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Jen's Forgotten Forest

Discussion in 'Planted Aquarium Journals' started by Jen, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. Jen

    Jen Member

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    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    This is the piece of wood that is the inspiration for our new build.

    My husband and I have been wanting to set my old 55g tank again, but needed to wait until after our honeymoon so house sitters didn't have to take care of a tank too. One day I'm in my LFS replacing filter parts and I find this hollowed out tree stump and it's super cheap. I couldn't leave it behind. Later I was describing it to hubbs and said 'I envision this in a corner over grown with plants and moss like some forgotten forest'. He got chills, so a scape is born. Hopefully I'll be buying black or dark brown sand today to mimic the forest floor.

    It's been 5 years without a tank for both of us, and I want to do this right so I don't get overwhelmed and give up as I have in the past.

    I technically have 2WPG with my old fixture so I'm hoping I can remove one bulb because we don't want to get into co2.

    If we get sand I should start the cycling process this weekend, and will be getting some seed gravel from the inlaws.

     
    #1 Jen, Jun 15, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
  2. thrujenseyes

    thrujenseyes Member

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    Oh wow that's an awesome piece!! I can see how it was the inspiration!
    Can't wait to see what you do!
     
  3. Jen

    Jen Member

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    Apparently we just came into a filled 5pound co2 tank and we have a spare regulator in the beer making supplies, so looks like we are going semi-high tech after all. lol. It's amazing how much I have forgotten in my years away. I have 2wpg, and am looking at substrate with some nutrients (flourite maybe?). I will pick up some Flourish and excel fertilizers too. What else do I need? I'm planning on mosses to cover the wood, crypts (because they are my favourite) and plants that get red so my forest is in the fall. What's that red lilly bulb plant again? Wow, I'm so out of the game!

    Here is me playing around with all the wood I own. I can't get it exactly as I want, so I'm hoping to take the slate off the long spindly pieces and lay them down to look like roots. We'll see. I feel like I need one very tall trunk rather than the perch on the right to keep it looking like a forest in there.



    [​IMG]
     
  4. thrujenseyes

    thrujenseyes Member

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    Oh wow! I'm super jealous!
    I don't think you'll need the nutrient rich substrate if you have CO2!? But I may be wrong.
    I know that a lot of people here don't like that kind of substrate (I actually have it because I was a complete newbie when I bought it and I loved the look ...well, and they told me at the store my plants would need it).
    I think most will recommend sand for the bottom...especially if you want to have cories in there. They're little barbels need the fine sand to sift thru. Most everything else damages them.
    As for plants, I'm not sure where you purchase them but I get a weekly letter from Aquatic Arts and they just got in liverwort (I think that's the spelling) and it attaches to things (or free floats). There're running a sale on it for this week since it's new.
     
  5. Jen

    Jen Member

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    I plan on dosing liquid ferts, so you are right, I probably don't need special substrate. I was getting ready to buy 75pounds worth of black National Geographic brand aquarium sand for $75, and happened across a post about sandblasting sand. I'll be picking up 100pounds of it for $30 this weekend. More pictures on monday!
     
  6. thrujenseyes

    thrujenseyes Member

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    wow, that's great!
     
  7. Jen

    Jen Member

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    I finally tracked down cheap black sand at a local builders supply and spent the better part of my evening (hour and a half rinsing rinsing rinsing. I can't decide if the amount of water I went through made the savings worth it in the end lol. Half of it is in the tank and the other half is waiting for hubbs to get home to do the heavy lifting. 25kilos of sand is darn heavy when its wet!


    [​IMG]
     
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  8. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
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    http://aqualandpetsplus.com/Plant, Dwarf Lily.htm



    Generally red plants require more light than green. Please give some specs on your light fixture. The "WPG" rating is not a meaningful one any more. That's measures energy used by the bulb not the amount of light given.



