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Old 02-19-2007, 10:08 PM   #1
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Ketso's Tank Log - New plants, New pic(04-15-2007)

Hello all,

This is my new tank log that I will be updating with the progress of my 55 gallon freshwater planted tank.

This is my first aquarium and my tank has been a work in progress for the last 2 months already. I spent a great deal of time planning it out prior to even buying my first piece of the puzzle. Without folks, such as yourselves, I would probably have already started loosing confidence due to killing several fish and would have begun a downward spiral that would surely have resulted in an empty tank setting in a closet. Thank you.

Some info about my tank.
Tank Size: 55 gallons
Filtration: Rena Filstar Xp3
Lighting: DIY Hood (96w 6500k capable of 128w)
Substrate: Quickcrete Medium Sand
Plants so far: Java Fern, Java Moss, Crypt Wendtii (Red), Water Sprite

The Fish (None yet)
9 Cherry Barbs
3 Dwarf Rainbows
9 Tetras (Still undecide on which one. Maybe the Head and Taillight?)
2 German Blue or Bolivian Rams
5 Cory (undecided as of yet)


I started out by buying my tank for $55. I had planned to build my own stand but that fell through and I bought one at the LFS. It's not what one would consider great, but it will suffice for a few years. I then started building my light hood. If you want to check it out, see this thread.

Well, that brings me to where I am today. I haven't began to cycle the tank yet. I want to get most of my plants and the driftwood in place before I start that phase. I am also, tossing around the idea of a DIY Co2 system along with upping my lighting to 2.3WPG. And I guess I need to change my signature here sometime as well.

Please feel free to comment or suggest anything. My ears are always open as this is one heck of a learning experience. And something I think I will enjoy for the rest of my life.
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File Type: jpg tank_02_112.jpg (117.3 KB, 78 views)
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Old 02-19-2007, 10:11 PM   #2
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Looking good. That wood is sweet. Since you found it outside be sure to boil it well.
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Old 02-19-2007, 10:13 PM   #3
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LOL. It's too big to boil. It's about 15" x 12" x 22". I am going to bake it for several hours on a low temp (200*F) though.
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Old 02-19-2007, 10:16 PM   #4
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You're off to a great start and your scape looks really good. The wood looks kinda large so I'd suggest using the moss to cover it, should look great.
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Old 02-19-2007, 10:24 PM   #5
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Thank you,

The moss is being weighted down by a few small stones for now. Once I get the wood in, I plan to try to get it to grab hold of it. I was picturing about 50% of the wood covered by something green.
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Old 02-20-2007, 12:26 AM   #6
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Looking good,

but that wood is to big...cut it in 1/2...send me the rest...LOL
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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

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https://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=91209
https://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=95417
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Old 02-20-2007, 12:26 AM   #7
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ooooh gorgeous wood!
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Old 02-20-2007, 09:11 AM   #8
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Here's a few more pics of the driftwood. It is mostly hollow and has 3 knotholes in it large enough for fish to swim through. Will also make a nice hiding place. It has one almost fist sized rock grown into it and 2 smaller ones.

I went out Monday afternoon trying to find rocks for the tank. It was 14*F with winds blowing 10-15 mph and nearly a foot of snow on. I dont mind the cold much and was going a bit stir crazy. (I've been laid off from work for a few weeks now and dont get out too much when I am). I had to walk nearly a mile down the large creek nearby to even find a spot where there wasn't ice covering the creek.

Along the way, I found a decent piece of driftwood that was huge. It was every bit of 8 feet long but had a really interesting section I thought would work. Anyway, I left it figuring I would get it on my way back and proceeded to go get rocks. Well, the rocks weighed 60lbs (weighed the bucket when I got home) and I couldnt carry the 8' DW I had found at the same time. So, I took the rocks to my truck and went back for it.

On the way back for the DW, I decided to look on the other side of the creek. I got to a point where I decided to turn around and go back for the piece I had already found. I took maybe 15 steps when I noticed a root sticking up from the snow. And that is when I found the piece you see here.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg drift_05_150.jpg (147.8 KB, 59 views)
File Type: jpg drift_02_615.jpg (154.8 KB, 44 views)
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Old 02-20-2007, 11:23 AM   #9
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I would recommend planting heavily from the beginning and then doing a silent cycle. This is very similar to cycling with fish, in that you slowly add fish over time allowing the biofilter time to expand to support the additional fish. The difference is that a large plant mass will help to ensure that you never see an Ammonia or Nitrite spike.

Those are some wonderful pieces of wood. How lucky you are to be able to find such great pieces by walking a little ways from where you live. Hopefully they will survive being boiled/baked intact and will sink for you.
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Old 02-20-2007, 10:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Purrbox
I would recommend planting heavily from the beginning and then doing a silent cycle. This is very similar to cycling with fish, in that you slowly add fish over time allowing the biofilter time to expand to support the additional fish. The difference is that a large plant mass will help to ensure that you never see an Ammonia or Nitrite spike.

