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Old 01-19-2007, 10:53 PM   #1
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55 Gallon Planted tank Log

After swearing that I would never get into all of the hassle of a planted tank, my 29 gallon has been turned into a grow out tank for the next project. I have found that I really like the planted tank world.. a lot.

I inherited a disgusting 55 gallon tank and stand. After much elbow grease and rinsing, I'm ready to get going.

LWB shall enjoy a long legacy of readers coating the back of their tanks with"Rock Paint". I went with a black version I found since I like the way it sets off the color of the fish and the plants.


Since it's cold and snowing I had to paint it in the basement 8O lots of fumes off of this stuff. After a bag of doritos lol, I decided to sit down and write out my plans.

Specs:

55 gallon tank
2 - 130w coralife fixtures
6 bags of Eco-Complete
XP3 filter
Pressurized CO2
Inline reactor
Inline heater
Plants and lots of them.
A pair of scissors!

I'm thinking that I will not add fish until the tank and it's plants are fully established. I won't bother with a cycle at all, my plans are to just get the jungle healthy and add the fish when that time comes. This way I can play with the ferts and levels without concern for the fish.

Ultimately, I'm thinking Angels and perhaps GBRs. I have had angels before but never the GBRs so I will need to do a bit of research on them.

I plan on posting pictures as this tank develops. I should be receiving my substrate in a couple of days so it won't be long before the filter is running.

All input is appreciated... Actually it is requested.
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Old 01-20-2007, 05:56 PM   #2
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Sounds like you're off to a good plan...260 watts is a whole lot of light but with pressurized CO2 and ferts you'll be OK. Keep the scissors handy, though, as you're going to need them!

I have 4 bags of Eco in my 55 and that gives me a pretty deep (3-3.5") bed. 6 bags might be overkill unless you want to make some serious hills in there.

Also, be sure to have all your ferts before you ever turn those lights on, or you'll have algae faster than you can blink!

You could add some fish as the tank gets established (the "silent" cycle method) so as to slowly build up your biofilter. Keep an eye on the nitrite and ammonia but my guess is with the lights and plant biomass you'll never see a spike in either (I didn't). You might want to add the clean-up crew to your tank first, to get the biofilter going before adding the more fragile fish, and also to keep any algae issues in check. My first fish were SAEs, cories and BN plecos and they helped a lot with the algae (ok so not the cories!) while I was sorting out the whole high-light and ferts business.

Love the background, too! Keep us updated!
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Old 01-20-2007, 07:11 PM   #3
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Ah Sparky, you poor thing. You've been assimilated, which is a good thing. I can yak on ad-infinitum about planted tanks but since you mentioned keeping Angels and GBR's, and not having much experience with the GBR's, I figured I could give some insight.

First, check the Profiles Section for the GBR profile. There is also a thread I started awhile back called "German Blue Ram Discussion". You will find everything you need to know in those threads. You can also do a search on the following: "LWB" and "German Blue Ram".

I've kept the two together in the same tank for nearly two years and they are fantastic together.

Good luck.

Shameless GBR pic:
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Old 01-20-2007, 08:00 PM   #4
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260W of light is surely a lot of light. I was tihinking of starting out with only one fixture on to get things started a little more slowly. Not sure if that is a good idea or not yet... Ideas?

I have all my ferts already as I have been dosing on the 29 gallon tank. I read on one of the threads here that it was a good idea to have just about everything G. Watsom offered so in case you needed it you have it. I bought a couple of pounds of just about everything he sells .

Who could have a tank without a handful of corys?

I'm about excited about the background as I am the whole tank... Thanks again LWB!

Assimilated indeed. I think I'm just advancing to phase 2 of this disease lol. Thank you for the references and sources. I think that the gbr's are interesting little fish and would love to see what I can do with a few in the tank.

That's about the most colorful gbr I have seen yet.
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Old 01-20-2007, 09:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparky697
260W of light is surely a lot of light. I was thinking of starting out with only one fixture on to get things started a little more slowly. Not sure if that is a good idea or not yet... Ideas?
Lighting is a tricky thing. If you get the tank acclimated to less light and then bump it up later, you could experience an algae invasion until you catch up with it. If you really want to go with nearly 4.7wpg, do it from the start and don't look back.

Keep the scissors and pruning shears handy, you will need them.
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Old 01-20-2007, 09:43 PM   #6
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4.7 it is!

Lol, place your orders for free plants now

I got one bag of eco from ups today. Yes I put it in the tank too. It will be early next week before I get the tank filled and running. I plan on taking this time to research and decide what plants I want and can grow and what kind of design I'm going to go with.
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Old 01-20-2007, 10:07 PM   #7
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Congrats on your new tank, have fun!!!
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Old 01-23-2007, 10:53 PM   #8
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1-23-2007 Update-

I decided to go with a DIY reactor for CO2. I followed these plans for an inline reactor. The only change I made was to drill and thread the opening for the 3/16" hose barb that the co2 is fed through.




