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  Topic Review (Newest First)
11-20-2012 02:25 PM
Originally Posted by HunterX View Post
How is the tank going? Need some updates here !
Hah sorry I've been really bad about remembering to take pictures. I'll try to post something this week, should have some time with the holiday weekend!
11-15-2012 04:19 PM
HunterX How is the tank going? Need some updates here !
10-12-2012 02:51 PM
TheBigSleep Whelp, I've been bad about taking photos and updating. Life has been busy - the local colleges are back in full swing and someone has to wear a green spandex body suit at all the frat parties.....

Anyways.... Day 42 Update:

A lot has happened since I last posted, I'll try to remember & keep track of it all. I've moved some plants, removed some and added some others - the largest Anubias, originally planted behind the wood, is now gone and has been replaced with a mixture of Bacopa, Creeping Jenny & Limnophila Aromatica. I've done a mixed planted of these three that sort of wraps around the wood on the left side of the tank (Anubias planted on the wood are still there) and adds a lot of height/texture/color to the mix.

A few weeks ago I added a second male Fancy Guppy, an individual who was entirely head-to-tail black and looked incredible. Unfortunately, this past Monday (10/8/2012) I lost two fish - I awoke to find the Bumblebee Goby dried up & dead on the floor, and came home later to find the black guppy in the same position. I'm not sure why they decided on a suicide pact but they passed on as heroes and were given Viking burials (AKA I made rafts for them out of paper & cardboard, put them in the toilet, sang an Estonian drinking song, took a shot of vodka, set them on fire & flushed). They will be missed. I'm now down to a single guppy and three Oto's and am considering getting a single Blue Ram. The LFS has a couple that look healthy enough but aren't very colorful so I'm planning to search around before buying one.

In other news the tank is fully cycled - I don't test nearly as often as I should, but did so every day this week after the jumpers (it freaked me out but after several days of observation I believe it was all a horrible coincidence) and found no testable quantities of ammonia/nitrate/nitrite. I'm still doing regular WC's every 2-3 days seeing as it keeps me occupied and the tank seems to enjoy it.

I'll try to post updated pictures soon, but probably won't get to it until next week - I'm hosting our annual "Hogtoberfest" pig roast tonight/tomorrow and will be awake for about 24 straight roasting a 79lb pig on a spit in my yard. Good times! Anywho, thanks for reading and I hope everyone has a great weekend!
10-04-2012 08:34 PM
tiggity Similar to TheBigSleep, I use the biomax from my AC20 in the 2nd chamber. For the main filter (1st) chamber, I used the blue bonded pad I got from Petsmart:

I cut a 7" x 7" square and reused the blue frame to keep it in place. Works good!
10-04-2012 06:58 PM
golfer_d No problem....when ever you have a chance. Really appreciate your time!
10-04-2012 06:33 PM
Originally Posted by golfer_d View Post
Thank you so much for your reply.
No problemo! I'll be PMing you soonish (assuming I don't get distracted, still at work at the moment) with specific answers to your questions
10-04-2012 03:48 PM
golfer_d Thank you so much for your reply.

I think I am going to stop by the pet store after work today to get some of the ceramic rings to put in both chambers.

Should I leave the filter (the one that came with it) I have in there until the ceramic has a chance to get established?

My tank is not yet fully cycled and I am doing water changes daily. I am also going to try and do something with the water pump as it has progressively got louder and louder. Thinking some foam or something at the bottom might work?!!?

Thanks again, really appreciate it!
10-04-2012 03:27 PM
Originally Posted by golfer_d View Post
Great thread...lots of cool photos and interesting bits of information.
Thanks for taking a look!

Originally Posted by golfer_d View Post
I understand the ceramic rings (like Fluval SPEC biomax??) are the biological filter and the foam is the mechanical filter? What kind of foam did you use?
In a nutshell, yep! I'm using Aquaclear Biomax (70g-size) and a small bag of some other brand, but it's all basically the same thing. The porous ceramic provides lots of surface area for bacterial colonization, which in turn helps to break down waste. I'm using two bags of ceramic rings; one in the first chamber and one hidden in the bottom cavity of the second chamber - the first bag provides some mechanical filtration, the second is simply additional surface space for bacterial growth.

