Stan's freshwater 240 gallon extravaganza. Trials and tribulations of a sunlit aquarium

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Stan510

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One more update as I think you can see the Bolbitis is larger/taller than ever and same for the Alternanthera rosaefolia. It's still evolving really. I like that the Java moss has never been such a deep green..I think I said that before and yes,its even still greener. Not stringy, it does look like a forest moss spreading out over the gravel from the stick of wood it started on.
I haven't added iron is over two weeks and the same or longer before that. I do add potassium and I tell you its does plants very well and unlike iron,if you add a bit too much the fish are safe.
For some reason,Angelfish are sensitive to high iron levels. The Rainbows were always fine with it.
 

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Stan510

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I discovered that I still had Christmoss in a jar outside in my backyard since last year. Now,to see if its possible to adapt some back to underwater. I see too that Sphagnum moss strands came to life. Two. That's the larger plant. I added some water with drops of Seachem Iron in there. When I do harvest some Christmas moss I think the rest can go back outside..looks nice in the jar.
Forgot to say that this was part of an order that I had decided to put some in the jar and the rest in the aquarium originally. That moss died slowly. This was backup. I'm doing the same thing with H.partita. I like the way it looks but know the Rainbows will eat it. I have a 3 gallon Metaframe aquarium to be a paludarium.
 

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FishGuyBri

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Took me a bit to get through this whole thread/post - amazing! I feel like I could sit there for hours and just look through your tank - I have a bunch of tanks (fresh and salt from 5 gallons to 180 gallons) and am still afraid of planted tanks. I cannot keep live normal house plants alive, I am afraid to try a planted aquarium. I may have to take the plunge after seeing some of your amazing stuff here! Thanks for sharing everything ;-)
 
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Stan510

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Thanks for the kind words.
A few more today photos. I think that largest Melanotaenia boesemani is a bit over 5 1/2". I think you can see no major water change since October did the plants well. I cleaned the filter yesterday and did take out about 15-20% water change. Five months with no change before that. Looks crystal clear.
Those five months caused a fast growth in all the Cryptocoryne species. They don't like change when things are good. Java and Bolbitis ferns also liked the stability.
Right now its tea leaves as to the next water change.
 

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Stan510

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I added a red C. wendtii. What I notice is that potted plants at every store are half the size as two years ago. I mean,they are kicking them out for sale as soon as they look like a plant.
I after adding, looked at the vids and ..yep potted plants are in the same size rockwool and slatted pot,but plants themselves half the size..and cost more to boot!
 
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Stan510

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I think I have hit a wall on adding new plants. In fact i removed Pearlweed for now. Where I had it,the current made it lean over my broad leafed Sword Plant- not a good look. So out it went to outdoor aquarium for now,floating. Out came a Lily bulb I put in that aquarium well over a year ago. What happened is that the offsets rooted..and then the main bulb roots rotted I think and the whole bulb floated to the surface. A big hunk too. Out it went...
I pruned a large healthy leaf off my Bolbitis. First ever pruning on the slow,but large grower. It had grown over the Tiger Lotus.
I also am cutting down on the light period. From the 9 hours to 8. There is a point in light amount and duration where algae thrive better than the plants. I do know some to of the line plant tanks might only be on for 6 hours.
So 8 for me and my types of lights.
 
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Stan510

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About a year and a half ago I bought a half dozen Snakeskin barbs for the big aquarium. Well,I'm down to three and I think the others died from disease brought in after they were added from some fish I bought or,it was the Hydrogen Peroxide..or big water changes. Something killed them even though I never found a dead body in that big aquarium. Dead fish are quickly consumed by Ancistrus,other fish, or a million cone snails.
But what I don't like is the three left...never stay together. They pretty much are three loners now. Why you might want to think again about buying small barbs. Once the numbers go down,they tend to chase each other. Then you also have the problem of getting more and I'm just not interested in more fish in that aquarium these days. As it is,the three Clown Loaches are still growing themselves,and I'm hoping one day to see them get to the 6" size. Larger than that is a nice dream to hope for.
I would suggest if money is no object you go for 9-12 of any small barb species as a buffer for when one or two go down. At least you still have a "look".
 
