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33G and 50G Updates

July 28th, 2014

I previously posted pictures of my 33G and 50G aquascapes. Both are growing in pretty nicely. The 50G started to get some BBA on the wood, but a combination of peroxide treatment and adding additional algae eaters seems to have eliminated most of that problem. It did, however, harm some of the foreground Monte Carlo plant, slowing it’s growth. I’m sure that it will rebound.

50G - July 28, 2014 Update

I’m still figuring out the exact amounts to dose this aquarium, slowly increasing the dosage as the plants have been growing in. The LED lights are quite bright and are actually dialed back slightly to slow things down.

33G Update - Two Weeks In

Two weeks in, the 33G cube (above) is doing okay as well. I have been getting some algae on the Blyxa japonica especially, but I think that it’s just a matter of all of the bacterial colonies stabilizing to help me with some of the organics. The foreground is starting to grow, but definitely has a ways to go. The most prolific plant thus far is the North American native, Heteranthera dubia, which is growing up behind the peak of the hill. Comments/critiques welcome!

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50G Aquascape

June 7th, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, I rescaped my 50G aquarium and setup a new scape with some new Rosewood and Activ-Flora substrate — two things I’ve never used before. The Activ-Flora substrate is chose is a mix of their Floragems and Lakegems varieties, which basically look like river pebbles. I used a quartz-based rock that was locally collected that has slate and other veins marbled through it.

50G Aquascape

The rosewood is a very unique wood that branches in many different directions. Most of the branching is actually root material. It floats initially so I needed to weigh down my pieces for about a week, and the wood went through the normal fungus phase which was quickly consumed by snails. I did get some brown algae that I remedied by blasting the tank with 6 different powerheads and some extra filtration to clear it. Currently, I think the scape is a bit too bright due to the substrate, but I’m hoping that once the Monty-Carlo foreground grows in, it will look better. I may need to adjust the heights on the rosewood pieces to create a bit more distinction and visual pathways. At this point, however, I’m happy to just get the plants growing and algae-free. Comments welcome!

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50G Update

January 5th, 2014

After battling BBA for a couple months, I think it’s finally starting to subside as the plants grow in my 50G aquarium. Shortly after setting this tank up, the combination of intense lighting, too few plants, and a couple CO2 outages resulted in black brush algae to cover most of the rocks, and many of the plant leaves. I also had a brief bought with green algae, which I believe was due to an insufficient bacteria colony to help break down the organics in the tank.

50G Aquascape

Recall that this aquarium was basically started afresh, removing very old Aquasoil and replacing it with Seachem Flourite Black. I also made a couple of equipment changes, adding an inline CO2 atomizer on my filter outflow and a surface skimmer on the inflow. This has helped a longtime problem with surface scum. I’m planning to keep up on the manual removal of BBA until it’s gone. Let me know what you think of the aquascape in the comments.

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50G – New Aquascape

October 31st, 2013

I rescaped my 50G aquarium this weekend, replacing a lot of wood from the previous scape with some new rock that I picked up from another GWAPA member. The main things that I wanted to achieve with this aquascape were to try out Seachem Flourite Black and to feature Gratiola viscidula, which is planted all throughout the rocks.

50G - New Aquascape

Obviously, the plants all need to grow in now to make the whole thing look more natural. The plants are Ranalisma rostrata, Gratiola viscidula, Staurogyne ‘Low Grow’, Juncus repens, Hygrophila ‘Araguaia’, Blyxa japonica, Ludwigia arcuata, and Hygrophila odora.


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50g Rescape

March 25th, 2013

After looking at an overgrown mess for several weeks, I broke down and spent the day on Sunday rescaping my 50g aquarium. I emptied everything from the tank, but the substrate, including dozens of bristlenosed plecos. I overturned one of the previous pieces of wood, and saw probably a hundred baby plecos scurrying everywhere. It probably took me an extra 30 minutes to pull all of those tiny 1/2″ fry from the tank.

50g Hardscape for Rescape

I recently bought a large amount of Malaysian driftwood from a local store, and wanted to use some of those pieces in this aquascape. I was looking to recreate the base of a tree submerged in the water. I don’t know if the above hardscape is exactly that, but I did create three distinct lanes running from left to right; one on the left behind the centerpiece, the center lane, and another that goes behind the large piece on the right. In addition, knowing that I would put dozens of plecos back into this tank, I chose pieces of wood that have caves or crevices that I hope they’ll occupy. Some always insist on digging underneath the wood!

