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Preparations For A Planted Tank

Author Topic: Preparations for a Planted Tank  (Read 29580 times)

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TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #50 on: February 17, 2013, 12:42:49 AM »
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Planting... 5 of 7

TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #51 on: February 17, 2013, 12:45:26 AM »
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Planting... 6 of 7

TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #52 on: February 17, 2013, 12:48:31 AM »
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Planting... 7 of 7

Offline ColinB

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #53 on: February 17, 2013, 09:32:45 AM »
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That looks good so far. Quality plants! Thanks for taking the trouble to post - I'm looking forward to watching your tank mature.

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TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #54 on: February 17, 2013, 08:54:31 PM »
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Thanks Colin. I think it's going to end up looking pretty nice once it gets going, and pretty chuffed with my efforts.

The melting has already begun on all of the broader leaf plants, which I expected of course.  The Staurogyne repens and Eleocharis parvula have perked up brilliantly over the last 2 days with the parvula visibly longer already.  Java Moss has started to turn its strands towards the light too.

I did a Phosphate (PO43-) test yesterday, to discover my tap water contains 5ppm, one step from from the maximum colour chart reading at 10ppm.  Not sure whether I need to worry about that being quite so high as I know the plants will use it too.

Anyway, looking forward to getting the last of the plants this coming Thursday.

TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #55 on: February 25, 2013, 12:49:05 AM »
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End of week #1.

There is a distinct amount less to see this week in the plant department as all but one of the Crypts has melted completely.  Now I wait for their coming back (I hope)  :-\

Everything else seems to be hanging in there ok.

I have also been observing the appearance of uninvited guests, in the form of about 10 very small snails.  These chaps have grown very quickly from the 1mm almost translucent blobs I spotted earlier in the week to now 5mm.  I've attached a snap of one feeding on some Java Moss,  From the shell colouration it looks like a common Pond Snail.  I don't mind them being there, as long as they don't become destructive.

Still no sign of the missing plants from my mail order, they were apparently sent via standard post on Thursday.  Not very happy about that one bit, especially as they will have had added days in transit from the Tropica source to their shop in Wrexham.  I'll be very surprised if they survive, if they arrive at all. Telephone conduct of this shop has a great deal to be desired; obnoxious actually.  I won't be using them ever again.

I have also been keeping a watch on water parameters and it looks like I've kick-started a slow silent cycle.

DateKHpHPhosphateAmmoniaNitrIteNitrAte
Sat 16 Feb27.250.2505
Tue 19 Feb37.540.2505
Thu 21 Feb37.540.250.15
Sun 24 Feb37.540.250.255


Offline ColinB

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #56 on: February 25, 2013, 07:29:23 AM »
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I get my plants from these guys..... http://www.plantsalive.co.uk/index.php ....they don't ship Tropica plants but they've always been top quality, very large and there always seem to be more than I asked for. Their communication is great and no mistakes have been made.

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TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #57 on: February 26, 2013, 09:35:03 AM »
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Thanks Colin, I've bookmarked the site for future reference.

The remaining items from my plant order arrived whilst I was out at work on Monday.  Thankfully my neighbor took in the parcel for me which I was handed when I got back home.  Saved me another day delay and a trip to the central sorting office in town.

So, this is the final bit of planting/attachments.  Now... grow, grow, grow  ;D


TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #58 on: March 03, 2013, 07:16:43 PM »
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End of Week #2

Snails seem to be smaller in number as I've only managed to count 6 at once this week. I'm happy about that TBH.  One of them is about 8mm in length (head to back of shell), the others in varying sizes up to about 4 or 5 mm.

Water parameters for this week indicate that the silent cycle is over, as all Ammonia and NitrIte have been consumed.  After the readings on Tuesday showed a higher NitrAte level I did a 50ltr water change (about 28%).  This was the first water change since starting the tank.  Both Thursday and Sunday readings show no further increases in the NitrAte.  My regular weekly 50ltr water change begins tonight.

DateKHpHPhosphateAmmoniaNitrIteNitrAte
Tue 26 Feb47.5400.2520
Thu 28 Feb47.550010
Sun 03 Mar47.540010

The melted Crypts have yet to make an appearance again, but the other plants do appear to be settling in nicely, and all are showing signs of increased or new growth.

To combat the build-up of the thin oily scum that tends to develop quickly, I added an airpump and a double tube feed to small airstones at both rear corners.  I incorporated adjustable flow valves to each, allowing the rate to be evened out and reduced to a low level. (Picture of the mount attached).

Offline ColinB

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #59 on: March 04, 2013, 07:27:04 AM »
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Now that's a great bit of air-pump engineering.... I love it!!

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TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #60 on: March 04, 2013, 10:02:28 PM »
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 ;D Neat huh!  Didn't want to leave all those joined tubes just laying around the bottom of the cabinet.

Speaking of things being left laying around... snails have been getting busy.  Found half a dozen egg sacks stuck to the glass when I got home from work tonight.  Me thinks I'll have to start doing some culling before things get silly.  ::)

TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #61 on: March 10, 2013, 10:33:23 PM »
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End of Week #3

Snail population has not exploded, so my scraping off of egg sacks when I spy them seems to be working ok.

