GLA 6g Rimless 36-L - The Fusion Tank (Nature, Iwagumi...Who Knows?)
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:33 AM   #1
Brian_Cali77
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GLA 6g Rimless 36-L - The Fusion Tank (Nature, Iwagumi...Who Knows?)


What's up TPT, I'm actually active in a couple forums and I decided that with the success I'm having with my new project that I started, I thought I'd like to share here as well...

And the story starts on 9/5/12...

Well after a good few years back in the hobby, I decided to start yet another nano aquarium, this time a rimless Iwagumi inspired scape (my first attempt so be kind). I poured through quite a few options and compared ADA, Do!Aqua, Mr. Aqua, Schuber Wright, and FINALLY decided on a GLA. Why? Well in terms of Low Iron high visibility glass on a rimless, the only competition in terms of 'value' that I can find are the Schuber Wright aquariums (which the beveled glass threw me off) and the Mr. Aqua 7.5g cube (which I didn't want another cube). I decided to spend a little extra on myself, but not ADA extra, since I'm still a starving student. Yes ADA is the cream of the crop (based on quality and established reputation), but I wanted to break away from the norm and save on some cash in the process, while still following 'some' of the principles associated with Iwagumi planted scapes. I finally decided on the GLA Low Iron Green Leaf Rimless Aquarium 36-L because it fell on the sweet spot of value, quality, and the right size I was looking for. Plus, I was impressed with how fast the GLA's customer service was in responding to my inquiries. That sealed the deal and the order was placed! :thumb:

All I have now is the tank, lighting, and substrate. I'll be ordering things online and taking some trips to the LFS's. But here's the list so far, feel free to critique it or comment.


The Rundown (Already Acquired and In-Progress / Planning):

Hardware:
Tank - GLA 36-L (Dimensions approx. 15" x 9" x 11", 6g, 5mm glass thickness)
Light - Finnex 16" Ray 2 DD (9 Watts: 88 HO LEDs, 7000k daylight)
Filter - Fluval 106
CO2 - Aquatek paintball regulator w/ solenoid


Substrate: Fluval Stratum, Floramax, and Sand
Hardscape: Yamaya Stone, Manzanita DW

Flora:
HC, Hemianthus callitrichoides
Rotala Colorata
Pogostemon Erectus
Ludwigia sp. Red
Echinodorus tenellus
staurogyne repens
Flame Moss

Planned Fauna:
Yellow (Neocaridina heteropoda var. Yellow), Tangerine Tiger (Caridina serrata) or Fire Red Shrimp (Neocaridina heteropoda var. Fire Red)
Galaxy or Chili Rasboras later long after a healthy population of shrimp is established.

Dosing:
Seachem Flourish, Excel, and API Leaf Zone until the liquids run out. Will be mixing up dry ferts after, just got my order from GLA with my tank. Undecided with the whole EI or PPS-Pro dosing, still need to read up on it.

And some pictures:
Hmm, look was the kind UPS lady brought me!


Excellent packing on the part of GLA! The tank was packed in a thick box within a box with plenty of styrofoam to protect the glass.


NO... it's not ADA, so what! LOL


The Finnex Ray 2 16" fixture:


The tank and the fixture (I'll most likely suspend the fixture, more on that later).


The pic doesn't do it justice, but WOW this Finnex Ray 2 is BRIGHT!

Last edited by Brian_Cali77; 08-06-2013 at 10:29 PM.. Reason: Forgot to add some flora to the list..
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:36 AM   #2
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Update from 9/13/12...

Coming along slowly but surely.. Just got my filter and co2 equipment. I'll be headed to the LFS for some rocks and maybe some driftwood.. Looking for a small piece of Manzanita branch.

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Old 10-01-2012, 07:41 AM   #3
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Update from 9/16/12...

I installed the Fluval 106. Had to measure everything and cut the tubing. Looks okay... better than an HOB IMO.


Here are the goodies I picked up:


Added the first layer of Floramax with some decent sloping action:


Here's a pic with some experimental malaysian dw (still gonna go with a more subtle manzanita) and 3lbs of yamaya stones:


And lastly, I added in the Fluval Stratum, sand, and removed the dw.


On a side note... although the Fluval 106 intake/outflow pipes are okay and will have to do for now, the way they're looking is making me want to cough up some more dough for some glass lily pipes. Unfortunately, those will have to wait due to budget restraints..

I'll probably be working on suspending the light fixture soon.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:43 AM   #4
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Update from 9/24/12...

