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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Almost two years ago, I set up a 72 gallon bowfront tank for plants. I had done some research into the various elements that would be used for the setup, but went through quite a bit of trial and error the first many months, while the tank went through its paces getting established. From the custom DYI CO2 reactor to the ferts to lighting, factors were changed and tweaked for this first venture for me into planted systems. Many many years ago I worked in the aquarium industry, but had focused more on marine systems and had little experience with plants.

Many months into the evolution of this system, after having tried some of the commercially available fertilizers, I found some chat about Pfertz here in the forums and decided to give them a try. I must say up front that the products are great and have changed the way I work with this tank, and the customer service has been unlike anything I have ever experienced before, in the best possible way.

Pfertz welcomes customers to contact them and share pictures and information about their systems so the customer service folks can respond with dosing suggestions. One particular gentleman at Pfertz has really seen me through several chapters of growth and regrowth in my system as I have made changes along the long learning curve.

Here are some pics of the various stages of different aquascapes I have enjoyed with the help of these fertilizers. Details on the system will come later. Many things have changed over time.

This first aquascape progression was when I had a lot of time to do this, and had just introduced the Pfertz products to my plants. The progression of the growth is over only a few months time.







We were about to have a baby and suddenly I had less time to deal with the constant need to garden underwater with the faster growing plants. Plus the two swords I had were taking over the tank (uruguayensis on the left and rubin on the right). Here is the jungle before I started over:




Next post, some details shots of the first aquascape . . . :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Another aquascape - The folks at Pfertz gave me feedback for adjusting my dosing for slower growing plants, since I had far less time to spend on the tank with the baby coming (you can really see it since it has never looked as good as the first generation of faster growing plants). But the tank continued to enjoy excellent growth with varied species, and simpler layouts. An unusual foreground design here was the exclusive use of lobelia cardinalis. It worked well for a while.





And some detail shots - I really loved the limnophila aromatica!



 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The java fern began to grow so out of control - I tried thinning it down, but was feeling the itch to try something even more simple and a little more Japanese. With the continued help of my friends at Pfertz we adjusted for another design:



There was actually a piece of driftwood under the java fern, supporting it. It became a massive bush, but more importantly, the eleocharis began to grow so thickly it was choking itself out.



 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
As I had less and less time to deal with the tank, it was becoming more frustrating trying to find a more maintenance free aquascape, and during a messy stage where some crypts were growing wild and then dying I discovered something that needed immediate attention. The substrate (flourite) had served well, but through my frequent aquascaping changes I had not maintained the cleanliness of the substrate and the crypt roots were rotting. I decided to gut the tank and start over.

I have begun a new aquascape using ADA Malaya substrate. It has been a difficult journey over the past month as I have had to adjust to the new substrate. I placed Special Power Sand under an abundant layer of the Malaya, and the plant growth is challenged. The fellas at Pfertz are helping adjust the ferts dosing for the new substrate, which I believe may not be as nutrient rich as the Flourite was (can anyone confirm this?) I need more ferts in the water column, and subsequently I have begun using the root tabs from Pfertz as well.

I am also trying new plants - eleocharis sp. Japan, cyperus helferi, and some others, with a few fast growing fillers until the new system stabilizes. Here are the first pics I took after setup. The "lawn" of eleocharis has begun to fill in. Please excuse the HOT micron on the right side that is obscuring some of the view in the full shot. The water was turning a bit green and I run the micron to control it while the new system settles.






The plants recently reached a standstill, and with the help of the folks at Pfertz we are adjusting the dosing, along with photoperiod and more. More pics soon . . .
 

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Great tank, with really great pictures. I also have a 72 gallon bow front. I have a Hamilton Technologies retrofit under the canopy with four 65 watt CFLs. I am using two 9325k bulbs and two 8800 K bulbs. I was wondering, do you also have a canopy on top of yours and what type of lighting are you using. It seems that Bow fronts are a challenge to light properly.
 
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