Aquarium Setup • New Planted Tank - A sneak peak...

New to the world of cichlids? For discussion on how to set up new tanks, including placement, filtration, substrates, water, etc. No stocking discussions here.

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Postby blairo1 » Thu Mar 01, 2007 3:18 pm

Thanks! The plant in the back right is Anubias Barteri, pretty slow growing but make a nice canopy and good tough leaves.

:thumb:, no plants added to the main scape of the tank. That is all just growth over the past 11 days. The top right at the back is piece of driftwood with Java Fern attached which I attached to a suction cup, giving it the hanging into water effect - that IS newly added from another tank but nothing else :).

Thanks bud!

1. I change 50% 1x a week on this tank to help keep a check on the minerals etc. I figure consistency is key on this.

2. :lol: I don't know, pretty much every day I use the algae scraper and clean the front and sides, rather than let any build up before cleaning it I just keep on top of it. The filter also does a great job with a 20 and 30 ppi foam, but after I've fed I switch on the AquaClear 50 powerhead, attached to this I have the filter cartridge with a very fine sponge. This just keeps a check on the particles.

3. No issues whatsoever, I did notice a few tiny spots of algae on the sand, I buried the algae on the sand and employed a crew of 12 Amano shrimp and 2 Sumatran Gobies, to munch on any algae right from go. Problem curbed.

Problem solved by having the lights off for an hour at midday, which has given the plants the upper hand again and now the tiny amount of algae that had managed to pop up, is dying back, remaining only on the heavily lit driftwood, which my Adonis plec takes care of.

At this stage the plants are growing so rapidly that I think algae is going to have a hard time taking over. I also have a load of floating plants which really seem to help with keeping algae at bay.

4. The substrate enricher was definately worth it. I don't know if there's much more I can say about it other than what a difference it makes - these plants are in straight sand, no laterite, no gravel/flourite underlayer.... So I'm impressed by the product.

5. Uhhh, well no. Not at the moment although this is only short-term until I get my hands on the appropriate kit (darn lfs doesn't carry this kind of stuff!!). Basically I just do my best to be consistant, I dose at the same time, on the same day, I water change on the same day. The CO2 goes on and comes off at the same times each day.

Seems to be working anyway eh!

But yes when I know more I'll let you know what my parameters are.

Thanks again all!
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Postby 2wheelsx2 » Thu Mar 01, 2007 3:40 pm

As your plants grow, you'll have to keep an eye on the nitrates. I had the same problem in my low tech 10 gallon, where my nitrates bottomed, and the algae started to go crazy. I started having to dose KNO3 in my low tech tank, which then became not so low tech, unfortunately.
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Postby Dutch Dude » Thu Mar 01, 2007 4:46 pm

Heeeey Blair. It's bin a long time since I visited this topic and I have to say,....WOOOOOW!!! I have a smile from ear to ear and realy a gorgeous tank!!!! You're a true perfectionist!!! I'm realy amazed becouse a lot of people who start a planted tank have to experiment on the decorating and often add to much plants. You have done a greath job and I wish I'll have you're talents!!!

Maybe I can add something to the list abouth planted tanks. Blair, turn the lights out for a short period during midday,....perfect!!! The algea growth will reduce (will grow less becouse of the short light brake). I recommend to turn the light 5 hours on, 2 hours out and again 5 to 7 hours on. Never make a light period shorter than 4 hours becouse plants need some time to start the photosynthesis and need a minimum of 4 hours to grow. Fish don't bother the short brake becouse in nature this happens all the time during rain season. If you pot new plants I recommend to cut the roots back to one inch from the stern. Be careful and don't damage the stern becouse it will probably rot and the plant will die. If the roots are cut back the plant will start to build a new root system that takes all the necessary minerals and nutritions to the leaves. Bad roots is bad growth! Some old plants can be regenerated by pulling them out of the substrate and cut back the roots and add them again. Abouth light. Plants grow the fastest on orange/red light and blue. Algae grow the fastest on bleu and hardly on orange/red. The color that gives a fast growth of plants and a slow growth on algea is orange. That does look awful of course but you can take a tube light with some higher orange levels. A Philips or Osram collor 83 or 830 is a greath collor for the plants. I like the combination with a 84 or 840 and bring in some more green (takes also up the bleu collors) and still a low level of blue. The 830 in the back and the 840 in the front is a very nice combination. High light levels= high nutrition levels= high CO2 levels. If you increase the light level you need to add more CO2 and nutritions. If one of them is to low the plant growth will decrease and algea can take things over. So never change all the old lights for new once but do it spread over a larger period. If you change the color of a tube the plants need some time to adjust to the different color. Temporarily the growth can be decreased but should go up to regular after abouth 2 weeks.

