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My first semi planned scape

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19 Jan 2022
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Bedfordshire
Hello there again everyone, if you read my post on My 52 L tank, you would know that I’m going to be buying a 200L tank in the near future (picture attached).
Whilst I aim to post updates and plenty of pictures of the build into this thread, I wanted to start by asking for advice, but first I wanted to share what I’m planning to create.
Substrate:
I want to do an Amazon biotope style aquarium, it’s not going to be exact as I think a lot of what I would like to put in there isn’t exactly in the Amazon river.
So first, I plan on using an aqua soil as my base then using pea shingle as my build up layer or crushed lava rock, then cap everything with a quartz sand I will probably use pool filter sand to keep the cost down.

Hardscape:
I plan on using something spear finger wood so it looks like old root systems, with some larger peace’s coming from the filter inlet/outlet pipes on the right hand side flowing to the left, this is to hide the filter pipes.
I’m not sure what stone to use, I quite like sera stone and dragon stone, I prefer the grey sera stone though I think it will look great with the yellow sand, any suggestions will be welcome though.

Plants:
Anything I like really I would love some Amazon swords at the back, I already have Anubias which I have had since I started my planted aquarium so that will get used like all my plants will. I’m going to be running a CO2 system, I have a couple of starter kits that I have my eye on. Floating plants will be some water lettuce that I have already.
Here is a list that I have been adding to whilst I research for ideas.
  • Dwarf Sagittaria Subulata – Dwarf Sag. ...
  • Bacopa monnieri – Moneywort. ...
  • Cryptocoryne wendtii green – potted or rooted. ...
  • Anubias barteri. ...
  • Echinodorus “Red Flame” Amazon Sword Plant. ...
  • Lloydiella, Creeping Jenny, Lysimachia nummularia. ...
  • Anubias nana narrow leaf.
  • Ludwigia glandulosa
  • Lobelia cardinalis
  • Eleocharis parvula
  • Lilaeopsis brasiliensis
  • Limnophola sessiliflora
Fish:
I plan on getting a larger stock of what I already have to begin with, this will be added over a few weeks to allow the tank to settle no fish will be added for a couple weeks until it gets established, I will probably use my bog wood as seed. First fish is some Neon tetra’s then Black neon tetra. After that some X-ray Pristella tetra, seeing a theme yet ;) I would love a beta fish I have seen a nice plain red on I like so will highly likely get one after ensuring it will be ok with the other fish in the tank.

I think that will do now I’m starting to get bored of typing I’m guessing you are from reading, if you got this far that is.

More to come soon. As I said any suggestions at all will be a great help.
Thank you.
 

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Hufsa

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So first, I plan on using an aqua soil as my base then using pea shingle as my build up layer or crushed lava rock, then cap everything with a quartz sand I will probably use pool filter sand to keep the cost down.
I would place the build up layer at the bottom where you want the most height, then aquasoil and then cap with sand. Make sure the aquasoil layer is thick enough to be of any benefit. Because of granular convection, the sand will try to make its way to the bottom and the coarse stuff to the top, so make sure you plan ahead. Putting the pea shingle / lava rock and aquasoil in mesh bags should suffice. The plant roots will be able to make their way down through the mesh but it will keep the soil from coming up through the sand.
 

Cavalier_Steve

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I would place the build up layer at the bottom where you want the most height, then aquasoil and then cap with sand. Make sure the aquasoil layer is thick enough to be of any benefit. Because of granular convection, the sand will try to make its way to the bottom and the coarse stuff to the top, so make sure you plan ahead. Putting the pea shingle / lava rock and aquasoil in mesh bags should suffice. The plant roots will be able to make their way down through the mesh but it will keep the soil from coming up through the sand.
That’s a great idea, I was going to put the aqua soil in bags anyway but I can put everything in bags and then capp everything with the sand.
And good point about the aqua soil to. Thank you very much. :thumbup:
 

Cavalier_Steve

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Update, I’ve started to get some bits together for the up coming tank, I purchased some pool filter sand for my capping, I also purchased the tank filter bags these are for the aqua soil as suggested by @Hufsa thanks mate :thumbup: I visited Aquarium Gardens on Thursday wow what a great little place that is spent about £330 in there so there goes my budget oh well it was only a guide 😁
F5B825C0-59A8-4C91-94D6-539C0EF7EFFB.jpeg

I have temporary set the CO2 up on my current tank more on that on my other Journal.

I do have to say if your ever in or near Huntingdon goto Aquarium Gardens it’s a small place that does way more stuff for aqua scapes than any aquatic fish place. Dave is a really nice guy and is very helpful and knowledgeable.
More to come soon.
 

