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Old 02-23-2007, 07:35 PM   #21
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Looks very cool. I'd consider Black Neons as a tetra. I love mine and they're extremely hardy. I believe rainbows prefer larger schools, but I don't know for sure. I'm always a little afraid of driftwood that was just found somewhere, but that's just me. The tank looks pretty awesome.

My design suggestions (take them or leave them):

1. Slope the substrate and make it higher in the back. Tanks look better IMO with a sloped substrate.
2. Add some taller plants on the left side to kind of balance the tank out.
3. Be careful with adding rocks. Not only can they carry things into your tank like driftwood can, but they can jack with your water chemistry as well.
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Old 02-23-2007, 10:23 PM   #22
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The algae will come, especially in the "break-in" period. First will most likely be diatoms though. "It's not brown algae, just rub it off. Get some otto cats, they love the stuff. Just wait, it'll go away."

If you keep up the DIY, next should be black algae. "Get some excel and dose 3-5x strength for a week. Take all your plants out and bleach dip them. Get pressurised CO2 so your levels don't fluctuate."

Just keep us updated and we'll get you up to full speed.
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Old 02-23-2007, 10:30 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Hoovercat
The algae will come, especially in the "break-in" period. First will most likely be diatoms though. "It's not brown algae, just rub it off. Get some otto cats, they love the stuff. Just wait, it'll go away."

If you keep up the DIY, next should be black algae. "Get some excel and dose 3-5x strength for a week. Take all your plants out and bleach dip them. Get pressurised CO2 so your levels don't fluctuate."

Just keep us updated and we'll get you up to full speed.
Maybe a bunch of algae would be a good thing? Would be easier to smooth the cost of the pressurized system over on my wife!
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Old 02-24-2007, 07:55 PM   #24
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I just noticed, about an hour ago, that my plants are producing oxygen. Specifically, one of my swords. It is giving off tiny air bubbles at about 1 every second. I also noticed tiny bubbles on several of the other plants as well, but nothing like the sword.

Well, it's sketty time. See Ya!
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Old 02-24-2007, 10:02 PM   #25
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That is a sign of great plant health. Congrats!
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Old 02-28-2007, 01:11 AM   #26
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I love the dw the way it is sitting now... It does look like it's walking around.

I am jealous...lol.

The tank is going to look great when it fills in. Good luck!
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Old 02-28-2007, 07:17 AM   #27
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The DW grew a fur coat the other day so I removed it. In just a matter of 2 days, it seemed, I had white mold cover nearly every inch of that piece . Needless to say, I am not ready to deal with that. So, I removed it.

I am going to pick up a large container soon to soak it in for a loooong time. I'll see what happens then. It may or may not end up back in the tank.
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Old 02-28-2007, 11:31 AM   #28
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From what I understand that white mold is fairly common in a newer piece of driftwood. I don't remember exactly what it consumes, but once it's done it will go away on it's own having eliminated it's food source. It's also not supposed to be harmful to fish.
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Old 02-28-2007, 05:00 PM   #29
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I read pretty much the same thing about the mold on another site. I'll probably use the DW later this spring. I am going to wait until it is warmer so I can soak it in a big tub in the garage. My plan is to have a heater in it and try to keep the tub as close to the same conditions as in the tank. Not sure how I will go about the lighting yet or even if I should worry about lighting. My thought is to let the mold run rampant in the tub until its done. Besides, a good soaking wouldnt hurt it a bit.
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Old 03-05-2007, 08:57 PM   #30
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Well, it's been a few days since I updated my log. Yep, the driftwood is gone for now. And I have been battling an algae outbreak. I think I caught it early enough though. It hasnt completely taken over ..... YET! The problem was too much light and not enough Co2. Hopefully that is taken care of though. Time will tell.

I built a cave out of leftover ceramic tile. You can see the opening in the image. It has another opening in the rear. I am keeping my eye out for a couple of rocks to camouflage the entrance a bit.

I did some trimming to get rid of some algae covered leaves/blades. Tank is looking a bit sparse now but will grow back in pretty quickly. Here is a pic I just took.



Yep, I know that Co2 diffuser is large and not great looking. But it will be gone in a couple of months barring any unforseen problems. Getting 50-60ppm Co2 out of it with 6 2-liter bottles running.

I'm hoping to get the back of the tank covered with black plastic this weekend. I think that will make it look a great deal better. Also, going to keep an eye out for a large piece of black plastic to hide the Rena intake pipe. On second thought, the plants should hide it pretty well given some time.

Well, that's all for today. C-Ya!
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Old 03-15-2007, 05:05 PM   #31
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Well, it's been a month since I planted the first plants in my tank. I have learned a great deal I think. Still a few things I havent gotten the hang of yet. Mainly dosing. I still dont fully understand what I am doing there, but I'll get it figured out.

As for the tank, there have been no major changes to my tank except for some rearranging and plants growing like crazy . I've added a few more bottles to my Co2 manufacturing facility (almost needs a building of it's own) and a bubble counter. It's doing a good job of keeping my tank at or around 48ppm Co2. I check my bubble count every 2 days watching for any symptoms that a bottle might have ran it's course. I seem to be getting just about 2 weeks out of each of the bottles. Not bad I guess. (Begin sarcasm) Who knew you could have so much fun counting bubbles?(End sarcasm).

I have learned one thing about Co2 though. Dont agitate the top of the water at all! With just a few ripples, my Co2 drops from 48ppm to about 19ppm. Not good.

Here's a pic I just took of the tank.

(Click to enlarge)

The Co2 diffuser isnt doing so well. Dont get me wrong, it does an excellent job diffusing Co2 and it's not growing at all (a good thing). It's just that it isnt getting any better looking. How long should it take for one of these things to start looking healthy? (No biggie, it's coming out in a month or so.)

