11.33 gallon cube - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-05-2016, 03:44 PM Thread Starter
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11.33 gallon cube

Well I am the proud new owner of a 11.33 gallon, High Clarity Low Iron, Glass Cube.
Dimensions: 13.78" x 13.78" x 13.78"
For the stand I found an old speaker at Good Will ($6) and the fit is nearly seamless. So I gutted the inside and turned it into a storage cabinet.
So now I'm trying to figure out the best way to create an environment for the critters I'd like to keep.
Fauna plan:
1 Dwarf Puffer
3-6 Kuhli Loaches
Possibly 1-3 otos if the algae gets crazy
I know this is pushing the limits of what I can safely stock in the tank but from what I've heard Kuhlies carry a very light bio load. Does any one have any thoughts on the minimum or maximum number I should keep in this tank?
So keeping the Kuhlies in mind, I pulled out an old under gravel filter I had and I am going to try to turn it into a hiding cave for them. I think I might run a bead of silicone along 2 sides of it, to keep it from moving over time.

I also plan on adding an acrylic lid.
Here is a crude drawing of my hard scape plan.

Key:
A)under gravel filter [UGF]
B)up take from the UGF to the HOB filter
C)pile of stones
D)drift wood
E)sponge covered with moss
F)Plastic tarp
G)entry tube for kuhlies
So I am planning on putting a sheet of plastic, probably from a freezer bag, over the top of the UGF, leaving the back corner (around the filter intake) uncovered. In that corner I'll put gravel, and have the plastic rise up the side of the pile. I'll put potting soil over the plastic, and the rest of the bottom. I think I'll go about 3/4" to 1" from the tank bottom to the top of the soil. Then I'll cap the dirt with sand. I have white silica sand, but I might go with play sand instead, to give it a more natural look. Is one better for kuhlies than the other?
Letter G in the drawing is an entry tube for the kuhlies. I might do more than 1, I haven't decided yet. Any suggestions for what size tube will let the kuhlies through, but be too small for the puffer? Also I've heard that kuhlies are masters of the tight squeeze, what's the maximum size gap that should be over a filter intake?
One side of the UGF, that is up to the glass, has gaps that can be viewed through. I'm thinking about running transparent red tape along the outside of the glass, over this area. Then, hopefully, I'll be able to shine a light in and see the kuhlies without disturbing them. I would really appreciate any input any one can contribute.

2/29\16
I got a lot of good information about the girth of kuhli loaches and pea puffers in a different thread I posted. With this information, I've decided to remove the circle pate covering one of the air tube ports in the UGF, and put a short tube in. the theory is that the puffer won't be inclined to swim down the tube, and if it does then it won't be able to navigate the small space in the UGF, and will hopefully go back up. One of my biggest fears with this design is that I'll have to rip everything up to fish the puffer out of the UGF.
After boiling the water I let it sit for 2 days, emptied the water, and boiled it again. Now the water is stained red.

Now I'm imagining a tank that looks like Moses put a plague upon it. At least it's progress, hopefully the tannins will thin out soon.
I got the back panel done today. Since the tank sits in a sunny window I decided to take some reflective window film, and paint it black. The effect looks like a watery mirror.

I went this rout instead of just painting the back panel so I could easily change it if the mood ever strikes. A word of caution for anyone else who wants to try this; I put painters tape on the corner of the film, to lift it from the plastic cover. When I went to pull the tape off, the paint started lifting from the film, so I just left the tape there. If I ever do this again I'll try to get the film off with out tape, or at least use a lower tact tape.
The next step is to silicone the UGF into place. The plan is to tightly wrap the 2 outside edges in saran wrap, then run a bead of silicone along those edges. Hopefully once it dries I'll be able to lift the UGF out, leaving the silicone border in place.

2/10/16 Progress update:
1.The UGF is siliconed into place.
2.I found a tube that fits the filter and into the UGF. I covered the end of it with mesh.
3. I cut out the bars across the plate & the ring in 2 places to allow for some separation, then put the tube in.
4. I cut the rectangular tube down to size. It's about 3/4" taller than I wanted it, but I didn't want to cut through the slits.
5. I cut out the bars over the other plate to make the round entrance, and I cut out a rectangle for the other.
6. I put it all in place and covered it with plastic.

Once I was finished I played around with the placement of the wood.

The plant is just some Anubias barteri var. that I am moving from one tank to another, so I just shoved it in there for effect. I do plan on putting a bunch of Anubias nana in the crevices of the wood. I'm still boiling the top piece, right now the difference between the 2 is noticeable, but once the top one gets some age on it, I think they'll blend nicely. The 2 shapes almost fit together like a puzzle. With all of the seed material I added from other tanks, the ammonia has already dropped down to 0, and I just dosed it back up.

I got a lot done today.

The water's still a bit cloudy, but I wanted to get a picture before all of the crypts melt.

