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Old 10-08-2012, 09:05 AM   #1
kiera
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First tank, ever: Low Tech Bookshelf Aquarium


(Picture below specs).

Aquarium
Model: Bookshelf Freshwater Fish Aquarium
Size: 8.13" L x 24" W x 9.25" H
Volume: 6.6 G

Filtration
Filter: AquaClear 20
Filter Media: AC Foam, BioMax, Floss
Flow Rate: 100 GPH

Lighting
Type: T8
Brand & Spectrum: Zoo Med 6500K
Wattage: 15

Substrate
Brand: CaribSea EcoComplete

Heating
Brand: Fluval M 50

(Planned) Fauna
Fish: 12x Chili Rasbora (Boraras brigittae)
Inverts: 2x Amano Shrimp, 2x Nerite Snails

(Planned) Flora
Anubias nana 'petite' -- if I can find them
Bacopa carolina
Emersed Phase
Bacopa australis
Marsilea hirsuta, quadrifolia, or whatever it's called this week
Bacopa monnieri
Glossostigma elatinoides
Rotala rotundifolia
Some mosses

Submersed Phase
Probably a floating water sprite or some other insane weed that will take up excess nutrients while I figure out what the hell I'm doing.
Something fern-like

Dosing
SeaChem EXCEL, Flourish, Fe, N, P, K, Trace, Prime for water conditioning -- going to switch to dry eventually


New Aquarium

Notes
I just started screwing around with layout. Being new to the hobby I don't have much available to me in the way of hardscape. I have three LFS, but only one of them is really good and they just started carrying freshwater stuff, so they don't have too much available yet in the way of aquarium decorations. They do have one awesome tank dedicated just to nano fauna, which is nice. Their bettas are gorgeous.

I can't decide if I want just the driftwood, just the rock, or both. I do have a few smaller bits of lacerock to add if I want them, but I'm trying to just place the main element(s) right now. Any feedback would be good.

I'm kind of stumped on plants. I'm doing DSM for any plants that will do well emersed. I want the tank to be pretty heavily planted since this will be low-tech. I'm considering trying glosso and crossing my fingers that it will work out, but I'm not too hopeful.

I just cannot make up my mind on painting the background of the tank. Because this is a scratchy plastic tank, whichever decision I make will be permanent. I don't expect to have this tank more than 2 years, so I suppose it doesn't matter too much. I'm hemming and hawing--do I want black, or a nice light blue? Decisions, decisions. It does need to be painted, though--I can't stand wires and HOBs and other clutter.

My local tap water chemistry is pretty terrible. High pH, hard water. I grabbed a community sourced (not distilled) gallon jug at the grocery store for 85 cents and tested the pH--6.4 vs. the 7.8 of my tap water. I'm strongly considering flooding this tank and doing topoffs with the grocery store water, but I'm gonna wait until the rest of my test kits arrive before I decide for sure. A helpful chemist from my local water authority told me that it's pretty useless to try to adjust the pH--it will just keep swinging back up. I tend to believe him.

I'd welcome any criticism or feedback of any kind.

Last edited by kiera; 10-09-2012 at 09:39 AM.. Reason: update on plants
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:15 AM   #2
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Good start and looks like you have a good idea of how it'll go. You can try playing around with the substrate levels as lots of ada-inspired tanks make their front substrate lower than their back so there's a slope. It adds a little bit more depth.

The only concern I'd have with your tank is the dosing. Are you getting ones from pfertz? If so, look at their site because they don't recommend dosing so much for such a small/low-tech tank: http://pfertz.com/dosing.html

If you're injecting c02 and have more plants in that small tank then you could dose that much, but you probably won't need to if you go with your plant selection which isn't hugely demanding or fast growing plants.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:24 AM   #3
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Quote:
The only concern I'd have with your tank is the dosing. Are you getting ones from pfertz? If so, look at their site because they don't recommend dosing so much for such a small/low-tech tank: http://pfertz.com/dosing.html
I have all the stuff available, but I'm gonna have to feel out the dosing. I expect I'll definitely be using EXCEL, and the other stuff if I see signs of plant deficiency. I've done a lot of houseplants and micro terrariums and it's always trial and error for me to figure out what works for me and what doesn't. For now I've just got SeaChem liquid ferts--once all that's gone I'll probably switch to dry. Plus I'll have a better idea then how much I need to do.

