Aquatic Plant Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
278 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello All!
I am so excited to have been introduced to such an informative and seemingly very welcoming site for information about aquatic gardening!

First of all, a little background information is needed. I bought my first aquarium second hand in 1995. It is a 20 gallon Metaframe with the Stow-A-Lite hood. I slowly added a few Head-and-Tail light tetras, Black Skirt tetras, Red Serpae tetras, two Angelfish, a Plecostomus, and some Corydoras Trilineatus. It had come with an assortment of plastic plants, which in the beginning had been fine, but then I started seeing pictures of REAL planted tanks, and thus began the longing for one. The LFS (which actually was a 45' drive one-way; it was recommended by the guy I bought the tank from) had some plants available, so I got some and put them in: Hygrophila Polysperma, Cryptocoryne Wendtii, and a few Echinodorus species, possibly Amazonicus. All of this, keep in mind, under a 15W florescent bulb with someone that has no idea what they are doing.

Shortly after getting this tank going, I acquired my first computer that could access the internet (also second hand). Before long, I was searching the net for info to help me with my aquarium, and I found the Krib. I had a subscription to Aquarium Fish Magazine, but I was amazed at how much more information was on this wonderful internet site, and since I had dial up (remember AOL ;)), I printed everything out that I wanted to be able to study in more detail later, and also to keep from tying up my phone line. I still have the 3" 3-ring binder full of all of those print outs with articles from George Booth, Neil Frank, Karen Randall, Paul Sears & Kevin Conlin, and many others. I also bought a copy of The Optimum Aquarium, and the desire to have a fully planted tank was started. This is also where I first heard about the Aquatic Gardeners Association, so I joined honestly just so I could get The Aquatic Gardener.

In 1997 I bought a 75 gallon aquarium (also second hand) from another friend of mine that was upgrading, and began planning for a "high-tech" tank, but done as frugally as possible, since I wasn't making a whole lot of money. I bought a nice custom oak cabinet and hood, since I wanted it to look nice in my living room, from a local store specializing in salt water aquariums. After researching lighting systems, I chose to go with 48" VHO bulbs with an IceCap 660 ballast, and unfortunately, it appears, allowed the salesman to convince me that I needed to have 4 of these bulbs in order to grow plants well (440 watts!!). Well, I was young and dumb and said "Okay", and from there I think the problems just snow-balled. I was able to get a soda fountain CO2 cylinder, and rigged up a regulator, needle valve, and bubble counter with a homemade reactor. I also bought Duplaflex 500 heating cables, with the intentions of coming up with a DIY transformer and controller. The tank had come with two Fluval 403 canister filters and a Quiet One water pump for circulation only. I started with about 108 lbs. of Seachem Flourite, a piece of generic driftwood screwed to a slate base, and a whole bunch of plants that I had carefully researched and come up with as ones that I thought would work, all mail ordered: Cryptocoryne Petchii, Crypt. Retrospiralis, Crypt. Balansae, Crypt. Walkeri, Anubias Nana, Anubias Lanceolata, Anubias Barteri, Sagittaria Subulatta, Cabomba Caroliniana, Cabomba Pulcherrima, Didiplis Diandra, Ludwigia Arcuata, Mayacca Fluviatilis, Vallisneria Asiatica, Echinodorus Major, Shinnersia Rivularis, and Rotala Macrandra, as well as the plants that I had moved from the 20 gallon. Over the next three years, I had a heck of a roller coaster ride of days where the aquarium was doing wonderfully (Corys spawned multiple times, Ruffled Sword bloomed repeatedly, etc.), to days where the aquarium looked so bad, and I felt so lost, that I wanted to bust it into a million pieces and throw them out in my front lawn. Unfortunately, the bad days out-numbered the good ones. The worst plague that I kept having was this slime that would cover everything, which I finally determined was cyanobacteria. Back then, I couldn't find any pictures or good descriptions of this stuff straight from Hell, much less any ideas as to how to get rid of it. Eventually I figured out what it was and that Maracyn would kill it, but it kept coming back (after reading the section on APC about cyanobacteria, I feel much better now that I can keep it at bay).

