• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up
  • You can now follow UKAPS on Instagram.

oddn0ise - 270L planted rebuild - IAPLC entry

oddn0ise

Member
Joined
19 Nov 2011
Messages
158
Location
South West London
Here's my previous tank before work commenced:

5825021322_d3779d518f.jpg
Tropical fish/plant layout June11 by oddnoise, on Flickr#

I’ve been keeping tropical fish for about 15 years now and over the last seven years I have focused on creating planted layouts but with a fair share of non plant friendly exotic fish. In 2005 I made the top 300 in the ADA Planted Tank Competition but ever since have lost ground and I'm now ranked well outside the top 1,100.

My Eheim Pro 2 filter had developed a leak and it was time for a change - on August 24th 2012, I decided to gut my 270 litre tank.

After a visit to ADC in Central London, I came away with a wide array of ideas and made the decision to finally bin my 10 year old Pea Gravel , all 60 kilos of it, and start again from scratch.

I’ve made some mistakes and learnt many things along the way so hopefully this Journal will help others make the right moves.

The cost of the upgrade has been close to £1,500, I wanted a quality set-up and one that wouldn’t require daily attention so I’m sure things could have been done on a cheaper budget but I feel I have a safe, up-to-date, and easy to maintain set-up now.

Next year will see a move to a new Optiwhite tank but this is the last major upheaval to my 10 year old 270L tank that's built into a fireplace.

I'll update pictures along the way and start with a simple set-up list followed by a more detailed walk-through.

Here goes:
270 Litre tank with black background
Sera External Filter UV400 running Siporax, Eheim Lav, and Sera Peat
Lighting 2 x TMC Aqua Grow 1000 units contolled by TMC 8-channel controller
Carbo Plus carbon block soon to be replaced with JBL CO2 602 unit
Sera Heating cable
ADA Aqua Power Soil base with Amazonia on top
Tree roots held in place for the near future with rocks
Plants are temporary until tank is fully matured, layout still to be decided upon
London Tap water mixed with Nutrafin Aqua Plus and initially run through Sera Peat
ADA and EasyLife fertilisers

And some videos are here too:
http://www.youtube.com/user/oddn0ise
 

oddn0ise

Member
Thread starter
Joined
19 Nov 2011
Messages
158
Location
South West London
Re: oddn0ise - 270L rebuild

Lighting changed from several T8 tubes to one 42” T8 Freshwater tube and two TMC Aqua Grow 1000 Led units powered by the 8 channel programmer. The TMCs allows for smooth light fades and they both run from one plug socket. Apparently there is a ‘storm function’, I haven’t tried it yet, but if combined with a major water change it says it could bring about spawning in certain fish. The units are quite costly and took a while to fit into the hood, I’m still not sure I’ve understood the ‘ramp up’ times/levels precisely but in general they seem very good. The T8 tube adds a 5-hour boost and is there just in case the LEDs fail.

The filter was a major source of searching on the net, I had only ever owned Eheim external filters but after the leaks on the latest one, I felt like a change. On scouring the forums I could find examples of virtually every brand being a success as well as a failure, TetraTec and Eheim both faired well but I decided to go with my instinct and plumped for a Sera UV400. I purchased this online from Lapwater aquatics and they did a great job of sorting delivery within 24hours. The mistake I made here was to not check the size of the larger filter, it was considerably taller than my previous one and required some rebuilding of my undertank cupboard.
I must point out here that inside the box of hose attachments there was a large rubber seal, there was no mention of this seal at all in the instructions and I assumed this was a spare. Wrong, after getting the filter primed, using Siporax media together with my dirty Eheim Lav media, I turned the filter on only to have water shoot everywhere. I went through the build of the filter again and found the only place that the rubber seal could be used, and the filter sprang to life perfectly.

At the bottom of the tank I fitted an under gravel heater, I have always used these and again plumped for a Sera product, which at first seemed rather complex but is now ready to run. The cable was not that simple to fit and only came with 10 suction hooks and a cable of that size needs at least twice that amount.

The first layer of substrate was ADA Power Soil, enough to cover the heating cable completely, and then 5 bags of ADA Amazonia soil was gently poured in on top and smoothed out with an incline to the back. The substrate takes a little while to get used to, having only used pea gravel until now, the ADA soil is much lighter and moves easily and you really do have to siphon the water in gently. One of my best purchases so far has been a pair of long planting tweezers enabling me to plant swiftly and securely, and without disturbing the soil.

I had been soaking large amounts of old tree wood for several months but when finally placed in the tank was not happy with the look and made a sudden change to go with tree roots. I found two excellent pieces and made a few little adjustments and here I learnt that tree roots take approximately 4 weeks to sink so have had to weigh them down with rocks, and also the bits I had sawn off made an unsightly white web like mess when placed underwater.
The tank is full of mainly Crypts that I have successfully kept for many years but these are only temporarily placed until the tank is fully matured.