I like the idea of sloping the substrate.

Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:53 AM   #4
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I bit the bullet and ordered some plants. Depending on how my hardscape ends up, I'll probably be wanting some mosses, but I'm going to wait to order those until I get some other plants going and get an idea of how humid the tank will be. My terrarium experience leaves me with a hatred of semi-hourly misting. I've had trouble with mold and fungus in my terraria before, so I think I'll be venting the tank occasionally.

I decided to grab both glosso and marsilia to see how horrible I am at growing them, respectively. Whichever wins will be my foreground plant. I don't like the emersed growth on the marsilea, but the submersed leaves are nice.

I love the non-aquatic bacopas my mother has in hanging pots in the summer, so I decided to try a couple and see how they go. I'm pretty sure you don't get flowers on submersed growth, but I like the leaf structure on them.

My apartment is freezing in the winter, so I hope the light heats up the tank enough to keep the plants happy. I need to figure out if I should just start right up with a 10 hour photoperiod or if I should ramp it up from 6-8-10 over a period of two weeks. I've been known to murder plants because of lighting problems--living in a basement can make indoor horticulture challenging.
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Old 10-13-2012, 01:52 AM   #5
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I've been geeking out with Excel while waiting for my plants to arrive. A very kind person on a totally non-aquatic forum helped me figure out how to show ideal parameter ranges in the plot area of a chart while displaying measured parameters in front. No more messing with conditional cell formatting.

Here's a screenshot sparsely populated with some BS sample data:
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Old 10-13-2012, 02:00 AM   #6
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I'd say you're off to a good start. I really did the excel charts.
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:05 AM   #7
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Nice start. You can try pre-treating your tapwater with alder cones/peat/indian almond leaves to bring down the KH and PH. Just use a 5 gallon Home Depot bucket or similar.
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Old 10-13-2012, 02:04 PM   #8
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Dramatic hard scape! Great job w/ the stones!
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Old 10-14-2012, 11:25 AM   #9
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Thanks, guys. I'm always up for advice and comments.

I can't believe it, but I already have two little white fluffy bits in my substrate. I scooped it out and poked some holes in the substrate, but I suppose it's time to pick up some hydrogen peroxide. *shakes fist*
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Old 10-22-2012, 10:13 PM   #10
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So I figured out my fungi/mold problem. It turns out that leaving driftwood in your tank during DSM can encourage such growth. Once I removed the driftwood everything stayed clear and the faint moldy odor disappeared.

I planted everything I ordered from Extraplant and so far everything is still alive, though the R.rotundifolia is a wee bit sad looking. I wasn't sure how it would do emersed, anyway, but I figured I'd give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised by the quadrifolia--I wish I'd ordered more of it. I almost regret trying the glosso now.

I have no idea what I'm doing, but since the bacopas I ordered were so damn tall I cut them and planted the tips. They seem to be fine with this, so I've got my fingers crossed.

Right now I'm doing a 12 hour photoperiod, and the tank interior is nice and humid. Once I get my camera body back from my dad I'll take a photo.

In other news, I've already put together most of my quarantine/hospital setup--I figure I can use it temporarily to grow some extra plant material I have. It's a 5 gallon Sterilite box with a lid that I'll chop up a bit so that there are holes for airflow, a cheap filter, an airstone, and a small heater. I'll also throw in a hiding cup and a couple of fake plants to make fish feel secure during QT. The HOB I ordered for my main tank has tons of room for extra filtering, so presumably I can insta-cycle my QT tank using established tank media.
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:25 PM   #11
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The wood reminds me of a car hood ornament
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:29 PM   #12
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Hah. I can kind of see that now.
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