CD's 60cm

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Crawdaddy, 6 Jul 2015.

  1. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Member

    Joined:
    13 Sep 2012
    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    London
    Latest FTS (Week 8):
    P1020072_zpsp3p1dqip.jpg

    Latest Spec:
    Tank:
    ADA Cube Garden 60P (60x30x36)
    Lighting: BOYU luminaire unit with 2 x 24w T5 on 6 hours per day
    Co2: Pressurised disposable welding bottles. Co2Art dual stage regulator with adapter. Solenoid valve set to come on at 7 hrs before lights on and 1 hr before lights off. Up inline diffuser. 2bps.
    Filter: Eheim classic 350
    Heater: Hydor 300w
    Circulation: Hydor 900 Nano
    Substrate: ADA Power Sand Super (S), Tropica Aquarium Soil Black Powder
    Ferts: DIY EI (using aquariumplantfood.co.uk recipe)
    Hardscape: Redmoor wood, river pebbles, graded gravel, unipac sand
    Plants: Tropica Vesicularia ferriei 'Weeping' Moss, Hygrophila corymbosa 'Siamensis', Hygrophila mini, Ludwigia palustris red, Micranthemum 'Monte-Carlo', Alternathera reineckii ''mini', Anubias, Bolbitis heudelotii, Eleocharis acicularis, Ludwigia Arcuata
    Fish: Hemigrammus rhodostomus, Otocinclus
    Inverts: Neocaridina davidi
     
    Last edited: 11 Aug 2015
  2. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Member

    Joined:
    13 Sep 2012
    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    London
    So, I’m currently about 3 weeks in to my current project and thought that this might be the time to start keeping a journal. I read the forum regularly but rarely post so this is all a bit new for me.

    I’ve kept a planted tank for a couple of years now and although I still struggle with algae here and there, hopefully all the serious mistakes should be behind me.

    However this is my first ‘serious’ stab at an aquascape and I’ve upped my ambitions in terms of lighting and plant choice, so we’ll see how it goes. [GULP]

    We’ve recently had a unit built in the living room and I decided to integrate my tank and plumb it in over the top of a cupboard. I had the existing tank situated here for about a month or so but thought it was time to do a rescape. My objectives for the scape were:

    1. Create a new layout that worked for the tank’s new placement in the corner of the room

    2. Experiment with a more demanding and interesting plants

    3. Create a tank that looked cleaner for longer in-between maintenance

    Overall my aim is to create something that looks good in my living room. I hope to improve in terms of photography, but I’m not looking to create something for a photo shoot. I want a long term tank that I can tinker with over the next 12 months and improve my plant keeping skills.
     
  3. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Member

    Joined:
    13 Sep 2012
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    Location:
    London
    IMG_0818_zpsy83elrff.jpg

    I’d previously been using a 60cm clearseal tank that I had de-rimmed myself. This had worked fine but the corner sealant seemed to attract algae. Because of this and the blue tint to the glass I decided to spring for and ADA 60P (and yes I will take the sticker off eventually! :D).
     
    Last edited: 6 Jul 2015
  4. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    London
    I decided to go for a hardscape that was based around redmoor wood. I used the plastic sheeting the tank was wrapped up in to simulate substrate. I initially wanted to ‘top down’ effect, with tree roots hanging into the water on the both ends of the tank and lots of immersed growth. However after experimenting a while I found that the hardscape I had to hand wouldn’t really work in that way.

    IMG_0839_zpscmifjbtf.jpg

    Instead I went for this arrangement of a single piece of wood creating a triangle layout. I was aiming at creating a slice of river bank with some immersed growth on one side and gravelly river bed on the other. (You can just make out the old tank in situ behind the new one).

    IMG_0854_zpswhseg9ip.jpg


    I added branches and river pebbles to try to make the wood ‘grow out’ of the river bank, over the rocks.

    Now I just had to wait for the plants to arrive.
     
  5. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    So came the day of the scape itself.

