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110 Gallon South American Biotope

Discussion in 'Planted Aquarium Journals' started by eaglesaquarium, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
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    Hello everyone!
     
     
    I have never done a "journal" about a tank before, but I figured I might as well with this one.  
    [​IMG]
    2013-01-23 full tank by eaglesfan54, on Flickr
     
     
    This tank is a South American biotype tank that a friend and I are pointing together at work.  He and I have been talking about doing this for a while, and we've finally taken the plunge.
     
    Tank dimensions: 6 feet x 18 inches x 22 inches   ~ 120 Gallons.  
    Substrate: playsand ~ 2 inches deep throughout...
    Filtration: 2 Penguin 350 filters, with a small powerhead to increase circulation.
    Lighting: 4 32W industrial (T8) flourescent bulbs "Daylight" - 6500K for 8 hours a day.   (These are the same exact bulbs I use for starting vegetable seedlings.)
     
     
    The rocks were locally obtained from area streams and creeks and were previously used in a turtle tank (actually the same tank).  The turtles were rehomed about two years ago, after students brought them to us (I work in a high school).
     
    The plants you see are (left to right): An unidentified fern plant on the rock, jungle vallis in the back, java fern on the mopani (Yeah, I know its not S.A.), Java fern in the midground and on the rock on the left-center,
    [​IMG]
    2013-01-23 left side by eaglesfan54, on Flickr
     
    dwarf hairgrass sprinkled throughout the foreground, freshly added cabomba (purple) across the back, hidden by the large rocks in the center, more of the unidentified fern on the wood to the right, a tiny java fern on the wood at the top, a dwarf amazon sword in front of the wood, italian vallis behind the wood.
    [​IMG]
    2013-01-23 right side by eaglesfan54, on Flickr
     
     
     
    This tank has been set-up with water since the middle of December.  We put the substrate in during that time, and started the hardscape.  Some of the plants were added just before Christmas break, with a quick dose of ammonia to give them access to some nitrogen as well as some seeding of the filter.   (The unidentified fern, the java fern and the amazon sword came from my tank at home, as I was looking to thin some of those plants and were added first.) 
     
    Since the new year has begun, we've added the dwarf hairgrass and it has already started to spread out sending out shoots in all directions.  And two days ago, I made a journey to "That Pet Place" and bought the rest of their italian vallis and the jungle vallis, as well as the purple cabomba.  The cabomba was just cuttings and I've separated the stalks and have spread them out, I'm hoping they will start to form roots soon - occasionally the powerhead pushes them out of the sand.
     
     
    I've been dosing the tank with ammonia for the past two weeks, since I brought some filter material in from my home tank (56 gallon column style tank, running 2 Penguin 200s - same filter media as the 350s).  The tank started turning over 1ppm completely in 24 hours, with some traces of nitrite.  I started dosing to 2ppm, and the AOBs (and plants) turned that over immediately in 24 hours, while the NOBs were a little more sluggish catching up.  Three days later, and the AOBs and NOBs were turning over a 2 ppm dose, and I bumped the dose up to 3ppm.   Currently the tank turns 3ppm of ammonia over each 24 hours easily, but doesn't quite get rid of it all in 16.
     
    (Interesting to note:  I've heard all sorts of horror stories regarding ammonia dosing with a fishless cycle and plants.  I've had only 3 small specks of diatoms show up this entire time.  That's it.  I think part of it is the fact that the filter media is actually turning over the vast majority of the ammonia rather quickly, plus the fact that I dose the ammonia about 2 hours before the lights go off, and then the ammonia is gone by the time the lights come back on the next day.)
     
     
    Stocking plans: (Fish already ordered)
    24 bloodfin tetras - arrive in 6 days[​IMG]
    8 julii corydoras - arrive in 6 days[​IMG]
    6 three-lined corydoras - arrive in 6 days[​IMG]
    (I'll be rehoming 1 julii and 3 three-lined corys from my home tank here - as the pandas just keep reproducing, I need the extra space in my home tank!)
     
     
    We are going to let these fish settle in and then add another 24 cardinal tetras to the tank after that.  Our supplier will be holding the fish in a QT for us, so we don't have to worry about that. (Supplier is a buddy of the friend that's putting this tank together with me.)
     
    And we are going to go "blackwater" eventually.   Once the fish have arrived, we will start to add "peat filtered" water to the tank during water changes, until we are satisfied with the color.  We'll add it slowly at first and then build it up to the point that we are satisfied with the color.
     
    We are also going to be adding a black background to the tank sometime this week.
     
    Thanks for sticking with this LONG post.  Any comments are welcome!
     
     
    Future updates will be coming shortly.
     
  2. Ps3Steveo

    Ps3Steveo Planted Experimentalist

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    Cool, got any specs of equipment used, tank etc?
     
