Ultum 60cm High-Tech Tank Journal - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-05-2017, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Ultum 60cm High-Tech Tank Journal

I started my first planted tank 5-yrs ago after getting into reef tanks first about a year before. I am now starting my 5th planted tank, and wanted to go all out!

I am lucky enough to be located fairly close to Aquarium Design Group (ADG) in Houston, and stopping by their store always amazed me and I could spend hours looking at their displays. I originally decided to go with an ADA tank, but after looking around their store I was shown the Ultum Nature Systems (UNS) 60cm tank and really liked the dimensions better then the ADA. The 45deg beveled corners, glass clarity, and overall build quality were amazing so my choice was easily made. After a bit of decision making, I decided on the below equipment list:
* UNS 60cm Tank (60x36x36cm)
* Custom built stand by ADG
* Eheim 2215
* Twinstar 600e LED Light
* Cal Aqua F2 Outflow
* Cal Aqua X2s Inflow
* Cal Aqua Inline Diffuser
* Cal Aqua Double Counter
* GLA Mini Stainless CO2 System

The Eheim was a simple choice, I have used their canister filters in all my FW tanks, and extensively use their products in my reef tanks as well without ever a problem. The Twinstar light gives great color, and the frosted diffusion cover over the LED's helps tone down the sometimes obnoxious shimmer that comes with LED lights. I've used Cal Aqua stuff in the past and both form and function were fantastic. The inline diffuser was chosen to minimize impact to in-tank real estate which is inherently limited in a ~20g tank. One cool trick I got from ADG was to use a frost coating on the rear glass to keep the outside-of-tank background out of view. I had painted the back of tanks white before for similar effect, but I really like the "cloud" look and depth created by the frost coating.

This is actually the first tank that I will run CO2 on, so I decided to stick with Cal Aqua and GLA products as they have always been great in the past. I opted not to go with a pH controller for now, but may change that later.

I plan to do an Iwagumi style scape with dragon rock and a mix of SeaChem and ADA substrate. Tissue culture plants have been ordered, with dwarf baby tears as foreground, dwarf hairgrass as mid, and have a few options for background which I am waiting to see before making a final decision. Candidates are crypt nurii, micro sword, or downoi.

Livestock will include various small fish like tetras and rasboras, as well as the crowntail betta from a tank I am taking down and replacing with this tank. Also plan to have various color variants of rili shrimp and a few amano's.

Initial setup to begin tomorrow, and plan to plant and get wet by Monday or Tuesday.

Pics to follow!
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Last edited by ange062; 05-05-2017 at 08:18 PM. Reason: added info
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
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Here are some pics of the equipment I have so far. Picking up the tank, stand, rock, and substrate tomorrow.













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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-08-2017, 05:06 AM Thread Starter
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I picked up the tank and stand on Saturday. One of the owners of ADG, Jeff, was awesome enough to help me out with my hardscape and I am really pleased with how it turned out!!

Front:


Left:


Right:


Topdown:


Cabinet:


I don't have the Eheim hooked up yet because it's currently running on another tank to cycle it. Plants are delivered tomorrow, after which I will plant and fill the tank. Really excited about that!!

One cool trick that the guys at ADG told me about, is backlighting the tank since it has the translucent frosted coating on back. I saw one of their examples and it looked great!! Silhouettes the hardscape and plants for a very cool effect as a night light. I searched around and bought several different LED strips to try out, and ended up settling on an 18" Fluval Eco Bright LED bar. For $60 it came with a remote control, and will do either blue or white and is 100% dimmable.

The camera doesn't quite want to capture the LED's right, so the below pics don't really do it justice. In person it looks incredible!





More pics to follow tomorrow after / during planting.

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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-08-2017, 10:45 AM
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Hardscape looks great, can't wait to see it planted.

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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 07:41 AM Thread Starter
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My plants were delivered from Thailand today!! I ordered through ADG, however, they aren't open on Monday's so I decided to meet the owner at the Southwest Cargo terminal. While waiting for the shipment to come off the plane, hanging around in that cargo area I felt like my aquarium keeping reached a new height as several of Houston's more prominent LFS owners were also there waiting for their shipments... It made for good conversation and picture sharing.



The plane ended up delayed and Jeff had to run home, so I stayed around and picked up their whole shipment. Quite a bit of nice stuff!



I sorted through everything and pulled out my order (there was more in the shipment but I used below qty):
* 8 Hemianthus callitrichoides
* 8 Staurogyne repen
* 4 Eleocharis parvulus mini
* 3 Eleocharis vivipara



I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted it to look, so went straight to work. After several hours, this is what I ended up with:





And so I filled the tank, hooked up the filter, and threw in the Eheim surface skimmer to help clear the tank. Still clearing so I will get some better pics tomorrow.



The HC are actually already pearling, which I thought was kinda cool. And the Cal Aqua diffuser just looks so awesome!


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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-10-2017, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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I made a couple of minor plant tweaks and the tank cleared really well. 1.6bps is just a tad bit low for 30ppm CO2 so upped it to 2bps today and will see how it looks later. It should be somewhere in the 1.6-2.0bps range right now.

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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-10-2017, 08:25 PM
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Tank looks gorgeous! What LFS do you prefer in Houston?
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-10-2017, 09:12 PM
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Does the inline diffuser spew out a lot of micro bubbles? You'll love the light, I have one. Having great success with it! Beautiful tank btw!!!


