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demonr6 12-01-2011 01:04 PM

20L dirt tank - Update 12-20-11 post #8
I am finally getting around to setting up my 20L so journal time!

Here is a link to another thread trying to get some feedback but the Aquascaping subforum gets no love I guess.

The Finnex in my sig was sacrificed in order for this tank to happen so goodbye to that tank. I had my reasons for wanting it to disappear anyways so on with that.

Pics of the initial layout(s). I'm not firm on one or the other but have to make my decision so I can start to flood it some to get the dirt working. I am using a mix of organic soil from the evil blue box store and Scott's topsoil. The cap is new to me as well, Zeobrite Zeolite.

Layout 1

Layout 2

The top of the tank is derimmed as you can see by the pics. I am going to see if the natural light throughout the day will do for this but I can supplement the light if I see things are not working out. The side of the house is on the west sort of so it does not get direct light until later in the afternoon but there is light throughout the day albeit diffused. If I can get away without having to supplement the natural light then bonus.

No idea what I will stock it with but flora I can say there will be moss tied to the branches making it look like a tree. I want to use either staurogene or java ferns around the base. I do have anubias nana petite that will eventually make home along the middle trunk of the wood and other random areas. Not knowing how the light will play into this I will say this would be low maintenance plants perhaps medium light will work as well. No plans for C02, can't afford it much as I would like to.

I have my ZM 501 I can use to get filtration for now. If I plant heavily enough then perhaps I can skip the canister and go with a simple powerhead/foam filter set up with another powerhead across the tank to provide water flow or I can just keep the ZM with the basic sponge filter and fill the other side with floss to keep the water extra clean and provide movement with the lily pipe. I would still go with the powerhead/filter as supplemental.

Patriot 12-01-2011 01:05 PM

subscribed!! can't wait to see it

demonr6 12-01-2011 01:24 PM


Originally Posted by Patriot100% (Post 1616224)
subscribed!! can't wait to see it

Me too! I am really hoping this ends up a beaut. Here is a sneak peek at the 55. ;)

Sorry for the crappy pics but the tank is on a wall opposite facing the window and will never be easy to photograph. I've tried a number of different options and nothing works unfortunately.

diwu13 12-01-2011 02:53 PM

Great DW pieces. Any chance you're de-rim the bottom of the 20L? It looks kinda weird being all clean on top with the black rim on the bottom.

I definitely like layout too better as it gives you options on the left side and draws your attention to the branches of the DW instead of the trunk. I like the sound of tying moss, but it'll be hard to make it look like a tree unless you make it like a tree fallen over. Which would also be really cool. The way the DW is shaped you could add in a little cave under if you'd like. All suggestions so don't take anything to heart.

Btw... your profile picture is exactly what I'm waiting for in my tank. I want one of my shrimps to land on my HUGE marimo ball, but they always perch on the side of it!!! ARGHHH

demonr6 12-01-2011 03:59 PM

There is a little cave sort of but I wanted to make it more predominant in the final. That whole underside of the trunk I wanted to use as a cave like area. I have another branch that I want to use in the left corner, rear but it's soaking right now. It will go bottom right to top left. This one will go in to soak tonight as well.

I would de-rim the bottom but I am afraid of it not being able to hold. Never done this to a 20L top, much less both top & bottom.

Layouts, I can certainly make changes, I have more on hand.

I can bust out this layout..


Or the sea monster as I like to call it which is two pieces I would have to attach..


diwu13 12-01-2011 04:11 PM

Man you're so lucky to have access to all those nice pieces of DW. That "sea monster" setup made me laugh. From your last post I think your first and 2nd layouts are SUPER plain. I like the sea monster setup or the original one you had in your OP. In both of those you can make a cave (glad you were planning on making one anyway!) and have lots of options to scape around and on.

As for derimming the bottom. To be honest I'm afraid of derimming my 10gallons ha! But I have seen many people derim both the top and bottom of the 20L. From what I read you'd wanna absolutely make sure your stand is level so the pressure is applied evenly on the bottom glass. The bottom rim takes the pressure so you're only putting pressure on the outsides of the tank, so removing that makes it kinda dangerous if you're not level. One key thing to remember is if there are cross bracings on the plastic on the top AND bottom black parts, then its not safe to derim. I'm pretty sure your 55 gallon has those bracings?

demonr6 12-01-2011 04:43 PM

The 55 has those and no way would I even consider it for that tank. This one though I am still up in the air on the bottom. I am with you on the original or the sea monster. Guess what the tank would be named.. LOL

demonr6 12-21-2011 03:22 AM

Tank progress pics - updated 06/14/2012
Boy this took too long. In the process of soaking the driftwood I managed to kill all the plants I had taken from my two retired tanks, killed a bunch of new plants I bought, killed a bunch of plants I collected and after looking at the state of the latest batch I collected they were starting to die so I kicked myself in the behind and got this done tonight.