In 2000, I moved to a different house, one that needed lots of remodeling. What this meant for the aquarium was that the room where it was going to eventually be set-up wasn't ready yet. Therefore, I tore the aquarium down, moved all of the fish and remaining plants (ones that had managed to survive all of the many problems) to the 20 gallon tank, and simply put the 75 over to the side with just a little water and the gravel in it. My thinking was that in a few months, I'll have all of the remodeling done and can get the aquarium set back up. Eight years later, I now have the room done. Oh well.

Back in the summer I started making plans to get the aquarium going again. I saw that the AGA was going to have their biennial convention in November, so I discussed it with my wife and we made plans to attend. I decided that this would be the perfect time to network with more knowledgeable people than me, and I was extremely excited about getting some plants to fill up the tank again. However, I felt a bit plant tank stupid, because I hadn't hardly done anything with the hobby in eight years. I have a huge stack of TAGs that I haven't even cracked open, thinking that I would get around to reading them eventually. I've been specializing in home make-over, not aquariums. All of my fish had eventually died, but amazingly, I still have quite a few Anubias plants left, and a huge amount of Crypt. Wentii that just came up from the gravel in the 75 and has been living under just a 40W bulb, no heater, and no filtration. During the few weeks before the convention, I thrashed on my tank to get it ready. After a lot of clean up, I got it all set up with pumps/filters, lights, heater, etc. running again. I also purchased a CO2 system from Drs. Foster & Smith for better control and mixing.

I attended the convention and thoroughly enjoyed all of the speakers and events. I especially was happy that I was able to discuss my situation with others at the hospitality suite (I think I contained my excitement pretty good when I realized that I was having a conversation with "THE" Neil Frank from when I had done all of my preliminary research). It was also here that I met Cavan Allen, who introduced me to APC (and also was appalled that I had 440W of lighting on a 75: "Who told you that you needed that much...was it a reef guy?!"). Two really nice guys also stayed up with me until 2:30 in the morning answering my questions, but I didn't catch their names. Whoever you are, I sure do appreciate your help! I was able to buy a lot of plants at the auction, as well as discuss with some other guys which ones were good/bad, which I also really appreciate.

I have found that this site is extremely easy to get wrapped up in, since every time I check it out it seems that I don't get up again until several hours have passed. Lots of the things that I learned over ten years ago have changed, but many are still the same. I hope that with the assistance of this community, I can keep from having all of the problems that I had before, or at least if I have them, can rectify them quickly. I'll start a journal entry so you can follow along. Constructive criticism is perfectly acceptable.

Wow, if you have managed to make it to the bottom of this thread, then apparently I haven't bored you too much.

Thanks in advance for all of the assistance that I am hoping to receive.

Andy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,380 Posts
Welcome to the board Andy!

I'm glad you found us and were able to meet some of the members at the convention.

Pull up a chair and make yourself at home. :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,540 Posts
Hi Andy! I share your enthusiasm! :D This is a terrific hobby and an amazing place to learn more about it. I also attended the AGA conference and had a ball!! It was wonderful. It was the first time I had attended.

I admire you tenacity to hold on in your roller coaster days. Many others would have sold their stuff and moved on. I hope you achieve you marvelously wonderfully planted tank soon. I for one will be waiting to see it! :D
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,475 Posts
Hello Andy... Great to see another NC person join us here at APC... :welcome:aboard!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
581 Posts
Welcome Andy

Glad to have you here and thanks for providing us all the information you did. It's nice to get background on our new members
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
278 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I admire you tenacity to hold on in your roller coaster days. Many others would have sold their stuff and moved on. I hope you achieve you marvelously wonderfully planted tank soon. I for one will be waiting to see it! :D
That's true, it's amazing that I didn't get rid of everything, considering how many problems that I ran into without anyone to turn to for help. :( So far I'm really happy with how things are going, so knock on wood, it will continue to go well. If not, then hopefully some of you guys will be able to steer me in the right direction to make things straighten out. By the way, if you haven't checked it out yet, I have started a journal for my tank, and plan to add some new pictures later this week.

Andy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
278 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Hello Andy... Great to see another NC person join us here at APC... :welcome:aboard!
Just out of curiosity, what part of NC are you in (mountains, outer banks, Raleigh area, etc.)? I'm in the Charlotte area and think it would be cool if I could network with others that have planted tanks nearby. The best that I can tell, everyone around here is into salt water tanks.

Andy
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top