dev's 50 gal south-american community (WiP)
Update: New pictures in post #2 (07-07-2007)
I said I came here for new impulses, so it is only fair that I give you some of mine in return :)
This is my latest project, a triangular 50 galon south-american community. Or it will be when I'm done.
The tank after slightly replanting it 07.07.2007. You will find more images attached below
What I mean by a South-American community tank is that I want a variety of plants and fish from South-America, without trying to imitate a very specific biotope like amazonas. Sort of a piece of a river that could have happened, but never did.
I cant seem to figure out where I put the charger for my camera, so the pictures from today have been taken with a camcorder. Well, the attached photos should give a general impression until I can get some better ones.
4 x Apistogramma cacatuoides (Cockatoo cichlid)
6 x Corydoras aeneus (Albino bronze coridoras)
10 x Hemigrammus erythrozonus (Glowlight tetra)
2 x Mikrogeophagus ramirezi (Ram cichlid)
2 x Pterophyllum scalare (Freshwater angelfish)
4 x Ancistrus sp. (Bushymouth catfish)
1 x Botia almorhae (Yoyo-loach)
This guy came with a group to combat snails, and simply refused to leave with the others.
6 x Crossocheilus siamensis (Siamese algae-eater)
These are here to handle the unwanted algae growth
The tank itself is a triangular Juwel Trigon 190 with a curved frontglass and a closed top with built in lights. It is fairly tall for it's size, 24 inches, enough to require extra consideration on the lighting. The kit comes with a 300w heater and an internal filter with very decent filtering capacity, processing 160 gallon per hour. With the list price being just a little short of $1,000 it may seem a little steep, even for a German tank, when you consider the small size, but you pay a lot extra for the curved glass. All in all, it is a kit I can reccomend.
I'm usually very happy with the included filters from Juwel, but in this case I felt the circulation was on the low side, probably due to the triangular form of the tank. So even though the water was good, I decided to add a Fluval 303 canister filter I had sitting in my basement. This one has very good filtering capacity, and with good filter media it is said to handle tanks up to 90 gallons.
The tank came with 2 x 18w T-8 tubes, which is clearly not enough for a fully planted tank of this size, especially not with those extra inches on the height. I added reflectors for for the T8 tubes, and built in an additional 2 x 24w T-5 tubes using the Arcadia IP64 kit and customized T-5 reflectors. This adds up to a nice 110w total light (standard T8 watts).
24w Gieseman Midday (6000K) (back)
18w Juwel Daylite (6500K)
18w Juwel Warmwhite (4200K)
24w Gieseman Aquablue+ (11.000K) (front)
I do get a little algae growth in the front of the tank with my current configuration, and will be more than happy to hear your thoughts on a better combination of tubes.
For CO2 I use two Nutrafin Natural CO2 kits, but of I of course make the contents myself. After all, it's only baking soda, yeast and sugar. No need to pay $$ for the nice Nutrafin packaging.
Right now the plants are a mix of fast growing and slow growing species from south-america, asia and africa. They have also grown enough to be shifted around again, cut and replanted. As you can see on the pictures it is starting to look like a jungle in the center, where the larger species have grown into eachother.
As the tank matures (and I get my hands on suitable plants) the plan is to replace the asian and african plants with only south-american ones.
Here is the current stock (ones in italic are from africa or asia)
Shinnersia rivularis "Weiss-Grün"
Anubias barteri "nana"
Anubias barteri "barteri"
Anubias barteri "angustifolia"
Substrate and decorations
On the fishless picture the top substrate is Blästersilikat, a type of sand from Rådasand in Sweden. These are well known for their high quality sand and gravel for aquariums. Unfortunately this particular sand contains a significant amount aluminium and is not intended for aquariums. Very sad to let it go, it looked great.
I now have a fine grained gravel from Akvastabil in Germany instead. This dark gravel is .5-1.5mm and branded Haley. My corydoras would defnately prefer sand, so the plan is to replace the substrate again at some point. I've also pondered dividing the tank somehow, build it up a bit in the back, and only have sand in the front.
Under the thick layer of Akvastabil Hayley I have a much courser gravel from the same company, known as Mercury. This is for the benefit of the plants, and it stays out of sight for the most part.
For decorations I have so far only used a few roots to keep the catfish happy, and a couple of rocks. I don't know the english name of the type of rock, so if anyone is able to identify the big rock in the front I would be glad to hear of it.
The background is the common plastic poster type.
Future plans include one or more large roots that sort of hangs down into the tank, like on a river bank - and either a fabricated or custom made structured background (like Back to Nature). I've been a little uncertain how to do this because of the triangular shape, so I decided to start the tank without it. Like the change of substrate this is a fairly big operation, hopefully I get to do both at once this fall.