Those are some wonderful pieces of wood. How lucky you are to be able to find such great pieces by walking a little ways from where you live. Hopefully they will survive being boiled/baked intact and will sink for you.
That is pretty much my plan. I'm going to fill it with plants and get them up to speed before I start getting my fish. I read that one could do this and quite possibly never see an actual cycle. So, it only made sense for me.

As for the wood floating. I have ways to make it sink.
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Old 02-20-2007, 11:18 PM   #11
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Hey Ketso, nice tank. Great find on the driftwood too.

I can tell you that the silent cycle does work. I planted pretty heavy in my 55, I have only added a few fish so far but each time, no cycle noticed. You can do the same, but I think it is probably advised to add slow. Even with the plant mass you may be sad if you add too many fish at once.

Keep the pictures coming, it's fun to watch the tank develope.
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Old 02-21-2007, 02:03 PM   #12
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Well, the driftwood was too large to boil. So, I baked it in the oven at 200*F for 3 hours yesterday and another 4 this morning.

I know the typical procedure for driftwood is to soak it for a period of several days to several weeks in order to get it to sink. I'm patient, just not that patient. My work-around, while not great looking, is working out pretty well. I used a section of wire and secured it to a large rock. I'll test it in a few weeks to see how buoyant it is. When I think it will stay down on it's own or with minimal weight, I'll remove the wire and attach the wood to a few pieces of ceramic tile that I will bury under the substrate.

I realize that removing the driftwood will most likely cause the disturbance of several plants. But, atleast I can better plan which plants to put in and their locations.

I also have some ideas using the ceramic tiles to make a cave. The only thing stopping me from making them at this time is that I am unsure how to clean under them (if that's even necessary) as they would be mostly covered by rocks and substrate and plants. Feel free to leave comments on this issue.

Here are a few images with the driftwood added.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg tank_06_752.jpg (138.3 KB, 51 views)
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Old 02-21-2007, 08:03 PM   #13
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Very nice find on the driftwood and a great looking start to your tank I'm curious what the driftwood would look like flipped over, with the large piece on the substrate and the small branches sticking up.
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Old 02-22-2007, 12:54 AM   #14
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i agree i think would prefer it upside down. i think it looks like a whale!
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Old 02-22-2007, 02:16 AM   #15
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That looks great. Love the driftwood.
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Old 02-22-2007, 11:02 AM   #16
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I tried placing it every which way and looking at it. Seeing as the tank is not just for me, I also asked my family their thoughts on it. There were other ways that were liked as well, but this was the only one that everyone liked. I dont plan to ever submit my tank to any kind of competition. So, I guess pleasing my family is more important.
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Old 02-22-2007, 11:10 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ketso
There were other ways that were liked as well, but this was the only one that everyone liked. I dont plan to ever submit my tank to any kind of competition. So, I guess pleasing my family is more important.
Exactly!

No matter what anyone else tells you they think your tank should look like (and trust me, opinions are free), it's what you think it should look like that matters. I like your thinking
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Old 02-23-2007, 06:27 PM   #18
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Here's some more pics of the tank. I added a DIY Co2 setup (until I can afford a real unit) and several more plants.

Not sure if I like the plant placements, but I will stare at it some more and decide on it soon. So far, there are:
  • (1) Java Fern
    (2) Java Moss - split into 4
    (2) Water Sprite
    (2) Crypt Wendtii Red (and a free itty bitty one)
    (1) Anubia - Came out of "assorted" tank, so no idea which Anubia
    (2) Narrow Leaf Sag - split into 4 or 5
    (1) Marble Queen Radican
    (1) Kleiner Bar Sword
I think that I will hold off on more plants. I can always propigate the ones I have if I feel I need to fill in a void or something. I read Rex Grigg's article on planted tanks last night and ordered my ferts from Greg Watson. That article sure helped me understand dosing a great deal better!

All I'm missing now are fish and algae. Fish are going to have to wait a bit. Wanna get these plants going good first to help with cycling. On the other hand, I am sure I wont have to wait long on the algae. Most of the advice I have been given says that I can expect it with the use of a DIY Co2 on this size tank. I dont know. Maybe I'll get lucky. It'd be a first, but I can dream. Can't I?

Oh! And I think I might need some more caves. Going to have several cory cats and I guess the others would like them as well. Would I need to clean under/inside caves? Reason for asking is that I was thinking of using ceramic tile to create the roof/box of a cave and then bury it in a mound with only the opening showing. Then plant over it. Thoughts?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 01-23-07d_133.jpg (150.0 KB, 39 views)
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Old 02-23-2007, 07:35 PM   #19
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Just my opinion, I don't like the driftwood up on point like that. Looks.... different. But ya know, different is a good thing.

Rest of the tank is wonderful!
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Old 02-23-2007, 08:28 PM   #20
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I see what everyone means about the position of the wood. It kinda looks like it's going to walk out of the tank. However, I think when the plants fill in it will be really, really cool. I found it hard in my 55 to get the height needed on the decor.

How'd you sink it?! I want to hear your evil methods!

The tank looks great--
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