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Ugly Genius 07-12-2008 04:55 PM

ADA Mini-S: Riven
This tank that I've named Riven is my first foray back into the planted tank hobby after a four-year hiatus. It's really, really good to be back!

I started this ADA Mini-S on July 4. The first picture I took of it was three days later on July 7th.

Here's the tank after a week up and running.

I'm in no way as good in photography as so many people here on the forum. Coupled with the fact that my camera sucks, I can only beg forgiveness for the crappy photos. I tried.
And sorry for forgetting to put up my background.

Lighting 26W - 40W
In the beginning, light fell from a single 27W $19.00 Home Depot "Robocop" lamp. While this is a really good lamp for a tank of this size, I eventually replaced it for two 13W Ott-Lite Natural Light Supplement Plant Growth Lamps.
I found these for cheap at Home Depot. The first was on sale for $24.95 (originally $49.99) and the second one I found a day later at the same store for .01! These are really good lamps as they are the exact height as the tank and, due to their small form factor, allow for adjustable positioning around the tank.
For a couple of hours every few days, I've been turing one of the 13W lamps off and using a 13W and the 28W for a total of 40W. I've been playing with fire doing this, however, as the plants are not established yet and algae is always looking for an excuse to crash a tank party.

CO2 is supplied by a DIY mixture in a Hagen canister to a glass diffuser. (The mixture is sugar + half teaspoon of baking soda + a quarter teaspoon of bread yeast.)
Prior to the DIY -- installed on July 8th -- I used 2x the recommended dose of Flourish Excel.
Soonish, I'll be getting the ADA CO2 system, as it's so good looking -- it matches my MacBook in sexiness! One thing I can say about ADA stuff. It's sexy as hell.

I dose Nature Aquarium Goods Green Brighty Step1 and Brighty K every day; a half-pump to one pump depending on a wildly-inaccurate and borderline-paranoid intuition of mine. Water changes have been done daily with one-half to one gallon of water.

This is filtered by a Red Sea Nano-Filter. I'd go with a canister filter, but I've got this tank on my kitchen counter with no place to hide one and quite frankly, I find canister filters incredibly ugly.

I've got a very thin bottom-layer of Nature Aquarium Goods Power Sand Special S covered by a 1.5" to 2.5" layer of Nature Aquarium Goods Amazonia. I love this stuff!

It's heated by one of those small flat Hydor heaters.

I spent way too much money on the rocks. They are Manten Stones from Aqua Forest Aquarium. Please tell me you like them because like I said, I spent way too much on them.

There is no environmental theme for the plants I've chosen. (I term this method of choosing plants "NRWSE" -- for No Reason What-So-Ever.)
Actually, that's not entirely true; I picked Based On Coolness. Forevermore known as "BOC".
Glosso, because it's awesome; HC because it was close to impossible to get four years ago and, like Glosso, is awesome; a Mini Java Fern which is incredibly cool as it looks just like a regular Java Fern albeit smaller; Anubias Nana "micro" which is even smaller than "petite" and is super-duper awesome; Four-Leaf Clover for it's contrast in color and height to the Glosso and HC; a small amount of Christmas Moss is growing under the rock of Anubias because Christmas is awesome and if I can have a bit of Christmas in my tank year-round...; and Pennywort which I don't like all that much but put it in there just to see how it does.

I'm going to keep this tank algae eaters only. Right now I've got five Amanos and seven CRS. Eventually, I'll add some RCS from my 10 gallon breeding tank, but for now, I'm in love with the CRS and want to look only at them.
While I love the Amanos for their dedication to keeping tanks clean, compared to the small, beautiful red-and-white-striped CRS, they look like big, lumbering jerks. (They tend to bully the smaller shrimp in my tanks.)

Anyway, this is my first trip back into this great hobby. As I'm still very rusty and have forgotten so much, any comments or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.


mizu-chan 07-12-2008 06:01 PM

Welcome back! This tank is looking great, and has certainly made a lot of progress after only a week! :eek5:
Great looking tank, and can't wait for updates!

FrostyNYC 07-12-2008 06:18 PM

Very nice. I'm a fan.

Maybe move the glass diffuser to behind the java fern? The only other issue I see is that you have three different groundcovers, and I can definitely see them climbing all over each other and mixing once they take off.