Finally one of the melted Crypts, a Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Green' [link], has come back from the dead and 3 small leaves are just above the level of the gravel.  This one is in the extreme left-front position in my layout.  The other Crypts are still dead ducks at the moment.  :'( I'm going to give them another week to make some sort of appearance before deciding whether to plant something else in those spots.  Shame really, I do hope they bounce back.

I trimmed down the Nymphoides sp. 'Taiwan' [link] by about half on Wednesday, as the upper leaves seemed to be failing and slowly showing signs of melt.  My hope was to promote new growth from the bottom to help create a larger bush as the specimen is a bit slim.  This seems to have done the trick and there are a good half a dozen new growths coming up from the base now.  ;D

The Echinodorus ‘Red Special’ [link] was also relieved of 2 dying leaves on Wednesday, and I have to say this bugger is a very quick grower.  It has already shot up two more leaves, with more on the way.  This will be a really nice plant when it gets filled out properly.  Doing really well.  8)

Everything else is looking just fine at the moment, including the water condition.

DateKHpHPhosphateAmmoniaNitrIteNitrAte
Tue 05 Mar57.55007.5
Thu 07 Mar57.54007.5
Sun 10 Mar57.54007.5

Tonight I had to clean the glass of some Green Spot Algae, a tougher growth to get rid of than expected. Also vacuumed the surface of the substrate to suck up quite a bit of Brown Hair Algae.  Overall the algae problems are nowhere near as severe as I was expecting, so bonus for me.

Happy plant-keeper here.  ;D

This weeks pics attached.

TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #62 on: March 17, 2013, 09:39:00 PM »
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End of Week #4

My snail population has started to grow, as I've now counted 15.  Currently they are helping to clear algae from leaves, and leaving lots of poo which I have to bush off (pic attached).

Brown hair algae appears to be more than happy in the tank, though my maintenance is taking out most of the weekly growth.  Big one appeared on the Java Moss, attached a snap of that before it got vacuumed off tonight.

My Bogwood piece has had some white growths appear, you can see that in my other thread [Odd growth on Bogwood].

I'm also seeing a steady increase of very small white worm like critters, which I assume are Planaria (flatworm).

There has been no sign of the missing Crypts, so I'm now going to source some additional plants to fill the gaps.

The one recovered Crypt is still growing, but very slowly.

Water is taking on a slightly murky hue, and water change tonight (50ltr) showed it to be a bit on the green side. Visual quality has not improved after the water change, so I may have to do a big one next weekend.

Water parameters are much the same as last week, though there has been an apparent increase in the NitrAte.  I have not seen any Ammonia or NitrIte so I don't know where that has come from.

DateKHpHPhosphateAmmoniaNitrIteNitrAte
Tue 12 Mar47.55005
Thu 14 Mar47.54005
Sun 17 Mar47.54007.5

Pics attached.

Offline ColinB

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #63 on: March 18, 2013, 07:24:06 AM »
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Wow - those snails are messy!

I don't know if you've seen this article about algae? Definitely worth bookmarking.

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TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #64 on: March 18, 2013, 10:34:22 AM »
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Ooo, good page, thanks Colin.

** edit **
Spotted a female Cyclops Copepod [info], with eggs.  Tiny little thing darting over the glass, looks like a little space rocket.  Snails, Planaria, Algae and now Copepods... what next?

TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #65 on: March 20, 2013, 11:47:06 PM »
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Algae control.

As of Sunday (17th) I stopped adding JBL Ferropol daily dose and changed lighting regime to include a siesta period:-

On: 12pm to 4pm
Siesta: 4pm to 6pm
On: 6pm to 12am
Off: 12am to 12pm

The fast growing Brown hair algae is very much diminished in growth as of today.  Looks like the regime change is improving things as planned.

I ran a test of the cycling capabilities too, and am massively impressed with the results.

Cycle Test (dose: 5mL Ammonium Hydroxide @ 9.5%)
DateKHpHPhosphateAmmoniaNitrIteNitrAte
Sun 17 Mar (post dose)---20-
Mon 18 Mar---1.507.5
Tue 19 Mar47.540.5230
Wed 20 Mar---0030 (was expecting higher)

Without me doing anything special, my bacterial colonies have shifted a huge amount of waste in 3 days, far more than my entire current stock could produce in a whole week.

Ok, so the water parameters are fine, but visually it looks sick.  Completed a 50% water change tonight... 9 buckets... takes a while... but it has improved a great deal.

If the algae has continued to be controlled, and the water quality is stable, I'll be doing another 50% water change on Saturday and will be moving my community over from the 64ltr tank.

Offline ColinB

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #66 on: March 21, 2013, 07:44:12 AM »
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Sounds like you're breeding live food for your fish - very thoughtful of you. ;)

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TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #67 on: March 21, 2013, 10:05:55 PM »
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 ;D I'm going to put a sign on the tank "Free Buffet, All You Can Eat, Bring A Fishy Friend".

