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awrieger

4'x2'x2'

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I've reduced the number of my planted tanks from 3 down to 1 now. To make space for more goldies of course!

So I've taken most of the plants and stuff (and all the fish) from these two tanks:

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and combined them into the largest tank (which is 110g) with what was already there, and this is the result. :)

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Amazing AW :D How do you get your plants to grow so wonderfully? CO2? Special lighting? Fertilizers? I really want to go all out and plant my new 80 but am hesitant to go down the cost path if I can't figure out how to keep them healthy :blink:

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Thank you both! :)

CO2? Special lighting? Fertilizers?

All of the above! :)

Which is why I've cut down from three to just the one tank now. Too much hassle with all the fertilizer mixing. I much prefer goldfish anyway. :)

Also, I didn't have enough light on this big tank, and the cost of what I needed was extortionist highway robbery, so I've got the light from the other tank added to it now as well instead, ie two light fixtures combined together rather than wasting money buying a whole new bigger one.

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What kind of CO2 injector are you using? I've been looking at DIY and the actual reactor and generator look kind of easy to put together. Plus I purchased one of those Red Sea numbers but they only generate enough O2 for a 40 gallon... Any tips? Also, I've got a double 40W spare, do you think it would help to add that to the existing double 40? And last question, how do you keep the algae at bay?

Sorry for all the questions, but if I could get a tank to look even one tenth as good as yours I'd be a happy camper :D

PS. Which type of fertilizer do you use? (phew - last question)

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Hey Jen,just hold on a sec....AW's writing her book now. :rofl

Seriously AW,your planted tanks always look awesome,but you know that. :exactly

One of these days,I'm going to try it-I think I have to get a second job though. :rolleyes::lol:

Great job!

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Hey Jen,just hold on a sec....AW's writing her book now. :rofl

LOL! So true! Simple questions, but require 10 page answers! I'm quite happy to answer though, in synopsis form! :)

I rent a big CO2 cylinder from Supagas (they deliver to your door, yay!), with a Tunze regulator on it running into a simple spiral plastic JBL diffuser in the tank. Pressurized CO2 is the only way to do it properly in my opinion to keep everything stable and running smoothly.

I also dose Seachem Flourish Excel as per the instructions on the label. This provides extra organic carbon for the plants.

On a 40 watt gallon running with CO2, I wouldn't use anything less in light than 3w/g preferably 4w/g, so your 4x40w would be fine I think. I prefer Sylvania Grolux tubes, simply because they're a better spectrum for plants and not so bright on the eyes like you've just switched a blast furnace on!

To keep algae away, simply keep nitrate in a ratio of 7 to 1 to phosphate. It's as easy as that! So I test for both after each 50% weekly water change and then adjust each to have around 21ppm NO3 to 3ppm of PO4 (ie, 7:1).

My fertilizer regimen, drum roll please..:

General trace elements - JBL Ferropol plant food, because it contains no NO3 or PO4 (so I can dose these separately and more exactly as per as I mentioned above to keep them at 7:1 ratio).

Nitrate - Potassium Nitrate KNO3 powder I bought online from a university chemical supply company called Fronine (you need to pay by credit card for this stuff so the CIA can keep track of you!).

Potassium - Potassium Chloride K2SO4, standard plant stuff available from any nursery or hardware shop, again in powder form. There's potassium in the above Potassium Nitrate, but you need to dose twice potassium to that of nitrate so hence the potassium chloride for the extra potassium.

Magnesium - Just straight forward epsom salt, MgSO4 from the chemist.

Phosphate - Aquamaster 'pH Down', which contains phosphate in the form of NaH2PO4. You only need a teeny tiny amount, just a pinch!

Iron - Seachem Flourish Iron.

And to work it all out as I mix my weekly concoction in a jar of water, aquaticplantcentral.com has a very helpful online fertilizer calculator with the cute name of 'The Fertilator'. I honestly couldn't do it without this. I actually sat down and worked out every teaspoon measurement for my tank at the beginning rather than work it out each time. For example, I calculated that 1/2 teaspoon of potassium nitrate will give this tank 3.98ppm of nitrates, 1 teaspoon will be 7.97ppm and so on. So when I test the water and it reads 10ppm of NO3 and I want to raise it 11 up to 21, I simply look at my list and it tells me I need 1.5 teaspoons of the stuff. Saves a lot of time doing it that way. :)

I think you can see now why I've reduced my planted tanks from three down to one! ;)

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Thanks AW and I now know what I'm going to do and that's live vicariously through you because I don't think I can find the funds or the energy to aquascape successfully :D Plus it sounds very spendy :yikes

I get the feeling that the financial outlay to do this with any success would send me to the poorhouse :blink:

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I'm already there! ;)

It's not just expensive to buy everything in the first place, it's also a real pain. It would be a lot easier if you could just buy it all in one aquatic plants place instead of from all over the place.

There is a low tech, low light way of setting up a good planted tank without having to sell your home so don't despair just because I went the expensive way. :)

Edited by awrieger

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There is? I'm going to search endlessly for this way because I think that's about the only way i'll ever achieve it. I think part of my problem is any time I get new plants (around $18 each) they start to do ok but each week when I do waterchanges, I pull everything out of my tanks and place them in buckets. So the roots are constantly disturbed, bruised even. I couldn't find a happy medium because this is the only way I feel confident the substrate is being cleaned effectively.

