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  1. Status of yet another plant tank
    by david-at-vlsisj.uucp (David Hsu) (4 Dec 91)

Status of yet another plant tank

by david-at-vlsisj.uucp (David Hsu)
Date: 4 Dec 91
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria

I decided to set up a densely planted tank with a very light
fish load after reading notes on this type of aquaria in these
groups (many thanks especially to George Booth and Vinny Kutty
for their very informative series of postings!).

Hardware
55g plex. tank, Eheim 2213 canister w/ prefilter, homemade hood
with 48" Chroma 50 and 75, Agro light, and a GE Plant & Aquarium
(which looks pink...), Energy Savers electronic ballasts, welding
supply 5lb C02 tank & regulator, surplus house solenoid gas valve
and needle valve.  Ebo-Jager 150W heater (should be 200W...).

The prefilter was an *extremely* good idea--it accumulates a lot of
plant detritus, and is very easy to remove and clean.  The CO2
is injected into the extra port in the prefilter--I just drilled
a hole in the port's plug, and press-fitted an airline elbow.
Using the canister filter as the C02 mixer was mentioned by George
Booth, and it seems to work very well (infrequent "burps").
No pH controller (yet?), but my water has very high carbonate
hardness.

Wetware
100lb of RMC Lonestar aquarium "sand" (1/8"-1/4" quartz gravel),
500g of Dupla laterite in the bottom 2" (no heating cables).
Standard Eheim filtering materials with peat and Bio-Chem beads.
Wimex Ferroplant and Trace Elements.

Water is 1/2 tap (14DH gen. hardness, 8DH carbonate hardness,
7.5 pH), and 1/2 RO.  Filled to 6" from top of tank (35 gal.)
so that flowering plants can do their thing.

Fish
4 black mollies for break in and detritus pickup.  Never would
have thought of using these, and they're great!  Extremely
energetic in their cleanup tasks.  Did not feed.
4 rummy-nosed tetras acquired recently, plan to get some
algae-eating fish, bottom feeders, and maybe some dwarf cichlids.
Will be feeding *very* lightly.

Seeded canister filter with gravel from established tank--
cloudiness vanished at day 6, and nitrites were 0.  Fastest
cycling I've seen.

Plants
4 8" and 1 12" Echinodorus bleheri
25 E. tenellus
3 Crypt. wendtii gassii
3 Crypt. pontedfolia
7 Anubia nana
Yellow cabomba, red ludwigia, nomaphila stricta, rotala indica,
java fern, red tiger lotus, bacopa monnieri

Plants were ordered from Delaware Aquatic Imports (Mike Trzonkowski
sp?), and I can recommend him unreservedly.  His advice was on the
mark, all of the plants were in great shape (bigger plants were
straight and undamaged), and bunch plants were lush.  He's also
liberal in his counting--e.g. I ordered 1 lotus bulb ($1 ea.),
and he sent me three, each at least 1" in diameter.

Today is day 12, and stem plants have increased their lengths by
1/3.  Swords are rooting vigorously, putting out new leaves, and
there is a new 10" flower shoot.  Crypt. pontedfolia had some
melting, but is recovering nicely.  1 lotus bulb has put out 4
2" leaves, other two are still quiet.  CO2 was turned on during day
3, and the difference was remarkable--plant bubbling went from
nonexistent to vigorous.  My chemistry knowledge is appallingly
small, but pH in tank is holding at 7.5; carbonate hardness in
the tank measures at 5DH.

Notes
I'm enjoying everything about this tank immensely--it's a little
like a reef tank in that there are so many fascinating things
to watch out for (but much less $$$, maintenance, variables, etc.).
I look forward to reading about other peoples' current and future
experiences!

--David Hsu (david-at-compass-da.com, {...}!decwrl!vlsisj!david)


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