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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi Everyone,

Have wanted to start a journal on my 90g for some time now and finally getting around to it.

This is my first aquarium and it started out as a fish only tank (~20 tiger barbs) w/ some rocks, bright green gravel and a few fake plants back in 2006 (2007? can't recall right now--will try to post some "before" pics later).

After seeing a few planted tanks online and at my local LFS I was hooked. After some initial failure, I found this site (and took the plunge and went to pressurized CO2) and have really been enjoying the hobby ever since.

Here are some pic's I took a few weeks ago--I think this is the best it has looked for me to date. More of a "plant collection" than an aquascape but I enjoy moving things around and trying to always find room to squeeze in a few new additions from time to time. Any comments are welcome.

Full front shot


Right hand side


Center


Left hand side


Specs
Eheim 2217 filter w/ Aqaumedic 1000 CO2 reactor on outlet
Magnum 350 filter w/ 9W turbotwist UV on outlet
2 x 54W T5HO (Nova Extreme w/ SLR's)
2 x 65W CF (Current Satellite)
2 x 250W visitherm stealth heaters
Eco Complete substrate
Dose dry ferts every other day--modified EI (50% WC weekly)

Fish
Scalare angel (6)
Dwarf neon rainbow (12)
Odessa barb (6)
Swordtail (3)
Harlequin rasbora (4)
Clown pleco (2)
Clown loach (2)
Zebra loach (3)
Flying fox (1)
Otos (~5)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the comments cs_gardener!

I agree w/ you about the vesuvius and the moss--and have been considering options. The moss just grew there from a small piece that fell of one of the manzanita pieces. I plan to transfer it to my shrimp tanks after they are finished cycling and I get a better light for them.

I put the vesuvius there when it was very small to observe it's growth--I only started w/ one small plantlet from the F/S section of APC (jazzlvr123) and now it is growing like a weed. I have been thinking about moving the whole stand of it but haven't had any good ideas yet. I would like to move it back to get a better view to the plants behind it.

I am considering moving all of the rotala vert. to the rear left and allowing the rotala sp. currently behind it to bend around from the back and fill this space. This may allow me to move the vesuvius back to the right.

We'll see. . . any other comments/suggestions?

-Roy
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Did a trim recently and moved some stuff around.

Removed a large E. ozelot sword from the back left (which wasn't visible and was not growing well).
Moved the L. aromatica to the back left.
Moved the R. verticillis (old name) from back right to back middle left.
Moved the E. vesuvius from center to mid back left.
Trimmed Rotala's in back right and planted to extend the bush around the Magnum intake and the heater.



Not sure what to do with the front center--I am going to keep this open for a bit and see what happens. Am hoping this will look good when the background stems grow in--we'll see. . .

Thanks for looking.

-Roy
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone for the comments!

Will keep updating this as it grows out and I continue to move things around. I have ordered a new moss from the F/S section which I plan to attach to rocks/DW for the front section--hopefully it isn't ruined by the cold weather up here. I was hoping the cold was over!

-Roy
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks crispy0 on the compliment--the Althernanthera is really looking good IMO.

Time for a quick update:

I originally wanted to go for a V-shape w/ the plants but the Blyxa Aubertii grew taller than I thought. I decided to move it to the right side and have removed the E. vesuvius completely (didn't have a place for it and it spreads quite quickly--once I didn't realize it had spread into my rotala bush and ended up up-rooting my whole bush when I tried to remove it!).

Am going to try to create a rock/moss/crypt path starting on the RHS and going to the back through the middle. We'll see how it comes out. At least I can see my crypts better--quickly becoming my favorite. . .

Here's a pic


The stems on the LHS are growing in nicely behind the anubias.

Thanks for looking!

-Roy
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks everyone for your comments! I too love watching tanks evolve w/ time on this site--one of the main reasons for me starting the journal. And getting feedback, ideas, etc. . .

Here's a quick update from the weekend. Didn't move anything--just trimmed a few stems and removed some old leaves.

Will probably trim the HM in front as well as the rotala's on the back right next weekend to open things up a bit more.

The stems on the back left are growing well--quick trimming question for those w/ L. Aromatica: do you pull the plant and add back only the tops or do you trim and remove the tops? I have been pulling and replanting till now but wanted to see if the other way works for others.

Here's a recent pic after the trim and before the weekly 50% water change (trying to learn how to take better pic's as well):



and my photogenic assistant (who prefers to remain anonymous):



Thanks for looking!