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Ok,what is this? I've been working at making the Syngonium look more jungle and yet more refined. I prune roots that leave the area that I want. That is,the root system starts wide at the surface,then narrows until it reaches the substrate and widens even more than the top. Sort of what you would see in a tropical Banyan tree. I also cut off roots that come forward. It's now part of the usual filter cleaning,plant trimming every week or so. Yep,I think I'm good on plants. If something dies,I might try a new plant..but right now nothing is dying and its looking good. Also,some Trident fern pups settled into the roots and I thought it looked cool. Like air plants (Birds nest ferns) on tropical trees. Trident in this non Co2 aquarium are in no hurry..but they look healthy if slow.
I have to post some photos of the fish soon.
 

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Stan510

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Just to remind that I have had this 240 gallon since the 1980's and only in 2018 did I for the first time tried growing plants in it,with smaller fish and also the window light. ALL new experiences for me well over the 40 year mark in fish keeping.
Some new to learn in this? To keep up with the days getting longer and wanting to keep algae in check? I keep the aquarium lights on for no more than 8.5 hours a day. If I kept the lights on for 10-12 hours or more? BGA,BBA and even hair just mug my aquarium plants. At just a little over 8?..so much cleaner. No hair algae,almost no BGA and The BBA? uh,still there. BUT! I have it reduced to just some roots of that Syngonium and oldest leaves on Bolbitis. Otherwise,Its finding life hard in my tank.
I also learned why commercial greenhouses whitewash their window glass. So,my aquarium's behind is sheer curtains and in the spot where sun hits strongest I put some old stiff plastic sheet I had..again,to diffuse that light.
How about that? I learned that much less water changes and much less direct sun..grow plants best. It's all a balance and only you know it for your aquarium.
 
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Stan510

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Here's something you won't read anywhere else: My 8" square ceramic pot has been cracked open by the roots of Cryptocoryne balansae. Not some cheap terra cotta pot,this pot was solid. After two years in that pot- it cracked it open at a corner. Now,I've had potted plants outdoors crack pots, Ficus especially,but never had an aquarium plant do that.
Crypts don't fool around!
 
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I removed the 35 watt, 48" LED shop light from over the big tank. Days are long and sunny and so I grow my basically low light plants under a double fluorescent shop light to the right and the left has the Yescom 48" but 38 or 40 watt LED. The shop light was for growing plants- it did not have a good spectrum for fish color. The LED yescom is closer to natural. Maybe in winter I will have to use the extra lights. For now the window is blasting lots of light and the aquarium lights add a balance. I guess if you had a big atrium or sunroom- you would just use enough aquarium lights to make the colors pop- while all that natural sun is pretty much doing the growing of plants.
I think its safe to go less light until December.
 
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Well,more of less is more. I removed a 35 watt or so LED shoplight. I think the longer days are enough on the long aquarium. So.its one 4' Yescom light on the left side and twin 4' fluorescent shop light on the right side. That adds up to 110 watts of lighting. Its enough with the window now doing much of the job. One thing I did notice now that nothing over head is not meant for aquariums? BBA has declined. I thought it might be those LED shop lights from Walmart spectrum feeding excess BBA.
I can't make all this up..less water changes and less light is making for a more habitat like aquarium. No fish have passed away in ages. Plants seem to be fine. Tiger Lotus is giving me some problems. Could be it wants a dormant period. I really don't know. Alternanthera is my other red plant and its going good. Slow,but steady and reddish.
 
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Two anubias in bloom at the same time. I read that they CAN be fertile making seed submerged. Can't say if its true or not. Anubias like a good flow even if they can also do fine with almost none as in a typical Co2 aquarium.
Shoot..the photo is too small. Tomorrow try again.
 

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THAT last photo was crappy. Ignore it.
I added Buce "Godzilla" my first ever Buce. Free too..credit One day later no fish has touched it.
Today I moved the mottled Oxetol Sword Plant that had grown to the point it was putting largish leaves up against the front glass. Not a great look. It's now near dead center of the big tank. I would strongly recommend them for non Co2 aquariums and not especially hi light either.
I've been removing Java Moss here and there..it's almost to the point I want to remove all of it and go with Christmas Moss. Slower growing and with a much nice layered growth.
I notice going into the 4th year of this aquarium? Nature is turning small groups into one survivor. One Roseline barb of three, Male Angel down while Female carries on. Same for glo skirt tetra. The other never looked all that healthy- a bad pick. This one left is strong as a pink bull. Who knows how long it can live? One NOID female Rainbow is looking old..she's got the tail down swimming motion.
 

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Wow this is looking awesome the Rainbows are great! Sad to hear about your singletons and survivors, are you ever tempted to rework the fish or are they in there until their end (so to put it)?

Wills
 

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