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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

This is the tank I've been working on. This is my first very own tank, but I've had experience with geophagus and many large saltwater aquarium via my dad.
The tank is on DAY 25.
But I've kept pictures throughout the process :)


ADA 60p

Aquarium stand
DIY stand

24" Ecoxotic E-series (E-60)
DIY light stand

Eheim Classic Canister Filter 600
Eheim Skim 350 surface skimmer

CO2 System
GLA GRO CO2 Regulator
CO2 Tank - 5lb
DIY Cerge's CO2 Reactor

ADA - Amazonia Aqua Soil normal type - 9L
ADA - Amazonia Aqua Soil power type - 3L
ADA - Power Sand S
ADA - 5 substrate additives (clear super, bacter 100, Tourmaline BC, Penac W, Penac P).

The Plants:

Bacopa caroliniana
Ludwigia repens 'rubin'
Ludwigia palustris
Ceratopteris thalictroides

Anubias 'Petite'
Anubias barteri

Mosses on rocks/driftwood
Riccia fluitans
Vesicularia ferriei 'weeping'

Rotala "bonsai"
Staurogyne repens

Hemianthus callitrichoides 'cuba'

The Hardscape

This is what I decided to go with:

Fast-Forward to Day 0 - PLANTING DAY.

The planting part was alot harder than anticipated because the amazonia powder wouldn't "hydrate" and just float to the top.
I attribute this to the fact that I had everything under the light for several hours for a few nights to finalize the position of the hardscape. I think that dried out the powder.

The plants all looked pretty miserable by the time I was done with them.
Initially, i was going to attach the riccia on meshes, but i was so tired that I just jammed them into the rock and called it a day.

Day 1

The water cleared up pretty quickly.
Did some rearranging of some of the stem plants as I noticed they were all tangled up.

Day 3

Everything looks pretty much the same. Except I noticed the riccia is noticeably bigger. Take that as a good sign. It's better than melting. XD

Day 8

Noticeable growth now on most of the plants.

Day 11

Let's test the water..... and the result is.... "OMG... DAT AMMONIA ! ! !"

Day 14

Picked up some weeping moss and added it on the driftwood.
Up to this point, I was running 1.5 bubbles per second.

Day 20

The ludwigia palustris is growing faster than all the other stem plants.
They are colouring up quite nicely.

In terms of water perimeters, ammonia is gone now but nitrites still off the charts.

Day 25

I have just let it grow out to be a jungle. I thought I could use the plant mass to prevent any algae outbreak.
No significant amount of algae I can see right now (small amounts of algae on some of the anubias leaves that I clean off with a toothbrush).
I've dialed the bubble counter back from 1.5 to 1 bubbles per second as a precaution.

Also, as you can see the light is angled towards the front.
My thought is that the stem plants in the back will have a much easier time to reach enough light, than the HC in the front at the substrate level.

The good news is this:

Water looks good, nitrates almost looks too low now. The plants are really soaking that all up I think.
As for ferts, when do you guys think I need to start dosing?
Everything seems to be doing fine.
I might hold off on Ferts till maybe a week or two after, at about ½ the dose (PPS-Pro).
But let me know what you all think.

Plans for the week:
I will probably do a major trim this week, followed by a water change (been doing twice weekly as recommended by Patrick from Canadian Aquatics).
Check the water chem's again end of the week, if all is still well, I will add some shrimp (amano's for algae duty). As for fish, recommendations are welcomed.

That's all I have for now.


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342 Posts
lookin good bro! also try not to fluctuate your c02 too much. if you gona turn it down, dim your lights a bit too to even it. i find that the sudden c02 drop brings out bba. i might be wrong but just on my observation. also doing ferts will not be the cause of more algae, itll just help your plants get healthier. the sooner you drop your ferts the better your plants grow and will not give algae a chance to grow.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Very nice start.Great way of displaying the paremeters of your tank during the process.
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i find that the sudden c02 drop brings out bba. i might be wrong but just on my observation. also doing ferts will not be the cause of more algae, itll just help your plants get healthier.
That. A lot of people who go with pressurized and most people who go with DIY CO2 end up introducing BBA because of fluctuating CO2 levels. During the photoperiod, try to keep the CO2 consistent and optimal and you won't run into problems. I've seen people talk about ferts causing algae. I believe if people actually ran scientific studies they would find that they were limiting one of the macros so that CO2 was sufficient but the introduction of ferts lifts that limit, increasing uptake, leading to insufficient/fluctuation (due to increased uptake) of CO2. As Jap says set the CO2 and dose ferts and do water changes and you should be fine.

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks guys for the CO2 comments, I will definitely keep that in mind.
I will keep the CO2 constant at its current rate (just did a bubble count, 66 bubble's per min which is what i left it at since I last touched it).
I will try to introduce the ferts this weekend.
I also plan to add some oto's this week, and maybe some amano's.
What's the number you guys would suggest for a tank like this?

looking good! curious what you did for your DIY Light stand
As for the DIY light stand, Here are a few close ups of what I did:

As you see from this picture, the light stand itself makes up of:
- 2 stainless steel square (hollow) piping
- 2 Stainless steel round (hollow) piping
- 1 stainless steel rod

The round piping slides into the square piping (via the square piping end cap that's drilled / filed down to allow the round piping to get in).
What you end up with is a DIY telescoping pole, so it allows for the stand to be adjusted height-wise.

