12" Slate cube
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Old 11-15-2013, 08:26 AM   #1
Kehy
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12" Slate cube


My fiance has generally been supportive of my obsession with keeping water, plants, and fish in glass boxes. Never a lot of enthusiasm, but he didn't hold me back. So when he happened to move into an apartment in my complex, I decided that now would be a great time to start expanding my hobby. Thus began my search for a good tank.

I didn't want one that would take up much space, given that he has a tiny apartment, but I wanted something no less than 5 gallons. I also didn't want anything too large that would get in the way of everything, and it just do happened that fiance had a nice nightstand that would perfectly hold a 12" cube tank. I looked at several tanks, but they all pretty much came out to within $10 of each other, so I went with the highest quality I could find.

I also knew that I wanted to use the cube in a way that might be a little inconvenient in a tank that wasn't so wide or deep. I've been seeing a lot of fantastic 3D backgrounds, and decided that I wanted one. I mean, if I'm going to a high quality tank, I want something really cool in it. I decided that the easiest way to make a smaller background would be stacking up slate rock. I was originally going to make the background go all the way across the back of the tank, until I realized how much rock it would take to do that. I cut it back to only doing a partial background to hide equipment. I ended up liking this much more, and it leaves more swimming room for the fish.

Looking back, I definetly would have done something different for the background, but what's the harm of trying something once? I would have gotten a 12" slate tile and just used that flat against the back wall of the tank. For a 3D background, I might consider going with the usual foam and paint thing.

Equipment:
TruAqua High Clarity Low Iron Glass Cube, 7.13 gallons
Finnex Fugeray-R
AquaClear 20
Substrate Source Midnight black sand
Osmocote+ homemade root tabs
Slate rock. lots of slate.

Plants:
Baby Amazon Swords
Baby Vals
Baby willow hygro

More to come!



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Old 11-16-2013, 06:55 PM   #2
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Did some more planting and now it's just time to wait for things to grow in. I'll probably only add some moss and anubias, if I do add more plants at all. I'll also tuck the heater back behind the wall once I get that set up properly, but I'm still trying to figure it out. I'm mostly going for plants that are easy to care for, but can still look nice. I'm hoping the marselia does well, despite extreme trimming. It took a looooong time to plant all of it, but if it does grow and carpet properly, it'll look amazing.

Current plant list:
Baby Amazon Swords
Vals
Baby willow hygro
Crypt. Undulata
Crypt. Wendii 'Bronze'
Crypt. Lucens
Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata 'Cuba'
Marselia sp. (probably either Quadrifolia or Minuta)
Nymphaea Stellata (dwarf lilly)

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Old 11-17-2013, 02:56 AM   #3
maux
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That looks great. It will be nice to see some pictures of it grown in.

Did you hotglue the slate together? Isn't there room behind it for the heater?

Are you thinking of any livestock?
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:01 PM   #4
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I did use hot glue on the slate, and while it worked great on its own, i forgot to really clean off all the dirt and dust from the rock, and it had a hard time sticking to that. And yes, there's plenty of room behind the wall, but I want to get the heater calibrated and set before I tuck it back there. I didn't glue down the top two pieces of slate, so it's easy to access behind the wall.

For livestock I'm thinking a couple neo shrimp of some color (probably red, since I already have those), maybe a snail and a reverse trio of Betta Albis. The Albis are pretty shy though, so at some point before they come, I'll be adding a ton of floaters and/or moving and adding more crypts.
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Old 11-26-2013, 06:33 AM   #5
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10 days can make quite a big difference! The marselia is doing great, all of it is growing despite doing an extremely heavy trim and cutting it all into nodes. All the little clovers are adorable, and I can't wait to see what it looks like all grown in.
I added a couple of plants, a few pieces of java fern (I don't like them, I'll pull them soon) and some anubias, including a piece that I put in the outflow of the filter in hopes it will grow emersed and recover from a really bad algae attack. I'm thinking about moving over more anubias, to fill out the wall, maybe even a buce or two. I also added a handful of floaters to help with the cycle (I'm guessing the cycle is done, but I don't want to get in fish right before leaving for Thanksgiving)

Sorry for all the bubbles, I was excited about noticing all the marselia growth and forgot to turn down the filter for pics.




I keep forgetting to set up the heater and tuck it away, forgive me, it's close to the end of the quarter at college, but I'm thinking the plants would appreciate a little heat at least.
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Old 11-26-2013, 12:52 PM   #6
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What is that clover called? I want to grow a patch of it..

Did you buy a large piece of slate from a landscape place and break it into pieces? The small pieces in the petstore would cost a fortune to make a small wall like that. I like your taste, I would do somthing similar if I could find a cheaper way to do it.
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Old 11-26-2013, 04:58 PM   #7
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The clover is marselia, this is likely either quadrifolia (usually has 4 lobed leaf) or minuta (which it was sold to me as). In another tank that's being grown with sunlight, the marselia definetly looks like minuta, but here...I'm not entirely sure. It can handle lower light, but wants a rich substrate. No co2 needed. It grows slowly until it gets comfortable, in which case it can grow quickly. When grown emersed in dirt, it grows like crazy, and the real reason why I used it here was to get it out of my emersed bin!

