Planted 90 gallon

mathas

Member
As the owner of a new aquarium, the first I've kept since the advent of digital cameras, I've recently begun trying to teach myself how to photograph fish. I really don't have a lot of photography experience as it is, mostly just taking snapshots of friends at various events, but I've found that trying to capture a 2" fish while it's moving is a whole different experience!

Camera: Canon PowerShot S3 IS
Lens: whatever comes with the camera
Shooting Mode: Manual
Aperture: F3.5
Shutter Speed: 1/20 second

I intend to add pictures to this thread as the tank grows/changes, sort of an ongoing "critique my pictures and help me become a better photographer while I show off my fish" thread.

Here is the tank prior to adding any fish:


The plants are all live (my first attempt at a planted tank!), and include Anubias barteri, Cryptocoryne wendtii bronze, Echindorus blaheri, and Echindorus cordifolius. I'm still thinking about adding at least one Anubias nana, but I'm going to wait for the smaller plants to grow out and give me a better idea of how they will fill in before I make any drastic aquascaping changes.

The first fish I added were three red-tailed rasboras (or brilliant rasboras, as the LFS around here call them). I'll be heading back this afternoon to pick up a few more, and hopefully increase the school size to around 8-10. After what seemed like hundreds of pictures, but was probably only 50-75, I finally got two where you can tell that they are fish and not just blurs!




I then added my cleanup crew: two albino bristlenose plecostomus, and seven corydoras (I think Corydoras trilineatus).



I'm by no means an expert on sexing plecos, especially ones as young as these, but if the beginnings of bristles are any indication, I have one male and one female. I think the one in the picture above is the male, because the other one is the same size but does not have the little barbels around the front of the head.

The corys were still a bit stressed last night from the long drive home from the LFS and the new tank, but hopefully tonight they'll be a little less camera-shy, and be willing to pose for some photos!
 

sirdarksol

Member
Beautiful tank.
 

Allie

Member
Love it!
 

David C

Member
Your photos are beautiful, and that is a gorgeous tank setup.
 

COBettaCouple

Member
Beautiful pics of your great tank and fish!
 

Slug

Member
Nice tank. I've tried my hand at shooting those brilliant rosaboras, tough task I agree. You have some really good shots of them. That shot with the bristlenose would be hard anyway, so much white in the frame it'd be hard not to overexpose something, nice job there.
 
  • Thread Starter

mathas

Member
I appreciate all the comments so far! I'm also open to constructive criticism, if anyone has some to share.

The corys are still a little skittish when I get near the tank, but I'm very large and they're very small, so I can understand where they're coming from! There is one little guy (or gal) that doesn't seem scared of the giant:



I think I managed to get the substrate slightly more in focus than the fish, which is something I'm trying to figure out how to overcome, but you can still see the beautiful markings that made me choose these ones.

I'd thought when I first got them home that they were Corydoras sterbai, but now that I have this picture of one staying still for a fraction of a second, I think they look much more like . Either way, these little guys are awesome, and full of energy!

I also have quite a few malaysian trumpet snails that help keep my substrate stirred up and help me explore the macro limits of my lens:

 

sirdarksol

Member
How many cories do you have? They are bravest when they have fellows to be brave with.
 
  • Thread Starter

mathas

Member
sirdarksol said:
How many cories do you have? They are bravest when they have fellows to be brave with.
Seven.

They're definitely out and about, swimming all over the place, they just duck into the plants when I get close enough to the tank to take pictures. I just brought them home yesterday, though, so it's understandable that they're not used to me yet.
 
  • Moderator

Lucy

Moderator
Member
Nice tank, nice pics, thanks for posting them.
 

sirdarksol

Member
Yeah, with that number, it's likely just skittishness from the new surroundings. They'll warm up to you.
 
  • Thread Starter

mathas

Member
I said yesterday that I was going back to the LFS to increase the school size for the red-tail rasboras... they only had four left, so naturally I took them all. My ultimate goal is a school of at least ten, maybe more, but seven is good enough until the next shipment comes in.

Even just with the bag floating in the tank, my original three rasboras were pretty excited to see the new arrivals. They'd swim around the bag for a bit, then dart off and turn around like "why aren't you guys following us?", then they'd come back and do it again.

