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Jackson's Jungle


27 May 2015
I have been meaning to start this one for quite a while, but I keep putting it off as it seems like too much effort to write the "story so far". Of course putting it off makes the story get longer, so I am just going to begin by posting the tank as it is today!

As you can see, I enjoy a crowded tank. Its only a 60cmx30cmx35cm tank but I think I have filled it to the brim with plants.
It's probably not to everyone's tastes, it certainly isn't a refined aquascape, but everything in there is (mostly) extremely healthy and growing well. The only issue I have had is with the Rotala species in the background. Rotundifolia grows perfectly, but H'ra, blood red and orange juice are regularly stunting. I originally started the tank dosing EI, and have tried to change to super low nitrate dosing, but still they stunt. So next on the list of trials is front loading ferts, so beginning with tomorrows water change I will be front loading ferts, with some (urea and a small amount of PO4) being dosed weekly alongside micros.

Equipment on the tank:
  • 4 tube 24w T5HO light fitting with individual reflectors
  • Astra 2212 canister filter (1330LPH) runing external heater and CO2 reactor
  • DIY Cerges CO2 reactor
  • External heater
  • Bubble Magus dosing pumps
  • STC1000 temperature controllers with 2x cooling fans
  • Tunze Osmolator
  • Dual guage CO2 regulator (unknown brand, was a leftover from a welding setup)
  • Stainless steel intake with surface skimmer and matching outflow
System has been amazingly trouble free, I have left it for up to 16 days at a time with no maintenance and just a neighbour dropping in to feed the fish while on holidays.
I have only been using 2 of the t5 tubes up until recently, I am slowly introducing the other 2 tubes at the moment, just a few hours per day.

Fish list:
  • German Blue Rams x 2
  • Neon Tetras x12
  • CPDs x8
  • Hillstream Loaches x3
and finally some more photos and a Greggz inspired specs sheet.


tank specs 14-5-22.jpg
New gadget alert!

I added a pH controller today. I already have a stable pH profile, with a 1 pH drop (measured on a 0.1 resolution pH pen). With the doubling of my lighting from 2xT5HO to 4xT5HO, I want to bump that up, but I wanted to do it gradually, so a pH controller seemed the perfect tool for that.
I went with the newer version of the UP Aqua controller after a few people here gave it positive reviews in another thread.
I have set it to run the same pH drop that I currently have (which turns out to be 1.06 with the higher resolution on the new controller). The plan is to drop that by .01 each day and monitor for any fish distress/changes in behaviour.


Probe in position

Unit mounted in the gadget corner

Current FTS
After 10 days with the pH controller, I must say I am a fan so far. Being a nervous nelly I have been checking the calibration daily and apart from the first 2 days where it was 0.05 out each time it has held calibration well. I am unsure if the first few days were user error or just the probe being brand new. The one complaint on the unit is that the calibration and setting screws are quite touchy and it can be a bit of a game to get it spot on when it needs changing.
The part I have enjoyed most is that I can slowly increase my CO2 dosing. I am currently at a 1.2 pH drop with no signs that the fish are affected. Without the controller I would never have touched the CO2 dial at that level for fear I increased it by too much, now I can make fine adjustments.
I also pulled all the background plants and replanted the best stems as they were getting a bit crowded and I think that may have been increasing the amount of stunting amongst the rotalas.
Tank looks a bit bare now.

And the tray of removed stems