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2,838 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
DiY Sump, mame overflow and light stand


Ever since i rehomed my wifes beta, i've been attracted to planted tanks. Because of this pretty much every tank i've owned has become a planted tank. Since all my tank journals have this similar theme, i figured i might aswell combine my 3 tank journals into 1 single journal. So here is the start to my new Tank Journal, Neven's Planted Addiction.

A long while back i posted a thread that gave a quick reference to pictures of my start into this hobby, unfortunately the pic links went dead. I decided to rehost the pictures just for those who want to see the old thread:

Now to the journal

Common through all tanks:
EI dosed
Kent RO right + Kent PH Stable
Metricide 3xWeek dosing 3x recommended.

Red Tiger Lotus
Anubias barteri 'nanas'
Anubias barteri 'Coffeefolia'
Bolbitis heudelotii
Ammania gracilis
Glossostigma elatinoides
Microsorum pteropus v. 'narrow leaf'
Microsorum pteropus v. 'phillipine'
Microsorum pteropus v. 'windelov'
Cryptocoryne beckettii 'petchii'
Cryptocoryne undulata
Proserpinaca palustris (Mermaid Weed) -recovering-

11 black phantoms (half juveniles)
9 Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki
1 calico Bristlenose
Several Dwarf Otocs
Crossocheilus reticulatus

9.8 gallons
Substrate: Black Flourite Capped with Tahitian moon sand
Lighting: 4ft t5ho w/ daylight bulb
Filtration: Maxijet 400 w/ prefilter on each tank
Decor: pebbles, granite, manzanita and malaysian driftwood
Co2: pressurized via ceramic discs
tanks: custom made acrylic by Gklaw

Flora - Left:
Anubias barteri 'Petite'
Cryptocoryne parva
Singapore moss
flame moss
Ranunculus Inundatus
Pogostemon erectus
Echinodorus vesuvius
staurogyne repens
Red Flame Amazon Sword

Flora - Right:
Cryptocoryne Lucens
Cryptocoryne wendtii
Alternanthera reineckii 'roseafolia'
Lobelia cardinalis 'Small Form'
eleocharis parvula (Dwarf Hairgrass)
blyxa japonica
Red Tiger Lotus
Hygrophila pinnatifida
Pogostemon helferi (Downoi)

Fauna - Left:
5 Male Guppies
1 Dwarf ottos
3 Amano Shrimp
2 assassin snails
Fauna - Right:
Painted Fire Red Shrimp
4 zebra Nerite snails

2.5 gallon
Substrate: River gravel mixed with crushed coral
Lighting: Sideways twister CFL, 13W
Filtration: n/a
Decor: diy rock wall
Co2: n/a

Cryptocoryne Lucens
Anubias barteri 'nanas'
Anubias barteri 'Petite'


2,838 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
29 gallon

To kick off the journal, heres a pic of my 29 gallon

a little has changed. The crypt in the middle foreground was swapped out with another form, i think its an crypt undulata, definately can be wrong though. In the left side foreground theres a plant thats melted a bit atm, im not sure what that is, it grew great before i hooked up co2 again. Oh and i added 6 juvie black phantoms

2,838 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
10 gallon

10 gallon update:

This tank had a major outbreak of clado in my willow moss, so i had to remove the moss from the wood and give it a heavy metricide regime on its own. The clado left on the wood itself has pretty much died, as did the remnants of whatever willow moss was left on the wood thanks to dropping the water level down and dosing metricide directly on the spot. During tank maintnence, i removed pogostemon stellatus and replaced it with heteranthera zosterifolia for now. The reason for the removal was it simply needs a much larger tank to be able to space it out to do the plant justice.

eventually i'll get more manzanita wood for the tank, and give it a much nicer scape, but for now it'll do. Lastly, theres 1 new inhabitant, a Red Rose Guppy from IPU a few weeks back :)

5,537 Posts
I've always liked all your tanks, Rob (especially the 29 gallon :D). Where did you find all those amazing plants? LOL. Most of them I no longer keep :eek:. One day I'll make it out to your place ;)!

Best regards,


2,838 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
2.5 gallon added!

2.5 Gallon Added!

Since my betta died not to long ago i sat waiting wondering what to do with the tank for a few days. First i wanted to eliminate the heater death issue since i got hit with it twice now, second i wanted something different from my other tanks. The solution, a hardscaped background. I've been wanting to do this for a while, so i got started on one last week. I picked up a chunk of styrofoam from the scrap pile at work, grabbed my box cutter and went to town on it several nights throughout the week. Anywho, heres the progress on it:

the piece i started with

Cut it down to size

The filter and heater to be hidden, the styrofoams depth wasn't enough to cover these, so i cut the piece into a wedge shaped and added a spacer behind it.

the result of the first two carving nights, i added pieces of styrofoam to give more depth, siliconed them together. The intake is the bottom, i will use mesh over it when im done the coatings

the behind view where the heater and filter sit, the hole on the right is the outtake

front view of the outtake

To silicone the multiple layers easily i outlined them in pen and numbered the pieces by topography. This part is the entrance to a tunnel that exits on the right side.

Finsihed the carving up, the only work i did to the carving after this was to texture the flat areas a bit more

the background in place, view of the hidden equipment

front view

top view, the spout will be trimmed down once the coating is done :)

veiw from the other side

2,203 Posts
Wow that looks great Neven, (as do your other two planted tanks)

I would like to try a DIY 3d backgrownd and seeing how you created that rocky look is really giving me some ideas.

What are you going to do for paint? Is there some aquarium safe paints or stains out there that will work on styrofoam?

Please keep some updates coming on this project! Well done so far!

2,838 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
i am using Quikrete Hydraulic Water-Stop Cement. For colouring you can get integral colorants to blend into the concrete mix. Rona and home depot do not carry the colours in vancouver for some reason, however i believe there is a concrete place around willington and lougheed that does sell the powders. I plan to get black and brown during the week since i drive by every day

With the colours you can do two methods, one is to mix a batch of cement with a colour in it, this works if you want say a brown base colour. For those who are fine with the concrete base colour, you can do the other method. You mix the colours with water in several containers, and you use a brush to stipple (jab with short strokes) the colours from bottom to top asap after you apply the cement and its still wet. If its a larger project then you need to do this in stages

2,838 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
DiY wall update! 2.5 gallon

THis is the first coat, without any pigments or anything, it looks much darker since it was still wet, but when it dried it was too light of a gray imo, although when wet it wasn't so bad

heres what i used for the first coat, and also shows the scale of the mini project :p

today i picked up black pigment. They did not have it at rona or home depot because Vancouver sucks for decent hardware supplies. Unfortunately i was stuck going to a cement wholesaler and paying $30 for a 5lb bag of pigment (only needed a cup or so of it). My second coat i decided to mix pigment into the cement to give a darker base colour, unfortunately i put way too much. The flash really drowned out how black it was

What i started doing was adding more cement to the pigmented mix to lighten it up and make a thicker coat. I Added texture this way and varied the tones a bit. Unfortunately i lost a lot of the dark first coat so i mixed some pigment with very little cement and mostly water. I cut up a foam brush so it would make smaller blotches, and i went to town, i also used a finer sponge brush and darkened the crevices.

to get the colours to blend better, i stood up the background and misted it, this allows for the pigment to follow the contours of the formation and spread its colour a bit.

after an hour, it started to look dried out, already lightening up a bit. The flash once again really brought out lighter areas making the it look more blotchy than the naked eye sees it

this is without the flash, big difference :p

so once this dries, i'll make a decision as to give it another light coat to add more tones
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