Substrate: Ecocompleet mixed and topped with Silica sand.

Plants that I know the names of: Anubias barteri var., Anubias nana, Echinodorus tenellus (dwarf sword), Ludwigia repens, Staurogyne repens, Java fern, Java moss, and Crypts that I think are; Cryptocoryne wendtii, Cryptocoryne beckettii but they were sold as "Crypt Plant".
I don't know what the 2 with the sparse large leaves, that are red on the underside, are.

The one at the top, with the small bright green leaves I found and has done well in my other tank.

There also is some moss that was found.

I positioned and zip tied the 2 pieces of wood together. The top piece of drift wood is still letting out tannin, but at a much slower rate. I decided it was good enough, since I am still cycling the tank, so will be doing a very large water change in the future. Also I plan on adding Purigin, once the filter is established.

I've put the moss I found by a stream at a couple of the peaks on the wood. Then I put Java moss across the diffuser grid in hopes that It will grow tight onto the wood.

So far everything looks good with the UGF.

Not too much sand made it down.
I might need to replace my heater. It was keeping the 3 gallon tub heated to 75* but in the big tank the temp is at 72*.

Last edited by nchmi28; 02-15-2016 at 11:58 AM. Reason: update
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
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Yesterday I went out shopping for the sea sponge and the only thing I could find, at the stores, was little tiny pieces of them. The last store I went into just happened to be next to a Petco. My kids were with me and wanted to stop in and look at the critters. Of course I made my way over to the aquarium supplies to look for things that I didn't know I needed. Low and behold there was a piece of Mopani wood that was the perfect shape and size to make the structure for the moss falls. Added bonus, it was only $6! When I went up to the register it rang up $15, but when I took the cashier to where I got it, she honored the mislabeled price. I'm boiling it, for the third time, right now. Every time I boil it for about 45 minutes, and every time the water has been darker than coffee. I hope the tannins start to thin out soon, so I can start figuring out how to Join and position the 2 pieces of wood. In the mean time I've started cycling my filter in a 4 gallon clear tub, that also has some newly acquired stem plants in it. The other piece of wood, that I bought from inside a store tank, has been moved from my 10 gallon to the cycling tub. That's all for now, as always any comments are appreciated.
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 02:15 AM Thread Starter
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Mopani Wood Tannins

This is what the water looked like after boiling this wood for the fifth time.

Once the water gets colored up, the froth on top of the boil is a bright rusty red color.
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 02:29 AM
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Wow, that water is just like coffee! Great shopping.

A lot of elegant solutions here, like it. Speaker cabinet, perfect, HOB taking from below and pouring over the moss, perfect so long as the motor is up to the task, is it? Like how the UGF will have water passing through it so the loaches will have plenty of oxygen and shelter at the same time. I think I'd add a number of openings to the hideout though.
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 03:50 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathyy View Post
Wow, that water is just like coffee! Great shopping.
A lot of elegant solutions here, like it. Speaker cabinet, perfect, HOB taking from below and pouring over the moss, perfect so long as the motor is up to the task, is it?
Thank you. I'm not sure if the motor will be able to go the distance, or not. It's an old Aqueon QuietFlow 20, that I had in storage. I had to replace the o-ring, but the clamp is loose, and it needs a zip tie, to hold it in place. I've replaced all of the media with ceramic rings and sponges, and once it's cycled I'll also probably add some Purigen. Right now I'v got it running on the tub, and if after a while, I don't think it'll cut it, I'll probably buy a new filter, then transfer the media over. I also have a smaller HOB filter i could use, but since I'm probably going to be pushing my stocking limit, I'd rather go bigger. The filter its self probably adds 2 cups of water into circulation, and when your only dealing with 11 gallons that's significant.
Quote:
Like how the UGF will have water passing through it so the loaches will have plenty of oxygen and shelter at the same time. I think I'd add a number of openings to the hideout though.
I was thinking the same thing, I was just too lazy to add it to my drawing.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 03:50 AM
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so the tunnel in the UGF will seal off the rest so the kuhlis don't go up the filter intake?

I have a bucket I soak mopani in for like 2 or 3 weeks,changing the water every day,I like your boiling idea better,probably faster.

MTS? no,I just need one more tank...
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 04:15 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MtAnimals View Post
so the tunnel in the UGF will seal off the rest so the kuhlis don't go up the filter intake?
I have a bucket I soak mopani in for like 2 or 3 weeks,changing the water every day,I like your boiling idea better,probably faster.
The tunnel(s) are just to let the fish in & out. Here is a side by side of the UGF intake port and the filter intake cover.

My plan is to butt these 2 up to each other, with a sponge sounding the sides. Some water will still flow through the sponge, which is good for beneficial bacteria build up, but most water will take the path of least resistance and be drawn straight up through the UGF. I am still a little worried that the kuhlis will be able to squeeze through these slots. I may butt them up so that the 2 sets of slots form a grid. I worry this could impede flow though. So right now I'm trying to figure out the minimum space that a kuhli loach could squeeze through, and use that to help me decide what to do.

