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Restatring hobby, 120 x 40 x 40 planted tank

Had a near 10 years break from this hobby, finally managed to get my wife approval for a 4 foot tank.

13th Nov
I ordered my tank from JB and had it delivered only one month later on 12th Dec as I know that I like to rush into stuffs and will not do the tank any good. Using the 1 month on hand, I tried reading up and getting my gears ready. (From all the craze, seems like CRS are not so in trend).

14th Nov
This marks the commencing of treasure hunting for the gears, Gotten an old ADA canister from my friend and bought a big Toyogo box for myself so that I can start commencing cycling the canister and water. The ADA canister was old, probably 10 years, but the machine was still strong and it started smoothly, never once do I need to do "pumping" on the canister. No wonder their stuffs are so expensive

I also got some plants from 1-2-Grow (read about the guaranteed no snails no worms and wanted to try it, but they are sure expensive). Gotten myself a pot of Monte Carlo and a pot of Rotala Vietnam. The main reason I got the plants this early was also to 'acclimatised' them nicely just in case they melts. I wanted to have the tank planted heavy so that I will not have any algae problem. I also gotten a CO2 system to be part of the cycling (for the plants actually). With all the equipment checked, I commenced the cycling process and also added some nitrifying bacteria to speed up the cycle. During the whole 4 weeks cycling period, I set the lights and CO2 to be on for only 5 hours and the rest of the time, the stuffs are in a blackout room, strict light discipline enforced :P. The rest of the 19 hours, a air stone is in place to provide the gas exchange in the container, mainly for oxygen to promote the growth of the bacteria I went for a fishless cycling. The whole process went smoothly and the plants were growing pretty well in the picture below (picture taken at day 24th). Its also the first time I tried an LED light. I was amazed by the price of those branded lights and decided to try the Beamworks LED lights at only a fraction of what I will need to pay. On


7th Dec (also the 25th day of cycling)
I tested the water for ammonia (thats the only test kit I used, not a believer of using so many different types of test kits) and it shows near 0ppm (should be 0, having problem with the colour code as the result of the colour varies slightly from the card that comes with the kit). Feeling confident, I got myself 2 neon tetras and see how they adapts (and they adapt to it nicely).

12 DEC!!!!!!!
The tank is finally here, and the next 2 to 3 days is a busy period as I go about getting all other stuffs and plants that I had not bought previously. All in, the stuffs that I bought for the whole setup includes (who says this hobby is cheap)

3 pots of 1-2-grow Staurogyne
1 pot of 1-2-grow Alternanthera reineckii
1 pot of 1-2-grow Monte Carlo
1 pot of 1-2-grow Rotala Vietnam
2 pot of Tiger Lily
Ludwigia Super Red from Carousell
Rotala HRA from Carousell
Rotala Hi-red from Carousell
Bacopa from Carousell
Downoi from Carousell
3 x 9kg ADA Amazonia II
1 x 9kh Amazoniz II (powder)
Some rocks and DWs which I had gotten earlier and prepared for the day

1st day of planted

The tank is pretty much left to cycle on its on, a thing that i learnt from reading was that ADA leaks ammonia which is very true. The ammonia level was crazy during the first week, using the test kit, it shows a dark shade of green. I did 25% changes every other day for the first week and pretty much leave the tank to cycle on its on. I also had a chiller running at 26 degree, lights are on from 10am to 4pm, CO2 soleniod is set to 9am till 3pm. CO2 bubble count was about 4-5 bubbles per second. As i believe that ADA was rich in nutrition, no fertilizers were added during the first week. Flourish Excel was only added from the 3 week onward (2nd week I went overseas :p)

The below pictures are my tank at 15 days old, I also did a slight modification of the scape. My current Ph is at 6 and TDS is at 190. Apart from the plants, I also had 10 guppies in the tank.

853505950_69399.jpg 853234271_173489.jpg 855003557_6107.jpg

For the lights, I am using 1 Beamworks Hi-Lumen 120. The light is elevated 6 inches above the water surface because of a protruding section of my scape. I am quite pleased with the result as the plants are growing nicely but I do not have any algae problem. Am pondering about getting another set of the same light as I felt that the Ludwigia Super Red is not red enough, but that is just a thought. I am afraid of algae boom if I tried to adjust any of the stuffs.

Any advice from anyone on the red plants, any fertilizer to recommend? I just find it not red enough.

Thanks all for reading the long post
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