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Author Topic: 200l hardwater planted community tank  (Read 1288 times)

Offline Isy

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200l hardwater planted community tank
« on: September 03, 2017, 10:31:20 am »
Hi there!

After having asked a few questions around the forum, I´d like to actually show you guys my tank.
Its a 200l tank (Boyu), it came with the cabinet, which we had to assemble, but that was simple enough. We being my husband assembling under my supervision :P
Also included were a in hood filter with venturi air ...thing..? ("thing" is such a wonderful word) and two LED lights. Filtermedia were not included. The filter assembly was a different beast entirely though. The "instructions" were a picture detailing the components of the filter by naming them in slightly broken English. BUT with additional bits that weren´t actually there. I am familiar with how filters work, but it took me longer to assemble that one than I´d like to admit. And I didn´t know those venturi things (see, useful word) yet, nor was it in the picture. Eventually my husband of all people guessed its function correctly and I got it into the right place o.O

Once running the pump works fine, although I managed to get sand into it somehow and I will say that much: it is an absolute pain to get it into or out of the tank for close inspection, even though it has an additional lid in the back of the hood to access the filter media.


Due to the low filtercapacity and turnover (740l/h), I added an old internal filter I had lurking around somewhere. All I know it is Eheim, but I can´t remember anything else about it.

4.5kg of sera floredepot, 37.5kg Unipac Limpopo sand on top, a bunch of flintstones from the beach (without the white stuff) and slate make up the hardscape. In addition to that I have raided the compost heap of my university (*ahem*) and gathered twisted willow branches, the smaller ones I was able to peel, the bigger one even after soaking it in boiling water for several hours wasn´t exactly cooperative... But as it is just floating there (I thought it looks nice like that anyway), it is easily accessible, should there be any issues with it.

I love planted tanks, so I had to have a bunch of them. I started off with medium to fast growing plants, most of which I have had before.

I got some adorable Javafern cuttings from Iain (thanks again) whcih are now located all over the branches.
Cryptocoryne x wilisii from [email protected] (tropica potted plant in a sealed packet, so I thought there can´t be any contamination from whatever may lurk at [email protected]). The rest of the plants I got from the site sponsor Aquarium gardens. And I am very happy with the plants, they´re lovely and some of them were absolutely MASSIVE when they arrived. The following is basically just a list with individual species reviews. Can be skipped I guess. :D

The Aponogeton Capuronii for example (in the back of the picture, far left), was said on their website to reach a maximum length of 40cm. The plant that I received had leaves over 80cm long (measured without the rhizome). o.O I cut away most of the older leaves now, as they turned darker and started dying off. The young growth looks strong, but I´ll keep an eye on it.

Also in the delivery were Echinodorus ozelot "Leopard Green" (far right and center), great looking plants, I got three individual plants out of one pot, two well sized ones at that (and one "mini" :D). They already seem to be adapting well, I can see new leaves popping up at a rate of almost 1/week.
   
Vallisneria torta "Twisted Vallis" (back, center), about 5-7 plantlets in 1 bunch, not bad. The stowaway snails are all over it though...
   
Hydrocotyle leucocephala, the Brazilian Pennywort (back, to the right by the filter intake), one of my absolute favourites. The most rapid growth of all the plants in the tank so far. It came with only 2-3 stems, but their good lenght allowed me to basically double that.
   
Hygrophila pinnatifida, in front of the Vallis, wonderfully structured leaves, such a pretty plant... I got about 4-5 out of 1 pot.
   
Lobelia cardinalis (to the right, between the Echinodorus), arrived with a beatiful purple haze over all the leaves. It now has fresh growth in a light green, the contrast looks stunning...

I also received a portion of Phyllanthus Fluitans, which also was more than expected. A lot of singular (dead) leaves in the portion though, and a great hiding place for bladdersnails -.-

Cryptocoryne Costata, (towards the front, left) looked nice on the picture, turned out to be smaller than I thought (I must´ve misread :D). I hope it establishes as a dense, but low group of plants.

Eleocharis acicularis 'Mini', (front right) I had this little grasslike plant before, and with time it grew into a lovely lawn. I was told you Brits love lawns. So I thought as a way of cultural integration I´d include one in my tank again... :P


Although I am very happy with the plants themselves, I am suspecting that some unwanted inhabitants arrived with this delivery, namely bladdersnails and tiny white worms (< 1mm, vary in size but seems they´re all the same, thin, and some are quite fast) which I can´t identify. The critters only appeared few days after I planted the new plants, the other ones (the crypto from [email protected] and Iains Javaferns) had been in for two weeks, or in the case of the Javaferns, been in a vase for a few days before planting, where nothing appeared (I didn´t get to plant them immediately). Just yesterday I found two live daphnia as well, although I am not sure were they came from. At least they´re usefull as food :)

For the plants I use JBL Ferropol fertilizer with every waterchange, I´ve had good experiences with it before. And as soon as I find time for it, I´ll reinstall my bio CO2 ...thing (did I mention I love this word? I´d be helpless without it), as it seemed to work fine and as a student I don´t have the funds for a "proper" CO2 set up anyway.