    Here’s the tank in situ in its new home.
    IMG_0860_zpsrxrergt6.jpg


    Here I’ve added substrate dividers. The one on the left is for the gravel. The one on the right is a square shape which I will use to hold a small layer of sand. I have fixed a piece of brick to the bottom of my hardscape wood in order to weigh it down and anchor it in place. The sand is to form a cushion underneath the brick and secure the foundation.
    IMG_0861_zps04d0jlzp.jpg


    With ADA power sand and foundation sand in place.
    IMG_0862_zpsbxu0tfkk.jpg


    With main hardscape in place. You can see the brick foundation. I have nailed one of the extra wood branch pieces to the main piece of wood. I have already attached some moss to the lower limbs.
    IMG_0863_zpsbt7happq.jpg


    With Tropica Aquarium Soil in place.
    IMG_0865_zpssvt8lasx.jpg


    With gravel, pebbles and remaining hardscape wood branches in place. I’ve chosen to use a more natural gravel over the fine white sand I had used on my previous tank. I found the fine white sand got dirty too quickly and spread round the tank far too easily.
    IMG_0866_zpsjubs5kdk.jpg


    Planted and filled. This will be my first attempt at carpets and red plants and my first serious crack at stems (believe it or not). Up until now I had been restricted to Anuabis, Java Fern & Crypts (& algae! J) due to lighting (1 x 14w). I really wanted to try some red plants and have a go at a carpeting species so increased the light to 2 x 24w. I was aiming at the medium difficulty plants (as defined by tropica). The white ball on the main piece of wood is sand in a carrier bag to weigh the wood. I’m not sure this was completely necessary due to the brick foundation but I wasn’t taking any chances.
    IMG_0868_zpsunyw1oqx.jpg


    With lily pipes fitted. There was more consideration here for keeping the tank looking cleaner for longer. I decided to replace the clear acrylic lily pipes with steel ones as you couldn’t see algae build up. Cleaning lily pipes is probably my least favourite part of maintenance so I wanted to keep this to a minimum. In addition I wanted lily pipes that had an integrated surface skimmer to keep the surface film free. This was for cosmetic and aeration reasons.
    IMG_0873_zpspjevv3rh.jpg


    Here’s a shot of the guts. I’m using a Eheim 350 classic and Hydor 300w heater. Co2 is provided by disposable welding canister through a Co2Art dual stage regulator and Up inline diffuser. Currently I keep the gas on 24hrs per day for various reasons, but I’m considering introducing a solenoid. More on this later.
    IMG_0881_zpspfndugab.jpg


    Here’s another couple of shots of the tank in situ on day 1. The quality is shocking but you get the idea. The fish are already in as I was transferring from an old tank. I’ve got 5 Rasbora Espei, 1 stray Rasbora Hengeli and 2 otos. The filter is mature so it should be fine at this stage. It’s one of the reasons I went for Tropica soil over ADA aqua soild – less ammonia.
    IMG_0875_zpsmzvqnbzd.jpg

    IMG_0878_zpsugkunbgz.jpg


    The lighting is on for 6 hours a day at the moment. I may up this to 8 hrs later on. I am dosing full EI levels. I am using a 2 litre juice bottle to change 8 litres (about 15%) of the water every day. I’ve found this much easier than syphoning/pumping a larger amount a couple of times a week.
     
  6. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    London
    Here’s the tank three weeks later. Not much change visible in these pics using the phone but there has been a fair degree of growth. I’ve pruned most of the back stem plants and give the carpet a good haircut. I’ve added 15 cherry shrimp and not suffered any algae issues as yet.
    IMG_0919_zps5fgipa09.jpg
     
  7. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    London
    I went away for 4 days. I spent lots of time reading the featured journals section on the UKAPS site. This was both inspirational, informative and completely depressing! :(

    I kept flicking between images of these beautiful tanks and back to my own effort. There were a few things bugging me about the scape and I spent a few days mulling it over trying to work out what it was. In the end I decided that:

    - The large grey stone on the left was too large and not in keeping with the rest of the tank
    - The large white stone on the right was far too distracting.
    - Overall the stone work appears too large and there is not enough transition with the sand causing an unnatural look.
    - The substrate level at the front (especially on the right) of the tank was too deep.
    - There was not enough transition from the right half of the tank to the left side of the tank. All the lower wood branches pretty much stopped bang on the half way mark.
    - The two central lower wood branches were not working well together ad looked congested. Neither really stood out.
     
