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Starting new tank - codename Frankenstein - critique wanted

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  • Starting new tank - codename Frankenstein - critique wanted

    Hi,

    I'm about to start a new tank and I could use some advice. Here's what I plan to do - please point out any mistakes/risks.

    Why "Frankenstein"? I "constructed" the hardscape from several small pieces of wood glued with silicone. The result:

    (it's quite different from what I had in mind when I started )



    The tank: 75cm x 45cm x 45cm (30in x 18in x 18in) = 150l = 40gal
    Hardscape: wood (see above)
    Substrate: plain quartz sand, about 10cm average depth, as sloped as I can make it
    Water: dechlorinated tap (GH=9, KH=5, pH=7.3 but in the tank pH will be around 6.5 due to CO2)
    General aspect: West Africa biotope-ish (it will have more plants than a typical biotope, and the look will not be authentic I suspect)
    Filtration: CPR CR900 Wet/Dry with Eheim compact+ 2000 pump (2000l/h = 530gph theoretical but this will be throttled by the narrow tubing of the Mame overflow)
    Light: ADA Grand Solar II with 4 x 36W tubes; I plan to set the height so that PAR at substrate is between 75 and 90mol-6/m2; in time, the substrate will be shaded by floating leaves; schedule: 10h continuous (less in the beginning)
    CO2: pressurized, around 50ppm, still not sure about diffusion method (reactor/NW pump/other); schedule: like the light
    Fertilization: EI daily (maybe buy dosage pumps for micro/macro?); weekly 50% water change
    Other hardware: Tunze Osmolator top-off pump (using RO water)
    Critters:
    - 4 Pseudocrenilabrus nicholsi (1m + 3f - if I can't, at least he can )
    - 8 Congo tetras, Phenacogrammus interruptus (any other good suggestions that would fit this tank?)
    - I don't know what to use for cleaning crew
    Plants:
    - Anubias nana tied to small pieces of half-buried wood, scattered on the sand as "foreground" plants
    - The hardscape will have lots of either Bolbitis heudelotii or Anubias (coffeefolia?) tied to it; some of these plants will grow emersed on top of the Frankenstein log; probably Bolbitis though
    - One of the sides will have two Tiger lotuses (lotii?) very close together; one will be allowed to grow surface leaves; the other will be kept submersed; I hope they will look like one plant with both types of leaves (?!)
    - The background will have some Crinum sp
    - If I want to keep with my W African theme I could also use Eleocharis parvula (but I am not sure how it matches with the rest), or Ammania sp (but I don't want stems in this tank)

    The goal of the tank is to be lower maintenance than a stem tank, but I accept some weekly maintenance at water change time. When it matures (and my enthusiasm decreases ) I would like to be able to dial back the fert regime and water changes, and make it "low maintenance".

    For the cycling phase I am not sure if I need fast growing plants or if the final slow growers will be enough.

    Any advice, hint or criticism is welcome.

    Thanks,

    Florin
    Nothing is simple.

  • #2
    Hi Florin,

    That is a LOT of light for both the plant species desired and the goal of low maintenance...

    I think 40-50 mmoles will do you fine....
    Thanks,

    Gerry.

    'When something's not right, it's wrong'. Bob Dylan

    Current 220 scape

    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...3219-220-video

    Comment


    • #3
      Good point, thanks Gerry.

      I can start with less light (40-50 mmoles), and increase it when floating leaves shade the tank too much.
      Nothing is simple.

      Comment


      • #4
        Time for a new pic. More incoming.

        Nothing is simple.

        Comment


        • #5
          Succes whit your new setup, Florin!

          Comment


          • #6
            Love the onions! One of my favorite plants. The plants look really nice. Good luck on the setup. Post finished pics.
            Thanks

            JJ

            Plants give me peace!

            Comment


            • #7
              Ionuț, Jerry, thanks.

              Here's a quick setup timelapse.



              In the meantime things happened - most leaves started to melt, others started to grow - more pics & info soon.
              Nothing is simple.

              Comment


              • #8
                Some pictures from the setup (March 12th).

                The right side wood turned belly up (wasn't soaked enough it seems).