As for the stocking as some of you might´ve read I am rather indecisive when it comes to that... All I DO know is, I am after a very specific snail (I´m not telling yet, but it seems rather difficult to get hold of some, they are rarely available) and Amano Shrimps.
In theory I´d like to get some Celebes Rainbowfish, Cherry Barbs and Apistogramma cacatuoides. But then I saw some nice ricefish (Daisy´s and Indian) yesterday that got me thinking... I better not look into them, I´d have to rethink the entire list then...

OR how about that Inle Lake setting... Inle loaches, Dwarf Emerald Rasboras, Inle Shrimps and Red Dwarf Rasbora... Or what about these adorable Hara jerdoni... Or Kilifish... Or back to livebearers? Red spotted Gobies, Pseudomugil... 
I´m doing it again!

I´ll get there eventually... :D Thanks for reading!

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    Offline plankton

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    Re: 200l hardwater planted community tank
    « Reply #1 on: September 03, 2017, 11:11:40 am »
    Looks good, I like the pebbles on top of the sand.
    I built a cave in the Trigon with some large pebbles, but the fish preferred them buried with just the top showing...... *rolleyes*
    Sent from my PC as I still don't understand the the logic for mobile internet usage ;) *grin*
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    Offline Suelo

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    Re: 200l hardwater planted community tank
    « Reply #2 on: September 03, 2017, 12:16:06 pm »
    Looks amazing Isy!

    Your twisted hazel has got me thinking, I have a ginormous twisted hazel tree in my front garden -  it could spare some prunings to go in my tank I think...

    Offline gwnm

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    Re: 200l hardwater planted community tank
    « Reply #3 on: September 03, 2017, 12:52:20 pm »
    looks great, that twisted hazel and pebbles in the tank make it look quite natural

    Offline Gingerlove05

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    Re: 200l hardwater planted community tank
    « Reply #4 on: September 03, 2017, 12:53:47 pm »
    It does look good Isy, like a cutting out of a riverbed :)
    Really hope the java ferns grow well for you and i look forward to seeing it all progress, once you can decide what fish you want ;)


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    Offline KevB

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    Re: 200l hardwater planted community tank
    « Reply #5 on: September 03, 2017, 01:31:11 pm »
    Nice tank, as the scape is nice and dark I think celebes, being mostly silvery/yellow/white flashes colour scheme, would contrast very well in there and of course they suit your water.

    Offline Isy

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    Re: 200l hardwater planted community tank
    « Reply #6 on: September 03, 2017, 10:22:29 pm »
    Hi Suelo!

    I got twisted willow in there at the moment. But in my old tank (I think my profile picture shows that one) I used grape wine and twisted hazel, so those are the two I can tell worked for me ( but get the grapevine from a pet store or from an organic vinyard,otherwise theres a chance of copper contamination).

    It was said, on another forum, that willow isn´t exactly longlived in the aquarium, however, with fresh cut branches, that I then heated in the oven for a while, I had no problem and there was no sign of rot after a year of being in that set up (It was easier to peel fresh as well as just after the "roasting" process. That process produces a strong smell I found).

    Thanks to everyone else as well for their kind comments, it does make me happy to read such nice things :)

    Offline plankton

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    Re: 200l hardwater planted community tank
    « Reply #7 on: September 04, 2017, 09:31:41 am »
    I thought willow would actually grow in the tank, and helps remove contaminants as well.....??
    Sent from my PC as I still don't understand the the logic for mobile internet usage ;) *grin*
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    Offline Calmwaters

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    Re: 200l hardwater planted community tank
    « Reply #8 on: September 04, 2017, 09:32:27 am »
    Your tank looks great. Some lucky fish are going to get a nice new home. :D


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    Tank is home to, 5 Rosy Barbs, 1 male & 4 female & 2 male blue coral platy.

    Offline Newbie fishkeeper

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    Re: 200l hardwater planted community tank
    « Reply #9 on: September 04, 2017, 12:05:51 pm »
    Looking good Ish.
    If your anywhere near Loughborough I could sort you out a nice group of corydoras venezuelanus. These have bred in my tank and produced a heck of a lot of fry.

    Offline Isy

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    Re: 200l hardwater planted community tank
    « Reply #10 on: September 04, 2017, 03:42:30 pm »
    I´ve heard of people using young willow shoots to help rid their water of nitrates and such. Interestingly enough, how long those last it seems to depend on the time when they are cut, spring and summer shoots lasting the longest and none seem to survive for a year or more in just aquarium water, at least in indoor conditions.
    I´ve never tried living hazel OR willow for that matter, only used long dead and/or peeled branches (as mentioned hazel and grape). And I don´t know how twisted willow would fare, I wonder if it is just as keen to grow in water as "straight" versions?

    It would surely make for an interesting experiment! I´ll see if I can find that willow post I so vaguely remember. Might´ve been in German though...

    Loughborough is too far for me I´m afraid, I´m in Canterbury. Interesting to see though, you got relatively hard water? I thought corys prefer soft water, or do you have different parameters in your tank?



