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CAM6467 03-06-2011 10:43 PM

20L High-Tech Journal
Well I finally decided to get back in the game again. It's been a little over a year since I took apart my 10 gallon. It's now home to a bearded dragon in my classroom. My students get a real kick if the little guy!

I've decided that my new tank is going to be a 20 long, and I'm going high tech with it. All I have is my co2 tank, but I've ordered a few things to get started. Here's my lineup.....

1. 20 long aquarium (petsmart)
2. Pressurized co2 (w/ Milwaukee reg/solenoid/needle valve/bubble cntr)
3. Hydor in-line 200 watt heater (
4. Rena xp1 canister (
5. Eco-complete??? I used this on the 10g, but I'm open to suggestions.
6. Lighting??? I don't have anything purchased. HELP!!! T5HO is what I like.

I'm wanting to have a nice carpeting foreground plant like HC or something similar. Moss wall in the background (big maybe here). Stone hardscape with a descent slope back to front with whatever substrate I decide on. I'm going to cut some plexiglas and curve it using a butane torch. I'll then use these pieces to make small partitions at the bottom of the tank so I can use a growing substrate and some light sand for color contrast. I like that look, but we'll see how things go!

I'll try to mix in some rotala stems in the sides for that convex style that you see all over the place. I also want some nice driftwood, but I'd have to find some on the SnS. Hit me up if you have any for sale...

Also, I like reading opinions and/or suggestions. Please let me know if you know what t5ho lights and substrate would be best for this setup. I'm at a loss here...



ps. Pics to come

Geniusdudekiran 03-06-2011 11:51 PM

I think that Flourite Black would make a nice substrate. They sell it at petsmart, 5 dollars for 5 lbs.

CAM6467 03-07-2011 12:31 AM

Cool. I'll be using fluorite black when I get a chance to head to petsmart!

Thanks for the suggestion

CAM6467 03-08-2011 03:56 AM

I went to Petsmart and Petco with no luck in my search for fluorite black. I want to buy the substrate locally, but I guess that I'll end up having to order the stuff via the net. Any suggestions for a good site to get substrate?

On another note, I received email confirmation that several items are on their way to my door. It looks like I'll have my xp1 filter, Hydor in-line heater, and the new co2 equipment by the end of the week. It'll be like an early Christmas.......that I paid probably too much for. Oh well, it's going to be fun!

I also decided on a light fixture and bulbs. I picked up an Aqualight HO t5 fixture from The fixture comes with a 10k daylight and a 460nm (?) actinic that is being replaced with a 6,700 bulb. The fixture itself is something like 30.25" long and supports a 30" bulb. The tank will have 62 watts shining down on it. I'm excited about the light. I just hope that I can keep algae at bay!!

What I'm planning to do is build some plexiglas dividers that I'll "glue" along the bottom with silicone. The purpose here is to maintain a division between sand and darker substrate (If that is what I end up going with). Also, I had the idea of building differing tier heights from front to back in an attempt to create a slope look without actually sloping the substrate. If this is what I do, then I'll use stones to hide the appearance of any visible plexiglas. I know that it's hard to envision this idea, but I'm planning on getting some pictures up just as soon as I get things underway.

What I need now are some plant suggestions for the tank. I'll be having high light, EI dosing of macro and micros, neutral pH, hopefully pretty high flow rating, and pressurized co2 if it helps. I really think that blyxa would look nice, but I'm worried that my 20 long is too short to use this plant as a foreground. I'm thinking about having it in the rear corners and along the back. I'm open to your suggestions, and I love reading your posts!



CAM6467 03-09-2011 12:29 AM

I decided on a substrate. It's an product that I've read some promising things about. Take a look here.....

The fluorite just seems to be a bit pricey. I've also read that it is a mess to work with. I hope I've ordered a quality product... Time will tell.

kharma 03-09-2011 03:11 AM

I wouldn't use blyxxa as your foreground maybe some HC or glosso would look nice. Also with the light you are goign to have to raise it some for high light. If you just keep it on the tank it will be too much unless you are planning to block some of it somehow. I just went through the same dilemma with my 20g. And i finally settled on a good height for medium light.

Betta Maniac 03-09-2011 03:28 AM

I have blyxa in the foreground of my 20-long. I love it.

CAM6467 03-09-2011 03:51 AM

kharma, thanks for the suggestion. I was thinking about hanging the fixture, but it helps to know that hanging it is more of a must than a choice!

I LOVE the look of blyxa in every tank I see it in. I like the look of it as a foreground plant in larger tanks, but I'm a little concerned that it'll be a little too tall for my specific application without constant "haircuts".