DIY suspension for the Finnex Ray 2 light fixture:

Materials:
-EKBY HÅLL Ikea Shelf Brackets x 2 = $8 ($4 each)
-3/32" wire rope from Home Depot = .60 cents
-Fishing Line = FREE off my fishing rod.
-Jewelry crimp-able closures from Michael's = $3
-Jewelry clamp/hooks = $3

Total Cost = $14.60

Took me a few hours to finally suspend the light fixture. I slowly gathered material from various places while out on errands for other things. Anyway, got stuff from Ikea, Home Depot, and Michael's. The hardest part was trying to measure and get everything straight. Also tying the palomar knots and basic knots wasn't that easy too (well basics are)...LOL

Some minor adjustments on height might still be needed. I would have planted this tank by now but the plants that I intend to use are sitting in my other tank in which I just discovered has some Hydra Polyps in it. I'm going to have to address that problem first because I do not want to introduce those pests to my new tank; especially, since I'm going to be keeping shrimp.

Now for some pics:

Materials and implementation of the thick gauge wires I found to fit PERFECTLY in the grooves where the stock plastic docking mounts slide into. If you intend to do this, either bring your measurements with you to Home Depot or bring your fixture with you (which I did) so the friendly Home Depot employee can cut it to size for you.


Once I inserted the wires, I got the jewelry closures and crimped them down with some needle-nosed pliers pretty tight on the ends. I thought I would have to put some epoxy or something to strengthen the hold, but they appear to be pretty tight without the need for glue. The closures conveniently have an eye at one end where I can thread the fishing line through... the tough part was tying the palomar knots there (hint: look up an instructional video on youtube if you don't know how to tie this knot).


Ikea shelf brackets and some hooks I found in the DIY jewelry section of Michael's. I'm only using the hooks as a quick disconnect to remove the fixture for aquarium maintenance. These particular hooks do not fit over the curled ends of the shelf brackets. I just tied a loop of fishing line over the curled rod iron under the brackets which then attaches to the jewlery hooks, which has another piece of fishing line tied to connect to the fixture.


And the final product pics:




Look ma... no mounting docks! Except for the pesky power cord, it appears to be floating! (umm, sorta).. LOL
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:46 AM   #5
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Update time....9/26/12

The eagle has landed! I'm now planted and up and running...

This was my first time working with Fluval Stratum (FS) so I poked around a bit online and read how cloudy it can get when disturbed. So I took extra precaution in filling up my tank SLOWLY and with a plate to deflect the water I was pouring in with the bucket.

I also got some mulm I siphoned out with some tank water from my established aquarium to pour in the GLA tank. I had an extra flourish root tab sitting around so I broke that in to several pieces and embedded it in the substrate in various places as well. Although I had some issues with how light the FS is, it wasn't too bad (so far); at least not as bad as some of the complaints I read out there. I had some chunks and stems of the HC dislodge and float from the FS as I was filling the tank with water (albeit being careful), but I was able to replant with some tweezers.

The Fluval 106 filter is working like a charm. I decided to not use the activated carbon that came with the filter. Instead, I cut out a piece of filter floss to provide a little extra polishing in case the substrate decides to get dusty/cloudy. I also seeded the biomax compartment with biomax from my established tank's filter. I love the self priming featuring of this filter by the way. Turning on the filter, I was afraid everything was going to get blown away, especially my HC. But so far so good! It's running super quietly and I'm glad there's a flow control to make it more appropriate for a 6g nano tank. We'll just have to pretend the lovely black, white, and opaque (intake/outflow) stock equipment are sexy glass lily pipes for now... haha.. it's not so bad to have an imagination...right? :brows:

Well... after several hours of prep and planting... here are the pics! It's not very Iwagumi.. but hey, like my title implies.... it's Iwagumi "Inspired"... meaning, I get to throw my own twist on it.

Filled with some mulm and tank water... with heavy spritzing from a spray bottle. Oh, and I found a decent piece of manzanita branch.




Tied some cotton thread around the manzanita branch to secure the Flame Moss. This was my first attempt at using moss of any sort. Hope it fills in nicely.


And post-flooding the tank. I'm really surprised at how clear the tank is. Taking care in gently pouring in water and not disturbing the substrate really helps. The instructions on the Fluval Stratum say to rinse well, while others who have used it (also) say not to. I think the people who complain about this substrate being super cloudy, followed the instructions or just dumped water in the tank. I did not rinse it and the extra care I took by not disturbing the substrate paid off.





Thanks for reading!
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:12 PM   #6
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That's a beautiful tank. I can't wait to see it filled in.
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:09 PM   #7
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Very nice, keep us posted!
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:50 PM   #8
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What is that very thin, long, glass-like plant behind your driftwood? I really like it!

