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· Registered
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys and gals

I dabbled in planted tanks about 6-7 years ago and had some modest success with it. Back then, I had a 55 g tank with two 55w PC, DIY yeast CO2, regular aquarium substrate and HOB aquaclear filter, which were all I could afford at the time, being a poor student. The stem plants grew quite well, but with such poor lighting and unreliable CO2 supply, I could never grow the red plants (except for red temple) and grass-type lawns.

Being still poor now :D , but at least having a job, I decided to go all out and set up a tank with all the bells and whistles (so now if I fail, I only have myself to blame instead of blaming the technology). So, here is the setup:

Tank: 80g with matching stand

Light: Nova extreme pro 6x54w T5 HO with individual reflectors), on for 8hrs/day

Filter: Rena star XP 3

CO2: DIY CO2 regulator (with good needle valve bought from and a 20pound CO2 tank bought from Bevco, which should last me quite a few years. CO2 is run inline (hooked directly into the filter intake). I currently run it at 1 bps.

Substrate: Aquasoil Amazonia II. I swear to god this stuff is worth more than gold. But since Oliver Knott, the Germany planted tank God as far as I'm concerned loves it, I coughed up the money to get it. Four 11L bags are needed for my tank.

Scapin' design: by yours truly of course. But since yours truly totally lack artistic tendency, I had to look to Oliver for inspiration. If you guys have time, look through his site to see which tank I took my inspiration from

Still, the scape sucks big time; so I might have to just pride myself on being able to grow plants well, instead of being able to create an awe-inspring scapeb :D

The tank was set up three weeks ago, at zero day

At the 14th day

And today

Stargrass closeup

Spectacular Rice paddy herbs (Limnophila aromatica) -- I can't believe this is the same "rau ngo" or "ngo om" that we Vietnamese use in almost all fish-related dishes

A blurry pic of my rummy nose tetras. These have to be my favorite freshwater fish

Potamogeton gayi closeup


· Registered
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys!

Hawkeye, I don't test my water parameters anymore. Years ago, when I still had my old planted tank, I tested it for pH and alk. I know that it is basic and has high alk, but I can't tell you how much. Despite these parameters, my experience is that most plants and fish do well in it, even the typical soft water fish like rummy nose or cardinals. I run CO2 directly into the filter intake at 1 bps. As far as fertilizers go, I use the PMDD method with homemade solution consisting of plantex CSM-B, K2SO4, and MgSO4.

Hopefully with a few more trims and time, the tank will look much better. I'll be one happy camper the day that I have a solid pearling lawn of HC covering that tank.

· Registered
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Six weeks and counting

Full tank shot

Right side

Right perspective

Blurry pic of the flameback bleedingheart tetras, but enough to showcase their beauty. The red color on the back is breathtaking!


Rotala indica


Maintenance schedule:

Lighting: on at 3:00 PM, off at 11:00 PM

CO2: 1 bubble per second

Ferts: PMDD 2-4 ml/day at feeding time (so that I don't forget - feed the fish, feed the plants)

Water change: once a week 70-80%. This is done using a pump. It makes waterchange so much faster and easier --> thus I have no excuse not to do it.


16 flameback bleedingheart tetras
23 rummy nose tetras
2 albino bushynose pleco, one with long fins, one normal
3 siamese algae eaters
10 amano shrimps

I am happy the way the tank is going so far. Very minimal algae growth. I don't even have clean the glass -- at all.

However, the rotala magenta and limnophila aromatica don't grow very well after being trimmed. So, I am letting them growing leggy. I might have to change them out to some other red plants that grow thick with trimming. Any suggestions?

· Registered
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
thanks guys!

I'm liking how much more mature the tank looks nowadays. It is turning out to be Dutchy lookin' since all of the driftwoods got buried under the plant mass; but it's nice anyways.
There is still no algae so far despite a good-size biomass in the tank. I now have 15 flameback (one died for some reason, old age?), 32 rummy nose, 9 cardinal tetras, 3 siamese algae eaters, two albino bushynose plecos, 9 amano shrimps.

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