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Old 02-03-2007, 04:11 PM   #1
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A year in the life

It's not quite a year since I set up my 72. It is a year since I first saw the tank in the store, and decided that I just "had" to have it.

I reinstalled my photo editing software today (new hard drive) and was looking back over some of the picture of that tank. It is kinda cool to see how your tank evolves. Different ideas, new skills, even different plants that are available. They all shape the look of a tank.

Here are a few "whole tank" shots. These are basically one per month since I set the tank up last March.

March 2006: ready for water

here it is all set up:

Next month... in April things began to fill in. coughcolectoritiscough

By May it was a Jungle:

In June my summer algae woes began. I did not take many pictures, no full tank shots. Look at the BBA all over my driftwood. The cause was poor CO2 diffusion, at some point in the summer I switched to mist method and upped my fert levels. It took until September for the algae to be totally back under control.

Here is a July 06 full tank shot. At this point, I was still using my canister filter for diffusion, not mist. I had risen my EI dosing routing, and was trying to be much disciplined about maintenance. I also did not big pruning. The only algae still hanging out was BBA. Things were back on track though. Look at the crypts on the right...they quickly become monsters.

I was busy having fun in the summer, so no major tank changes into August. Algae is still under control, and somewhere in this time frame i switched to a full mist CO2 method in this tank.

Also, my sons have varying degrees of partial colorblindness. In talking with my oldest, I realized that all the reds in my tank looked brown to him. He thought my tanks were full of dead and dieing plants. He said he always wondered why folks said it looked so good. He figured they were just being polite. In an attempt to let him see what the rest of us saw, I over saturated the color in this pic.

In September I took my scape in a new direction. I had dreams of creating an Iwagumi style tank...they stayed a dream. Algae are a memory by this time, and you can see the PH from my mist CO2.

October has me farming Eriocaulon sp. type 3, in anticipation of the AGA convention. I was able to provide the ET3 that was used as the "secret ingredient" in the Iron Aquascaper contest. See my baby Angels at the surface...they grow fast. Also the crypts on the right are really filling in.

At the AGA convention I picked up some nice Mopani wood. Actually it was one huge log, which I cut up on the band saw at work. The shapes of the wood inspired me to take the tank in a different direction. I decided I wasn't a Japanese Zen master, and I wasn't a Dutchman. So both of those styles were out. Instead, I decided to try a "theme" for my tank and build around that idea. The theme is "The Haunted Forest". So I am trying to create a dark and spooky look. The mopani wood looked like some old tree trunks, and I am trying to get plants with a haunted theme to them.. Murdiana "murder" spirata, "blood" red Tennelus, etc. I was also trying some carnivorous plants. that has not worked out so well...at least in this tank. My SAE's devoured all the soft and tasty carnivorous plants.

With the holidays and such, I did not take any specific pictures in December. So instead, here are the kids on X-mas morning… oh the joy . The tank is still dark, but you can see all the x-mas lights twinkling off of it.

And finally, here is shot I took in January; some parts are starting to fill in. Overall I am happy with how the tank is doing. Algae is minimal, growth is phenomenal. The Haunted Forest look is not complete IMO, it may never be, but it is still the look I am trying for.

I got this plant from Roland at Greenchapter, there is no info and as far as I know no real taxonomy of it. It was given to me as Hygrophila sp "foreground". It grows like a vine, and gets a purple blush. And, I almost lost it, one small sprig was barely hanging on in my shrimp tank, when I xfered it here and decided I better recover this unusual species. It has bounced back, and is becoming a weed.

Nymphaea micrantha. I looked today, and it is starting to send up a flower stalk... I can't wait

Got to have some bling bling - form over function as they say.

Well, that is it...nearly a year in the life of my main tank. A lot of fun, a lot of learning. we will see what the next year has in store... Is my wife reading this? I wonder if she would notice a new 125g tank....hehe

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Old 02-03-2007, 05:06 PM   #2
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Wow, that is a great "year in the life". I love all your tank's incarnations...even the BBA one(s). 8O So many people on here have such beautiful tanks...

29-gallon FW
1 yoyo loach, 2 polkadot loaches, 6 cherry barbs, 2 turquoise rainbows, 1 chinese algae eater, 2 harlequin rasboras; java fern, java moss, hornwort, Asian ambulia
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Old 02-03-2007, 05:23 PM   #3
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wonderful photo-journal.
the haunted forest really looks creepy!!
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Old 02-03-2007, 05:23 PM   #4
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Awesome pics! It's fun to see all the changes, I think you as the tank owner don't see them sometimes since you see the tank all the time. It;s been almost a year for my 55 as well and my old pics are pretty interesting when compared to how the tank looks now.

The tank looks great in all it's incarnations!
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Old 02-03-2007, 05:33 PM   #5
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Great thread. Your pictures and tank are incredible.
From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.
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Old 02-03-2007, 05:51 PM   #6
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Glarrgghhhh...ugh. Just all so beautiful, every pic. Nice-lookin' kids, too.

Wonderful-thank you for posting them.