Overall, I usually don't like the sparseness of Iwagumi tanks, just a personal taste thing. What you have done here has a lot more 'stuff' in it while still having a really nice sparse look to it. I find the balance you've achieved right up my alley.
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Old 10-01-2012, 05:20 PM   #9
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Lovely tank and set up - great journal too. Hope it all works out for you
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:22 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone! I'm glad you guys like it. I know it's not up to par with everyone's taste (especially hardcore ADA folks), but I'm excited about it nonetheless. I know it will look A LOT better with glass pipes, but that will come later.

@Talkyn... The grass-like plant in the back is actually Pygmy Chain Sword (echinodorus tenellus). I was told by someone in another forum that it's usually not that tall. So I'm worried about if I should keep it, especially how I read it will shoot runners and try to spread far. Never worked with that plant before so I don't really know what to expect? I'm considering switching it out to a taller variety of DHG (Eleocharis acicularis)? Oh and the whole "don't like the sparseness of Iwagumi tanks" thing, I agree... Although I can appreciate the minimalistic and simplicity of true Iwagumi scaped tanks, I decided to adopt 'some' principles while steering this scape in my own direction (thus the 'inspired' word in my title). Glad someone else sees my perspective.

What do you guys think about switching out the e. tenellus for e. acicularis?
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:15 PM   #11
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nice! i saw you comment on my question about lighting for my GLA. I really love my new GLA tank. they look great huh?

Just curious, but how much did your co2 setup run you? Originally I was planning on doing low-tech tank.. but now maybe co2.. i just don't want to spend $200-$300 on a co2 setup.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramen lover View Post
nice! i saw you comment on my question about lighting for my GLA. I really love my new GLA tank. they look great huh?

Just curious, but how much did your co2 setup run you? Originally I was planning on doing low-tech tank.. but now maybe co2.. i just don't want to spend $200-$300 on a co2 setup.
You know i was exactly in your shoes too not too long ago. To save money i bought the Aquatek paintball regulator.. They used to be around $100, but they've dropped the price to $80 + free shipping (don't know for how long though) through their Ebay store. It comes with an electronic solenoid, co2 resistant tubing, a drop checker with integrated check valve. I bought the 20oz co2 cylinders for about 25 bucks. I found the same cylinders on Amazon for 17 bucks empty though. However, after calling around a bit, i decided to pay the higher price at a local paintball store because they offer 5 free refills if i bought the cylinder from them. At $5 a refill, the cylinders come out free! The only other thing i bought was the UP-Aqua glass diffuser on ebay new for $9 shipped.

So the co2 setup can run you (drum roll please...): roughly $114! Not bad IMO..
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian_Cali77 View Post
You know i was exactly in your shoes too not too long ago. To save money i bought the Aquatek paintball regulator.. They used to be around $100, but they've dropped the price to $80 + free shipping (don't know for how long though) through their Ebay store. It comes with an electronic solenoid, co2 resistant tubing, a drop checker with integrated check valve. I bought the 20oz co2 cylinders for about 25 bucks. I found the same cylinders on Amazon for 17 bucks empty though. However, after calling around a bit, i decided to pay the higher price at a local paintball store because they offer 5 free refills if i bought the cylinder from them. At $5 a refill, the cylinders come out free! The only other thing i bought was the UP-Aqua glass diffuser on ebay new for $9 shipped.

So the co2 setup can run you (drum roll please...): roughly $114! Not bad IMO..
Wow very helpful info! I'll look into this setup with my tank too. Thx!


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Old 10-03-2012, 05:54 AM   #14
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Awesome tank! Yet another I have to tell myself I don't need... I like that it's "Iwagumi inspired" as well. IMO, sometimes the straight-up Iwagumi style tanks can be kind of... "meh" lol. Nice rock/wood work too!
What's that spiky stem plant sort of back-right? I've been considering something like that for one of my tanks- it's super cool looking!
I just decided on an Aquatek set-up for CO2 also. Need to save some money right now, got a paintball tank for free, and they look pretty nice. Let us know how you like it down the road!
Excited to see how it all fills out!
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:09 PM   #15
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Thanks KatJack! The spiky stem plant in the back-right is pogostemon erectus. I appreciate the compliments on my tank setup.

As for the Aquatek, I've only had it running for about 2 weeks (1 week in my other tank, 1 week in the GLA). So far, it's been trouble free but time will tell. Their full-size regulator has been out on the market for quite sometime and has excellent reviews. I just hope the paintball mini version lives up to that rep as well. I'll be honest, the GLA paintball regulators looks much nicer, but are also more expensive. At the price of one GLA, you can buy two Aquateks! LOL... So warranty isn't an issue if you look at it that way.
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