In the first chamber both the rings/foam help to physically trap waste, but honestly most of my mechanical filtration comes from water changes; I still do a 50% WC every 36-48 hours and siphon out any visible detritus from the substrate / filter chamber. Ammonia/Nitrate/Nitrite are all virtually nonexistent but I still keep up with the WC's - I could sit here and list all the reasons why, but it boils down to a simple principal: there's no substitute for the benefits that regular maintenance / water changes provide to a tank.

Also, in your case it's not too late to modify the chamber if you want to go that route! Sure it requires some effort, but if it's something you're interested in doing then don't let some extra work get in your way I found the drilling to be very easy and had it drilled / cleaned / ready to use in less than 10 minutes. Best of luck to you!
10-03-2012 10:57 PM
golfer_d Great thread...lots of cool photos and interesting bits of information.

I am thinking I might change the filter on mine as well but I am a total noob and have no real clue what I am doing.

I understand the ceramic rings (like Fluval SPEC biomax??) are the biological filter and the foam is the mechanical filter? What kind of foam did you use?

Also, nice idea with the holes drilled into the filter box area....wish I had thought of that before I got mine all filled.
09-20-2012 07:06 PM
TheBigSleep Day 20
Here's a picture update as promised... Please excuse the poor picture quality, between my crappy Nikon Coolpix, too much whiskey & very poor lighting the pictures leave a bit to be desired. Not only are they blurry but the lighting makes the tank look yellow & gross

Tank in situ: [See what I mean about the lighting?! Haha]

Banana Plants
The first Banana has put up several leaves since being introduced to the tank, most exciting of which is a bona fide 'lily pad'. The stem took about 3 days to go from 1" to a little over 1' long, and the pad has doubled in size in about 24 hours.

The stem starts at the rear corner & wraps around to the front:

Floating pad:

Wow, the water looks so nasty in that last shot... I promise it's the lighting and not the water itself

Chopped up the Cardamine the other night & spread it around a bit - this stuff is growing like mad! Less than three weeks ago it was a little 3-leaf hitchhiker and has grown like someone's paying it to.


Side-shot shows the dirt layer - I didn't bother trying to camouflage it on this side. Also visible are several new roots on the Banana Plant:

This is hands down my favorite shot of the tank thus far. Right side, as close up as my camera will allow. New growth on the C. Aponogetifolia & A. Barteri is visible, as well as algae growth on the wood:

The LED light is pretty cool. It's not the strongest thing in the world but the "moonlight" blue setting is fun to play with, especially at night:

New Plants Today
-Dwarf Sagittaria
-More Java Fern

Browsed the LFS during my lunch break today, they just got a new order and (miraculously) have some decent looking potted plants. I picked up a little pot of Dwarf Sagittaria & some tiny Java Ferns. The plan is to break up the Dwarf Sag into individual leaves & spread it amongst the Crypts. Not sure if I'm going to have it only on the right side, or possibly both - going to play around with it & find out. As for the Java Fern I'm not quite sure about placement either - picked up three little guys that may end up somewhere on the wood and may end up somewhere amongst the moss stones. We shall see!

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Added more moss stones to the front & it's starting to look closer to what I've been envisioning. The aquascape still looks a tad awkward but it's getting there! I hadn't realized how green & bushy the original moss stones have gotten until I added the new batch - unfortunately the Java Moss from my LFS isn't the healthiest looking stuff. The original batch looks much better than when first added so I'm very hopeful for the new additions.

The Water Lettuce has been, in a word, prolific. I have to trim the root-danglers every day or two and I have approximately 8-9 free floating plants [It was 8 this morning but might very well be 9 by now! One of the bigger plants is in the process of producing three other little guys], grown from the 4 I started with.

I've been flipflopping about the white substrate. On one hand I like the contrast against the dark wood & black background, but the plants are still sparse enough that it looks a bit too bright. Additionally, the quartz is starting to grow a fine algae film and although I like the look of the algae, it makes the tank look dirty. I do like the "beach" bit in the front, although if I were to do this again I'd probably use a darker substrate in the rear portion.

I've also been flipflopping about the stock list. One day I want to dedicate the tank to the Bumblebee Goby, another day I consider buying a female guppy and starting a guppy farm. Note to self: just don't rush into anything.

Speaking of the Goby I'm starting to really dislike having to dose the tank with Cyclops. No matter how little of it I use [Think less than 1 cubic mm per day] it's still a scattershot method that bothers me greatly - the water doesn't seem to be polluted because of it, but I still don't like it!

