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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey everyone,

So as I mentioned in my Fluval Flora journal, I purchased an ADA 60P tank recently.
I'm about to move to a slightly larger apartment so I'm using that as an excuse, to get a second aquarium :bigsmile:



It's probably going to be 2 weeks before I can even set up the tank but I would be interested in getting some feedback.

I want the tank to be pretty low maintenance (no Co2, minimal water column ferts, etc.) so it will be a low tech planted tank.

However, I still really really want some sort of carpet plants...;)

( I ended up not doing the hybrid start...) So I'm going to try a hybrid dry start method that I've seen some people use (there's a post on the barrreport). My understanding is that you use the dry start method to let your plants get rooted and spread out a little. Then once you flood the tank, you initially dose Excel or Co2, and then slowly reduce the amount of Co2 you add to the tank. It could all go very wrong, but I'd like to give it a try.

Here's my equipment list so far

Tank: ADA 60P with black background
Filter: Aquaclear 50
Heater: Aqueon Pro 100W
Light: Current Satellite Led +
Light Controller: DIY Arduino IR controller
Stand: Reinforced Ikea Besta with door & DIY riser box
Garden Mat: Camping sleeping pad from MEC

Substrate: ADA Aquasoil Amazonia + Pool Filter Sand
Hardscape: Ohko Stone (Dragon Stone) + Manzanita Branches

Proposed Flora:
- Staurogyne Repens
- Marsilea
- Anubias Nana
- Anubias Nana Petite
- Needle Leaf Java Fern
- Rotala Colorata
- Ludwigia Brevipes
- Weeping Moss

Proposed Fauna:
- Amano shrimp x3
- Harlequin Rasboras x6
- Corydoras x6 OR Dwarf Corydoras (Habrosus) x 8
- Maybe a few Otos?

Here's the mock up of my hardscape.



And here's my current planting layout.
Question 1: Any thoughts on this layout? Am I setting myself up for failure?



I'm planning on embedding some sort of plastic divider between the sand and the aquasoil.

Question 2: Even with a permanent divider, am I setting myself up for a lot of pain by having separate aquasoil and sand regions?

Most Recent FTS (19/10/2014)

 

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Answer to question 1: I think the hardscape and layout looks nice, but it'll be a lot of work to keep the foreground separated. I started out with HC,, S. Repens and then went to S. Repens only as the HC went wild. Then I tried some UG but then that went all out of control and I pulled it all out so now I only have S. repens which is much more manageable. Maybe it's not too much work for other people, but some of the fast growing foreground plants are way too much work for me.

Answer to question 2: I have seen people make it work, but you have to not have anything which would stir up the substrate at all or even swim near it. And yeah, you'll have to be diligent to keep it all from getting mixed together as you replants and rescape etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
but it'll be a lot of work to keep the foreground separated.
Are you using Co2 in the tank where you tried HC and UG? I was hoping that once I stop adding Co2 their growth rate will slow down and will be easier to manage.

I have seen people make it work, but you have to not have anything which would stir up the substrate at all or even swim near it.
Hmmm...I really want to have some Corys so I figured I would need a sandy area for them to dig in. Does anyone have experience with Corys and just Aquasoil?
Maybe I can add Corys last once the foreground plants have really grown in around the border between the substrates.
 

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Are you using Co2 in the tank where you tried HC and UG? I was hoping that once I stop adding Co2 their growth rate will slow down and will be easier to manage.
Yes, I don't know about UG, but I know people have grown HC without CO2 but they don't very nice though.

EHmmm...I really want to have some Corys so I figured I would need a sandy area for them to dig in. Does anyone have experience with Corys and just Aquasoil?
Maybe I can add Corys last once the foreground plants have really grown in around the border between the substrates.
The cories will for sure mess up your substrate. The other problem you might have, and I had it, was that most cories like high O2 and low CO2. I still have 2 C. habrosus left of the various groups I have tried but most of them didn't make it.
 

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I think without CO2 you probably won't see what you are hoping for with the carpeting plants. If anything it will take a very long time. Marsilea is your best chance to carpet. Consider looking for Dwarf Saggitaria as a carpeting plant for a low tech tank.

Carpeting plants available are here: http://www.bcaquaria.com/forum/planted-tank-specific-13/carpet-plants-list-low-tech-high-tech-pictures-90353/

Also, depending on the species Crypts are usually a shorter plant - meant for midground, use lots of substrate to prop them up back there.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think without CO2 you probably won't see what you are hoping for with the carpeting plants.
I guess I was hoping using the DSM would let me 'cheat' and use foreground plants that typically need CO2 to carpet. Once the tank is running as a low tech tank I was hoping to basically just keep the foreground plants alive. But maybe that's just wishful thinking...

