Experimental 15gal tall & 5gal cube
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Old 03-26-2009, 07:01 AM   #1
i4x4nMore
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Experimental 15gal tall & 5gal cube


Hi, no great timeline journal here.... Just some images of my two aquariums that I built: a 15 gallon tall, and a 5 gallon cube. These images are part of a series that I printed as 11x14 and mounted in a portfolio book to show at the Aquatic Gardners Association (AGA) convention in Atlanta this past year.

The 15 gallon-tall was an aquarium designed for my cubicle at work. I built all the wooden structures and designed the overall system so that no equipment resides in the actual tank... the lower cabinet houses a compact maze of equipment, hard plumming, and a slick electrical system.

The tanks are so prolific that I frequently get flowers at the surface. The image with the blue background and white flower is one of my favorites. It's just the surface level of my 15gal aquarium. The tall green grass (Sagittaria Subulata) seen in the other images is what sends up those white flowers.

The five gallon cube sits on my kitchen counter... It's a really fun tank, I love the way it sparkles like a vibrant stream with darting fish and verdant greens. It has all the same equipment as the 15 gallon, but just scaled down. The plants grow amazingly fast in these two tanks.

Both tanks utilize garden soil that I dug up from my backyard. I sent a sample off to be analyzed for minerals, pestisides, fertilizers, and hazardous chemicals. The results came back clean and indicated a moderately rich loamy soil.... I've been using it for years.

I have a big soft leather chair that sits right in front of the 15 gallon tank. One of my favorite things to do is sit and watch while eating dinner. The colors are soothing, and movement of the fish is so relaxing.


15 Gallon Tall - Custom built cabinets and attached chiller




Sagittaria Flower - Taken at the surface of the 15 gal aquarium. I get
lots of blooms all year round!





15gal Tall Close-Up - My first high-light algae free tank



15gal Equipment Cabinet - Every piece of equipment can be removed without
stopping the flow of water! There is even an auxiliary pump to run when the canister is removed.





15 Gal Canopy: Houses two MH lights that are switchable from 50W to 100W.
Pictured is a PAR reading of one of the 50W blubs. Full sun would give a reading
of around 1800 units. This little bulb is showing over 800 units.







5 Gal Counter Top Aquarium - This 10 cube sits on my kitchen counter. Also
shown is my DIY drop-checker to measure CO2 levels. Tank is hard plumbed, and
CO2 injected with MH lighting





Baby Cherry Shrimp - Pictuer taken in the 5 gal tank.... This guy is really small,
the picture is deceiving. After a several more molts, he'll be bright red.





5Gal Tank - Full view of 10 cube tank. Utilizes mini-canister filter, paintball CO2,
hard plumbing, 100Watts MH lighting.





Appreciate any comments!


Cheers!
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Last edited by i4x4nMore; 11-21-2012 at 01:18 AM.. Reason: Picture URLs fixed
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Old 03-26-2009, 07:08 AM   #2
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I like the re-scapes on the two tanks.
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Old 03-26-2009, 08:23 AM   #3
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That 15 gal sure is a beast!
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Old 03-26-2009, 08:24 AM   #4
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That is just really impressive all around! Beautiful 'scapes and fantastic plumbing work!

You are really punching those tanks with light

If you don't mind, I have a couple questions about your setup.
In addition to the soil, are you adding any other ferts? What are you doing for water changes? Where is the water flow being directed in the 15?

Great tanks.
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Old 03-26-2009, 11:13 AM   #5
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wow awesome setup truly an inspiration wish i was capable of doing something like this. you have really good photography skills as well.
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Old 03-26-2009, 12:38 PM   #6
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That is just insane. Your cabinet looks like it could be the environmental controls for the ISS.

Awesome work, truly incredible.

How about a large tank for your next project?
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:04 PM   #7
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I take it you are a reefer first, then came into planted tanks? I say this because you seem to be very good with the plumbing and lighting in a way that looks like a salt water setup. weird I know...
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Old 03-26-2009, 05:24 PM   #8
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Those are some pretty high tech setups you have! The 5g cube looks awesome, did you take any step by step pictures of building it? I'd like more info on it if you can!
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Old 03-26-2009, 11:34 PM   #9
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I've been looking for Sagittaria Flower for a while.. where the f do you guys get it?!!?


Those tanks look amazing.. I love the compact size and beautiful equipment setups
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Old 03-27-2009, 02:44 AM   #10
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Hi All, thanks for the responses! I'll try to kick back a few answers (may not get to them all though).....

Quote:
Down_Shift: I've been looking for Sagittaria Flower for a while.. where the F do you guys get it?!!?
Funny, That's exactly how I asked at my local fish store! Kidding aside, the flower(s) grow from the base of the very common Sagittaria Subulata. The plants need to be allowed to grow to their full mature size... and once they do, they send up thin stalks that bud on the surface of the water. My small 15gal gets about 25 blooms at once. It's really quite striking.