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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJBTEXAS View Post
Tank looks gorgeous! What LFS do you prefer in Houston?
Thank you!!

For marine my go-to is FJW, and for fresh my go-to is ADG. Both are the best at their specialty in my opinion and the owners are knowledgeable, helpful, and nice to do business with. They also have excellent dry goods selections, and the best livestock available. I tend to like the higher-end and rarer things in this hobby and both keep me satisfied in that respect

Other honorable mentions also go to:
* City Pets for FW and SW, and especially dry goods
* Xtreme Fish and Pets for fantastic FW selection at cheap prices
*TNT has a great selection of FW, SW, and dry goods, and some awesome display tanks

And while I don't often buy things at Fish Gallery, their store has a huge selection and tons of cool displays. Worth a visit. I don't often buy things from them because of their often absurd prices and often "snooty" staff.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnalp View Post
Does the inline diffuser spew out a lot of micro bubbles? You'll love the light, I have one. Having great success with it! Beautiful tank btw!!!


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Thanks!!!

There are some microbubbles, but to a much lesser extent then I have seen with in-tank diffusers. This is my first CO2 system so I don't have any other previous experience / reference outside of what I've seen in other people's tanks.

And good to know about the light! Looks great so far!

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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 03:09 AM
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I had an atomic inline diffuser from gla and it made my water look like sprite!


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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 11:51 PM
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How did I miss this one? Subscribed.

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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ange062 View Post
Thank you!!

For marine my go-to is FJW, and for fresh my go-to is ADG. Both are the best at their specialty in my opinion and the owners are knowledgeable, helpful, and nice to do business with. They also have excellent dry goods selections, and the best livestock available. I tend to like the higher-end and rarer things in this hobby and both keep me satisfied in that respect

Other honorable mentions also go to:
* City Pets for FW and SW, and especially dry goods
* Xtreme Fish and Pets for fantastic FW selection at cheap prices
*TNT has a great selection of FW, SW, and dry goods, and some awesome display tanks

And while I don't often buy things at Fish Gallery, their store has a huge selection and tons of cool displays. Worth a visit. I don't often buy things from them because of their often absurd prices and often "snooty" staff.

Thanks!!!
Never been to ADG, figured it was going to be too expensive for me. I'll have to give it a try this weekend. I used to go to City Pets when I was in highschool along with another store that's been gone for quite some time that was at Belaire and Gessner. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way about Fish Gallery, but I always stop by if I'm in the area anyways.

Do you know what tetra species you're going to go with? Black neons would also be a good choice. Not sure how either species would be with a betta though.
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mike00726 View Post
How did I miss this one? Subscribed.
Thanks for the sub!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JJBTEXAS View Post
Never been to ADG, figured it was going to be too expensive for me. I'll have to give it a try this weekend. I used to go to City Pets when I was in highschool along with another store that's been gone for quite some time that was at Belaire and Gessner. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way about Fish Gallery, but I always stop by if I'm in the area anyways.

Do you know what tetra species you're going to go with? Black neons would also be a good choice. Not sure how either species would be with a betta though.
Definitely go check out ADG, but check their hours as they aren't your traditional LFS hours. And Xtreme is over at Bellaire and Boone right behind the Hong Kong Mall.

I'm still working through the fish list but haven't made it very far. I have 2 cardinal tetras, 3 3-spot tetras, and 3 harlequin rasboras in another tank which is being torn down and replaced by the UNS. They are all several years old and full grown. Debating whether to keep or just replace all together.

I also have a synodontis cat and betta in the tank which are younger and I am more partial to, so they will likely be transferred. I have some cherry shrimp and amanos as well that will be transferred.

Some fish that have caught my attention so far are celestial pearl danios, chili rasboras, and the "glass" fish (i.e. glass cat, x-ray tetra, etc).

For shrimp, I plan to do various colors of rili including red, blue, orange, and carbon. I've had some crazy offspring in the past with mixed colors like this, so it's pretty fun long term. Will also have a few amanos.

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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by ange062 View Post
Thanks for the sub!



Definitely go check out ADG, but check their hours as they aren't your traditional LFS hours. And Xtreme is over at Bellaire and Boone right behind the Hong Kong Mall.

I'm still working through the fish list but haven't made it very far. I have 2 cardinal tetras, 3 3-spot tetras, and 3 harlequin rasboras in another tank which is being torn down and replaced by the UNS. They are all several years old and full grown. Debating whether to keep or just replace all together.

I also have a synodontis cat and betta in the tank which are younger and I am more partial to, so they will likely be transferred. I have some cherry shrimp and amanos as well that will be transferred.

Some fish that have caught my attention so far are celestial pearl danios, chili rasboras, and the "glass" fish (i.e. glass cat, x-ray tetra, etc).

For shrimp, I plan to do various colors of rili including red, blue, orange, and carbon. I've had some crazy offspring in the past with mixed colors like this, so it's pretty fun long term. Will also have a few amanos.
CPDs are one of my favorites. It's always tough when you have 2 or 3 older fish of a schooling group.
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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-13-2017, 06:54 PM
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Nice tank! I think that's your scape on ADG's facebook that Jeff is setting up.
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