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Build Thread Dutchy Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Burr740

Active Member
Sponsor
Expert in Residence
Nov 6, 2022
345
995
Athens, AL
Well... thats it! Im tired of watching you guys have all the fun so figured it was time to start my own journal to document this new scape Im working on, and also to talk about other plant happenings. So here goes

For this year's AGA Id been planning on using the 75P again. Love the dimensions, 30"x18"18" about 37 gal. Its in the living room along with the 75 gal ex-Dutch.

I try to keep these two a little more display-worthy than the back room back tanks but it doesnt always happen. Here's the 75p currently. Plants closed up its the middle of the night, I just flipped two bulbs on to take a quick pic

Ive been tossing some ideas around but it nothing has really inspired me lately

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So I decided to try a couple things in the 75 gal and see if the almighty elusive muse will show up

I rarely have a plan going in, usually just an idea or two like maybe a street or focal points, and from there I just start sticking things around and see how it looks. Usually with just whatever plants I have enough of, even stuff that I know I wont end up using just to plot out general areas and color

So here we go starting about two months ago, with basically two streets and a focal point. Pics are 3-4 weeks apart. I'll spare you the details of every little plant move, basically just adding/moving stuff around between then and now

*ignore the weird color filter on these first few pics

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Couple weeks later

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Trying to find a place to use this dynamite Blyxa sp Red. Not to be confused with the "sp Red" currently being offered by a couple larger retailers. Those are likely to be other aubertii variants that may or may not actually turn red. A good rule of thumb for blyxa (since most cant grow emersed) is if it aint red when you buy it, dont count on it turning red. This one is like a tall Novoguineensis, tops out around 12"-14" with good vertical leaf formation, and stays red under most light

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Added Ludwigia white to the front right corner

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Dont like the Blyxa in the focal spot either. It'd need a bright green behind it, which would make all the other background groups need repositioning based on color. Plus the Blyxa is too tall for what Im trying to do here, I want this focal spot low in the tank, not high


**Continued next post, image limit reached
 
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Techical details:

Fertilization:
Im doing weekly 50%-60% water changes. This is the first thing to know about someone's dosing because amounts mean nothing without also knowing how much water is being changed and how often /soapbox

For macros I make a solution that adds 4.5 NO3/1.5 PO4/6.5 K per dose (whole tank volume). I do 2x doses right after the water change and then 2 more through the week in typical 3x week fashion. Thats a weekly total of 18/6/26 between 50-60% water changes

Micros are Burr Aqua in another solution bottle that adds .15 ppm Fe per dose. I dose micros 3x week starting the day after WC. Weekly total Fe .45 ppm between 50-60% wc

GH: I have pretty good tap water which I use 100% in all tanks. It comes with 30-35 ppm Ca and 4-7 ppm Mg. Ive experimented with wide levels of Mg over the years, from 2-3 extra ppm, to 5, 10 and even 15 extra. On paper 3:1 Ca:Mg is supposed to be ideal but honestly I cant say Ive noticed much difference adding any of those levels. For the last few months Im not adding any extra Mg. Seems to be fine...

KH: The tap comes with 5-6 dKH, which I drop to 0-1 using HCL. I have 10 tanks currently all with co2 and I drop the KH down to 0-1 in 6 of them.

CO2: An F-zone 2x reg and 20lb co2 tank running both of these aquariums. The 75p I just did a horizontal @Yugang reactor which is working great (more on that down the road) This tank has a JBL ProFlora in-line diffuser running into a 3" vertical pvc reactor. Extreme overkill but it works! lol Pretty soon gonna do the horizontal thing here as well

CO2 kicks on about an hour before the lights. There's a solid 1 point PH drop at lights on then and about an hour later it hits 1.2-1.3, which is where I like to be

Lighting: 4x 48" T5HO VivoSun hydroponic light unit. Bulbs are 1x Powerveg 660, 1x ATI Purple, 2x iSun T5 LED. Lights run 8 hours full blast. PAR at the sub is around 120 uMol

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Substrate: Black Diamond blasting sand. Any grade will work but the courser the better. I stuck a few Osmocote Plus balls under the Physopstegia but otherwise nothing extra in the substrate

