55 Gallon Evolution

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MagpieTear

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My tank has gone through some pretty serious changes since I found Fishlore, wanted to document it for posterity...

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October 07 - Fake plants, the original strip light and hood, Undergravel and Aquaclear HOB filters. This is how it has been since I set it up in November of 1991 when I moved into the house.

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Early November 07, Replaced many of the plastic plants with Tetra Water Wonders, added some live plants, replaced ceramic decorations with fieldstones. Replaced a very old 48" general purpose bulb with a new 6700K one. Real plants starting to do well. Also start playing with Lunar lights by adding a 3/4 watt Blue LED. Replaced simple rotary timer with a digital one.

Early December 07, replaced the strip light and plastic hood with glass tops and a Coralife 130w PC unit. More live plants.
 
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Late December 07, yanked the undergravel filter, replaced it with a Fluval 305 canister I bought used for $60 from my LFS. Left the HOB in place until the Fluval gets seeded with good bugs. Where the UGF used to be, I added some Flourite and some Eco-complete. Added some Java moss, and instantly regretted it. The stuff is like clumps of dog hair. it's everywhere I don't want it. Now dosing with Flourish (once a week) and Excel (T, Th, and Sun) Also replaced the single Coralife lunar light with a six light wide angle set I bought on eBay. Now I can actually see what's going on after "sunset."

January 08. Not much done except watching the critters in their new and improved home. I have noticed that my pH has jumped from 7.2 to 7.8 since removing the UGF. I'm at a total loss as to explain why. Before I'm overrun with baby Java ferns floating all over the place, I corralled them all up in a breeders net to keep them from getting sucked up in to the filters or attaching themselves to something I can't ship to a fellow boardmember.

February 2, 08 Removed the HOB and put it into storage as a backup. I'm quite happy with how things have gone over the past few months. The fish seem happier, it looks much more natural, and short of adding a CO2 system, I think I'm done. I'll probably continue with the Excel instead though and save my : to get a 125 gallon tank next fall instead. SWMBO has talked me into making the Dining room into a big Office/den, when I do that, I'll rip out the fake fireplace and build the 125 into the wall at a decent height. (the 55 is only 20" off the floor to fit under a window. Great for maintenance, but you have to sit on the floor to watch the fish.) Now my set up efforts are going to go towards my 20 high tank. But that's another thread.
 

Gamer

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Like what it's evolved into. Mine's currently evolving itself, hopefully it turns out as good.
 

Shawnie

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great pics!! amazing the before n after shots!
 
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MagpieTear

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Been a while since I've updated. Added some driftwood, the moss is finally taking hold instead of drifting all over like cat hair in the wind. The fish are all bigger, and the java fern has went through the last of the original leaves and a thicker bundle of new leaves are coming up strong.
 

Coryd55

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Looks great! Even better than it was before.

You can see a reflection of your computer on FL in the tank haha.
 
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MagpieTear

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Coryd55 said:
...You can see a reflection of your computer on FL in the tank haha.
LOL, yup, didn't feel like shutting everything down for one pic. Thanks for the compliment!
 
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MagpieTear

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Okay, July 14th, I set up a 5 pound CO2 rig on my 55 Gallon in an effort to have better plant growth, and because dosing with Excel isn't good for absent minded folks like me.

I bought a tank, regulator, solenoid, bubble counter, needle valve combo as well as a Red Sea Drop checker from Greenleaf Aquariums. Everything showed up neatly and safely packed in a very timely fashion. I ordered online Thursday night and I had it in my hands Saturday afternoon. (just after the place I can get the tank charged closed for the day...)

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Here's the setup. I stashed it behind my 20 gallon betta tank in the corner and ran the tubing and the solenoid plug behind the 20 gallon tank to reach the timer and the tank. The tubing is simply zip-tied to the cannister filter inlet and the tip stuffed into the strainer so the bubbles are sucked up and have to perculate through all the media and back out the spray bar before entering the tank. Plenty of time to dissolve. (in hindsight, the cannister needs shook or "burped" every so often. Of course I would too, if I were ingesting that much CO2.)

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It works pretty well. Orlando (The guy from Greenleaf) included a bottle of bubble counter fluid and an extra bottle of Drop checker solution in the box. The magic "Bubblecounter fluid" looks suspiciously like plain old glycerin to me, but hey, I didn't need to go look for it locally, so I'm happy!
Here's one of my first bubbles! w00t!
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The drop checker if a handy little dangit to have if you're not springing for the pH controller. I will eventually, but it wasn't in the cards money wise at this time. Anyhow, I'm running about a bubble every 2.5 seconds right now. More than that and the dropchecker goes bright yellow (bad)

Here are some before shots.
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Being it's only been 5 days, I can't say I've seen pearling or an instantaneous growth spurt, but the plants do seem a little perkier. I would imagine I'll need to up the frequency of dosing with Flourish, but am glad to be rid of the Excel. Once I see signs of growth I can directly attribute to the CO2, I'll go plant shopping again, for some taller stuff to fill in the right side of the tank.

Be warned, the needle valve gets hot when in use!
 
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Sorry Folks, it's been ages since I've logged in and posted. With the economy having been so wonky I've rather frantic at work and a lot of my home time is taken up with my son starting first grade.

Anyhow, the CO2 has made a huge difference in the Java Moss, if not the other plants. I'll be selling a bit of it off to the LFS to finance more plants.

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The tank is coming along nicely, parameters are quite stable, I've gotten a hideous case of some sort of dark algae though. looks like a bunch of little tufts of hair everywhere. The SAE keep skipping it, preferring to graze on the green spot algae.

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The java moss is exploding! As is the Malaysian Trumpet population. I may end up selling some of them on Aquabid if I can get my hands on a nice batch of shipping bags cheap.

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My bronze cories and the little High Fin Peppers get along wonderfully.
 

MissMTS

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Your tank looks amazing! I can't believe how much it has progressed. What kind of fish do you have in there?
 

Dino

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kens fish for cheap bags.
 
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MissMTS said:
Your tank looks amazing! I can't believe how much it has progressed. What kind of fish do you have in there?
Thanks! I'm borderline overstocked with fish, a common pleco, some Pristella, Serpae, and Red Eye Tetras, a small school of Cories (2 bronze, 6 Hi-fin Peppers) 2 balas, 4 cherry barbs, and 2 SAE. The bala's will probably go to a friend soon if I can't swing the 125 I want, they're getting big enough to be running out of room as they chase each other in their nightly game of tag.
 

MissMTS

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It sounds like a fantastic tank. Hopefully you can get the 125. I would love to see that tank set up with the balas
 
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MagpieTear

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Thanks for the Link Dino, I ended up with 30 bags from the PAPAS meeting, but I'm holding on to your link for future reference!
 
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