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Lab_Rat
01-02-2010, 03:27 AM
Since I've decided to attempt a planted tank with African cichlids (yes, a bit foolish I know but I've got the lighting for it) I figured I'd start a journal to keep track of plant growth/destruction by cichlids. I'm trying to avoid any species that are known to destroy plants (so no mbuna in the tank if I can help myself).

Lighting is 4x54w T5HO with blue LEDs. Right now I only have the four bulbs on for a couple of hours, only two are on for the remaining lighting time. Am going to set up a DIY CO2 since my water is so hard I'm not worried about a pH crash. Currently dosing Flourish, Excel, Trace, P, K, and have root tabs by each sword plant

Substrate is flourite black. I need to add some more when I have cash, right now it's piled around the plants.

Filtration is a Rena Filstar XP3 and an Aquaclear 70. No chemical media at this time.

Flora: A bunch of swords (not sure what they are, maybe I'll try to ID them sometime), Anubias nana and coffefolia, some vals that have been mostly eaten, a couple java fern leaves, water lettuce

Fauna: Astatotilapia latifasciata, Aulonocara stuartgranti Maleri Island, Altolamprologus calvus Congo Black, Synodontis petricola, Synodontis lucipinnis, Ancistrus cirrhosus, olive nerite snails

Tank when first planted, 12-12-09. Was my entry for the XTMO competition (which won, woo hoo!)
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/121209004.jpg

Tank as of 1-1-10
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/010110113.jpg

Left side 1-1-10
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/010110111.jpg

Right side 1-1-10
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/010110112.jpg

Lady Hobbs
01-02-2010, 03:28 AM
Looks great. Love the holy rock.

rich311k
01-02-2010, 03:30 AM
Great looking tank. Seems to be doing well.

Lab_Rat
01-02-2010, 03:30 AM
Aulonocara stuartgranti Maleri Island dominant male
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/010110002.jpg

Aulonocara stuartgranti Maleri Island female on left, possible sub-dominant male or colorful female on right
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/010110086.jpg

Astatotilapia latifasciata
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/010110018.jpg

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/010110031.jpg

Lab_Rat
01-02-2010, 03:32 AM
Altolamprologus calvus Congo Black
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/010110106.jpg

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/010110105.jpg

Ancistrus cirrhosus
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/010110081.jpg

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/123109013.jpg

Lab_Rat
01-02-2010, 03:34 AM
Thanks Lady Hobbs and Rich! I'm excited to see what happens when I add DIY CO2. I'm hoping to create a sword jungle in there.

AmyLynn
01-02-2010, 04:14 AM
Beautiful tank. Love the distinction of the three colors. thumbs2:

xximanoobxx
01-02-2010, 04:17 AM
Awesome tank!

EmmanuelJB
01-02-2010, 04:32 AM
Wow the aquarium looks amazing! Everything works really well together!

mommy1
01-02-2010, 05:00 AM
your tank looks awesome. good luck with the plants.

LadyHatred
01-02-2010, 11:39 AM
Great tank, Labby!

Hailey
01-02-2010, 08:17 PM
I love the colours in your tank! Black and green. Hopefully mine will look like that someday.

Taurus
01-02-2010, 08:19 PM
So, that's what you've been up to lately! Beautiful tank Labby! thumbs2:

-Lp
01-02-2010, 08:30 PM
Stunning!

Everything blends very well; clean, neat, set-up. Nice camera work, too!

Lab_Rat
01-02-2010, 10:44 PM
Thanks everyone! I'm quite happy with it so far.

Here's a shot with the blue LEDs on. It's not a great pic but the tank looks pretty cool IRL. The synos are much more active when the regular lights go off and the moon lights come on.

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/010110177.jpg

Hailey
01-02-2010, 10:52 PM
Cool! We really want moonlights in our 90 gal. Are those DIY?
Were looking around, but cant find any blue LEDs around here.

Lab_Rat
01-02-2010, 11:02 PM
They're part of the lighting fixture, not DIY. I think Petsmart carries the blue LEDs.

souly
01-02-2010, 11:03 PM
Looks great.

Lab_Rat
01-10-2010, 06:45 AM
I added a bottle of DIY CO2 last week, am running the line into the intake of the canister. Not sure if it's doing much. I've started getting some holes in some of the sword leaves so I think the plants need more nutrients.

Tank on 1-9-10:
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/010910007.jpg

The water lettuce from candice&jeff has gotten some nice roots on it. Thanks Candice! You can see it in the upper right corner.

