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Seamingly

Seamingly's 2 Foot Planted Tank

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Hi All,

I'm new here but thought i'd start up a thread about a project i've just started.

I'm planning a 24" x 18" x 18" planted tank. The tank is about 17 years old, and hasn't held water for at least 14 years.  Recent test seems to show it is still water tight though.

I've just finished building a new cabinet for it. Made of 70mm x 35mm MGP10 pine from Bunnings.

I needs a LOT of filler around the trim and a coat of paint. Hope to start putting together hardware for the tank next month.

Thanks for looking. Comments and critiques welcome.

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I took a trip out to Pet Country and The Age of Aquariums today. Haven't been to Pet Country in years and didn't realise they moved. I've never been to The Age of Aquariums, but was blown away by their customer service and competitive prices. Young guy named Josh helped me out - big thumbs up to him.

 

Long story short, I bought most of the hardware I need. The Eheim was on sale at Pet Country and about 15% cheaper than other places I've seen.

Everything else was from The Age of Aquariums, and prices were too good not to buy straight away.

Still need to paint the cabinet though, and im very unsure about what substrate to use, need a bit more research before committing.

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For those reading along at home, I'm interested on your thoughts on substrate. 

I want something that will be great for plants.

I originally wanted a fine black substrate, but I think I'll go for white instead. I think black might make the tank look too small.

I know ada amazonia and fluval stratum are meant to be awesome, but i really dislike the look of them. Ive also read its not a good idea to cap them with sand.

Anybody know of other options? Or should I just go for a fine generic gravel / sand and use root tabs, rather than a name branded plant substrate?

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Finally, the last thing to decide upon is a CO2 regulator. 

Two options, one being the CO2Art Pro-SE. This one seems to be leading the charge, with lots of good reviews from people on this forum.

The other, cheaper option is one sold by Keg King in Victoria. Much cheaper, but, do you pay for what you get?

Thoughts?

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Looking good. Personally, I'm not a believer in overpriced plant substrates. I've always used a relatively coarse sand, like a river sand, pool filter sand etc. in conjuction with a quality water column fertiliser. Liverpool creek aquariums all in one being my favourite. From what i have seen, there isnt much you cant achieve with sand, a decent light and LCA all in one. 

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Also, i bought a cheap ebay regulator and it is to performing well. I just have to tweek the needle valve once a month or so. I've heard co2 art is the bomb though.

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Hi lgw,

thanks for your input and suggestions. I found a link to a diy recipe for a fertilised substrate using blood & bone, laterite, marble chips and propagation sand. I sourced most items today, just need to get laterite. 

Im going to test it in a small tank I have before committing to my main tank. Some people have had issues with it.

If it turns foul, I think I’ll fork out for Seachem Flourite and cap with coarse sand (so I have a light coloured substrate).

appreciate your feedback on the CO2 regulator - I’m going to check out eBay and see what I can find.

 

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I managed to get a bit more done on this project over the weekend.

Spent the evenings last week painting the cabinet, and then Sunday putting it all together.

I've always liked blue backed aquariums, and rather than paint mine (in case i ever change my mind), i bought some blue aquarium backing.  The reverse is black, so i guess i could also use that if i get sick of the blue.

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I also had a crack at some cable management - i need some zip ties though.

It's not great, but, it's far better than the powerboard attached to powerboard sitting on the floor next to filter situation i had with old tanks.

Also added some LED strip lighting, to make it easier to see underneath. They needed a bit of araldite to help them adhere to the treated pine, which had ridges along it.

Also rigged up a basic holder for the pack for the lights.

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Tonight i want to remove the lip on the rear panel which is used for the lids to rest upon. 

It is only partially across the rear panel, and i'm assuming is not structural, but fingers crossed in any event.

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Well, a bit has happened in the past week, so here's an update.

I managed to remove the rear lip which was used to hold the covers. It took a bit of effort and I went through 4 single sided blades. 

After removing I then got a bit nervous - worried perhaps it was providing some rigidity to the rear panel, so I took the tank outside and filled it up for a water test and thankfully, it didn't break.

A before and after below.

