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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently finished adding plants to my new 265gallon tank. Later tonight I'm adding a few fish to start cycling it.

The rocks are all basalt or granite. The reddish one I am not sure but it is probably basalt. The sand is 3m colorquartz 'Buff' s grade, and the plants are Anubias, Java Fern, and Vallisneria. The lighting is two CF fixtures with a total of 384 watts. The plumbing is pvc with a ProClear 300 sump and a Magdrive 1800gph pump. The heaters are a 250watt stealth heater and a 200 watt stealth heater (visitherm). The background is black poster taped on the back glass.

Let me know what you guys think. The tank is going to house African Cichlids such as Malawi peacocks, Protomelas sp., Lethrinops sp., Lichnochromis acuticeps (hopefully if I ever see them for sale...), etc. Currently I do not have any caves but I am going to either make a pvc cave or eventually make a lace rock cave.

Here are the pictures:












View from right side:


View from left side:


~Ed
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
TheFishGuy said:
Simplicity, I like it alot. Looks very natural :thumb: Actually I Really like it :) Nice job 8)
Thanks. That's what I was going for...plus I didn't want to buy hundreds of pounds of lace rock where I could use a few hundred pounds of rock in my back yard...;p.

Hopefully the plants will live... I never used real plants before.

~Ed
 

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its a little too arranged for my tastes (rocks are in a straight line and equally spaced)

personally a small pile and bits of rubble would look more natural.

is that plain sand?? if so the plant might struggle. you'll have to dose with ferts, and with all that open space and so few plants algae will thrive.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
PsYcHoTiC_MaDmAn said:
its a little too arranged for my tastes (rocks are in a straight line and equally spaced)

personally a small pile and bits of rubble would look more natural.

is that plain sand?? if so the plant might struggle. you'll have to dose with ferts, and with all that open space and so few plants algae will thrive.
I am thinking of adding more plants and such soon. I just got those today to see how much room they would take up. I definitely am getting more vallisneria and anubias soon though.

Those rocks actually aren't that much in a straight line but I see what you mean. They aren't going anywhere though..too heavy to move ;p.

I like what you said about the rubble stuff though. I do have a couple small pieces of the same rock, and a landscaping place around the corner that sells small pieces too. Problem is though that I forgot to do that when setting up the tank.

I would like to ask your opinion on that though. Do you think a pile of rocks or randomly placed smaller rocks would look best by themselves or with algae if it grows, or should I add some plants on/in them like anubias, java fern, or java moss?

And about the fertilizer, I forgot to ask before but would Seachem fluorescent tabs placed under or around the plants in the sand work fine?

What else should I know about plant care? I don't want the tank heavily planted because I'm putting larger haps in it, by I would like an adequate amount of plants. Unfortunately, the plants you see in my tank were the largest java ferns and anubias that my LFS had left.

And would a sword plant work in my tank? A few weeks ago my lfs had a massive sword plant (not amazon) with thick leaves and even a flower up top on it. The leaves felt thick on it too.

Thanks for your comments though,
~Ed

Edit:
Speaking of algae, I heard moss balls either in the tank, in the over flow boxes or in the sump can help outcompete types of algae particularly hair algae. That true?
 

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The moss ball is technically a big mass of algae, but pretty sturdy, so it will outcompete the algae, along with the other plants. Of course the lights being on too much may cancel that fact out. I have one in a heavily planted tank and it is very cool. You have alot of open space and I have heard that the balls float and roll with the current as if they were moving on their own. May be a great addition to your tank. Cool tank. Looking forward to pics of the fish!
 

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seachem tabs under the roots is better than nothing.

personally I would create 2 piles of rocks, 1 medium, 1 small. (4-5rocks and 2-3 for the other (of a similar size to the 1s now)) and then a few smaller pieces in with the piles and scattered in between.

plant wise, I would go with vallis, (in the rear corners and back, will hide the overflows,) preferably the giant version as I found it grew the quickest. as such it'll repair damage, and you can trim it thereby removing nitrates from the tank. both anubias and java fern are slow growing, so wont help on the algae front

a large sword would look good (not in the centre however, rule of thirds, put it on the 1/3 or 2/3 point of the tank that way it gives the tank a better fell than symmetry would) and given enough nutrients and light should help lower nutrient levels even more.

however it may be worth getting some BN plecs to keep the algae levels down overall.

as for moss balls, if you want them go for it, but they wont help with keeping the algae down, they are relatively slow growing, so wont help in that respect
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
PsYcHoTiC_MaDmAn said:
seachem tabs under the roots is better than nothing.

