Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:27 pm Post subject: My 4 foot tank journal
I'm new to the forum. I've been keeping aquariums since I was a kid. But it was limited to the normal non planted aquarium with white sand/gravel and the typical fish. The most involved i got into fishes was when I decided to breed livebearers with varying levels of success with guppies, mollies and sword tails. After looking at some fantastic aquascapes online and realizing I finally have the resources to pull off a planted tank I've decided to give it a go. I'll be keeping a blow by blow account of how it progresses in this thread.
So here are the facts about the tank. I decided to keep it budget friendly to ensure that if its a debacle I won't loose a tonne of money in it. I also have a 2 gallon tester tank to test my methods. Hopefully my botany and chemistry background will help.
It's 48 inches*15 inches (Width)*23 inches (Height) (71 gallon) and 10 mm of clear glass and came along with a stand/showcase. It used to be a Discus hardscape tank.
It came with with 96 Watts of light. I'm adding 36 watts more to make it 132 Watts. Irrespective of whether I consider watts per gallon or lumens per gallon it will be a low light tank. Hence most high light/high CO2 plants are out.
My picks are dwarf saggitaria for the carpet which I have known to grow in low light low co2 conditions. Java moss and christmas moss for the features. I will also be including a floating island which will be closer to the surface. Technically that would mean that the light penetration at that level would be similar to a 2 foot tank making it a high light level and may allow it to grow. If that fails, I go back to the moss.
Trees (Made out of drift wood I created from dried out palm inflorescence and moss tied on the "branches")
A DIY underwater "waterfall". Mechanism tested in a bucket. Creating the cliff out of styrofoam. Worried about the paint I use on it leaching out. Will keep updating on how this goes. If I can pull this off will look amazing
Made out of coconut shells glued together and styrofoam included inside to add buoyancy. Will be held down by fishing line which is invisible in a tank due to lighting conditions
A small drift wood arch giving the impression of a moss covered cave
Red Sakura Shrimp. I am currently testing fish shrimp compatibility using the comparatively cheaper red cherries in my 2 gallon tank.
School of endlers. I have 10 endlers out of which 9 are confirmed male. The 1 sold to me as a female is most likely a guppy. I would love it if someone had female endlers to share or sell. They are confirmed compatible with shrimp.
School of yoyos. I have 2 in the 2 gallon tank. There was a lot of debate about them going after the shrimp. They cleared the tank of snails. No casualty with the shrimp yet. Not even the smaller ones. The shrimps even have the B*lls to ride the yoyos! Will get 3 more yoyos to form a small school. They move around beautifully together!
School of threadfin rainbows. Assumed to be compatible with shrimp. To be procured.
School of whitecloud minnows. Assumed to be compatible and will be procured.
School of neon/cardinal/ember tetras. Still to take a call on which one to finalize.
School of algae eaters. Plecos and golden algae eaters are out due to their documented aggressiveness when they get bigger. I know my 9 year old bristlenose pleco in my tank in Mumbai loves sucking the slime out of fish coats which ends up in the death of the fish because of his size. looking for options in Bangalore.
Haven't finalized one yet. Plan to add a tray filter. But the fishes I have dont add much bioload so regular water change would suffice for now.
Not really required. But I have been testing regular soda water (yes I know people say this is nuts. But I am a chemist and it has worked so far!). A 1 litre bottle of soda has between 2-5 gms of CO2 dissolved in it. I take an assumption of 3 which gives 3000 ppm (super saturated CO2). Added to 200 litres of water, this gives 15 ppm of CO2. More than enough for the plants. A weekly dose seems to keep plants healthy and does not cause fishes or shrimp any noticeable harm yet. I still wouldnot recommend this to amatuers who donot have a test kit to monitor.
Will upload pics as and when features are ready. Feel free to drop in thoughts, feedback, criticism etc etc
Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:36 pm Post subject: Re: My 4 foot tank journal
Hey Nidhi, dotfish,
Thanks for commenting . Posting pics!
Stand I picked up before restoration
Stand after restoration. New coat of paint, change of rotten plywood, black rubber sheet to pad the aquarium bottom.
The lights that came with the aquarium
2*30 watts t4. 1*36 watt CFL. I realized that watts in a t4,t5, t12 would be different in terms of light they provide. In a CFL would be completely different. Researched a bit and came up with lumens per gallon which seemed to be the more accurate way to measure this. (Can't measure PAR so I am just going with the lumens. Correct me if I am wrong.)