I returned my largest fishes to the shop, 2 beautiful Plecs and various loaches all went back safely. I then housed my collection of Corydoras, Neon Tetras and many Amano Shrimps in a large plastic tray for the maturation period. I lost one fish in this 2-2.5 week process and although some of the Neons were virtually colourless they have all come through the major move safely.
 

oddn0ise

Member
Thread starter
Joined
19 Nov 2011
Messages
158
Location
South West London
Re: oddn0ise - 270L rebuild

OK picture time, some are very boring but show the whole story.

First up is just the organisation of all the new purchases and previous stuff

8017627415_fc450823a2.jpg
Area_preparation by oddnoise, on Flickr

Plastic tray home for the fish for 2-3 weeks

8017632462_af299fb619.jpg
Fish_Temp_housing by oddnoise, on Flickr

Original T8 42" tube and new LEDs being fitted

8017629525_54533cbdca.jpg
Replacing_lights_with_LEDs by oddnoise, on Flickr

New Sera filter housing alongside JBL CO2 cylinder

8017632268_1c67f3265e.jpg
New_Sera_filter_JBL_CO2 by oddnoise, on Flickr

New Sera Heating Cable - really tricky to fix in a not quite clean tank with only 10 suction cups included

8017629309_74acae8182.jpg
Under_Gravel_heater by oddnoise, on Flickr

Day two - weighted down tree roots and a few plants

8017630335_64ee57385d.jpg
Day_2 by oddnoise, on Flickr

More to follow
 

nry

Member
Joined
23 Oct 2007
Messages
1,225
Location
Cumbria, UK
Re: oddn0ise - 270L rebuild

The first setup was lovely, I think I'd struggled to tear it down :)
 

oddn0ise

Member
Thread starter
Joined
19 Nov 2011
Messages
158
Location
South West London
Re: oddn0ise - 270L rebuild

8017632680_3c4b2cb09f.jpg
Day_8 by oddnoise, on Flickr

Day 8
Have been testing the water everyday and Ammonia levels have now dropped, I moved the Neons from the holding bay to the tank, probably a little early, but the regular 50% water changes are helping. I'm regularly dosing Microbe-Lift 'Special Blend' one of the smelliest substances I have ever come accross but the maturation process seems to be going OK so far.

Have added more hardy plants, again all Crypts, and have kept lighting down to a small amount, and have also made a couple of trimmings to the tree roots.
 

oddn0ise

Member
Thread starter
Joined
19 Nov 2011
Messages
158
Location
South West London
Re: oddn0ise - 270L rebuild

At the moment I am running down my very old Carbo Plus carbon block. Very few people seem to have heard of this but I can't find them anymore and have decided to make the move to a CO2 cylinder so will be interesting to see if there is a big difference. Cheers.
 

oddn0ise

Member
Thread starter
Joined
19 Nov 2011
Messages
158
Location
South West London
Re: oddn0ise - 270L rebuild

Day 10

OK, so far so good!

Have added some of my Neons and they seem happy enough, their colour is returning after having endured 2 weeks in a large plastic tub. Plants are coming round slowly but surely. Everything is rough for now until fully matured and then I'll start on a totally new layout in a few weeks time.

8041210910_84017cfb36.jpg
Day_10 by oddnoise, on Flickr

Have checked out the rocks mentioned by 'IanHo', thanks, and they look very nice and hope to place an order for them soon.
 

oddn0ise

Member
Thread starter
Joined
19 Nov 2011
Messages
158
Location
South West London
Re: oddn0ise - 270L rebuild

Day 25

8060578689_cb87a0873c.jpg
Day25 by oddnoise, on Flickr

Maturation process is complete, nitrite levels are zero and now just have a high Nitrate level to deal with.

The layout is only rough and I've chucked in as many plants as I have to help use up the nutrients.

Having read many of the Journals here I now would have raised the temperature more, early on, as this seems to be a way to help speed up the maturation process and I would have done a few less major water changes too as again this would seem to have helped. Learning new things all the time!

I'm almost at present day now with the pictures and am just about to start the big planting process so will update things very soon.
 

oddn0ise

Member
Thread starter
Joined
19 Nov 2011
Messages
158
Location
South West London
Re: oddn0ise - 270L planted rebuild

Agree with you on the Nitrate levels, I have been reading a lot about the balance between Nitrate and Phosphate and there seems to be a ratio between the two that doesn't allow the growth of algae. 16:1 is shown in the Redfield Ratio so I plan to dose Phospate to get this balance between the two.

If anyone is interested this is a good read...
http://www.xs4all.nl/~buddendo/aquarium ... ld_eng.htm
 

oddn0ise

Member
Thread starter
Joined
19 Nov 2011
Messages
158
Location
South West London
Re: oddn0ise - 270L planted rebuild

OK tank is stable, maturation process is complete and was advised that I'd see an outbreak of algae at this point but so far so good. I do think the ADA Phyton Git product is a good help here and also the UV light in the Sera Filter.

