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El Funko 11-01-2010 04:24 PM

El Funko's Ubiquitous 12G Long
OK, nobody here will be surprised to hear this (since you've all been there yourselves), but I've been thoroughly bitten by the planted tank bug. My wife uses the word obsessed pretty liberally...

At any rate, after only a few weeks up and running with my Fluval Edge planted tank, I convinced her to allow "just one more" tank. I researched quite a bit, and found the spot in our home where a tank could be comfortably established. I settled on a spot in our living room, atop a sofa table that's up against a wall. Since the table is long and narrow, I chose the Mr. Aqua 12G Long tank for this spot.

Mr Aqua 12G long (35.4" long, 8.4" wide and 9.4" high)
Eheim 2213
Hydor 200W ETH in-line heater
eBay lily pipes from Hong Kong
Catalina 36" T5NO single 39W light with LED moonlights (blue)
ADA CO2 with solenoid and glass (bought used on eBay - too cheap to tell!)

9 litres of ADA Aquasoil Amazonia I
Pool filter sand

Small Manzanita stump and sticks
Rocks from my back yard

Tried to choose plants that were shorter, given the dimensions of the tank
Anubias Nana "petite"
Staurogyne Repens 049
Crypt Wendtii (not so short, but looks OK in the back corner)
Needle Leaf Java Fern
Pogostemon Helferi (Downoi) My new favorite plant!
Peacock Moss
Fissidens Moss
Mini Pellia
Hemianthus Micranthemoides (HM)
Red Tiger Lily

No firm decisions yet, although I did promise my three girls (5,6, & 8) that they could each choose a male guppy...
Possible inhabitants (not all of these of course):
Small school of rummynose tetras
Move the 10 CPDs from my Fluval Edge where they're constantly in hiding
Ottos or dwarf cories
Pair of Rams

Inspiration for this tank has come from a couple of sources. Since I'm not trying to adhere to one specific style, but added elements from several, the name Ubiquitous seemed appropriate. The end results may not work, but hey, this is a learning experience, right?

First, other 12G long tanks that I've seen:
Jeff from SCAPE:

And second from others with similar driftwood:
Our own Zeldar's "10 Gallon tree stump scape":

I also bought quite a few of my plants from Zeldar, so this is in many ways a direct descendant of his...

I planned to have two sides to this tank, given the long narrow dimensions. The left side was planned to be lower light, so would have the anubias, crypts, and java fern with light blocked by floating frogbit. The right side was higher light, with the HM, and downoi. Staurogyne and mosses will be interspersed throughout. I was initially going to grow a carpet of HC on the right side as well, but space seems to be limited. I'm going to let it grow in as it is now, and decide later.

I also planned to utilize the magic ratio on each side, with a red plant on the left (Tiger Lotus) and the sand on the right.

I've learned enough to know that the thread is useless without pictures, so...

First, on to the hardscape.
I first laid out the Aquasoil with the pool filter sand, using cardboard (as demonstrated by Amano on his videos):
The rocks on the right weren't doing it for me:

Liking the rounded river-rock better, I went with it:

And added in my soaked Manzanita:

And added plants and water:

This was all back on 10/21, and the tank has been cycling since then. I did add some mature media from my other tank to the Eheim, but with the Aquasoil in there, it's still high in ammonia (4ppm) and 0 nitrite/nitrate. I also still have very low PH (seems to be 6 or lower).

Setting the hardscape was the most difficult part of this build. I initially aimed for a more iwagumi style for the right side, but couldn't find any stones that really fit. I bought some muriatic acid and set about testing stones from several different sites around my home town. Seems everything around here is limestone, so there were very few stones that would work in the aquarium. I also learned that acid is dangerous! Definitely wear goggles when testing your stones with acid (That's all I'm going to say about that...). Eventually, I settled on the riverscape look with the rounded stones. I think it works with the manzanita spread around.

Thanks to everyone on the S&S who sent me plants. Also thanks to those from whom I've taken inspiration. I hope you're more flattered than offended (I know Zeldar's good, since I already told him I was stealing his stump with anubias look...).

Since these pictures were taken I've also added more needle leaf to the back left, a red tiger lotus on the left at the "Magic Ratio," and some frogbit that floats over the lower-light side (anubias, crypts, and java fern). I also superglued some mini pellia onto the stump, and put some fissidens and peacock moss in the top where it's above the water line. We'll see if it grows there (and doesn't get burned by the light). Some fissidens was also attached to several rocks and placed in the middle "river bed" area.

Now that the water's cleared up a little, I'll take some new pictures. I'm also beginning to see some algae. The rocks on the left side of the sand river are beginning to grow some thread/hair algae. I initially had this set up on a timer with my other tank at 10 hrs/day, so I've moved it to its own timer and cut the photoperiod down to 8 hrs (3hrs in the AM and 5 in the PM - 6 hr siesta in between).

No ferts yet, other than some micros in the form of Flourish Comprehensive. I've ordered dry ferts from Rex, when they arrive I'll begin a regimen (PPS-pro, EI, PMDD, still need to decide). Almost everything I've planted has roots, so I figured the Aquasoil would keep them going until I dosed the water column.

Well, that's it so far. My feelings won't be hurt if you don't like it. Critical feedback is better than no feedback!


ua hua 11-01-2010 05:40 PM

It looks like your off to a really good start. I like the driftwood stump. I really like the footprint to this tank and plan on moving my CRS into this same tank sometime soon. I like seeing others using this tank too, so I have some ideas for design since it is such a shallow tank.