Last edited by nchmi28; 02-07-2016 at 04:22 AM. Reason: .
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 04:34 AM
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I tried a sponge over the intake for my canister on one tank,it just clogged a lot,so seems like you'd want to keep a sponge where you could get to it easily.I wonder if a small piece of nylon netting,like from pantyhose would block off those slots so the loaches couldn't fit?

Like a small piece between the tube and the plate?

MTS? no,I just need one more tank...
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MtAnimals View Post
I tried a sponge over the intake for my canister on one tank,it just clogged a lot,so seems like you'd want to keep a sponge where you could get to it easily.I wonder if a small piece of nylon netting,like from pantyhose would block off those slots so the loaches couldn't fit?
Like a small piece between the tube and the plate?
The sponge is only going to be around the sides, and is intended to partly block the flow from the sides of the intake tube, so that the bulk of the water taken in is sucked directly from the bottom, where the tube and the plate meet. this will create more flow in the UGF as the water is sucked up from there. The other thing I could do is just forget the covering over the intake and just put the intake tube around the circle plate on the UGF, but this loosed an extra layer of preventing the loaches from getting into the intake.
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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Actually, now that I think about it, if I'm going to remove anything, to increase flow, It'll probably be the circle plate on the UGF. If I cut this out and put the end of the filter intake in it should protect the loaches. The slots on the tip of the filter intake are 1/16" apart. That should be too small for a kuhli loach to squeeze through, right?
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 01:41 PM
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Like where your going with this. And glad you're not like most people that would think they can throw in 10 puffers in there since there so little. I used to be a mod on the old dwarf puffer forum. You could safely up it to 2 puffers in that size tank as long as you have decent cover.
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chillwill007 View Post
Like where your going with this. And glad you're not like most people that would think they can throw in 10 puffers in there since there so little. I used to be a mod on the old dwarf puffer forum. You could safely up it to 2 puffers in that size tank as long as you have decent cover.
Thanks. Since you seem pretty knowledgeable about dwarf puffers, maybe you could answer a question for me. How big around are dwarf puffers? I'm trying to figure out what diameter tube to use, to make entry tunnels for the loaches to get to the UGF, but I don't want the puffer to be able to get in. What diameter tube do you think would be too small for it to fit in?
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-09-2016, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Grrrr, I just tried to post this and the page hadn't loaded & I lost it all!

I got a lot of good information about the girth of kuhli loaches and pea puffers in a different thread I posted. With this information, I've decided to remove the circle pate covering one of the air tube ports in the UGF, and put a short tube in. the theory is that the puffer won't be inclined to swim down the tube, and if it does then it won't be able to navigate the small space in the UGF, and will hopefully go back up. One of my biggest fears with this design is that I'll have to rip everything up to fish the puffer out of the UGF.
After boiling the water I let it sit for 2 days, emptied the water, and boiled it again. Now the water is stained red.

Now I'm imagining a tank that looks like Moses put a plague upon it. At least it's progress, hopefully the tannins will thin out soon.
I got the back panel done today. Since the tank sits in a sunny window I decided to take some reflective window film, and paint it black. The effect looks like a watery mirror.

I went this rout instead of just painting the back panel so I could easily change it if the mood ever strikes. A word of caution for anyone else who wants to try this; I put painters tape on the corner of the film, to lift it from the plastic cover. When I went to pull the tape off, the paint started lifting from the film, so I just left the tape there. If I ever do this again I'll try to get the film off with out tape, or at least use a lower tact tape.
The next step is to silicone the UGF into place. The plan is to tightly wrap the 2 outside edges in saran wrap, then run a bead of silicone along those edges. Hopefully once it dries I'll be able to lift the UGF out, leaving the silicone border in place.
That's all for now, I hope I remembered every thing I wrote before.
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-09-2016, 11:34 PM
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I very much like your idea of the under gravel filter serving as a cave/tunnel for kuhli loaches! I think two entry/exits might be better , allows more flow and slightly more light.

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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-10-2016, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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I very much like your idea of the under gravel filter serving as a cave/tunnel for kuhli loaches! I think two entry/exits might be better, allows more flow and slightly more light.
I also think it would be better to have 2 entrances into the loach den. I've been trying to think of a good way to make one at the front of the UGF. The issue is that the UGF is sloped down towards the front, so it gives less vertical space to work with, in the front, when making tunnels. But if I can successfully cut a rectangular pipe I have, down to size, then I think I've come up with a solution.

If I can cut this so that it just has a small lip on the bottom, then cut out a space in the UGF to snugly fit that lip, then the top part will rest on the top. This will create a barrier to keep the substrate from pouring under the UGF. Hopefully my chop saw doesn't crack the plastic.
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