-Roy
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well--time for a quick update--no photos yet but will hopefully post them later today or tomorrow.

Last week I did a pretty major trim of the rotala's on the back right and also thinned out a few stems of the tall plants on the left.

This week I received some new crypts from jmontee (cyrpt. undulata) and while planting them uprooted a few other plants and then noticed that my rotala bush on the right back side was only rooted by a few stems--basically just a big mass floating w/ a few stems holding it down. When I tried to anchor it better the whole mass just floated to the top. . .:-x

Well. . . you can guess what happened next--a big redo of the RHS. Didn't really move things around too much but pulled most of the plants and trimmed and replanted. Everything is only a few inches tall now on that side--looks very lopsided compared to the left.

I didn't mess w/ the stargrass as I have had a hard time getting this going after doing this in the past. Previously it was growing great but I made the mistake of pulling and replanting and it still hasn't recovered. Does anyone have any ideas/similar experience concerning this plant?

Will post some pic's later--starting to get the itch to do a major rescape--maybe add some big pieces of DW w/ moss and add alot more crypts. . . trying to resist. . .we'll see. Now that spring is here it is difficult to resist ordering new plants again after the looooong winter.

-Roy
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Oh forgot about my assistant :p. His name is Buddy and he doesn't really care about the fish--just likes to curl up and nap on my fish towels! And get in the way when I am taking pictures. Can be a problem during a trim--good thing I have lots of towels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for the compliment Tex Gal!

I have enjoyed watching your tanks as well over the last year or so--yours is fantastic btw!
Thanks for your dedication to the hobby and this site--it has definitely helped me a lot.

Things are growing pretty well after the big trim. The new crypt undulata's have a few leaves melting but I think they are doing pretty good overall. Looking forward to seeing how things develop. . . one of the coolest things about planted tanks IMO is that things are constantly changing.

-Roy
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Time for an update. . .

I have been wanting to redo the RHS of the tank for a while and I finally bought the piece of DW I had been eyeing for a while at my LFS: (should have included a reference in the pic for scale)



Also, I just got back from a business trip to San Francisco and managed to make it to Aqua Forest Aquarium--what a :cool: store!!! I have never seen ADA tanks in person before and was very impressed. Thinking my next tank may be a 60P--no room at present though. . . Wish I lived closer to a store like this--I would be there weekly--probably better on the wallet though.

So I HAD to buy some plants--their selection was very impressive. I ended up getting some glosso (been wanting to try it for a while now) and three cyrpt species: wendtii mi oya, willissii, walkeri. So decided to rescape the RHS side w/ the wood and the new plants.

Here's a before pic with the new plants (glosso floating on top and cyrpts still in pots):



The changes:

I moved the alternanthera to the right along w/ the stargrass (which has finally started growing again--I think my nitrates were too low and have upped them recently) Am hoping to have this grow up around the right side of the wood.

Also removed most of the moss from the center as well as most of the baby crypts. I totally removed the lotus from the far right as well as the bacopa monnieri (sp?) and thinned the blyxa. I added the driftwood and tied on some java fern needleleaf, java moss, fissidens moss, and some anubias nana petite.

Added the mi oya to the back center (not visible yet), the walkeri to the right front, and the willissii to the center left. Added some glosso to the center and the center right. . . and here's the result:



Not sure of the result yet--it looks really good in person but seems a little lopsided in the pictures. Will have to wait and see how it grows in. This is my first try w/ java fern on DW so not sure how it will fill in. May also need to move the DW more to the center. . . Have to wait and see how it develops--that is really the fun part for me--that and moving things around a lot. . .

Also--still working on the photography skills. The more I try to learn about photography the worse my pictures look :-x. I guess I know just enough to be dangerous. . .

Thanks for looking! Any suggestions/comments welcome.

-Roy
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Thanks Dave.

There is a lot of rotala's growing behind the DW (nanjenshen, colorata, rotundifolia) so will be interested to see how things look when this grows in.

The glosso has started growing but it is growing straight up--not creeping. Hopefully this will change--was hoping to have a nice carpet of this in the center and center right. I have the 2 x 54W T5 w/ SLR fixture in front so was hoping this would be enough light to get it to stay low.

Have to wait and see--anyone have experience growing glosso under similar conditions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Quick update. . .



Glosso growing well (but tall) in the center. I trimmed a few stems and replanted the tops to see how this works--and if the trimmed portions will start sending out side shoots.