The water is still getting more murky, so I've started a blackout until Saturday.  See if that helps me along a bit more.

TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #68 on: March 25, 2013, 12:31:02 AM »
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End Of Week #5

The blackout I imposed from Wednesday night through Saturday night has done an amazing job of killing algae from plant leaves, and the water cleared up quite a bit too. Brown hair algae is definitely in retreat as a result, and the snails have been very happily chomping their way through the left overs.  Due to the intervention this week, have postponed the move of my existing stock until next weekend.

Friday did not see me do a water change, despite all of the Ammonia and NitrIte being consumed.  I didn't want to have to open up the tank during the blackout to do a water change, so redosed the Ammonia to leave it until the planned Saturday opening.

Saturday's high NitrAte decided me to run a big 75% water change, despite there being NitrItes still left to cycle.  The result was worth the effort though, tank looks far better for it.  I did not dose Ammonia again after Saturday water change, but left it until Sunday night instead.

DateKHpHPhosphateAmmoniaNitrIteNitrAte
Wed 20 Mar (post dose)---205
Thu 21 Mar37.550.5230
Fri 22 Mar---0040
Fri 22 Mar (post dose)---2--
Sat 23 Mar---05100
Sun 24 Mar37.55005
Sun 24 Mar (post dose)---2--

I have added some small terracotta pots to the sand in the central foreground as I was getting bored looking at all that blank space, and am also considering moving the left hand Mango Root piece to the left back corner (where the melted crypts should be growing), as it is obscuring the view of the plants.

Pics attached.


Offline ColinB

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #69 on: March 25, 2013, 07:45:40 AM »
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Looks good and I'm glad the black-out worked.

What's that tall, lightish-green plant in the first photo at the back, middle-right, behind the third plant-pot from the left, please? I like it and couldn't work it out from your planting diagram.

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TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #70 on: March 25, 2013, 09:53:32 AM »
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What's that tall, lightish-green plant in the first photo at the back, middle-right, behind the third plant-pot from the left, please? I like it and couldn't work it out from your planting diagram.

That's the Nymphoides sp. 'Taiwan' [link].  Grows pretty quick and makes a nice contrast in the greens as it is so light.

Offline ColinB

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #71 on: March 25, 2013, 10:48:40 AM »
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Thanks, Dave. I wonder if I can keep that alive for any length of time?  ;D

My Vallis torta has just shed loads of leaves and a few have floated to the surface showing they've lost their roots.  :( *sigh* Ho-hum.... it looks like another Crypt will have to go in that spot. But, hey, I like crypts so it's OK.

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Offline SteveS

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #72 on: March 25, 2013, 11:42:18 AM »
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tropica do a nifty little web based catalogue that you can waft through.  Alternatively, you can download a pdf based version.  The first half is a number of articles about aquaria, but the second half is a list of plants with photos and some description all colour-coded based on ease of care.  If you are looking for some easy plants to try, it is a great place to get some ideas.

But it's worth a look anyway as it's a really nice little document.

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TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #73 on: April 01, 2013, 12:49:11 AM »
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End of Week #6

@ColinB, I've had to trim runner for the Echinodorus quadricostatus (link) 3 times since I planted it on Feb 26th.  It seems to be a very adept grower.

Most of the algae seems to be under control now, especially the brown hair algae which is not growing at all now.  I haven't seen any Green Spot algae on the glass, and no further instances of green algae on the sand has appeared either.  My only remaining issue is the green algae in the water column which is making everything look dirty (of course).

The week has gone well, and as we have hit the Eater weekend, my plans changed just a little. On Friday I transferred all my stock of 15 fish and 9 shrimp from my 64 litre tank.  So far everything seems to have gone well, with WCMM's shoaling quite happily together, the Glowlight Tetra's being as chilled out and together as usual, and the Glowlight Danio males chasing each other around the tank with even more gusto than before.

The large number of hiding spots seem to favor the Shrimp, as I have only seen 4 or 5 at a time, with the rest keeping away from the open areas of the tank.  I was worried that they would start chomping on plants right away, but everything seems to be going just fine at the moment.

DateKHpHPhosphateAmmoniaNitrIteNitrAte
Mon 25 Mar---00.2530
Tue 26 Mar37.55007.5
Tue 26 Mar (post dose)---20< 5
Wed 27 Mar---00.2530
Thu 28 Mar27.57.50030
Fri 29 Mar-----7.5
Sat 30 Mar------
Sun 31 Mar47.57.50010

NitrAte has been all over the place as I finished an API batch and started a new one on Tuesday.  The readings look very odd and I don't trust them at all.  It is Saturday before I can buy a JBL kit to run a comparison.  Just my luck that the new API kit and the JBL read the same.  Very weird, but I have to trust the readings.

Phosphate is rising, though there is already an abundance in the tap water.  Probably means the pad in the filter is full, which is replaced on Sunday.