For some reason, I think Ranunculus inundatus would look really nice in this tank. Maybe because its so small, unusual and eye catching (and doesnt require as much care as an erio or other eye catching plant)

Jack Gilvey 07-12-2008 06:57 PM

Love the tank and its name. More importantly, I clicked on a well-written and entertaining that's awesome 'round here.

Ugly Genius 07-12-2008 07:35 PM

Thanks for the comments and suggestions, guys!

mizu-chan, thanks, it's good to be back. Feels like home.
I didn't even notice how much the Glosso grew in until I looked at the photos. It seems when you stare at your own tank day after day for what seems like hour after hour, it doesn't seem to grow at all. Then you look at a photo and you're like, "Damn, I guess they weren't plastic!"

FrostyNYC, thanks! I've taken your advice and put the diffuser behind the fern. I've done one better and replaced it with a highly-sophisticated, ADA-inspired prototype not yet available in the US market: a broken-off chopstick. While glass diffusers are awesomely awesome, in a nano tank, they do tend to stick out. I wish I could find one the size of a thimble. Or what'd be even better is if someone made a glass chopstick!
As for the Glosso, Four-Leaf, and HC carpet plants, yeah, you're right. I'm going to let them compete and see who looks best. I'm hoping that they will play nice together and create a wonderful metaphor of color, texture, shape, and size for the world to see and learn from: it's the mixing and blending of all the differences that makes the world such a beautiful place!
But I'll probably end up yanking the HC and Four-Leaf as the Glosso is, metaphorically, like American pop culture -- it spreads everywhere.
If I can find Ranunculus Inundatus locally, I'm totally going to try it. You've got a good eye. I would have never picked it, but once you mentioned it, I thought, "Ah ha! That's the part that's missing!"

jgilvey, thanks! The name is a cool, if I may say so myself. It was that or Glass Container with Water and Live Inhabitants. Riven rolled off the tongue easer, though, so I picked it.
And thanks for the compliment on the post. I did spend quite a bit of time writing it. It's nice to hear that you appreciated it. It' amazing how much we can write about things so small, isn't it?

Again, thanks for the replies, guys!

mizu-chan 07-13-2008 01:17 AM

Haha, I know what you mean. Don't even notice until they need a trim (:

ZooTycoonMaster 07-13-2008 05:46 AM

I don't think the tank cycled after 1 week:confused: Crystal Red Shrimp are very sensitive to any ammonia and nitrites, so they'll be the indicator if your tank is cycled or not.

Nice tank! A little too much AquaSoil though;)

Ugly Genius 07-13-2008 03:45 PM

ZooTycoonMaster, not only are you 100% correct with regards to the insufficient cycle time, you also get good karma points for possibly and most likely saving some shrimp lives.
This morning, I moved all inhabitants out of the tank and into the ten gallon. (Fully cycled.) While I did do a partial fishless cycle and use filter material from a cycled tank prior to the planting and introduction of shrimp, the cycle on Riven was not complete.
This is to say I got impatient.
Now the tank's empty of things that move and I'll keep it that way for some time now.
While it's not as fun to look in my tank and see only water moving, I can now up the CO2 without fear of hurting the animals.

As for the Aqua Soil depth, yeah, it's a tad deep.
When I first set this tank up, I had considerably less -- 2 cm. in front, 4 cm. in back. (This is half of what ADA suggests in their "How to Layout-Making Manual".) At this depth, however, the Power Sand was floating up at the slightest provocation.
There I'd be walking through my kitchen to get something to eat and the Power Sand'd be all, "Hey, you call us, dude?"
"No, I was just getting a soda from the fridge."
"Hmm, we swore we heard you call us. Anyway, now that we're up, we'll just float around here. On the substrate. On the surface. Everywhere. So if you need us, you know where to find us."
So I buried them in the 4 cm. to 8 cm. that ADA prescribes in the manual.
Does it look really stupid so thick? Now you got me all self-conscious about it. Like when you're talking to someone and they keep picking their teeth and you can't pay attention to the conversation because you're wondering if they're trying to tell you that you have a square of parsley stuck on your front tooth from lunch.
I'm really hoping the Glosso, HC, and Four-Leaf play nice together.
The Mini Java Fern and Anubias Nana "Micro". While it's not apparent in the photo, compared to "Petite" variety the "Micro" is hella, hella small.

