Ada 75P - 140 Liter Driftwood Jungle

alexge

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Hello
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)
 
This is my second tank ever, I bought it used from ebay for £100, had been checking it for leaks for quite sometime.
Eventually I decided it wasn't gonna ruin my office, so I went ahead.
 
Now, I got a think for driftwood. The chaotic way in which it branches out and flows really fascinates me.
Don't get me wrong, I like all those Amano-styled minimalistic tanks where rocks/stones are the prevelant feature,
but driftwood imho is more captivating.
 
So, I had to get my LFS to build me a custom cabinet (which took a month and cost three times the amount I paid for the ADA), and then I finally got to hardscaping it.
 
The stones on the extreme left and right are dragon stones. The other stones are Seryu stones.
 
I didn't want to mix and match, but dragon stones come in different colours (I know, I've ordered at least 5 which all had different tins), so I decided to go ahead. They still look different, which kinda annoys me, but its too late to change now (driftwood is anchored on them, the tank now is planted and has inhabitans, plus I'm also hoping the carpet when it fills, will hide them nicely).
 
hardscape.jpg
 
 

So, a couple of weeks later, I started with fishless cycling.
The ADA Amazonia soil really helped at first, as it was releasing ammonia.
I might have overdone it, as I added extra fishfood.
 
The tank is 140 Liters, minus 10 liters for the soil and driftwood, and minus another 10 liters for the little bit of space left at the top.
 
I did the fishless cycle for 4 weeks, which is when I got bored and decided to add plants, and do the remaining bit as a silent cycle. Note, I also added mulm from another tank I had.
 
You can see the tanins from the driftwood giving the water an almost brown colour, and the white fuzz growing on the driftwood.
 
 

Nearly a month after starting the fishless cycle, I got bored watching this empty tank.
I am lucky enough to work from home, but having this empty tank next to my desk really did my head in.
 
So I decided to plant it with:
 
Pogostemon Erectus (love the way it looks - left side)
Mcrisorum pteropus trident (on the trunk of the driftwood)
Bolbitis Heudelotii (on the trunk - rear side / background )
Microsorium Pteropus Windolov (on the trunk of the driftwood)
Microsorium Pteropus Mini Java fern (on a small piece of Seryu)
Alternanthera Reineckii Rosanervig (left corner)
Elecorharis sp Mini (as the carpet)
Vallisneria Torta (background)
Christmass moss (covering all driftwood branches)
 
The picture is from the day I planted everything.
 
I am running moderate Co2 (green colour, not lime or yellow), liquid Co2 (Flourish excel) to keep algae away,
and 1/3 of the recommended EI dose.
 

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alexge

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A week later after planting, the tank appeared to stabilise. I waited for two weeks after planting, whilst doing every day tests for Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, Ph and TDS. Then I added some fish I had from an old tank.
 
A week after adding the old fishes, I added some new ones (2 Cardinal tetras, 5 Diamond Neon tetras and 4 Julii Corys).
The fish seem really happy with the tank, very relaxed, and lots of hidding places for them, as well as an open space to swim if they wish to.
 
I've also added, Ludwigia sp 'Mini Super Red' in the left corner and up to the driftwood, and Limnophila aromatica in the right background to cover that empty space.
 
I am currently waiting for some Rotala Walichii, and Myriophyllum Scrabatum. Walichii will in in the left side as background with Pogostemon, and Myriophyllum will fill in the right side between the aquarium and the driftwood.
 
This was supposed to be a medium light/intensity tank, but I've started seeing some diatom algae, so I did a water change.
I might have been adding too much fertiliser, especially PO4, so I'll keep up the KNO3 for a week and see if the diatom goes away.
 

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betta fish

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Wow that is a lovely tank! what plans fish wise have you got for this? I can imagine a shoal of neon tetras swimming around 
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Ch4rlie

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Nice, look forward to seeing this tank when the plants grow out.
 
Though glad you did not add anymore fish food, this is not a good way of adding ammonia, messy and very innacurate.
 
You do not mention any readings of any tests if this fishless cycle has actually completed successfuly or not.
 
And the tetra numbers, is that what you have in the tank, 2 neons, 5 diamn tetras and 4 jhullies or is this in addition to more tetras you already have, not quite clear to me, sorry. If thats the actual numbers, you can bump up the numbers, all of these are shoaling fish ;)
 
Keep up the good work.
 
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alexge

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Hi everyone, thanks for the nice comments
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Yes, I've checked all my parameters, every couple of days, during fishless and silent cycle (I still am).
Prior to adding anything (ferts, fish or plants) they were:
 
TDS: 240 ppm (this includes KH and GH, which are: 10 degrees GH and 6 degrees GH, a total of 300 ppm, but the driftwood and ADA bring hardness down).
Ph: 6.4 ~ 6.5 (depends on how much Co2 I add, I aim for lime green)
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
 
Nitrites and Nitrates were 2 ppm before I started adding plants, but have droped to zero since then.
I'm careful when it comes to water parameters because in my first tank I lost half my stock due to begginer mistakes.
 
Right now (and after adding KNO3, and Pimafix) they are:
 
TDS: 280 ppm
Ph: 6.4 ~ 6.5
Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate: 0 ppm
 
Fish-wise I have: 6 cardinals tetras, 6 diamon head neon tetras and 4 julii corys.
I'm taking it slow, but I think I'll go up to 30 tetras in total, and maybe add a few dwarf otto catfish a few months later.
 