For starters I decided to go with mostly crypts in this tank - Wendtii Red & Tropica. There is also a couple of stems of Cardamine Lyrata, Hygrophila Difformis (Water Wisteria), some Anubias Nana that managed to survive the first die off and from my weekend collection run there is Hornwort and the branch is covered with some Willow Moss. I think the Hornwort is on the way out because I dipped it in PP then a bleach solution and found it yesterday in awful shape. It was really green when I first brought it home and lush then the day after the dip more than half of the plants had lost all their leaves and looked like they were done for. You touch them and they fall apart. What is in here was the survivors. The moss is looking like hell too and this is the best of the bunch. I still have an entire huge bucket left and I may get creative with that. I am hoping it bounces back. I will add some foreground cover along the left front but intend to leave the other open areas as is.

The two rocks in the front were also collected at the springs, covered in some neat algae. There are three more but right now they are on the wood trying to get it to stay down as it still wants to float. I will figure something out this weekend to weigh it down so I can move the rocks back into place where I had them.

For now I am using my ZooMed canister until this weekend when I order a new canister and a small powerhead to help improve water flow across the tank. I am also still sorting the light situation and am counting on the sunlight from the window to suffice for a couple of weeks supplemented with the two lights you see in the pic. I may just pick up a couple of desk lamps then throw some CFL's in there till I decide on where to go with the lights. Half-assed improvisation is necessary sometimes..

As mentioned in the OP staying true to my dirt aspirations this is using organic soil capped with Zeobrite Zeolite which took me a good number of washes to get to run clear. We will see how it works out as a cap material. It looks nicer I think that stark white sand. I know even that changes over time but I like the grains of this much better.

Not the slightest clue as to fauna except I may go with mainly shrimp and something that won't eat them. :)

Feel free to throw in your comments, suggestions etc as they are always welcome. I do not intend to do any major rescaping as I like it as is.. it suits my taste.

Pics are not the greatest and I will get some better taken tomorrow.

Updated 06/14/2012




and the shrimp colony thriving (and snails unfortunately)




and you can see someone is preggers in this one..


reddhawkk 01-01-2012 03:51 PM

I think your tank looks great! I have a question though. I am getting back into the hobby after having been out of it for about 15-20 years, what is the reason for taking the rim off of the tank? Is it just aesthetics?

toastedtoast 01-01-2012 04:12 PM

I really like the final wood arrangement you chose, the arch on the left seems to balance the heavier right side really well.

demonr6 01-01-2012 09:53 PM


Originally Posted by reddhawkk (Post 1656315)
I think your tank looks great! I have a question though. I am getting back into the hobby after having been out of it for about 15-20 years, what is the reason for taking the rim off of the tank? Is it just aesthetics?

Thanks! It is pure aesthetics.. have to be careful as the edges can be rough and sharp.

audioaficionado 01-04-2012 04:01 AM

Looks good derimmed. I'm thinking of derimming my 20L or maybe even a 40B someday. One way to hide the bottom frame would be to have raised edges on the stand or a drop down wood frame to act as a false stand top.

demonr6 01-04-2012 01:54 PM

That is what I am thinking of doing when I build the stand but honestly it is not that much of an eye sore to me anyways. If I wanted a tech tank I would have sold a kidney and bought an ADA. ;)

demonr6 01-11-2012 08:24 PM

Built a new stand this morning.. I was bored at home.

I still need a top piece for the tank to sit on and debating how much more work I want to do making it pretty. I will have a lower portion so I can store my things under it, lighting for the interior along with a power strip inside as well. Whether or not I go through a lot of work to face the outside is the issue. I could fill in the gaps and stain it, let it go open like it is now or try something with the outside. Dunno, undecided..

It turned out okay, the best I can do with limited tools and no woodworking experience. But hey, I didn't cut off any appendages, there was no blood spilled and not one call to the paramedics so for that I salute myself with a beer!

audioaficionado 01-12-2012 09:31 AM

Just remember: always wait until after you are done for the day to drink the beer(s) ;)

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