jmhk's IM Nuvo 16/Aquatop Nano Sky 7/1 Gallon Vase
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:42 PM   #1
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jmhk's IM Nuvo 16/Aquatop Nano Sky 7/1 Gallon Vase


Original thread title: Starting over after a 21 year hiatus - jmhk's IM Nuvo 16

Many moons ago, starting in high school, I had a community tank with various gouramis, tetras, angels, kuhli and horseface loaches, etc.. The only plants we could get back then were, I believe, some type of hornwort and simple stems. I moved that tank from my house to a college apartment, then to my first apartment after college and then to my first house. When we moved to the next house, it went into storage and is still sitting in the junk room gathering dust.

A few months ago, my daughter asked for a betta tank for her 12th birthday and lo an behold, helping her get that little 5 gallon tank up and running for Mr. Aquamarine and his 4 ghost shrimp buddies gave me the push to think about restarting the old tank. However, after taking a good look at that poor old hard-water encrusted black plastic rimmed 20 gallon tank shoved in the corner of the room, filled with old air pumps, tubing, bright blue gravel and HOB parts, my enthusiasm was a bit dimmed.

Not giving up completely, I started to browse the web to see what people were doing with tanks some 21 years after I had last been in the hobby. Luckily I stumbled across this site. The beautiful layouts that I saw and the way everyone was willing to share their knowledge made me decide to splurge and get a brand-new setup going.

The vision was to start out a new tank with some cooler water fish, then work up to neo shimp and maybe eventually feel I've learned enough to try adding some tiger shrimp. At first I thought about just a small 8-10 gallon nano, but after deciding that zebra danios would be my starter fish, that just was too small for them. Given that, and since I'm no longer on a high school budget, I decided to splurge on a beautiful 16 gallon all in one tank setup that I saw from Innovative Marine. I loved the curved glass corners, rimless design and hidden filter column.

And so, the journey begins again.....
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:12 PM   #2
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Default Step 1: Gather up the pieces to begin from scratch

Saw those "Utah Dragon Stones" from DaveFish on his youtube video and just fell in love with the look. So my first purchase....



The rough layout concept:



A few days later the tank arrives for its unboxing!




Followed by the leak test....



20 lbs of Eco-complete and some volcanic mountains complete the hardscape....



Flooded and all cleared up.....

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Old 05-24-2013, 11:40 PM   #3
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Default Step 2: Here's your new home

The tank cycled quickly since I added some MTS and a bunch of sponges and scrubbies I had been floating in my daughter's betta tank (thanks for the free bacteria!). So, since I decided to start with zebras, it was off to Petsmart (can't quite see paying shipping for $0.85 fish ). Hopefully that will be my only fauna purchase from Petsmart. I hope to get any shrimp or other fish from the great members of TPT! The store was a zoo. I asked the associate for my zebras, and in her haste, she apparently didn't pay too much attention to the contents of the bag. I now have my school of zebras danios and a single accidental oto! If he seems to be lonely, maybe I will have to go back and get him some more oto friends.



The danios seemed a bit stunned by the lights, but I didn't have any plants ordered yet. Time to improvise. I'm sure they will melt, but regardless, I run out to the dock and grab a few handfuls of unidentified stems out of the lake. The zebras and oto seem to love them and settle down nicely.

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Old 05-25-2013, 12:07 AM   #4
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Default Step 3: Interior decorating

To put it mildly, the types of freshwater plants available today were unimaginable back when I had my 20 gallon tank in the late 80's and early 90's. The IM Nuvo 16 gallon is mostly known for marine/reef use, but they recently added some 10K lights to their Skkye LED lineup that they are marketing for freshwater planted applications. IM shows PAR values for those lights that seem to be suitable for medium lighting in the center bottom of the tank and high lighting near the surface. I'm not ready to go high-tech with injected C02, but at least I shouldn't be limited to just anubias and java ferns! I buy some Flourish, Flourish Excel and Flourish tabs in preparation.

Thanks to a purchase from the For Sale forum, I get quite the grab bag to start out. Let's see how many I can keep from murdering..... I yank out the unidentified lake weed (thanks for your sacrifice for the cause) and bin it. A few hours later, I have done my best to figure out which plant is which and find a somewhat appropriate place for each. Getting some of them to stay where I wanted it wasn't easy - do you get better at it with time? I thought the tongs I bought would make it a breeze but I still got frustrated. Push it in, smooth the substrate, step back and admire, watch it float to the surface . Repeat..... Finally finished up late last night.

Hopefully it will fill in nicely in the next months. Some of the Rotalas are currently hidden behind the taller stones, but they should peek out in a few weeks.



The floaters are corraled for now - the fish are enjoying them but I will have to see if they shade the other plants too much.



Left end view:


Left Front view:


Center Front view:


Right Front view:


Right End view:
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Old 05-25-2013, 12:33 AM   #5
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nice beginnings. i recall back in the 80s where the only plants available were amazon swords, dwarf sag, lilies and banana plants.... i still went for live stuff and only saw successes with the amazon swords.

your stems ought to straighten up a bit with some fertilizer. I like how the tank has two directional return spouts. sort of eliminates the need to add powerhead, which i sort of have to. The choice in hardscape is very nice. i can almost see patches of some moss here and there to really give it some dimension and make it seem mountain-esque...