  8. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    London
    After 4 days I returned home to find the tank was in pretty good shape.
    IMG_0932_zpselp4elwp.jpg

    There wasn’t much wrong apart from a dropped water level and a couple of the smaller stems had floated up to the surface. Also the water was a little cloudy but not too much. All the inhabitants looked fine.

    However there were a few changes worked out in my mind…
     
  9. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Member

    Joined:
    13 Sep 2012
    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    London
    …I decided to dive straight in and have a mini rescape. As follows:

    - Removed the large left hand grey and right hand white stones. Replaced with smaller, less brightly coloured pebbles.
    - Removed the right/centre wood branch to decongest that area of the tank. Relocated to the left side of the tank to provide transition from the left half of the tank to the right side.
    - Added graded gravels to provide transition from stones to gravel. I also added graded gravel around the main central branch and base of the main wood trunk in order to highlight the branch and create a visual flow.
    - Reduced the substrate level at the front of the glass.
    - Rearranged the stems and monte carlo slightly in order to fill in the gaps made by the hardscape changes.
    - Finally I added some terrestrial moss to the emergent wood branches.

    Photos to follow.
     
    Rob Dahl and Sk3lly like this.
  10. Sk3lly

    Sk3lly Member

    Joined:
    8 Oct 2014
    Messages:
    346
    Location:
    Windsor, England
    Ive not had time to read fully, but i will!!! Tank looks really great! Great looking driftwood

    Very nice job on this


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Crawdaddy likes this.
  11. Rob Dahl

    Rob Dahl Member

    Joined:
    19 Nov 2014
    Messages:
    370
    Location:
    Tucson, Arizona
    Wonderful job Crawdaddy, the only thing I would recommend is keeping a close eye on your lighting cycle. At the first sign of any algae I would cut back from 8 hrs. to 6.
     
    Crawdaddy likes this.
  12. 5678

    5678 Member

    Joined:
    27 May 2015
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    340
    Location:
    South Oxfordshire
    I like this, good location in your home too.

    Where did you get the steel pipes from?
     
    Crawdaddy likes this.
  13. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    London
    Thanks Sk3lly! Yeah it’s a bit of a long read. Sorry about that but with 1 month of planning and 3 weeks of running the tank I had a lot to get off my chest! :D

    Cheers Rob. Appreciated. Just to confirm at the moment I am only lighting it up for 6 hours. I am roughly following the Tropica ap for lighting levels and water change quantities. So will probably up it to 8 hours when the app tells me too. However if I see any algaee will drop it back down again to 6. Thanks for the advice. :thumbup:

    Cheers 5678. Yeah I think it works well on the unit. Pipes came from eBay. To be honest they weren't cheap but I could only really find one set and one sellar that included a skimmer and was the right diameter. They're slightly more distracting than clean glass lilly pipes, but since mine spent 95% of the time covered in diatoms these are a definite improvement. Also I quite like the technical/industrial look it gives contrasting with the plants and wood.
     
  14. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    London
    P1010931_zpsrkbiacyo.jpg
    P1010933_zpshtod7apz.jpg
    Here’s how the tank looks now after the partial rescape. I’m now using my Panasonic lumix camera instead of my iphone. It’s no DSLR but should be better quality. Also I’ve made sure to block out all ambient light and flicked on the spare 14w tube on the luminaire. This is probably about as good as the photos will get for a while until I decide I need a new camera! :D

    I think the overall look is now much more pleasing. The eye flows better around the scape. In particular the central branch now stands out much better and seems to add more depth. The changes to the stone works have also helped improve the sense of scale and added a greater intricacy to the design. I’m very happy with the changes (for the moment :D)

    Unfortunately though it has been quite disruptive to the planting, particularly the monte carlo, and has probably set my carpet back a couple of weeks. :(


    P1010944_zpsravalfxe.jpg
    Here’s the tank in situ again but better quality.


