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Miller's Dutch Tank ft. Horizontal Reactor

Unexpected

Member
Joined
4 Feb 2022
Messages
127
Location
USA
Truth be told, I'm pretty nervous to start a journal here with such "big gun" hobbyists at ukaps, but I guess nothing ventured, nothing gained or so they say. I'm pretty new to higher energy tanks so I'm definitely in a steep learning curve at the moment but I'm learning quickly and feel pretty confident I can get this new tank to competition level (at least an entry level).

This tank was started just shy of 2 months ago and is the largest aquarium I've ever worked with. It's an AIO aquarium designed for reefers, but I bought it strictly for a planted tank. I didn't want to deal with canister filters and visible equipment. I had to sacrifice some width for the length, but being so long and shallow makes up for it in my mind. This does make creating depth more challenging and hopefully I can pull it off. The tank is 177cm long , 61cm wide but the display is only 46cm, and height is 40.6cm. Total volume of about 450l.

The original plan was to step away from the more demanding stems and move towards a natural style with wood and rocks. I'm not a good aqua scape planner/ designer and as such the scape was just mundane. Here's what we set originally.
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Here's the first round of planting and it quickly started not to look good.
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Round 2 planting.
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In my mind, this looked all too ugly.

I failed to get a 2022 AGA Dutch submission because of a few mistakes, and this failure has weighed on me for 5 months now. I've decided to try again and I should have enough time to get the tank in order. I've stripped the hardscape, ordered plants I want to try, ordered 2 Weak Aqua P600's and I'm just waiting on the V3 Bluetooth to arrive. I'm hoping this next week everything should be set up and going. My goal right now is get the plants healthy (I live in a terrible area for underwater gardening and I have to order plants online), and start propagating while reducing my plant specie count. Here's the tank this morning. I've just placed things around to ensure good flow/distribution through the plants.
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Another necessity I needed was no wet equipment outside of the tank. My 20 inch Cerges reactor looked ridiculous sticking out of the overflow chamber and I needed an alternative injection method. Wouldn't you know the answer was right here on the forum. @22802 Horizontal Reactor, I now call the horizontal reactor, was the solution. It works perfectly right now and I'm about to put it through a good workout.
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I will say the flow in this tank is Superior and as such, the offgassing is challenging to manage. I hope I've included enough surface area to meet the demand when I start cranking energy up. We will soon find out!

Thanks for reading my rant and hope some follow me along with this journey.

Currently dosing (front load) 24N, 4P, 31K, .4Fe as proxy (CSMB) and .1Fe 11% DTPA.
5.2dGH at 3:1
1dKH. I may go back to 0dKH
Pool filter sand substrate.
 

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@22802Horizontal Reactor, I now call the 22802reactor, was the solution. It works perfectly right now and I'm about to put it through a good workout.
I am certain my friend @22802 will be excited to hear that! Big Kudos for being open minded and ready to try new approaches 👍

Fantastic tank!

Cheers,
Michael
 
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I am certain my friend @22802will be excited to hear that! Big Kudos for being open minded and ready to try new approaches 👍
Absolutely, the only reason I've come this far is by being opened minded to those way smarter than me.
 
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I finally got around to being less lazy and found out my degassed pH level. The tank is officially at a 1.5 pH drop. The amazing thing is the length and diameter used. The second pipe purges the excess CO2 right when it's hitting the 1.5 drop. There's no way I can gas my fish at this point and I see no reason to continue running my CO2 controller. My goal now is to reduce injection rate to reduce or eliminate the purge yet keep the 1.5 drop.

Unfortunately, my new lights did not include the hanging kit and I had to buy them separately. So there's a small delay with performance under higher light.

I also hope to make my first round of species elimination and will start my rearranging today.
Here's the current plant growth.
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Truth be told, I'm pretty nervous to start a journal here with such "big gun" hobbyists at ukaps, but I guess nothing ventured, nothing gained or so they say.
Looks pretty impressive to me already! and the sheer size not everyone can have one of those, so you have some bargain rights there too ;)
 
During maintenance yesterday, I was able to reduce species count by a whopping 2! I did a bit of rearranging and still no closer to Dutch than I was the day before 😁. I still need to remove 11 species and the majority of reds. I'm determined to work the Cryptocoryne Spiralis Red Tiger into the final scape, but I have a feeling it won't make the cut.
 

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Cryptocoryne Spiralis Red Tiger into the final scape,
I first I thought it was balansae but was much nicer colour, but then realised how shallow this tank is ;)
A dutch on this shallow tank, you will need to get your scissors out every other day :)
 
What a chore, but the new lights are up and running. They are definitely brighter! I'd imagine it will take me a week to get an adjustment I'm happy with. Here's what my wife liked.

My substrate is definitely not this...pink 😆
 

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First significant rearrangement and another round of reduction.
Sorry for the poor images. I don't have photo skills. Used 2 different cameras.
 

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I think I’m closing in on a final arrangement. I haven’t updated in a while because I’m a bit OCD and didn’t want to bore you all with the compulsive need to change everything so often. My fear though, this isn’t Dutch. I’d imagine it will take many more years to develop this skill. A journey I’m excited for rest assured!

Here’s some numbers if interested.
30ppm NO3
10ppm PO4
35ppm K
.45ppm Fe (as proxy, Burr Aqua micro mix)
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I still have some emersed growth on the Stricta, but she’s starting to take off and the Juncus is just there as a possible substitute if needed.
 
Wow, it’s been a while since posting. Well, a long road has come to an end. Here was my competition shot and it pulled off a 2nd place in the AGA Dutch category. My wife and ran out of time but we are pleased with the end results. We had no place to hold the extra fish and we lost points for too many. We also were too heavy handed on restricting reds and lost points there too. Still, my wife and I couldn’t be happier.
The Second Hand of Carew
IMG_0469.jpeg
 
Wow, it’s been a while since posting. Well, a long road has come to an end. Here was my competition shot and it pulled off a 2nd place in the AGA Dutch category. My wife and ran out of time but we are pleased with the end results. We had no place to hold the extra fish and we lost points for too many. We also were too heavy handed on restricting reds and lost points there too. Still, my wife and I couldn’t be happier.
The Second Hand of Carew
View attachment 213057

Gorgeous, well done to you both.
 
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