Here's a couple of shots I was able to get this morning of them hanging out together:





I also got a better picture of the face of what I think might be my female bristlenose... despite being slightly larger than the other one I posted a picture of earlier, the barbels are far less pronounced on this one.



I'll be heading back to the LFS on Friday to place an order for five or six bolivian rams, and either purchase a few more rasboras or have them order a few more for me.
 
  • Thread Starter

mathas

Member
Dinner is served!

 

peacemaker92

Member
Your tank is beautiful! Never seen such a tank that would take my breath away even in a picture! Your photos are splendid too, they're so clear and non-blur! Awesome man! Well done!

Btw, I don't think anyone would want to criticize you. Your pictures and your tank is just awesome!
 
  • Thread Starter

mathas

Member
peacemaker92 said:
Btw, I don't think anyone would want to criticize you. Your pictures and your tank is just awesome!
While I appreciate the kind words, there's always room for improvement

For example, I still have issues controlling what my camera focuses on, as evidenced in this picture:



The corys are a little blurry, while the cave behind them is sharp.

But sometimes I get it right! Here is a group of the corys being far less shy than they were during the last photo session:

 

mrsmuffin

Member
Great tank and awesome pictures!
 

morganrules

Member
really beautiful tank
 

Gamer

Member
Very well done!
 

hobzz

Member
great tank,,,, gettin much better with photo skills keep up the good job!
 
  • Thread Starter

mathas

Member
Today's changes:

After noticing that the plants looked a little too uniform with the swords and anubias having the same basic shape to the leaves, I added some and for variety. I'm happy with the results for now, but we'll see what happens as everything starts to fill in. I'm also working on obtaining a small quantity of to serve as a low-growing, slow-spreading carpet and round things out.



In addition to that, I recently won an AquaBid auction for 6 juvenile platinum angels, which I will keep until a pair forms and then trade the rest in at the LFS. I also added four more red-tail rasboras, bringing my school up to 11, and had my LFS place an order for the final five to get me to my desired school size of 16.

Not much new in the way of pictures, except for the plecos posing for new portraits:



 
  • Thread Starter

mathas

Member
mathas said:
In addition to that, I recently won an AquaBid auction for 6 juvenile platinum angels, which I will keep until a pair forms and then trade the rest in at the LFS.
The AquaBid auction stated that I was bidding on six quarter-sized platinum angels... what I actually received was seven, and they were a bit larger than quarter-sized! I was very pleasantly surprised.



I think they might have gotten a little rowdy with each other during shipping. You can see one of them has a small injury above its mouth, and a couple have very minor fin damage, but that should hopefully heal up nicely with a little bit of time.

I can't wait to see how good they look after they get used to their surroundings and get over the stress of being shipped!
 

Darlene

Member
Beautiful fish and tank!
 

livetowin

Member
Yea I love naturally looking tanks that's how my tank is and its never going to change. but very good looking tank and fish.
 
  • Thread Starter

mathas

Member
After considering it carefully for a few days, I decided that I was unhappy with the layout of my tank, and decided to rearrange things. I particularly didn't like the driftwood arrangement, I felt it looked too... artificial, I guess. Plus I want to go more heavily planted, and I wanted to make room for more plants.

Here's what I've come up with for now:



It looks kind of empty at the moment, but I have plans to correct that. I purchased some Marsilea minuta off a guy at PlantedTank, which should arrive tomorrow or the day after. I'll start it in the front left corner and let it spread from there for a carpet. I also want to add more in the background/middle areas of the tank, but I haven't decided what just yet. I am thinking about adding a cave for the corys/plecos to hide in, but I haven't made up my mind yet... maybe a terra cotta pot with some weeping or pheonix moss. We'll see!

I also made some lighting upgrades. After reading a lot of good reviews on the GE 9325K bulbs, I ordered a pair from lightbulbsdirect.com... if anyone's in the market, they have a great price at the moment, less than $15 per bulb.