  3. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
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    ~120 Gallon tank
    2 Penguin 350 filters
    Marineland Maxi-Jet powerhead 160GPH
    Hydor 400W heater
     
    Lighting - industrial flourescent fixture with 4 T8 32W "Daylight" bulbs - 6500K (8 hr/day)
     
  4. Ps3Steveo

    Ps3Steveo Planted Experimentalist

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    Sorry just seen edited post. [​IMG]
     
  5. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
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    No worries.  I wasn't sure how to get the picture to post, so I tested it.  Then went back and posted it.  But, I didn't have the heater or powerhead information in the original edit, so there is new information there.  :D  Its all good!  ;)
     
  6. greenmumma141

    greenmumma141 Member

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    Im excited to see some fish in there, and the blackwater effects as well.. glad Im not the only one with a murky tank :rolleyes: 
     
  7. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
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    My students are very excited as well regarding the fish.  They think its an empty tank right now.  They don't consider bacteria and other microbes to be "life", nor plants.
     
     
    "Murky"?  You mean because of the blackwater? 
     
     
    The tank turned over 4ppm ammonia yesterday in less than 20 hours, so I feel we have plenty of "head room" for the initial stocking on Monday night.
     
  8. jack1

    jack1 Member

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    Tank looks brilliant and will look even better once your fish arrive and the plants take hold - like the stones in the tank
     
    Well done
    Jack :)
     
  9. Questions?

    Questions? Member

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    exactly what i was thinking
     
  10. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
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    Thanks fellas!   The pictures would look better now, as I've finally cleaned the glass!  So many water spots, etc.  I just didn't have a chance to clean it thoroughly.  I'll be excited to see how the fish take to the new home soon...
     
  11. greenmumma141

    greenmumma141 Member

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    I meant bc you'll have the blackwater affect too, I shouldn't have said murky lol [​IMG]   what age group are your students? 4 days until the fish arrive, I know you must be excited bc I can hardly stand it when I have to wait for plants to arrive, let alone fish!! 
     
  12. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
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    No worries... I thought it was because of the blackwater, but then again, my photography skills are very limited.
     
     
    My students are high schoolers (grade 9-12).  
     
     
    I am very excited by the fish arrival.  I'll be coming back to work late on Monday night to acclimate the fish and add them to the tank.  I've got an empty 20 gallon tank on standby just to be used for the purposes of acclimatizing the fish.  We'll be dealing with over 3 dozen fish acclimating at the same time, so my standard 5 gallon bucket just won't be big enough!  [​IMG]  This 20 gallon tank will end up being a QT or something like that eventually.  We might consider adding to the attraction eventually by getting some apistogrammas and adding them to the main tank, or keeping them separate in the 20 gallon.  Then the 20 gallon might be a nursery if the apistos decide to mate and the fry can survive long enough to be moved - but with the number of fish we are going to have in there, it would be hard to imagine that they could survive in the main tank for long.
     
     
     
    I'm researching fertilizers right now to see what if anything I should be doing regarding ferts.  I've got a flourite base in my home aquarium with sand on top, and the plants there are doing very well...  These plants are just in sand, so I'm considering:  Seachem Flourish root tabs or just Flourish.  I'm also considering whether or not I'm going to need to dose Flourish Excel or not.  Dosing Excel every other day is fine during the school year, but nearly impossible during the summer... Maybe I could get away with dosing it twice a week (anyone have any experience with that?).  Actually with the number of fish we will have, the CO2 levels probably won't be too low, so it may not be necessary to dose Excel too frequently.  I wonder if I'd be able to rig up some sort of slow dose release for the Excel as well.  Perhaps diluted with some distilled water (we have a small water distiller in the building - benefits of working in a science lab) and a simple drip tool, like used for acclimating fish.  A slow drip of maybe 1 drop per minute would be feasible to work out - then I'd only have to figure out the concentration of the solution.  Or maybe I'm just way overthinking this and dosing Excel every 3 or 4 days is fine... 
     
  13. greenmumma141

    greenmumma141 Member

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    I use the liquid seachem flourish. I dose 2 ml every morning. I was advised to use 1 ml every day but that wasnt fun enough for me haha. It really sees to be working though, I was worried about my vallis during the first week, it was really melty and I just kept pulling broken blades out of the tank, but the new growths are really starting to take off and it's crazy how fast they're growing. In fact, so much so that I need to take some pics to update my journal! I was told it all depends on your lighting. 40-90 watts and just a reg. fert would be fine, but if you're near 120 watts, then you want to have some sort of co2, but that advice might have been for my size tank (60 gallon). You could always just do a weekly dosing too.  The plant people are amazing though so I would put up a post, and one of the geniuses will tell you exactly what you should do lol   so you're a high school teacher (like my investigative skills? haha) Do you teach science or biology? I guess you could teach really anything and still have an awesome tank in your room, but Im leaning more towards science... hm....
     
    I think you would just have to get your timing down to be able to scoop the eggs out in time, especially with the bloodfins! My friend has a school of them in her tank and they're like little sharks! lol they're really cool though, good choice :) 
     
  14. epic154

    epic154 Member

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    cant wait to see the fish
     
  15. Ruskull

    Ruskull Bitter & Clinging...

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    Yeah, I can't wait to see how this tank progresses.  [​IMG]
     

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