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Thread: geektom's sanity tank (20g regular)

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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    geektom's sanity tank (20g regular)

    Hi friends- well, it looks like the 150g project is going to be delayed for some time, so to keep myself sane, I will be creating a small tank.

    The tank is a standard 20g from Visio- nothing fancy.

    The goal of this tank is to keep a few fish, maybe some shrimp other than Amano (which would be a first for me), keep some stem plants that I have not kept before (which is most of them) and learn about E.I. dosing (I have never used a regimented fert schedule before)

    You can see in the pictures I am going with a very simple scape. I started DSM on the S. repens two weeks ago in anticipation of using them in the big tank, I will probably go another 2-3 weeks if I can be patient.

    The rocks are thin and leave me more space to plant behind them than you might expect looking from the front.

    Substrate is organic potting soil, then Fluorite, then capped with sand. I didn't plan on this being a display tank, which is why you can see the soil, but I will go back in and fix that.

    I will be using a 50/50 mix of RO and tap for my water, and will post the water parameters once I measure them- but it should give me a good baseline to start.

    I will be using a Finnex 24" FugeRay Planted + for lighting.

    I will be using CO2 and an in-tank diffuser.

    I think that is all the specs I have from now.

    I would appreciate any and all feedback on my goals, especially on plant selection.

    I know that I want to try AR mini between the repens and the rocks, some bushy stems (primarily on the left side), and something interesting but not tall on the right side.

    Other than that- I am completely open and would love to hear your suggestions!

    Thanks!IMG_0685.jpgIMG_0686.jpg


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    Last edited by geektom; 07-16-2017 at 08:08 AM.
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    SCAPE Member 1000 posts, Semi-Pro SCAPEr Bongox3's Avatar
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    Very cool... I see you found the reddish stones you were searching for... good job!!!

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    Water is Life Super Duper Master Scaper Zenzu's Avatar
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    Glad to see you getting sucked back into the hobby Tom The tank looks great so far, shrimp are fun just make sure to pair with appropriate fish. CK has more of that red glass rock if you feel like making your stack bigger. They used it in their main display and it looks really good paired with manzanita or spider wood then covered in moss, also available at CK and on sale.

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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenzu View Post
    Glad to see you getting sucked back into the hobby Tom The tank looks great so far, shrimp are fun just make sure to pair with appropriate fish. CK has more of that red glass rock if you feel like making your stack bigger. They used it in their main display and it looks really good paired with manzanita or spider wood then covered in moss, also available at CK and on sale.
    Thanks, Carlo- I am still debating if I want to have some branches in there. My first thought was to do just what you suggested, but then I thought I might leave it open for more plants. I haven't scaped a 20 in a long time- quite the challenge after 10 years of a 75g!

    Any plant suggestions? I hear stargrass is challenging, but I have always like the way it looks in a small-medium bush.
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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    Water is Life Super Duper Master Scaper Zenzu's Avatar
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    Stargrass (heteranthera zosterfolia) is a very easy plant to keep. If you do stems you will have to stick your hands in the tank to trim/replant and dose ferts so it may affect shrimp. Stargrass can get unruly fairly quickly, when I had it in my 40G tank many years ago it took over 1/4 of the tank within 2 months. You could do stems with bare manzanita branches jutting out. Would look pretty cool imo.

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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Added some AR mini cultures to the DSM last night. Still open to any other suggestions for the back of the tank.


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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Try not to be jealous of my mad photo-editing skills: this is what I am thinking of. Open to feedback.


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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Hey all, some updates:

    From another local person on the boards I got an Ehiem 2215, inline heater, 5lb CO2 tank, and a regulator, along with some glass pipes.

    My Finnex light should arrive tomorrow.

    I have EI dosing ferts on order and they will arrive before I am ready to fill the tank.

    I decided to go with film rather than spray to frost the back of the tank- I will be applying it tomorrow.

    I am trying to dive in and understand the EI method, but I have to admit I am still a little confused regarding how to get *started*.

    A few questions:

    * Ok, please don't laugh, but what liquid medium do I mix the ferts in? Distilled water?

    * How much impact does my starting tap water have on my dosing? Am I wasting time and water to create RO water?

    I have 20g of RO water ready to go. My initial plan was to mix the RO and tap until I achieved the correct GH.

    I will be hopefully be filling and planting the rest of the tank in two weeks!

    So far the S. repens is doing great with the DSM- the AR mini does not show any growth yet after 5 days, but no melting, either.

    I found a nicely shaped manzanita branch for the corner- it is soaking now.

    Hard to be patient, no matter how many years I have been in the hobby!



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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Ok, backing is on the tank, CO2 tubing and tank are in place (with the exception of the bubble counter, which is on its way), filter and inline heater are set up with new tubing.

    One misstep- the frosted backing won't allow the auction cups for the glass pipes to adhere to the back of the tank. Whoops. I had to rig some on the inside, which means I was able to use clear auction cups, but had to black clips because I don't have clear ones (the pipes had attachments built in on the outside where they don't work now).

    It also makes the lily pipe outlet tilt in an odd way- I think it may end up pointed too far towards the surface once the water is running.

    A lot to fit into the small stand I am using, mostly because I have some awkward, large timers (one for the light, one for the CO2). I can't find smaller ones that accommodate a three-prong plug).

    Anyone know if you can buy more of the little suction cups that the CO2 tubing goes through?


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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    geektom's sanity tank (20g regular)

    I got a fresh master test kit today to compare my Tap water to the RO I created.

    Someone told me that RO water would stabilize at a pH of 7 after 48 hours- mine certainly did not. I tested it several times to be sure and got in the mid-6's every time.