Goodbye
01-10-2010, 06:50 AM
Tank loos great, Labby! thumbs2:

Lab_Rat
02-26-2010, 05:00 AM
Updated pic:
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/022510007.jpg

MCHRKiller
02-26-2010, 05:56 AM
Definatly the nicest african tank I have ever seen :22:

kathymac
02-26-2010, 05:59 AM
Gosh, everytime I get one of my tanks the way I like it one of you guys posts a beautiful tank and fish like this and makes me want one just like yours. I guess I'm just greedy.//

Lab_Rat
02-26-2010, 06:11 AM
Thanks guys! :22: I'm happy the africans haven't totally destroyed the plants.

Lab_Rat
03-14-2010, 05:31 AM
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/031310002.jpg

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/022810095.jpg

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/022810103.jpg

MCHRKiller
03-14-2010, 02:42 PM
Looks great! Definatly some lucky africans :11:

hockeyhead019
03-14-2010, 08:18 PM
wow... absolutely amazing tank... where did you get the holy rock?

troy
03-14-2010, 10:01 PM
Excellent looking tank!thumbs2:

Lab_Rat
03-15-2010, 04:19 AM
Thanks everyone! Got the holey rock from a local landscaping company...one of the benefits to living in Texas hill country.

Taurus
03-15-2010, 04:52 PM
Thanks for the update! Tank look wonderful. :ssmile:

Lab_Rat
04-11-2010, 06:21 AM
I had a bunch of plants that needed planting, so I decided to re-arrange the 55g a bit. I pulled out the two large swords from the foreground so I can now see my fish again. They're going to be for sale, anyone need swords? :hmm3grin2orange:

I've planted a couple more baby swords, will let those fill in. Also some dwarf sag, some lilies, some onion plants (just sprouting, are in the back), some stem plants, etc. Right now, the vics have been busy uprooting the new plants (jerks) so I'm trying to distract them with food.

Before:
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/040910079.jpg

After:
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/041010015.jpg

Some of the plants:
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/041010016.jpg

Lab_Rat
04-11-2010, 06:22 AM
Left side:
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/041010018.jpg

Middle:
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/041010019.jpg

Right side:
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/041010020.jpg

SunSchein89
04-11-2010, 06:25 AM
Lookin good thumbs2: . I like the improvement; should be better when it fills out more too.

Lab_Rat
05-05-2010, 02:42 AM
Some pics of fish I picked up at the auction a couple of weeks ago. Sold 9 of my zebra obliquidens and picked up 2 ahli and 5 red shoulder peacocks.

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/042310048.jpg

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/042310054.jpg

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/042310049.jpg

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/042310053.jpg

Lab_Rat
05-05-2010, 02:43 AM
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/042310057.jpg

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/042310059.jpg

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/042310064.jpg

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/042310052.jpg

MCHRKiller
05-05-2010, 07:33 AM
Fish look great labby, and the tank has grown into quite the jungle :22:

Taurus
05-05-2010, 03:19 PM
The change is good. Enjoy the new additions.

rich311k
05-05-2010, 03:46 PM
Nice looking fish. Great pick ups.

Lab_Rat
05-17-2010, 03:09 AM
Pulled a lot of the water lettuce, it didn't like the new cover on the tank and it's a pita with the HOB filter.

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/059.jpg

Lab_Rat
05-31-2010, 05:26 AM
Did a massive trim tonight since I couldn't see any of my fish due to the massive amount of plants. Removed almost a 5g bucket full of plants, mostly swords. Here's the result, not sure if I'm happy with it yet.

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/012.jpg

hockeyhead019
05-31-2010, 02:41 PM
i definitely like the last picture lab rat cuz i think it's a lot nicer now that you can see the fish... regardless you have an incredible tank very well scaped!

rhonin
05-31-2010, 04:32 PM
Think of it kind of like doing the yearly landscaping for spring.
Looks kind of "naked" for a bit....

Then when it starts growing back in "WOW" thumbs2:

Think in a bit it will look better than ever.

Very nice!

domjd05
06-02-2010, 12:08 AM
Tank looks amazing! Are you using co2?

Lab_Rat
06-02-2010, 03:41 AM
Thanks guys!

I have a DIY bottle of CO2 that I am not good about replacing, so for practical purposes, not really. I do want to go pressurized, I just haven't had any spare cash to invest in a quality regulator.

rich311k
06-02-2010, 10:28 AM
Tank is looking good. Nice job on the trim.

