55 Gallon Planted tank - self built stand/canopy - Page 2
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:24 PM   #16
150EH
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I think it looks fine as far as the plants are considered and after they fill in a little you can make some adjustment to tailor the look, to answer about the DHG it's best to separate the root ball into individual plants then plant with tweezer and it will spread faster but it's a pain to plant. The Turface is new to me and I did take a quick look to see it is also used with Bonsai so it must be a high CEC clay like Akadama but I need to read more on that subject. I know you are crazy if you don't have that stand anchored to the wall in some fashion, one good hit and you'll have lots of water to clean up. I like the look of the stand but not for a tank because there is no where to hide any gear under the tank but it's your tank and you get to mop up the water. It also looks like you have good water quality with just a little ammonia but wait until it is zero before you add any more fish and then just a few at a time until the bacteria build catches up, good luck and keep up the good work.
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Old 02-25-2012, 04:08 PM   #17
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I noticed that you planted the Java fern in the substrate. I know some people say they do this and that it's fine, but in my experience they do better NOT buried. They look great and do well attached to driftwood or rock work with the rhizome out of the substrate.
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:27 PM   #18
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Oddly I can't get that video to play for me - but next week I'll look up better planting techniques. I ordered a pair of long metal planting tongs, which I think should help a lot. I'm just using a pair of tweezers now. Something that would let me tuck the roots in (or later snip them off) would do wonders. I had also heard to have Java Fern with the rhizome above the substrate. Most of them have the rhizome (and a fair bit of roots) sticking out. Long term I plan to either reposition or put them on driftwood.

I spent the rest of today running around. I planned out a new stand, and decided if I was going to be making more stuff it was time to buy a miter saw. Most of the other things I've built have been more sculpted, so my ability to make a perfectly straight (or angled) cut didn't matter too much, but this will now be the 6th table that I've built, and a shelving unit too. I figured I'd get enough use out of it to buy one. I spent a long time at lowes, mostly because they were out of the particular model I wanted to buy.

I also made a trip to my fish store and bought 3 otos to put in. They seem OK so far. One guy was playing dead after I netted him, and that had me concerned for a bit, but since they I've seen them all swimming around.

I also finally added the driftwood to the aquarium. I cut it from the same maple I made the current stand out of. I let it sit in my pond for about a week, then brought it in and scrubbed it down and cut it to the rough dimensions, and let it sit in a bathtub. It's still nowhere near sinking, but it fit in the aquarium so I left it there.

I'll try and get up pictures of the otos and driftwood on Monday. I wanted to start building my stand this weekend, but instead I'm going to hold out until I get the new saw. I'm also getting close to ordering some shrimp to put in the tank! I think I'm going to go with Rili shrimp. I'm also looking for somewhere to buy some moss to put on the driftwood along with some of the java ferns.
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Old 02-27-2012, 07:33 PM   #19
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I tested my water again on Saturday
pH 6.6-6.8
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 5

So the pH went down a little bit more, and the Nitrates seem to have gone down a bit too.

I had just added the driftwood on Saturday afternoon, and I believe that probably lowers it a bit. I guess I'll keep an eye on it and see.

I also want to test the water from the tap today. I got a gallon yesterday and just let it sit to test tonight, to see if what comes out of the tap is close to what the water company says.

It's almost 60 today, so I think I'm going to move my goldfish outside and hope he can make the transition. He's a cheerful fellow, but he reminds me of a ornery child. He's happy as can be picking at all of my plants and chasing leaves around after he tears them out. Every day when I come home he gives me this smug look like he's pleased that he pulled so many plants up. I'm going to move him to my pond where I think he'll fit in much better long term. He was just around to help cycle the tank, and that job is done.
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:01 PM   #20
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I LOVE that stand but I would do 2 things-

1. Mount the bottom to a slab of wood for the base- But Im in California and one quake would topple that tank in a second!

2. Buy a flat piece of wood to go between the tank and the stand thats 1 inch extra around the tank.

But again thats only cause I really like the stand!
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:53 PM   #21
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I get so engrossed in looking at pictures and reading all the other threads that I neglect my own a bit.