With the stock emptied from the 64 litre, I begin to use this as an isolation tank.  On Saturday I got a single female Glowlight Danio to increase the shoal to 6, and give another girl to the squabbling boys.  In addition, I have 6 Cherry Barbs (2m, 4f)... and I love 'em already.  3 weeks in isolation and then we swap out for the next lot.

Oh, forgot to mention.  I move the left hand Mango root piece from the front to the back of the tank.  This gives good visibility on the gravel patch on the left.  Not sure if this is going to stay at the back, but we'll see what happens.

Offline ColinB

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #74 on: April 01, 2013, 09:48:40 AM »
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End of Week #6

@ColinB, I've had to trim runner for the Echinodorus quadricostatus (link) 3 times since I planted it on Feb 26th.  It seems to be a very adept grower.

  In addition, I have 6 Cherry Barbs (2m, 3f)... and I love 'em already. 

Thanks Dave.... I might try an Echinodorus quad, but you do seem to have more light in your tank than me. Though it's impossible to tell from piccies. I have 1 x 11Watt bulb on a flexi-stem over the glass evaporation covers. It looks like you have 2 x long tubes in there and that'll make a big difference I would think.

p.s. 2+3=5  ;D ;D

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TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #75 on: April 01, 2013, 11:27:46 AM »
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@ColinB, I've had to trim runner for the Echinodorus quadricostatus (link) 3 times since I planted it on Feb 26th.  It seems to be a very adept grower.

Thanks Dave.... I might try an Echinodorus quad, but you do seem to have more light in your tank than me. Though it's impossible to tell from piccies. I have 1 x 11Watt bulb on a flexi-stem over the glass evaporation covers. It looks like you have 2 x long tubes in there and that'll make a big difference I would think.

Ahh right.  I have 2x30watt T8's in here.

In addition, I have 6 Cherry Barbs (2m, 3f)... and I love 'em already. 
p.s. 2+3=5  ;D ;D

 :o  There's my brain to finger communication breaking down again. That beer was more effective than I thought.  Fixed.  ;D

**edit**
I lost a Glowlight Tetra female this morning, she was floating upside down at the surface.  No sign of any infections, belly has been partially eaten. The other 4 are perfectly ok, no sign of any problems. :-(

Offline SteveS

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #76 on: April 01, 2013, 02:54:23 PM »
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Thanks Dave.... I might try an Echinodorus quad, but you do seem to have more light in your tank than me. Though it's impossible to tell from piccies. I have 1 x 11Watt bulb on a flexi-stem over the glass evaporation covers. It looks like you have 2 x long tubes in there and that'll make a big difference I would think.

Remember that your tank is much smaller than Tigz's.  This also makes a difference.  As does the type of light.  I think that yours is an LED light isn't it?  If it is LED then any comparisons of wattage are irrelevant.

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Offline ColinB

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #77 on: April 02, 2013, 07:41:36 AM »
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Ahh right.  I have 2x30watt T8's in here.

**edit**
I lost a Glowlight Tetra female this morning, she was floating upside down at the surface.  No sign of any infections, belly has been partially eaten. The other 4 are perfectly ok, no sign of any problems. :-(

Sorry about your Tetra.

My 11Watt light is a Compact Flourescent (link) at 6500K into a 55Litre 40cm deep tank, so there's a lot less light than your 60W into 180litres. The only clump of Vallis torta that has not died yet is at the side of the tank near the window, so I suspect it's all to do with light levels. In that size tank (40cm cube) then Crypts and Java Fern look fine. I think I'll get some more bog-wood and attach Ferns and place it vertically in the tank to give me height.

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TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #78 on: April 02, 2013, 07:59:07 PM »
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Most of the algae seems to be under control now, especially the brown hair algae which is not growing at all now.  I haven't seen any Green Spot algae on the glass, and no further instances of green algae on the sand has appeared either.  My only remaining issue is the green algae in the water column which is making everything look dirty (of course).

Battle with green water has commenced.  I've dropped the lights on routing to just 6 hours and have committed to a 50% (90ltr) water change tonight, Thursday and Saturday to try and reduce as much of the algae in the water as possible.  Then we wait through next week, keeping the short lighting regime to see what happens.

Now, I'm aware that I'm trying to find a balance, one that will get easier as the plants grow, but right now there's too many nutrients not enough plants.  So battle continues.

After this, my next step will be getting UV kit, which is an expense (circa £60-70) that I'd rather not make (car is in the shop, again!).

Onwards!  ;D

TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #79 on: April 07, 2013, 07:42:46 PM »
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End Of Week #7

My planned heavy lifting of water has been done this week, and the water today looks absolutely amazing.  I'll be keeping the lower 6 hour lights on regime, but will now not be changing the water as I want to observe the growth of the algae.  From this experiment I should be able to determine whether I keep a balance with smaller water changes (oh yes please). Ideally I'd like the max to be a 40L change each week (about 23%), but I reckon it will be a while before I get to that stage, so we'll see. By next weekend I will make a decision on whether to get the UV kit or persevere with larger water changes.

