Jahmic's planted nano 2.0 {Fluval Edge} - (3/29/11 fauna update w/ pics)
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:32 PM   #1
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Jahmic's planted nano 2.0 {Fluval Edge} - (3/29/11 fauna update w/ pics)


Here comes the learning curve


I know I've said it before, but seriously, thanks to everyone for the wealth of info on this site. I've always been into tanks, had them since as far back as I can remember as a kid. Over the last 7.5 years though, I've been moving around so much that I never picked up one after finishing college.

I had browsed a lfs a couple times, and about 2 weeks ago went in and came across a fluval edge. I had no idea what the tank was really about, but it seemed like a nice design and it was at a decent price, so I brought it home.

I started the cycle, then started wondering if I could do something a little bit more than just some gravel and fake plants with a couple fish in this little tank...so I hopped on google...then I found this site

Decided to take the dive and attempt to sustain my first planted tank. I spend a ton of time in the yard gardening in the warmer months, so it seemed like a natural progression to bring some of that landscaping / gardening indoors into an aquatic setting. So I read, read, and read some more on this site and plenty others, then started picking up a few random plants, just to see what I ended up liking and what I would be able to grow in this tank without killing it.

Current Equipment

Lighting
- (2) MR11 10w LEDs
- (2) 27W fluorescent CFL desk lamps (~16 inches from substrate)
* Desk lamps added to offset the poor light distribution in the tank due to the hood. Removed the 10w Coralife CFL from under the hood since it only exaggerated the focused light intensity in the center of the tank.

Filtration
- AquaClear 20...came with the tank

Pressurized CO2
- 20oz tank
- TPT member ASA/valve setup
- Ebay drop checker
- UpAqua glass diffuser/counter
- Brass inline check valve
- 24/7 at ~ 1bps

What's in the Tank?

Flora

- Cryptocoryne wendtii
- Anubias nana
- Taiwan Moss
- Blyxa japonica
- Ludwigia repens
- Rotala rotundifolia
...
- An experimental bit of pellia attached to a rock
- Random small floating plant that I can't ID...


Fauna

- 5 Danio erythromicron
- 2 Dario dario
- 3 Amano shrimp
- Red Cherry Shrimp colony
- 2 Nerite snails

Substrate

- Flourite

Here's a photo of the initial setup, taken 1/29/11:



First rescape, 2/5/11:




Major (and hopefully final) Rescape 2/25/11 :





Added frogbit, survived the Ich treatment. 3/24/11

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Last edited by jahmic; 04-14-2011 at 12:49 AM.. Reason: fauna update
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:41 PM   #2
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I liked the layers of sediment in the rock at the store...but when I got it home...it looked a bit awkward in the tank, I figured I'd just go with it though, no big deal.

Substrate was just pea gravel, as I'm sure you can tell. Plants: a couple crypto, a small amazon sword, anubias, bolbitis, some pygmy chain sword, and a banana plant.

At this point I just sort of crossed my fingers and hoped everything would stay alive.



After a couple days, I decided that I wanted to add some fast-growing stem plants so that I could get some nutrient uptake going and start dosing. Initial plans were to just dose Excel daily until I started noticing deficiencies, then slowly start dosing with micros to see where that got me.

So, I picked up some red ludwigia (love it) and some wisteria (don't love it, but it grows fast) and added that to the tank.

I kept reading about planting heavily with stem plants, and so...I went overboard a bit. Also decided to rescape a little bit and move the ginormous rock out of the center of the tank. It was messing with the light distribution too much, and was difficult to work around given the design of the tank. This is what I ended up with midway through rescaping:





Yea...picked up another rock. I had this bright idea that maybe a smaller rock would work better, but I didn't care for the color much once I got it into the tank (there's that learning curve again). I decided that maybe I could place a rock to either side, and create some contrast with the red and green leafed plants.

I densely planted the right side, thinking I'd leave it that way for a day or two and see how the plants did before buying and adding more to the tank. Well...they didn't like that much...just not enough light. I had originally planned on maybe adding some sort of carpet to the foreground on the left to blend with that green rock...but it was a no-go considering how the plants were doing bunched together like that.