50g Rescape

Next, I replanted the tank using most of the same plants that I had in previously. All throughout the tank is Ranalisma rostrata, with Hygrophila pinnatifida both used as stems and attached fern-like plants on the wood itself. I used some Staurogyne sp. to help add some more intrigue throughout the Ranalisma, along with Hygrophila sp. ‘Araguaia’. I still need to add some mosses to the wood, particularly the center piece that has a visible sawed off area. I will post updated shots once the tank completely clears. Initial comments/critiques welcome!

Kingdom Under Fire II
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50g Update

November 18th, 2012

I did my usual weekly water changes this weekend, and want to update on the 50G aquarium. This tank has had a number of changes over the past few months. In terms of equipment, I replaced a 2x96W power compact DIY kit from AHSupply with 4-TrueLumen LED bars from Current USA. While I’m still coming to terms with the coloration and perceived brightness, there’s no question that the plants are getting more usable light than they did with the old lamps, as growth has taken off, particularly in the foreground.

50g - 11-18-2012

The Ranalisma rostrata has completely filled in the foreground areas, and I have been regularly thinning it out for other hobbyists (and to keep the plant from getting way overgrown.) The Hygrophila pinnatifida has almost entirely stayed in it’s creeping form, attaching itself to the driftwood in this tank. I have a fresh batch of bristlenosed pleco babies, hence the uneven foreground where they’ve dug out until the wood to form their caves. I do still have a maintainable amount of BBA on some of the wood pieces, but the plecos keep it from spreading beyond that, and the plants are free of algae, minus a few older leaves of the Hygrophila. Basically, I just need to focus on trimming this tank a little bit better, particularly the Blyxa japonica in the background, and the stems in the back. Comments welcome!

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33G and 50G Aquascape Updates

June 12th, 2012

The two recent aquascapes are coming together. The 33G cube is finally starting to grow in. I had a couple bulbs die on me that went unnoticed for several weeks. I couldn’t figure out why the foreground was growing in so slowly until I looked up and sure enough the front two HOT5s were dark. Once I replaced them, the Elatine triandra and HC started to take off. The rest of the plants are growing really well too.

33G Aquascape

I’ve started to get a little bit of BBA, so I’ve been spot treating and have adjusted me dosing scheme slightly. The 50G aquarium (below) is also growing pretty well. I removed the Blyxa aubertii because it was too overpowering. In it’s place, I’ve planted a row of Syngonanthus sp. ‘Madiera’, which I hope will fill in nicely. I need a little bit more color in this scape, as well, but the Rotala macrandra variant I have in there isn’t really thrilling me.

50G Aquascape

At this point, it’s still a little bit of a work in progress. The bristlenosed plecos are making it difficult for me to establish a foreground as well. All in good time I suppose!

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Fish Room Update

April 8th, 2012

I was a good aquarium keeper this weekend, and did my weekly water changes, trimmed several plants, replanted others, and generally spent some time tank-watching. While, I wouldn’t equate my fish room to an ADA gallery, I’m slowing getting most of the tanks to a point where they’re generally pleasing to me.

75G Aquascape for Angels

Click for Larger Version

The 75G (my angelfish tank) is really looking wonderful. The bits of black-brush algae that had crept up on the hardscape are receding little-by-little every week thanks to more consistent dosing, water changes, and feeding. It probably doesn’t hurt that I added a few extra Amano shrimp and zebra nerites either. The angelfish are majestic, and are truly beautiful fish to watch. No fins get injured, but the seven large angels take and cede territory regularly throughout the day. Of course, when it’s feeding time, all seven crowd the front glass.

33G - Two Weeks After Rescape

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The recently rescaped 33G cube is in a mixed state right now. I think the fresh Aquasoil and tannins from the wood have made the tank pretty acidic. Some of the more delicately leaved plants like Didiplis diandre and HC have melted a little bit due to this. On the other hand, Rotala sp. ‘Yao Yaihas grown well, but I know the nitrate levels in the tank are elevated since it’s bright green without a tinge of red. None of the fish seem any worse for wear, but I’ve pulled out the test kits a couple times to monitor, and will do extra water changes if need be.

50G - Two Weeks After Rescape

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The other recently rescaped tank, my 50G has been growing well. I didn’t replace as much Aquasoil in this aquarium, so I don’t seem to have the same problems as in the 33G aquarium. All of the stem plants have grown in size. Unfortunately, the Blyxa japonica seems to be dominating the scape a little too much. I’m going to pull some of it out once the Ranalisma rostrata grows in, as it’ll provide a similar look without as much height.