Bonus note is that I did a filter clean last Sunday and replaced the phosphate pad. This is now helping to get the level down. The pad that came with the filter was in there for 45 days, and looking at the readings became saturated at around the 30 day mark.  That fits in with the manufacturers own estimates of 4-6 weeks.

Date|GH|KH|pH|Phosphate|Ammonia|NitrIte|NitrAte|Water Change|
Mon 1st Apr|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|
Tue 2nd Apr|5|4|7.5|3|0|0|10|50%|
Wed 3rd Apr|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|
Thu 4th Apr|6|5|7.5|2|0|0|7.5|50%|
Fri 5th Apr|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|
Sat 6th Apr|7|5|7.5|2|0|0|5|50%|
Sun 7th Apr|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|

This weeks pics attached.

Offline ColinB

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #80 on: April 08, 2013, 07:52:36 AM »
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That's looking good.... and you'll be looking quite 'toned' if you keep doing all those water changes. ;D ;D

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Offline Natalia

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #81 on: April 08, 2013, 11:18:49 PM »
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Hi Dave,
I must admit – I am a little bit puzzled with the things you do and the reasons behind it...  First of all – and sorry to be harsh (if I am) – you tank is not a planted tank. It is a tank with a few plants, that’s it... Personally, I think you have put yourself in the most difficult position with regards of running this tank –  generic rules of a non planted tank do not quite apply as well as generic rules of a planted tank...
I am sorry if I missed something – I only have limited time so I only briefly scanned through the thread (I think I even posted once a while ago...).  So, apologies if I misread/missed something. Why are you doing those large water changes and have a Phosphate removing pad? I understood that your tap water has plenty of Phosphate  so by doing these water changes, you actually adding more than usual – and then you have to change the Phosphate pad as it gets saturated! Is not this counterproductive? Another thing – what is the aim of large water changes ? I am not saying they are never good – on the contrary! (I do fairly large ones on all of my tanks on a regular basis – alternating them with smaller ones). But there must be a reason for everything... If you are trying to bring Phosphates and Nitrates to as close to zero whilst trying to grow plants – you are fundamentally wrong. Phosphates and Nitrates are the two of a number of major nutrients for plants – removing them to zero means that you are simply starving your plants.... I have to ADD both of those in my planted tanks (albeit, my tanks have much more “greenery” than yours) – but even small amount of plants will need some of these nutrients.
Hence I am puzzled – I do not understand your goals,  and I think you might be moving in the wrong direction....

TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #82 on: April 09, 2013, 12:19:38 AM »
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If you take some time to read my posts, you would (or should) see clearly what I have done and what I am doing. As one of my old teachers used to say "discover by reading and listening, learn by doing".

I'm not overly concerned about phosphates, there is far more in the water than my 'moderate' splattering of plants could consume.  My observations about the pad are just that; observations. Nitrates are also not a concern, the output from the bio load is currently quite small and I am quite happy with the water parameters generally.

As in the postings above, I did have a growing problem with various types of algae, which I have already dealt with and cured.

My only concern at the moment is green water algae and finding a balance as plants grow and my fish stock gets bigger.  My tests are to determine whether I can balance water clarity easily, without needing to buy a UV unit to help me along. I already know the green algae will continue to grow as there isn't enough competition for nutrients.

I tend to micro-manage, it's a trait I enjoy and probably in part due to my job (I'm a software engineer) and helps me understand how things work.  Once I understand a system, or a part of it, I relax and stop working so hard.  I did the same thing with my 64L tank which now I only maintain once a week, because I understand it.  If I wrote what I'd done with that tank over the last year you would probably cringe.

Please do read the posts above when you have more time, as your experienced input is welcome.

Offline Natalia

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #83 on: April 09, 2013, 09:26:28 PM »
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Hi Dave,
Yes, I read the whole thread again... Unfortunately, I did not get any additional information (note: my “quick reading” is a technique which helps to absorb as much information in a shorter length of time – so, really, I was doubting myself after your suggestion but realized that I should have not...)
Anyway – after re-reading the thread slowly I still am confused about what you are doing. You have created such a “mish-mash” of the different technics – it is simply amazing. It could have been a break through in the aquarium hobby if it worked but is not so far...
First of all – you “silent cycle” was not really one (you needed 200% more plants to make it reasonable). Secondarily – you used dirt as a medium but you need at least 100% more rooted plants to neutralize the negative effects of putting highly “active” substrate medium – the more, the better.
You have experienced Ammonia spikes – these would have not happen if you had more plants. You dirt substrate is leaching ammonia into the water BECAUSE there is no enough plant cover! This is what caused you green water algae and the death of your tetra. The moss and Anubias will NOT solve this problem as their uptake of nutrients is very slow. I can predict that the Ammonia spikes will be less and less frequent and less intense as your dirt matures in the tank but you will still have a few more. The rise of Phosphate in the water column is again triggered by so much of fresh dirt without enough of rooted plants. Your extensive water changes may help against green water (not 100% guarantee and a lot of water changes before you see the permanent result). The water changes are necessary for the foreseeable future to help to keep you fish alive, though.
The course of action (you may take it or leave it as you wish): immediately buy hornwort (ceratophyllum demersum), wash it and add to the tank (floating plant); continue with water changes; buy vallis and more of starogine, plant them; continue with water changes; as vallis and starogine grow, you may gradually remove hornwort. This will ensure that you tank will not go into a complete disaster but will recover and “perk up”. Hopefully, these measures will eliminate the green water algae (no guarantee for that and you might have to buy a UV filter – but I am trying to save money for you – it is better to spend it on more plants that the UV filter). And remember – dirt substrate tanks should be a JUNGLE not a few plants here and there.
That’s it. Take it or leave it – you decide.

TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #84 on: April 09, 2013, 10:07:57 PM »
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Thanks for your input.  :)

TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #85 on: April 14, 2013, 10:44:50 PM »
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End Of Week #8

I deliberately left the tank alone this week to see how much the Green Water Algae would grow, and with a single 50% water change on Saturday, the clarity is quite acceptable.  This next week I'll be splitting the water change into two parts to make it a bit easier, and I have increased the lights on by an hour to cover 5pm to midnight.

So, I believe my test has allowed me to find a good balance of amount of water change to preserve water clarity over a full week. I'm quite happy with that amount for now, so I'll not be getting a UV unit.

All other water parameters are as expected, with no surprises.

Date|GH|KH|pH|Phosphate|Ammonia|NitrIte|NitrAte|Water Change|
Mon 8th Apr|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|
Tue 9th Apr|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|
Wed 10th Apr|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|
Thu 11th Apr|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|
Fri 12th Apr|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|
Sat 13th Apr|7|6|7.5|1|0|0|10|50%|
Sun 7th Apr|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|

This weeks pics attached.

TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #86 on: April 14, 2013, 11:40:51 PM »
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I'd like to go back to Natalia's narrative if I may, just to pull out entries for further clarity or for additional conversation.

Anyway – after re-reading the thread slowly I still am confused about what you are doing. You have created such a “mish-mash” of the different technics – it is simply amazing. It could have been a break through in the aquarium hobby if it worked but is not so far...

Well, you would need to explain what this "mish-mash" you have read actually is. I don't believe I have done anything unusual, and certainly nowhere near a "break through in the aquarium hobby".  What is it you think I'm doing that gives you this impression.

First of all – you “silent cycle” was not really one

Granted, and as it was a mere blip it went away within days. I didn't expect to see it as I have never done this type of tank before.

you used dirt as a medium but you need at least 100% more rooted plants to neutralize the negative effects of putting highly “active” substrate medium – the more, the better.

That would be great, but it isn't going to happen with the budget allocated.  It isn't a problem.

You have experienced Ammonia spikes – these would have not happen if you had more plants. You dirt substrate is leaching ammonia into the water BECAUSE there is no enough plant cover!  The moss and Anubias will NOT solve this problem as their uptake of nutrients is very slow. I can predict that the Ammonia spikes will be less and less frequent and less intense as your dirt matures in the tank but you will still have a few more.

I have experienced one single Ammonia spike right at the beginning. It went away. There have been no other Ammonia spikes other than what I have manually introduced whilst preparing the tank for residents.

This is what caused you green water algae and the death of your tetra.

There is no way you could know why the Tetra died; even I couldn't know the cause.  It is highly unlikely to have died from an Ammonia spike (because there wasn't any) or GWA (if it was pea-soup, my fish would never be in the tank anyway).

The rise of Phosphate in the water column is again triggered by so much of fresh dirt without enough of rooted plants.

Nope, there is no increase in Phosphates coming from the substrate.  My tap-water contains a very high level, 5ppm or more.

Your extensive water changes may help against green water (not 100% guarantee and a lot of water changes before you see the permanent result). The water changes are necessary for the foreseeable future to help to keep you fish alive, though.

GWA is the only thing that concerns me at present, as noted in my previous posts.  However, it appears I have found the right balance to sustain the clarity of the water for now.

The course of action (you may take it or leave it as you wish): immediately buy hornwort (ceratophyllum demersum), wash it and add to the tank (floating plant); continue with water changes; buy vallis and more of starogine, plant them; continue with water changes; as vallis and starogine grow, you may gradually remove hornwort. This will ensure that you tank will not go into a complete disaster but will recover and “perk up”.

That's super info, but it isn't going to happen on my budget, certainly not this side of Summer.  You have made a prediction that if I do not follow this guidance my tank will fail. I can't really accept that based on what I'm observing in the tank.  I think you are painting a unfairly dark picture.

That’s it. Take it or leave it – you decide.

Again, thanks for the input.  You have made some interesting observations and suggestions, which of course are taken on-board to be used if needed in the future.

Offline ColinB

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #87 on: April 15, 2013, 07:54:38 AM »
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Good to see your Crypts growing.... and I think the Anubias is great. It's a lovely species of the genus and I've 'filed' it for future reference to use myself.

