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Thread: geektom's 135 gallon adventure

  1. #321
    SCAPE Member Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    I currently have 3 bristlenose in this tank- one 6” female that was auctioned as “calico red” when she was a baby and now is just a plain bristlenose:



    And 2 “red” that I got at the auction in... November? They have actually kept their color nicely, and one of them is definitely showing male bristles:




    Maybe some day there will be love in the air between them, or between the two reds.
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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  3. #322
    SCAPE Member Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Hey all!

    Thanks to everyone who followed this thread from the beginning- it has been a labor of love.

    Time for some changes, though- I am seriously considering tearing it down and starting over from scratch- i don't want to, but that may be the most efficient way to do it.

    Here are my main frustrations:

    * I have no regrets getting the tank that I did- it was the only one that fit my budget, and Peter @ CK was a major hero to make it happen. That being said, I never adjusted the initial layout in my mind, and the 24" x 24" panel is a major pain in the but for any maintenance that is needed beneath it.

    * I am considering going low-tech only. I don't think the CO2 delivery system I set up is even effective, and getting to stem plants is challenging, regardless.

    * I love the 24" front-to-back for the "depth" it brings when viewing it, but the plants have taken over to the extent that I don't see many of the fish most of the time- they have a whole "jungle" to hide in.

    * I was in love with the idea of the big wood "stumps", and I do really like the "emersed" growth, but they are breaking down, and I think add a ton of organic waste. I am having a harder and harder time keeping up with algae and water clarity, even with the lights at only 30% capacity.

    * This is a little embarrassing, but I don't even know the extent of plants I have in there now- it started out carefully planned, but now I have stuff sort of stuck everywhere, especially random buce. I think I need to take everything out, just to know what I have, if that makes sense.

    * I have black hair algae just about everywhere- so I need to spend hours removing all the leaves I can for whatever new set up to have a chance.

    So what I am thinking is a new layout that takes into consideration I will not be able to do much with the area under the middle panel, and I want it to be more "fish-forward". I love plants, but for this tank, I really want fish to be the main attraction, I think. Maybe two "islands", one on each side? I also want a lot more open/low growth area in the front, so the fish are out and about more regularly.

    Open to any and all ideas- and if you are willing to risk some BHA, I should have a lot of plants to give away soon.
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

  4. #323
    SCAPE Member Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

  5. #324
    SCAPE Member SCAPEr twin335i's Avatar
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    Step 1: Have lots of money.

    I really like your idea of opening it up so fish can be free swimming around those 2 mountains. I think i've seen a similar setup (of course on a smaller scale) where a huge school of cardinals could be seen making figure 8s around both rockscapes.

    But overall, wow, just wow.

  6. #325
    SCAPE Member Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    You would be surprised how economically I put this together- 90% of the plants came from consolidating all my smaller tanks, and it has been up for 2 years now, so a lot has grown in- particularly the java fern, which is out of control. I used inert substrate, built the stand myself, etc. There are a lot of ways I cut costs so I could set this up.

    In fact, one of my hesitations is that it may cost too much to re-do it the way I want. A compromise position will be just yank out the right-hand stump, and remove most of the plants just to create space in the meantime.

    Side note- the brownish red tall plant on the far left: I have been thinking for 2 years it is a barclaya longifolia (because that is what I bought it as) that I could never get red for some reason- now I am convinced it is just some type of crypt.
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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  8. #326
    SCAPE Member Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Did a pretty extensive thinning of the plants in the 135g to start preparing my mind for what a rescape might look like. Significantly reduced the plants on both sides to improve water flow, pulled out about 30% of the Java fern, pulled many raggedy sword leaves, and completely removed the pothos on the right side stump- so now that side actually gets a little light. Now you can better see the “tunnel” on the left where the emerald Cory cats like to hang out, and the bolbitis on the right side. The stump on the right side is a big V shape, so if I remove the “vertical” section, I will be taking out all the Java fern in the middle at the same time. Decisions, decisions...