Thanks for the link to the list of carpet plants, I had looked at that before. Maybe I will have to just go with dwarf Sag.

Crypts are usually a shorter plant - meant for midground, use lots of substrate to prop them up back there.
I plan on having about 3" of substrate back there, but that is a good point. Any suggestions for taller plants?

Thanks!
 

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A fellow from Toronto uses sand in this set up:


It uses CO2, but you can see he applies java fern and anubias to really nice affect. Alternanthera Reineckii Rosaefolia I think will be a nice reddish highlight for your tank as well. Then place the crypts closer to the front.
 

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Reckon is right. Even with Java Fern and Anubias, if you want really dense growth and broad leaves, you need CO2. Without CO2, you get very slow growth and skinny leaves, even in the slower growing plants. Nothing wrong with that, but it may not be the effect you're doing after. As for the carpeting plants, they will recede when you remove the CO2 and slowly wither.

I did a similar scape with sand in my big cube, but was adding a lot of Glute. Eventually with the higher temperatures needed for discus and the fact that I didn't want to add so much Glute, the whole scape just fell apart as the plants withered away. Now I have tons of moss in it and a few Anubias.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
A fellow from Toronto uses sand in this set up
Wow, that's a very pretty tank! Do you know if he uses any root tabs? I guess the Java Fern and Anubias don't need those.
Hmmm...the Rosaefolia is very pretty as well.

Without CO2, you get very slow growth and skinny leaves, even in the slower growing plants.
Yea, I totally understand that I'm not going to get the super lush and full look you get with CO2. I don't expect that really.

I'd still really like to try S. Repens and the Marsilea. Maybe I'll move the S. Repens to where the DHG is in the pic. Maybe put some Crypts where the S. Repens are shown, or move the rocks back a bit and put the crypts between the foreground plants and the big rocks?

Hmm......:confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Finally moved to my new place. Starting to get things set-up.

I'm using the Besta stand but I decided to reinforce it a little bit because I'm paranoid.
I glued some 3/8" MDF to the thin hardboard back panel and added a cut out for cables to pass through.


I also added a 2x2 frame to the inside.


I also added some vinyl self adhesive shelf liner (same I used for the black background) to the top of the stand to help protect the stand from water damage.

Instead of the ADA garden mat, I used a camping sleeping pad from Mec and used a sharpie to colour the edges black.


Hoping to get the substrate and plants in this weekend!
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Another update.

Yesterday was the big day! I got the tank set-up.

I used the egg crate/ light diffuser panel trick to tie down some of the wood.


Here is the hardscape with the aquasoil and sand. I ended up using Caribsea Sunset Gold sand.


And here is everything planted! A huge thanks to Bien Lim for providing me all these plants at a fantastic price! I'll try not to kill them all. Although a few of them may not survive my low-tech setup...


Here's a shot from the side. The water is still pretty cloudy. I hope it will clear up in another day or two.
 

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Looks great! I'm interested to see it fill in! Is that Staurogyne Repens in the front there and Limnophila Aromatica hiding in the back?
 
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Discussion Starter #15
Hey everyone,

No real updates so far. Just waiting for the tank to cycle. I put some of the biological filter media from my Betta tank into this tank but it doesn't seem to be doing much. I think I may have accidentally killed off the beneficial bacteria in my Betta's tank too =(. I was doing a water change and I forgot to add Prime to the water. I poured the un treated water directly into the HOB filter...I'll be checking the water params more frequently for awhile now...

Anyway, I'm looking for opinions on stocking!

I was originally planning to add about 6 Harlequin Rasboras, but on another forum someone said a 60P tank doesn't have enough room for them... Is that the consensus here as well?
I also like the look of a school of Cardinal Tetras, but it looks like they get to about the same size as the Rasboras...

I was considering Ember Tetras as well, but I'm a little bit red/green colour blind so I'm worried they won't stand out from the plants for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Little update guys,

Most of the plants seem to be doing alright aside from losing some of the darker colouration.

I was surprised at how fast the Ludwigia Brevipes is growing!


The rotala is turning more light green but it seems to be growing decently too. The original clump I planted is looking much denser now.


The S. Repens are doing alright for the most part. The leaves are covered with specs of algae or diatoms?
The Blyxa is still alive but its leaves are definitely starting to melt. Not unexpected I guess with my setup.


I've started to see a few little pond snails milling about as well.


FTS
 
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