On Monday I evicted my goldfish down to the pond. The weather is so warm that it was only like a 10 degree difference - shocking for February.

On Tuesday I got an order of moss, and put it in the aquarium.

On Wednesday I took out my still very buoyant driftwood and tied the moss and some java fern to it. It does have a very neat floating effect. I still feel like the plantscape just looks bad though. The goldfish was uprooting stuff so often that nothing got to settle in, and with my removing the driftwood I just upset it further. I also picked out 4 of the Ghost Shrimp and moved them to little jars for now.

Today I have some shrimp arriving. I'm very excited. I plan to get them in tonight, and just let everything sit over the weekend to not stress them. I have some Borneo Wild food for them, but probably won't feed them for a few days.

Friday-Sunday I hope to get started on my stand. No way I'll ever finish it this weekend, but it would be nice to get to a point where I'm putting some finish on the wood. I have a really nice process I use (like on the current stand), but with drying time I'm probably looking at least two weeks worth to get it complete.

If I'm not busy (yeah right...) I'll get up pictures from all of this. I take tons but don't often have time to edit or post them.
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:37 PM   #22
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Such nice wood work, I wouldn't even know where to start.
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Old 03-02-2012, 04:07 PM   #23
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Thanks!

Sort of a funny story. For me it started when I bought my house. There were dead trees in the backyard. Instead of paying to get them removed, I bought a chainsaw and removed them myself. That morphed into clearing some land for a pond.

Unfortunately, I chopped a lot of the wood up for firewood before I realized what I had. But later on I just did some research and looked at a lot of other woodwork and started to make some of my own things. I just learned by doing and asking.

The pond eventually fueled my desire to have an aquarium, and here we are today!

If I get a little time after lunch I'll get some pictures up. I got my Rili shrimp last night and they were all happy, healthy, and colorful. But of course, as I went to take pictures of them my camera batteries died.
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Old 03-05-2012, 03:04 PM   #24
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Here's a picture of my tank on Monday of last week



Since then I added some plants I got from Alpha Pro Breeders. I guess they're pretty close by, so the items arrived next day. I got Java Moss, Willow Moss, and a Red Melon Sword. I tied the moss along the right side of the driftwood, and tied some Java Fern along the left side. I don't have a full shot of the driftwood now. I'm not really too happy with how it is now, but I don't think it looks awful. Hopefully by the time the driftwood sinks the plants have established themselves a bit and I can move them around to look better.

On Thursday my shrimp arrived!


Even in such a tiny space, there was no way I could count them... It's amazing that so many little guys arrived in such a small package. They also did a great job hiding in the bit of moss. I did a slow acclimation to get them used to my tank water. I started with about half a cup in the bowl, and by the end had about 2 cups. After slowing adding water over 3 hours to that level I added them to my tank. I was going to scoop them out, but my net was too big to really fit in the bowl well, so I had to just dump them all in.

Thursday night I was happy to see everyone still doing well. Friday morning and then Friday night were all the same - I saw many shrimp and all were walking around and seemed happy.

While in the bowl I saw one shrimp was berried, and 3 more were saddled. I was surprised at that. I didn't know just how small the shrimp were either. I was amazed how tiny the little guys are. However, even after shipping cross-country, and even with some of them being quite young, I think they really have good coloration.

Here's a picture of the berried one:

She's actually one of the least colored adults too. Most of them have much more full red coverage.


Here's two more hanging out on the driftwood. It's actually a favorite of theirs. I can usually count ~8 either in the moss or just walking around on it.

Here's a saddled female hanging out in the moss:


Here's one more I picked out Friday night of the berried female:


I think it's neat how her eggs are almost neon green.
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:23 PM   #25
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Before I added the Rili shrimp, the only things in my Aquarium were 6 Ghost Shrimp and 3 Otos. I'd read how Otos are fine with shrimp, but how some of the bigger ghost shrimp might harass other dwarf shrimp. Before I added the Rili I netted out all of the ghost shrimp that I could (4) and put them in jars.

