30 Gallon Oceanic "Cube"
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Old 08-19-2011, 02:09 AM   #1
rosslonghorns
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30 Gallon Oceanic "Cube"


I started about a month ago on this tank and have been posting to a thread in my local area but the site is more dedicated to saltwater, so decided to also post within this freshwater forum to gain some additional feedback and perspective. I will try to catch up to present day, please bear with me.

I thought I'd keep a log of the current tank build that I have underway. How did I get here?!

After a couple years without a tank setup, I decided to try and rid myself of the final aquarium sitting in my garage. It is a 30 gallon Oceanic that my sister previously had setup but then moved from her apartment. As a result it moved into my garage. I posted it and after about six months and still no sell I've decided to set it up as a planted tank.

Since I didn't have a stand for it but after some searching I decided to make one myself as I wanted it to be taller than the standard available stands. After some work to cut down the 3/4" birch plywood, I had a stand. I decided to use "bed liner" black paint to coat the entire thing.

As for other equipment, I only have an Ehiem HOB filter and the standard stock light. I plan to replace both items but not sure on the impact, if any the HOB causes related to surface turblence and O2 exchange. More to come.
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Old 08-19-2011, 02:17 AM   #2
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A couple of weekends ago, I made a trip into Austin and decided to pick up my substrate for the tank. I ended up going with three bags of Flourite. Two bags of black flourite and one bag of dark flourite. I like the grain differences but ultimately like the color of the black the best. I used the dark on the bottom and covered with the black.

The overall dust created within the Flourite was ridiculous and it took some time but finally got it all washed up and into the tank.

I also was able to get my light bracket finished built to support a pendant system. I used some alumium I purchased from Lowes that is supposed to be used for edging on plywood. I attached it to the side of the tank via stainless screws using a wood spacer that I painted black. The upright pieces are attached to the top piece using galvanized corner brackets on the inside with stainless bolts. Let me know what you think. I initially was going to use the bent conduit but came across the aluminum pieces while browsing Lowes and decided to use it for its modern yet sleek design. I thought it offset the black tank / stand with just enough contrast.

As for the HOB, I've decided to ditch it later on once it is completely cycled for the smallest Ehiem ECCO canister filter. I've read a number of good reviews and for the price, it is unmatched. It will definitely help to keep the tank relatively quiet and what I like, have the canister hidden in the stand instead of hanging on the back of the tank.

As for C02, I plan to get a full pressurized, automated system. It looks like I've settled on the Milwaukee regulator / solenoid system. As for diffusor / reactor, I plan to inject C02 directly into ECCO filter intake and utilize it for both filtration and as a reactor. Anyone see any issues with this? I've read a couple others doing it and didn't see any negatives on an air lock as seen with Fluvals.
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Old 08-19-2011, 02:26 AM   #3
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Default Update - Present Day (August 18th 2011)

Well here is an update to bring us to present day related to this tank build.

I plan to order my canister filter and C02 equipment this weekend. Let me know if you see any issues with what I've decided on thus far.

However, I've been struggling with lighting for this tank. Since the width / length is less than 2ft, it is difficult to find any fixtures for it. It looks like I will need to use a pendant, probably a 70 watt halide. I also saw an AH Supply 2x36 watt kit that might work. Any suggestions for a tank this size?

Since I need something to keep me going and I had some time today, I ended up running a few errands to pick up a couple items. I decided to build a setup I saw on this forum using some items from IKEA. Since it was cost effective, I decided to use this as my initial lightning solution.

Materials:

Hemma Light Socket / Cord - from IKEA
Blanda Blank Serving Bowl (11 inch) - from IKEA
1 5/8 inch hole saw
Light bulb (I used a daylight 6k power compact that equals 120 watt inc. bulb)

Overall it cost me $25 bucks since I already owned the hole saw, not bad. However, I don't like how the bulb tips sticks out a bit on the underside. Dependent on how the growth is on the tank from this bulb, I may scrap the entire project to buy a light pendant OR replace the bulb with an PAR38 LED bulb (I already measured, this will not stick out the bottom!). Time will tell.

I also made a trip to a local aquarium store and purchased a handful of stones and some driftwood. I'm working on mounting the driftwood over the next couple days and should have it in the tank by the end of the weekend.

Through a few hours of research I've identified the remainder of my equipment:

Filter: I plan to ditch the Eheim HOB for the smallest Eheim ECCO canister filter.

