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Old 06-17-2012, 04:07 AM   #1
dougiek
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20 Gallon Long Journey


Well...I had started this journey in January by coming across an amazing youtube video displaying a really cool looking Fluval Edge that had been transformed into a planted tank that housed shrimp and a variety of DIY upgrades. From there, I started to do a ton of reading and now, as of Wednesday, ordered everything to start my tank...minus the plants and fish.

But enough about the background...

Anyway...I went ahead and ordered everything on Wednesday so this is what I've got coming. Managed to get it all for pretty good prices and a total of $178 which I thought was pretty good. In addition to what is listed below I got a gravel cleaner, thermometer, net, and API Test Kit...so considering all that I got, I scored a pretty good price on it all.

Tank: 20G Long ($32)
Filter: Fluval C3 ($32)
Lighting: 2x24W T5HO ($40)
[B]Heater: EHEIM Jager 75W ($25)
Substrate: Eco-Complete($23)/Miracle Grow Organic Potting MIX
Ferts: Flourish and Excel (250mL @ $10 each locally)

Still looking for hardscape stuff but I'll eventually find it. Like I've said, I won't be able to stock the tank with plants/fish for about 8 weeks when I get back from being at home which is unfortunate because one of my LFS is in the process of phasing out their freshwater fish stock (going all saltwater) and is selling all of them at 50% off!

**As for the substrate..what type of soil would you recommend? And should I just cap it with Eco-Complete or half and half mix the 2?

**And as for the fertilizers...what frequency should I dose at?

I'll update this thread with pictures as I have them....but I will be going home (I'm a student at UCF) for 8 weeks and won't be able to really "start" my tank until I get back which will be the middle of August, however, after reading this article (http://www.aquabotanic.com/?p=1400) I plan on enacting it's way of cycling a tank.

For those that decided to take a gander at the article, what do you think? It sounds to me like a way to cycle the tank and since it's a relatively simple way, I figured that I can give my tank to my girlfriend for the 8 weeks and have her maintain it and do the boring part of cycling so that when I get back I can get right into beautifying my 20 gallon piece of glass.


Tank Progress
9/16/12


9/25/12


10/3/12

Last edited by dougiek; 10-04-2012 at 04:01 AM.. Reason: FTS
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Old 06-17-2012, 04:15 AM   #2
2in10
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Congrats on the new tank, your plan sounds good. I would use the Eco-Complete as a cap to keep the potting soil in place and from clouding your tank when you flood it. You will have a high light tank and will need to dose daily. You may need to go to pressurized CO2 and dosing dry ferts to keep algae at bay.
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Old 06-17-2012, 04:29 AM   #3
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Yea when I was getting advice on the things to purchase, someone said to not get this light cause it would be too much light...but I figured at that price I might as well and can adapt as needed. Initially, there won't be any light on the tank because as the article states, you just simple keep the soil submerged for 1-2 months. But when the time comes to add the flora I figure I can dose the excel daily/change the amount of light and we shall see how the tank fares between plant growth and algae. Eventually, if I have to, I'll move to a gaseous version of CO2....but until then I'll try to stick to the Excel.

Also, any recommendations as to the specific type of potting soil I should use? Preferably sold at Home Depot lol
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Old 06-17-2012, 04:34 AM   #4
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I haven't done the potting soil substrate but saw where someone was using Miracle-Gro. You could always hang the fixture 24" or more above the tank to keep the PAR down.
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Old 06-17-2012, 04:38 AM   #5
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Hmm...well I have thought about lifting the light, but it is a light that has an extendable fixture that supports itself on the tank, so if I can make it work that way it would be very convenient.

I'm viewing my new apartment (for next year) again tomorrow and am going to make sure to put things into perspective pertaining to room for my tank and will see how much room I actually have to put my tank...be it on a desk or building a stand. But regardless, I'm an innovative guy, so if need be I'll figure it out. Its hard to tell what exactly I'll need to do in regards to variables that won't be relevant until I actually put plants/fish in, but I'll try to keep some plans in mind to avert an algae bloom sooner rather than later.
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:30 PM   #6
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Wooo! Everything has arrived. The only thing left to get is the potting soil...which I still don't know what exact type to get...but I haven't really had time to look.



Anyway, I just finished derimming the top of my tank. Surprisingly it only took about 30 minutes armed with a bread knife (lol) and a putty knife.





Off to find a razor though because the putty knife isn't helping getting the remaining silicon off. Also, the glass edges underneath seem fine and won't need much smoothing out. Theres only one side that has a few small "chips" on the top surface that I want to quickly sand just so there isn't any way of getting cut but overall I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the edges underneath after reading about so many people discovering sharp edges.