Filtration: 1x SunSun 304B. The big one rated 526 gph, which im sure is w/o media and we all know cant go by factory gph claims. Anyway I run these on all tanks except the 20s. Yes they are cheaply made but at just over 100$ a pop, I just consider them a disposable piece of equipment. With good care and maintainance I usually get 4-5 years out of one

But the main reason Ive used these for years is the built in skimmer the older versions came with. The newer ones today dont have the skimmer and also come with shittier pipes. The old school had solid 3/4" pipes in a perfect matte black, with unlimited outflow options. The newer ones can only adjust in two directions. Fortunately I have several sets of the old school pipes from having gone through many of these filters over the years

The little skimmer doesnt look like much but it makes a huge difference. You can turn the skimmer on/off by raising the pipe all the way. If I ever forget to turn it back on, say after a big trim or WC, the fish will be gasping at the surface after just a couple hours. So I know it makes a big difference in O2 if nothing else

Flow in the the tank is pretty mild. Nothing moves beyond a very gentle sway across some of the foreground. I do like a decent amount of surface agitation, which comes from having the outflow pointed upwards a little bit. About half the surface is rolling pretty good, half not disturbed much

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Current shots

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Will probably get rid of Hygro araguaia and expand the Moss on down. That's Giant Willow moss. I like a little moss or dark green somewhere in front. Ive used Fissidens logs a couple times already. Mini Pelia is great but its been done a lot, and lets face it nobody's gonna top what Tom, Marion and a couple others have done with it.

This Giant Willow is pretty cool. Dark green with lighter tips, long fronds that kinda look like an anemone. It'll be more pronounced when it thickens up. Note to Self: Need to keep pics brighter so it shows up good, tends to disappear in dark shots

Also will probably swap the street to Lobelia small form. Penthorum is a great street plant. Grows fast and contours easy. Dont care if its hacked all the way to the ground it'll come right back with smaller tighter growth. But you just can beat Lobelia for contrast. And here Penthorum's leaf is too similar to some other species

I just didnt have enough Lobelia to do it at the time. Currently growing some out though :p

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This journal is already one of my favourites, thank you for starting this @Burr740, I can learn a lot from you 🙏

Be prepared for receiving complaints if updates don't come in frequently enough, or with less pictures than the high standard that you've just set :giggle:

Very much looking forward how this develops!
 
Joe it's great to hear what's been going on with the tanks.

And it's been WAY too long between posts like this!!! Brings back memories of our TPT days when this was everyday stuff that always led to great discussions.

Love where the Dutch is going. Also enjoyed the bits of planted tank wisdom sprinkled in there if people pay attention.

Needless to say keep the updates coming. Gives me something to study and look for ways to improve.
 
This journal is already one of my favourites, thank you for starting this @Burr740, I can learn a lot from you 🙏

Be prepared for receiving complaints if updates don't come in frequently enough, or with less pictures than the high standard that you've just set :giggle:

Very much looking forward how this develops!
It just blows me away how a pro just drops some plants in and calls it a day. It’s unreal how good they are.
 
@Burr740 I hope you could share some of your best practices for planting stems, creating these beautifully shaped groups?

Like this one:
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Or perhaps this one?
1711535575441.png

Forgive me for the silly question, but how would you advice me step by step to create these? Do you have different techniques for different plants? Would you cut them in a bunch of sizes, sort these to length and then start planting with the highest one? Do you have any particular shape in mind before you start, and do you plan for that? Would you use a pincet, or any other tools?

I hope to learn from the master :)
 
@Burr740 I hope you could share some of your best practices for planting stems, creating these beautifully shaped groups?

Like this one:
View attachment 4687
Or perhaps this one?
View attachment 4688

Forgive me for the silly question, but how would you advice me step by step to create these? Do you have different techniques for different plants? Would you cut them in a bunch of sizes, sort these to length and then start planting with the highest one? Do you have any particular shape in mind before you start, and do you plan for that? Would you use a pincet, or any other tools?

I hope to learn from the master :)
Have you read his journals on TPT? He definitely goes over those types of things on them. Here’s a post that actually gives trimming and replanting tips specifically on Ludwigia sp. red 120 Gal Dutchy Freestyle - Now with 35% less water volume!
 
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Joe it's great to hear what's been going on with the tanks.