Last edited by jahmic; 02-22-2011 at 10:42 PM..
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:59 PM   #3
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Decided to basically leave the hardscape how it was and just move the plants around a bit to give them access to more light, and let them start rooting and get established.







I gave it a few days to see what effect the change in available light had on the plants. Everything started looking better, except the bolbitis, which was still slowly melting. Granted, it's still sitting in the corner, furthest from the light...but from what I understood it doesn't really do well in high light. In fact, at the lfs, the leaves closest to the light were already melting on some plants, especially if they were emersed. I'm thinking it's more due to the roots of the plant. I tied the rhizomes to rocks, and buried the roots a bit into the substrate, leaving the rhizomes exposed. However, most of the roots on the plant were pretty dry (basically dead) when I got it at the store. Since they were all so deeply rooted and intertwined under the substrate at the lfs, I think most of any potential new growth on the roots didn't come up with the plants. I'm hoping it eventually starts to do better...but I'm doubtful at this point.

Once I was convinced that the lighting was good I waited a couple more days. Noticed that the stem plants were rooting nicely, but did start to notice deficiencies in the foliage. So, I started dosing micros with Flourish to see what effect that had.

A couple days later and I noticed a lot more new growth on everything...well...except the bolbitis

I've been testing the water's pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates on a daily basis.

pH = 7.4

Ammonia = 1.0ppm, fluctuates slightly throughout the day, but not by much. I had a "peak" of about 3.0ppm about 4 or 5 days ago, but it's been going down since then, until stalling at 1.0ppm for the past few days.

Nitrites = 0

Nitrates = Well...hard to tell. I'm using the API master kit. Comparing a tube of tap with the tank water when I test them simultaneously...there is a definite difference in color. But, the kit's first reference range is at 5.0ppm, and it's certainly not that high. I don't know the accuracy of this estimation, but I'd say maybe 3.0 ppm?

dKH = 4.0

dGH = 5.0


Right now, I'm dosing with 0.6ml Excel daily, and just started dosing with 0.7ml Flourish (weekly?) a couple days ago. Not sure if I'm going to need to dose weekly, or 2x a week.

Oh, and to satisfy my urge to stare at the tank at night before bed, I also added an LED strip for a moonlight effect. I aimed the beam up toward the hood / DIY reflector so that it gives a nice glow rather than a bright beam traveling into the tank. I love the effect, it's actually a lot more subtle in person, but I adjusted the exposure for the photo.
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Old 02-06-2011, 04:13 PM   #4
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I suppose blogs are better when you aren't posting 2 weeks of info in a single day I promise to do my best to keep up with it from this point on, haha.


I've been planning on running CO2 via a paintball setup, just waiting on the parts to get here. Other than that, just waiting on the tank to get through it's cycle before adding some fish. I've been on the fence for a few days about what to get, and finally decided that I'll be doing a small school of Celestial Pearl Danios. Wish I would've decided that sooner and done some more research, because all signs point to a darker substrate being a better option for those shy fish.

At least it gives me an excuse to change my substrate...I figure if I don't do it now, I might as well forget about it once I get the fish. I'd rather not deal with stressing them out and going through the hassle of something that significant once the tank is established...don't want to risk a mini-cycle either. So...I went ahead and ordered a bag of Seachem Flourite so that I can rescape.

The plan is to ditch that green slate in the corner...I really wanted to tie the anubias down to it and blend the rock into a carpet initially, but started picturing the outcome and still didn't like it at all.

As for that large rock, I really do like the layers...but, like I already found out, it just doesn't work in this small tank.

So, I decided what to do what any guy would do...take out a hammer and smash things

Because of the formation of the rock, it was actually really easy to "pick a spot" and crack the stone. I wrapped it up in a plastic bag (after having a shard smack me in the cheek on the first attempt...learning curve...or maybe just stupidity) and went to town. I will get pictures up in a few of the resulting pieces...going to wait til I rescape to add them to the tank.

I should have CO2 setup in about a week or so...then would like to see the ammonia get to zero and everything else in the tank stable before adding fish. I think I'll be using those little pieces of red slate, along with a few others to make a riccia carpet. I attempted to tie down some marimo with them at one point and really didn't like it at all.


