Life had forced me out of this hobby for quite a few years, but now I'm older, more settled, and coming back. My wife and I have a lovely blackwater tank in our living room that has survived all the years, but it's not something I want to get in and tweak. And a failed experiment
with having Amazon ship out several Fluval Spec IIIs (they all ended up leaking, not good when it's on your desk) only served to make me want it more
One night whilst trolling Amazon, I came across a Landen 45P low-iron rimless tank. It's clearly "inspired" by ADA, but the $70 price made me give it a shot. It's here, and it's lovely. The seams are perfect, the glass is clear (I've spent most of my life doing R&D work for machine vision, so I get optics, lighting, and the relation between the two) and I'm really pleased with my purchase.
Having said that, I'm not letting money be an object on this one. The Landen 45P is 17.7" x 11.8" x 11.8" (10.7 gallons) and if a perfect match for a small cherry stand i already have. Should make for a great tank in my office (I work from home) where I spend 16 hours a day, 6 days a week.
It's sitting, filled with ADA Amazonia, waiting on the rest of my hardscape to get here. The plan is a study in contrast, with all the biomass in a center island.
I've two perfect manzanita branches (and a handful of extras) coming to work into the wood mound, which will extend beyond the tank. I'll be hanging a pendant with a 38watt PAR38 5500K lamp, and will set the height so the center of the tank is bright and light falls off outside the river stones.
Landen 45P tank
23"x12"X32" Cherry stand
38w PAR38 lamp
*optional, but I suspect will be needed*
Marina HOB refugium (more on this later) with fugeray 11" light
Custom tank backing with Phillips programmable HUE lamps to highlight
More than likely I'll add a reef controller to carefully monitor pH and redox, as well as control CO2 and lighting.
I've chosen small branches and manzanita very carefully, as I want three basic colors of wood to show through gaps the moss covering. Malay driftwood gives a rich brown, mopani wood has been selected and positioned so that the light side is towards the viewer, and the manzanita is freshly sandblasted. I can't wait until it gets here.
For plants, I want the same sort of contrast in texture and color. the stocking list:
Riccia (I'll kick myself for this, I know)
Most of this came from members right here at TPT. Even the stuff still in the mail
Playing with the light by hand, I've figured out where the beam will focus at the height I want
to hang it at. That's the ring of stones, which will be covered in riccia. The narrow beam of the PAR38 quickly falls off leaving the outer edges much darker. Of course, this will depend on how and where I can place my emergent branches, which will be the clear highlight of the tank with Hydro. japan growing up the branch and out of the tank.
The Blyxa, rotala mini #1 and S repens should each add their own unique texture and color, and i think the contrast should look beautiful. the idea is that everything stays short, except the Hydro. japan which hopefully will creep up the wood and give some nice floating/emersed growth. We shall see.
I've got a Marina HOB refugium here, with a FugeRay light that fits it. I'm worried that the lack of nutrient suckers will make things hard to balance if I provide enough light to tickle the top of the Blyxa red. My plan there is to add an opaque white background, with a couple Phillips Hue lights focused to give a nice pink glow from the bottom up — which will hide the refugium that I can fill with najas or water sprite to use as an algae buster.
The tank water will be reconstituted RO (I never stopped breeding shrimp so i have plenty of GH booster), pushed hard enough to hit the magic 30ppm CO2 while keeping the pH over 6.5.
Any fauna will depend on what it takes to keep the algae at bay, and I'll be completely happy if I never add even a snail. Of course, I'll be happier to put a few SSS CRS in there, but all that will wait until I see how the water turns out.
I expect a lot of algae, a lot of fiddling with things, and a lot of fun.
Will update as I progress.