And it's been WAY too long between posts like this!!! Brings back memories of our TPT days when this was everyday stuff that always led to great discussions.

Love where the Dutch is going. Also enjoyed the bits of planted tank wisdom sprinkled in there if people pay attention.

Needless to say keep the updates coming. Gives me something to study and look for ways to improve.

Totally agree. Social media is great for a lot of things but archiving information in one place isnt one of them. Tank journals are so valuable, both for people reading and the person doing it.

Shoot it was maybe only a year ago I looked back in that tpt journal to see what I was dosing when a certain plant was doing good. I'd been having trouble growing pogo erectus (of all things). A few years ago I was growing it like crazy, so I looked back to see wth I was dosing then. Even with the best record keeping its tough to have pics of things to go along with it. Anyway for the Pogo turns out I wasnt dosing much different so I just kept cleaning and pruning and making sure co2 and everything was good, it finally worked itself out

Point is, tank journals are great for everyone in the hobby whether its a beginner tank or expert's.

And I still cant believe they deleted your journal too. Such an immature move.

It just blows me away how a pro just drops some plants in and calls it a day. It’s unreal how good they are.

Bro thats the easy part! The hard part is growing the plants to begin with. Everything else is just playing with shapes and colors. And of course it helps that I have a literal plant store to pull things from
 
@Burr740 I hope you could share some of your best practices for planting stems, creating these beautifully shaped groups?

Like this one:
View attachment 4687
Or perhaps this one?
View attachment 4688

Forgive me for the silly question, but how would you advice me step by step to create these? Do you have different techniques for different plants? Would you cut them in a bunch of sizes, sort these to length and then start planting with the highest one? Do you have any particular shape in mind before you start, and do you plan for that? Would you use a pincet, or any other tools?

I hope to learn from the master :)
Im glad you asked! This is the kind of thing I want to cover more of in this journal, the basics and also the finer points of placing and arranging things. I know everyone see those first pics and thinks its great, but its just a rough start and has a lot of potential problems to avoid if its going to be a truly good Dutch tank. Which in spite of high placings I dont really feel like Ive made a good one yet. Digressing...

Thanks to @Freshflora for linking my old journal btw :)

Here's a neglected group of Rotala tulunadensis. This is in a farm tank so Im not too worried about the final shape of the group but the method is the same

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Tulu branches a lot as it grows and this clump is long overdue a trim. Some tops are starting to stunt and the bottoms are getting ratty. So what Im gonna do is go through and pinch off all the good tops and useable short pieces and toss the crappy parts

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Separated into stacks of roughly short, medium, and tall.

Bottom right pile is useable scraps that could be replanted somewhere else to grow out. Too good to toss but not nice enough to include in a main display group. But in this case since it doesnt matter I'll work them in here too

Top left pile is trash

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Before replanting the spot it came from needs a little tidying up, see the debris collected on bottom? So that all gets vacuumed up

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So now ready to replant. In this case I want the short ones in front and the taller ones in back.

Take a pile in one hand, and <yes> use tweezers to replant them one stem at a time. Fine stuff you can go 3-4 at once but bigger stuff does best one at a time


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Short pile in

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Rest of it in

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FTS

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That's basically how it goes with anything where youre replanting or starting out with tops.
 
Great post Joe!

Horticulture is an under discussed part of the hobby. Funny I have been thinking recently of doing more posts like that. Not only so people can learn but also so they understand the labor that goes into a tank like that.

Like you said when stem plant groups get big like that they can begin to choke themselves out. And removing the debris underneath is something folks should know and pay attention to. When a group has been left for awhile and the lower portions are getting ratty they drop a lot of gunk onto the substrate. While the plants are out is a good chance to clean that area well.

And as you know some plants respond differently to trimming, so I hope you continue with posts like this, and I should do the same. I find there are some plants you need to be a bit more delicate with (Macranda, Myrio Golden) and some you can just rip off a big chunk (Myrio Roraima). And then you have some ones that require extra care like Cabomba Furcata (aerial roots), or plants like Nymphoides Hydrophylla 'Taiwan' where you can just pinch off some heads to shape it.

We take these things for granted when I am sure a lot of people don't really know what to do once they get those plants really growing well.
 
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