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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I have met up with Travis Simonson(who is a member of this board) on The Age of Aquariums to ask whether he would like to show off his beautiful planted Mbuna tank, and he agreed. Take a look at his tank, which I think is a great accomplishment because he actually took the risk of using plants other than Anubias and Microsorum; and all I have to say is that it is awesome!

The Tank-






 

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Raul, I can't access the photos either. I tried going directly to the site listed under the first photo's properties, but I was redirected to a site requiring a login. Do you think you could save the photos to your computer and re-post them for us?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here are the stats on the tank-
Volume/Size: 125G(73x18x22)
Setup: July 2004
Filtration: 2 Rena Filstar XP3 Canisters
Heating: 2 Hydor 300 W In-line Heaters
Lighting: 444 Watts Total - 2x96 W 10000 K, 2x96 W 6700 K, 2x30 W 6500 K. Photoperiod 12 Hours/Day with Dawn-Day-Dusk-Night Cycle with Moonlights
Substrate: 1.3 cm Styrofoam Support Base, 2.5 cm Caribsea Cichlid Sand covered with 5 cm Caribsea Eco-Complete Plant Substrate (used to create hills and terraces)
Decoration: 70 kg of Lace Rock, 2 pieces of Driftwood (unknown origin), numerous Riccia rocks
Others: JBJ Pressurized CO2 Regulator and Bubble Counter with Milwaukee SMS122 pH Controller and AB AquaMedic Reactor 1000; Aqua 25 W UV Sterilizer; Eheim Auto-Feeder.
Water:Temp 25-27°C , pH 7.2, KH 14-15, GH 15-17, NO3 6-8 ppm, PO4 1.0 ppm, CO2 25-30 ppm
Fauna: Labidochromis caeruleus 'Lion's Cove', Pseudotropheus acei 'Luwala Reef', Pseudotropheus demasoni 'Pombo Rocks', Pseudotropheus sp. elongatus 'Usisya', Jordanella florida, Crossocheilus siamensis (Siamese Algae Eaters)
Flora: Ammannia sp. 'Bonsai', Anubias barteri v barteri, Anubias barteri v nana, Cabomba furcata, Ceratopteris siliquosa, Ceratopteris thalictroides, Cryptocoryne affinis, Crypt. blassii, Crypt. crispatula v balanciaga, Crypt. longicauda, Crypt. nurii, Crypt. wendtii 'Green Gecko', Crypt wendtii 'Red', Crypt. wendtii 'Tropica', Cyperus helferi, Didiplis diandra, Echinodorus 'Red Flame', Echinodorus tenellus, Glossostigma elatinoides, Heteranthera zosterifolia, Hygrophila difformis, Hygrophila polysperma 'Rosanervig', Lilaeopsis brasiliensis, Ludwigia glandulosa 'Peruensis', Marsilea quadrifolia, Nuphar japonicum v formosa, Ranalisma humile, Riccia fluitans
Maintenance: Fish are fed once daily in the morning. Water is changed 50-70% weekly on Saturday as per Tom Barr's Estimative Index recommendations to reset nutrient levels. Nitrates rarely need supplementation due to extremely adequate levels of fish waste. Phosphate is supplemented in the morning on Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday to maintain 1.0 ppm levels using KH2PO4. Traces are supplemented in the morning on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday using a custom mix of CSM+B, MgSO4, and K2SO4. Sodium bicarbonate is used to buffer water to 14 dKH after water changes.
 

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I use the FireFox browser and was only able to pull up the first pic until I switched back to Internet Explorer.

As you can see, things still have some growing-in to do so the tank is definitely still a work in progress, probably always will be. I haven't been doing this long so I'm learning more and more each day. The aquascape is still sort of haphazard and cluttered, but I'm working on it and have some major changes in mind.