Holes are drilled into the round pipings to allow the steel rod to pass thru both poles.
The ends of the round piping are capped off with a round end cap.

The light itself is suspended by fishing wire.
The lights I have had legs that's meant to rest the light on the side of the tank.
I simply ripped those out and fed the fishing wire thru the unit (with a firmer wire as a guide) and then tied the fishing wire to itself to form a loop (double knotted like --x----x-- so the knots don't slip and hidden within the light unit so you don't see the knots).
Hang the loops on the rod, and you are good to go.

(don't mind the filter pipes that's completely covered in algae)

The 2 poles are secured to the sides of the stand with industrial-strength "Velcro".
I went with this route instead of "bolting" it down because velcros mean adjustability and less holes on the side of the cabinet. +2.

All materials purchased at Home Depot.


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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
that's a pretty neat idea, how much did all the materials cost? i need to figure a similar way to hang up 2 of my lights too.

thanks for taking the time to do the write-up helps out a lot.
I think the whole stand was under 40 bucks (which is not too bad, cause stainless is expensive).
A cheaper alternative would be conduit piping.

This design can be applied to 2 lights too (I kinda thought of that while designing it but not tested in real-life.... works in my head....hehehe).

the two supports would remain the same, but instead of the 1 rod going thru each support like I am doing it, you go like this:

This is a bird's eye view of the stand, you rotate the holes so they face u (the black circles = the supporting stand), then put in rods (length of the short rods = how far apart you want your lights to be).
Use "L" shape fittings to form a square "halo" of rods on top of the tank and hang the lights off the long rods.


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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Day 31 update

Trimmed back alot of the ludwigia to restore the flow.
Thought I would miss the "redness" but the green really pops right now (almost looks artificial XD).

Started ferts dosing (PPS-Pro).

Here's a top down view during water change:

and here's a close up of the weeping moss, it's already closing the gaps between initial planting :)

Gonna pick up a few fishes and shrimps tomorrow.


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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Day 34 - inhabitants added (Sunday).

Amano shrimps (x10):

Oto's (x4):

They are just going to town on the algae. I plan to not clean the back glass during maintenance (more or less) to give the oto's something to do/eat.

The leaves on the anubia's are so clean because of these guys, they almost look sparkley :)

Side note:

If you own a surface skimmer, make sure you devise a way to prevent shrimps from finding their way into them.
The second day I came home, I thought "where did all the shrimps go? oh crap... did they jump out?"
No signs of dried-up shrimp around the house. *shines flashlight down skimmer.... find like a MASS of shrimp (6-7) in there.

My solution is this:

I wrapped a netting (the one's that your garlic comes in) around the inlet. Recycle and Reuse. :)

Here's the tank shot:

I hacked the riccia in the front back (maybe a bit heavy-handed but I am sure it will bounce back) because it was disrupting the water flow.
I probably need to do the same for the other riccia bushes, but the shrimps seem to love them. I guess I will see.

That's it for now,


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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Day 40

Day 40 Update

Everything is going well.
Lighting period extended to 7 hours.
Trimmed and relocated some of the riccia to different parts of the rock.
The weeping moss is growing in nice and thick.
A part of the reason why I haven't trimmed those yet is because I am debating if I should plant something into the moss. I will stew on it for another week.
The other part of the reason is.... I think I am horrible at trimming (the Riccia looks completely butchered by the time I was done with it) XD.

The foreground HC carpet is pretty much complete.
The rotala "bonsai' are not so bonsai anymore. Those might feel my wrath soon. :p

The fishes and the shrimps are all doing fine (all ten shrimps accounted for, no suicide jumpers *knock on wood).
I am a little worried about the oto's not having enough algae to eat. I guess I will have to start to throw different veggies in there to see what they choose.
They don't seem interested in zucchini's. Maybe I will try some blanched spinach next.
So far, the oto's are still pretty fat cause I always find them cleaning leaves somewhere.
On the other hand, the amano's just go nuts over the zucchini, not worried about those little monsters at all.

Played around with a black background (black foam board) and the lighting effects on the ecoxotic.

Future plans: Looking to add a small school of tetra's / rasbora's, the candidates so far:
- Lambchop rasbora
- Emperor tetra
- Glowlight tetra
- Neon/cardinal tetra

OR..... 1 betta

Suggestions welcomed :)

Still thinking, let's see what catches my eyes at the LFS the next week or so.

That's it for now.


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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I got myself 10 hengeli / lampchop rasbora's.

This is the best shot I can grab with my phone. If you look closely at the one in the center, you can actually see the bloodworm sticking out of its mouth (sooooo greedy :p).

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