood right now. It is birch.

I have made a hardscape that I am pretty happy with and would like your thoughts. I collected the rocks in Cascades of northern Cali. I set one in white vinegar for about a week and no bubbles etc so I think I'm OK.

Substrate will be ADA Powersand Special S, 9 liters of New Amazonia and probably 3 more liters of Amazonia 2 that is in a year old layout. The hardscape pictured is with the 9 liters of New Amazonia.

The filter will be a 2213 with the pump disabled and a blue line 10HD handling the water movement. Lily Pipes for in/out. I will be using Bio Rio and Purigen in the filter. I will probably upgrade the filter for the extra bio media capacity of a 2215 later on.

I have a regulator and pollen glass for the CO2. I might try an inline CO2 atomizer though. Heat will be hydor inline.

I am undecided about lighting. I am probably going to get a fish-need-it light. I really like the suspended look so I am thinking about going MH. I can't decide on 70 or 150. I am leaning towards 70 because I don't want to futz with pruning all the time. I have not seen to many scapes using the 70 so I am looking for opinions. I would love to see photos of how your suspended 70, 150 MH or 2 and 4 bulb T5HO look in the room they are in.

I will plant with dwarf hair grass, glosso and HC. I have the dwarf hair grass but I am looking for glosso and HC. Thanks for looking.

Full View








 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks bryfox68!
I have been looking at stains and sealers this week. This weekend I will pull the trigger and finish the stand.
Plants are in the mail and should be here this weekend. They will be a mix of plants coming from my other tank and some I bought off the forum. Glosso, HC, Hairgrass, and some Rotala Green will be in the mix. The Rotala will likely serve as a nutrient sink in the setup stage then be removed.
I am also looking for a local source of Otto's and Cardina Japonica for the clean up period. I may have to drive 2 hours to the next big city to find them. The pleasures and pains of small town life :)
I hope to have more pics by the end of the week end.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
I'm pretty new to the hobby so can't offer much advice but your hardscape and stand look beautiful. I like the clean lines of the stand and the stone formation you've set up looks very natural. Are the door(s) hard to open on the stand? I don't see a ledge or groove anywhere for a nice handhold ;).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Jemminnifener, the door is actually quite easy to open. Just grab the corner and pull it open.

I have been struggling with the color and finish of the stand. As I mentioned earlier, after working with the wood, I became fond of its unfinished color and texture. Most of the wood furniture in my house is dark. But I think that keeping the stand light stays true to the ADA ethic that puts the focus on the design INSIDE the glass box. I think that the dark colors might draw too much attention to the stand itself. Also, I plan on suspending the light fixture which always casts light on the wall between the light and the tank. I think the light color of the stand will complement the brightness above the tank. Who knows? If you are wondering why I just didn't laminate the thing. The boss won't allow. And I almost agree with her. If it were completely up to me it would be white laminate... maybe.

I will be finishing the outside of the stand tomorrow afternoon. So please give me your input.

Here are my color tests on scrap. Clockwise from top left: (#1) 2 coats mahogany 2 coats satin poly, (#2) junk, (#3) 1 coat cherry 2 coats satin poly, (#4) 2 coats cherry 2 coats poly, (#5) 2 coats poly (#6) 1 coat natural stain 2 coats poly. Leaning towards #5


Inside of the stand with 2 coats of satin poly. Note: Since I built with birch ply, the color and grain of one side of the ply was different from the color and grain on the other. I used the most consistent and uniform wood grain and color on the outside of the stand. The wood on the interior is darker than the exterior.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,865 Posts
Nice looking stand. :)

My favorite way to hang my lights is to use the wires that attach to the ceiling above the tank. I've used the light stands made from 1/2" conduit for years now and I just recently decided to hang one from the ceiling. It looks so much better this way and it's only two little holes to patch if you ever move it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Haha thanks Robert, I reconsidered and will not be setting this up in front of the door!

This tank is replacing an older AGA aquarium. At 2:30 today I got to work. I tore down the old tank! I moved the filter and fish to another tank while I worked so that I could preserve the bio filter.

I put in the powersand. Topped it with 1 cm of aquasoil amazonia from the tank I tore down then began scaping. A little new amazonia, thenthe rocks, then more soil, then the plants. Finally the cleanup. Agrr the cleanup!

I planted the front with glosso. There's a little HC in there too for fun. If a glosso vs. HC war starts out that could be fun to watch. In back of the rocks is hairgrass. There is also some blyxa tucked behind the big rocks, if it turns out OK then I'll keep it there. I don't have high hopes that it will look good, its mostly there to suck nutrients up. I threw in a little frogbit for the same reason.