Cavalier_Steve

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Today I come back with an update, I have now purchased the tank I wanted, from a local online suppler and it arrived promptly, I ordered it Saturday afternoon and the tank arrived at my door by Wednesday afternoon, how is that for service!
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Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of me building the cabinet which I found really easy and enjoyable, because I’m sad like that 😁
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Here is the cabinet built and tank on top, which my wife helped me with which I really appreciated as the tank alone empty is around 110KG she struggled but powered through it which was brilliant.
The next day I purchased 2 bags of driveway gravel and started to wash it out and made a start on the substrate system, here I put a base layer down and started to fill up some bags to create hight, this is a full bag and about an 1/8 of another that I had in the garden from another project. Before I got to far I put on the rear glass some frosted window film, this stuff was really easy to apply and I’m sure it will remove really easily should anyone not like the look, I’ve used this on my smaller tank and I think it helps keep focus on the tank rather than the wall behind.
Unfortunately the camera seems to sharpen the image up of the wall behind better than I can see in real life, typical really as another time you want to focus the camera on something else it won’t 😩.
2F3AF8F8-FA34-491E-88DD-18C5DCD25F9D.jpeg

Ignore the scum line this will be cleaned before I continue with the next part of the build.
I put some water in there to check for any leaks where the stand pipes are and to hopefully kick start the cycle and get some beneficial bacteria into the sones.
I have a bottle of Jays clean off fluid (pure ammonia) that I’m considering adding to really get things moving, or I may put in a cooked prawn instead or 2. More to do on this tomorrow today is my wife’s birthday so this is her day.

Thanks for reading and joining me on this adventure.
Steve.
 

John q

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Hiya Steve, all looking good 👍

I have a bottle of Jays clean off fluid (pure ammonia) that I’m considering adding to really get things moving, or I may put in a cooked prawn instead or 2.

Having taken this route myself in the past I feel I should point out that way of cycling really isn't needed in a planted tank.
Easiest way of doing this is simply get the plants in the tank and get them growing, once that happens the tank will be fit for inhabitants.

The double bonus of this method is it will allow you time to fine tune the co2 without having to worry about livestock.

Bit of reading on maturing a tank can be found here: Beginner new tank question regarding cycling
There's also some decent links contained within that thread.

Looking forward to see this journal develop.
 

Cavalier_Steve

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Hiya Steve, all looking good 👍



Having taken this route myself in the past I feel I should point out that way of cycling really isn't needed in a planted tank.
Easiest way of doing this is simply get the plants in the tank and get them growing, once that happens the tank will be fit for inhabitants.

The double bonus of this method is it will allow you time to fine tune the co2 without having to worry about livestock.

Bit of reading on maturing a tank can be found here: Beginner new tank question regarding cycling
There's also some decent links contained within that thread.

Looking forward to see this journal develop.
Thank you for that helpful information, I knew plants helped but didn’t realise that they can help so dramatically I will definitely have a read of the link you posted. I will be buying plants hopefully on Wednesday to stock this with it will be great to get livestock in this tank so quickly, and your right about the CO2 this I can fine tune without any worry’s to live stock so that should be nice and easy. I wil, be using plants and bog wood from my old tank so things will definitely mature quickly I have my master test kit to hand as well to ensure everything is well.
Yes I will definitely be posting my setup as it progresses, I have the week off so hopefully I will make this look stunning especially as it grows in, wish me luck…

Looks great.
I wish I had place for something this size.
Bless, I know how you feel, it’s took awhile to convince my wife to allow me to have this, I think she secretly enjoys the tank as much as I do 🤫 I hope that one day you will get your dream.

Thanks everyone for your reply’s if there are any other tips criticisms or something that I do that may cause issues as I go please do let me know, I greatly appreciate the comments and helpful information.

Thank you once again.
Steve.
 

Cavalier_Steve

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Another update, yesterday I finished off placing the stones in there bags to build some height, I then started to put in nutribase into the bags also
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I then covered the whole with with quarts sand,
It was then I realised that my idea of creating hight was, well to high so I took some of the bagged gravel out this created a nice mess🤦‍♂️ How embarrassing 😳
DB21AF1A-E75B-43D7-8C71-A542E45149F4.jpeg

I continued to fill the tank up to about 85% full put my wood in to soak overnight I knew this would float.
9DD631D7-A21B-4FEE-8C56-4CC52594F75D.jpeg

