Critique my hardscape Setting up 55L scaper's tank

jsiegmund

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Fun how a scape matures on you without noticing. Compared to the pic above it seems stuff is growing, I didn't really notice that in real life so far.

IMG_20190108_171750.jpg

I still very much love the scape! Do have the need for a cleaning crew, especially for the wood where that ugly slimy stuff keeps forming. I removed most of it during last weekends maintenance, but some debree is now stuck between the hemianthus. Some shrimp and snail should definitely fix that though. When all parameters are OK I'm going to get the livestock this weekend. Planning on a small school of rasbora x (?), some oto's and shrimp. Maybe some algea loving snails.
 

Ady34

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Nice tank, snails and shrimp will definitely clean up the wood slime, I’d add them first as they offer small bioload :thumbup: ottos tend to do better in mature systems.
 

jsiegmund

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Hmmm I didn't know that. You think the ottos might not make it in a 3 week old setup? I'll also check with LFS.
 
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Ady34

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Some may be fine, others not so, they can be fickle and frail. Once settled they are no problem.
Do you have any mature filter media or is the tank just going through a natural cycle? If natural I would advise 6 weeks before the introduction of fish. Your local fish shop may be able to give you some mature filter media, or another local hobbyist maybe? That would help a lot.
 

jsiegmund

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Everything was new or at least dry so no living bacteria. Had some ceramic material and purigen from my old tank (dry as well). I'm pretty sure the LFS guy can probably supply me with some brown filter foam though. Would it be OK to get that along with the fish? I was really looking forward to stocking but I don't want to harm the fish in any way of course.
 
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Ady34

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Well the plants will be utilising ammonia and I’m presuming you are carrying out large water changes so with some mature media im sure all will be well. Maybe the only exception would be if you have used enriched media such as ADA as these leach large quantities of ammonia which may not be mopped up by your plants or water changes or the mature filter media.
You said in your first post about ‘when all perameters are ok’, how are you testing? Test kits can be in accurate but can offer a guide.
 

jsiegmund

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Yes, I've been doing 50 - 70% water changes every 3 days these last few weeks. I can do another one on Friday or Saturday before heading out to my LFS. Just tested everything, got a test set with individual tests for pH, KH, GH, NH, NO2, NO3 and PO4. The drop-type ones (by lack of a better description).

Parameters seemed fine for livestock; virtually no NH, no NO2 at all and only a little of NO3 and PO4 (so I'm gonna raise those dosages a little for the plants to thrive). pH of around 7. I know the tests are not super accurate, but I'm pretty sure the harmful stuff isn't in there. I'll make sure I get some filter floss from the LFS with bacteria, that should do it. And I really want to get the crew in as I started noticing the first signs of some algea.
 

jsiegmund

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Here's a small update. Quickly took some phone pics, I'll get out my camera this weekend for some better pictures hopefully. The livestock ended up being:
  • 5x Amano shrimp
  • 8x Blue velvet shrimp
  • 10x Rasbora Galaxy
Third picture kinda shows the fish, but they're really small and still quite shy so pretty much impossible to catch on camera using a phone. I love them though, they're small enough to swim everywhere so make very effective use of even the tiniest of spaces in the hardscape. Their colors are very pretty and bright, especially the males. Still planning on adding ottos but I'll wait a bit for things to stabilize first.

IMG_20190117_193042.jpg IMG_20190117_192508.jpg IMG_20190117_192123.jpg

Plant wise everything seems to be doing great. I've got a little bit of hair algea but nothing that can't be managed. It hardly grows so for now it's just good food for the amano's. I skipped on snails as LFS only had species that grow quite large which doesn't combine well with the tiny fish and shrimp.

Btw the piece of filter floss on the intake (back left) is to prevent the blue shrimp from being sucked in, they were continuously getting stuck in the slots so I'll give them some time to grow a bit first. Should not take that long hopefully (and maybe they'll learn in time but experience tells me they won't....)
 

jsiegmund

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Here's another picture. And as I posted it, I noticed the filter floss being ugly in the background, ah well.. I will most likely get rid of it soon. I have no clue where the blue velvet shrimp have gone, there's lots of places to hide so maybe that's it because I rarely see them. I'll see whether they get to producing offspring or maybe it was just a bit too soon for those after all. Amano's are doing great and growing day by day :)

DSC01169.JPG

Btw I trimmed the carpet last weekend, so it seems like this is maybe a bit too fast growing haha. I'm gonna try to slowly reduce the CO2 rate and see how things react to that. No major issues so far, just the green thread algea that pops up in the upper sections due to high light intensity.
 

jsiegmund

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An update on this thread was long overdue. Since the last picture I struggled quite a bit with diatoms. I'm still not entirely sure why these came back even after the tank was already way past cycling. I lost some of the plants because of this, they were absolutely covered. So I swapped some plants with new ones and had a strict water change regime. That helped and now everything is doing fine again. So here's a new pic with the current state:

DSC01182.JPG

I also bought myself a (second hand) BiOrb Air. The first "scape" of this baby is really just a try out, I want to see how the plants do in it. Some are aquatic, others are not. The system itself is very cool and it should require very little maintenance which I love as well.

DSC01175.JPG DSC01176.JPG DSC01178.JPG
 

Hudson

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When I had a diatom issue after 2 months of running my Flex 34L, I managed to nail i down to a dead spot and low flow in that area.
Looking good now and coming along nicely, Also loving thr BiOrb Air but there just a bit too procey in the UK
 

Medoka

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I genuinely liked youp scape and the progress you have had from the start. Do you have a latest view?
 
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