Here's a list of plants that I've either worked with in the past and/or want to try this time around:

Lobelia cardinalis
Blyxa japonica
Fissidens fontanus
Ludwigia repens
Creeping Jenny
Rotala willichii
Staurogyne repens

I want to have some sort of Dutch look with this tank. What I need to get ahold of now is some manzanite driftwood. I'll post on the SnS, but please don't hesitate to hit me up with a deal if your in the market!



CAM6467 03-11-2011 04:41 AM

I got my first two shipments in today.

My new regulator setup:

Here it is on my bottle. It hooked up easily and works like a champ. I've got the needle valve adjusted to 2 bps. I love it already!

I'll be using a Rena xp1 for filtration. I'm running one on my 29g and it works very well. I should get great flow...let's just hope it's not too strong!

And this is the heater:

I've got the aquarium in my truck along with a digital timer/power strip. The lights and substrate will be here on the 15th. All is well thus far! I'm looking forward to the next week or so...


CAM6467 03-12-2011 02:15 AM

Made a Home Depot run and got the lumber to build a stand for the tank. I'm tossing a few ideas around for this stand build. I built a stand for my 29g cichlid tank a year or so ago. Here's a picture of it:

I like this style, but I'm won't be having any form of canopy over the new tank. I also doubt that I'll make raised panel doors this time around. I'll start the build tomorrow, so I'll post a few pics then...

sewingalot 03-13-2011 11:03 AM

You built that stand? It's very good!

chicken 03-13-2011 02:16 PM


Originally Posted by CAM6467 (Post 1321642)
I'll be using a Rena xp1 for filtration. I'm running one on my 29g and it works very well. I should get great flow...let's just hope it's not too strong!

I use a Rena XP1 on my 20 high, and point the spraybar towards the back. Plenty of circulation, without being overwhelming.

CAM6467 03-14-2011 03:51 AM


Originally Posted by sewingalot (Post 1323991)
You built that stand? It's very good!

Yeah, I like to do wood work when I can. I build coffee tables with tile mosaic mainly. It's how I got my bachelor's, master's, and half of my Ph.D.

My next post will have pics of the new stand in progress and a few tables so you can see what I mean by "tile mosaic coffee table".

Chicken, thanks a bunch for the advise. I'll try that technique out for sure once I get some water in the tank...... Of course that means that I need to get off my butt and away from this computer so I can go do some work!

Thanks for the comments!

Charlie.........PICS up next!!!

CAM6467 03-14-2011 04:18 AM

Tank stand build in progress!

These are in order chronologically so you can get a feel for what it takes to do this. It's really easy and a bunch of fun! Let's see who can find the most blatant mistake(s)!! Trust me, by doing this in one afternoon I made plenty of mistakes. Oh well, it's structurally sound and, as my wife puts it, pretty.

I'm putting together the frame for the stand here. I like to build two of these frames and use them to make a top and bottom frame. You'll see what I'm saying later....
Here's the top and bottom of the frame:

These two show how I built the vertical supports that go between the previously mentioned top and bottom frames:

I use this pocket-hole kit to make assembly much simpler:

Lots of clamping involved....

Frame assembled:

1/4" birch plywood as the skin...

1x4 used as trim:

A closer look at the routing profile:

And the lip to hide the tank's frame:

I worked at a friend's house while he "cleaned" the garage. Ha ha! He was having fun watching. I still need to sand it down to get rid of all the imperfections seen in the photos. Also, I obviously have not built the door. That will be a 30 minute job tomorrow. I can't wait to stain it and shellac it. This may wind up pretty nice if tomorrow goes as well as tonight did! Now I need to prepare for my wife's "loving" reaction to the new tank idea. I heard once that it's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission. Well, I'll be putting that to the test very shortly! Wish me luck!!!

Well that's it for tonight. More tomorrow.


CAM6467 03-14-2011 07:59 AM

I almost forgot. Here are some pics of tables that I've made recently.

This one was for my wife's sister as a wedding present. Western was their theme, so I made this. We put all their wedding presents on/around it. It was a blast making something like this as a gift!

A closer look at the tile work. You may not be able to tell, but I use an epoxy coating that pours over the sharp tile pieces to make a glass-like top. It's the poor lighting making it look yellowish. It's really a creme color with chocolate brown against it...

Here's the latest. It's a sofa table for our friends at church. They loved it! I had an absolute blast making this one! I used shellac over the stain and it turned out marvelous. This is what my new stand will look like, finish wise.

Again, my iPhone takes poor pics in poor lighting. The table looks so dark here, but it's actually much prettier in person. The previous pic of it in the sun is more life-like. I used the epoxy here as well, and this bad boy is HOT. I got paid a pretty penny for it, too! Don't you love it when hobbies lead to income?!?


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