12 Gallon Reboot Learning Experience
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:40 AM   #1
AnotherHobby
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Default 12 Gallon Reboot Learning Experience

UPDATE 7/5/13:

There is an update on a complete upcoming rescape on page 4. The pictures immediately below of the tank and scape are all out of date. Current tank is holding plants for a new project:



Intro

First, I want to say that I'm very new to this hobby (less than a year). Any and all advice offered would be excellent. I'm an information sponge and want to learn as much as I can.

Back in Febrary 2012, my wife and I got a Fluval Edge 12 gallon LED on an impulse buy as an anniversary gift to each other. We had talked about an aquarium in the past, but not very seriously. We did almost no research, and just dove in. Let me just say — it's been quite the learning experience.

This is a pic taken a day after it was set up (hence the cloudiness). The plants were real, although none of them lived other than the little anubias nanas in front. I wasn't very happy with how it ended up, and almost every plant we put in it died. And as you can see, the layout was kind of a mess.



Since then, I've just been taking care of it. I've done a few minor layout adjustments, but nothing dramatic. Doing water changes, keeping it clean, feeding the fish, and that's about it. The only long term plant that thrived was Java moss. Why? Not enough light, crappy substrate, no ferts, etc... generally a lack of experience and knowledge.

Time For a Change

About a month ago I got some serous renewed interest in making it better and in getting plants to grow well in it. Long term it's getting replaced by a 29 gallon rimless, but for now I want to try and do much better with this one, and I want to grow nice healthy plants, and I want to feel like I have a good understanding of what's going on in there. That's the plan.

The LED unit in the Edge frying out from moisture is what kick started the renewed interest. I decided to take it as an opportunity to upgrade to something brighter. I built my own light fixture to replace the LED by buying a 27W PC 6500k desk lamp for $18 and gutting all the parts. I will cover that in the next post.

The lighting kicked me up to 2.25 watts/gallon, and I had a quick takeover of string algae, green algae on my glass, and something on my anubias. Java moss was about 1/3 of the tank, and I also noticed my cheap target end table I used for a stand was starting to succumb to the weight. It was time for a change.

Current Status: 11/26/2012

Yesterday I moved the entire contents of my tank over to a temporary 10 gallon I got off craigslist for $5. All of the critters survived:
  • 6 Neon Tetras
  • 5 Rummy Nose Tetras
  • 1 Corydoras Panda (I know he needs friends!)
  • 6 or so Cherry Shrimp
  • 1 Blueberry Shrimp
  • 1 big Amano Shrimp
  • 2 shrimp of unidentified breed (I can't remember)

After 24 hours the temporary tank is reading .25ppm amonia, 0 nitrite, and 0 nitrate, so I think it's doing just fine. That's good. It was stressful for me, and I was worried I was going to loose some.

The Edge has been cleaned out completely and scrubbed/rinsed very clean. It's sitting on a new very heavy duty stand (covered 2 posts down). This time around, here is my current plan:

Substrate: ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia (already in and cycling)
Lighting: DIY 27W PC 6500k (2.25 watts/gallon)
Filter: The OEM unit, which is basically an AC20. I also use purigen.
Ferts: Going to start dosing using EI at roughly 1/2 the recommendation since I'm not high light.
CO2: DIY setup, all built and ready to go. Pressurized. Built a high end dual stage regulator

As for the aquascape, here is where I'm at. The 12 gallon Edge is tricky, because while it's a 12 gallon tank, the floor space is only 17" wide by 10" deep. Also, it's 18" tall so there is a disproportionate amount of height to the tank. Last time I tried to fill height with a very tall rock and a tall piece of driftwood. It looked off to me. This time I'm going to try and build some minimal height with the aquascape, but then let the plants fill the rest. Here is how it looks now (sorry for the iPhone pics, it's all I have at the moment since my Nikon DSLR crapped out):



I used a piece of Malaysian driftwood to create a bank/wall to build up the substrate in one corner, and rocks to do it in the other. I collected the rocks from Lake Superior, and I'm partial to them because I love that part of MN, and because I don't like the rocks available at my LFS. The ground is covered in snow for at least 6 months, so it's what I got for now. I do have more of them, and can rearrange still. Because it's hard to photograph depth in a tank, here is a corner shot so you can see how much height I've built in the back:



Below is a top down pic showing the planned plant layout. I have already ordered plants from a few guys here on SNS and they'll be arriving over the next week or two. I was just going to order the foreground first, but then decided just to order all of them.

A: Jungle Val
B: Rotala and Myrio Green
C: Bacopa
D: Crypt Parva and some Dwarf Hairgrass
E: Marsilea minuta quadrifolia with some Hydrocotyle Tripartita Japan

Also, the java moss on the driftwood will be staying there, although I'll be keeping it trimmed back realtively short. I think I should have enough light for all of them. None of them should *require* CO2, but they'll all appreciate it.



I would love some feedback on the aquascape and planned plants. Especially on the rock placement and where I'm planning on putting the plants. I'm open to moving things around a little bit. This is my very first crack at trying to make it better.

Go easy on me.

Last edited by AnotherHobby; 07-07-2013 at 03:35 AM.. Reason: updated information
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