The water sprite is growing about 1.5 inches per day. Later on I'll probably have to trim it way more often than the other plants in the tank. I've moved it all to the left side of the tank where I will TRY to contain it to that area.

The Kleiner Bar Sword is really doing good even though I've had to trim a few leaves due to algae. It really adds a different color to the tank. I really hope it will retain that color after I lower the light level in a month or so.

My Marble Queen Radican is sending up a stalk/shoot. I havent found much info on what the stalk is for but I , correct me if I am wrong, believe it will grow out of the water and flower. Everything I have read has stated that this plant is medium to difficult to grow and needs a nutrient rich substrate. Well, it's doing pretty well if you ask me. Of course, it's still early too.

The Narrow Leaf Sag had a serious issue with algae and I had to trim it all. It has since sent out many new plants which I have relocated to the middle back of the tank freeing up the back right side for some hornwort maybe. In a few weeks, the sag should be nearly out of the water again.

As for the rest of the plants, they are doing OK. Thinking of removing the Java Moss completely. I think it's ugly and just doesnt do much for the overall look of the tank. If it had some sort of structure to it and didnt just look like a big rats nest, it would be another story. The Java Fern has yet to attach itself to that rock its on. It has several "babies" growing off it. I need to look up how to propigate it sometime. And the crypts pretty much look like they did when I put them in. Not much growth at all.

Not sure why, but I keep putting off adding a simple black background. It sure would make the tank look nicer. I, also, want to change out my substrate. The sand is way too fine for my liking. Not that I have developed a preference yet. Just that it moves around way too much. I want to get something that will stay in place yet not too large and still inexpensive. And I want to get down to where I grew up and gather a bunch of slate. Eventually, I want to remove all those "assorted" rocks. I just dont like the look as well as I once did.

I mentioned to my mom the other day that I wasnt in a hurry to get fish and that I was enjoying watching the plants grow. She said I must have gotten a bit of the gardening bug from my grandfather. He raised a 3.5 acre garden for years. He was 91 when the doctors told him he wasnt allowed to work in it anymore and passed away the next year. I cant help but wonder how much longer he might have lived if someone had gotten him an aquarium full of plants.

Well, that's all for my one month post. I have learned a great deal and am enjoying this tremendously.

As always, comments, suggestions, tips, etc., are welcomed.
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Old 03-18-2007, 09:11 AM   #32
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The new look of my tank. I spent most of the day yesterday washing the gravel. Man! that was some dirty stuff! It's really close to my original vision. The photos do not do it any justice. The gravel appears lighter in color in the photos due to an auto whitening feature that I cant turn off on my cheap camera.

The main pile of slate (actually shale, a softer form of slate) is really a cave. The cave itself isnt nearly as large as the pile itself but is large enough I hope. I added the second pile to add some balance.

Now, I just need to do something for a background. Hopefully, it will warm up enough that I can spray paint some cardboard sometime soon.



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Old 03-18-2007, 09:36 AM   #33
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Hopefully, it will warm up enough that I can spray paint some cardboard sometime soon.
What about plastic laminate??? More durable than cardboard...wide selection of patterns, and colors...just cut and mount...You can pick up sheets at lowes or depot, or get scrap from a local top shop(they usually have left overs and odd lots that they will sell cheap to get rid of them)

Formica "Madras Indian slate" would look cool
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Old 03-18-2007, 11:11 AM   #34
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I have access to tons of 24"x36" cardboard. The dense stuff that's grey and about 1/16" thick. Not the brown stuff boxes are made of. I also have 3 or 4 partial cans of black spray paint left over from previous projects. Seemed like a good way to use some of it up.
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Old 03-23-2007, 02:15 PM   #35
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Well, as nice as that pea gravel looked in the tank, it's gone now. It caused my water hardness to skyrocket. My water usually hangs at 3 or 4 dkH. With the gravel in there, after 5 days the water was at 9 dkH! I know I should have tested it first, but I didnt. Live and learn I guess. Let this be a lesson to others as well.

No pictures yet of this latest redo. I ended up going back to sand. However, this time I used PFS. My filter hasnt moved it around much so, it has to be better than what I was using before. It's a tad darker in color as well. Which is a plus. The earlier sand was way too close to white for my liking. This is more of a tan.

Question Here: Nevermind. Found the answers I was looking for elswhere.
One thing I am unsure of though. If anyone reads this and would care to give me input, it will be appreciated. What I am wondering is, other than vacuuming the sand (once fish are in there), what else should I need to do to maintain a sand substrate? I've heard others say something about stirring the sand up a bit to release poisonous gases. In a planted tank, wouldnt I have issues with plants pulling out or damaging roots if I go stirring up the sand?

Well, that's all for this update. I might edit this post with a picture or two after all the bubbles get off the glass and plants. Who knows.
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Old 03-25-2007, 04:44 PM   #36
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To stir sand you can take a bamboo chopstick (the kind you get from a Chinese Restaurant BUT not used for eating) and stick it in and wiggle it around a bit. Do this repeatedly to stir eat area of the substrate. You should be able to do this without much if any damage to the roots. The easy way is to get some MTS (Malaysian Trumpet Snails) and let them do the stiring for you.
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Old 04-15-2007, 02:21 PM   #37
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Well, its been awhile since I updated this log.

I got rid of my water sprite as it was just looking horrible. I also added several new plants. There are 2 small swords in the front that came off the large one on the left (they will be coming out). It's got 3 more coming on and another new stalk coming out as well. the sword in the middle has 3 stalks on it as well. Here is the pic I just took a few minutes ago.

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Old 04-15-2007, 02:23 PM   #38
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Looking good Ketso. I like it, has a nice clean look to it.
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