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I also ordered and received my CO2 kit from CO2Art. Ordered on a Monday, arrived on Thursday, all the way from Germany - I was impressed! (I rarely buy anything online, so maybe that timeframe is normal, but it impresses me).

It looks and feels fantastic, nice and solid.

I also obtained an inline diffuser to fit the 12/16mm  hoses of the eheim canister, an inline check valve, drop checker and some CO2 hosing.

The inline check valve is not needed, as the bubble counter on the regulator is a check valve too, however, I wanted one close to the diffuser, so the CO2 wouldn't have to displace so much water every day when starting up.

I also picked up a 2.6kg CO2 cylinder from a Home Brew shop in Capalaba.20190808_133555.thumb.jpg.2d12e43db6bd70d86f80bab70a5b915c.jpg

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Once I connected the regulator to the cylinder, I checked for leaks.

I closed the needle valve, opened the working pressure valve and then opened the cylinder valve. The cylinder pressure is 700psi. I then dialled in working pressure to 40psi.

I then shut the cylinder valve and let it sit for a few hours.

When I came back, the cylinder pressure had dropped to 0psi, working pressure still sitting at 40psi.

I suspected the leak was at the collection between the valve and cylinder.

I then opened the cylinder valve and used soapy water test all connections by spraying it on.

Sure enough, the cylinder connection  started to bubble. I tightened it more and ran the above tests again, this time, no drop in pressure.

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Been a while, but there is a bit more of an update.

I should note, i am much more behind in these updates than i am the build.

Anyhow, i undertook a last leak test and then put the tank in place.

I had been playing around in a storage container with some ideas for how to do present the layout.  It is driftwood and Seiryu stone. My goal is to have the driftwood covered in mosses, tall plants toward the rear with a central plant of red tiger lotus, or madagascar lace and foreground of glossostigma carpet.

Late on the 10th of August i started by laying down some substrate with fertilizer.  I found a DIY substrate mix on another forum - the initial thread was about 9 years old, but over the years, it seems to have received positive feedback.  I figured i had nothing to lose and hence followed the instructions.

First layer was propagating sand, then some Oliver Knott Laterite, Blood & Bone and some marble chips.  This was all capped with about 30kg of pool filter sand. There is a mound toward the left rear of the tank and this was retained with some rocks.  I wanted this to have a fairly deep substrate to see if i can get some denitrification happening by way of a deep sand bed moving forward.

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I spent some time late into the night using C.A to glue some riccia and java moss to the driftwood.

I then filled the tank and left it overnight - by the time i finished it was close to 1:30am and i didn't want to try putting the filter together whilst tired.

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The following morning i was up and managed to get the filter installed with the CO2 kit.

I've kept them out from under the cabinet for now, so i could monitor everything.

Initially, there was a leak from the inline diffused - i just hadn't screwed it up tightly.

The tank was running well, however, i noticed a bit of evaporation over the following few days.  After closer inspect, i found a very very small leak in the eheim inlet, where it connects into the bottom of the canister. Given this was installed a manufacture, i assumed it was not something that i could deal with. In the end, i had to take the filter back for a replacement, with no dramas from the replacement so far.

I also managed to head out and find some plants, including a red tiger lotus and some tissue cultures of glassostigma.

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Once the plants were in, i sat back and started to monitor the tank.

When i set up the filter, i placed some substrate from another tank that had just cycled (set up about 4 weeks prior to this one) in a filter bag and into the filter. The main aim was to try and get this one to cycle as quickly as possible - like everyone, i'm impatient for adding fish.

Over the next week, i kept watching and monitoring the plants. I also started to dose with Flourish, about 0.25mL per day.

I also kept tab on the the Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH and KH.

I monitored the CO2 drop checker and would cross-reference that to the pH & KH to see where i was sitting.  I find it very hard to determine the pH using the colour charts, and the CO2 drop checker helped as a bit of a reverse cross-check on my pH.  Given KH is easy to gauge, if i was ever unsure where the pH was likely sitting, i'd just check the drop checker.  Overall, i've been running low amounts of CO2 and have struggled to get the lime green colour that is considered ideal.  Ultimately, this usually meant my pH was between 7.0 - 7.2.

