60 gallon - 230 litres Planted tank

This is a 60 gallon tank that has been sitting for more than ten years in my work's resting area. It used to be a species tank (Neolamprologus brichardi), until October 1999 when I decided to try the heavily planted or "Dutch" style.

I did not try it on this one before because it is a tall tank (made to fit in a closet) and I was afraid the light would not reach the bottom with enough power for the lower plants. It worked well though, after the addition of another 4 fluorescent tubes and reflectors.
My first aquascaping attempt unfortunately failed. I made two mistakes: First, I underestimated the need for CO2 and left 2 Tetra Optima systems do the job. They are too small for a 60 gallon, and the plants were not getting enough CO2.
And second, the gravel I used was not neutral, and made my water too hard and alkaline, pH over 8.0. As a result, the plants could not grow fast (if at all), and due to high light and fertilizing algae took over and ruined almost everything. I had to remove and bleach the plants that still had hope, replace the gravel and set up a DIY CO2 system.
After that, everything went well for a while.

30 November 2000 :

The tank won the 3rd place in the Large Aquatic Garden category of the Aquatic Gardeners Association International Aquascaping Contest with this picture:


A 100 watts Rena heating cable proved to be more than enough to heat the entire tank without additional heating devices.

3,5 lbs First layer pure laterite and 10 lbs Sera Floradepot in the bottom,

topped with 3 inches of clean gravel.

The lighting consists of 6 x 48" 36 watt fluorescents (2 cool whites and 4 warm whites). Filtering is an Eheim 2215 canister.

I started CO2 with two Tetra Optimat Systems, but they soon proved to be insufficient. Then I used a DIY CO2 system: 3 x 2 liter bottles, changed every month, the 1st, the 10th and the 20th. 1/4 teaspoon yeast - 3 cups sugar in each bottle. The tube coming from the bottles went directly in the filter's intake. The yeast-sugar method is very good for small tanks.

But I needed 3 bottles for a tank that big, and, eventual leaks from the many connections, and my less than regular service of the system, had as result the plants doing well for some time, then algae appeared, then plants would take over again, in brief, a system that was not consistent.

In April 2001 I purchased a pressurized system. See bigger picture with details.

The difference was amazing. The plants are growing much faster and algae became history. See some aquascaping pictures.



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