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Swamp Creek - 2 years on updated June 2012

tyrophagus

Member
Joined
1 Apr 2010
Messages
244
Location
Swindon
My first tank in years! Lets hope I don't just grow algae and if you look at the pics I'm off on a good start with some green water.

So I did the great trek from Swindon to Wrexham to collect my tank and spent 5 hours at The Green Machine extracting every last bit of info Graeme could provide. Hats off to them, the best customer service I have received for a long time so well worth the 6hr round trip.

I picked up a lot of goodies bearing in mind I'm almost starting from scratch after ten years out of the hobby. All I had that was useful was the CO2 setup the rest I had to buy.

90x45x45 optiwhite. I'm waiting for a inlaid glass lid from ADA which will rest on 8 metal clips attached to the top of the tank. The reason I can't have the tank open is the 6 cats I entertain at home, the new tank is cat TV. I'm sure they would find out it was wet one way or the other but once the fish are in I can see them trying to perch on the side. One of my cats has a rare neurological disease[ http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index ... 100802.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ] so we have a feeding tube direct into his stomach until he recovers (5 months now and waiting) and my other half does not want complications of him taking a swim. Within minutes of arriving home at 9pm he jumped into the empty tank.

Mobile%20Photo%2023%20Apr%202010%2020%2021%2000.jpg

Taken with my iPhone so excuse the quality

So back to the kit.
  • 90cm optiwhite
    hydor external heater
    sera inline diffuser
    eheim 2076 external filter
    Fire extinguisher CO2
    7l ADA power sand special (perhaps a bit more than required)
    21l ADA Amazonia granules
    Cal Aqua lily pipe/inlet
    hardscape 3 x ironwood :thumbup:
    2x TMC Growbeam 1000 ND lighting tile and suspension kit + power controllers
    Vortech MP10 powerhead

Plants
  • marsilea hirsuta in foreground
    cryptocoryne wendtii brown and green
    Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides
    Pogostemon Stellata
    Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata
    Heteranthera zosterifolia
    Rotala sp "green"
    Hemianthus micranthemoides
    Micranthemum umbrosum

Once again thanks to Graeme at TGM for helping me focus my plant choices and for the supplying the Knowledge. Something that became apparent is that not a lot is know about using TMC LED lighting for planted tanks so I'm entering Tiger Territory is some respects.

The plan was to create a triangular design inspired by a 1m width Takashi Amano tank but in a 45cm width tank. The tank would be viewed from 2 sides, front and left. I do a bit of photography when I have time and using a leading line can be an important compositional element in a photograph. A tank is very similar to a photograph. It's framed by its very nature, and like a painting we decide how to construct the elements that fill the frame. I used 3 pieces of wood to divide the tank and create the effect of root buttresses. I change my mind between setup and planting as the wood on the right seemed to be too parallel to the other pieces.

20100421_fish_tank_0338.jpg


I wanted some red plants in the background and to simulate the effect of plants growing up to the base of a tree.

I think I'll lose the Heteranthera zosterifolia once the tank has stabilised.

One of the downsides of not ordering or having the space (in a 2 bed terraced cottage) for a dedicated tank base is the fact i had to install it one a Welsh dresser. I failed to anticipate that it would bend the dresser. I measured at least a 1 cm drop in the centre of the dresser and could no longer open or close the doors properly. So this morning I had to drain 90% of the water and position a support in the centre of the dresser so it would no longer bend. Success! it worked thank god as I thought there might be 180l of water on the floor soon.

So this is the tank today, day 3.

20100423_fish_tank_0347.jpg


20100423_fish_tank_0348-Edit.jpg


And proof for those that think cats have the ability to avoid disaster, well malcolm has no sense of danger....

20100423_malcom_0362.jpg
 

gzylo

Member
Joined
11 Dec 2009
Messages
108
Re: Swamp Creek - established 20/04/2010

Hi

Nice tank
Where in Swindon are you?

If you need some filter mulm let me know as i`m cleaning mine on Tuesday :)

Yea Heteranthera zosterifolia is quite a "pest" later on + once its grown whitch does not take long its a nice plant + its good for cycling tank as its nutrients hungry but be careful, if top leaves do not allow enough light to get to bottom of the plant the leaves will root + its structure is quite strange as it does not grow up much but sort of expands on sites. I`m experiencing with bbq stick (wood ones) so she have something to climb on, just done it today so no effect yet :)


anyway good luck :) :thumbup:

Thanks
 

tyrophagus

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Thread starter
Joined
1 Apr 2010
Messages
244
Location
Swindon
Re: Swamp Creek - established 20/04/2010

chump54 said:
Great hardscaping, reminds me of a rotten tree stump.

great work, like the plant choice too :thumbup:

Chris
[/quote]

Thanks Chris. A rotten tree stump is exactly what I was after so success! It's difficult to translate the concept into the final product. Hopefully this will turn out tops! :thumbup:
 

tyrophagus

Member
Thread starter
Joined
1 Apr 2010
Messages
244
Location
Swindon
Re: Swamp Creek - established 20/04/2010

gzylo said:
Hi

Nice tank
Where in Swindon are you?