So... I guess that's about it for this update. I'll plant the Sag either tonight or tomorrow and try to post an update early next week. Hope everyone has a great weekend and thanks for reading!!!
09-19-2012 08:42 PM
Originally Posted by sessionthree View Post
Looking really nice. Man, I wouldn't mind setting one of these up at work! Is it quiet?

Mine is very quiet. The stock setup can be a bit loud if the filter pump vibrates against the sides of the back chamber, although I've set mine up with bits of foam crammed around the pump to eliminate vibrations & reduce flow. It's now so quiet I can't even tell if it's running and have to look at the current waving through the plants to make sure

I can honestly say my only complaint with this kit is the lid - it's a cheesy, flimsy little thing that I've never used but if you like the rimless/lidless acrylic look this tank is pretty alright! Best of luck with whatever you end up doing
09-19-2012 08:02 PM
sessionthree Looking really nice. Man, I wouldn't mind setting one of these up at work! Is it quiet?
09-19-2012 04:37 PM
TheBigSleep Quick Update:

I utterly failed at taking pictures last night, apologies for that. The lady is turning 21 so the festivities have distracted me [can you say hangover?! Bahaha]

Anywho, I did get a chance to cut up / replant the Cardamine & do a quick ~50% WC but that's all I got to last night. Assuming tonight doesn't kill me I'll try to have pics posted in the next day or two. There isn't any crazy growth but the plants are establishing & look pretty alright!

Speaking of plants, one of the Banana Plants has put up a floating 'lily pad'!!! Woohoo! The pad has been rising for a few days but when I got home yesterday it had surfaced & spread, and looks awesome. So psyched!!!

As an additional note, the Bumblebee Goby appears to be settling in finally. The first 24 hours it was fairly active, and then for the past few days I've seen very little of it except for when I walk into the room and scare it away. Last night I spent a few minutes observing the tank after the WC and the Goby ventured out a few times - not for very long, but it was good to see it active. And it still has a fat little stomach so apparently it's eating!!! Very relieved to see that.

Thus far my maintenance schedule has been a bit "make it up as I go", but I've consistently done:
Days 1-14: 50% water change daily at the end of each photo period (timer initially set for 6hrs week 1, 7hrs week 2, 8hrs week 3)
Days 14-19(today): 50% WC every other day, also at the end of the photo period

Question: I've been dosing a very small amount of Flourish Excel upon each WC, something to the tune of ~6 drops per ~4gallons. Should I be upping the dose a bit over time?
09-18-2012 09:03 PM
TheBigSleep Day 18

Tank is still going strong. I'll try to take some pics tonight & post them while at work tomorrow.

All of the Crypts have finished dying back and all have between 1-3 new leaves growing in, and the Anubias are all starting to adhere to the driftwood and are putting out teeny tiny shoots as well.

I've played with the stone arrangement several times and am still not quite happy with the middle / left-side foreground, although it's less awkward looking than the initial design.

I've identified a "mystery plant" that came in on the roots of one of my Crypts as Cardamine, which is growing like crazy. I placed it in the foreground late last week and over the weekend it's almost doubled in size. I'm planning to cut it into several pieces tonight & start spreading it around the left-side of the foreground - Will post pics of what I come up with!

I'm starting to see some algae growth; specifically a flat, dark green algae on the driftwood (which is starting to look awesome) and some lighter green "dots" growing on the quartz stones. I'm probably going to invest in a pair of Oto's at some point before the week ends, and then call my stock list complete for the time being.

Stock List as of Now
-1 (male) Fancy Guppy
-1 Bumblebee Goby
-2 Nerite Snails
[Soon to come: 2 Otocinclus]

Plant List as of Now [As best I can identify]
-2 Cryptocoryne Wendtii "Green Gecko"
-1 Cryptocoryne Wendtii "Bronze"
-5 Cryptocoryne Aponogetifolia
-2 Anubias Barteri
-1 Anubias Nana
-2 Nymphoides Aquatica (Banana Plant)
-6 Pistia Stratiotes (Water Lettuce)
-Taxiphyllum Barbieri (Java Moss)
-Small amounts of Lemna Minor (Duckweed)
-Cardamine Lyrata [soon to be several small pieces in multiple foreground locations]
09-15-2012 02:18 AM
tiggity Looks great! Just set up an Evolve 8 today and pretty happy with this tank
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