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'Maya Cenote' 250l jungle


4 Nov 2012
Hi guys I've finally got it together to start my first journal, this is my second planted tank and my first large one so please go easy ;)

Now the idea of this tank is to make a thick jungle surrounding a cave system with inspiration taken from the cenotes of Central and South America



Tech list
250l APS aquarium and stand
APS 2000EF+ external filter
Custom spraybar
2kg FE with Solenoid
Inline UP atomiser
Inline 300w Hydor heater
3x 39w T5 lighting

Tropica substrate
play sand
large bogwood


I superglued the java moss to the bogwood


Anubias Nana 'Petite'
Anubias Nana 'Broad leaf'
Aponogeton Longiplumulosus
Aponogeton Ulvaceus
Echinodorus Barthii
Glossostigma Elatinoides
Hemianthus Callitrichoides
Hydrocotyle Verticillata (oddly very large leafed specimen)
Ludwigia Arcuata
Micranthemum Micranthemoides
Micranthemum Umbrosum
Microsorum Pteropus 'Mini'
Microsorum Pteropus 'Needle leaf'
Microsorum Pteropus 'Spec'
Myriophyllum Matogrossense 'Green form'
Najas Indica
pogostemon helferi
Rotala Indica
Sagittaria subulata
Taxiphyllum Barbieri
Vallisneria Asiatica
Vallisneria Rubra

I had a few issues with one of the pieces of wood floating and also experimenting with using the tropica soil on top of the wood in tights which ended in a cloudy disaster


5 days in and the glosso has started sprouting up all over the show! The idea is to form a carpet of glosso and dwarf sag..

I'm hoping once this tank grows in it will look a bit more like how I'd imagined it as at the moment it doesn't really work as an aquascape, I guess time will tell. Any advice or feedback would be much appreciated :)


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Those images are fantastic inspiration. I reckon this will look great when its grown in. I can already picture it and that bogwood is amazing. Nice one mate.
Cheers guys I'm hoping the moss covers all the wood and goes a nice green, at the moment it's looking dull and brownish. On top of the wood on the right is a load of HC which will hopefully overflow onto the moss. Just need to keep an eye on things and hope for a bit of luck.
Love those photos of that cave, its great when we see something thats very real indeed and try to imitate it. this is where the fun starts, Im a little worried about your stem plants, sand usually isn't the best substrate for them, although I have seen this done I think it requires a full co2 pressurized system in order to successfully work.. most of what you have is low tech but im unsure about the pogostemon helferi when it sits in the sand. I think its great what your doing so keep at it :)
Thanks for the feedback guys its given a bit of faith that it just might work :cool: most of the plants chosen should be reasonably easy to grow and the harder plants are more of an experiment to see which will take and which will need replacing. There's a nice layer of tropica substrate beneath the sand and also a bunch of tropica root tabs dotted around so i'm hoping that will partly make up for the lack of a complete substrate system. I'm also blasting loads of co2 in at the moment but my drop checkers are giving different results so i'm a tad confused about just how much is in there. Some days I seem to get some pearling on the hc, mh and glosso but some days none, I'm also dosing EI and doing 30% water changes every 2-3 days, is this enough?
Ahh man I apologise, I didn't read your damn journal properly, I stupidly didn't notice ur tropica substrate! My apologies, a water change every 3 days is ideal to start off with for sure, I dose ei every morning in a 27l tank I also do water changes every 3 days like u and things are good !

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Was thinking about power heads, I can see the bubbles getting pushed down the front glass and slight movement in the plants at the bottom but don't know if this is enough. The drop checkers are different types and in different positions so this might be why, I'll take some pics when the lights come on.

If I was to add power heads would it be best to have one or two? Should they be placed in the top back corners aimed at the front glass to work with the flow from the spraybar?
Also there is only 2wpg light on this tank and its quite deep, should this be sufficient? Full light 7 hours with an extra 2 hours dimmed
2wpg should be fine mate with t5s as the tanks deep that may lead to slower growth as for the power heads maybe wait a while and see how things go, maybe look to add them as plant mass increases.As for placement try to get them to work with the spraybars and overcome dead spots.Most people on here would recommend a 5 or 6 hour photoperiod on startup but if 7 is working that's all good. Keep the pics coming :)
Hmm maybe I'll drop it an hour or two, don't want to give the algae any kind of leg up cheers :)
Just a quick one, should I water change before lights go on and also should I dose the full tank straight after water change or just the water I'm changing? I'm assuming I should do the whole tank but as its an assumption thought it's worth an ask

as long as the dose is the same as usual then there is no problem with adding your ferts to water change water first.
Hi I've been trying to get my head round my Co2 and have a few questions. I didn't realise the water would look so fizzy from the inline atomiser, after doing some digging on the forum I found some threads from a few years ago saying you could switch the inline atomiser to the filter inlet and the bubbles would dissolved before reaching the system, however the whole point of the atomiser is to create the Co2 mist which is supposedly better at delivering Co2 to the plants.

So I have a few queries..

If I'm using the mist to get to the plants do I still need my drop checker to be lime? If its just the mist hitting the leaves instead of the dissolved co2 doing the job is there any need for it to be dissolved too?

Are fish comfortable with the mist? Its seems like there is a lot of Co2 in the tank.

I think I'd prefer it without the mist, would running the atomiser on the inlet still produce decent results?

I'm only getting pearling on water change days even though there is a large supply of co2 and ferts, is this down to the mist? Should I be worried I'm not getting enough circulation? The mist seems to reach everywhere in the tank.

Any input would be very much appreciated


Yesterday was 2 weeks from planting so I decided it was time for some pics, unfortunately they are very poor quality, if anyone has any tips for pics that would be much appreciated! Anyway heres what I got, I might try some more with a different camera once the lights come on.


The Aponogeton Longiplumulosus in the middle is the star performer at the moment growing around 12 inches in 2 weeks!


The HC and HM on top of the wood seem to be growing although the HM is looking a bit leggy which I assume is down to lack of light


The dwarf sag and glosso are growing although again seem a bit leggy


The underside of the left cave dotted with mini java fern, moss and any little plantlets that have been unearthed and swept up there, whether they'll grow or not I don't know but fingers crossed. Also beneath are the hydrocotyle, I'd never seen them so big, some stems where 6-8 inches long with leaves bigger than £2 coins, I'm guessing they were from a low light tank so they may take a little time to adapt They were added around a week ago so have a little catching up to do.


The left cave still floats a bit hence the dumbells ;) The green blob behing the weight on the left is actually Micranthemum umbrosum, this seems to be growing steadily and will hopefully fill the top of the cave.

So things seem to be growing but I'm worrying about whether there is enough light as the tank is 60cm deep. Yesterday I replaced the filter sponge with Purigen which has improved circulation greatly, I'm hoping this might up the Co2 the plants receive meaning they wont need the extra light, I'll run it like this for a further 2 weeks and see if the leggyness is improved. Again and tips ideas or feedback is much appreciated.