    Also, there's no need for fluorite for nutrients. Dosing in the water column works and the fluorite, to be honest, adds almost nothing. A dirt substrate can, or you can add root tabs, especially around heavy root feeders like crypts and swords. In my own case I bought empty pill capsules and filled them with osmocote+, but you can fill it with almost anything. Some fill it with an iron rich clay (red clay) to help supply the necessary iron for more red plants to stay red.
     
  9. Jen

    Jen Member

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    So much has changed in the last 4 years! I have a HO T5 fixture with 2x54watt bulbs. I have successfully grown some brilliant reds in the past with this fixture, so I'm not anticipating many issues. I will definitely be using rood tabs and liquid ferts.
     
  10. Jen

    Jen Member

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    [​IMG]

    Here we are today. It look a little longer than I had hoped to get to this point. My old filter ended up breaking on me while cleaning it up. One of the locking mounts snapped, and while the lock locked it had just enough water loss over a few days that we determined it was taking air in. So I returned all my replacement parts and got a used fluval 306. While initially seeming like a great deal, it needed media and a few replacement parts of its own almost putting me up to where it would have been brand new. Oh well, lesson learned.

    I am very happy with the black sand. So happy. The tape didn't stick on the background, but when that gets up, it will be black as well, so the fish and plant are really going to pop. I'll get the stump in there tomorrow; I can't wait to get that covered in moss!!

    From here it's going to sit for a week before we cycle. I have a bunch of big cakes going out this week and I don't want to have to deal with a fishless cycle just yet. Taking advice from someone on another forum, I'm going to get plants with rock wool and some fish in the tank to try to speed up the process. We have both only ever done fish in cycle so it's all new to us.
     
    #10 Jen, Jun 25, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
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  11. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
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    That's actually the beauty of the fishless cycle... there's really not a whole lot of 'dealing' with anything.

    Step 1: Measure your tank's water volume (a rough estimate is fine - ~80% of the tank volume is likely).
    Step 2: Add the appropriate dose of ammonia based on your product.
    Step 3: Wait... (really, that's all there is to it...)
    Step 4: In a few days, set aside 5 minutes and do a test.
    Step 5: Wait some more...
    Step 6: Test again... probably add a bit of ammonia again.
    Step 7: Wait...
    Step 8: Wait...
    Step 9: Test.


    Getting some plants can help speed the process... adding fish will not speed up the process, in fact, it will likely slow down the process as you will need to do water changes to keep the water tolerable for the fish.


    I can't help but point you back to the fishless cycle...especially when you are busy. Honestly, if you are too busy for a fishless cycle, then you are way too busy for a fish in cycle. A fishless cycle really is a 'hurry up and wait' type process. All told in a full cycle, you will spend about 1 hour at most when all the time you spend 'working' on the tank is added up during the weeks of the process. And the vast majority of that time is the big water change at the end. A fish in cycle will be countless hours of testing, water changes and more testing. Ultimately, during a fishless cycle... if you forget to test, or you forget to dose on "the right day" nothing is lost, except time. On the flipside, with a fish in cycle... if things get hectic you run the risk of harming your fish, if not having them succumb to ammonia or nitrite poisoning.

    Please please please reconsider. Read through our cycling article... and note how very little you really are doing during the process.
    http://www.fishforums.net/threads/cycling-your-new-fresh-water-tank-read-this-first.421488/
    A quote from the article
    The initial dose and tests on Day 1 and Day 4 should take a grand total of about 6 minutes, combined.
     
  12. Jen

    Jen Member

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    Not to worry, eaglesaquarium, there will be no fish in my tank until it's cycled. The plants will come from a tank that have fish in them so the wool will contain bacteria.
     
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  13. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
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    Rereading what you wrote initially, it seems I missed your original meaning. Yes, that way of cycling will help to speed up the process. It would be prudent to lower the ammonia dose to about 2ppm instead of 3 ppm.
     
  14. cadd

    cadd New Member

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    Where did you get your black sand from? I just went through the same process with black diamond blasting sand from Tractor Supply.
     
  15. NickAu

    NickAu Member

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    Hi Jen

    That bit of wood in the first photo, Is it hollow?, you could hide a small sponge filter in it.
     

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