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My three foot planted journal.

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Hi everyone I've decided to attempt a planted tank that is 3ft x 15in (w) x 18in (h). This will be my first time attempting a planted tank so I am taking it as a very steep learning curve :), also being a student it will be a slow build that will take some time.

Firstly I've had to clean up my tank with some white vinegar and stained the stand to waterproof it.

Tank: 3' x 15"x 18"

Filter: Not Sure Yet (explained later)

Light: 1 4ft T8

Substrate: I have decided on is 2toned diy substrate, the great thing about this substrate is its cheap and you can get everything from Bunnings.

Hardscape: Some snake vine (which is pictured below), Driftwood, Bamboo logs (not sure of), and some river rocks with a few Bristlenose breeding caves neatly tucked away.


Foreground: Hairgrass

Midground: Swords, Crypts, Java Fern, One big Anubias

Background: Pictured below cant remember the names.

The plants will have a 4ft T8 on them if really needed. However, I doubt that will be the case, this said I got my plants from the plant guy at rocklea and he was helpful in helping me pick certain plants that will do fine under lowlight. The only one that will probably need light is one of my background plants pictured below (cant remember the name of it).

CO2: If so it will be diy.

Fertiliser: Probably but need to read up on it.

Livestock: The tank will essentially be for my albino long fin trio, as well as my cherry shrimp. I am not sure if I should include any other fish but if anyone has any suggestions for suitable tank mates I am happy to know.

Setting up the tank:

Firstly I layered the substrate which is pictured below.

Unwashed propagating sand


Marble Chips and Blood and Bone mixed


Washed propagating sand


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Sorry but there will be a few posts.

Next is all the plants I got today, maybe some of you can help identify their scientific names as some I have forgotten and others I dont know exactly what they are for sure.






Crypts (Wendi maybe?)


Java Fern

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@Thanks sarah1234: I've mainly cut it down leaving a few bit bigger parts.

I've finally finished filling it:


But the dramas started after that. In which I managed to accidentally uproot a sword whilist putting in a slight more amount of water which I quickly plugged back in.

Then I started to sort the filter out, got it all primed and ready, when I turned it on all hell broke loose. I managed to blow down my rock wall which I sorted out and the filter was much too powerful which lead to me having to sort a few plants out. Now I am not too sure what to do with the filter it is an Aqua One Nautilus 2700, I can either sell it (anyone wanting one? Its literally been filled with water and turned on for a minute or two and has no leaks) or find a way to impede the flow. Any ideas as to how I may be able to impede the flow? Should I just bite the bullet and grab a smaller canister filter? Any recommendations? As I am a uni student I dont want to have to spend too much money. It would be great to hear some feedback, the tank is muggy as hell at the moment. I will be doing quite a few water changes to get rid of that over the next few days, as well as figuring out what to do about my filter issues.

Thanks for reading, sorry about the tremendos amount of posts.

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Hey mate, I'd sell the 2700, those Cannisters are rated for 400L+ tanks, who told/sold you that? I'd go with an Eheim 2215 or even a 2213 depending on stock levels. Also i think youl find a couple more plants uprooting themselves over the next couple days, air bubbles trapped in the substrate will eventually find their way out, in-turn moving gravel which uproots plants. It's what i have found anyway.

If i were doing a planted tank, i'd fill it up first, try and get as much sub bubbles out without making too much of a mess (just brush the top layer of substrate with your fingers) and then begin planting.

Those unidentified plants are Blue Stricta and i forget the name of the other one, i have dealt with it many many times but i always forget the name :P. But be warned they usually arent true aquatic plants and can diminish and melt within a couple of weeks.

Whenever your picking out plants, stand them upright and if they stand up by themselves they usually aren't true aquatic, if they droop over they usually are true aquatic. It doesnt work for all species, but the most common plants that people encounter this method is usually a sure thing ;).