Today I tested the ammonia this was reading 0.5 ppm, and as the water hadn’t really cleared up I emptied it as much as I could and then put my glimmer rock in along with placing my wood where I wanted it to go, I then took some of my plant from my established aquarium and planted these to get things started, I also took some larger pieces of lava rock from my existing aquarium along with a pice of bog wood and placed these, again to help with the beneficial bacteria.
Then my attention turned to the filter as I wasn’t using the black charcoal stuff or the 2 sponges that removes phosphate, I put in some filter floss and some bio balls from my existing filter and filled the old filter back up with bio balls and floss to keep it running, I also filled up the floss the rest of the way in the new filter.
A8C110AB-A1D1-430D-9370-D154B40DEF23.jpeg

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I done a part water exchange on my existing aquarium and put the mature water into the new tank, I don’t think this will do anything but it made me feel better 🙂
This is how it looks now no where near complete as far as the scape goes the rocks are holding the wood down.
A33B0A1E-EF24-4CCA-BA78-94B266FCDE3A.jpeg

Tomorrow I’m traveling to aquarium gardens to buy more plants to put in, oh and I also took the CO2 and set it up in my new tank.
More to come soon.
 

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Cavalier_Steve

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Morning everyone, yesterday I popped over to aquarium gardens an purchased some plants and some more glimmer rock (smaller pieces) for my new setup, Dave was as always very helpful I really recommend Aquarium Gardens.
Before leaving I done another Ammonia test and the nitrite I would say still had a trace of itin there although the test was blue it seemed to me slightly darker than I’m used to.
4BF71B3D-6112-4FC0-8575-5B0DEA3B7704.jpeg

I purchased mostly easy and average plants although I’m injecting CO2 I think I will see how I get on with the average first,
Anyway picture first
11896E80-7895-46A0-98C3-6FB72D31839B.jpeg

Background:
Echinodorus parviflorus
Cryptocoryne balansae
Echinodorus Argentinensis
Myriophyllum Mattogrossense
Bolbitis heudelotil
Middle:
Hottonia palustris
Microsourum preropus ‘Windeløv’
Ludwigia palustris mini super red
Front:
Bucephalandra sp. Red
Bucephalandra Theia
Eleocharis acicularis
Hydrocotyle tripartita
For the moss I have Riccardia Chamedryfolia

Manny of the plants I doubled up on I didn’t want to over complicate anymore than I already have 😁
Sadly I don’t have much of an artistic vision like some aquascapers to create a stunning scape but it’s a start, I can’t stop looking at the tank so I’m very happy with the way it turned out, it will be interesting what it grows out like.

This morning I tested the water again, the ammonia was slightly darker yellow than I’m used to so still some trace elements in the water I expect the nitrite definitely had a trace below 0.25ppm so it’s good to see the nitrification process starting, the water is still slightly cloudy so may do another part water exchange today will see.
Oh I almost forgot here is a picture of my setup so far. Ignore the gravel bag and the larva rock that I have on the wood in the corner this is to hold it down while it gets water logged, same with the wood the other side.
91E4AF55-22CC-4852-9232-43ABED15ED17.jpeg


As always comments, criticism’s and suggestions welcomes
Thanks.
 

Cavalier_Steve

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The background plants look a little sparse unless fact not grown in you could add some stems fast growers at back help the tank establish
Thank you Paraguay, this is exactly the criticism I need, as I’m only a beginner at this, it’s hard to know how much to buy when it looked like there was so many when I was piling up on the table for purchasing.
I still have some plants in my old aquarium that I can to transfer over I think they are Rotala rotundifolia orange juice some are in the tank already so these can come over as well.
Brilliant thank you very much, I feel a little better for not overdoing it.
Cheers.

Todays efforts have really been adding my automatic dosing pump to dose my diy fertilisers I using the aquariumplantfood diy powder kit
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I need a better system to run the 2 pipes to the top I think maybe a clip that can join the 2 pipes together but it’s in calibrated, setup and ready to run I’m using the estimative index method and used @jagillham’s settings on the pump to dose the Maco and Micro everyday.
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The output of the pumps come up and dose at the top of the water
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I think that’s going to be it for a few weeks if progress is good I will pop up a couple of pictures. Next major update I think will be when the fish go in.
Have a good day.
Steve
 

John q

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Hiya Steve,
From experience sussing out the best position for the co2 diffuser in these fluval tanks with twin duckbill outlets can be a pita, the best position I found after numerous attempts was to place it underneath the inlet like this.
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Depending on how much gas you inject you might find the filter burps every now and then.

Might also be a good idea to put the drop checker lower in the water, rather than near the surface.
 

Cavalier_Steve

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Hiya Steve,
From experience sussing out the best position for the co2 diffuser in these fluval tanks with twin duckbill outlets can be a pita, the best position I found after numerous attempts was to place it underneath the inlet like this.
View attachment 185019View attachment 185020

Depending on how much gas you inject you might find the filter burps every now and then.