MrJG 11-01-2010 06:02 PM

Great start. That small stump is quite awesome and is sized perfectly for the tank.

Good idea on dropping the photoperiod but some algae starting up a new tank is almost expected (especially hair/diatoms). Crank the CO2 and let it ride.

Matty 11-01-2010 06:05 PM

Love the 12g long, never seen one. Also, where did you find that killer stump like driftwood?

El Funko 11-01-2010 06:37 PM


Originally Posted by Matty (Post 1192873)
Also, where did you find that killer stump like driftwood?

Bought at They were awesome. I called them up and told them what I was looking for. The guy I talked with went out into the warehouse and picked through the ones that he thought would fit, and gave me the stock number to look at on the site. For a few extra $ he threw in a few extra "sticks" that I could use to complement the stump.

gotcheaprice 11-01-2010 11:31 PM

Wow, very nice tank! I might have to get a 12g long myself some time.

Originally Posted by El Funko (Post 1192895)
Bought at They were awesome. I called them up and told them what I was looking for. The guy I talked with went out into the warehouse and picked through the ones that he thought would fit, and gave me the stock number to look at on the site. For a few extra $ he threw in a few extra "sticks" that I could use to complement the stump.

Ah, I had a slightly different experience from them =/ Emailed and called them and they told me that they'd update their site with the stumps. When they did, they were all too big so I tried getting in contact with them again (voice mail and email) but they didn't respond. So I ended up doing a rock scape (which I'm satisfied with, but your stump makes me jealous:icon_mad:). Maybe I'll try again when I set up my nano.

El Funko 11-03-2010 12:19 AM

OK, finally got some pictures of the most recent plantings. I'm still dealing with algae, and as posted above have reduced the photoperiod and increased the rate of CO2. No inhabitants yet, so I guess I can crank it right up...

Tonight I manually removed as much of the hair algae as I could with a brush. These pictures were taken after the cleaning.


Left Side:

Right side:

Closeup of some of the algae on the fissidens rocks:

and on the rocks:

After doing a lot of research on the algae, and how best to handle it, I'm really trying to practice the most important rule: patience...

I'm also unhappy with the frogbit. I believe that the roots have grown so long because of a lack of nitrates. I'm still cycling, and have 0 nitrite and nitrate. The ammonia just started dropping from 4 ppm two days ago, to 2 ppm today. That's the first change in the cycle that started on 10/21 with seeded filter media. After the cycle is competed, I'm hoping that the roots will stay shorted. Oh, and you may have noticed that the crypts on the left side have all started melting. I've been expecting that. At least there are new leaves coming on most of the plants. The HM behind the rock on the right side has almost doubled in height, so it seems happy.

Patience, patience, patience... I'd love to be able to throw some ottos or shrimp in here to start cleaning up the algae. Patience, patience, patience.

Matty 11-04-2010 02:20 PM

How are you best combating the hair algae? I've got some growing and it just wont go away.

El Funko 11-04-2010 04:53 PM

Well, last night I performed a thorough cleaning, while siphoning off the pieces during a water change. The tank looked much better afterward.

I had to get up early for work this morning, and came into my living room about 15 minutes before the lights were scheduled to come on... and they were already on! I looked at the timer, and there was an additional cycle start timed for Midnight. Since my CO2 solenoid is plugged into a different timer to get started before the lights come on, I've been adding another 7 hours of light with no CO2 for the last few weeks. I'm guessing that explains my outbreak. While I thought the lights had been reduced to 8 hours, they were really only reduced to 15 hours (7 with no CO2). Sounds like a recipe for algae!

But really, since I'm still cycling this tank, I'm just trying to hold it at bay until the cycle ends, and I stock with algae eaters and start a dosing regime (I'll actually start dosing once the dry ferts arrive from Rex Grigg). As I said above, my only real tactic at this point is patience.

Ammonia still at 2ppm... 0 nitrites/0 nitrates.

EntoCraig 11-04-2010 05:11 PM

I love the "stump" peice on the left of the tank. great find on that one.

El Funko 11-08-2010 01:45 AM

Today I performed a thorough cleaning of the tank, trying to get as much algae off as I could during the draining of the tank. I was also sick of the hugely long roots on the frogbit, so I enlisted my 6 year old daughter to help me trim them all.

Still cycling, ammonia's down to .5 ppm, 0 nitrites/nitrates.


Left Side, with stump - showing the shortened frogbit roots:

Right side:

Still lots of algae as you can see... I'm just biding my time until I can get cycled and add ferts. Some algae eaters won't hurt either...

That's all for today. Hopefully next pics will include FISH!

MrJG 11-08-2010 01:49 AM

Hang in there with the hair algae. It seems to be the one I get during almost every "new" tank setup. Once things settle in it should subside... granted having the light on for an extra 8 hours didn't help! :hihi:

El Funko 11-08-2010 09:03 PM

I'm not real crazy about the narrow leaf java fern that's behind the stump. It's just too tall for this short tank. There are some melted crypt wendtii on the left side, and in the back corner that will come back (and may be too big when they do). If I remove the java fern, what could go in its place? I'm thinking tenellus... Opinions?

tlef316 11-08-2010 09:12 PM

Great tank. It looks WAY larger than a 12 gallon. Love it.

VadimShevchuk 11-08-2010 11:42 PM

Beautiful tank so far. Did you use up all of the amazonia or did you have leftovers? I really love that tree and i hope i can find something like that for my tank. Off to a great start and nice to see a local too.

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