Here's a shot of one before they were removed, peeking over the wood.


Well after I added the Rili, I noticed the ghost shrimp following them around. I saw 2 that I had missed. I didn't think much of it.

Sadly, Saturday I woke up to find a single dead Rili being eaten by a ghost shrimp. It was one of the smallest ones. I'm not sure if he died naturally or if the ghost shrimp killed it, but right then all the ghost shrimp had to leave. I stuck around for a while and netted out the last two. Now I have 6 in jars. I'd been growing some Water Hawthorn from my pond in little jars, and they work OK for short term shrimp housing so far. They might end up in my pond (as goldfish food) or be given to my mom for her tank.

Saturday I also saw this:

It looks like one of the rili had molted, which I believe is a good sign. Sunday I found a second one.

I also noticed on Saturday that the berried shrimp was swimming all over the tank. She was very active for some reason, and looked to be searching with a mission. A little later in the day she calmed down and was hanging out on the driftwood and I took two pictures of her:







Saturday I also did my first water change since adding the shrimp. I just used 2 5-gallon buckets, some tubing I picked up, and gravity and it wasn't too bad. If my tank were a few inches lower or bathroom sink a few inches higher it would be real easy, but as it is I had to hold the bucket up for a bit to get it to all flow out. I also need to get some clamps to hold the tubing in place. Several times I had water spouting all over the place for a few seconds!

Sunday morning I took a few more pictures of little guys feeding on the moss.





One of my biggest problems with my tank is the noise it makes. I have two Aquaclear 70 filters on the back, and they were noisy! I found a nice post here talking about how to lubricate them to make them silent, so on Sunday I went over to my mom's house to borrow some vaseline. While there, she had me help her with her tank for a bit. I haven't lived at home in 12 years now, so I hadn't really dealt with that tank in a while. She used a vacuum hose thing to clean the substrate, and it made everything a mess. She then dumped the dirty water, filled the bucket up with clean water from the tap, and added it back in! She said she rarely uses dechlorinator or anything. I then noticed she has an Aquaclear 30 filter. I was surprised because hers is so silent. I almost couldn't hear it running, and my two make a racket. Anyways, I watched her clean her filter. She took the filter medium out and rinsed it in straight tap water. I thought that was supposed to be bad. Then I watched as she took the filter sponge, and squirted dish soap all over it! She rinsed it for a minute in tap water too and then put the thing back in the tank. At this point there is crap floating everywhere, 10% tap water in the tank, and soap in the filter. I was feeling pretty good about myself (except that I was jealous her filter was so much quieter).

She said that's the way she's been doing it for 40 years, and if the fish want to die then they'll just die! I also think that's why her fish might not have a very long life expectancy.
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Old 03-08-2012, 05:29 PM   #26
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I believe I've seen 5 other molts now.

The eggs on the one female seem like they're changing color slightly as they mature. I'm not sure if it was their eyes showing or just spots on her shell though, as she wouldn't give a good angle.

It looks like the shrimp are happy and doing well. I can count 8-12 on the moss every day.
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:24 PM   #27
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As I said, I got some vaseline to try and quiet my own filters, so when I got home I did some cleaning of my own. I had saved the water from my water change the day before, and used that to rinse out the sponge. I took apart the first filter and rinsed it in the old water and tried to lubricate it. When I plugged it back in I noticed no difference...

I then moved over to the second filter. I was taking it apart when I noticed something move on the screen.

I had ordered some sponge pre-filters a week before my shrimp, but they still hadn't come in yet. So when I was trying to clean the filter I was really sad to see that I had a dead rili stuck in the intake. I didn't even know what it was at first and just roughly grabbed it and pulled it out. Then I was like ... is this a shrimp? I put it back in the tank water to see what it was, and it swam away! What a tough little guy.

