Ken's 55g planted tank build journal *UPDATE 7/11*

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Big-Ken replied the topic: Re: Ken's 55g planted tank build journal

Jack- Its was pretty frustrating at first with how contradicting the info was and no one wanted to help, I came to the conclusion I was in this on my own and I that I need to educate myself and figure it out by trial and error so I figured a journal here was the best way to keep track of everything
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jnet replied the topic: Re: Ken's 55g planted tank build journal

sounds nice keep us posted with lots of update pics :)

I'm living my life, but not necessarily in the right order :)

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donk232 replied the topic: Re: Ken's 55g planted tank build journal

I'm excited for this thread. I love planted tanks. I need to post recent pics of my plants. I had to trim and rearrange the tank last weekend
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Big-Ken replied the topic: Re: Ken's 55g planted tank build journal

iBig changes are being made, Ive pretty much scraped my original plant and fish list due to the wife telling me that I should get.....Discus!! Not that i wasnt excited about this tank anyways but now im REALLY excited :woohoo: Doing a heavy planted discus tank is my dream tank. I had to change my plant list due to the higher than normal temps needed for discus and alot of plants dont do well above 80 degrees.

Now that thats out of the way I can get on with my update, I finished up my soil this weekend and got it in the tank so I will be going through the whole process. I was going to be using mineralized topsoil but looking into it further alot of people say its more hassle than it worth and that topsoil straight from the bag is just as good and im inpatient and didnt want to wait the 3-4 weeks needed to properly go through the process so i took a little from both methods and combined them into what should be a high quality growing medium

I got the cheapest topsoil i could find, you dont want to use potting soil cause it has manure and other additives that will wreak havoc in a planted tank you just want good old normal nothing added topsoil it goes for like a $1.25 for a 40lb bag.

I dumped the entire bag into a rubbermaid tote and added 1.25lbs of laterite, laterite is a iron rich clay that comes from tropical regions. The laterite will supply the dirt with a good source of iron, iron is very important to the proper growth of plants. The laterite is also a high CEC substrate which means it will absorb lots of nutrients and hold them so the plants have a constant and steady supply. You can get laterite at LFS or on line, API sells it in a box marked "first layer"

I then added enough water to make a soupy mud mix

Now onto prepping the tank, I took my cap material which im using pool filter sand and i made a dam around the inside edge of the tank so you cant see the dirt from the outside, this step is optional

Next i sprinkled pure dolomite (white powder) and murate of potash (red pellets) on the bottom of the tank, you still want to see the glass. The potash will provide the dirt with a supply of potassium and the dolomite will lower the acidity of the soil and provides a magnesium and calcium source

Then i poured the mud mix into the trough i made, you only want a depth of 1" anything deeper can create pockets of anaerobic activity which will create sulfuric gas that will be released in the tank

Then i took my pool filter sand and capped the soil so that it cant be released into the water column which will cause major algae issues. My cap is 1" in the front and works up to 2" in the back, the angle will help create the illusion of depth once planted, you dont want your cap any deeper than 2" or it will compact the soil and cause anaerobic activity

Heres everything all completed, I will be ordering my plants next monday so they will be delivered next friday so hopefully in two weeks ill have another update
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Matt replied the topic: Re: Ken's 55g planted tank build journal

AWESOME, really nice job Ken.

And your wife "convinced" you to get discus, you lucky dog, mine did too lol.

You won't be disappointed, and just in time for the new discus section to post all the good stuffs!

cebosound wrote: Waterchange, Waterchange, waterchange... till your knuckles are bleeding. ;) :lol:

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Big-Ken replied the topic: Re: Ken's 55g planted tank build journal

MattsOscars wrote: AWESOME, really nice job Ken.

And your wife "convinced" you to get discus, you lucky dog, mine did too lol.

You won't be disappointed, and just in time for the new discus section to post all the good stuffs!


she had to twist my arm pretty hard..... :whistle: :P
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Matt replied the topic: Re: Ken's 55g planted tank build journal

Let me know if you need any advice with the discus, I've had mine for a while and they're doing great so I must be doing something right.

Also what kinds are you planning on having and how many?

cebosound wrote: Waterchange, Waterchange, waterchange... till your knuckles are bleeding. ;) :lol:

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Big-Ken replied the topic: Re: Ken's 55g planted tank build journal

I'm not sure what I'm gonna get yet there are quite a few breeders in my local club so I need to find out what's available but I really hope to find some cobalt blue, blood pigion, or red turqs. I'm gonna get 4 to go along with my 2 red koi angels
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ehall67 replied the topic: Re: Ken's 55g planted tank build journal

hey I forgot to thank you for the lighting information I read it as soon as you posted it but I must have forgot to reply I really liked it has me thinking!

also very in-depth instructions on the dirt I could def recreate that step so looking good man I will be looking forward to the plants and water getting in there... Might try this in a small 10 gal after you are finished!( which will turn into a 55gal by the time i get to it lol! :whistle: )

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Miss Nicki replied the topic: Re: Ken's 55g planted tank build journal

Way cool! I love the update!
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