First venture into high tech: Two 7.5 gal cubes and one college student - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 03:23 AM Thread Starter
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First venture into high tech: Two 7.5 gal cubes and one college student

My friends have been asking me to send them photos of my tanks as they progress, so I figured I'd start a tank journal for easy sharing. I started my dry start today (March 7, 2017), so I'll try to get this journal up to speed asap.

As of September 2016, I was diagnosed with MTS, a condition so terrible, it has cost me hundreds of ramen dollars and increased knowledge in plant biology. Seriously though, I've got 3 tanks running and this journal will document the beginnings of two more.

Let's start with some specs. For this project, I'll be using two 7.5 gallon rimless, low-iron cube tanks by Aquatop. The two tanks fit perfectly on a stand I managed to pick up for free from a generous friend. The light is the the Chihiros A-Plus Series A501, which I believe is 55W.

First things first, planning the scape. I decided upon an underwater forest theme for one tank, and a bonsai centerpiece for the other.



I ended up "glueing" the driftwood to pieces of slate with silicone to help keep them upright.



Due to the shapes of the slate, I had to get creative with the layout. I actually like how it turned out...reminds me of cobras waiting to strike.

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Last edited by Reivyn124; 03-08-2017 at 04:19 AM. Reason: flow of content
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 04:02 AM Thread Starter
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For the other tank, I managed to find some bonsai driftwood being sold by a fellow hobbyist. It definitely has a lot of character and I absolutely love it!

Coupling the driftwood with some Seiryu Stone and Sansui Stone from my local LFS (Aquarium Zen in Seattle, WA is amazing), I settled for a pretty simple scape. I want to convey a sense of serenity in this tank.

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 04:05 AM Thread Starter
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As you can all see, I've added in the substrate as well to both tanks. I went ahead and got ADA Amazonia Normal Type from Aquarium Zen due to its popularity and proven success in many popular aquascapists' tanks.

Looking at the two tanks together, I'm actually liking having two different scapes rather than a single "unified theme" between two tanks. It just gives each tank its own personality.



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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 04:13 AM Thread Starter
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Alright so to finally catch up to the current state of the tank, today I began the dry start for both tanks using HC Cuba aka Dwarf Baby Tears and S. repens.

I'm using tissue culture plants from an eBay vendor by the name of plantsfactory. The plants arrived in PERFECT shape, no browning or melting.




Misting constantly and gently planting the plugs of HC Cuba and S. repens only took about an hour. Super easy and unlike EcoComplete, ADA Amazonia is much easier to plant in and doesn't make me feel like I'm hurting the plants by pushing them into the soil.

I ended up using 3 tissue culture cups of the S. repens and 2 cups of the HC Cuba. I could've gotten away with 1 cup of HC Cuba though since there is so much of it in one cup. The picture of the HC on my crappy dish towel shows the contents of one cup and I didn't even separate the clumps that much.

After planting, I covered up both of the tanks with saran wrap to keep the moisture in and set my light timer to 12 hours a day to start. This is my first time using a Chihiros light and since it's got 55W, I'll be testing what intensity works best for the plants and at what distance. For now, here's the final look and end of Day 1 of the dry start!




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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 11:09 AM
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Great start! I love Aquarium Zen, Steve's a good guy. I was lucky enough to be able to stop by the store when I was out that way visiting family a couple years ago (I'm originally from Seattle). Just in case you don't know about them, the Greater Seattle Aquarium Society is a huge group with many plant people in it. In fact, one of the AGA board members is very active in the club. I'd highly suggest checking them out.

Looking forward to continued updates.

Regards,
Phil
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PEdwards View Post
Great start! I love Aquarium Zen, Steve's a good guy. I was lucky enough to be able to stop by the store when I was out that way visiting family a couple years ago (I'm originally from Seattle). Just in case you don't know about them, the Greater Seattle Aquarium Society is a huge group with many plant people in it. In fact, one of the AGA board members is very active in the club. I'd highly suggest checking them out.

Looking forward to continued updates.

Regards,
Phil
Thanks! I've been looking into GSAS and am extremely interested in joining. I may be unable to make most of the meetings but it definitely seems like a great way to get connected with other hobbyists.

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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 07:48 PM
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That is an interesting light. I know your tank hasn't been set up long yet, but what are your impressions so far?

Fluval Spec 5gal: Betta tank(A. nana, M. pteropus, C. Wendtii(?), E. argentinensis)
7.5gal rimless cube - S. repens, L. brasiliensis, A. reineckii "mini", R. wallichii - dry started 3/11, flooded 3/25 - will eventually become a shrimp tank (probably CRS or RCS)
10gal - S. repens, L. brasiliensis, A. reineckii "mini", R. wallichii (left over from 7.5gal dry start), C. wendtii, E. argentinensis
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Initial thoughts on the Chihiros A-Plus A501 Light:

These lights are extremely bright. At 55W in an LED, that's no surprise, but I will say that I'm planning on making a lampshade of sorts for the light to keep it a little more contained. More to follow on that.

The lights also run pretty hot. I was replacing the seran wrap on the tanks after spraying the plants and was surprised by how hot the housing had gotten. This is a Chinese build, so my best guess is the heat sinks used are very much insufficient. I may or may not open up the light and put in new heat sinks for the LEDs depending on how much the light affects my tanks' temperatures.

That said, I'm already seeing some new growth from the S. repens

Bonus pic of my low tech desktop tank feat. Aleph Null below. This tank is scheduled to get a makeover tomorrow and transition to high tech. I might include a few update pics here and there.
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 07:57 PM
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Good looking tanks!

Aquarium Zen is awesome. I got most of the stuff for my new tank there as well.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
That is an interesting light. I know your tank hasn't been set up long yet, but what are your impressions so far?
I actually just posted about the light! Didn't see you comment prior to making it -- I'm guessing we were typing at the same time haha. Check out post #8

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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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Good looking tanks!

Aquarium Zen is awesome. I got most of the stuff for my new tank there as well.
Yep, I'm constantly taking the bus down there to mess with the little sandbox thing and make hardscapes I can't afford lol

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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reivyn124 View Post
The lights also run pretty hot. I was replacing the seran wrap on the tanks after spraying the plants and was surprised by how hot the housing had gotten. This is a Chinese build, so my best guess is the heat sinks used are very much insufficient. I may or may not open up the light and put in new heat sinks for the LEDs depending on how much the light affects my tanks' temperatures.

Why would it be that solely a Chinese build means an insufficient heat sink? They seem like pretty unrelated things.

It's more likely that because 55 watts is a significant amount of power on a relatively small housing without a built-in cooling fan, it's par for the course.



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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 08:53 PM
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Haha, are you me? I'm a college student that just started a high tech too (rimless no less!), and I'm also in the Northwest! Crazy coincidence :p
Anyways the build looks awesome! What made you go towards the tissue cultured plants? I was thinking about going that route too.
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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Why would it be that solely a Chinese build means an insufficient heat sink? They seem like pretty unrelated things.

It's more likely that because 55 watts is a significant amount of power on a relatively small housing without a built-in cooling fan, it's par for the course.



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Based on what little information I can find on the lights, there have been other users citing insufficient heat sinks. Granted this is a generalization, but in order for these lights to come at such a low price point, various components are "skimped on." Chinese built equipment is associated with lower price points and (usually) lower quality in build as a result. These lights are essentially ADA Aquasky knockoffs and the build shows it. The risers aren't too sturdy and housing overheats, but it serves my purposes

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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 09:23 PM
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Is it just me or I'm seeing more college students getting into tanks? Nice to see new additions to the hobby!


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