                IMG_0255 by florin i, on Flickr

                Right hand side view of the incident:


                IMG_0260 by florin i, on Flickr

                A lotus right after planting:


                IMG_0258 by florin i, on Flickr

                End of the day (2 a.m., March 13th):


                IMG_0256 by florin i, on Flickr

                March 14th pic of the Frankenstein log:


                IMG_2461.CR2 by florin i, on Flickr

                Yesterday, March 18th.

                Ignore the foreground plants tied to rocks, they're not in the final positions.


                IMG_0346 by florin i, on Flickr

                The "data" room (too dark, I know):


                IMG_0337 by florin i, on Flickr

                The monitors didn't fit inside.


                IMG_0281 by florin i, on Flickr

                Bolbitis (old leaves start to melt but new growth is also visible):


                IMG_0274 by florin i, on Flickr


                IMG_0273 by florin i, on Flickr


                IMG_0294 by florin i, on Flickr

                The small log soaked and is in the normal position. I will try to use the anubias bound to pebbles to mask the ugly ties.


                IMG_0292 by florin i, on Flickr

                The dirt is from washing in this tank a sponge from an established filter. In this are I think I have insufficient water flow (or else the mulm particles would be washed away - right)?


                IMG_0266 by florin i, on Flickr

                Some anubias leaves start to deteriorate:


                IMG_0268 by florin i, on Flickr


                IMG_0295 by florin i, on Flickr

                Others seem OK so far:


                IMG_0298 by florin i, on Flickr

                All the old lotus leaves melted away, new ones appeared:


                IMG_0271 by florin i, on Flickr

                Crinum leaves melt quickly from top to bottom (I understand that's normal?):


                IMG_0275 by florin i, on Flickr

                The biggest Crinum has one half leaf left, the others melted:


                IMG_0272 by florin i, on Flickr

                Onion farm:


                IMG_0264 by florin i, on Flickr

                Some color:


                IMG_0345 by florin i, on Flickr


                IMG_0287 by florin i, on Flickr

                I lifted the lamp as high as I could and now the PAR at the substrate is around 60 micromol. Current light period is 6 hours. With CO2 I target 25-30 ppm (is that a good range for this tank?).

                I will add a bunch of floating plants to help with establishing the tank.

                The only fauna for now are some snails. I will also add some shrimp - and then the fish - I hope to find some Pseudocrenilabrus nicholsi, 1m+3f, and some Congo tetra.
                Nothing is simple.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Most plants seem to have stopped melting. No big starters yet but signs of growth everywhere.

                  The melting did leave a lot of vegetable matter. I tried to remove as much as I could but I'm a little worried about algae.

                  CO2 is stable at 30 ppm. I am ferting around 1/4 tsp KNO3, 1/16 tsp KH2PO4, 1/16 tsp PLANT PROD Chelated Micronutrient Mix. I did some measurements yesterday before water change and:
                  - ammonia is zero
                  - nitrites are high (over 0.3)
                  - apparently I went overboard with phosphates (over 2.5 ppm which was my test's limit)

                  The glass shows a very very discreet brownish layer (diatoms, expected) and slightly greenish (GDA?). Both colors are only visible when looking almost parallel with the glass.
                  Nothing is simple.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I added some floating plants to help mature the tank:

                    Nothing is simple.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Today I uprooted a couple of "onions" by mistake. Great news - they grew roots! Also it's obvious they grew quite a lot.



                      I also noticed the right half of the tank (where the circulation is better) is healthier than the left. I will have to install a powerhead aimed at the left side, but at the moment I have no clue how to do that and not change the layout in a major way.
                      Nothing is simple.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Looks good so far!

                        I enjoyed watching the fiddling of the substrate/hardscape in the setup video.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks Doc!

                          I replanted the crinums, the outer layer was rotten for some of them, apparently I was supposed to peel it off before the original planting. I changed water 90%, pre-treated with Prime and added water straight from the tap, which killed some shrimp (my first time ).

                          I made some Osmocote 15-9-12 gel caps but I didn't place them in the substrate yet. I wish I had those when I replanted the crinums.