    Offline Newbie fishkeeper

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    Re: 200l hardwater planted community tank
    « Reply #11 on: September 04, 2017, 06:43:29 pm »
    Yep hard water here and shed loads of fry. C. Venezuelanus are from a place where it get hard rainwater coming off the mountains.

    Offline Isy

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    Re: 200l hardwater planted community tank
    « Reply #12 on: September 13, 2017, 10:14:31 pm »
    Now that I am nearing the end of the cycling process, I can finally start on getting the inhabitants together. :)
    Seeing the nitrite readings down to 0, gave me quite a relief, I can´t wait to get the tank cleaned without disturbing the balance or the cycling process.
    While waiting a "nice" carpet of algae has developed, that I can´t wait to get rid of. Mainly diatoms on the glass and bigger leaves, a bit of green algae here or there; but also what looks like light brown hairalgae, very thin (and brittle), and it is definitely not that dark brown brushlike algae, sorry, forgot its name...

    This stuff is by now all over the place (grows extremely fast), I am suspecting that is what is making a plant or two suffer as well (particularly the Hygrophila does not seem happy with being covered in that). I haven´t taken a picture yet, but I´ll see if I can find a minute for it tomorrow.
    I´m guessing it´ll disappear once I have established a balance, I am a bit unsure on when to use the fertilizer...
    Either that, or hopefully the Amanos take care of it, (they´ll be the second species to enter the tank).
    Once I made sure its all well of course :)

    As far as my mysterious snail goes (no, no "Mystery Snails"...), I am a little more hopefull now that I might be able to get them in a few weeks time as a German Import...
    Actually the species itself isn´t particularly uncommon or rare. But I found a specific coloured variety, that just fascinated me. HAVE TO HAVE THEM!
    I´ll tell you what they are exactly, once I have them save at home and happily snailing about. ;)


    Offline Gingerlove05

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    Re: 200l hardwater planted community tank
    « Reply #13 on: September 13, 2017, 10:44:39 pm »
    I'd start using the ferts now as your coming to the end of your cycle, as there will be less nutrients (ammonia etc) for the plants to absorb, plus algae normally takes over when plants dont have enough nutrients as algae tends to thrive in low nutrient situations.
    I imagine the algae might still be diatoms, mine really built up in my fry tank with some green algae that came off a bit stringy. But i'm probably miles off lol
    Glad you found the snails they should help :)


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    Offline Isy

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    Re: 200l hardwater planted community tank
    « Reply #14 on: September 25, 2017, 08:36:30 pm »
    Late update:

    All good in my tank and finally got some life in there! On Wednesday we went to my local LFS ("Living World", Herne Bay) to get some shrimps, plants and some of the snails I saw on my last visit.

    The first half of the visit went as planned. I got three well sized Amano Shrimp, 7 Snails (pictures will be provided later, when the other colour variety is in), two new plants....

    And I couldn´t resist, a gorgeous male Apistogramma cacatuoides "Super Red".
    Beautiful little fish, great colours and with a unique marking, as one of his ventral ins is red and black, the other blue and yellow!

    He was promptly named "Tweety", as me and my husband had agreed ages ago that our first bird would, regardless of species be named "Tweety". I was thinking more of Canaries, Chickens or Peacocks even... But I guess a Cockatoo does count :D

    Tweety is not too interested in the shrimps, which are about his length; nor do they bother him. Two of the Amanos I suspect are females, two were carrying eggs/young at the time of purchase. One of them released her tiny shrimplets just hours after being introduced into her new home.

    At the moment poor Tweety is all alone, as they didn´t have any sure females in stock. He keeps checking  the coconut cave every once in a while, just to make sure there isn´t anyone hiding!
    But I got a call the day after our visit, and we´ll go and pick her up on Wednesday.

    The staff at the LFS did however not recommend the Celebes (or any rainbows) to be combined with the Cockatoo Cichlids, due to potential agression issues.
    I hadn´t suspected that, as I thought the Celebes were rather docile, but now I am not so sure anymore. Then again, when have I really been :D

    They did give me some alternatives, but I am not too sure about any of them at the moment.
    Corydoras (as bottom dwellers wouldn´t that conflict with the Cockatoos?  From what I´ve read it seems like a 50/50 chance of things going well.)
    Fiveband Barbs Desmopuntius pentazona, (Hubbys favourite, seem to also inhabit mainly, according to my research, the lower levels, and prefer acidic (black)water. As a quick reminder, my pH lies at 8, GH at 15, kH at 11
    Snakeskin barbs (Desmopuntius rhombocellatus, my favourite by looks and seems compatible with Apistos: http://www.apistogramma.com/forum/threads/compatibility-of-snakeskin-barb.12503/), but again, I am not too sure of their water requirements (/prefence or tolerance).
    Diamond Tetras (more tolerant of harder water than other tetras, I´ve read, but to what degree?)

    I wouldn´t mind the barbs (or any other fish or that matter) not breeding, as long as they´re otherwise happy...

    The LFS do however keep most their fish in tapwater, including the Apistos and said barbs (just the discus tank gets a RO mix). Now that I am even doubting the Celebes (they didn´t have any at the moment anyway), I don´t know anymore what to add. Except for more shrimps, snails and a girlfriend for Tweety...

    Starting the search again...  :book: