273L (72 gal) planted tank build

Matulin

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I had another thread that has acted like a build thread up now, outside the scope of the original question. I'm now making this the official build thread for the tank.

Here are some photos.
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Building the aquascape:
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And finally, some new photos from this afternoon:
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I added the last of the plants two days ago, and started using CO2 at the same time. Aside from putting a black background in and moving in the plants from the quarantine tank when all the fish are in, I think the aquascape is done.
 
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Matulin

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I'm not sure if it qualifies as a tank build, but I also aquascaped my quarantine tank this afternoon (before the wood and plants were just sitting in a pile):

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The plastic of the storage container isn't very clear unfortunately.

The cycle in the quarantine tank is done, and I plan on getting the first fish tomorrow afternoon.
 

SnookusFish

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What are the plants on the very left in the back?
 
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Matulin

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SnookusFish said:
What are the plants on the very left in the back?
The one in the very back-left corner is Anbuias hastifolia. The one next to it with the bigger, darker, and less pointy leaves is Anubias heterophylla.
 

SnookusFish

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Matulin said:
The one in the very back-left corner is Anbuias hastifolia. The one next to it with the bigger, darker, and less pointy leaves is Anubias heterophylla.
Thanks, beautiful tank and i love those plants, might even get myself some!
 

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Wow, even your quarantine tank is so beautiful! Where did you get your filter btw? I haven't been able to find one with a spray bar, although I've only looked locally.
You mentioned also you started using co2. Did you notice a big difference in plant growth? I've been debating trying it but it looks complex and expensive so I've held off for now XD
What fish did you get today?
 
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Matulin

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Fae said:
Wow, even your quarantine tank is so beautiful! Where did you get your filter btw? I haven't been able to find one with a spray bar, although I've only looked locally.
For the main tank or the quarantine tank? The three filters for the quarantine tank are all SuperFish Aquaflow internal filters, and their model numbers are 50, 200, and 300 respectively. My main tank uses a SunSun HW-505A external filter. All four filters come with spray bars of various sizes.

Fae said:
You mentioned also you started using co2. Did you notice a big difference in plant growth? I've been debating trying it but it looks complex and expensive so I've held off for now XD
I've only been using it for a few days, but I have already noticed some improvements.
I started using a liquid CO2 substitute just over a month ago at the same time I added the Hydrophila pinnatifida. I've noticed a ton of growth from various plants in my tank; but I've been worried about the pinnatifida since I saw absolutely no signs of growth.
I started using proper CO2 in the gas form four days ago, since which time each pinnatifida has produced several few leaves at the top. There's also been some growth in the other plants, although it's difficult to say if it's now quicker than before.
I was also cleaning algae off most of my plants (in particular the anubias and echinodorus) almost every day, but they've had no noticeable algae growth on them in the last two days.

Fae said:
What fish did you get today?
I got 15 cherry barbs. Fishlore won't let me upload a video unfortunately, so I'll try to figure out how to upload one later.
 

Fae

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Matulin said:
For the main tank or the quarantine tank? The three filters for the quarantine tank are all SuperFish Aquaflow internal filters, and their model numbers are 50, 200, and 300 respectively. My main tank uses a SunSun HW-505A external filter. All four filters come with spray bars of various sizes.


I've only been using it for a few days, but I have already noticed some improvements.
I started using a liquid CO2 substitute just over a month ago at the same time I added the Hydrophila pinnatifida. I've noticed a ton of growth from various plants in my tank; but I've been worried about the pinnatifida since I saw absolutely no signs of growth.
I started using proper CO2 in the gas form four days ago, since which time each pinnatifida has produced several few leaves at the top. There's also been some growth in the other plants, although it's difficult to say if it's now quicker than before.
I was also cleaning algae off most of my plants (in particular the anubias and echinodorus) almost every day, but they've had no noticeable algae growth on them in the last two days.