The new crypts are growing well and converting over to submersed form. Am hoping the wendtii's I planted in the back center will become visible soon.

The rotala's behind the DW are growing nicely--probably a few more weeks before I need to trim them.

The stargrass has finally started growing again! I thought I was going to have to pull it as it hadn't done much in a couple of months and was getting very tattered. I upped my nitrate dosing and I believe this has made the difference.

The LHS is getting a little unruly. Will need to trim and maybe thin out the anubias a little. May try to lower the anubias barteri which is really blocking the L. aromatica. I have a feeling that if I start messing w/ the anubias (all attached to a large hollow piece of fake DW which my 2 clown loaches are using as a home) it will make a huge mess. . . we'll see.

I really don't like the placement of the alternanthera on the far right but don't see a good spot for it yet and am not willing to pull it completely. It is such a beautiful red/pink color. Any suggestions?

Thanks for looking! Comments/suggestions welcome.

-Roy
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Thanks everyone for your comments.

Fishstory--I have almost moved the alternanthera to those spots many times but have resisted. I don't think it will work on the right side under the DW. I think it may work on the left--however will need to move the ludwigia though. I have some big crypts back in that area that haven't grown in yet. I think I'll let everything grow for a bit and see how it looks.

Tex Gal--I agree about the wood size. Definitely could be bigger. However, I am planning to have the rotala's grow up behind the wood in a bush so wanted to have some space above the wood to get that effect. Not sure if it will work or not. . . If I end up liking the wood/moss/java fern look I may look for another larger piece to add to the other side.

Also, the current plan is to keep the wood at least partially visible by keeping the moss and the star grass well-trimmed. Again--will have to wait and see if I can pull this off or if it gets lost in the jungle.

Will probably trim some this weekend--hopefully will have the restraint not to move things around too much. . .

Thanks for looking!

-Roy
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 · (Edited)
Hi Everyone--time for an update. . .

Not too much to report (although this post has become quite lengthy).

Things have been growing well and I have managed to have some restraint and allow things to develop w/out making too many changes. I did move some of the alternanthera to the right center just under the DW as I think it is too beautiful a red/purple color to be relegated to the outskirts of the tank. Not sure how it is going to look there but will let it go for a while and see.

Here's a FTS s of yesterday before my 50% WC:


Just trimmed the bacopa on the LHS and the HM as well. Almost time to trim the rotala's behind the DW--maybe next week. Also, need to do something w/ the red lotus and the anubias barteri on the LHS as they are really blocking the stems behind.
------------------------

On another note--I have been reading an interesting thread on APC lately by Christian_rubilar entitled "Method of controlled imbalances and gda..." (http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/algae/62516-method-controlled-imbalances-gda.html) that proposes a new/different fertilization regime and I have decided to try it on this tank.

This tank has been pretty easy maintenance w/ no major algae outbreaks. However I do get continual BBA on the leaves and equipment/hardscape which I need to kill w/ Excel periodically. I don't think my tank is properly balanced. Here's some pics of the BBA in my tank:

On a heater:


On some java fern:


This method proposes to determine the proper dosing levels in your tank by determining the level at which GSA is induced (I think this is correct--please see the orginal post referred to above for more details).

So what I have done so far:
-changed my water 50% yesterday
-cleaned my glass of all GSA (see below for pics)
-spot-treated BBA w/ Excel (usual weekly maintenance)
-added 1/4tsp KNO3 (dry) to tank yesterday and today (the recommended initial daily dose is 1gram per 50gallons which comes out to ~1/5 tsp for my tank)

I think this is interersting and will continue to update my results here.

Also, my current dosing regime has been the following added every other day:
-3/8 tsp KNO3
-1/4 tsp K2SO4
-1/8 tsp CSM+B
(recently I also started dosing 10mL Flourish Iron 2 times per week)
These values are below the EI recommended levels but my test kits (albeit not calibrated) indicate that my levels for N and P are in the proper ranges (10-20 and 1-2, respectively). [Maybe after doing this experiment I will find that I should have just been dosing the EI levels all along??!--well this will be a fun experiment regardless. . .]

My CO2 is pretty high I believe--drop checker light green to light yellow w/ 4dKH DI water--pressurized CO2 diffused through Aquamedic 1000 reactor.

Here are some pics of the algae I removed from my front glass during the WC:

GSA


GSA/GDA? (I find the streaking patern interesting--not sure of the cause--possibly patterns left from previous cleaning?)