If you need some filter mulm let me know as i`m cleaning mine on Tuesday :)

Yea Heteranthera zosterifolia is quite a "pest" later on + once its grown whitch does not take long its a nice plant + its good for cycling tank as its nutrients hungry but be careful, if top leaves do not allow enough light to get to bottom of the plant the leaves will root + its structure is quite strange as it does not grow up much but sort of expands on sites. I`m experiencing with bbq stick (wood ones) so she have something to climb on, just done it today so no effect yet :)


anyway good luck :) :thumbup:

Thanks

I bought cycled filter material from TGM. It's not coping with the high ammonia levels at present but it's early days. I'm based just outside of Swindon nr Wroughton. Thanks for the offer I appreciate it but I think the filter material I have just needs a few days to sort itself out, I'll pm you if I need some help - thanks for the offer, it's great to know there are hobbyists out there prepared to help each other :).
 

zig

Member
Joined
4 Jul 2007
Messages
686
Location
Dublin Ireland
Re: Swamp Creek - established 20/04/2010

You certainly went the whole hog there :D I wouldnt underestimate the weight of the tank on the dresser, its 182 kilos (28 stone) for the water only, not to mention the weight of the glass or hardscape, so its a lot of weight!

Good job so far though, nice simple hardscape, very effective.
 

Mark Evans

Expert
Joined
13 Jun 2008
Messages
6,483
Location
newark notts.
Re: Swamp Creek - established 20/04/2010

zig said:
wouldnt underestimate the weight of the tank on the dresser, its 182 kilos (28 stone) for the water only,

this was my first thought :wideyed:

great scape though.
 

tyrophagus

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Thread starter
Joined
1 Apr 2010
Messages
244
Location
Swindon
Re: Swamp Creek - established 20/04/2010

The Marselia is putting up new leaves after just 4 days but they are all 4 leaf clover types rather than the single leaf which I'm aware is normal at the start. Do I just cut these off now or do I allow them to feed the rhizome?

Do I allow the plants like the Hemianthus micranthemoides and Micranthemum umbrosum to grow out more before I start trimming them?

If the crypts start to melt do I just suck up the leaves as the rot or do I cut the leaf off at the base?

cheers
 

Garuf

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Joined
30 Oct 2007
Messages
5,539
Location
Copenhagen
Re: Swamp Creek - established 20/04/2010

Why is your cat wearing a jumper?
 

tyrophagus

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Joined
1 Apr 2010
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244
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Swindon
Re: Swamp Creek - established 20/04/2010

Malcolm's jumper keeps a stomach tube in place on the side of his body. We need to feed him 4 times a day because his eosophagus is dilated and although he eats well the food can't reach his stomach. Conditions called dysautonomia or Key Gaskell syndrome. Rare in cats, no known cause and some recover in a year as long as they get the the right nursing care. We are into his 6th month with a tube.

This might sound over the top but the cat is in no pain and as you can see he is very active and mischievous.

Back to the tank - do I trim back this marsilea now or let it grow more leaves as they seem to be reaching upwards a lot?

20100424_swap_creek_tank_0365.jpg


20100424_swap_creek_tank_0367.jpg
 

John Starkey

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Joined
8 Jul 2007
Messages
1,599
Location
worcester
Re: Swamp Creek - established 20/04/2010

Very nice setup,i like the hardscape and the planting,what lighting unit is that ?,
regards john.
 

tyrophagus

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Thread starter
Joined
1 Apr 2010
Messages
244
Location
Swindon
Re: Swamp Creek - established 20/04/2010

john starkey said:
Very nice setup,i like the hardscape and the planting,what lighting unit is that ?,
regards john.

Thanks everyone for your encouraging comments. John the lights are TMC Growbeam 1000ND lighting tiles. LED lighting and currently running at 45% strength while the tank becomes established.

The controller for each tile allows you to set the start and end time as well as a "ramp" phase that can be from 0 min to 4 hrs and also the max and min intensity from 0 to 100%. This means you can leave the tiles on all night with a 2% intensity simulating full moon if you were inclined to.

I have them set to ramp up and down over two hours before and after a 4 hour phase set at 45% maximum.

They are very bright and from what I understand have excellent penetration and good PAR.

negatives: design - not that aesthetically pleasing, the serial number is a sticker on the face of the unit (I had to cover with black tape) and the user manual is ok not great.
 

tyrophagus

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Thread starter
Joined
1 Apr 2010
Messages
244
Location
Swindon
Re: Swamp Creek - @ 15 days

So its turning into a struggle. I have plant death but I persist. It's only 2 weeks after all. The nh4 levels are close to zero.

