Mangy's 30gal Congo River Biotope
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Old 03-25-2012, 12:02 AM   #1
MangyMoose77
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Mangy's 30gal Congo River Biotope


Well here we go. Post number one. I all started today when I finally found a deal I couldn't resist. A 30 gallon tank with stand, hood, light, filter, and 'assorted' accessories, all for $50! Not too bad a deal, especially considering this is my first tank over 10 gallons.

I'm very excited about this one, and I'm still looking for ideas on my final vision for the tank. Requirement number one is I want to have shrimp. Number two, well at least I think at this moment, I want a large school of one type of fish. I'm thinking maybe a school of 20 cardinal tetras. Or maybe a large number of a smaller fish. The fish must be flashy. Number three, a stunning by simplistic aquascape.

Below are a few pictures of the new tank and stand.

The new tank. Please disregard the incredibly ugly carpet. Previous owner's choice!


And the stand. Pretty basic setup. The floor of the stand (if you will) is warped from water damage, but I could cut another piece of plywood and fit it over the top of it.
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Old 03-25-2012, 12:12 AM   #2
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So I have a few preliminary options for driftwood.

The first. I like this piece because, even though it's not too interesting in shape, I love the embedded rock. As you can tell I've been trying to sink this thing. 3 weeks of submersion and it still floats right to the top. I'm thinking about mounting it at a vertical angle to a piece of slate.



The second option is much more interesting, but I have a feeling it is too far gone. It feels really spongy in spots, I just not sure what it would look like if I were to remove said spots.

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Old 03-25-2012, 12:26 PM   #3
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Looking at the stand today I have realized that I probably want to built my own down the road sometime. I'm very uncomfortable with the 'open top' to the stand itself and also that the stand is made of particle board. I'm guessing that the entire 30 gallon with contents will weigh about 300 to 350 pounds. I definitely don't want to wake up one morning to see my tank lying on the floor. Will have to explore this later.
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Old 03-25-2012, 12:43 PM   #4
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what stock are you planning flora and fauna??
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Old 03-25-2012, 05:55 PM   #5
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Well that's where I'm struggling. I'm not sure! I've never had a tank this size so it's a completely different world for me. I feel like a have a ton of options to wade through and am having a hard time deciding. I would like to make a biotope. I want a dark sand substrate with bright flashy fish. I would consider myself successful at this tank if someone looks at it and asks me if it is salt water.

At this point I'm open for thoughts and opinions.
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Old 03-25-2012, 11:42 PM   #6
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Okay, after an afternoon of research, here is what I've come up with. Thoughts and comments are certainly welcome.

I would like to create a Congo River Biotope. Below are the fauna I have in mind with the quantities. I understand that I may need to upgrade the tank size in the future to accommodate adult size, however I would like to know if you think I would be overstocking the tank in the first place.

1 - Leopard Bushfish - Ctenopoma acutirostre
1 - Yellow Marbled Synodontis - Synodontis schoutedeni
6 - Yellowtail Congo Tetras - Alestopetersius caudalis

Keep in mind this is a traditional 30 gallon tank and I am planning on having this tank region appropriately planted with Anubias, Bulbitis, and other region appropriate plantings. I haven't quite figured out the hardscape, but am leaning toward a driftwood/rock work combination with dark sandy(?) substrate.
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:05 AM   #7
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So I have finally started the setup of my tank. I'm actually really excited to take the time to build this the way I want instead of slapping it together in a hurry.

After a little bit of research and some folding on my part I decided to go with Flourite Dark for my substrate. Below are some pictures of the rinse process. The bag stated that it was not necessary to rinse, but I have seen some pictures of this forum proving otherwise so I used my better judgement on this one. I'm not sure that this would be considered "dust" by anyone.


Chocolate milk anyone? This is the very first rinse. I can't imagine putting this straight in the tank without rinsing!

Looking at this, I'm not even worried about rinsing out anything they claim as beneficial out of the substrate. I couldn't imagine dealing with this every time I disturbed the substrate planting or moving something.

After 5 rinses it looks a lot better. But still needs work. Took about 8 to 10 rinses before I felt comfortable putting it in my tank.

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Old 04-01-2012, 01:15 AM   #8
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I really like the first piece of driftwood with the rock in it. It may look plain now, but with anubias and whatnot attached, it will look great!

Try getting a cooler and pouring boiling water over it. Boiling driftwood helps get it logged with water pretty quickly and is great at sucking tannins out. I use a turkey fryer for big pieces, but some folks use a cooler and hot water.

Also... eww!
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:15 AM   #9
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Put in the substrate and filled the tank then did a 'wet-run' to get a feel on what I want for a cave in the tank.

A look at the rock I will be using. I actually found these rocks around the yard. My wife's grandmother places them around the base on one of our trees, probably years ago, I think I'll put them to good use.



And a few pictures of my general idea for a cave. I have since taken them out and will be letting them dry before I stick them together permanently. Which brings me to my question.





Does anyone have any experience using 5 minute epoxy for aquascaping? I'm wondering if there should be any concern about long lasting leaching toxic chemicals into the water.
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