In keeping plants my main adversary has been the hardness of the water rather than the mbuna themselves (i.e. no L. pantanal or A. reineckii :(). I've been pretty surprised at some of the supposed 'soft water' plants that have adapted well to 14-16 dKH water. I've got Cabomba furcata and Didiplis diandra that are doing just fine. In my mind the reason why so many people have problems with plants in African cichlid tanks is algae. If any of the plants have algae growth on them, the fish will go after it. Mine seem to be pretty gentle for the most part though. Most of them are dwarf mbuna so they can't do much major damage once the plants get well-rooted. Digging is always an issue so I've created a sort of 'sandbox' in the tank behind the large piece of wood in the center. Given some open gravel to dig in, the mbuna tend to dig there, rather than going to all of the work it would take to rip out the ground cover to get to the substrate. So far so good anyway :)
 

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I've grown those two plants, A reineckii espeically in harder water.

Why do you have such hard water(is the tap hard)?
AF rift fish are fine at 5-9 ranges of GH/KH's.

They might live in harder waters, but the GH can be quite high and not bother any plants.

Julidochromis, Tropheus and lamps are good as are some feather fins.
There's a nice planted 240 gal tank near my place here with Tropheus.
They mow the Val to about 1-2" tall, makes a nice lawn and no mainteance.
About 2/3 of the tank is planted.
No CO2 etc.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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plantbrain said:
I've grown those two plants, A reineckii espeically in harder water.

Why do you have such hard water(is the tap hard)?
AF rift fish are fine at 5-9 ranges of GH/KH's.

They might live in harder waters, but the GH can be quite high and not bother any plants.
Tom,

Thanks for the advice, I assumed that my water was the cause of these plants' demise, when it is was likely just my beginning plant-keeper's mistakes that did them in. That's good to hear because I would love to keep Pantanal. I'll have to try it again now that I know a little more about what I'm doing.

My water is hard (12-14 dKH) because I buffer it with sodium bicarb to bring the pH up to around 8.0 before injecting CO2. This way I can maintain good CO2 levels (25-30 ppm) while also keeping the pH from going below 7.2. I know a 7.2 pH is low for Africans, but they're doing great so far, still breeding like crazy, good appetites, great coloration. They really show no signs of adverse effects. It's sort of a trade-off between what's good for the fish and what works for the plants. Would you suggest trying something else?
 

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Don't feel bad about the Ludwigia 'Pantanal.' It, along with a large portion of the plants we grow, are not as easy to grow in water around GH 14-16+ than in GH 5-9 or below.

I have found the Rotala genus, especially macrandra and sp. Nanjenshan, to be very tempermental when grown in hard water. They do grow, but growing them in water around GH 5-6 is effortless by comparison.

I have managed to observe this recently in my 10g, where the sp. Nanjenshan began doing poorly when I went from 50/50 tap/RO mix to 100% tap water.

Having jungled tanks between both Miami's softer tap water and Chicago's harder tap water, I have observed this reaction several times.

Carlos
 

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Carlos - it's funny you mention that about the Rotala because I'll be putting both R. macrandra and R. sp. Nanjenshan in tomorrow. Since that pic of my tank was taken about three weeks ago I've been on sort of tear, adding a lot of plants to my tank that I had previously been afraid to try due to the hard water. I had such good luck with the Cabomba that I put in some P. stellata last week and it appears to be to doing just fine so far. Tomorrow I'll be adding R. macrandra 'Broad Leaf', R. sp. Nanjenshan, Limnophila aromatica, Micranthemum umbrosum and a few others, including some of Dr. Prescott's new crypts. This should be a good test of what I can expect to be able to grow :) I'll be keeping an especially close eye on the Rotala after what you've told me. Thanks!
 

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Well I think I've finally got the plants that I wanted in place. Now it's just time to wait and watch to see how things go. I removed most of the right side and put in Pogostemon stellata 'Broad Leaf', Rotala macrandra 'Broad Leaf', Rotala sp. 'Nanjenshan', Cabomba furcata, Limnophila aromatica, Micranthemum umbrosum, and Ludwigia glandulosa. I also switched most of the lighting to 10000K CFs. I still have about 150w of 6700K but not quite as much of a yellow/green cast to things I think (although it's hard for me to tell for sure because I'm red-green color-blind). Here are a few pics of things as they stand:







Hope all of the images come through OK :)
 

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You're right. There's too much red in one place, isn't there? Sometimes, unless things are bright red, I have a hard time seeing how red they really are. It probably sounds sort of strange, but with red-green color-blindness my eyes really only see the true primary reds and greens with the shades being a little hard to tell apart. Great advice, thanks!
 
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