I'm guilty of buying petstore rocks. I didn't have much of a choice, as I live in a tiny college town that doesn't sell rocks except to contractors. I bought 11 pounds, and probably used 6-7 on the wall. The rest is either broken into pieces that I might use later, and in one remaining largish rock. The tile thing would totally work, especially if you ask for broken tiles from hardware or flooring stores. You might also want to check out landscaping shops, should only be a few cents per pound there. Frankly, I should've just gone for a whole 12" square tile flat on the back if my tank wasn't just barely under 12".

Over all, the cost, including a mesh screen behind the wall ($6 on Bay of E), hot glue gun ($13), and rock ($33) wasn't too bad. Really wish I had had another source for the rock, but it is what it is. Now I'm just trying to figure out how to fill out the wall with plants.
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Old 11-26-2013, 05:48 PM   #8
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Couldn't you glue on some more rocks to make a shelf that will hold a small pot, the grow moss on the pot to hide it?

The whole thing is new to me, so I'm just guessing.

Around here, there are a few landscaping places that sell large rocks of every kind. I have seen big (100lb+) pieces of slate spraypainted $40. I just don't know how hard it is to break into useable size pieces.
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Old 11-26-2013, 08:16 PM   #9
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It took me a bit to figure out how to break it, but once you get the hang of breaking slate, it's reasonably easy. You can do it with just a hammer, and a surface that can take a beating, like a concrete patio. Use the edges of the hammers to hit the stone with the smallest possible area. If you're careful, you can direct how the rock will break (to a point) by using your hand to absorb some of the shockwaves in the rock, making an area where the rock won't break. This can hurt a bit, so be careful. Like this, it was easy to break rock that was less than 1" thick, but over that, you might want to consider getting a rock chisel and just cutting the rock.

Also, this is extremely noisy, so try not to do this at a time when people might be sleeping.
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Old 11-26-2013, 11:54 PM   #10
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Great job. I have the same tank and light, I find that the back is always better lit than the front with the fugeray-r. Those swords will eventually get to big for the tank, mine over took a 29g

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Old 11-27-2013, 04:21 AM   #11
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nice little cube
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Old 11-27-2013, 07:02 PM   #12
Kehy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devilduck View Post
Great job. I have the same tank and light, I find that the back is always better lit than the front with the fugeray-r. Those swords will eventually get to big for the tank, mine over took a 29g

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk
Two swords might be an issue, I agree. I'm just glad I didn't go with a dirt tank like I thought about, so one of them could be pulled easily. I'm really wanting the over the top dense plant growth though, so I'd be fine with a single overgrown sword. Hopefully that won't be too much of an issue for awhile, but I'm already seeing growth from them.
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Old 01-03-2014, 01:30 AM   #13
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Been awhile since I updated, and things have been changing, not necessarily in a good way. I'm on my winter break from school, but I took some pics before I left. New tank syndrome has struck big time, and there was a pretty good sized algae outbreak. I cleaned what I could before I left, added some new plants and moss, and a couple berried shrimpies. The plants seemed to be doing ok, despite the algae. Not seeing much growth from the stems, but that could be from adjustment or not having a carbon source. The crypts seem to be doing really well, and swords are just puttering around. Hopefully the swords won't get too overgrown soon, but I'll probably have to remove one of them eventually. The marselia is doing fantastic, why was I worried at all? I'm planning on removing the java fern, look wise, it doesn't fit in the tank. The dwarf lilly seems to be taking a beating from the flow from the filter. I turned the filter down, and added the original bulb from the lilly, there's several baby plants that can will hopefully do ok.

I should be getting back in a few days, so new pics then, and I'll be able to start working on the tank.

Current plant list:
Baby Amazon Swords
Vals
Baby willow hygro
Crypt. Undulata
Crypt. Wendii 'Bronze'
Crypt. Lucens
Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata 'Cuba'
Marselia sp. (probably either Quadrifolia or Minuta)
Nymphaea Stellata (dwarf lilly)
Anchor Moss
Peacock Moss
Bucephalandra Sherry
Bucephalandra ???
Java fern (to be removed)





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Old 01-03-2014, 03:31 AM   #14
PeterN1986
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If flow is an issue, maybe glue one more piece of narrow slate to protrude into the AC20 output to deaden the flow?

And don't forget to put a
sponge sponge
or
SS mesh SS mesh
over the intake to protect the shrimp!
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Old 01-03-2014, 04:14 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterN1986 View Post
If flow is an issue, maybe glue one more piece of narrow slate to protrude into the AC20 output to deaden the flow?

And don't forget to put a sponge or SS mesh over the intake to protect the shrimp!
I could always adjust the filter to lower flow too (did that before I left). I might just add more slate as well though, I really like the waterfall effect.

As for the mesh, one step ahead of you
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