Set Up My First Planted Aquarium, Would Appreciate Feedback

Discussion in 'Members Fish Tanks' started by Balian, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. Balian

    BalianNew MemberMember

    Hello All,

    Around three weeks ago, I set up my first planted aquarium. It's one of the new Juwel Rio 240's, I absolutely love it! I'm something of an amateur, though I've been doing a lot of reading around this forum, so much useful knowledge and expertise!

    What do you guys think of the tank? It's three weeks into the cycle and all seems to be going well. I've even got new growth on some of the plants, without using any CO2 injection (although I am using API liquid CO2 booster daily). I plan to add CO2 injection in a couple of weeks.

    Although they can't be seen, I've got six siamese algae eaters in there, they've done a marvellous job at removing the initial hair algae outburst! They seem to have settled in quite happily with minimal stress. The SAE's have been in for a week, I'm thinking of adding some Harlequin Rasboras this weekend, would you guys recommend this?

    Any other tips or advice regarding best practices and plants would be appreciated. I know it looks a little bare in terms of foliage, I'm definitely planning on adding more plants in the upcoming weeks, I thought I'd let it mature a little first since most of the initial plants have been covered in brown spots. Diatoms I believe?

    Would appreciate any feedback! :)



    Update after 7 months:


    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  2. Caitlin86

    Caitlin86Well Known MemberMember

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2017
  3. James17

    James17Well Known MemberMember

    It looks fantastic, looks a lot better than mine does.

  4. Bruxes and BubblesWell Known MemberMember

    That looks so good!
  5. James17

    James17Well Known MemberMember

    I ought to hire you to come to my house and fix mine. :)

  6. OP

    BalianNew MemberMember

    Thanks guys for your kind comments! I made a mistake in my initial post, I don't have any SAE, the breed I have is Siamese Flying Fox. They've been getting quite aggressive towards each other lately, not sure if that's normal or not?

    Also, does anyone have a CO2 system that they recommend? I'm thinking of getting one of the JBL ProFlora systems, would anyone recommend this?
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
  7. OP

    BalianNew MemberMember

    Added some Longfin Zebra Danios and a few Amazon Sword plants. I'm now three weeks into the cycle and all seems to be going quite well, even had some new growth on some of the plants.

    I do find it a little strange how my ammonia never really surpassed 0.25 whilst I was doing the fishless part of the cycle. Perhaps it's because the plants have simply been absorbing all the toxins?

    Attached Files:

  8. OP

    BalianNew MemberMember

    Hi All,

    So the tank is just over 3 months old now and I've had some great plant growth (recent pictures attached). Just thought I'd share my experience as a newbie for anyone who's interested.

    I found that adding CO2 injection really helped my plants thrive, coupled with EI dosing that I started recently. Using API Leafzone coupled with Flourish wasn't really enough for me, I had yellowing leaves with holes, which signalled a macro deficiency. Since the EI dosing, I've noticed the plants are a lot happier.

    I've been battling some brown algae problems though, which I think are diatoms since it's still a fairly new tank. Hopefully the Otocinclus I added recently should help clear it up. The tank is quite well stocked now with 35 fish in total!

    - 9 Harlequin Rasbora
    - 8 Cardinal Tetra
    - 6 Rummy Nose Tetra
    - 5 Siamese Algae Eater
    - 2 Pearl Gourami
    - 5 Otocinclus

    Any feedback or comments would be greatly appreciated! :)

    Attached Files:

  9. danhutchins

    danhutchinsValued MemberMember

    Looks great!!
  10. Jrsyhomegrown87

    Jrsyhomegrown87Valued MemberMember

    Looks awesome so far!!! I would definitely get some foreground plants going, and if you're into driftwood and moss as well. Here's a shot of my 65 high. 016f48ecb1df431d56b9c5c27904d977.jpg
  11. Jocelyn AdelmanFishlore VIPMember

    Great job!