When I plugged the bulb in and switched the fixture on, I thought "oh wow, that's pink". The more I look at it, though, the more I love it. The colors seem much more natural to me, both flora and fauna. I don't know how well that will convey through pictures, but all that really matters is that I'm happy with it

Here's a side-by-side, with a Coralife 6700K bulb on the left, and the GE 9325K bulb on the right:


And here it is with the GE bulbs on both sides:


Not only did I make a bulb upgrade, but I have a fixture upgrade on the way as well. I placed an order for an AHSupply 4x55W bright light kit, and two of their 10000K bulbs. I'll use the two GE 9325k bulbs and two of the AHS 10000k bulbs. I've heard good things about that combo, so expect pictures and a mini-review whenever it arrives.

On top of all that, my LFS called today and said my ram order came in, so I'll be picking up the last fish for the tank, five bolivian rams. For those of you who do the math, I know it seems like I'm overstocked, but it will work out just fine.

Expect more pictures tomorrow or the day after, after the rams get over the stress of leaving the LFS!
 

livetowin

Member
Great work and ideas I need to get some new plants and new lights for my tank
 

Darlene

Member
It looks great
 

justin5150

Member
is your camera on auto focus? that my be the reason your focus is in the wrong place. auto focus is when you tap the photo button slightly to make the photo focus. if this is what your doing then you should try manual focus. there's a little switch with "MF" and "AF" written on it. switch to the "MF" option. this means you will have to adjust the lens on the camera to bring the given subject into focus, make sure that the fish is at the very centre of the lens..(If you can!!!) This should make for better pictures!
 
  • Thread Starter

mathas

Member
justin5150 said:
is your camera on auto focus? that my be the reason your focus is in the wrong place. auto focus is when you tap the photo button slightly to make the photo focus. if this is what your doing then you should try manual focus. there's a little switch with "MF" and "AF" written on it. switch to the "MF" option. this means you will have to adjust the lens on the camera to bring the given subject into focus, make sure that the fish is at the very centre of the lens..(If you can!!!) This should make for better pictures!
Yes, the pictures I've posted so far have all been using auto-focus because I'm not fast enough yet at adjusting the focus manually. If I were taking a picture of something like a flower, it would be much easier, but I need to keep practicing on quick-moving targets like fish
 
  • Thread Starter

mathas

Member
The marsilea minuta arrived today, and I picked up my rams! As much as I enjoy the other fish I have, these rams are quickly becoming my favorite.

When I reached into the tank to plant the marsilea, they swam up and started picking at the roots to see if they were edible. Just a few hours in the tank, and already trying to eat out of my hand... totally fearless!

They're a bit dull at the moment, but they should color up nicely over the next week or two, as they get over the stress of changing environments.

Here's one of the rams swimming through the new marsilea:


And here's another one of the rams posing:


Unfortunately I did lose two corys over the past week or so. My water parameters are fine, and they didn't show any external signs of disease/parasites, so I'm not sure what happened.
 

Darlene

Member
Your bolivians are beautiful. They remind me of our Apollo when we got him, he has since colored up nicely, and his fins are starting to show more red on the tips of them. He is one of my favorite fish in there. Good luck with them.
 

bert2001

Member
mathas said:
While I appreciate the kind words, there's always room for improvement

For example, I still have issues controlling what my camera focuses on, as evidenced in this picture:



The corys are a little blurry, while the cave behind them is sharp.
I shoot with a Cannon Digital Rebel XT so I think I can help you with this problem

Does your camera have multiple focus points when you look through the viewfinder? ie. the little squares that flash when you push the shutter halfway down. If they do then all you have to do is put a square over what you are focusing on and keep pushing the shutter half way down until it turns red. This means that is what it is focusing on. Since you are shooting with a Cannon this I am assuming your camera has this.

You can also mually move your focus points by pushing the button that looks like a grid with the plus sign colored in. This will move you points one at a time until the one you want is selected. It is a little more complicated than I make it sound, but if you read your owners manual it should be in there.

Hope this helps, but by the looks of your photos you don't need much help at all. They all look great.
 

rifter098

Member
your tank/fish/photos are all amazing! nice going getting it up and running so quickly! can't wait to see more pix...
 
  • Thread Starter

mathas

Member
Well, my order from arrived yesterday. The first thing I did was take out the new 10000K bulbs to do a lighting comparison.