personally I would create 2 piles of rocks, 1 medium, 1 small. (4-5rocks and 2-3 for the other (of a similar size to the 1s now)) and then a few smaller pieces in with the piles and scattered in between.

plant wise, I would go with vallis, (in the rear corners and back, will hide the overflows,) preferably the giant version as I found it grew the quickest. as such it'll repair damage, and you can trim it thereby removing nitrates from the tank. both anubias and java fern are slow growing, so wont help on the algae front

a large sword would look good (not in the centre however, rule of thirds, put it on the 1/3 or 2/3 point of the tank that way it gives the tank a better fell than symmetry would) and given enough nutrients and light should help lower nutrient levels even more.

however it may be worth getting some BN plecs to keep the algae levels down overall.

as for moss balls, if you want them go for it, but they wont help with keeping the algae down, they are relatively slow growing, so wont help in that respect
If the fluorescent is better than nothing, then should I use something else or is the tabs fine?

I have no idea what kind of vallisneria I have. I think my LFS has only one left also. Is whatever I have fine, or should I look for what you suggested? Do you happen to know it's scientific name or common name other than eel grass/vallis?

The rock piles will have to wait though until my next major maintenance on the tank (few weeks from now). But you didn't answer my question...should I leave them bair like the other large rocks in the tank or attach java mass, java fern, or weed anubias into it?

Also, my lfs has an awesome anubias specimen larger than any I have so far but it's embedded in a piece of driftwood about 8 inches long or less. I heard driftwood can lower the ph. Would such a single small piece do that? Currently I have my ph at 8.4 and very hard and alkaline water.

~Ed
 

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Marduk, I would go for the anubias on the driftwood in your tank. I think it would look great & shouldn't really lower your pH that much. Anubias really prefers being attached to rock or driftwood & it would help keep your fish from digging them up from the substrate.

I am using Colorquartz S-grade also & I've had better luck tying anubias and java fern to rocks using sewing thread. Plus it allows me to move them without damaging the roots when I get the itch to rearrange my tank.

Check out the Reviews section for online plant merchants. I bought mine online & was very pleased with the excellent specimens I received. Much bigger & cheaper then anything I've seen in a fish store.

Your tank looks great. I prefer more rock in my tank as it looks more natural but everyone has their own preferences. Go with what makes your fish & you happy.
 

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Marduk - Your tank looks beautiful. I hate the idea of you cluttering it up with lace rock, which will not match your current rock, or PVC. You spent all that effort aquascaping, and you're already considering throwing some artificial looking plastic or glued-together rock into the tank? Why not get some more(smaller) pieces of that same rock from your back yard and create rubble piles?
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Laurel said:
Marduk - Your tank looks beautiful. I hate the idea of you cluttering it up with lace rock, which will not match your current rock, or PVC. You spent all that effort aquascaping, and you're already considering throwing some artificial looking plastic or glued-together rock into the tank? Why not get some more(smaller) pieces of that same rock from your back yard and create rubble piles?
That's what I was going to do. Lace rock was only going to be used for java ferns, and I was thinking with the pvc to glue small bits to it, but that'd fit my 120g better.

If I was to put lace rock in it the tank either way it would have plants on it. I did originally have 5 more large rocks I wanted to put in the tank but they took up a lot of room... Currently I'd like to get another large tall rock in there in the middle by the anubias or towards the left.

With the rocks in my yard I have very few small ones left in the garden. Later this week I'll stop by the rock place.

Thanks for your comments though Laurel. I do want to use mostly the same rocks. I'm worried though on how much to expect my haps on digging up the anubias and vallis... I was thinking of tying them to small strips of eggcrate and bury the eggcrate to anchor it like plastic plants or attaching lead fishing weights to them :p.

~Ed
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
TheFishGuy said:
I still like it the way it is :lol:

And I've never kept plants.... you guys are beyond me :lol: I would like to do live plants in my 185 eventually....
I don't want to change much either. Before I do add more smaller rocks (super small ones) I first want to see how it looks with fish and more plants in the tank.
 

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Be careful planting anubia and java fern in the sand or any substrate. If you bury them too deep, they will rot.
You can tie the anubia and java fern to the rocks using mono filament (fishing line) It is a little bit difficult to work with but the line is barely noticable.
If you tie your plants to smaller rocks, you'll be able to stack them and/or move them around.
Often I just gently wedge the plants in between the rocks. Sometimes they float off, just get in there and place them back where you want them...

I've never heard of the "flourescent tabs" you refer to.
I have used Seachem Flourish Tabs(replaced every 3 months instead of monthly...)
I've also used Seachem Excel liquid.
Be very careful of ferts, tho, as ferts encourage algae and your plants are fairly slow growers.