    So many times I tell people to change over ferts and am not believed, happy to hear about your experience :)
  12. OP

    BalianNew MemberMember

    Thanks! Wow your tank looks beautiful! Totally agree I need some foreground plants. I actually planted two pots of Monte Carlo for a nice carpet, but my SAE's just ripped them all out! Since posting the pictures I have added pebbles in the foreground with some Anubias Bonsai, which look really great.

    But I'm definitely going to attempt carpeting again.

    I love your mixture of colour by the way, the red and green contrast very nicely!
  13. Jrsyhomegrown87

    Jrsyhomegrown87Valued MemberMember

    Thank you very much! Took some time to get it there
  14. OP

    BalianNew MemberMember

    Here's a recent shot taken a few weeks after the last post, I think it shows the effectiveness of the EI dosing and CO2, the plants are growing incredibly well!

    Attached Files:

  15. Zachiodos

    ZachiodosNew MemberMember

    :DThat's amazing, like looking into a stream in the wild.
  16. vikingkirken

    vikingkirkenWell Known MemberMember

    WOW that tank is amazing!! I love it!! Any chance you want to share a quick primer on dry ferts and EI dosing for beginners...?
  17. Lunnietic

    LunnieticWell Known MemberMember

    Looks absolutely wonderful! If I ever had the funds (or space) for an aquarium that size...I'd hope it would turn out looking like that!

    Where did you get the driftwood?
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2017
  18. Jocelyn AdelmanFishlore VIPMember

    Looking good! If you want to fiddle around a bit I️ would add some stems with a different lead structure/texture... rotala rotundifolia, cambomba, etc
  19. OP

    BalianNew MemberMember

    Thanks everyone for the kind comments! I followed the advice of everyone and planted some staurogyne repens as a foreground plant. I have a patchy carpet at the moment that I hope will thicken up in time. I'll post some more shots soon as an update.

    Last week I spent a few hours doing some heavy trimming as the growth I've been getting is immense! I lost a lot of light penetration since the swords in the background grew so tall and thick, but it's improved now since the trimming. To answer the questions:

    - I bought the driftwood from my LFS. It was pretty expensive, the two large pieces in the tank came to around £110

    - I recently added a Eheim SKIM350 to give some extra flow on the LHS of the tank. It skims the surface of scum and gives a nice gentle flow. I positioned it directly above my CO2 diffuser and I definitely think it's increased CO2 absorption since it pushes bubbles through the tank more evenly.

    In terms of dry ferts and EI dosing, some advice for beginners based on what I did:

    i) Find a good starter kit online if you can. I bought a kit from Aquarium Plant Food UK which contained all the essential Macros/Micros with dosing bottles.

    ii) Make sure you balance the macros to avoid algae problems. I'm dosing KNO3, KH2PO4 and MgSO4 three times a week. They recommend 10ml per 50L with a 30-50% weekly water change. I'm dosing around half that since I do a 25% change.

    iii) Start slow and be careful not to overdose since your nitrates will go through the roof. With the above routine, my nitrates reach 20-30 ppm by mid-week, so if I was to dose more I fear my Otos may suffer from higher nitrates.

    iv) Keep a close eye on phosphates since too much may cause algae problems. My phosphates usually hover around 2-3 ppm which seems to work for me. Bear in mind I have a lot of plants and every tank is different.

    v) Make sure you dose plenty of Micros on alternate days. I'm dosing three days of Micros on alternate days to the Macros, which gives me 6x ferts per week with one rest day before the water change day.

    vi) With all of the above, I mix the compounds with water and dose them as liquid. I've never added the dry powders directly into the aquarium so can't comment on that. I also use some Seachem Flourish tabs under the gravel, though I'm not sure how effective these actually are.

    This seems to be working well for me. Bear in mind that I'm still new to this too, the tank is only 5 months old but it seems to be going great! The only thing I'm still struggling with is browning of some plants leaves which has been a problem since day 1, particularly my Anubias.

    I'm not sure why this happens with a few of the plants, but hopefully I'll figure it out soon. It seems to have reduced with the EI, and I suspect its related to lighting. Perhaps my lighting isn't intense enough?

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
  20. OP

    BalianNew MemberMember

    As promised, some more recent images.






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