My filter is an eheim classic 2250 which is rated for 5 times my tank's capacity, although taking into consideration filter media and head distance, it would probably end up filtering 3 times the tank in an hour.
So I could probably have in total around 40-50 small fish.
I like neon tetras, but they don't seem to school as nice as the cardinals.
The primary purpose of this tank is for my viewing pleasure and relaxation, so I don't think I'll be mixing many different species.
 
Today I added the rotala walichii and myriophyllum Scrabatum.
I really really like those fine leaved plants, but I am scared of algae blooms, especially because most plants are only now starting to root and grow properly.
 
My light is an aqualighter 2, its 60cm long and rated at 22 Watt, it has hight white and warmer white leds (6500-7000K) so I know I'm not overdoing it.
I already have had minute amounts of brown algae, but I attribute this to large dosages of KH2PO4, which I'll skip for next week.
This is the reason why I've been dosing flourish excel and nearly 30ppm of Co2.
 
This picture is from today.
I'm hoping to do a cross between a dutch-jungle-nature look, but plants of mice and men...
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alexge

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Its this time of the week again :)
 
I spent the better part of this afternoon trimming the xmas moss in order to make it look compact and grow faster.
I also combed it using my fingers to remove any debris, as it seems to be the only part in the tank where brown/diatomaceous algae appears to be growing.
 
The miriophyllum on the right has really taken off, one stem has reached the surface, and another two are about to.
Phenomenal growth for a stem plant that if touched, will lose its leaves.
 
The Rotala Walichii is giving me trouble, it seems to be melting badly, some worse than others.
I had two Walichii stems literally dissintegrate as I touched them to clean them of debris.
I read somewhere that this may be an issue with low light, but it appears to be a very sensitive plant.
I may have to add a 30Watt LED over the left corner, in order to make the Walichii happy, although this is probably asking for trouble (e.g., Algae).
 
The Pogostomon are growing nicely (although a bit slow), the top fern has burn signs from being too close to the LED, the rear Heudelotii is also melting and showing brown signs, as is the vaslineria.
On a good note, the Limnophila aromatica, is taking off and will soon cover the top right surface of the tank (thus shading the ferns) and it is also somewhat aromatic!
 
The Ludwigia sp 'Mini Super Red' is growing way too slow (I planted it from culture, so theres that), the grass it taking too long to carpet although I am starting to see runners.
I didn't want to add extra light as I am afraid of early tank algae blooms, but if I don't add the extra light, I'm think I'll lose the Walichii (which I really like) and the hairgrass may take too long to carpet.
 
 

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alexge

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Its been a bit over a month since the last update!
In the meantime, I've battled brown algae, cheap Chinese LED floodlights, added a powerhead, gone through 2 nano-air pumps, added 7 dwarf otto catfish, and moved some plants around.
I also added a second Aqualigther2, so now I am running at 4320 lumen / 44 Watts.
 
Here is what it looks like now.
The limnophilia aromatica has really taken off, and it covering a good part of the surface, which is intentional.
It also turned purple!
 
I've removed the Myriophyllum Scrabatum, it was catching way too much debris and brown algae.
The rotalla walichii is till not growing well, but I only recently doubled the amount of light, so I'm hoping this will help it.
The Pogostemon is growing fine, and so are all other plants, with the only exception being the Reineckii mini, which melted,
and I have since moved away from the driftwood's shade.
 
Once I added MgSO4 into my nutrient mix, and in combination with the powerhead, all ferns seem to have taken off too!
 
 

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ShamefulCrayon

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Wow! It looks wonderful, nicely done. Must be a joy to watch. I especially like the driftwood you have in there.
 

JBronsveld

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Great to see this tank evolve!

Giving me great ideas for my first ever planted tank (a)
 
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alexge

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Hi guys, thanks for the kind words.
 
Yes it is a joy to watch, but its also a nightmare to maintain.
So far I only had one LED strip, because I was scared of early algae blooms (my first tank spent most of its life covered in algae).
I've managed to control it with low lights, high co2, high ferts, overdosing flourish excel and a small army of dwarf ottos.
 
But now with the second light, I'm inviting trouble, the hairgrass has already doubled in size in less than a week, and the limnophilia has literally taken over half the tank surface.
IMHO, it may be worth having a low tech tank, which requires less maintenance, than a high-tech one where you have too worry about plants, algae, the fish, and so on.
 
BTW, the driftwood is actually 3 different pieces tied together using fishing line.
 

boshk

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Really nice to see the progression. I like how the heater is now completely hidden. I think I'll borrow your idea and try to do something similar to hide the filter box on the right side too at the back.
did you tie or glue the plants to the branches and rock?
 
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alexge

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Hi boshk!
 
I tied the moss to the branches using fishing line.
Gluing them would have required tons of superglue (I've done small underwater bonsai using moss and driftwood and I ended up using a lot of glue).
The heater and a small powehead are completely hidden behind plants and branches.
 
The positioning of the major driftwood piece is off, it should have been more to the back, but when I set it up, I was hoping I'd put some large plants in the back. Thinking of it now, it seems silly, most of the right side of the tank is dominated by the driftwood and the plants attached to it,
making it look way too busy.
 
If you plan to do something similar, my advice would be to think of it as in a diagonal scale (from back to front) rather than layers (which is what I did) if that makes sense. There is a loss in depth perception, due to the fact that the driftwood is way too close to the front of the tank, but sadly I can't move it now.
 
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alexge

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Hi Coo Man, thanks for the kind words.
 
Here's a picture from last week.
Amazing what a few red plants and a few small stones will do.
 
The front left part which always seemed so empty, is now filled and gives the tank a more "complete" jungle look.
I've started propagating the ferns on different parts of the driftwood, and I've tied down the top red plants, in order to make them spread.
 
8.January.2016.jpg
 

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