I was rather glad that the sponges came and I was able to install them. Little did I know that was only the beginning. I saw two more Rili in the filter itself. I drained off most of the water, and then because I wasn't sure if they both got out, I took it into the bathroom with better light to see. I know one of them got dumped out, but I wanted to check on the second one. Well, to my surprise I counted FOUR shrimp still in the filter. That means with the one that was stuck in the intake and the one that I know I dumped out I had at least 6 of my 21 shrimp in the filter!



After double checking again that I got them all out of there, I tried to lubricate that filter as well. I only had one not running at a time, and by the time I was done I noticed no difference in how noisy they were. I was sad.

Because of finding so many shrimp in the other filter and the noise not going away I took the first one apart again. I applied a lot more vaseline. I was glad to find that upon a close inspection I found no shrimp in that filter. I guess the other one has free beer or something and is the popular one. Just to be sure I also took it apart and lubricated it a second time as well.

Here's what I added to keep the shrimp out of the filters:


After all that, the second filter sounds like it's quiet, but with how much noise the other one is making it doesn't sound a whole lot different. I think I'm going to take it apart again next week and try to lubricate it a few more times, and if that doesn't work the tank is going. The goal was to have a waterfall sound in my bedroom, but instead it sounds more like a small machine shop. I didn't realize how poorly it was making me sleep until I turned on a noise machine to cover it up. I felt sooo much better the next day. I'm not sure where I might put it, but with how loud it is it has to go somewhere.

Oh, last week I also noticed this:



I had a second shrimp get berried in my tank. Unlike this first one this one seems to have a little bit better coloration, and she has yellow eggs.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:12 PM   #28
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Well, I'm able to put in a bit more time here again. I've been busy studying for the past 3 months for a professional certification and it required all of my free time.

Things have been going very well for my tank though. I'll try and update with some pictures over the next week, but until then here's a brief overview.

I fought with Hagen for about 2 months over the noise my HOB filters make. I'm still not completely satisfied, but it's better than it was.

I finished a new stand, and moved the tank to the living room and out of my bedroom (due to filter noise).

I re-imagined the plants. Although I started with about 13 different plants, I had 2 die out on me, and 2 more that I picked out because I didn't like them. I moved the existing ones around, and they've all grown in quite well.

I've had one Otto die, and one Rili (from the ghost shrimp). Besides that, everyone has been happy and healthy. The shrimp have reproduced like shrimp do, and now I seem to have bunches. The first batch of babies that were born are now almost full-size and a few of them are berried now.
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:20 PM   #29
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Well I know I said I had some issues with my Aquaclear 70 filters.

I'm not sure where the problems come from, if I expect them to be too quiet, if I got bad ones, or what. My original idea for my fishtank was to have the water level be a bit low, so it made a waterfall sound. But the sound of the filters overpowered it. I had set it up in my bedroom, and had a hard time sleeping with the noise the filters made. Eventually I started turning them off at night, and sleeping much better.

The tank was moved to my living room, but still kept making noise. I contacted Hagen and they said that I could ship them back and they would repair/replace them if they found them defective. I have two filters, and pretty much every communication with them I had to remind them that I had two. I'd ship them two and I'd get one back, and have to remind them that I had two. I felt like their basic math skills were really lacking. Because I didn't want to send back both of the filters on my tank and leave it unfiltered, they told me that they could ship me two new filters, charge me for them, and then refund my money when they got my mail. I guess luckily for me they still had issues with 1/2, so they charged me for one filter, shipped one, and then shipped a second one free. Then they got the filters from me, but tried telling me that they didn't see any problem with them (excessive noise is not a problem if they run fine), so they shipped me my original filters back, and did not refund my money. I was quite upset at this, but they did refund the money. In the end I was out the cost of two filters, shipping (like $7), and 2 months to end up with pretty much the same filters I had originally. They're still noisy, but I can live better with it in the living room instead of my bedroom.
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:41 PM   #30
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One of the big reasons I wanted to have an aquarium was because I wanted to build my own stand. I put up some pictures and a general guide to how I did it here: http://www.dotd.org/shrimp/diystand.html

The initial stand that I build and have some pictures of earlier in this thread is now just a table again. It did a fine job as an aquarium stand for a few months, but I think it makes a better table.
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