Hmmm...think that's all I got for now. Suggestions are always encouraged. In fact, I'm going to grab a couple photos of the rocks now and see if some of you all can help me decide whether I need to take one more whack at it with the hammer.

Cheers.
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Old 02-06-2011, 05:02 PM   #5
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Here are the pics of the rock post-fragmentation.




I'm really liking the 2 smaller pieces; I ended up with a nice peak as well as a little plateau that I may attach the anubias to (it's currently attached to a piece of quartz that blends with the substrate).





As for that larger piece...I'm trying to decide if I should leave it as is, or take another shot at it with the hammer...I can't really figure out anyplace to break it that would produce an interesting fragment. Cracking it laterally is not an option because of the composition.



I'm thinking I may leave that larger one as is, and bury that quartz base in the substrate to create a nice pillar. There's plenty of room on top if I decide to plant something on top of that as well. I'm thinking I can place it to one side and towards the rear of the tank...planting on top of may help create some depth in this tiny tank if I get some smaller stuff in the foreground just in front of it.

Thoughts?
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:16 PM   #6
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looks great, i like the idea of the big piece in the back corner with plants on top. i have a edge also and it took 5 months of shifting things around and trying to find things that will it in the hole.

btw what add on lights did you use?
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunplameister View Post
looks great, i like the idea of the big piece in the back corner with plants on top. i have a edge also and it took 5 months of shifting things around and trying to find things that will it in the hole.

btw what add on lights did you use?

Thanks. I've been looking at plants trying to decide what I could attach to the top of that large rock...I'm definitely leaning towards that approach. Finding stuff that will fit in the hole is an issue for sure. I was initially going to scape with driftwood, but every interesting piece I found would've been a pain to get in...let alone get out without destroying the scape if the time came to clean it off after everything was established.

The lights are the MR11 LED bulbs that I think a lot of people ended up finding on Amazon.com They're the cool white version, as opposed to the warm white option that's also available. I also added a 10W coralife 50/50 bulb...zip tied to the standard assembly just like quite a few other people were able to do with this tank.I had a standard lamp socket with some wiring, so I basically just taped it up and siliconed everything up to prevent condensation from getting inside. With the LEDs and the coralife though, there really isn't much condensation to worry about at all anyway.

The moonlight is a submersible 4" LED strip that I found on ebay . Well...it was advertised as 4" with 4 LEDs, the one that showed up had 6 LEDs...but doesn't look much larger than 4"...perhaps just a newer version of the one that was pictured. But, in any case, it's completely waterproof, and has a pretty narrow beam at 90 degrees. It's the perfect size to fit right under the outflow lip of the filter though, it squeezes nicely between the lip and the glass; one end is tucked up against the intake tube, the other end is sitting nicely right on top of my heater, with the heater cord holding it nicely against the glass as well. I angled it so that it points right at that acrylic lip on the top of the tank, so it's able to get the the (coke can DIY) reflectors on the inside of the hood. Worked out perfectly...really no "mounting" of that LED, it's just sitting there and hasn't budged since I placed it. Since it floats, you only have to worry about it moving side to side, which was easy to address with the equipment in the back of the tank
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Old 02-19-2011, 01:47 PM   #8
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Rescape on the way Got a few new plants, had to get rid of the bolbitus due to melt and BBA that wouldn't go away...didn't wanna risk it spreading. Also decided to run CO2. The tank finished cycling...just waiting for the rescape and things to be stable after that to stock the tank.

Excited to finally have a decent looking tank sometime in the near future. I always loved landscaping...dunno why it never occurred to me to be a little more creative and truly get into aquascaping. Guess I was inspired by everyone else's amazing looking tanks around here. Hopefully I get to "join the club" soon.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:38 PM   #9
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This tank looks really great. Amazing transformation from the original layout to the rescape. You should think about organizing your plant list and equipment list in the first post.
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xalyx View Post
This tank looks really great. Amazing transformation from the original layout to the rescape. You should think about organizing your plant list and equipment list in the first post.
Thanks Xalyx! I think I definitely started to get a better idea of how I wanted the tank to look after that rescape. I'm going to take your advice and get the initial post more organized as well.