The Taiwan's looking....errrrr..... interesting after the 'Attack Of The Giant Shrimps' episode. ;D

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TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #88 on: April 21, 2013, 11:48:42 PM »
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End Of Week #9

Plants continue to grow pretty well.  The Taiwan has now doubled in length and at last has sprouted another leaf at the base.  I'm so happy with the plants generally, that I've taken cuttings for addition in my isolation tank.  I've snipped part of the Coffeefolia, 2 stems from the Repens and now have seven rosettes from the prolific Quadricostatus.

My playing around with the GWA and water changes didn't really pay off, as the water got quite ugly early in the week.  I've now ordered a UV Unit which will be a couple weeks.

Saturday was the end of my first three week isolation of new fish, so now I have added the 6 Cherry Barbs and Glowlight Danio female to the tank.  The Barbs have settled in very nicely, and the 4 male Glowlight Danios have been less aggressive after adding the second female.  I'll be keeping a watch on them, but I have the option of taking 3 males to LFS for re-homing and replacing with females.

Pond snail count was around 50, so I've added 3 Assassin Snails to try and keep it under control.  The Assassins have already been busy as I've found 3 empty shells within 24 hours.  I even managed to watch an Assassin take out a pond snail earlier tonight. Amazing. The Assassin slid away from the empty shell, buried itself in the sand and is now asleep... fat 'n happy... bless.  ;D

My isolation tank now houses a new batch of fish; one Glowlight Tetra to replace the one deceased 3 weeks ago, and 5 Black Neon Tetra.

Other water parameters are nice and stable, no surprises.

This weeks pics attached.


Offline Natalia

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #89 on: April 26, 2013, 11:03:55 PM »
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Hi Dave,
As I am “celebrating” my last day visiting this forum (for at least the nearest future), I feel that I don’t really “fit” into this forum and, frankly, I started to feel that there is no need for me being on this forum advising (in vain) what is actually can be picked up by a proper research... I am going to do a couple of posts anyway, and feel the reply to you should be among them.
Firstly, explaining the “mish-mash”. Fundamentally, there are two types of tropical tanks: planted and non-planted. Planted tanks have a few recognized methods/techniques: high-tech, low-tech and El Naturel (see Diana Walstad’s book). These methods are reasonably flexible to an extent but still any tank maintained falls into one or another category. The “mish-mash” you have created is the fact that you have fundamentally what is called a non planted tank (e.g. a tank with a few plants) and you use the substrate for El Naturel type with the routine of a high-tech tank!
I could not really believe that you dismissed my suggestion of buying more plants due to financial reasons but then bought a UV filter, honestly! This soo much undermines your whole way of reasoning. You said you could not afford plants... A bunch of Vallis costs about £2 (£5 for 3) in the LFS’s across the country and Tropica pots (Starogine as any other plant) is widely sold for £10 per three pots (unless you live somewhere obscure that this general tendency dos not apply). £30 or even £15 would have been the start of solving your problem – you have opted to mask the problem (not cure it) with an UV filter which, I bet, cost you  much-much more.
Ammonia spikes. They are called “spikes” for a reason. They do not time their appearance to the time you do your water testing. They come and go – sometimes a few times in a short period of time. You really have to be there testing every hour to detect them – you should know that by now. Undetected by once in a while testing these spikes damage your fish and influence the overall state of your tank – hence your green water algae and your poor tetra...
In fairness, not only dirt but very expensive and iconic substrates like ADA ones do leach ammonia in the first few weeks (or months) – hence they are ideal of doing a fishless cycle without adding Ammonia from a bottle (again, you should know this before you put dirt into your tank!) Apart from Ammonia, substrates not covered with plants leach (and will continue to do so) all sorts of “stuff” (you should have investigated this before putting dirt into what is fundamentally a tank with VERY few plants – which really should have started with a principle of a non-planted tank, e.g. dirt was a mistake altogether with the level of planting you have).
Your newly bought UV filter will “mask” the problem e.g. by killing the free suspended green water algae but it will not eliminate the main problem – NOT ENOUGH PLANTS. Other problems will be lingering in the vicinity manifesting themselves as soon as they can. Again, I am still in disbelief that you rejected buying new plants for your, frankly, bare, tank but spent money on UV filter instead.
For your (and others) information: Amano shrimps do NOT eat HEALTHY plants. They only attack what is disintegrating in plant tissue. So your Taiwan being eaten overnight is not a surprise. What still looked O.K. to your human eye was, in fact, dying – and this is why the Amanos “all of a sudden” started eating it (they did not do that from the very start, did they???)
As a finishing touch – please, see photos of three of my 6 planted tanks(made with a very old 12 years camera, so not that good as photographs) They are all planted but I would not call them HEAVILY planted – you will see what I mean calling your tank a bare one.
Do read Diana Walstad’s book, do a search for Tom Barr (search for Barr Report) on the net – and do think and apply the knowledge to your particular tank. I have been corresponding with Diana and Tom replied to a couple of my messages on another forum – I think I do know something about keeping plants but the main mistake is (as you did) to assume you already have got enough of knowledge... By the number of times you log in I can guess that you are much luckier than me working from 8:30 till whenever I can escape from work – not having time to look elsewhere but work matters. As you have much more time on your hands you should have gained much more knowledge than me – if you only looked and did not assume you already know everything...

TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #90 on: April 27, 2013, 09:58:49 AM »
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^^

This is the reason I don't frequent large forums anymore, I've had my fill of elitist high-and-mighty posters to last a lifetime.  Suggestions are great, usually helpful, and always welcomed, but when used as part of an attack I'll always question the motives.

Did I reject getting more plants as an option?  No, I thought about it, and even freed up a slice of my household budget.  I made a choice, obviously one you don't like, but I have no intention of justifying my actions to someone who posts with such an abhorrent attitude. I even now get attacked for logging on to the forum more than once a day... that's quite a chip on your shoulder missy.

I could go on and make further objections to your missive, but I won't bother pointing out where you are wrong, and where I agree with you.

Offline Resa

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #91 on: April 27, 2013, 03:24:35 PM »
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What a shame some people have to be so unpleasant :(  I really don't feel that it's anyones business but your own, how many times you do or do not visit the forum.  Personally, I am always popping in and out...my son often comments, "oh, she's thinking fish again"  :D  Yet, I have a business to run, a home and massive garden to keep and 2 men to pick up after, not to mention an abundance of friends both here and in the UK to keep up with, plus of course my lovely fish to sit and gaze at. ;) Perhaps, others would have more time for the friendly chat and banter that we normally experience on this forum, if they took more care with what they were reading in the first place? 
I have to admit that I needed to read Natalia's posts several times to fully understand them as her writing is not that clear. I wondered if this and her abrasive manner were because maybe english is not her first language?  I didn't particularly feel that she was very helpful in her comments, either in giving much information or in the manner in which she did give her opinions, which is a shame because many people, including myself, would have welcomed solid knowledge on aquarium planting.

I have only ever experienced on this forum friendliness, patience, helpful advice and if the answers were not known to my problem, support.  I look forward to logging in and seeing how everyone is doing...and what new fishy stuff they have got :D

Personally, I am extremely pleased to have discovered this site first, as I did find some of the other ones after and would have been entirely put off any forums if they were my only choice.
So, perhaps it is for the best that Natalia returns to one of these where she will be happier and be with like-minded people.

I apologise for my rambling but this did rather rattle my cage >:(
Have a nice weekend Dave

Resa
  :)

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Offline ColinB

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #92 on: April 27, 2013, 03:50:36 PM »
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Exactly - keep posting Dave. I enjoy reading about what you're doing.

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TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #93 on: April 27, 2013, 05:01:34 PM »
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 :) Thanks peeps, I appreciate that a lot.  Normal service has been resumed.

Offline jesnon

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #94 on: April 27, 2013, 05:53:37 PM »
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I was quite confused and upset by Natalia's more recent comments. When I first joined the forum she was very welcoming and patient and gave me great advice. She has a great knowledge and was an asset to the forum especially in all things  plants. It's a shame to see such nastiness instead :-(

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TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #95 on: April 28, 2013, 08:00:59 PM »
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Ok.

End of Week 10.

I've done two 50% water changes this week (Thu+Sat) to get the water clarity to an acceptable level for picture taking.  UV kit is now installed, so at least I can start to let my aching right arm recover from all that heavy lifting. I have definitely managed to get myself a strain injury.  >:(

The Taiwan continues to gather strength, with 4 stalks showing leaf growth.  The Echinodorus quadricostatus seems to be determined to make a break for freedom and has now grown up the right side to almost the surface of the water column.  The other one has grown its runner around the back right corner and is breaking out along the back of the tank.

This weeks pics attached.

Offline ColinB

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #96 on: April 29, 2013, 07:28:31 AM »
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That's really starting to take shape. With the Echinodorus quadricostatus, can you cut it into the little sections and plant each of those? I can't quite get enough detail of the plant to see if each section has grown a root or not.

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TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #97 on: April 29, 2013, 09:46:22 AM »
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Thank Colin,

Yes on the Quad, each of the rosettes appear on the runner every 3 inches and immediately drop a root then grow leaves (clever plant). I took a cutting last week and dropped them into my isolation tank, but they are not getting anywhere near enough nutrients to grow much in there.  It kind of shows how well the 180ltr is going considering I don't add any additional ferts.  I'm going to attack them this coming weekend and get the rosettes planted along the borders of the gravel and sand.   If they keep on going, as I'm sure they will, I'll be able to start creating an interesting looking carpet going over the sand.

Offline jimbo1goey

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #98 on: April 29, 2013, 12:53:39 PM »
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Really enjoying following your progress Dave, by the looks of things, although young, your tank will be well and truely planted in no time - attack of the underwater triffids!  ;)

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TigzFish

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Re: Preparations for a Planted Tank
« Reply #99 on: April 29, 2013, 01:50:02 PM »
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Thanks Jimbo, that's very encouraging.   :)

I'm pretty sure that in a few months the whole tank will have improved no end, but yes you are quite right, it's still only a young build yet, and plenty of growing to be done.

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