ZooTycoonMaster 07-14-2008 03:27 AM

I love Four-Leaf Clover:D Here's a pic of it in my 10 on July 3:

Although I think the FLC and Glosso will overshadow the HC:confused:

And about the substrate, I think it's a little too late to remove some of it if you wanted to. But a good thing about it is that the plants get more nutrients:thumbsup:

CL 07-14-2008 06:05 AM

woah! Micro anubias? Looks nice.

Ugly Genius 07-14-2008 07:55 PM

ZooTycoonMaster, very healthy looking plants!
I really dig the color and taller-than-Glosso height of FLC. Years back, I saw a Glosso carpet sprinkled with Four-Leaf Clover and it looked stunning. I'm trying to achieve that here. It's already sent out several runners per sprig of stuff I planted a week and a half ago but...
...Glosso is most certainly the fastest grower in this tank. I've already had to trim, replant, and even toss some.
As my experience with HC is limited to this tank and a brief foray in an experimental 2 gallon, I'm not certain if it's growth is slow or consistent with other people's experience.
Yeah, I'm actually quite happy that I did the substrate as deep as I did. Some of the Glosso I replanted yesterday had roots over an inch long. Glosso loves to dig deep in Aqua Soil, apparently!
BTW, the shrimp you "resuced" from this tank are all doing very well in my ten gallon breeder tank. They give you their thanks!

clwatkins10, Yeah, it's a really cool little plant. I'd never heard of it until I saw it at Aqua Forest here in San Francisco. Initially, I was skeptical and though I paid four dollar more than the "petite" for a "petite" that was nutrient starved and then labeled "micro", but I'm pretty sure this thing's legit. It's leaves are smaller than my pinky fingernail whereas a "petite's" leaves are closer in size to my ring finger fingernail.

Yesterday from Ocean Aquarium, I picked up some more shrimp. In the bag was a small clipping of a cool-looking moss that Justin, the store's owner, had been arranging in one of his tanks before he bagged my shrimp. I have no idea what kind it is, but I've planted it in a crevice of one of the rocks. Hopefully, soon enough it'll grow large enough for you guys to help me identify.

Ugly Genius 07-16-2008 04:12 AM

Here's a shot of my tank just now.
There's a picture above from roughly the same angle that was taken a couple of days ago. I'm pretty happy with the growth. (Actually, I just looked at the picture and they look pretty much the same. You have to trust me, there has been growth. Really!

The HC is kinda sorta getting itself going, but it's no match for the super-charged Glosso. (The stuff's growing crazy-quick!) The Four-Leaf Clover's holding it's own. Every day I have to cut back the Glosso, though.

Yesterday, I upped the CO2 to two canisters in an effort to get the HC kick-started. Apparently it worked, because after a day, the HC has spread quite a bit from the day prior.

I'm starting to see algae on some of the leaves. I'll hold back on feeding the plants tomorrow and do a 50% water change tonight after lights out.

I've started moving the filter from corner to corner depending on the day so as to ensure that all corners get adequate flow. Eventually, I might put another Red Sea Nano-Filter on the opposite side. (I noticed algae on the glass in "dead spots" that got inadequate flow.)

For a moment, I thought I had the start of hair algae. When I pulled it out, however, I found that it was hair. Hair from my Golden Retriever, Zooey. Zoo, you should know, adores fish. He'll stare at my tanks for hours. As a matter of fact, he's why I got into fish tanks in the first place. I saw how much he liked them and got one for my place. Now I think he'd rather I walk him than spend so much time growing plants in water.
This is Zooey. 0 WPG, no substrate, no ferts, no CO2; just food, water, walks, fetches, hugs, pets, and love.

CL 07-16-2008 04:35 AM

wow, what great growth! Cool pup too! :)

MedRed 07-16-2008 04:45 AM

Your tank looks great. Zooey is awesome. I wish I had a fish watching pup.

Ugly Genius 07-16-2008 04:59 AM

Thanks, CL and MedRed.

I'm having a ton of fun with this tank.
While I made some mistakes with the rock layout: the rocks are too small, too uncharacteristic, and too close to the glass (making cleaning the glass a major pain), the tank feels healthy to me. This feeling will pass with the first major and inevitable algae outbreak, but still, right now, I'm getting a feeling of satisfaction and contentment knowing that the plants are thriving.

I have two Goldens. Zooey, who you've met, and Franny. Franny is also a Golden Retriever, but she shows no interest in fish what-so-ever. Franny's vice is Kung fu movies. Franny loves them. Her favorite is The House of Flying Daggers.

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