Blair,...realy a greath job and I agree with the other posters, have a talent /gift for this kind of things! never seen anybody doing so well with planted tanks in such a short period in the hobby!!! Georgios tank and I wish it was mine! :thumb:
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Postby atp777 » Thu Mar 01, 2007 5:18 pm

I think that tank is gorgeous! Keep up the good work!

Can't wait to see the final product.
55g Central American Tank
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Postby blairo1 » Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:59 pm

:lol: That sucks, my nitrates are actually quite low - 10ppm range never goes higher, my other planted tanks have 5ppm nitrates and very little algae whatsoever, what do you guys try to maintain nitrates at!??

Dutch Dude
Thanks bud! That means a lot coming from you, I love your 90 gallon it is one of the tanks that inspired me to do this, so thanks! :). That's good advice you give on the plants and I have my light cycle as:
7am -12pm on,
12pm - 1pm off,
1pm - 10pm on.
I'm going to introduce a 30 minute break at 6pm to break up the last light period. As you say Ruurd, this is no problem as it is something that happens in nature all the time - the sun doesn't shine all day every day ;).

Cheers! I will do my best to keep up the good work! :lol: It's still early days, I'm always sceptical so we'll just see how it goes. I'm sure to keep you all updated as I go and share my learning experiences, hopefully most will be positive...

Anyway, :oops: I wouldn't say I was gifted lol, that's waaaaaay too much for me to live up to, this is just something that I love doing, it gives me so much pleasure to create an environment for a creature to live in. But seriously, thankyou, it is early days yet so I'm just taking each day at a time (and being real careful too, setting this sucker up wasn't cheap lol) so time will tell.....

I'm certainly no pro :lol: not even close, as Ruurd knows I've been in this hobby for a little under a year but I feel that I was fortunate enough to find this site at a very early stage. This really enabled me to learn from the ground up, from people who know what they are doing, not emotionless, plain text. So really, this tank is a culmination of all that information I've absorbed from the members of this site, as well as spending hours looking at others tanks and reading books and taking parts that I like and putting them together to make a whole. Sometimes it doesn't work and it's taken me a few re-arrangements before I've finally settled on a tank, I've just been thinking about THIS tank for so long I'd already gone through all that in my head, so it was very black and white for me to go out and just do it, hah very hard to explain unless you are like me, I just knew how much I needed to get, researched what I had seen, thought about growth sizes of plants, how they grew and tried to fit these together right, the first time.

So I guess what I'm working towards is saying thanks to all those who've helped me, or even just made nice comments, as it is all of you who've been there as I've progressed and certain people have really helped me and taught me a lot, or just encouraged me to keep going.

So yeah, thank you all so much for your incredibly kind words and thankyou for sharing your knowledge. I can say with almost certainty that were it not for the members of this site, this tank would not be in existance...

Oh yeah, and here's a pic of one of the future inhabitants!

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Postby 2wheelsx2 » Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:24 pm

blairo1 wrote:2wheelsx2
:lol: That sucks, my nitrates are actually quite low - 10ppm range never goes higher, my other planted tanks have 5ppm nitrates and very little algae whatsoever, what do you guys try to maintain nitrates at!??

Oh, if you have 5 to 10 ppm, that's good. Miine was unmeasurable (effectively zero). Probably part of my problem is that the tank is at work so I don't feed on weekends, which probably reduces the ammonia output on weekends.

Sorry for the bad pic, but I can't really turn off lights in my office during work hours to take a pic. :D


Specs are:

10 gallon
plain gravel
27W PC lighting on legs
Penguin 100 biowheel
30% water change once every 2 weeks
Excel, KNO3 and KH2PO4 and Mg2SO4 twice a week
Traces twice a week

Livestock: 9 neons, 6 cardinals, 3 Amano shrimp, 15 or so Red Cherry shrimp (estimate, it's growing every day).
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Postby cuddlefish » Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:24 pm

The tank is looking awesome Blair, nice work!

I always enjoy your threads M8. As I've said before, your enthusiasm is infectious. :)
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Postby blairo1 » Sat Mar 03, 2007 6:46 am

Cheers guys!

2wheelsx2 nice tank to have at work, I wish I could take my fish to work with me but I don't think they'd fit in well 100ft up a tree :lol:.

cuddlefish always good to hear from you bud, appreciate the input. I like the photo submission of yours in the photo-contest, something really epic about the shot :thumb: and wimpy is just a dude....
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Postby blairo1 » Sat Mar 10, 2007 8:49 am

Thought I'd post these here as well as I've not had much response in the other sections :roll: .

