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[F] SST Replanted

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Date: 1 Jul 1994
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria,alt.aquaria,sci.aquaria

Many of you have read my postings about our 90 gallon "Optimum Aquarium", nicknamed the Super Show Tank (SST). If you haven't read them, they are in the archives and on the WWW. It has been just over 2 1/2 years since it was set up and in the recent months has become an uncontrollable jungle due to the size of some of the plants.

Last weekend we replanted the SST. The Echinodorus osiris and Anubias coffeeafolia had gotten to the point where we could not plant anything around them. The coffeafolia was spread around 2/3 of the bottom of the tank. Other stuff was just growing where it wanted to; no aquascaping was possible.

We first pulled up the osiris and managed to dislodge 3 rows of substrate heating cable. The plant had a solid root mass 6" wide, 12" long and 4" deep. The roots pulled away from the silicon cable just fine but were firmly caught in the cable anchors. When the anchors came up with the plant, the cable came with the anchors. I managed to push the cables back down to the bottom of the gravel, but they aren't arranged neatly anymore. Maybe someday we'll tear it down completely and put smaller cables in (150 watt instead of 250 w).

The 2 1/2 year old Anubias were awesome. The coffeeafolia came out in one piece but was actually 4 distinct rhizomes branching from the original. We broke it into 4 large pieces, about 1 square foot each. Based on prices we've seen in stores, the thing would be worth $300. We also pulled out three enormous A. Barterii (var nana?). Also, a large A. frazeri or barcon had grown up hidden in the corksrew val.

We also had a large Java Fern in the tank. When we removed it, we found a dead (totally brown) leaf on the rear side. Jave Ferns get spores on the bottom of leaves, just like regular ferns. I always figured the spores floated away from the plant and sprouted somewhere (like normal seeds). On this dead leaf, there was a tiny new fern where each spore would have been. Fours columns by 20 rows of little ferns. Really cool.

Other plants included a large grove of corkscrew val, bunches of Mexican Oak Leaf, E. quadricostatus and other odds and ends. We decided to simplify the planting a lot and stick with just a few types of plants. We put the osiris (still growing emersed) in the left rear corner where it won't shade too much of the tank. We put the coffeeafolia around the base of it (it covers the left 1/4 of the tank).

The jave fern was attached to a fake root and placed to the right of the osiris in the rear. A clump of A. barteri was put in front of that. Hydrocotyle leucocephala was put in the middle rear and allowed to trail from the gravel up to the surface where it is pushed to the left by the current. Two varieties of sag are in front of the Hydrocotyle, adding a nice vertical accent.

The right rear corner is planted entirely in val (a wedge 1 foot wide by 1 foot back to front). Ludwigia repens (or palustris, who knows?) is along the right side in front of the val. A clump of Heranthera zosterifolia sits isolated in the middle right foreground, contrasting nicely in both color and texture with the val. Some Moneywort (something nummerlaria) is in the middle left foreground as an accent to the Anubias.

There is much more open gravel in the front now, compared to the jungle look of before. We found some Aponogeton bulbs at the fish shop and planted them in the open area. One looks like it's an A. ulvaceous or undulatus (bright green wavey leaves) and the other looks like a Madagascar Lace Plant.

The new, simpler planting shows off the 8 Angelfish much better than the old crowded mish-mash. We still have 7 Lemon Tetras with them and they seem happier and school more than before. The Pearl Gouramis never seemed happy with the MH lights so we moved them to the discus tank. Rounding out the fish population are two Simaese Algae Eaters, two Farlowella acus, 7 Corydoras trilineatus and a bristlenose pleco.

We're quite pleased with the new look.

Editor: Here are photos George sent me in January 1995 showing the left and right sides of the replanted SST.

George Booth                 | Specialist in Freshwater Plant Tank Technology     | Keeper of Discus, Angelfish and Rainbowfish
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