Today after 3 days without a water change I replaced about 75% water. I managed to remove a lot of dead plant material, surprising how much is hidden away. The lights are on for 6 hours at 25% of the the rated capacity of the LED lights. My co2 is green despite me trying to get it to yellow. I have no fish so I assume I can pump as much co2 into the tank as I like so I have upped the rate. I have a lot plants turning to mush! 80% are fine but I've lost 20%.

I have upped the co2 to "to many bubbles to count". To much light and to little co2 seems to be the most likely cause. I'm rather frustrated by this but I know I need to patient.

At least I have no algae at the moment.
 

TBRO

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Joined
8 Feb 2009
Messages
947
Re: Swamp Creek - established 20/04/2010

Don't worry all new tanks go through an algae phase. The plants will come back and the algae will disappear. Better to keep the CO2 constant rather than fiddling with it too much as this encourages BBA. Love you cat by the way, his mischievous eyes remind me of my cat Aslan.
cats016.jpg


Keep up the good work, Tom
 

Mawgan

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Joined
13 Dec 2009
Messages
51
Location
Tonbridge, in the Garden of England
Re: Swamp Creek - established 20/04/2010

I've obviously been more patient than you in planting - or is that just slower? :) It's a lovely design and certainly achieves your aim of the 'rotted trunk' look. Because you're that much further on in the process, I haven't yet been hit by your misfortune with the plant decay. I hope you are managing to fight back - there seem to be many mountains to conquer on the road to success. If you are, I hope to learn from your experience.

I was just thinking last night that there seems to be little experimentation among forum members with LED lighting, certainly in larger set-ups. There is a considerable initial outlay, and it will be interesting to discover if you consider it worthwhile. I like the concept of being able to vary and control the degree of light.

Big fan of Malcolm also - hope his recovery continues... :thumbup:
 

tyrophagus

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1 Apr 2010
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Swindon
Re: Swamp Creek - established 20/04/2010

Tom - Aslan looks like he's landed with his bum in the butter. That's a cat with attitude.

Mawgan I too went to TGM and spoke with Graeme. I had planned to setup the tank with plants from day one but only when I spoke to him did I realise this was not necessarily the way to go. Because I had a week off and was far to impatient I went ahead against his advice and planted from day one. :rolleyes:

I have over 4 weeks reduced my ammonia to zero and have not suffered yet from algae in the tank except for the filter tubes that seem be alive with brown algae. I have snails introduced from the plants or live filter material I used and they seem to be thriving. Not sure if snails are a good thing. I have Crustaceans, daphnia like creatures in my moss, so I think the water quality is ok and not poisonous.

My mistake was a mismatch between CO2 levels and lighting. I aimed for a green drop checker. It wasn't long before the stem plants stopped growing and some turned yellow and then to mush. It turns out these Growbeam 1000ND LED tiles are a bit on the bright side and I was probably driving the process of photosynthesis at a rate that could not be sustained by the amount of CO2 available. Read all about it here

So I was at 45% power on both tiles and have dropped that back to 25%. I then tried to turn my drop checker yellow.
For some reason I find that to keep my drop checker yellow I need 15 - 20 drops per sec CO2. At least that way CO2 is not limited. That solved my problem, the plants started growing. Less light, more CO2. I have no fish and can't introduce them until I have a stable CO2 level that's not toxic to fish.

I plan to slowly lower the CO2 once the tank is stable and try get a green tinge to the yellow. If the plants are happy over a few weeks then I'll consider increasing the light slightly as I think its too low at the moment. But I'm having to learn patience and make alterations slowly one step at a time.

I'm also thinking about the plants and may move away from having 3 types of stems in the back corner, I might get some crypts instead. The only stem plant that really survived was the pogostemon stellata so I'll keep that.
I'm also worried my hardscaping will disappear as the plants grow.

20100518_fish_tank_swamp_creek_0489.jpg


I've moved some cryptocoryne wendtii green to the back of the tank and planted Cryptocoryne undulata brown at the back between the stumps (I think that can grow to 40cm). I also found some cryptocoryne amicorum which is that small crypt in front of the middle root. I'm going to get rid of the floating green weed soon but right now its not doing any harm.
 

tyrophagus

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Joined
1 Apr 2010
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244
Location
Swindon
Re: Swamp Creek - established 20/04/2010

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So 5 weeks and today I installed my new bubble counter and planted my cryptocoryne x willisii in the back right corner just next to the cryptocoryne undulatus. Hopefully they will both grow up the 25cm to the surface and fill the back right of the tank. My Marselia is growing v slowly but since the co2 has been sorted it seems we have more new leaves than dead leaves.

I'm tempted to get some shrimp for the tank and some otos but concerned the co2 is to high for them.

no algae yet. :wideyed:
 
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