I initially set up my CO2 with about 1.5 bubbles per second, and every 2 - 3 days would slowly adjust. I was in no real rush to gas-out the tank, despite there being no livestock.

These pics of plants were taken about 5 days after being added.  You can see there is some cloudiness and dsicolouration to the water, which was a combination of the bacteria bloom and also the driftwood releasing tannins.

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Every night would check Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate.

I found it hard to tell the colours of the test tubes and in the end, resorted to taking photos (without flash) of them - i found it much easier to compare colours this way, rather than in person.

For the first week, ammonia was still low, and nitrite started to rise a bit.  The Ammonia peaked at about 2ppm after a few days and then slowly subsided as the nitrite took off.

13 days after setting up the tank, the ammonia and nitrite had hit 0, with the nitrates between 10 - 20 ppm.

During this time, i also added some more glossostigma and a few ocelot amazon swords.

I also saw my first instance of pearling occurring.

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I found during the firs week i was getting a bit of algae growth - not sure if it was green hair or bba, but it was dark hair-like.

I decided to stop using the flourish, given i already had some nitrates in the tank and not many plants.

After stopping for about 2 weeks, and after rubbing off and removing a lot of the algae, i have noticed that it is not returning quite as badly. As of this week, i have just started to re-dose Flourish.

14 days after setting up, i went out and bought some inhabitants - 10 cherry shrimp, 3 otocinclus and 4 julii corys.

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Prior to adding the fish and shrimp, i did a 60% water change in the morning.

I then added the fish and shrimp in the afternoon and later tested the water that night.

I was a bit shocked to find my Ammonia to be about 0.25 and nitrites around 0.50. I figured it was due to the adding of the tank mates, and they had both subsided by the following day.

Out of curiosity though, i tested my tap water that following day and found out that it contains both ammonia and nitrite around 0.25 each.  I'm not sure how this works, but my house is quite old (1950s), so maybe it's the old pipes or something?  Interestingly, i found after watering the garden that testing after this, both ammonia and nitrite were back to 0.  So, i'm assuming it something to do with the water sitting in the pipes for a while.

Unfortunately, i probably can't afford to be watering the garden for a long time prior to each water change - so i figured i would just do smaller water changes in the future.

I then did a water change, 1 week later, and sadly, within 2 hours of doing so, one of my julii died - quick quickly too. I noticed it's left gill looked very red, almost like it was bleeding.

I'm not sure what caused this, and since then, all other fish and shrimp seem ok, with no other losses.

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Over the weekend just been, i added some purigen to the filter and undertook the first filter clean since i started the tank.

I took out the filter bag of seeded substrate and replaced with the ceramic noodles that came with the filter.

The day after adding the purigen, the tank was looking nice an crystal clear, with a lot of the tannins having been removed too.

Below are some of the most recent photos taken over the last weekend and this week so far.

I'm quite happy with how it is coming along and in particular, the growth of the riccia, java moss and the tiger lotus.  It's not until i went back to old photos that i realised just has much they have all grown.  With the java moss, it is now sitting perpendicular to the wood, compared to the photo posted above when i first set up, and it was almost flat against the wood due to the string.

I'm trying to source some mini japan plant to replace the pennywort on the right hand side. Apart from that, the only other major plan is to add some cardinal tetras. I was hoping for 20 of them, but am interested to know what you all think about that sort of stocking capacity.

Oh, also, CO2 is now up to 3.8 bubbles per second and seems to be working well.

I've also started dosing flourish iron (2mL daily) and flourish potassium (5mL twice per week). I think these may have really helped with the colour of the tiger lotus.

Hope you enjoy and welcome feedback.

 

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Beautiful tank.  Sometimes I wish I could get my plants to grow like that, but then I'd have to get rid of half my fish, especially the silver dollars!!

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Thanks MFF!

My goal was definitely to focus on plants with this set up. Something i've been wanting to do for almost 20 years.

It suits me well though, as my favourite fish (save for Discus) are generally small tetras.

 

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