Here is a 9325K bulb on the left, with a 10000K bulb on the right:


Then when I went to do a full-tank 10000K shot, I promptly dropped one of the 20-minute-old bulbs and broke it! However, I left it 9325K/10000K for a while to see if the 10000K bulb would grow on me like the 9325K bulb did, and it did not. The light was too blue for my tastes, which made the reds in the tank look dark purple and the yellows look greenish. The 9325K bulb is by far my favorite of the three I've tried.

Shortly after cleaning up the glass shards, I decided to look at the bright light kit. I'm not exactly a skilled electrician, but everything I'd read said that the instructions were easy to follow. I'll be honest, I was quite overwhelmed at first, it looked like it would be really complicated when I got everything unpacked and sitting in front of me.

I took it one step at a time, though, and it wasn't that bad. I hooked up the first ballast, gave it a quick test before screwing everything down, and to my surprise it worked! I secured everything and moved on to the second ballast.

Unfortunately, the second half did not go as smoothly. One of the bulbs powered up and almost blinded me (those reflectors are amazing), but the other was barely lighting up at all. I rechecked the connection, tried a different bulb, connected the endcap to the other ballast... no matter what I did, that particular endcap would never fully power a bulb.

I called AHSupply this morning and spoke to Kim. He apologized, and said that they test everything before it gets sent out, so he couldn't imagine why it wouldn't work for me. He asked me a few questions about what I had tried, then said I should receive a new endcap on Monday. 1 hour and 34 minutes later, I received an email with a USPS priority confirmation number... talk about great service!

So, no pictures yet of the new fixture. I'm currently only running at 3/4 capacity, which is still a huge improvement, but I'll wait until it's running at 100% before I post pictures of it.

I also ordered more plants to fill in the tank, including a few portions of weeping moss to get started on a moss-covered cave. Those should arrive hopefully on Wednesday of next week.
 

Christian Patti

Member
amazing tank.. a planted tank is my dream someday
 

Red1313

Member
Wow... ... I'm in awe here, your tank is gorgeous and your pictures... how do you get them so good!?! My photgraphic attempts with my tank usually don't work so well.
 
  • Thread Starter

mathas

Member
As promised, my new endcap arrived today from AHSupply, and it solved the problem! I'm now running at the full 210W, which should make my plants happy.

Here is a full-tank shot with four GE9325K bulbs:


If you look in the lower right-hand corner of the tank, you may notice a new cave. I ordered it along with some food from , it's the Cichlid Rock #620. So far, I've seen a couple of rams, the corys, and one of the plecos going in and out of it. Seems to be a popular addition for less than $6!


Now that my angels are settling in, it's pretty apparent that only one of the seven is actually a platinum, the others are gold. I'm a little disappointed, but my local LFS has said they are willing to accept the ones I don't want for trade-in. I'll keep one gold, the platinum, and add a couple of other specimens and hopefully end up with a non-matched pair (i.e. different strains). The first such one I've added is this lovely black marble:


My bolivian rams are settling in, and have started to display their colors:


They always look like they're smiling:


Dinner time!


These pellets are so good, there are scuffles over the last few:


I wish I'd been focusing on that ram when the angel swooped in, but even blurry it's shows how much my cichlids love these pellets. They're Ken's Premium Sinking Bits, from .

On the way for arrival this week is a beautiful red tiger lotus, Alternanthera reineckii, and some weeping moss to try and fashion another cave.


Red1313 said:
your pictures... how do you get them so good!?! My photgraphic attempts with my tank usually don't work so well.
Good lighting, a decent camera, lots of practice, and a healthy share of luck
 

clinton1621

Member
I have to agree, you take amazing pics... great looking fish and tank setup

My pics never come out anywhere near that good =(
 

morganrules

Member
beautiful tank and fish I love the little cory cats you got
 
  • Thread Starter

mathas

Member
And I thought I was done for the night! Part of my order from Ken's Fish also included spirulina wafers, which I dropped a few of in the tank about 5 minutes before the lights went out. The entire tank went nuts for these things! The plecos sought them straight out, the angels weren't far behind, then the rams and rasboras started in too.

Looks like I'll have to wait until after the lights go out to drop these in the future, I really wasn't expecting that reaction.