C02: I plan to purchase the Milwakee Regulator / Solenoid kit to hook up an automated, pressurized system. As for diffuser / reactor the plan is to dose the C02 via tubing directly into the intake of the ECCO and leverage the canister filter as a combination filter / reactor. Anyone see any issues with this?
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Old 08-19-2011, 02:27 AM   #4
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It's looking good already, can't wait to see some hardscape!
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Old 08-19-2011, 02:31 AM   #5
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Excellent start

I suggest figuring out what plants you want and their needs and then matching your light to the plants.
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Old 08-19-2011, 03:33 AM   #6
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That looks really clean. Big cubes are sweet.
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Old 08-21-2011, 01:52 AM   #7
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Default Update August 20, 2011

Ok, I got the driftwood mounted yesterday. In order to keep it from floating and in the position I wanted, I needed to mount it. I used some old tile from a re-model. Here is a shot shortly after, sorry for the cloudiness.

I'm ordering the C02 equipment and filter this evening. It is coming together slowly. Hopefully I'll be able to start adding some plants next weekend.
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Old 08-21-2011, 03:05 AM   #8
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Where are you located in texas? Tank is looking good. First time I have seen that eheim filter type. Let me know how you like it vs. others.
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Old 08-21-2011, 05:46 PM   #9
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I'm located in Buda, TX just south of Austin. The filter was a hand me down from my younger sister who previously had the tank setup. My plan is to replace it with the smallest Eheim ECCO canister filter.

Overall the current HOB Eheim filter has been OK. I'm unhappy with two points: it has a low, but constant hum that is becoming annoying when you're in that room and it creates a lot of suface turbulence.
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Old 08-22-2011, 12:59 AM   #10
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Ah ok I drive through there everytime I go to Austin but have never stopped to look around.
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Old 10-04-2011, 01:31 AM   #11
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Default Start of October Update!

Here is a start of October update.

As previously noted, I put in an order for some equipment. My C02 regulator and filter (I ended up going with the mid level Eheim ECCO) was delivered in early September but I was waiting on my GLA C02 Atomizer in-line diffuser to come in before setting up both items. I ended up getting the diffuser FINALLY in mid September. I let it run for a week and then stopped by a LFS. I couldn't resist and ended up picking up a few plants (Dwarf Sagittaria - front left, Crypt wenti - middle, and Corkscrew Val - back right). A week later I then added 12 Cardinal Tetras.

I also ordered a AquaticLife (2x18watt) T5HO fixture that I hope to have delivered tomorrow. Once it is setup, I will take a couple more pictures of the equipment setup. This should complete the build from an equipment standpoint and would just need to finish off the livestock.

I plan to add 6 additional Cardinal Tetras, 3 Cories (undecided on species, smaller side), and fill in some of the corkscrew val and get an offsetting color plant (something red that stands out). I hope to have the remaining items in the tank over the next week or two and then let it GROW!
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Old 10-04-2011, 03:04 AM   #12
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Nice setup.
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:31 PM   #13
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Default October 5th Update

More fun toys! On Tuesday my AquaticLife fixture arrived and I got it setup. I ended up also buying an additional 6k bulb to replace the roseate bulb that is combined with the fixture. I hope the fixture provides the required output to get my plants growing / thriving

Here is an overall equipment update

1) Filter Eheim ECCO 2234 - the initial Eheim HOB filter I started with has been replaced with this canister filter. Overall I love it and have had zero issues. It is SO quiet. The only complaint I have is the inlet / outlet portions that are within the aquarium are green and thus standout against my black background. I may at one time invest into the clear, glass replacements.

2) Lighting AquaticLife T5H0 20 Unit it holds two T5HO 18 inch / 18 watt bulbs with individual reflectors. It replaced my DIY screw in CF fixture that was only a 26 watt output twisted bulb. The new fixture definitely helps to evenly light the tank. As a result, I broke down the aluminum frame I had built to support the original DIY light.

3) C02 Diffuser GLA Atomic C02 Inline Diffuser I got this so I dont have anything further in the actual tank, so it mounted outside in line with the canister filter output. So far Ive had no issues with it and it has been running for about a month.

4) C02 Regulator - Milwaukee (MA957) C02 Regulator with Solenoid this has also been setup for about a month on a 5lb C02 tank. Ive only had one issue with dialing it inthe inline diffuser requires 30psi, so I dial that in with the initial valve adjustment initially but the bubble counter is going crazy so I adjust the needle valve to bring this down to a smaller number of bubbles per second but I basically almost need the needle valve completely closed. Maybe this is normal but Im unsure

Now with all my equipment complete, it is time to let the tank grow in. Im hoping the updated lighting requires the necessary output to get the tank growing to fill it in. That is it for today.
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