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Old 02-03-2007, 06:01 PM   #7
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Beautiful tank. Thank you for sharing!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 72-tetras-1-24-07_183.jpg (203.6 KB, 42 views)
"...but the guy at the LFS said I needed it!"
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Old 02-03-2007, 06:03 PM   #8
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Zezmo - Very cool... good narrative, great pics... Thank you for taking the time to post this.

Can you elaborate on your setup at all? I am always interested in what others have found to work well for lighting, filters, heaters, CO2 (looks like ADA on that??), etc...

Also, what is that bright green plant that is shaped like a sea urchin in this pic:

** PIC REMOVED ** I see Sparky697 beat me to it... Ya, what is that plant?
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Old 02-03-2007, 06:21 PM   #9
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tank envy
40gal community - wet/dry/sump -1.8wpg - planted w/Brazilian Sword,Melon Sword,Anacharis,Bannana plant,Crypt,Hornwort,Java moss
Fish - 3 Neons-1 Chocolate Albino Pleco-1 Gold Spot Pleco-2 Lavender Gouramis

55 gal QT/Breeder/Experiment
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Old 02-04-2007, 12:43 AM   #10
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Great tank, great themes...congrats!

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Old 02-04-2007, 03:42 AM   #11
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Very nice Zezmo. I enjoyed reading this.

Originally Posted by dapellegrini
Ya, what is that plant?
Looks like either Eriocaulon sp. 'Mato Grosso' or Eriocaulon cinereum.
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Old 02-04-2007, 08:04 AM   #12
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Nice Zezmo...very nice indeed.

I decided I wasn't a Japanese Zen master, and I wasn't a Dutchman. So both of those styles were out. Instead, I decided to try a "theme" for my tank and build around that idea.
Believe it or not, that one statement alone can serve to help a ton of folks however,

The theme is "The Haunted Forest". So I am trying to create a dark and spooky look.
Why'd ya steal my idea?
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Old 02-04-2007, 12:37 PM   #13
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Thank you all very much for the kind words It means a lot, especially when I consider some of your great looking tanks.

The "sea urchin" plant is Eriocaulon sp "Guang Zhou". You were pretty close Rkilling. the "Mato Grosso" is similar, but has even finer leaves. I tried the Mato Grosso last year. Paid $70 for the darn thing. I had big hopes for that plant. Well within one day my Chequered Rainbows (Melanotaenia splendida) ate it to a nub!!! Darn, I havn't even eaten a $70 salad. The Rainbows (and thir children) now live in my clipping tank in the garage. Anyways, a fellow SFBAAPS member was growing the Guang Zhou and gave me one. That plant, split into 3. One went to a different SFBAAPS person, and I kept the two you see. To propagate, you wait until the plant develops a second "whorl". Uproot it, split it with a razor, and replant.

I did a post a while back detailing the behind the scenes aspects of this tank. Since that thread, I have changed needle valves (I use an STC one which is very nice, and was cheap). Also, my 5lb tank got upgraded to 10lb..for free. I went to do an exchange at my local welding shop, and the guy was out of 5lb tanks. He just gave me the 10lb for the cost of CO2!!! Woot!!!

In brief:
72 Gallon Eheim "Europe Wave 100" tank
ADA Aquasoil Amazonia (5x 9-liter bags)
Hardscape is African "ironwood" Root wood, and Mopani Wood.
2x Current USA, Satellite lights - 390 watts (6x 65w) CF lighting on for 10 hours per day. with "white" moonlights (4x leds)
Pressurized CO2 (10lb) with mist method diffusion. ADA glass ware - Pollen diffusor, bubble counter, and "Red Ruby" check valve.
125 gph Powerhead for CO2
2x Fluval 303 cannister filters.
Coral Twist 13w UV sterilizer
ETH201 Hydor Inline Aquarium Heater, 200W
2x Current USA blue moonlights (under tank)
60-80% weekly water change - 15 gallons RO/DI water (Coral 50gpd RO/DI system). The rest of the water I bypass the Ro and the DI filter, and use water that goes only through the micron filter and the carbon block filter. No declor or other water conditioners used.
EI fert routine: Weekly - 3tsp KNO3, 9tsp Flourish, 1tsp K2SO4, 3tsp Fleet Enema (diluted to 10% strength). I also use Excel for spot treatment of algae, and have a bevy of other ferts I add on occasion when when there are signs of deficiency.

Curent Stocking (this changes often):
5x Angelfish (home bred)
2x Dwarf Gouramis (home bred)
3x Bushy Nose Plecos (Home bred)
10x + Black Cherry Shrimp (Home bred - my own cultivar)
3x Albino Cory Cats
3x longfin Emerald Cory Cats
3x SAE
4x YoYo loaches
1x Angelicus loaches (lost 2 in the last month - sob)
5x Botia sidthemunki - Dwarf Chain Loach
8x otocinclus (2 species, but I can not pin it down exactly)
1x Banjo Cat
1x Rainbow Shark
10x Bloodfin Tetras
10x Rummynose Tetras
5x Penguin Tetras
9x Galaxy Rasboras
5x male Japanese Blue Swordtail Guppies (home bred by my wife)
1x 3/4" long Chequered Rainbowfish (temporary until he is big enough to join the rest of the rainbows - I have a close eye on his eating habits)

IMO, stocking is not about inches per gallon, it is about water quality, compatability, and providing a comfortable "zone" for every fish. That said, the SAE are getting moved to the garage, where I have a hair algae outbreak. The angels are being sold (I breed Angels for sale), and the Emerald corys are also headed for the garage (snail outbreak).