This picture has nothing to do with the new wafers, it just shows off the new angel again :


The angels ganging up on a wafer:


When tired of fighting other angels, some try stealing from the plecos!
 

Darlene

Member
Beautiful pictures and fish. I love your rams.
 

jack--sos

Member
Amazing tank!! excelent job

hope oneday I can have a tank as good as this
 

Blub

Member
Great tank! I love Platinum angels (I'm thinking of one for my 48gal when I get some plant cover in) espeically when when on mass! Isn't it funny how all the fish go for algae wafer? Have you tried your Pleco on cuccumber out of interest?
 
  • Thread Starter

mathas

Member
HatchetHaven said:
Have you tried your Pleco on cuccumber out of interest?
Nope, zucchinI only so far. They love it!
 
  • Thread Starter

mathas

Member
No stocking changes in this update, but I did play around with the aquascape.

I added 1x red tiger lotus (Nymphea lotus 'Red'), 3x Alternanthera reineckiI 'roseafolia', and 10x Blyxa japonica. The Alternanthera isn't doing as well as I'd liked, but I'll wait it out and see what happens. In addition to adding the aforementioned plants, I had to remove most the Marsilea minuta. Between the snails and the rams, I woke up one morning to find that most of it had been uprooted and shredded. There's still one small clump left, but I doubt it will last long enough to spread. Time to start looking for another carpeting plant, I guess!

I also added some weeping moss (Vesicularia ferriei) and a small terra cotta pot, but I apparently don't have the DIY skills to turn it into a moss-covered cave. So instead, I have a clump of the moss attached to a small chuck of wood right next to the pot, maybe it will spread

Anyway, onto the before/after! Yes, the first picture has been posted already, but it's on a previous page at 20 posts-per-page.

8-25-08:


9-04-08:


Not bad for only a week and a half You can really tell the difference the increased lighting has made in how the wisteria is growing. In the before picture, the leaves were very spaced out and thick, while they're much more dense and intricate in the after picture.
 

cognizant

Member
Still love it! Every time you post a picture I am even more amazed.
 

SkyCrystal

Member
Oh my gosh! This is a beautiful tank you have here! and this also deserves a
 

Blub

Member
mathas said:
No stocking changes in this update, but I did play around with the aquascape.

I added 1x red tiger lotus (Nymphea lotus 'Red'), 3x Alternanthera reineckiI 'roseafolia', and 10x Blyxa japonica. The Alternanthera isn't doing as well as I'd liked, but I'll wait it out and see what happens. In addition to adding the aforementioned plants, I had to remove most the Marsilea minuta. Between the snails and the rams, I woke up one morning to find that most of it had been uprooted and shredded. There's still one small clump left, but I doubt it will last long enough to spread. Time to start looking for another carpeting plant, I guess!

I also added some weeping moss (Vesicularia ferriei) and a small terra cotta pot, but I apparently don't have the DIY skills to turn it into a moss-covered cave. So instead, I have a clump of the moss attached to a small chuck of wood right next to the pot, maybe it will spread

Anyway, onto the before/after! Yes, the first picture has been posted already, but it's on a previous page at 20 posts-per-page.

8-25-08:


9-04-08:


Not bad for only a week and a half You can really tell the difference the increased lighting has made in how the wisteria is growing. In the before picture, the leaves were very spaced out and thick, while they're much more dense and intricate in the after picture.
Definate imprvement there. FOr carpet plants, why not try either Dwarf harigrass or HC?
 
  • Thread Starter

mathas

Member
HatchetHaven said:
DFOr carpet plants, why not try either Dwarf harigrass or HC?
I've kind of lost the desire for a carpeting plant, actually. If the one bit of remaining Marsilea spreads, fine... if it doesn't, that's fine too.

The rams and corys seem to really like the open sandy areas of the tank, so I have no plans go out of my way to change anything at this point.
 

MissMTS

Member
I love the pic of all of the cories They are so cute!
 
  • Thread Starter

mathas

Member
My water change today seemed to trigger something in the angels, and two of them have finally paired off!

Here you can see the male doing his job and fertilizing the eggs:


Here's the proud couple together tending to the eggs:
 

Most photos, videos and links are disabled if you are not logged in.

Log in or register to view

Top Bottom