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CAM6467 01-20-2012 05:02 AM

Coach's 29 Gallon - Cichlid Restart (Post #68)
Skip to post #68 to see my new 29g cichlid tank from the start!!!

CAM6467 01-20-2012 02:50 PM

I just placed an order for the manzanita driftwood. You can see it by following this link.

I'm purchasing items #0113, 0114, and 9009. I hope that I can make good use of these. I'll likely trim them to what I actually need. I'm planning to configure them the way I like and set them static with an epoxy base using resin and hardener so as to prevent any potential movement or nudging down the road.

Tell me what you think.


CAM6467 01-22-2012 10:07 PM

Well, I've spent the afternoon playing with things and have made a little progress toward this tank getting up and running. The MTS has gone through one solid wet/dry cycle and has recently been sifted through a wire top for my 10 gallon reptile aquarium. This worked great as an initial screening to remove all of the large stuff as well as most of the smaller clumps, rocks, and sticks that dint belong in MTS.

Here's a picture of the topsoil following the first sifting/screening:
It's going to go through several more wet/dry cycles and finer screenings. I'm thinking five total should suffice.

FTS with stand:
This sits in our office on a wall adjacent to our desk. This should provide ample opportunity to not get work done!

The inner workings:
Rena xp1, Hydor inline heater, DIY co2 reactor, test kit, refill pitcher, etc. The co2 setup isn't pictured because the tank's empty. This, by the way, is a DIY stand that I originally built for my high-tech 20L.

I painted the back glass black and went ahead and painted the inlet/output pipes with the same black krylon fusion. I'm hoping to keep the internal equipment as low key as possible. Since the tank came with black silicone sealant, I bought myself a tube of the same black silicone that I used to securely mount the pipes within the tank (this is what the green tape is all about).
I just applied a dab of silicone under each suction cup. I'm hoping that the plumbing stays put! I put the spraybar on the left side. I also drilled new holes so that the spraybar sends water out horizontally from left to right and at an angle downward from left to right. I'm hoping that this will help defeat dead spots. I do not want to put more equipment in the tank to fix dead spots.

Here's the clay that I'm using:
I've got dolomite and muriate of potash on the way, and the topsoil is well on it's way to being done.

Let me know what you think!


DishyFishy 01-22-2012 11:27 PM

Sounds like it's going to be a really nice tank, can't wait to see the hardscape. I'm gonna go ahead and put in a vote for some corydoras, they're so darn cute!!

MoeBetta 01-23-2012 04:08 AM

Looking good so far!

CAM6467 01-23-2012 02:38 PM

Since I'll be running the Coralife t5HO with 62 watts over this 29 gallon, do you think that I could grow lilaeopsis mauritiana as my foreground. I've looked at about 50 different options this morning for a foreground that would look good and fill nicely under what I consider to be "lower light".

Do you think that lilaeopsis mauritiana is a good option for this tank? Let me know what you've worked with and give me some advice. I'm having trouble getting my desired plant selection narrowed down.



Erick 01-24-2012 11:31 PM

Along for the ride. Looking good so far!!!

CAM6467 01-25-2012 02:01 AM

I've come to the conclusion that I completely underestimated just how much topsoil I would need to mineralize for this tank. I started out with a five gallon bucket 3/4 full of raw topsoil and ended up with less than a full 1/4 bucket of the powdery silk stuff following a very fine screening this afternoon. I'm pleased with these results, but I immediately knew once seeing the amount following screening that I would need to make more.... Dang it!

Here's a pictures of the MTS I made:

The new batch of MTS in the initial soak phase of the process:

I'll have enough MTS to get a great layer in the tank once this is complete. I may have previously stated that it would take a month to make this stuff, but it hasn't really taken that long for the first batch to reach that "silt-like" stage with no odor. It smells of dirt, but I'm not sure that you can get rid of the smell of dirt from dirt.

On another note, I've contemplated creating a series of tiers in the tank using stones. I'm hoping to have boundaries to separate regions of the substrate so as to avoid intermingling of plant species. I've got a conceptualization of my plan, but I haven't really drawn them up for y'all to see. I'll work on that...

Thanks for reading,


CAM6467 01-27-2012 01:30 AM

I'm going to use manzanita in my newest tank. I love the look of the thin, crooked branches poking out from around narrow leaf java fern, swords, crypts, etc.

I'm going for something like these...

As you see in these, the driftwood is a key part of the focal point for these tanks. I want the same in my tank, but I don't know how I want to arrange the driftwood. I've thought about cutting the base of each manzanita piece flat in order to attach them to a piece of one of those white plastic cutting boards which would sit smooth on the bottom of the tank.