For some reason I had got it in my head that I somehow needed to achieve this or that with my tank, when in fact, all I really need is to enjoy the tank when I am looking at it. The "haunted forest" may be too many shadows to photgraph well, but by gosh I sure like sitting there and staring into all the nooks and crannies. Over time, I will probably have my very artisitc daughter paint a background that looks like a spooky forest scene fading into the distance. Mostly black with hints of shadowy trees, and mists - like something out of a scary fairy tale.
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Old 02-04-2007, 10:54 PM   #14
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The "sea urchin" plant is Eriocaulon sp "Guang Zhou"
That is an unusual plant. I have not been able to even find a picture of it yet on the net. Nice work!
"...but the guy at the LFS said I needed it!"
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Old 02-05-2007, 12:36 AM   #15
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Very cool, really enjoyed your thread. Your tanks are always a continuous source of inspiration for me, thanks again for taking the time to share them
90 gallon, Crypt undulata "broad leaf" Lobelia cardinalis small and large form. H.corymbosa "compact" Crypt parva, Crypt Red Wendetti Downoi, Bacopa, Samolus Valerandi, Limnophilla Aromatica Alternanthera Reineckii lilacina(purple)
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Old 02-05-2007, 11:06 AM   #16
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Neat thread, the tank looks great in all it forms, but if you new theme is haunted forest, where is the grave yard? LOL

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Old 02-05-2007, 11:11 AM   #17
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What is that plant in the 5th picture in the bottom right? Looks like a champagne shower or a pom-pom (sorry I have no good analogy). Any plans for offering up some trimmings?

Is that Guang Zhou in fact sharp to the touch? It looks very similar to a terrestrial plant when I used to live in florida that was extremely sharp if caught on the end. It was semi-flexible but could easily puncture the skin (almost like a fencing sword), as I can attest to when I was a kid. How long does it take to propogate?

Very cool photo journal. I have no idea how long that took to maintain and the large changes you made to the tank, but I can tell it was significant.
Main (20g) - A throng of guppy and platy, Pressurized CO2, Ferts, All Live Plants (Very old pic, new one forthcoming)
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Old 02-05-2007, 03:31 PM   #18
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What is that plant in the 5th picture in the bottom right?
It is Eriocaulon species Type 3. I imported it from Singapore. As mentioned above, it was used as teh secret ingrediant in this years Iron Aquascaper contest. I bought it last February, and turned one stem into 26 stems over the next 9 months. I did sell/give away about 10 stems along the way. At the auction at the end of the AGA convention I had 3 stems for sale, and had only saved one stem for myself back home. Well one stem sold for $55 at auction!! After the convention, Ole from Tropica, asked if I had any left. I gave him my last stem to take back to Denmark with him. I no longer maintain that particular species at this time. I will keep you in mind it I go for it again.

Is that Guang Zhou in fact sharp to the touch?
Despite its look, it is in fact sofft and supple to the touch. Many fish (Cory's, SAE's, and Loaches) often perch on top of there. This plant demands constant light, ferts, and CO2...it will degrade very quickly if not treated right.
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Old 02-05-2007, 04:42 PM   #19
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Great thread Zezmo. It's sort of like a Ken Burns documentary with all the still photos :P

I'm very impressed with the plants you keep. Eriocaulon is a finicky plant at best. czcz sent me some of the Guang Zhou and I love it. It seems to be a slow grower for me. That ET3 was amazing. I don't think I've ever seen it before.

I've got an opportunity to get some of the N. micrantha and wanted to know your opinion of it. How is the coloration? Size?

Well I could keep asking questions all day, but I'll stop (for now).

Beautiful haunted forest you've got going there
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Old 02-05-2007, 05:16 PM   #20
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Thanks Travis, while I feel no particular need to lick one of your tanks <jk>, There is no doubt your tanks have been a major inspiration to me.
As for the ET3, I had had hopes of sharing it with some other erio growers like yourself and Cz. The AGA convention, and the chance to get some brownie points with the Tropica guys left me without this plant. It may still be being grown locally by someone I sold it to, so I might get it back some time in the future. That said, I recently aquired some even rarer and more exotic Erios...!! I have not shown pictures of them yet, but I think you will appreciate them when I do

As for N micrantha, it is one of the more well behaved of the Nymphaea's that I have grown. With any of those plants, they can be trained to whatever size you want, depending on how aggressively you trim them. There are supposedly two color variants of this plant, mine throw off leaves that could be described as either one. Sometimes more green, sometimes more red. The plant is there in the corner in all of those shots. Sometime mid summer, it split and is now two separate plants. Also, any leaf left on the surface will usually develope a plantlet in its center. My cherry shrimp often hang out in the "puddle" at the center of the submersed leaves that I let get to the surface.

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