ADA Mini-L: Elements
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Old 04-21-2009, 04:27 AM   #1
Ugly Genius
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ADA Mini-L: Elements

Elements was an inevitability from the moment I added an em to my kitchen counter next to the es. It was set up yesterday, April nineteenth.

With a volume of eight point eight gallons -- a tad over six gallons of water with the displacement from the substrate and hardscape, a Mini-L is a big tank for me. (The Mini-S and Mini-M, my other two ADA tanks, are approximately three point five and five point five gallons respectively. And let's not forget my two gallon Do!aqua Plant Glass!)

I'll start with the boring-but-important stuff...
Lighting: Coralife Aqualight; twenty-eight watts @ sixty-seven hundred k. (In a week when the plants have settled, I will be bumping up the wattage to thirty-six with an ADA NA thirty-six watt twin. (The Coralife fixture, I'm told, has a ballast rated for forty watts so using this bulb should not be a problem.)

Filtration: Eheim 2213.

Heat: Askool twenty-five watt heater. Love these things.

Substrate: Amazonia Aqua Soil.

Fertilization: Brighty K after three weeks and Step 1 after a month.

CO2: GLA's Choice Regulator via an ADA glass diffuser.

The part I love...
Okay, so here's the thing. When I started Source, AFA sold me what they called "short hairgrass". It was anything but. If you've read my Source journal, you know that that stuff grew to be about eight inches tall.
On Saturday, George stopped me as I was on a plant-buying spree and asked if I wanted the short hairgrass, the stuff from their display tank as they had two clumps left over from a recent trimming. I said of course. They had taken it home so I had to come back the next day, but what you see in the below photo is the short variety from, they tell me, Japan and I am the first person to whom they sold it. When I asked them why they sold it to me, they replied, because you're always asking for it. Moral of the story: bug people.
In addition to the Hairgrass, I have Fissidens, Flame Moss, a crypt, tons of Mini Pellia, MM, and Special Fern in there.
The tank is still in it infancy, obviously, and will take several months to get anywhere close to what it looks like in my mind, but I'll be adding and growing the plants behind and on the rock on the left. The right side will be kept comparatively bare.

The back left will be dense and thickly planted up until the midway point.
The effect will be a primordial monster lumbering out of the trees.

Tannins still stain the water. I like that, though.
What I don't like are sixty-seven hundred k bulbs. I can't wait to get the eight thousand k bulb.

Counter clock-wise from the eleven o'clock position: Bolbitis, Flame Moss, Japanese Hairgrass,
Mini Pellia, Fissidens, Crypt, MM, and Special Fern.

The Flame Moss

I like this shot because the rock looks like an Inca ruin.

The head.

This is how the tank starts.
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Old 04-21-2009, 04:34 AM   #2
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I can't believe it's finally here! I know we've all been waiting for you to work your aquatic magic in a larger tank. I've been reading the beginnings of this tank on your cube thread and am so happy it's turned out the way it did. You really were able to capture the 'darkness' that was mentioned earlier. I think the plant selection is perfectly fitting.

I am curious as to whether you plan to add actual fish to this tank.....that's right, I said ACTUAL fish.

All-in-all, LOVE IT and can't wait to watch it grow.
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Old 04-21-2009, 04:41 AM   #3
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Woahhh the light makes it so mysterious
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Old 04-21-2009, 01:27 PM   #4
Jack Gilvey
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I lover everything about that. Tannins, lighting...alluvit. I wish you'd post bigger pics, UG.
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Old 04-21-2009, 03:46 PM   #5
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Is there a reason why you typed out each number to hurt my eyes
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Old 04-21-2009, 04:14 PM   #6
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UG, is that light the 20" fixture?

I think the monster will look pretty good once the plants grow in some and alleviate the 'crowding' effect!
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Old 04-21-2009, 05:11 PM   #7
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That last picture of the wood you have, "the head" totally reminds me of that monster from Cloverfield. Some of the angles with the wood even make it look like it has arms reaching out. Really, really cool.
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Old 04-22-2009, 02:39 AM   #8
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Thanks, cintamas! That means a lot to me. It really does.
For me a planted tank is no different that the writing I used to do in another life a long time ago. There's a crushing vulnerability that follows the euphoric rush of the creative process for me. That the thing into which I put so much time and effort will be deemed, in the word that hurts most, lame.
Ultimately, I create my tanks as my artistic sensibilities dictate, but the reason I post photos is because all of your feedback means a tremendous plenty to me.
When people remark that they like my tanks and can't wait to see the next one, a certain dread comes over me. This dread is that I won't be able to make another nice tank -- that any nice tanks I've made to this point were flukes or luck or a combination thereof.
So what I'm saying, cint, is thanks. I was worried what the first person would write and that is the best thing I could have read.
And this fish stuff you're talking about--? Those the things without legs that swim in some people's tanks? I've read about those.
Just kidding.
You have no idea how many of my friends make fun of me for having fish tanks with no fish. To give you and idea: all of them.

Hey, Zoo. As much as I don't like sixty-seven hundred k bulbs, the yellow + tannins are helping make the initial (which would otherwise be boring) shots atmospheric.

Thanks, Jack! Okay, after I nail down the lighting, I'll post a few bigger photos.

Annoying as heck, isn't it, Haagenize. I can understand why I might write out ten instead of 10, but it is ridiculous to write out sixty-seven hundred k when 6,700k is so much easier to write and read.
Yet still, I can't help myself. Even though it's, like, a billion trillion quadrillion times more annoying than writing in all caps. And that's, like, zillions of times annoying and almost anything else.

Hey, X. Yes, it's the twenty" fixture. (Sorry, Haag. I made it even worse by not writing out inches and used the " instead.) It's a good lamp for the Mini-L in that the spread with a twenty-eight to thirty-six watt bulb is pretty ideal.
I have a feeling that this hardscape will shrink considerably when the plants grow in. I've found that what looks just right at initial planting, becomes too small once the tank matures and what appears slightly too big at initial planting turns out to be just right.

Thanks, Outlaw! Once you said that it clicked. I knew it looked like a monster, I just couldn't place the face. Cloverfield!

Tank's now pressurized.

Pressurized CO2 is not nearly as difficult as my ignorance-based fear led me to believe. I had the whole thing set up in less than ten minutes.
A five pound cylinder looks positively huge compared to the ADA paintball canisters! (I like it in that the steal cylinder makes my living room look steampunk.)

Here's a cool shot.

Eventually, I will hate that the setting sun shines on this tank, but right here and now, it's beautiful.

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Old 04-22-2009, 03:21 AM   #9
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I'm glad that my feedback was taken in such a positive way, it was meant to make you step away and pat yourself on your back. I find myself asking why I bother to post my tanks for public scrutiny. The only thing that really matters is if I am enjoying what I have spent my time, creativity and money on to create. That's it. If i'm not happy with it, down it goes and the process begins all over again. You and I both know that there's a certain obsession with wanting others to validate what you already know to be true. Did I just answer myself?

FOCUS.....I hope the setting sun doesn't start an algae attack on the tank walls. Lord knows that the sun shines through every crevice of my apt. It's Hawaii for crying out loud, it should be expected. And yes, I have a part-time job scraping AND SCRUBBING my tanks' walls.
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Old 04-22-2009, 04:13 AM   #10
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Well the sun will cause an "element" in itself (: .
But yeah have fun with algae.
I get a 30 minute period of direct sunshine on my tank early mornings and that's enough hassle as is.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:32 AM   #11
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Love the look, more opinions as it fills in and settles in. Direct Sunilght is really bad though...

Wish I had great plants like that locally to me. Wonder how that JHG will grow and what height it stays. It would be cool to find one that stayed around 1.5" max or so.


Originally Posted by cdwill View Post
"C'mon, they're just plants, man, no big deal -- try some"
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:24 PM   #12
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Man UG, that tank looks truly evil. Like Cloverfield meets Jurassic Park. It's gonna look awesome in a couple months
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:38 PM   #13
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Man, that piece of driftwood you have just has so much character! I can't wait to see this tank develop.

And a little off topic, but how's the bike situation coming along?
"It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything."- Tyler Durden
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:34 PM   #14
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Awesome wood! But the scape seems a bit "heavy", and the straight line on the left seems a bit distracting. Just trying to be constructive
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:38 PM   #15
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congrats on the whole line up my friend

BTW, you should rename this tank Elements of Life <- Tiesto owns!
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