I got 15 cherry barbs. Fishlore won't let me upload a video unfortunately, so I'll try to figure out how to upload one later.
Hmm I checked out the aquaflow filters, and an Amazon review mentioned they used English plugs? Does yours as well? The other ones are out of my price range XD

That's encouraging! I'm jealous of your co2 then, some of my plants grow but mostly just the ones I'm assuming grow on lake bottoms naturally.
I did find that either using my hand or a baster to swirl and shoot water on them daily helps with algae, but is a pain and is disruptive. One day I'll take the co2 plunge

Try uploading to YouTube or Vimeo then posting the link here!
 

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It is a beautiful tank! But I noticed a bit of algae growth on newly set up tank!
 
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Matulin

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I've had some major plant growth in the last few weeks:
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I removed about 75% of the Myriophyllum red stem in the front-right corner of the tank a few weeks ago because it was forming a big knotted mess that was blocking the view. I think that was the correct decision, as the few pieces I left in have since had a big growth spurt. I put most of the Myriohpyllum I removed into the quarantine tank, which I think the cherry barbs appreciate.

The leaves of the Echinodorus harbii have grown massive, and it has a giant stem that's nearly at the water surface I think could make a flower.

I think the Hygrophila guanensis growth has slowed down a bit, but that's probably because I completely dug them out and replanted them a few weeks ago, so I'm guessing they just need to spread their roots back out. I'm not sure if I should add more root tabs - I'm not sure if I can without digging them out again.

The Hygrophila pinnatifida has been producing a ton of new leaves since I started using CO2 a few weeks ago, although the plants haven't grown tall enough yet to be easily visible in any of my photos. The leaves that were originally on them when I planted them are now completely covered in algae and are flaking off. I've been wondering if I should cut the stem at the new growth and replanting them, but for now I'm happy to just let them grow.

It's really hard to tell if my large-sized anubias plants are growing at all looking at the leaves, but the roots are definitely longer. My small anubias plants have been melting a bit for some reason. I can only guess that either not enough light is reaching them, even for anubias, or the rhizome of the parts that melted off weren't exposed to the water column enough. I'll continue monitoring them to ensure they're growing properly.

I'm not a big fan of the java fern I placed in the centre-back of the tank to be honest. I liked how java fern looks in various tanks in nearby LFSs, but I'm not sure it fits my tank well. I'd probably add another large piece of anubias to that spot were I starting over. There are some now leaves coming out of the java fern though (which I thought was Christmas moss that had attached to the back of the leaves at first), so I'll see it how looks when it grows out a bit.
I have two medium-sized anubias plants (Anubias congensis and Anubias barteri) in my quarantine tank I was planning on moving into my main tank after adding all the fish. The two pieces of wood I was planning on attaching them to are now completely covered by the leaves of the Echinodorus, so I may end up attaching one or both of them to where the java fern is now.

I've been extremely pleasantly surprised by the growth of the river buttercup (Ranunculus inundatus). It's not a plant I've seen recommended once in lists of plants online, and I originally got it on a whim; but I love how it's turned out:
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The camera doesn't do justice to how much this shade of green pops. It will also provide a bunch of hiding places for the fish after I add them.

The cherry barbs are still in quarantine, though it's hard to get a good photo of them through this plastic:
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Apparently I didn't cycle the tank well enough, because the tank was producing 0.25-0.5 mg/L of nitrites every day for the first week, during which time I was doing a 60% water change every day.
Much more alarmingly, I few days ago I discovered about 5 mg/L of nitrites in the quarantine tank, which was shocking to me because I found no nitrites the day before, but also did a small water change to be sure. This was also the first time I replaced the mechanical filtration, so I have a few guesses as to what could have happened:
  1. When I threw out the mechanical filtration, I kept in the biological media; but it's possible the mechanical media I threw out was also assisting with the nitrogen cycle more than I realised. This may be the case as the fine filter floss I was using says 'biomechanical filtration' on the packet, though I didn't think floss could really do much filtration biologically.
  2. I replaced the mechanical filter in a bucket of old tank water I was about to throw out. I did it in this so the biological media would be exposed to air for only a second when taking the filter out of the quarantine tank and placing it in the bucket. It's possible some bacteria died during these few seconds of exposure.
  3. I anticipated that 2. was a possibility at the time of the maintenance, and so I added 'Sera Filter Biostart' to the tank immediately after the water change to replace any lost bacteria. The label of the Sera Filter Biostart only mentions that it's a "filter starter", so it's possible that it also contains ammonia for the purpose of starting the cycle. This was my leading hypothesis until I added a few drops of Sera Filter Biostart to a cup of tap water and found no ammonia when testing it, so my guess now is that it contains some biological matter that's meant to break down into ammonia.
  4. I lost a fish somewhere in the quarantine tank, possibly related to the maintenance I did.
The nitrites have remained at 0 for some days now, so hopefully the problem is resolved. I don't think 4. could be the case, as the nitrites haven't spiked again since. I stuffed a lot of the filter floss inside the tank itself between various pieces of wood in case 1. is the case, and I bought some Sera Bio Nitrivec (which also contains bacteria, and whose label explicitly says can be added to an established tank after replacing filter media) in case 3. is what caused the problem.