I'm going to try and set up a spare 25gal for plants only and see if I can make a go of it. I have flourish (not excel) and can get other fertilisers, plus I can rig up lighting and CO2... probably best I start slow and watch for (if any) results :D

Thanks AW - I've learned a lot from this thread :D

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:thud:druel Beautiful! :heart

I will have to just enjoy your tanks too...cause I went totally brain dead when I started trying to read your book on how to achieve it! :blink::rofl

I've always admired your tanks....and now, I do even more!

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wow :blink: thats amazing :heart if you dont mind me asking - what is the plant in the bottom left (and right, i think?) corner(s)?

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Thanks, Ginger. :) Don't worry, you're not the only one whose eyes glaze over when someone innocently asks me 'what kind of fertilizer do you use?'. Almost everyone! Often including the person who asks too! lol

I really need to work out a short one-sentence answer... ;)

But seriously though, it's exactly the same fertilizer people use on their veggie gardens. Plants are plants! I just do it the way I do by dosing some things separately just to help control algae (something veggie growers don't have to worry about!). You can walk into any lfs and buy a bottle of commercial aquatic plant food off the shelf with everything your plants need already all mixed together, so please don't let me put you off trying a planted tan! :)

-

Thanks Alice! :) Do you mean just above the wall, or in front of it?

Above the wall in the corners are Anubia Nana Petite, which is a dwarf smooth-leaved Anubia. There're a few different types of Anubia around the tank, some you can see with rippled leaves, but the Nana is the smallest growing variety of Anubia. Great for border edges!

In front of the wall is Cryptocoryne Willisii, which is also a dwarf variety.

Edited by awrieger

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:thud

So beautiful AW!!! What happened to your statue? :)

I always enjoy your photos so much. :heart

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Jen, that's the reason I don't have planted goldfish tanks. I don't touch the substrate at all in the planted tanks, but with goldfish there's too much poop and muck building up in it so it would have to be constantly cleaned - which isn't good for the plants' roots!

I did have plants in pots with the goldies, but stopped doing that last month because I dose salt for the goldies which the plants most definitely do not like! Also, the substrate in the pots gets just as dirty as normal substrate does so they require constant re-potting too anyway.

Do you have a light fixture for the 25g? A double fixture giving 2w/g should be fine to start with. You can always add another fixture later to make it 3 or 4w/g if you catch the planted tank bug!

Please post pics of your tank once you've got it all planted! :)

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Thanks Erin and fishcrazy. :)

Erin, that statue is jinxed, I'm certain of it! It seems to make fish act ill which I think is probably because it's hollow, so I'm not going to use it ever again. If I can ever find a solid statue, that would be much better.

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Wowieee :lol: Makes me want to sit in front of it and figure it all out, its so busy and interesting :D

You could fill the statue?

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amazing, so beautiful.....pity you cant use the budda statue, it is so nice :exactly

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Jen, that's the reason I don't have planted goldfish tanks. I don't touch the substrate at all in the planted tanks, but with goldfish there's too much poop and muck building up in it so it would have to be constantly cleaned - which isn't good for the plants' roots!

I did have plants in pots with the goldies, but stopped doing that last month because I dose salt for the goldies which the plants most definitely do not like! Also, the substrate in the pots gets just as dirty as normal substrate does so they require constant re-potting too anyway.

Do you have a light fixture for the 25g? A double fixture giving 2w/g should be fine to start with. You can always add another fixture later to make it 3 or 4w/g if you catch the planted tank bug!

Please post pics of your tank once you've got it all planted! :)

I have 2 doubles and just purchased 4 new globes on the way home from work... I've just pulled the 25g out of the workshop and cleaned it thoroughly and now I have to work out what's the best type of substrate to use so that the plants will grow well? :hmm

I want a nice planted tank because it looks so soothing - and if the substrate doesn't need to be touched, then I should be able to do this... :)

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Thanks Lucy and Elinbea! :)

Jen, the black substrate I use is Caribsea Ecocomplete. It's the only black substrate available, and looks the best I think (Seachem Fluorite is like red clay). You also don't have to wash all the dust out of it either like all the others (it actually comes in a moist pack with live bacteria in it already, supposedly). A fellow in Perth imports it - http://www.aquaticrocks.com.au. You'll have to email him for the price I think. To keep the freight costs down he sends it by road (being wet, it's too heavy for planes price-wise), so it takes about 5 days to arrive.

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Awrieger I am totally blown away by your incredible tanks :heart , fish :heart and also by the work and the money that you put into them!! Are you working in a related business?- I just wondered, you don't have to say! :)

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I just clicked on the link and am blown away by the gallery shots :thud I'm going to send an email now and ask about shipping on the ecocomplete...

I do have a question (if I may?) where abouts in Sydney do you go for healthy plants? My local aquarium will special order but I'm hoping there's an outlet that specialises in aquarium plants...

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Thanks Imogen! :) Do you mean like an lfs or something? No, not at all, sadly to say. I've always wanted to be a vet and work with animals.

I do design work and am self-employed so I can have all my tanks surrounding me while I'm at my desk all day, so I guess my aquariums actually are part of my business! ;)

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Jen, I used to just buy whatever plants were available at the lfs, but then found this online retailer in Sydney who does special orders and delivers within days. It all depends on whether the supplier has a particular plant in stock at the time or not though as they're all imported just like goldfish are.

aquariumproductswholesale.com

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