So as per theory here is the formula
Lumens per gallon= lumens divided by 2*depth+length+height
My t4 30 watts are supposed to give 1850 lumens while my 36 watts cfl is supposed to give about 3000 lumens. So I get about 61 lumens per gallon. Adding another 36 watt CFL gives 88 lumens per gallon.
50-150 is low to medium
150-250 is medium to high
250 and above is high
So I am firmly in low light area. But workable for some plants.
I have taken the waterfall idea from this guy. He has a lot of incredible DIY videos.
I managed to replicate the mechanism in a bucket. To cover it I went on to build a cliff using styrofoam, silicone glue, a grill lighter (can also use a blowtorch) and my wife's patience and skill with the paint brush. I'm using an oil based paint which will hopefully not leech.
Pic after gluing.
Pic after paint job
The "drift wood" which will be one of the trees of my forest.
Finally my endlers and my red cherry shrimp in my tester tank. Please ignore the disarray in the plants. My fault for letting loaches in an enclose space with such delicate plants!
Seems lots of efforts and patients from you guys. I am learning quite few things from you.
End result will be great I am sure. All the best guys
A lot of effort from me and a lot of patience from my wife . I'm just learning as well. I'd sort of pushing the envelope on some things here so please don't copy them until I can tell you they are successful .
On a side note, can anyone suggest some good algae eaters that remain small, would be compatible with shrimp and keep my tank clean?
PS:Golden algae eaters and plecos are out of the running.
Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:05 am Post subject: Re: My 4 foot tank journal
After days of testing got some results. The styrofoam cliff failed due to incredible buoyancy. Even a pile of rocks could not hold it down and I was loath to glue it down. Finally decided to change my plans and go with rocks instead. So here's the progress
Laying our the river sand substrate base. The soil will come above this later.
Here is the placement of the rocks. I might move the one on the right a bit more towards the corner and introduce another feature (probably the drifwood arch/cave) to break the symmetry.
The one on the left will be used as the waterfall
Finally the testing of the water fall. After a couple off failed attempts, it finally worked!
Posted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:36 pm Post subject: Re: My 4 foot tank journal
Time for an update :)
Soil and Plants
I laid ada soil over the river sand substrate. Since I am going to try the Diana Walstd method, I used some soil from my tester tank as well. Planted Dwarf Hair grass, Dwarf Saggitaria, Amazon Sword, Some crypts, java moss, Christmas Moss, Riccia, Anubias Barteri nana, BACOPA CAROLINIANA, Cabomba, Hemianthus micranthemoides, Myriophyllum mattogrossense 'Red'
and some plants I got from a local LFS but dont know the names of. I also dosed the water with 1 litre of club soda to bring the CO2 level up and help the plants establish themselves.
Again, since I was using the Diana Walstad method which says cycling isnt required I put in livestock immediately. The first day after the planting I put in 10 danios and 4 sakura shrimp. After waiting for 2 days and no issues, I put in 10 white cloud mountain minnows (5 regular, 5 albino), 5 yoyo loaches and 10 endlers. I did not ut in my 2 otos since I wanted algae to start forming in the tank for the otos to be well fed. My tester tank had enough of algae and plants to sustain them. The loaches uprooted some plants initially but after they were set, the plants have been considering all the digging by the loaches.
I had to reduce my lights from 120 W to 96 W due to some issues I had with the wiring. I prayed this was enough. Turns out that it was. I bought a Sibass digital timer for Rs.550 from a shop in SJP, since I was going to be away for 10 days for Diwali.
I gave keys to my friend to feed the fish. He was going away for 4 days too, which meant 4 days without food for thr fish. I assumed this would be ok. He called me when he went in saying that the grass had grown like crazy and was almost touching the top. The riccia was pearling like crazy, some plants were uprooted and there was algae on the glass. At this point I had him put the otos in.
When I got back, the grass had reached the top and all the plants were well established. I had to make quite an effort to trim down the grass to take an account of the livestock. 2 regular white cloud minnows are either missig or doing a very good job of hiding. All else is accounted for. No smell from the aquarium at all! Only draw back is the presence of hair algae. I blame the lack of water circulation and water change. No filter does not seem to have affected the tank at all. looks like my tank is set. Adding 20 neon tetras today.
excellent but what is on the top of the left stone? and put a back ground poster if you can..
Thats the pipe which runs my waterfall (sandfall). Check out the video in the post above. It needs a better camouflage. I had to stop it because I still havent got the cycling of the sand right and my yoyo loaches love to use that pipe as a cave.
I forgot to put a background before putting the tank into the box in the showcase! The empty tank weighed about 40 kgs and I didnot have the energy to correct it. I might try and squeeze a background in shortly.
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