    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

  9. #327
    SCAPE Member Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    The more I think about this, the more overwhelmed I get.

    The idea of pulling out every piece of hardscape and netting out all the fish is bad enough- but what to do with all the substrate?

    Luckily I have only ever used inert gravel and flourite, so it won’t be *too* messy- but just the volume of it all... ugh.
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

  10. #328
    SCAPE Member Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    The “stump”, in all of its 26” x 18” glory

    Amazing how many random plants have attached themselves to it- including some baby swords.

    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

  11. #329
    SCAPE Member Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Ok, stage 1 complete- pulled out the big stumps, pulled off all the plants I want to keep, giving away all the Java fern I don’t.

    I couldn’t wrap my head around the new layout with them in the way- now I have some “space” to consider what to do next.

    It will take the fish awhile to get used to the open space, but so far so good- the angels still have enough space that both pairs are keeping to their sides of the tank.




    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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  13. #330
    SCAPE Member Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Another one of my stellar artistic renderings to outline what I am thinking of for a new layout.

    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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  15. #331
    SCAPE Member Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Of course, because I have the tank halfway taken apart and plan to move all the plants soon, *both* pairs of angels pick now to lay a big clutch of eggs.

    On a sadder note, I lost both of my red bristlenose. I have no idea what I did wrong- would moving around the hardscape cause so much stress it would kill them? They fed on some zucchini a couple of days ago, but the brown Pleco seems fine? Such a bummer - the male was just starting to get his bristles...
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

  16. #332
    SCAPE Member Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Finally decided on the new stock list for the 135:

    1 red-tail catfish
    3 Oscars
    1 giant gourami
    6 zebra mbuna
    6 male betta
    12 sunshine plecos
    1 green neon tetra
    All of my current angelfish (adults and juveniles- should be about 14 total)
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

  17. #333
    SCAPE President 2000 posts, Star SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geektom View Post
    Finally decided on the new stock list for the 135:

    1 red-tail catfish
    3 Oscars
    1 giant gourami
    6 zebra mbuna
    6 male betta
    12 sunshine plecos
    1 green neon tetra
    All of my current angelfish (adults and juveniles- should be about 14 total)
    3 Oscars? Awesome fish.....but I have never been able to keep anything planted in the substrate with an Oscar in the tank lol.

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk
    More Tanks!

  18. #334
    SCAPE Member Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kole85 View Post
    3 Oscars? Awesome fish.....but I have never been able to keep anything planted in the substrate with an Oscar in the tank lol.

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk
    Nah, they are great with plants! I have decided to add some koi, too.
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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  20. #335
    SCAPE President 2000 posts, Star SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geektom View Post
    Nah, they are great with plants! I have decided to add some koi, too.
    What's funny is that in this hobby, it's not that crazy to see a stock list like that in one tank lol. Throw in a Mbu and you got yourself a party!

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk
    More Tanks!

  21. #336
    SCAPE Member Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    You got me, Kole! I was just curious if anyone was still reading my updates.

    So, I ordered a small mix of low-tech plants (from a SCAPE sponsor) to supplement what I already have- they assured me that since I paid for them, they would be happy to hold onto them until I am ready for them on 7/20- so of course they arrived yesterday. I wish I had the capacity to finish the tank take apart (it's not really a tear down), but I just don't- so hopefully they will be okay sitting in the tank until the following weekend.

    Still looking for the right kind of wood for the middle- I want something large-ish, but more branch-like, and not a stump. The idea will be to fill the middle with basically hardscape, so that I don't have to really maintain it at all. The three lights are on independent channels, so I can dial it down over the middle, also.
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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  23. #337
    SCAPE Member Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Ok, looks like I will have to do this sooner than I intended.

    Look for an update on Sunday
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

  24. #338
    SCAPE Member Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Let the mess commence!

    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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