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Thinking of re-tooling: Ideas for SA planted tank

2363 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  DirtyBlackSocks
Alright, I'm officially bored of the all-male peacock setup in my 40 long (48x12x17 - in case you weren't sure). I absolutely love blue rams and have wanted to keep them again as I have once before. I'll list what the specifications will be and just post whatever you think would make it a filthy setup in terms of livestock and plants.

Filtration: Rena XP2, Eheim 2213 Classic, AC50
Lighting: Coralife Aqualight T-5 48" Double Linear Strip (2x28w = 56w total) - currently have the S/W version but will buy a 6700k bulb to replace the actinic
Substrate: PFS
Plants that will remain: Val. spiralis
Fish that will remain: 2 BN plecos
Decor that will most likely remain: Mexican black pebbles (3-5"). I also have a few pieces of driftwood but would really like to get some Manzanita this time around - thoughts?

I have a lot of ideas but just want to get some feedback from more experienced people. So, let me know what you think would look really nice. Not looking to do CO2 or ferts except for the occasional dose of Flourish.

EDIT: Just thought up my ideal stocking, how does it look?

- Geophagus Red Head Tapajos (4)
- Microgeophagus ramirezi (2)
- Cardinal tetras (12)
- Bristlenose plecos (2 - already have)
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how big do the geo's get?

I think I would go with 2 pair of the rams instead.
I'd cut the red head's back to a trio, one male and two females, other then that everything looks good.
Thanks for the input. The Geos get about 5-6" and I will be acquiring them at about 1.25". Getting 2 pairs of rams (or at least a trio as well) seems like a good idea if I trim the Geos down to a trio.
Alright, now here's the list of plants I'd like to do:

- Water sprite
- Anubias barteri v. Nana
- Val. spiralis (already have and will add more)
- Broad leaf ludwigia
- Rotala roundifolia
- Java fern
- Narrow leaf sag
- Dwarf baby tears
You need to be mindful that the geophagus are earth eaters and will go to great lengths to remove any plants that require substrate for growth - Ed Burress has had some success with using 1/2" gravel around the root structures and then pouring sand in the rest of the tank, so that the geophagus get discouraged - but if they find a root they're known to tug at them until the plants come loose.

I would highly recommend sticking mainly to anubias and other rhizome based plants that attach themselves to woods, with plants that grow huge root structures such as giant hygro or large crypts.

Since you'll be getting the geo's young you'll have time to let them establish a good strong root structure, but just be prepared to have them uproot certain plants down the line.

There are tons of ways to combat it, from surrounding large crypts with rocks so the geo's simply can't get to their root structure ect.

Just make sure the actual center of the tank is a wide open space for them to root and dig around in.

I've currently got a 75 gallon geophagus tank with 7 orange head's I'm growing out at roughly 3" right now.

Plants are mainly anubias v. ekona, anubias nana, java fern variations, giant hygro, some long leaf variants of crypts, and a few stemmed plants in a corner of the tank that I hope they'll ignore as they age.

My stock list in the 75 gallon is:
7 orange heads
1 yo yo loach
1 clown loach
4 bushynose pleco's
4 congo tetra
5 bosemani rainbows
2 siamensis
various ottocinclus
1 blue paradise gourami
6 corydoras sterbai

Everything is working fine at the moment, but I expect in the future to have to thin this stock out dramatically or get a much larger tank.
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Wow, that's a very helpful response, thanks DBS.

With your advice I've modified the plant list:

- Anubias barteri v. Nana (likely 2-3)
- Hygro corombosa
- Cryptocoryne wendtii (likely a couple of green and a couple of red)
- Java fern (definitely at least 3-4)
- Narrow leaf sag
- Water sprite
- Val. spiralis
- Rotala roundifolia

The last three plants seem like they could be hit-or-miss in this setup, right? But everything else seems to be appropriate?
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I've had my bristlenose demolish and eat the rotala and hornwort I've tried, but I just might have a psycho one ... she chases pikes and breeding convicts around. :lol:

So I would either switch to oto's or leave out the rotala, all the other plants sound fine though. (the water sprite might have to go floating though, their roots aren't all that great from what I've had in my tanks, the vals should be fine though.)
What you can do with water sprite is get a peice of blue or black PVC pipe depending on what color your background is and put a suction cup on the pipe, then attach the water sprite to the pipe with a plant weight ect. to make it appear free floating but keep it in place so it doesn't cause problems - the bonus on this is that the pleco's like to use the pipe as a cave to reside in, and it gives the fish an area of security.

As far as the plants you've listed - I think they'll all be fine, some will be hit or miss but that's the chance you take with geo's.

Try and get some siamensis in there too if you can find them - they're fun to watch and eat different algae from the bushynose.

Personally, if I had to choose between my bushynose pleco's or a plant I'd go with the pleco's - if they eat the plants then oh well, just part of the experiment!
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