The cherry barbs themselves seemed completely unaffected by it. I know they're meant to be hardy, but not only did they survive these nitrite levels, they seemed happy and active through it as I was doing water changes. I've given them so many places to hide in my quarantine tank it's not easy to count them, so I can't be 100% sure all 15 are there; but if I have lost any, it's not anywhere I can see and the ammonia/nitrites don't seem to be rising. I probably won't know for sure until I can count them when I move them into the main tank.

Fae said:
Hmm I checked out the aquaflow filters, and an Amazon review mentioned they used English plugs? Does yours as well? The other ones are out of my price range XD
Sorry for the late reply! My ones have European plugs, but that's because that's where I'm located. I picked them up for my quarantine tank because they're by far the cheapest filter brand I can find at nearby LFSs.
 
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Matulin

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I put my cherry barbs into my main tank today. They scattered all around the tank for a while, each in hiding, but they slowly gathered into a bigger school before becoming brave enough to come out. I also counted and sexed them as I caught them. All 15 survived quarantine, with 6 males and 9 females.
I moved the anubias in the quarantine tank into the main tank. One piece at the further back didn't seem to be doing so well, probably due to lack of light, so I'm floating it in the main tank to see if it recovers. I also broke apart a few of the smaller pieces of anubias in the main tank and replaced them so they will be exposed to more light.
I also put in a black background. I cut a yoga mat to size, painted it black (stupidly, in that order), then siliconed it in place.

The background:
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Acclimatising the barbs:
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The barbs in the tank:
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I will be picking up some pearl gourami soon, probably on the weekend. I think my quarantine tank is too small for all six, so I'll quarantine three at a time. Every time I go to the LFS I practise sexing the gourami. They're not yet mature enough that their colouring makes their sex obvious, and I'm not yet confident that I will be able to sex them correctly when it's time to buy them, so I'm a bit worried I'll get too many males.
 
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Matulin

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I picked up three pearl gourami a week ago. I tried to pick out two females and one male, but I won't know if I sexed them correctly until they're older.

They're very shy. This spent the first day hiding under a piece of wood in the corner, and they have only been brave enough to be in the open when I'm in front of the tank for a few days now.

It's still very difficult to take a good photo because they hide every time I try to hold my phone close to the tank and the lighting in the quarantine tank isn't particularly good, so even the best photos I could take in the last week aren't particularly clear:
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Each line in the fabric underneath them is about 1.5 mm (≈ 0.06 inches):
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The main tank's coming along well too:
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It's 35°C (95°F) here today, so I've been doing a bunch of water changes to keep the tanks from getting too hot.
 

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Wow, what a beautiful setup :D
I don’t often get jealous over tanks but my word :p

Love the stocking choice as well. If you do end up with multiple males, you could just up the number of Pearls. Multiple males will often tolerate each other if there’s a group and the tanks big enough.
I’ll throw in a suggestion of Zebra Loaches. They’re one of my favourite fish to keep. A nice sizeable group of 7 or 8 are a joy to behold.

Not sure if you got an answer about posting a video. It’s usually recommended to post one to YouTube and then link it here. Would love to see the tank in action :D
 

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