40G Farm Tank

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Truth be told, one of the tanks I’ve gotten the most pleasure out of lately has been the jungle of my 40G farm tank. It has a little bit of thread algae in it, but the plants are looking stunning. I’ve been diligent about my trimming to keep any one plant from shading out the rest. I also recently (within the past six weeks) moved all ferns/anubias/etc to the left side of the tank, leaving the right side solely for stem and other desirable plants. In addition, I’ve been feeding the Pseudocrenilabrus nicholsi blackworms, which has made the dominant male absolutely stunning. He patrols the tank all day long, trying to court females into depressions in the substrate or thick bushes of stem plants. There’s enough hiding places for the other fish to hide if they get tired of his aggressive behavior, however, so everyone’s happy.

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Two Rescapes

March 26th, 2012

I finally blocked out about 12 hours this weekend to properly rescape my 33G rimless cube and my 50G aquariums. Both had become Blyxa farms, and could no longer be repaired without totally breaking them down. Therefore, I decided to try to put together two Nature Aquarium style aquascapes for our local club’s annual aquascaping contest.

33G - One Day after Rescape

33G - One Day after Rescape

For the 33G cube, I pretty much followed ADA’s formula for aquascaping: slope the substrate, place the hardscape, plant Anubias along the edges of the substrate, wrap moss around the the hardscape, plant everything else, and fill tank with water. What you can’t see are Hemianthus glomeratus, Didiplis diandre, and Ludwigia arcuata, which I hope will grow into nice bushes just over the top of the Malaysian driftwood.

50G Rescape

50G - Immediately after rescape

The 50G uses Malaysian driftwood as well, but I couldn’t bring myself to throw away two full buckets for of Blyxa, so I decided to reuse them in this scape. Unfortunately, I haven’t received the Ranalisma rostrata in the mail yet, but that will be my foreground plant here. I took photos during my rescape process, so let’s go through it.

50G Rescape

I always try to do some preliminary hardscaping outside of the tank before I start. This allows me to quickly realize if I have enough hardscape materials, the right pieces, and pre-plan what types of plants I’ll need to pull from other tanks.

50G Rescape

This substrate was previously ADA Aquasoil Amazonia on top of a mixture of 50/50 sand and worm castings with 100% pool sand in the foreground. I scrapped out all of the sand foreground, and while I was at it, decided to remove the top layer of Aquasoil, as well.

50G Rescape

I recapped the base level with fresh ADA Aquasoil to help get my aquascape off to a fresh start. All of the muck that was removed is going outside to my pond for this year’s potted pond plants.

50G Rescape

Next, it was time to place the hardscape. Since I had previously designed the hardscape outside of the aquarium, I simply transplanted the driftwood from my floor to the tank. I still spent about 20 minutes adjusting the angles and placement of the pieces. I finished the process by working in a little bit of extra Aquasoil throughout the hardscape to better integrate the wood into the landscape.

50G Rescape

Next, I planted the aquascape. The midground is mostly made up of Blyxa japonica, with a background of Blyxa aubertii on the left hand side. I also added several stems from my farm tank, namely: Hygrophila pinnatifida, Rotala macrandra ‘narrow’, Syngonanthus sp. ‘Madiera’, Didiplis diandre, and  Hygrophila odora. Finally, I softened the hardscape with Fissidens moss.

50G Rescape

It’s hard to see the difference in this picture, compared to the one above it, but I added a few moss-wrapped pieces of wood around the perimeter of the foreground. I like adding these little touches to make the environment a little bit more natural looking.

50G Rescape

Lastly, I filled the tank with water. I will post updates as the water clears, and after I plant the foreground. Initial feedback welcome!

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50G – Overgrown with Blyxa

November 28th, 2011

My 50G aquarium is now an overgrown jungle of Blyxa japonica and Blyxa aubertii. There’s a little bit of Ludwigia arcuata and Limnophila sp. ‘Vietnam’ mixed in there as well with Narrow-leaf Java Fern carving out a place too.

50G - Overgrown with Blyxa

On one hand, I’m really happy with the tremendous growth, as most of the tank is algae free minus the Eheim spraybar and a few older leaves. Also, the bristlenosed plecos that I have in here are continuing to churn out more fry than I know what to do with. The Apistogramma have a pretty good idea of what to do with them, however, but I still seem to have all females, and no breeding there.


On the other hand, the huge mass of plant growth has completely consumed the aquascape. Below you can see what the aquarium looked like shortly after planting. All of that same driftwood is still in the tank, but you wouldn’t know it, would you?

50G Aquascape

So, now I need to decide whether to simply hack back the plant growth to a more reasonable state or to rescape it altogether. I imagine that this will largely depend on how many plants I pickup at the GWAPA meeting next weekend!

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