Lab_Rat
09-24-2010, 02:09 AM
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/012-1.jpg

Lab_Rat
10-03-2010, 12:43 AM
The fall HCCC auction is tomorrow, and I know I'm going to buy some fish, so I had to clear some out to make room. I just tore down the tank to catch the fish I wanted to take.

So far going to the auction:
4 synos (they're cool fish and all, but I don't see them much and I'd rather save the bioload space for cichlids)
2 male red shoulder peacocks
1 female red shoulder peacock
1 female sunshine peacock
1 female ahli
2 zebra obliqs (I think male, going to have to sex them before I bag them)

Should lighten the load on the tank. I'm hoping to come back with calvus and peacock males. I'm going for all male peacocks.

Also, about had tragedy strike. I had to pull the holey rock out to catch the synos. That stuff is heavy, and I shook the rock, pulled it out, then dunked it again to get all the fish out. One of the calvus decided to stay in the rock as did the male BN, unbeknownst to me. So I took the plants and rocks out, caught all the fish, went to put the rocks back in, and saw the calvus laying on the towel. He looked dead. I picked him up and laid him back in the tank. After a couple of seconds he came back to life and swam off. The plec was alive and kicking on the towel, seemed pissed off with me. Hopefully both will be ok. I thought I'd checked the rock well, obviously not well enough.

Jeddi
10-03-2010, 01:02 AM
It's surprising how fish can live outside of water for a while. I once had to release my cherry barbs from a bag and I accidentally spilled it so some of the water got on my hood/on the floor. I assumed all the fish got in the tank since there weren't any on the floor so I just watched them for a while until about 5 minutes later I moved the light back and a cherry barb was sitting inches away from the light bulb, right underneath it. :14: It must have been really stressful to be in so much light and out of water but its still doing fine today :P

And good job on keeping so many good looking plants in there with all those africans :11:

Lab_Rat
10-04-2010, 03:25 AM
Thanks, the africans actually aren't as hard on the plants as the american cichlids are. Now they've destroyed vals, swords, some onion plants, and dwarf sag, but at least they leave the anubias alone.

New additions to the tank are Julidochromis marleri burundi, Altolamprologus compressiceps "orange", and a male ahli.

Lab_Rat
11-19-2010, 05:56 AM
Stupid cichlids have really started destroying my plants. Bit the leaves off all but one of the onion plants, and have torn up a bunch more.

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/035.jpg

MCHRKiller
11-19-2010, 07:05 AM
Tank still looks great even if the cichlids arnt being nice to the plants :11:

Scrup
11-19-2010, 08:38 AM
That is really odd. In my tanks the only plant that seems to ever be safe is the onion...

Looks great though.

Lab_Rat
11-19-2010, 03:47 PM
Thanks guys!

You'd think they'd leave the onion plants alone, but noooo, must bite them off at the base of the plant. They did the same thing to the large vals I tried in there as well. Doesn't matter how large the plant is either, they seek and destroy. I probably won't add anymore in there until I figure out if I'm moving in May or not.

vegas2k
12-03-2010, 08:07 PM
do you suppose I can put in anubias with my peacocks, given your experience with yours? I need a hardy plant that doesn't require a ton of light( just 9 hours a day from the lamp that came with the tank), or much extra maintenance for that matter. I'd prefer also plants that can be planted in the sand. might just ask what the previous owner has in his tank that survived these fish as well to get an idea.

Lab_Rat
01-25-2011, 02:48 AM
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/019-1.jpg

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/059-2.jpg

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/049-2.jpg

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/048-1.jpg

Lab_Rat
01-25-2011, 02:49 AM
do you suppose I can put in anubias with my peacocks, given your experience with yours? I need a hardy plant that doesn't require a ton of light( just 9 hours a day from the lamp that came with the tank), or much extra maintenance for that matter. I'd prefer also plants that can be planted in the sand. might just ask what the previous owner has in his tank that survived these fish as well to get an idea.

Anubias are awesome. I'd definitely try them with your peacocks.

kingkarter
01-25-2011, 04:10 AM
Nice tank are thoughs peacocks? im not verry good at telling apart chiclids yet.

Lab_Rat
01-25-2011, 04:21 AM
Some are peacocks (the blue/reddish orange ones and the pinky white one), some are haps (the vibrant blue ones), some are victorians (the yellow and black striped ones), the torpedo shaped ones are julies, and the funny shaped ones are calvus and compressiceps.

Lab_Rat
06-15-2011, 03:37 AM
Tank is now no more. End of journal.

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/ambell16/55g%20African%20tank/005-1.jpg