                          Left side lotuses have leaves, but they stay small for the moment.



                          I added some Anubias coffeefolia.





                          I also deployed another lazy man's device, a dosing pump.





                          My first lazy man's device (the water level pump) broke 3 days after installation... I sent it back for replacement... factor into that that installation/uninstallation is quite complicated and that thing didn't save me any work at all, on the contrary... we have a saying around here - lazy people run more...

                          Anyway. The 3 solutions have 500ml volume and are designed to be dosed daily, 4 ml/day.

                          Solution 1:
                          97,8g KNO3 (dose result: 3.2 ppm NO3)

                          Solution 2:
                          53,6g micro (dose result: 0,2 ppm Fe)
                          15g Fe 13% (dose result: 0,1 ppm Fe)

                          Solution 3:
                          16,1g KH2PO4 (dose result: 0,6 ppm PO4)
                          45g K2SO4 (dose result: 1,08 ppm K)
                          Last edited by Florin Ilia; 04-01-2012, 06:06 PM.
                          Nothing is simple.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I am curious, what kind of quartz did you use? A branded one with some bacteria already in it? Plain simple generic one? Would it make the osmocote available to the plants in a comparable manner to any 1-4mm inert substrate but without the sorption capabilities? I mean, if CEC was on the list, wasn't the vermiculite, from hidroponica dot ro, a better investment, even though it is also quite light in color? The wood used doesn't seem to be West African either.

                            APC plantfinder credits every Nesaea as being from West Africa, though, in some books I have seen some even on Mafia Island (Zanzibar) - 5.7pH 5GH 0.5kH (not hard water).

                            Isn't the Congo basin a bit different than the streams of Senegal to Cameroon? There is at least one fancy shoaling tetra that could fit into a (more) stem- friendly environment.

                            The pictures aren't showing something bad at all! It's quite lovely.
                            But it is quite difficult to get it glued to W. Africa thing.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi client, thanks for the meaningful input!
                              Originally posted by client View Post
                              what kind of quartz did you use? A branded one with some bacteria already in it? Plain simple generic one?
                              Plain simple generic (since you seem familiar with Romanian market - bought from a Hornbach store).


                              Originally posted by client View Post
                              Would it make the osmocote available to the plants in a comparable manner to any 1-4mm inert substrate but without the sorption capabilities?
                              Well, I assume it will, but I admit I didn't research the topic. I know there are people who do grow plants in plain sand, I chose a white one, and that's the extent of my scientific work in this area
                              Originally posted by client View Post
                              I mean, if CEC was on the list, wasn't the vermiculite, from hidroponica dot ro, a better investment, even though it is also quite light in color?
                              You mean this: http://www.hidroponica.ro/substratur...o-plagron.html ? Link noted
                              Originally posted by client View Post
                              The wood used doesn't seem to be West African either.
                              Busted It's North American manzanita.
                              Originally posted by client View Post
                              APC plantfinder credits every Nesaea as being from West Africa, though, in some books I have seen some even on Mafia Island (Zanzibar) - 5.7pH 5GH 0.5kH (not hard water).
                              Yes, and there are also Ammania gracilis and Ammania senegalensis, but I didn't want stems in this aquarium. It's supposed to be low[er] maintenance and those African stems in particular seem quite demanding from what I've read.
                              Originally posted by client View Post
                              Isn't the Congo basin a bit different than the streams of Senegal to Cameroon?
                              It most likely is, but please read my disclaimer in the first post ("the look will not be authentic I suspect"). I didn't have enough drive to research properly a biotope so the result is just biotope-ish. My main resource was http://fish.mongabay.com/biotope_african_rivers.htm, and even this I didn't follow to the letter. If you have pointers to online resources I'll be happy to continue learning.
                              Originally posted by client View Post
                              There is at least one fancy shoaling tetra that could fit into a (more) stem- friendly environment.
                              Please name it!
                              Originally posted by client View Post
                              The pictures aren't showing something bad at all! It's quite lovely.
                              But it is quite difficult to get it glued to W. Africa thing.
                              Thanks for the comment, and see above for the authenticity.
                              Nothing is simple.

                              Comment

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