I am interested in seeing how long the ammonia stays around for. I have an established bio filter (2 liters of bio rio in a 2213), to that I added 1 cup of carbon and a bag of purigen. Daily water changes start tomorrow!

Sorry for the crappy iphone pics. I took some with my SLR but after 5 hours of aquahobby work I can't be bothered to upload from that. Those picks will come later.

Thanks for looking.



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have been emailing with Simon at FNI. He said they are back to using dimpled reflectors on their 70 W MH light. I am still undecided on whether to go with their 70w MH or the 4 bulb t5ho. From what I read the 2 bulb T5ho is all I need. But that fixture does not work with their hanging kit and I need to hang this fixture.
Over to the lighting forum to ask a question...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I am seeing new growth in the glosso and hairgrass. I saw a tiny bit of dust on the rear glass as well. For the past 4 days I have been doing lights and CO2 for 4 hours.

I am not new to photography but I am new to off camera flash and aquarium photography.

This shot is how the eye sees it under my 6500K bulbs. Handheld, 50mm f1.8 1/50, Canon 30D. Not the best shot but it is the reference of how the tank looks in the room. At first the shadow on top part of the main stone bothered me. However I now think it adds drama.


This shot is done at 2pm with light coming into the room from a window on the left and one behind the camera by 20 feet. No light above the tank. Camera is on a tripod, I am using two off camera Canon strobes firing through soft boxes from above at 45 degrees from the waterline plane. I don't love this shot but I am learning from it. The first thing I wanna do is see how this works at night time.


while photographing. I noticed a small cherry shrimp in the center along the glass. It must have rode in with the Blyxa. I put an established filter on this tank. With additional carbon, purigen and daily 30% H2O changes the ammonia levels are still high. Quite surprised to see the little guy in the tank. Wish him luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Well after thinking over the lighting for way too long, I bought a 4 bulb 24" from FNI today. The plan is to suspend it 10"-16" above the tank and use as many bulbs as needed. It comes wired to run 2 or 4 bulbs off two switches but I think I can rewire it to run 2 or 3 bulbs if needed. I went with this over the MH for two reasons. Most of the tank contest submissions that I could find data on are running 2 or 4 bulbs of T5HO. Mostly 2 bulb setups. The beauty of the 4 bulb vs. the MH and the 2 bulb is that it is scalable. I can adjust the height and the amount of bulbs that are firing.
Well, that is what I am thinking now. I will let you know how it turns out.

On another note. I am 1 week in. daily WC suck but I have found a system that is not too bad. Tomorrow I will start every other day changes. I do my WC in the AM and tonight when I got home I found .25 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite, and 40 or 80 ppm nitrate (using API kits). Remember that I put an established filter on this tank with fresh purigen, fresh carbon and 1.5 litres of seasoned bio rio.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
At this point, 13 days in, the tank has just about cycled. I have zero detectable ammonia and nitrite. Nitrate is like 80ppm, pretty high but nothing I haven't seen before.

Well I am starting to see some trouble. After starting the new light and during the second week, I have done WC every two days, 3 squirts Brighty K and Step 2 per day. I also trimmed the hairgrass to the substrate. I am seeing what I can interpret as K deficiency. I used to run the coralife 65W on top of the tank for 5 hours. When I got the new light, I suspended it 12 inches ( 3 days ago ) and kept 2 bulbs on for 6 hours and all 4 bulbs on for 3 hours in burst style.

At this point I am in panic mode and am doing stupid things. I know I am thrashing about but I am doing it anyway. GRRR. I increased K today to 5 squirts. Then for tomorrow I have abandoned burst and am going back to 5 hours full 4 bulbs.

Please someone give me some rescue! Thanks for looking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Things are, at this point under control. They were never really out of control. If things get out of control, cut the lights back and do daily water changes right?
Right now I have the fixture 9 inches above the tank. I run 2 bulbs for 7 hours and add a third bulb for 3 hours in the middle. There is some green forming on the rocks and I still get dust algae on the glass in 48 hours.
I am dosing 3 squirts Step 1 now and 5 squirts brighty K.
I think the potassium deficiency problem I had was caused by dosing the package directions for Brighty K and having 6 or 8 frogbit plants floating. I upped the K then removed the frogbit. No more holes in leaves. Now I will dial back the K until I have the right amount.
Thanks for looking. I should have time for photos this week.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Really nice journal you have going here, the Stand and scape look very professional, seems like this is going to be a great project and can't wait to here more about this setup!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)




I am sorry that it has been so long. Life has been going full blast and I just have not had the time to update. But I am keeping up on the maintenance :)

The above pictures were taken on the same day but with different WB and flash settings. Suggestions on the scape and my photography are welcome. Aquarium photography is not easy and I could use any and all advise.