I don't have any luck with vals, many people do, tho.
I do have luck with water onion (crinum thaianum) It has the same long leaf look as vals do.
I like the height in the tank.

tropica.com can help you identify the name of your plant you are looking for.

Hope this helps. You have the beginnings of a great tank. Have fun with it!
Alicem
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
alicem said:
Be careful planting anubia and java fern in the sand or any substrate. If you bury them too deep, they will rot.
You can tie the anubia and java fern to the rocks using mono filament (fishing line) It is a little bit difficult to work with but the line is barely noticable.
If you tie your plants to smaller rocks, you'll be able to stack them and/or move them around.
Often I just gently wedge the plants in between the rocks. Sometimes they float off, just get in there and place them back where you want them...

I've never heard of the "flourescent tabs" you refer to.
I have used Seachem Flourish Tabs(replaced every 3 months instead of monthly...)
I've also used Seachem Excel liquid.
Be very careful of ferts, tho, as ferts encourage algae and your plants are fairly slow growers.

I don't have any luck with vals, many people do, tho.
I do have luck with water onion (crinum thaianum) It has the same long leaf look as vals do.
I like the height in the tank.

tropica.com can help you identify the name of your plant you are looking for.

Hope this helps. You have the beginnings of a great tank. Have fun with it!
Alicem
Sorry I meant Seachem Fluorish Tabs..stupid spell check -_-.

The plants are at max in 1-2" deep sand, but they aren't buried completely I can clearly see some roots sticking out.
 

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I think it looks very nice.. I agree with a few smaller piles of the SAME rock you currently have.. but not much more.. right now it looks a bit bare however once you get some fish in there it will look alot fuller..

Good luck post pics when its complete and there are fish in it..
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I added three more vallisneria and 2 more Anubias, one of which is an awesome one growing on a piece of driftwood. I also moved some of my fish from my 120g to it and they seemed pretty excited in thier new, huge and un-overstocked tank :p.

After I get my shipment on friday I'll take more pictures.

Anyone have any plant suggestions or tips?

~Ed
 

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I tend to agree with our PsYcHoTiC_MaDmAn on the rock structures...It does look a bit uniform...almost like tombstones...if you know what I mean.

In nature rocks of the same type are usually found together ....that is, not.. one black....one brown...another black...another brown...which is how you currently arranged them.

I think you have a fantastic size tank and the ideas can be endless....though I would group the same type of rocks closer together and add some rock rubble around the bigger stones as already suggested. Perhaps leave a clearing of sand that your Haps will no doubt enjoy when fully grown.
Algae growth on rocks?...I personally like it! ...and have thick lush velvet-like carpets on some of mine...my Mbuna love grazing on it and it gives a kind of reef look to it all.
I also have giant vallisnera against my side wall..which makes a nice retreat or chill-out zone for fish that want to get away from it all! :lol: only fertz used is supplied by the fish!

Good Luck with it all ...be good to see more pics in a couple months?
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Here's the current stocklist:
Placidochromis milomo
Mchenga conophoros
Neolamprologus sexfasciatus 'gold'
Labidochromis caeruleus
Aulonocara stuartgranti Ngara
Aulonocara stuartgranti Usisya
Aulonocara srtuartgranti Ungi
Aulonocara stuartgranti Maulana
Aulonocara baenschi
Protomelas spinolotus Liuli
Protomelas taen... (can't spell) - Red Empress
Dimidiochromis compressiceps

Coming Friday:
Mchenga conophoros
Lethrinops sp. 'green chest' m/f
Protomelas spinolotus Mara Rocks x2 m/m
Aulonocara "monkey bay/yellow collar"
Protomelas steveni Taiwan Reef

I'm open for other Malawi/Tanganyika suggestions. Soon (couple weeks-months) a few clown loaches, some synodontis, and a bristlenose pleco will be in it. I would like some more larger haps, lethrinops, and tanganyikan cichlids so suggest some :)

~Ed

Edit:
Getting even more plants saturday. I'll try and get more pics then. Currently the Mchenga and Dimidiochromis (half blind young male I rescued) are playing in the water jet currents, the peacocks can't stop eating or finding stuff to eat, and the 3-5 year old yellow lab I rescued can't stop hiding under the anubias leaves..
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Oh, I got the seachem fluorish tabs. It said to insert in gravel for a 4-6" radius. I just buried it in the sand and a few times I put a few close together. Let me know if it shouldn't be under the sand and too close together.
 
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