Edited by Sephiroth
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Thanks Seph for the input I really appreciate getting advice from everyone as I am not that experienced. I wasnt sure about those plants but I thought I might as well give them a try and see how they go. Also I thought the cannister would be a bit hefty for the tank, I actually won it at the xmas member night at redlands (which was awesome). So I thought I would give it a try as it does not fit onto my 4fter with my cichlids in it. When I was doing the substrate I did try to get rid of as many bubbles as I could, but with a large amount of water changes over the next week I may try to get rid of any excess air bubbles. On a side note, its great to hear that handy tip for next time I purchase plants, will have to see how they go regardless.

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So yesterday I managed to run my fingers through the substrate, replant some stuff, bits and bobs, including practically a full waterchange. Also took apart the external filter and it is now drying up (no idea yet what I will do with it, tempted to keep it in the dream of setting up a large tank one day when space permits). Started using my 4ft T8 for now that I have.


Everything is looking a lot better after having the light over it. Not sure how many hours I should keep the lighting schedule to, any ideas?


Also chucked some cherries in, see how they go over the next few days will give me an idea of if the tank is too toxic.


Also found a worm come out of the substrate, he must have hitched a ride on the hair grass. Should I be worried about the worm? Is it just a normal worm? (I have no idea). He spent sometime wriggling around going abit nuts, then returned back to the hole he came out of next to the hairgrass.


Also managed to wriggle his way around the snake vine. I've read that it is good to have some sorts of worm (I think they were tubiflex not sure on spelling?) that aerates your substrate. Any comments on this would be great.

Thanks for looking.

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Hi all I thought I would update, I have gotten a filter now off another member on the forum who was very helpful. Here is a full tank shot:


I have been running my diy CO2 for two days now, while monitoring the PH and recording it down. Also my filter has some crushed coral in it to help with preventing the PH fluctuation with the CO2.

I noticed an algae forming on my snake vine so I pulled it out and scrubbed it down, however some of it managed to get tangled in my hairgrass. A picture is below, if anyone could let me know what type of algae it is that would be great. (I have edited the contrast and brightness just to make it easier to see the Algae)


I also noticed that my anubias leaves are going yellow, now I have searched and tried to find out why. It seems people either think there is not enough nutrients or too much light. I would assume there would not be enough nutrients, is that what it could be?


Cherry seems to be fine surprisingly.

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It looks fantastic! I would recommend putting a solid colour background on it to show it off better.

Thanks Sarah1234, I am planning on sorting out a black background for it. Everything should look good when that is sorted. I am constantly holding myself back from fiddling too much with everything so as to let the tank settle by itself :).

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Very good pictures there. Looking at the anubias I would say it is too much light, maybe try put it more in the shade to where it is.

Nutrient problem and the light problem go hand in hand. Not enough nutrient to match the level of light can be a problem. But there is a cap to this effect, and in a new tank, I would say its not the nutrient, but the light.

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So I've finally produced an update, trimmed down the tank and added some fish into the tank. I removed all the good cherries into my other establishment, and have placed some angels and rams into the tank, along with some common long fins. I know the Cherries will diminish rapidly, but they should stay alive as there are plenty of hiding places for the adults. Below are some pictures:


Fulltank shot


Blue Ram Female


Blue Ram Male


Both Gold Rams

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So a new update so quickly, I just came home to quickly check on my planted and what do I find:


The male german blue ram resting next to a nice batch of eggs :). I'm at a crossroads right now, I dont know what to do because I know my angels will eat them the first chance they get, but I have other fish I'm focusing on breeding at the moment.

Anyone got a few hints and tips for me on them?

Love those Rams they're probably my favourite fish :).

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Gotta be a quick decision if you want to save them. If you aren't set up to raise them though I wouldn't worry this time around. Set up for them, wait for the next spawn (believe be once they start they aint gunna stop) and do what you need. Don't stress out if you miss out on bubs this time around.

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Yeah not set up to raise them at all, probably wont get a great hatch rate because of too high TDS anyway. I think I will have to leave it for when I am better prepared as I cant even get access to rainwater in my current place. I've also taken out the java fern inbetween the two rocks, and my plants seem to be all going ok. Seems like the hair grass just absolutely love CO2.

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