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Old 06-19-2012, 11:50 PM   #7
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Just got back from Home Depot and bought a big bag of Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix (verbatim), and a razor. So other than the water conditioner, I have everything I need! Although, my friend has an RO/DI unit so I might just snag his water =p

I think I'm going to take it in the shower now to scrape off the silicon. I figure maybe the water will help lubricate it and also make it easier to clean all the pieces of it out.
I also just bought a new Vineyard Vines bathing suit, so it's an opportunity to wear it ^.^

And after looking at the seams now...I might get something clear I can put on the corners that would act like the rim...except only in the corners and clear. Just to be safe.
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:21 AM   #8
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I noticed this on one of the seams that the two panes of glass could wiggle and I didn't really like that but then I saw this on it and after some investigating, there is a gap between the two panes of glass and what looks like bubbles is areas with no silicone. It looks like there was no seal there to begin with versus pulling away from the tank because of the water, but I didn't notice until the water.

If you look at it, the actual silicone there is very small compared to the amount that isn't holding it together. How should I go about fixing this?


*the drop of water is from some spilling...not the seam




*you can see that the wire can go right in from the outside. It's in open space - not pushed into silicone.

So after making a dedicated thread for the issue...I guess my options are to
A) Try to return it without the rim arguing the issue has nothing to do with the rim being off.
B) Fix the tank (not sure if I want to go through that much effort/supplies)
C) Buy a new one

With the new one I'm between taking the rim off again...but inspecting the seams really well before doing so. Or painting it white. Has anyone painted their rims? I think white would look much better than black.
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:56 AM   #9
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Finally have set the entire thing up. A few snags here and there but it all seems to be going well, so far. The plants were planted today and will hopefully thrive (especially the HC)

This is how it's set up so far. I didn't expect the dwarf sag to be so big so it wasn't exactly something I had wanted in my tank (after I received it and saw it was a large plant) but I'm making do haha.



I also have an order of flame moss that I just have in a cup sitting on the bottom of my tank. Not really sure where I should put it. Suggestions?
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:53 PM   #10
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Here are the latest shots of the tank. Finally got around to placing the moss. The activated carbon is just chilling in the back there cause I don't really know what to do with it since the Purigen is in the filter.

I've been dosing about 1.25mL of Excel daily (unless I forget) and Flourish every once in a while (which I'm not sure if I really need since the tank has the organic soil).

I had a little bit of a diatom spell which has subsided for the most part except for a few spots amongst the HC which I vacuumed up. The 3 otos in there don't really seem to do much lol.

I have 10 RCS in a smaller tank and 1 of them currently has the eggs under her tail and I'm hoping that they will hatch and give me baby shrimp so that I can move some shrimp into this tank without having to take all of them out of the other tank. Cross my fingers! Theres about 3 other good sized shrimp with the yellow saddlebacks too so hopefully that will turn out to be promising.

(idk why they came out blurry after the upload)


You can see definite growth in the HC which is splendid.

Last edited by dougiek; 09-26-2012 at 12:01 AM.. Reason: update
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:59 PM   #11
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Looks great! I don't think you need carbon if you are using purigen, could be wrong though.

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Old 09-26-2012, 02:26 AM   #12
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Thanks. I forget the names of the plants I ordered, but the tall stuff in the back kind of throws my initial goal for the look of the tank but whatever. I didn't realize it was going to be so large lol.

And yea I just didn't know what to do with it so I just left it in there. The plants are still growing in so until they do and its a "sight to see" I'll probably just leave it in there. I think of it as like a construction zone right now =p
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:26 PM   #13
dougiek
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So should I take the carbon out? Or leave it in there?

Also, what kind of maintenance should I be doing on my filter? like changing the filter pads/cleaning the tube...stuff like that.
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougiek View Post
So should I take the carbon out? Or leave it in there?

Also, what kind of maintenance should I be doing on my filter? like changing the filter pads/cleaning the tube...stuff like that.
I would take it out. You only really need it if there is something in the water to remove like meds. For the filter you can rinse the media if need be in tank water. Personally I only do it when it looks gross and only change media if need be. Seems to be a lot of different opinions on taking care of it. Just make sure you don't replace it all at once, it's where your good bacteria is.

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Old 09-26-2012, 10:31 PM   #15
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Hmm...okay. Ill just take it out then and save it for when it is needed. And the filter has the little thing that pops up when the filter pad gets full and reduces the flow of the filter. Its popped up right now and there is a noticeable decrease in flow.

Clean it? Or buy a new one?
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