So what's been happening around here? Lighting, ferts, waterchanges, watching plants and learning.
Lighting was going on for 8 hours a day with one bulb on for the first and last hours and three bulbs for the 6 hours in the middle. CO2 solenoid started acting weird and I cleaned it out, and cleaned it again and again. Milwaukee rep had me do the drill the needle valve thing and still an unreliable solenoid. It would not shut off the CO2. I noticed that when I took it to a regular outlet to test it after cleaning, it was snappy but when I put it back on the timer and installed the diffuser, not so snappy. so I changed out the timer and voila! I got my solenoid working again.

It was on a two outlet timer that brought 1 bulb and the CO2 on at the same time. This let me control the other 2 bulbs with a second timer. Since I had to reconfigure the timers I can't "ramp up" the light anymore so I cut back to 7 hours full light. Today is the first day of that so we will see where it gets me.

I am dosing 3 ml Brighty K daily, and 3 ml excel. I use ADA step one sparingly, one or two squirts every 2-3 days. Basically, I dose it until I see algae, green on the rocks, small thread or brown on the glosso. As soon as I see the algae, I stop dosing the Step One, after a day or two the algae really does just go away, die , whatever. Then I start lightly dosing it again. There were two weeks when I tried not dosing the Step One. I figured why play this game? Maybe I could just not use this stuff and save myself some money and headache. The result was growth that was not quite as green and a little stunting here and there. So I am back to it with the Step One.

I change water at least twice a week. I took a lot from the "how to do everything ADA" post on THE OTHER SITE and basically follow those guidelines for water changes. Usually the WC's are 50% but every month or three weeks the green on the rocks gets to be too much for my taste and I take the water way down. I paint the rocks with excel (not exceeding the water change dose) and fill it back up.

As you can see, growth has not been terribly fast. I am OK with that. I am a very leery of algae and do not drive this tank with long photoperiods. The growth that has happened has been good quality and mostly algae free and that is what I am going for.

I had hairgrass planted between the glosso and the blyxa. It grew in fully and I didn't like the dark green in the middle of the light greens of the glosso and the blyxa. I gave the hairgrass a haircut so it is still there but I am looking for a suggestion of what to do. Should I just let the glosso take over and go right up to the blyxa? Should I stick with the hairgrass? Is there another direction I should take?

Thanks for looking!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'e been aggressively trimming any vertical growth in the glosso and the results have been very good!
Ordered a eheim 2215 today and a 2217 impeller. I plan to replace the 2215 impeller with a 2217 impeller.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I was cleaning the Blueline pump and broke the pump at the outlet by over-torquing the threaded nipple to the pump outlet. This was my fault. Because of this I have been back to the 2213 flow for the past week. This was right after I ordered the 2215 I talk about in the previous post.

So I've got these rocks in here and every few weeks, 2-3, they get a little too green for my tastes. It is usually the top side of the big stone and the top and front of the right stone. What I usually do is put 2 or 3 ml of excel in a shot glass and clean the stones by dipping a toothbrush in the shot glass and scrubbing the stones. Of course this requires me taking the water down really low so that the rocks are exposed.

Last week I needed to clean the rocks and instead of using the usual procedure, I squirted the excel directly on the rocks then scrubbed them. I used about 2x the usual shot glass.

Well this might have been a bad thing. The blyxa j. that is directly in back of the big stone is melting. Not all of it but just the parts that could have been damaged by the excel running off the rock in large quantities and onto the leaves of the Blyxa J. The center leaves and leaves that are against the glass are unfazed and growing well.

So I am picking out debris as often as I see them. There are bubbles and scum accumulating on the water surface. My impression is that the filter is working overtime to take care of the dying organic mass.

I am changing water every other day. I cut back the lighting to 6 hours. I aerate after lights out. My 2215 with 2217 impeller is scheduled to arrive in 2 days and I hope the extra flow helps with mechanical filtration. The 2215 also has 2x the media space so I am hoping the extra bacteria can help out also. Fingers crossed.
 
1 - 20 of 34 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top