And an angelfish looking to get fed while I am trying to take algae pics!


Thanks for looking! Comments/suggestions/etc. welcome.

-Roy
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Thanks cs_gardener. Was hoping this experiment would be of value to others as well.

OK--quick update on the fertilization experiment.

Progress to date:
-50% WC on Saturday
-1/4 tsp KNO3 dosed Sat, Sun, Mon, Tues for a total of 1 tsp so far
-no other fertilization (just feeding fish regularly)

Observations:
-the BBA I spot treated w/ XL on Sat is red and dying.
-there is more BBA on one of my filter spraybars, anubias leaves, java fern leaves--this is more than I am used to seeing--I turned off the filters this AM after feeding and spot treated these areas w/ XL as well
-plant growth looks fine
-Observed small patch of GSA on glass last night (1-2 inch patch) on lower front glass. Not sure if this spot was just missed during my cleaning of the glass on Saturday or if it is new algae growth due to the new fertilization regime. I was expecting my tank to require more than 3/4 tsp per week so I assumed it was just a missed spot (or a spot not cleaned as thoroughly as needed) and cleaned it off and continued the experiment. If it IS new growth I expect to encounter a lot more tonight when I get home.

Will update again soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Day 6 and still no GSA. . . I have added a total of 1.5 tsp of KNO3 and no other ferts.

Having some issues w/ some plants and took some pics this morning:

Lotus--discolored/melting leaf and holes in leaves



Stargrass--blackening tips


Still having BBA on java fern leaves and anubias and spraybar.

I also calibrated my test kits--made standard solutions of N (10 ppm and 20 ppm) and P (1 ppm and 2 ppm) and tested my water this morning.

Here's a pic (Left to Right = tank water, low standard, high standard)


Looks like I have >20 ppm N and >2 ppm P in the tank now.

Not sure what to make of this. I plan to continue this regimen for one more day (to complete the first week) and see what happens. If I don't reach the end point (GSA) by Saturday I think I will go back to something close to my standard dosing to get things back into shape.

We'll see. . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Just re-checked my calculations for my standards and found an error.

The correct standard solutions are:
N (6 and 12 ppm)
P (0.7 and 1.4 ppm)

So should only be around 20 ppm for N.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
If you have 2 ppm of Po4 there is something wrong. How many ppms of Po4 did you have before the last water change? The idea with the Kno3 generic protocol is to down the Po4 level to zero. Then you will reach GSA. And then you can start loking for the real uptake of Po4, regards
Thanks Christian--I double-checked my standards and found an error. It looks like I have ~0.5ppm PO4.

Today is Day 7 and I have added 7*1/4 tsp = 1 3/4tsp total. Had a few spots of GSA this morning! As well as some slight GDA so I guess this is the level I should use for my tank going forward.

I dosed some micros this morning as well (switched to Flourish). I plan to do my 50% WC tomorrow and then start working on the PO4.

What do you recommend as a starting point for the PO4?
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Christian--should I do the PO4 immediately or can I do it after a week of more regular dosing? I did a WC today and was planning to use my new KNO3 level w/ some micros (no PO4) for a week and then try the PO4 protocol. I will need to make a PO4 solution to add the small amount of daily dosing. Also, I think a fair amount of PO4 gets added to my tank via fish food as I have not been dosing that for some time now and still getting readings ~0.5ppm.

Here's my current plant list:

Plant list: (latin names courtesy of APC's Plantfinder--for the most part)
Althernanthera reineckii
Anubias barteri var. nana
Anubias barteri var. nana 'Petite'
Bacopa caroliniana
Blyxa japonica
Cryptocoryne crispatula var. balansae
Cryptocoryne undulata
Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Mi Oya'
Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Red'
Cryptocoryne x willisii 'lucens'
Cryptocoryne walkerii var. lutea
Fissidens fontanus
Glossostigma elatinoides
Hemianthus micranthemoides
Heteranthera zosterifolia
Limnophila aromatica
Ludwigia arcuata
Ludwigia repens
Microsorum pteropus
Pogostemon erectum
Rotala macranda (new from Tex Gal--just added)
Rotala macranda 'Narrow Leaf' (new from Tex Gal--just added)
Rotala rotundifolia
Rotala sp. 'Colorata'
Rotala sp. 'Green'
Rotala sp. 'Nanjenshan'
Taxiphyllum sp. (Java Moss)

Just removed the red lotus and the large anubias barteri during a rescape of the left side.
 
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