The inside of the reactor is filled with bio-balls tor better mixing.

3 more bags of Eco came today so I decided to put them in the tank and get it filled. The last two bags should be here in a day or two.

Here is a photo of the tank with substate, water, filter, heater, and reactor loosely installed for testing. Once I'm sure it all works properly, I will mount it where it goes and dress it up a bit.

I kind of like how it is hard to tell where the substrate ends and the back of the tank starts.
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Old 01-23-2007, 11:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
I kind of like how it is hard to tell where the substrate ends and the back of the tank starts.
That looks great-this will be a lovely tank. Looking forward to the progress pics!
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Old 01-23-2007, 11:39 PM   #10
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That background with that substrate - that looks awesome man, Good Job!

That's really going to make the colors in your plants and fish pop.

I can't wait to see pics after it's setup. But that white heater or intake (can't tell) has got to go!
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Old 01-23-2007, 11:54 PM   #11
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That looks great-this will be a lovely tank. Looking forward to the progress pics!
Thanks, I'm happy with it too. I have quite a few plants to begin stocking with so I'm kind of excited. I'll post a picture of my freakishly crowded 29 gallon tank tomorrow. It's holding most of my plants that will end up in this tank.

From what I can see, the flow from an XP3 will not be enough to keep an acceptable amount of water movement in the tank.

Can anybody out there that uses an XP3 on a 55 planted give me some input on what they do for circulation in addition to the filter, if any?

Quote:
But that white heater or intake (can't tell) has got to go!
I know man. What were they thinking? The discharge piping is all black, you probably can't even see it on the left. But they had to make the suction tube aqua blue

I will have to find a way to make it go away.
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Old 01-24-2007, 12:34 AM   #12
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Looks great. Also love the black on black background and substrate, your plants will look great against it. Gonna be a beauty, please keep us posted
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Old 01-25-2007, 10:31 PM   #13
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This weekend I plan on getting some work done with this tank. I have many plants that need a good haircut and the clippings will go into the 55.

The tanks that I am taking clippings from all have pond snails and ramshorn snails. It is inevitable that there will be some snails on these plants and they will end up in the new tank. Since there will be no fish in the new tank for many weeks, there will be no need for food in it either. Will the snails just die off? or can they go that long with no food?
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Old 01-25-2007, 11:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Can anybody out there that uses an XP3 on a 55 planted give me some input on what they do for circulation in addition to the filter, if any?
I had to add a powerhead on my 55g planted for more circulation. I adjusted it to where it doesn't disturb the plants much, but still moves the water around. I got a Maxijet PH. The Aquaclear brand would not adjust down enough for me.
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Old 01-25-2007, 11:03 PM   #15
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Whoops! Double post.

I forgot to say that your tank is gonna look really good planted. I love the background and the substrate together. It looks awesome!
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Old 01-25-2007, 11:13 PM   #16
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Ah, I love the jungle, actually! The snails will probably survive, eating dead plant bits and biofilm.

And I can't figure out either why they don't just make anything that goes in a tank BLACK.

Anyways [boing, boing, boing] I am excited to see more pics.
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Old 01-26-2007, 02:52 PM   #17
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I don't have an XP3 (wish I did), just an Aqua Clear 70 HOB, but my CO2 diffuser uses a powerhead that I have in the rear corner of the tank on the opposite side from the filter. It is at the bottom and points along the back wall of the tank and does a good job circulating the water back there at the base of all the tall background plants.
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Old 01-26-2007, 03:37 PM   #18
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I've got snails surviving in my FC, I'm willing to bet they can survive in your new tank.
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Old 01-27-2007, 04:21 PM   #19
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UPDATE 1-27-2007

I may not know what I am doing but I'm sure having fun doing it!

I'm not sure anything is where it is going to stay, but I started placing plants today in hopes of getting this tank growing.

I went and picked out some really cool rocks today and almost every one fizzed just a little when a frag was placed in a beaker of vinegar I may throw some of them in the tank just to see what happens. No fish, no harm.. kind of.

I have a few more plants coming and I think I will go and see if I can find more of those black/pink rocks that I put in my 29 gallon.

It looks to me like there should be some red plants in this tank.. Off to do some red plant research... Any suggestions?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg rock_cave_167.jpg (233.3 KB, 59 views)
File Type: jpg 55_day_one__3__145.jpg (234.2 KB, 65 views)
File Type: jpg 55_day_one__2__845.jpg (248.1 KB, 34 views)
File Type: jpg 55_day_one__1__181.jpg (241.8 KB, 40 views)
File Type: jpg 55_day_one_345.jpg (183.9 KB, 70 views)
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Old 01-27-2007, 04:29 PM   #20
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If the rocks fizzed, then they will affect your water chemistry. I would definately suggest avoiding them. Vinegar doesn't always react with rocks that will cause problems, so when it does you've got rocks that will cause serious problems.
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