Might also be a good idea to put the drop checker lower in the water, rather than near the surface.
Hiya John, thanks for the tips and pictures, Yes I liked how the filter was implemented on these tanks, it’s one of the main reason why I bought mine, but like you said where to install the CO2 is a challenge, I like your idea though and I bet most of the CO2 gets absorbed into the water, I did read somewhere that the CO2 going into the filter can affect the performance, have you found any adverse affects? I’m guessing not.
Yes the drop checker is rather high, actually it’s a little bit of a pain to read if I get a better result lowering it then that’s a double win, in fact I will lower it now.
Thank you 👍
 

John q

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I did read somewhere that the CO2 going into the filter can affect the performance, have you found any adverse affects? I’m guessing not.
If you mean damage to the impeller or seals then I've not as yet noticed any issues in the 7 months it's been used this way. Will this have any detrement to the beneficial bacteria in the filter? I'd say not or at least its not seemingly causing me any problems.

The only downside as I mentioned above is the occasional build up of gas in the filter which gets burped out now and again.

I actually have 2 diffusers in my tank, 1 is positioned like the picture above and the second is at the far left of the tank, the reason I did this was because I found trying to inject 10 bps through the filter caused to much burping and it became annoying. Now it's split the inlet receives approximately 5 bps and burps every one to two hours.
 

Cavalier_Steve

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If you mean damage to the impeller or seals then I've not as yet noticed any issues in the 7 months it's been used this way. Will this have any detrement to the beneficial bacteria in the filter? I'd say not or at least its not seemingly causing me any problems.

The only downside as I mentioned above is the occasional build up of gas in the filter which gets burped out now and again.

I actually have 2 diffusers in my tank, 1 is positioned like the picture above and the second is at the far left of the tank, the reason I did this was because I found trying to inject 10 bps through the filter caused to much burping and it became annoying. Now it's split the inlet receives approximately 5 bps and burps every one to two hours.
Yes sorry, I mainly meant to the beneficial bacteria, but thanks for covering the mechanical aspect to I’m not to worried about the occasional burping, if you don’t mind me asking how many litres is your setup? I’m going to leave mine as it is for now whilst the plants and beneficial bacteria gets established but it is something I’m intrigued in playing around with.

Thanks again for your help.
 

Cavalier_Steve

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Morning All,
Not much to update really I have done about 4 water changes in the past week less than the ideal once everyday I work 12 hour shifts with an hour travel so not always possible to do, everything is still looking ok though I started getting small amounts of BBA on a couple of bits of the Eleocharis acicularis this was totally my fault with still getting my CO2 dosing nailed down.
The issue with the CO2 was spending the last week getting the dosing correct for the whole time that it was dosing a now I’m fine tuning hours it comes on before the lights, I started off with an hour and now I’m at 3 hours before lights on, whilst I’m talking about lights I had them on 100% to start off with, it was in my head that the light probably isn’t that powerful as it’s the one that came with the tank, this was reduced to 60% and see how I get on.
Talking of Black beard algae I read another post on here how you can smell the BBA before you see it, I totally get what they are saying I had a nice earthy pond like smell I thought it was healthy but no it’s BBA. Sorry I’m unsure of where I see the post so sadly I can’t link to it just yet.
I started getting a white haze in the water column so I done a around a 60% water exchange and in less than 24 hours it was back, I’m assuming that this is a bacterial bloom as everything is starting to settle in.
Here is a picture the bloom the day after the water change the camera didn’t pick up what I see but it’s there.
E8CF2804-3504-4F06-9375-D258459AC1F0.jpeg

Plants are still setting in and I’m getting some new growth on some of them so I’m quite happy with that, by existing crypt had a bit of melt back but again is still looking ok and even has new growth.
Next I want to do a PH profile, we use the hanna PH probes at work so I will buy myself one of those the one we use for the boiler really lasts quite well unlike the ones we use for the sludge which is expected as that’s goto be the worst case scenario for these devices, even our expensive lab grade meter the probes don’t last long and these are over £150 so they see some abuse in just the liquid alone.
Anyway I will keep you posted on the next progress.
I have a little side project that I will add to this post that I would like to add to this.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Next I want to do a PH profile, we use the hanna PH probes at work so I will buy myself one of those the one we use for the boiler really lasts quite well unlike the ones we use for the sludge which is expected as that’s goto be the worst case scenario for these devices, even our expensive lab grade meter the probes don’t last long and these are over £150 so they see some abuse in just the liquid alone.
That is an issue with pH meters. They require some maintenance <"and consumables etc are expensive">.

cheers Darrel
 
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