The Pelvicachromis fry, 7 weeks of age. The future inhabitants of this planted tank.



What do you think!? I don't know about you, but if I set my screen res lower the pics look softer, if you can, try set your desktop resolution to 1280x1024 and see if the pics look sharp..... this is how I see them.

Please comment I'm pulling my hair out over the lack of response to these shots - if anyone is interested, I shot them using:

Canon's EOS 20D
18-55mm EF-s lens

Metz Flash, set to manual.

ISO 100
s-speed 400
f-stop 32

This was my first attempt at using the Metz flash so I'm quite pleased, obviously practice will bring much better shots, but for now these will suffice.

I had the Metz directly over the area I was shooting (pointing INTO the tank) with NO fill flash from the front.

Thanks for looking!

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Postby jacquief » Sat Mar 10, 2007 9:29 am

Hi Blair!

Super shots, the detail on them is brilliant, almost feel like I'm in the tank with them! :)

When will they be going to their new home?

How's the newly planted tank doing? I bet it's really grown since we last saw it. Would love to see the latest piccie of it!

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Postby intermediate_noob » Sun Mar 11, 2007 10:01 am


What size tank are they in now? I am just wondering what the height is because you can really see how the flash has illuminated them and their surroundings. I have no where near the caliber of camera you have (just a "point and shoot" digital) but I have to say after seeing all your shots, I may want to reconsider a new purchase.

So with this tank, what is your "vision"? Is it to reproduce a natural habitat for these fish or to recreate a new community for them? I guess the word "biotope" comes to mind here, but was just wondering what you would like to see from this tank. Thanks again for sharing with us.
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Postby blairo1 » Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:41 pm

Whew been busy for a while, hopefully it's calmed down for a bit now, anyway thanks for your patience.

Jacquie thanks for your post, I've just taken a new tank shot for you today to answer your question... I had to remove 6 netfuls of floating plants, those things spread like wildfire :lol:. The left side has a green hue to it due to this, but I quite like that and the plants there don't seem to mind.

I have a small image and one as big as photobucket would let me....

28th Feb:

17th March:

17th March larger image: ... LLSIZE.jpg

Basically this week is catching fry week, but boy it's going to be easy :lol: I just waggle my fingers at them and they all race up to the front in a line, no kidding. I am their papa lol. So that will be fun and I look forward to seeing how they settle into the new home.

Thanks bud! They are in a 15 gallon, the metz flash was 12" above the fry....

I guess with this tank my vision is just to provide my fish with the best home I possibly can, that's number one. But in terms of the plant aspect, well that is more something where I just want the plants to naturally compete with one another for the space around them, as I provided them with ample room to start with, as you can see those spaces are fast being filled up. I pretty much let the plants prune themselves, if a leaf doesn't catch enough light, the plant will kill it off, I enjoy watching this process so I let it happen.

It's fascinating, so I'm always intruiged to see how it progresses....
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Postby peterl » Sun Mar 18, 2007 9:25 pm

looks great, blair!

I may have missed this, but what are your floating plants? I have a very hard time finding decent floaters--except for duckweed, that is.

Also, what do you use for a filter?
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Postby blairo1 » Mon Mar 19, 2007 7:29 am

Hey peterl,

Thanks for your comment, the floating plant is Salvinia auriculata, that's the stuff I remove several netfuls of every few days, no kidding. I started off with literally TWO leaves of the stuff after it got eaten by my Gold Sev, it now covers the surface of this tank, my 40, and my 15 within a month......!!

You do need to keep on it otherwise it will bind the surface together and then algae forms between the leaves, this is great if you want everything else to die, but I don't :lol: - this stuff is a weed, no matter how nice it looks, so just keep it in mind that you'll forever be chucking loads away (I bag mine and sell it.)

The other floating plant is Japanese Riccia, which started off as a fist sized ball but is not about the size and length of my whole forearm (took about 2 weeks for that).

Filter is a fluval something or other, big enough to do this tank. I'm moving my XP3 onto it soon though, the Fluval is doing an awesome job but this tank is in my bedroom and the XP3 is literally dead silent so....

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Postby Supercoley1 » Thu Dec 06, 2007 4:28 am


Do you have any updates on this tank?

Did you go for 2WPG and if so which type of lamps?
Did you upgrade the CO2 to pressurised or get a diffusor etc.

Come on where are the 'established' tank pics.

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