For a quick update, that cool sedimentary rock had a few layers of limestone (probably) in it that were messing with my KH. I did a vinegar test when I brought it home and it passed...problem was not much of the (what I'm assuming was) limestone was exposed. After noticing that my tap had a KH that was noticeable lower than the tank's (2.75 compared to 4.0), I went back to the cracked rock, broke a piece off along one of the white layers, and it started fizzing. whoops.

I'm in the middle of planning another rescape since the bolbitus didn't make it (melt + BBA outbreak that I couldn't cure when I tried to QT the plant) and I found out that the rock was a no-go. Also decided that I wanted to go with Flourite for substrate. Probably should've just done that from the beginning, but I was steered away from flourite by the lfs price on the bag...then found out that it was actually pretty affordable online.
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Old 02-23-2011, 01:50 AM   #11
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So...while I wait to rescape and give what I hope will be a great update sometime over the end of the weekend...just figured I'd post up a couple pics in the meantime. Sorry for the questionable quality of a few pics...I have a dead battery in the DSLR for the time being


Added a few amano shrimp...they spend most of their time hiding in the plants...it's like Where's Waldo with these guys. I guess on of em decided to be brave and show off a bit.




Paintball CO2 added last week, plants have been happy



The banana plant was looking stunted when I brought it home...the new growth looks amazing. That leaf spread last week, and there's another one rising up about a 1/2 each day, just waiting to open up. I know some people don't like them much...but I think it's going to fit into my final scape pretty well.



Injection running 24/7...seems to be working just fine. Yes...my 'backdrop' is a snowboard, lol. Oh...and another shrimp spotting, along with an anubias flower that is taking FOREVER to open, man these things are slow.




The splashguard I put together for about 2 bucks...cheap piece of styrene cut to size, and a few picture hangers. You can also see the 6-light LED I added for a "moonlight" affect...it's just wedged under the HOB and reflects off the inside of the hood.




DIY reflector I made for the inside of the hood using some aluminum sheeting I had laying around from one of my old indoor grow boxes.



All the equipment is good to go. Probably going to rescape later this week, then slowly start adding stock.
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Old 02-23-2011, 01:55 AM   #12
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Looks good man! Every time I see an Edge in a store, I feel compelled to buy it...
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Old 02-23-2011, 02:17 AM   #13
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Thanks!

Honestly, I had been considering getting a tank for a year. I walked into the lfs, saw the edge, and couldn't leave without it. I needed a small tank, and it was even sweeter once I got it out of the box. Granted, not the easiest thing to work with, but I have no complaints, it's been fun.
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:02 AM   #14
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So...today the substrate got changed. Got rid of the quartz gravel and swapped in some flourite. I think I did a pretty good job of planning ahead so it all went fairly smoothly. I even rinsed the smaller "sand" fragments of flourite through a wire mesh colander and into another container when I was washing it (which I did a couple days ago). Placed the sand on the bottom of the tank, then poured the substrate on top.

Had a little bit of cloudiness, but once I hooked the HOB back up (it was in a rubbermaid container with the few shrimp that I have temporarily) it cleared up within an hour or so.

This was about as nasty as it got:



All my plants are sitting in a 5-gallon bucket of tank water for the time being...going to finish planting everything tomorrow.

Managed to get started on my moss carpet. I originally just tied the moss to slate last week, and put it in the tank to get an idea of how it would look. I decided I wasn't happy with it...so I got a little bit more creative.




At first, the mesh would just float, I tried burying the edges in the substrate, but figured it'd be a PITA when I started planting and they started floating again...then I had an "ah-ha" moment.





Anchored down 2 corners on each piece just using some of that slate and a little fishing line.





I'll have to post up another update when I'm finished scaping...but I'm liking how this is coming together so far. This is my first real attempt at aquascaping...so be gentle


Seriously though...any critique would be much appreciated, just keep in mind I'm nowhere near finished
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:06 AM   #15
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I'm really hoping that the moss fills in as planned. I don't think it'll be much of a problem...it'll just take some patience. I thought about sandwiching the moss between 2 layers of mesh and stitching them together...but I just couldn't get past the thought of staring at mesh until it grew out.

Hoping that this method works out ok and it grows in just as well...while giving me the satisfaction of at least having a tiiiny bit of a carpet going in the meantime.
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