    P1010937_zpscdww6vwn.jpg
    Here’s a shot of the terrestrial moss. I pulled it out of my Dad’s garden. Not sure what kind it is but appears to have a couple of other small plant species and a lichen species growing within it and looks lovely.

    I was kind of inspired by Mr. Teapot’s Green Pekoe Pond here. I love the way he’s been throwing in different plant species on top of each other, including terrestrial species. I love the way mystery species keep popping up from nowhere. These end up creating a really rich and interesting natural scene.

    As long as I can keep my plants alive I’m looking to do something similar and add in new species to evolve the scape over the long term.
     
  15. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    London
    Right, that brings us up to today. That’s a bit of an essay there. Sorry about that. Hopefully the rest should be a bit more ‘journal like’. :angelic:
     
  16. moroland

    moroland Member

    Joined:
    23 Aug 2014
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    Great job tank looks very nice :thumbup:
    Is co2 still 24/7 ?
    I'm running co2 same as you because i've got a lot of light during a day in living room but i'm afraid how fish and shrimps will react
    Did you have any problems ?
     
    Crawdaddy likes this.
  17. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Member

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    Location:
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    Thanks Moroland! :)

    Co2 is 24/7 at moment yes.

    I took out solenoid because I had a cheap Chinese model that kept failing. Also I found it Difficult to get the timing right so I would end up with too much or too little gas during photo period. I found it much easier to set the gas to a small constant amount. In this respect it was much better on the fish (and plants) to keep it constant.

    However I have bought a BMV solenoid from Co2 Art which I will fit soon. Primarily I bought this to cut down the amount of gas I was consuming. However I have noticed that my shrimp have been far less tolerant of co2 than the fish. The fish are fine with quite a yellow DC. Shrimp seem to need 'leaf green'. If it goes yellow they tend to 'sunbathe' near the surface on a branch. I'm going to use the solenoid to ensure the leaf green doesn't turn into yellow during the night.

    Hadn't thought about the ambient room light though. My room is also quite light, so could cause probs. I will watch for this. Thanks for the tip.:thumbup:

    CD
     
  18. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Quick update:


    I'm now exactly a month in. There's not been a great deal of change since my mini rescape.


    All the plants are looking healthy although the Monte Carlo isn't quite as dense as expected. I suspect this might be because I moved a lot of it around and then gave it a dramatic haircut. I'm going to leave it for a couple of weeks and see how it gets on. Also the Hygrophila corymbosa 'Siamensis' in the back right corner isn't quite as bushy and dominant as I thought it might be. I'm considering buying 1 or 2 more pots of something to mix in that corner and fill it out.


    I've not had any algae blooms as yet which I'm chuffed about.



    I've increased the lighting period to 7 hours.


    I've installed a solenoid. It's a BMV from Co2Art.

    P1010946_zpsylic3paz.jpg


    Because I've been running Co2 24/7 I've been using quite gentle bubble rate (1bps). I'm going to stick with this bubble rate as I know that whatever happens I won't gas my fish. However this does mean that it will take longer to saturate the tank to the correct level. Because of this the gas will probably have to come on before the standard 2 hrs before lights on.


    I’m going to start by setting the solenoid to come on at 10:00, 6 hrs before lights on. It goes off at 22:00, 1 hr before lights out meaning it’s 12hrs on, 12hrs off. I plan to adjust it later to get the timings right.
     
  19. Dantrasy

    Dantrasy Member

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    612
    Location:
    Australia
    might have missed it, but how are you diffusing your co2? i see no reactor or in-take diffuser.

    very nice scape btw
     
  20. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Member

    Joined:
    13 Sep 2012
    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Thanks Dantrasy.

    You can't really see it in the photo but I've got an Up inline diffuser (old style) on the filter out flow. Seems to work pretty well. Can't really see any bubbles unless you look hard.
     

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