The tank has been going for 10 months now, and is quite stable.
My tap water is of excellent quality but is very soft. By adding a small amount of hydrogenbicarbonate (KH+) and a 75% calcium / 25% magnesium mixture (GH+) I get the following values when CO2 is applied.
KH: 4 dH
GH: 3 dH
CO2: 12-19 ppm (calculated)
I use the Hanna pHep and the Trans Instruments Eco-Pal for measuring pH. CO2 is calculated from pH and KH. The standard CO2 tests available here makes very little sense, and the labarotory quality stuff is just way too expensive. For everything else I use test kits from JBL.
I try to keep the phosphates <1 ppm but sometimes it will get a little out of control, and add to the algae growth in the front.
Recently I've had trouble with too low nitrate levels, and have added a little to keep the level above 5 ppm.
I've never seen any ammonia or nitrates in this tank, not even while the nitrogen bacteria were establishing in the filter. (On AC commonly referred to as cycling the tank) On a side note the tank was kickstarted with some active filter media from another tank as soon as the temperature and pH appeared to be stable. Plants were added after a few hours, and the first fish (10 x glowlight tetra) after 3 days. While this method works very well for me, I reccomend sticking to the book until you know exactly what you are doing.
With every water change I add
* 2.5 ml Tropica Master Grow from Tropica in Denmark. This product has recently been renamed to Tropica AquaCare, but I have some of the old stuff left.
* 1 ml Credo Liquid Iron (Fe) keeping the Fe level at 0.2 ppm. My tap water does not contain enough iron to keep the plants happy.
* PMDD as needed. While the TMG is well suited for my use I will sometimes add single components when required. Recently I have had to add a little CaNO3 to keep the minimum level of 5 ppm. I find that I get better results with CaNO3 in our soft water than the more commonly used KNO3.
I change about 30% of the water once a week, or two times a week when I think it's a good idea. My tap water is of excellent quality so I use a 2-way hose (JBL in & out), and fill cold water directly from the tap. I add no salt, nor any water treatment products other than KH+ and GH+ mentioned under water chemistry.
Since this is a planted tank I usually only suck up a little dirt laying on top of the gravel at certain spots in the tank. I have an Eheim automatic gravel cleaner, if I should decide to vacuum more thouroughly.
Fertilizers, carbonates and GH+ are mixed with water in a seperate container and poured slowly into the water stream when filling water.
Last edited by dev; 07-08-2007 at 12:53 AM.
Pictures after replanting
I found the charger for my camera, and took some pictures after slightly replanting the tank.
Still having a little trouble getting good pictures of the entire tank. My poor little casio doesn't have a lot of manual controls, and the curved front is confusing the automatics. Getting good aquarium pictures with this one is a little skill and a lot of luck. I'll get a Canon EOS 350 in September that should tilt this towards more skill and less luck. Can't wait :)
Last edited by dev; 07-08-2007 at 12:07 AM.
*reserved for future content*
Last edited by dev; 07-08-2007 at 12:06 AM.
Im digging that substrate. What is it?
Money can't buy happiness, but it sure can pay the rent.
I love the way corner tanks look...
55 g Goldfish Tank - 5 Fancies, 2 Dojos
25 g Tropical Tank - Celestial Pearl Danio/Mixed
Actually I had to change the first substrate which you see on the fishless picture. This Swedish Rådasand Blästersilikat contained too much aluminimum and had to go.
Originally Posted by Drumachine09
The other pictures show a very fine gravel from Akvastabil called Haley.
I like it a lot, nicely done.
8 tanks running now:
1x 220 gallon, 2x55 gallon, 1x40 gallon long, 1x29 gallon, 1x20 gallon long, 1x5.5 gallon, 1x2 gallon
Gouramis, barbs, rasboras, plecos, corys, tetras, fancy guppies, swordtails, ottos, rainbow shark, upside-down catfish, snails, and Max and Sparkles the bettas.
Thanks for the feedback so far, guys.
I've added the plants and decorations section and polished the others a little. Think thats it for tonight, i'll get to work on the maintenance and water chemistry part tomorrow.
Hopefully I'll find the charger for my camera so I can get some real pictures after I replant the tank. While the DV camcorder has a great CCD, the optics are really not built for high resolution still images, and there is no manual control. I guess it didnt help that there was a lot of light coming through the window to the right of the tank :s
Last edited by dev; 07-03-2007 at 09:33 PM.
Watch the light from that window...it'll be a source of increased algae at least on that side of the tank...
Where do you get your background from? That's what I'd like for my tanks...can't find anything similar locally.
What's your 2nd language? German?
55 g Goldfish Tank - 5 Fancies, 2 Dojos
25 g Tropical Tank - Celestial Pearl Danio/Mixed