    Keeping in mind that I will be injecting CO2, which will lower the pH, am I better off going with the 50/50 mix, to give more of a buffer against the pH going too low?

    Tap:
    KH: 13 drops (off the charts- 12 drops = 214 ppm)
    GH: off the charts
    pH: 8.0
    Ammonia: 0 ppm
    Nitrite: 0 ppm
    Nitrate: 20 ppm

    RO:
    KH: 0
    GH: 0
    pH: 6.4
    Ammonia: 0 ppm
    Nitrite: 0 ppm
    Nitrate: 0 ppm

    75/25 mix of RO/Tap:
    pH: 7.0
    KH: 4

    50/50 mix of RO/Tap:
    pH: 7.2
    KH: 6








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    Water is Life Super Duper Master Scaper Zenzu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geektom View Post
    Try not to be jealous of my mad photo-editing skills: this is what I am thinking of. Open to feedback.


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    Just wanted to give you a heads up here. Based on my limited experience with stargrass, if you plant lets say 5 stems. with proper lighting, co2, nutrients and trimming. It can easily fill the space you outlined for L. Arcuata, R. Indica and Stargrass in about 2 months. It is a super fast grower and tends to enjoy being left alone, I noticed when I tried to trim it back and keep it restrained, leaves would start turning blackish at tips from the stress making it look unsightly in the tank.

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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenzu View Post
    Just wanted to give you a heads up here. Based on my limited experience with stargrass, if you plant lets say 5 stems. with proper lighting, co2, nutrients and trimming. It can easily fill the space you outlined for L. Arcuata, R. Indica and Stargrass in about 2 months. It is a super fast grower and tends to enjoy being left alone, I noticed when I tried to trim it back and keep it restrained leaves would start turning blackish from the stress making it look unsightly in the tank.
    Thanks for the tip- I have never kept it before.

    Any other suggestions for a stem that will do well in medium light and is a lighter green to yellow color? And that will trim well into a "bush" 6-8"?


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    Water is Life Super Duper Master Scaper Zenzu's Avatar
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    The space and height you outlined would probably be better off going with a midground plant. R. Green, HG(Pearlweed), Blyxa Japonica. My choice would be Blyxa, but would clash textures with the Crypt you plan to put next to it.

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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    geektom's sanity tank (20g regular)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zenzu View Post
    The space and height you outlined would probably be better off going with a midground plant. R. Green, HG(Pearlweed), Blyxa Japonica. My choice would be Blyxa, but would clash textures with the Crypt you plan to put next to it.
    I have never seen HG grown as anything other than carpet- that is an interesting idea.

    What about Pogostemon erectus?

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    Water is Life Super Duper Master Scaper Zenzu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geektom View Post
    I have never seen HG grown as anything other than carpet- that is an interesting idea.

    What about Pogostemon erectus?

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    You may be thinking of HC (hemianthus callitrichoides) which is a carpet plant, that infact can be used as a faux "background" plant in a micro scape as it does grow verticle, which is why it makes for a horrible carpet plant requiring contstant trimming. There however is also HM (hemianthus micranthemoides) "pearlweed" which is a carpet/midground/background/floating plant. However most plant nerds say "No no no... HM is extinct and no longer exists and what people are actually cultivating and trading amongst each other in the hobby is actually HG..." HG (hemianthus glomeratus) apparently also "pearlweed" it's an all around awesome plant.

    Pogostemon Erectus or Rotala Verticularis is one of my favorite plants, I have not kept it in many years. I think it would look awesome in place of Stargrass.
    Last edited by Zenzu; 07-22-2017 at 02:22 PM.

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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Here are some updated photos- 3 weeks of DSM with the S. repens, 1 week with the AR mini. The color of my substrate makes it hard to see the AR mini nubbins poking their way up, but there has definitely been some small growth.

    In this picture, you can also see the glass pipes and CO2 set up and ready to go when it is time to finish planting and flood. The frosted film is also on the back- happy with how it came out, with the exception of the suction-cup error.

    You can also see my FugeRay arrived- seems to put out a ton of light in a very slim and light design. It is early, but I am impressed so far...

    I wiped down the front of the tank to take the pictures, but there is plenty of humidity- so much so that I now have standing water at the front of the tank from so much spraying.

    Is it too much? Should I be spraying less? I have been concerned about making sure the AR does not melt.

    Any and all feedback is welcome!



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    Water is Life Super Duper Master Scaper Zenzu's Avatar
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    You should definitely siphon out the water, and use a turkey baster or syringe to get the water below the substrate line. Having stagnant water like that can allow algae and bga to grow which can destroy your tank once you fill it.

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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenzu View Post
    You should definitely siphon out the water, and use a turkey baster or syringe to get the water below the substrate line. Having stagnant water like that can allow algae and bga to grow which can destroy your tank once you fill it.
    Ok, thanks- I will get on it!


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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    I saw some pogo erectus in person at Nature Aquarium today- beautiful plant. Definitely what I want to use in place of stargrass.


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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    According to the rotalabutterfly calculator, from the EI dry ferts kits I purchased from Green Leaf Aquarium (I figured it was a good way to learn), my dosing will yield the following:

    KH2PO4:

    PO4 1.3 ppm
    P .42 ppm
    K .54 ppm

    KNO3:

    K 4.73 ppm
    N 1.69 ppm

    K2SO4:

    K 7.5 ppm (?!?)
    S 3.08 ppm

    This means that totaled together, I will be at 12.77 ppm of K- is that right? Am I supposed to be taking into account how each compound adds more K?

    Just when I thought I was figuring it out, now I am really confused again.
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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