Ok, so I was setting up a new tank and decided to document the steps I take.
I've been using this method for the past 6 months or so, and a modified version for over a year. This is my first time using the AKADAMA double red line soil, but the soil doesn't matter. It's the method that is important.
Also, the UGF is built by me, according to my specifications, it works for me, but you can also buy a UGF or something similar to what I made, however the PVC UGF is extremely simple and cheap to buy (less than 8 dollars).
So here are the steps:
First, the empty tank:
As you can see, it's a standard 20 long, totally empty!
Now I position the UGF, which is a very small version, made of PVC, with holes along the inside edge of the curve. The intake of the canister filter goes into a 1/2 inch quick connect fitting.
Next, I fill in the area that will be sucking up into the canister with seachem matrix. Any biomedia will be fine, but I use seachem matrix because of the varying size and shape of the media, and the fact that it fits nicely with each piece it really helps a lot to keep soil out of the UGF holes.
So next I put in some special ingredients, some are secret! But it's mostly old sea mud, bacteria, and food for the bacteria. I only put it in the area where the UGF wont suck it in.
Next, it's time for the substrate! I fill in the entire tank to be level. So since the area above the UGF is already about 2 inches tall with the matrix and UGF, I fill in another inch over that, and so I end up with about 3 inches of substrate around the tank. This will keep the buffering for several months if not years.
All that's left is to fill it full of water and turn on the filters! My way of filling with water without cloudiness is to put the plastic bag the substrate came in on top of the substrate, then use my filler right on top of it. This filler is a 1/4 inch airline tube hooked to my sink, and the end of it is diffused by a chunk of poret foam, and placed into a bowl.
Only thing left to do is cycle the tank and put some shrimp in, woohoo!
Thanks for reading, I hope this helps some people out with setting up their own shrimp tanks!