I don't know how to describe this very well... I think that the best way to describe it is by comparing it to making a pedestal arrangement. I could secure the wood pieces using plastic screws from HD that go through pre-drilled holes through the cutting board and into the driftwood. I would place the arrangement into the empty tank, then begin laying the MTS substrate.

You are either confused or somehow understand my idea. Either way, what are your thoughts?

Doc7 01-27-2012 01:37 AM

Seems like a great build in progress here!

Are you doing the mineralization indoors or is it not winter where you are? I can't make MTS inside or my cat would probably use it for litter...

Sent from my BlackBerry 9650 using Tapatalk

CAM6467 01-27-2012 01:44 AM


Originally Posted by Doc7 (Post 1694914)
Seems like a great build in progress here!

Are you doing the mineralization indoors or is it not winter where you are? I can't make MTS inside or my cat would probably use it for litter...

I'm making it inside under a heat lamp. I'm not a cat owner, so I have avoided what I've read to be the misappropriate use of an apparently perfect litter box.

The Texas winter doesn't really start until February usually, so I still have a bit before the freezing weather gets here.

ccar2000 01-27-2012 01:52 AM

Looks like a great build! I hope you have better luck with your timer than I did. I switched over to the twin motorized clock type after mine failed

CAM6467 01-27-2012 03:32 AM


Originally Posted by ccar2000 (Post 1694944)
Looks like a great build! I hope you have better luck with your timer than I did. I switched over to the twin motorized clock type after mine failed

The timer seems fine. I used it for almost a year without a hiccup on my 20L high-tech setup. I used to have those little winding types that plug directly into the wall, but they don't have a grounding terminal...

What's new tonight:
I used GE black silicone to mount the internal hardware suction cups inside the tank. Unfortunately, I bought a cracked tube. I didn't notice the problem until I noticed that the silicone didn't ever cure.....Not even after a week!

I tore the plumbing out of the tank, slipped the suction cups off, cleaned up the black silicone that never cured, then, finally, reapplied the suction cups using GE clear silicone that I KNOW works after having used it to seal a window in my house last weekend.

I've started the second batch of MTS, and it's coming along nicely. After a few days, I drained off the initial water. I've refilled the container with new water, and now I get to enjoy the overwhelming excitement of waiting....

The potash and dolomite are on the way! I should get a package by mid next week. Also, the manzanita ought to be this way by the end of next week.

My ETF (Estimated Time of Flooding):
Hopefully by February 10th I'll have some liquid in this glass box! I'm going to spend time getting the MTS as perfect as possible and then get the hardscape and driftwood the way I envision it. Too bad my tanks rarely bear the fruit of my labor....

Plant ideas:
Narrow leaf java fern
lilaeopsis mauritiana
Some types of swords (Advice is appreciated)
Some types of crypts (Advice is appreciated)
Anubias (all types are desirable)

Crud.... I've got too much to do!

Somebody please tell me what you'd like to do if this was your tank. I like to see from your eyes, too! Help a guy out!!


Doc7 01-27-2012 12:44 PM

Why silicone in addition to suction cups? I found that it took me over a month of adjustments to find spraybar flow patterns I was happy with.

I use digital timers with battery backups and grounding terminals, also my marineland timers (the "electro-mechanical" type that I think you meant when you said winding) have grounds as well.

Look into that power center. There are some reviews out there that blame it for fires. Never experienced it myself. I like my coralife products but that one I am wary of.

Sent from my BlackBerry 9650 using Tapatalk

CAM6467 01-27-2012 01:02 PM

Fires? I'm not sure why somebody would experience fires from that product unless they have overloaded the circuit that the device is plugged into. I personally always replace the standard recepticle with a GFCI as to avoid any electrical problems down the road. I haven't had an issue with this power strip, so I'm going to put a little faith in it again this time around. All it's running are my lights, the filter, a Hydor 200 watt heater, and the solenoid for my pressurized co2 setup. I'm sure I'll have no issues...

I silicone the suction cups in place because those cups tend to release over time. I want to avoid this. As for flow, I see your point. I didn't really think about what would happen if I was not satisfied with the flow in the tank. It removes clean and easy if I should have to move the fixtures at some point.

I checked the silicone this morning and it is rock hard. The interior plumbing is complete! Now I'm just waiting on the second batch of MTS to get done (Probably three to four more days of processing).

Have a great Friday everybody!


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