Good luck and keep us posted
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Old 05-25-2013, 01:06 AM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback. I put my first dose of Flourish and Excel in today - I've never used ferts before so I'm a bit worried about overdoing it. I bought root tabs but am not sure which of these plants, if any, need it or if I should wait a bit since the eco-complete is brand new. I have some Notocyphus Lutescens moss tucked into each side "mountain", not sure how long that takes to start filling in - these plants are all new to me. I hope to get some growth on the "mountains" but still keep a good amount bare to showcase that great texture.
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Old 05-25-2013, 01:23 AM   #7
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Heck of a re-entry my friend

You've obviously done a ton of research and I really like the way your tank is looking so far. The root tabs will only help plants that are planted in the substrate (sorry if thats super obvious, just wanted to cover the basics haha). Eco complete is a decent substrate for nutrients but the tabs can't hurt. And as long as you follow the instructions on the Flourish bottles you should be fine.
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:27 PM   #8
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Ok, root tabs are in. Hope they will bring down the pH just a bit - was surprised when it tested at 8.2. Here's the list of the plants I am starting with:

Rotala 'Gia Lai' aka 'H'ra'
Rotala Bangladesh
Rotala Mini Butterfly
Hygrophila 'Brown' / Hygrophila 'Thai'
Micranthemum Umbrosum (Giant baby tear)
Rotala Mexicana 'Goias'
Heteranthera Zosterifolia (Stargrass)
Nymphoides sp. 'Taiwan' (Taiwan Lilly)
Marsilea Minuta
Notocyphus Lutescens moss
Hygroryza Aristata

Mixed floaters (Salvinia minima water spangles, Amazon frogbit, dwarf water lettuce, duckweed)

The floaters have already sent out lots of new roots in the last 24 hours, but should I really believe that the Nitrates are at 0 or do I have a bad test ?
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:38 PM   #9
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That's a beautiful tank!

Man. So many IM 16Gs popping up. Now I'm tempted to get one myself!
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Old 05-25-2013, 03:17 PM   #10
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Very nice tank, loving the rock, its amazing!
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Old 05-25-2013, 03:41 PM   #11
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Yep don't worry that your nitrates shot down to almost unreadable, at least when it comes to cycling. Some if your plants are real nitrate hogs. My nitrates went from 20 to 5 after adding floaters and wisteria.
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:45 PM   #12
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I do believe the danios are liking their home although I had to add some screen to the water level intakes since a few kept checking out the filter area. I lowered the temperature of the tank to around 71F and they now seem to be swimming peacefully vs. spastically. They have completely stopped schooling and the males are getting quite gold. The males also have each staked out one of the many caves around the rocks as his own. Seems a bit strange since I read that they are egg scatterers, but it almost seems like they are grooming a nest site - they seem to invite the females in for a look, but chase away any males that visit.

The oto also seems content - he is munching away on the lettuce kebob I put in for him. Since I'm not seeing much algae yet, I didn't want him to starve. I know they say to have at least 3 otos in a tank - how could I tell if he is being stressed by his singledom?

Some of the floaters have grown roots over 3" long in 48 hours! I am also seeing what I believe to be some new growth on the stargrass, taiwan lily and the rotala butterfly. Later today I will do a water change and prune off any melted leaves. The Marsilea Minuta and Notoscyphus Lutescens are the only ones that seem to have not at least stabilized so far. Some of the Hygrophila 'Brown' continues to escape the substrate - there are lots of roots high on the plants, but not much lower. Maybe I should just leave the stems that escape alone until they grow something to hold on to the substrate?
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Old 06-03-2013, 02:36 AM   #13
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Red face (not so) Aquatic Chipmunks

Patience, wait for the chipmunks....

I have only had my plants in the tank for about a week and the floaters were already exploding. I came back to the tank after about 4 days away and they were starting to escape their corral.



I decided to keep just the frogbit since it seemed a bit more manageable, so I segregated out the water lettuce and water spangles.



I scooped out the exiles and put them in a 5 gallon bucket with the water from the weekly change and some lake water to feed them until I figured out if anyone would want a RAOK. The remaining frogbit was a much better amount and I think the other plants will enjoy seeing some more light.



The 5 gallon bucket goes out in the sunlight on the back deck - at the rate they are growing, I should have lots to give away.

Enter chipmunks, stage right...

Sure they are cute, but they aren't exactly my favorite animal in the yard. Between my cat bringing them into the house (still alive) as play toys and having just replanted the cucumbers for the third time this year after they decided they were oh so yummy, I don't have a great deal of love for them unless they keep their distance.

My sister comes over in the afternoon and asks me why I have a dead chipmunk in a bucket on the back porch. Oops, so much for that RAOK plan.... he must have fallen in and couldn't get back out. Curious critters, I think. Anyway, I scoop out the victim and return him to the wild for burial. (No, for those of you with a morbid streak, I didn't take pictures.). I just leave the bucket on the porch for now.

Sunday comes along with several thunderstorms, so I go to remove some water from the bucket before it overflows. I don't want the water lettuce or water spangles to accidently get washed into the lake or marsh. You aren't going to believe this, but there is ANOTHER CHIPMUNK belly up in the bucket! Two down in about 24 hours just doesn't seem like coincidence.

Have the chipmunks found these new plants to be irresistible or do I just have some really dumb chipmunks? I've never found one floating before and it is not uncommon at all for us to have a 5 gallon bucket around half filled with water. At this point, I have to find out - so the bucket has been moved down to the garden (next to their favorite cucumbers). I may have found the proverbial better mouse(chipmunk) trap
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Old 06-08-2013, 02:54 AM   #14
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Bit of a mishap today. I had added some screen to the surface overflows to keep the curious zebras out of the filter area. My husband went to clean the screens out and accidently dropped one to the bottom of the tank. By the time I got home and dug the screen back out to cover the overflow, 4 zebras were missing. I found the remains of 2 and the other 2 are MIA. They have been stressed before when they ended up in the filter area, but we had never had any problem getting them out safely. Guess I'm going to have to figure out a way to also add a sponge to the actual intake of the pump itself to protect against this type of loss happening again.
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Old 06-08-2013, 10:56 PM   #15
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subscribed! I really like this tank and the direction it's going.
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