Have just stripped the tank again of the loose layed plants and have placed a special order with the Aquatic Design Centre in London, who have been very helpful with plant/general tank advice.

The plants ordered are:

Echinodorus Tenellus x 12
Staurogyne Repens x 12

Anubias Barterii large x 1
Anubias Barterii medium x 3
Anubias Barterii small x 3
Pogostemon Erectus x 3
Ludwigia Glandulosa x 3
Cardamine Lyrata x 4
Bolbitis Heudelotti x 3

Taxiphyllum Barbieri x 5
 

Ian Holdich

Member
Joined
18 Feb 2010
Messages
3,286
Location
lincoln uk
Re: oddn0ise - 270L planted rebuild

try not to believe the redfields ratio to much...it was based on the marine side of things, so not entirely true for a freshwater planted system. IME N03 at this early stage isn't a bad thing (or at any stage TBH). Just keep up with the maintenance at the beginning, and water changes. Hard work at the beginning will pave the way for an easier tank in the future.
 

oddn0ise

Member
Thread starter
Joined
19 Nov 2011
Messages
158
Location
South West London
Re: oddn0ise - 270L planted rebuild

Yep working hard on water changes and keeing things nice and clean. The Redfield Ratio came from an EasyLife leaflet talking about the 'golden triangle' and keeping a good balance of Light - Macro nutrients - Micro nutrients.

Is this not the way forward?
 

oddn0ise

Member
Thread starter
Joined
19 Nov 2011
Messages
158
Location
South West London
Re: oddn0ise - 270L planted rebuild

Plants arrived on Friday and I've had 48 hours of heavy planting.

First up it was attaching the moss to the tree roots, not a particularly easy process. Then I focused on the Anubias and Bolbetis again being attached to the wood.

Then there was a few hours of preparing and planting the foreground plants, first I planted the Staurogyne then the Tenellus, then several of my original Crypts, followed by the Pogostemon and Cardamine. The only plant I didn't get from my list was the Ludwigia Glandulosa as it was missed off the order so will see if I really need this or not over the next few days.

I'm really pleased with how things have come together, my only concern is the layout feels 50/50 in composition so I'm looking at ways to visually shift things a little off centre.

A couple of early shots for your comments...

Cut and trimmed Tenellus ready for planting and one of my most favoured purchases... giant tweezers which I was convinced I didn't need but have been a revelation.
8064584179_c6d67c17e8.jpg
Tenellus_trimmed by oddnoise, on Flickr

Day 0. Stripped out tank ready for planting. Just tree roots and mini landscape rock.
8064586218_dd1ba46f7d.jpg
oddn0ise_day_0 by oddnoise, on Flickr

Day 1. First round of planting with several plants still in pots to check for position
8064584573_3ba0aef5eb.jpg
oddn0ise_day_1 by oddnoise, on Flickr

Day 2. Pretty chuffed with how things have gone, still lots to do but will let things settle for a couple of days
8064583953_332318ff6c.jpg
oddn0ise_day_2 by oddnoise, on Flickr
 

Ady34

Global Moderator
UKAPS Team
Joined
27 Jul 2011
Messages
4,873
Location
Co. Durham
Re: oddn0ise - 270L planted rebuild

Looking good :thumbup:
Like the way youve put the stauro in the centre with the tenellus either side, will draw the eye nicely into the open space with the colour and height differences of the plants. Personally i dont think it looks too symmetrical, the more dominant wood forms to the left draw the eye to give the illusion more towards the 'golden ratio'...i wouldnt worry.
I also see youve trimmed your tenellus from the off.....ill be interested to see how this works out as i planted mine without trimming as id read that its best to leave it for a few weeks to settle first, so this may help clear that up.
Moss and rhyzome plant tying is a pita, i feel your pain!!... and tweezers are a must for the planted tank enthusiast, fingers are just too damn fat :lol:
Will be watching progress with interest.
Cheerio,
Ady.
 

oddn0ise

Member
Thread starter
Joined
19 Nov 2011
Messages
158
Location
South West London
Re: oddn0ise - 270L planted rebuild

Cheers Foxfish, I'm pleased with how well the planting has gone, some are still in pots at the back so more work to do but will let things settle for a couple of days.

And thanks Ady,
The Staurogyne is like a river weaving through the Tenellus hopefully this will fill out nicely. Have had Stauro before but i went well early on and then died off. But I'm running peat in the filter which is keeping the water a little softer. I spent a lot of time trimming the Tenellus so hopefully it works out... we'll see I'll post some pictures soon.

Tweezers have been one of my best investments, thought they were a bit of a gimick but they have worked wonders.
I'll update soon.
 

Similar threads

Top