Quote:
Jdinh04: The 5g cube looks awesome, did you take any step by step pictures of building it? I'd like more info on it if you can!
Thanks, it's a favorite of mine. I simply cannot pass through my kitchen without stopping to take a look. I got the idea when I realized that the 15 gal was a little too overwhelming to take to my office at work. I wanted something that was "hi tech" but with a minimal footprint. In the course of an afternoon, this little guy was born. I already had everything on hand: 3 cube tanks, drill press w/diamond drill bit, pvc & connectors, bulk heads, co2 system, etc. The MH light was already installed over my kitchen sink (I have 5 MH fixtures over the sink area, for experimentation). There really was no time to stop and take pictures because I was just kind of creating as I went.


Quote:
rountreesj: I take it you are a reefer first, then came into planted tanks? I say this because you seem to be very good with the plumbing and lighting in a way that looks like a salt water setup.
Actually, I've only ever done fresh water setups. They are infinitely fascinating to me. But I think I will someday do a marine/reef... The gracefulness of Lion Fish make me stop and go "Woooow.". I hope the stuff I've learned with FW will help in making a stunning marine/reef setup.


Quote:
Canoe2Can: That is just insane. Your cabinet looks like it could be the environmental controls for the ISS.
Hehehe, It was quite a puzzle to put together. I like clean-line, no-clutter setups. My favorite piece of equipment is the custom built probe manifold. It's a see-through acrylic box that the water runs through.... it has four bulkhead ports in which I can mount things like pH probes, conductivity probes, temperature probes, etc. I'm working on a project to run/monitor all the systems with a flat mounted touch screen built into the canopy - with a custom designed graphical interface. Geeky, I know.


Quote:
Canoe2Can: How about a large tank for your next project?
Amen, brother! Working in small tank volumes is very challenging. You have to be on top of your game. There's very little space. Most aquatic plants are too big for even a 20gal, let alone 5gal. I'm itching to do something much bigger. Don't worry, the gears are already turning...


Quote:
boltp777: ...you have really good photography skills as well.
Thanks! Another hobby of mine. Photographing tanks is quite challenging. Especially if the shot includes both the inside and outside environments. The photographic impression of a planted tank is almost never the same as seeing it in real life. I strive to maintain the essence of what it feels like to actually be standing in front of the tank or looking through the glass. Thank you for not saying, "Wow, you must have a good camera."

Quote:
Minsc: In addition to the soil, are you adding any other ferts? What are you doing for water changes? Where is the water flow being directed in the 15?
Yes, I am dosing a home-made mix of nitrates, phosphates, and traces using EI methodology. My kitchen looks like a chem lab. For water changes, I have a RO system which fills a full-time hard-plumbed reserve tank, this water is pumped into the 15gal tank on demand by flipping a switch. The water flow in the 15 gal is as follows: There are two outflow (drains): one in the bottom of the tank, and another on the back wall. There are two returns coming in from the back just below the water surface level: a high flow rate main return, and a low flow rate CO2 enriched return.


Quote:
chonhzilla: That 15 gal sure is a beast!
I know. Doesn't that describe it best? I love it. :-)


Quote:
epicfish: I like the re-scapes on the two tanks.
Yeah, I forgot it's been a while since you've been over! I was thinking, how did he know I rescaped them? Ha! Now I remember describing to you what I was going to do. Still need to see yours in person... :-)

Cheers!
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Old 03-27-2009, 02:50 AM   #11
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Simply amazing attention to detail. I commend you.
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Old 03-27-2009, 03:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamelesstgr View Post
Simply amazing attention to detail. I commend you.
Thanks :-), I used to live nearby in Naperville. I LOVED going up to Living Sea Aquarium up by the airport. It's an amazing store, and the guys there are generally very knowledgeable. But even they balked at me when I told them of my early plans to build the 15gal. One guy actually told me that he wouldn't sell me equipment because I was going to "mis-use" it! Ha!

I'm in LA now though. No really good aquarium stores like that around here.

I looked at your 20gal tank. I love the driftwood-scape. Was it hard to get that kind of driftwood? I can never find skinny driftwood like that. Any hints?


Cheers!
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Old 03-27-2009, 04:22 AM   #13
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Your cabinets are just as elegant as the scapes themselves. 2 Thumbs up.
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Old 03-27-2009, 04:33 AM   #14
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Definitely some of the most advance fw tanks that I have seen, esp. for their size. I would say well done and awesome, but I'm sure you're tired of hearing that by now
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Old 03-27-2009, 04:40 AM   #15
kyle loves gars
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those are just completely stunning, i am very interested to hear more about them though as far as params. wpg and such.
how long did it take you to get the tanks to where they are now? im awestruck at the beauty of both, and really curious to hear more about them
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