38 gallon DIY 'Till I Die (New Pics 2/28) 56K warning - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-07-2010, 06:36 AM Thread Starter
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38 gallon DIY 'Till I Die (New Pics 2/28) 56K warning

I'm a long time lurker of these forums and this tank has been a long time in the making. Not knowing how long this project would take I never started a journal. I've slowly accumulated and scavanged the equipment for this tank over a period of two years now. So what's under the hood? Well here's the list.

Equipment:
Tank
  • 38 Gallon AGA
  • Refinished stand and DIY hood
  • DIY glass hood a la these forums
Lighting
  • (2) 24" IceCap 2X24 watt SLR T5HO Retrofits
  • Giesemann 6000K Mid Sun bulbs
  • DIY 70 Watt Metal Halides (ballastwise, utility lamp housing, Philips 4200K 92 CRI)
  • DIY moon lights
Filtration/Flow
  • Rena XP3
  • 36 watt UV sterilizer
  • Via Aqua 1300 run in parallel (soon to be replaced with a Mag 3)
  • Koralia nano
  • DIY plumbing
Substrate/Ferts
  • Aquasoil
  • EI method KNO3, KH2PO4, CSM+B, EDTA Iron
  • Autodosing with Wasserpest's small water pump method
CO2
  • 5lb tank
  • Victor VTS 450D two stage regulator
  • Custom plumbing to run two separate relays and needle valves for two separate tanks
  • Accuair plastic needle valves
  • Plumbed to be injected into the external pump (ViaAqua now Mag3 later) for a needle wheel effect
I would have given the mineralized top soil a shot but I just don't have a place to do it while I'm at my school apartment in NY. The wife and kids don't leave me much time to finish a project like this when I do get home to Ohio.

One of my favorite things about this tank is the spray bar. It runs the length of the back wall so I can push a large amount of flow evenly throughout the tank. I'm also considering adding a second Koralia nano to the opposite corner.

I currently only have 3 otto's and 4 amano shrimp in there now. I have another 10 amano being shipped in from ZID ZULANDER. The final livestock will be as follows.

  • 8-10 Corydoras Habrosus
  • 8 Threadfin Rainbows
  • 6 Apristogramma agasizzi Fire red or some other type of apisto depending what I decide will work best. I may also opt to use some nice blue rams I've seen here locally
  • 2 Peacock Gudgeons
For plants, I did the dry start method. It took three months because I got some bad advice and killed my first carpet by spraying some excel diluted 1:2 after 1 month of growth. When it finally did grow back I was too busy with school to try and set the tank up. The final list will be as follows:

Hemianthus Calitricoides
Eriocaulon setaceum
Ludwigia pantanal
Aciotis sp
Tonina lotus blossem

Still need to get
Limnophila aromatica
Pogostemon stellatus broad leaf
I'd like to try and get one nice eriocaulon rosette when the tank is cooking

Here's the pics!!



The color of the halides has evened out. They're both the same brand, but I had used one on a 10 gallon I had in the past.


Flip up hood for easy access. When this picture was taken I had yet to install the T-5's and moonlights



I love crown molding, I'll stick it anywhere i can!



There's a Hayco fitting on the end of the T's so that I can put a heater in it and use it inline. Everything has been spray painted black with Kryolon fusion. The ball valves allow me to do easy water changes. Turn some to pump it out, and I have a sump pump in a tank collecting pure R/O water that I turn on to pump water back in. No mess and no buckets!!



I have since installed a separate switch and ballast for the T-5's



Week 2 ^



Week 3 ^



Week 4^




And that's today. The stems aren't arranged in their final spots, I just threw some in there to get it going. Sorry for the glare off the HC, I'm using the camera on my cell phone and can't do any better. I'll get new batteries for my digital camera and see if I can do better in some updates. Criticism and suggestions are welcome, it can only help me make this tank better. Thanks for looking!

Last edited by Stasiu; 02-28-2010 at 08:17 AM.
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-07-2010, 10:15 AM
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I have a feeling, that without a source of carbon, that with that much lighting, you are going to be in for an epic battle with algae!
I would for sure reduce the photoperiod or lighting until you get Co2 rockin in there.


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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-07-2010, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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There is CO2, it's injected into the impeller of the Via external pump that's plumbed in parallel with the XP3. It turns on 1/2 hour before the lights and I get TINY bubbles throughout the whole tank. As of right now the T-5's run 6 hours and the halides give a little burst in the middle for 1 hour.
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-07-2010, 03:07 PM
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Nice growth. The large stone in the middle just seems too small for the aquarium to me, but that's just my opinion.
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-07-2010, 05:06 PM
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awesome tank love the HC


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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-07-2010, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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I got some batteries for the camera, so here's a better pic.



I don't have a great camera, that's the best I could get. The only lights on in the picture are the 15 watt moonlights, but I can't set the exposure low enough to give it the real life effect. The white LED's are an epoxy coated 96cm strip used for automotive accent lighting. Here's an example.



A little gaudy for my taste when used for it's intended purpose, but work great for this application since they're easily mounted and flexible. I'm using a 12volt transformer to power these. Both items are from ebay and totaled about $18 shipped. They provide a nice and even low light level.

Here's the plumbing for the mag 3 that's going to replace the ViaAqua.


The CO2 is delivered through the 1/4" od push fitting on the intake. I have a mesh mod on the Via, but I don't think it's necessary and I won't be modding the impeller on the Mag pump.
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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I did want the rock to be a little more substantial in the tank, but that's the best I could do with what I had to work with. The bigger pieces were too big, and I want to save them for a 65 gallon tank I have. Any suggestions for the planting arrangement keeping the list above in mind?
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 01:59 PM
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I can never decide what to do with a piece of driftwood like that... turn it upside down, like you did, and make it look like roots, or keep it right side up and make it look like a tree...

In my tank the wood looks like a root, but it also is more massive. In your case I would probably try to "plant it". It always feels funny, when the branches get thinner from the top to the bottom.

The rocks you could try to cluster, to make them look bigger all together, but then you have a lot of empty space... I'd say get more rocks

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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 03:26 PM
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niiiceee, wish I had CO2 lol


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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 07:14 AM Thread Starter
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Definitly agree it could use more rocks so I'll have to see if I can get some more at the landscaping store. Though I don't think I'll get off as easily this time since she now understands how little I need . The rock I do have left is too big for this tank and I don't want to break it up. A friend took some for his 10 gallon that would have worked well.

I'm going to leave the manzinita where it is because of the boundries it provides in the water column. I plan on trimming the stem plants in the same manor, letting their length increase as you move to the back left corner of the tank.

I have some more plants coming for this tank this week, and an AquaController Jr.....so stay tooned!!
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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-23-2010, 07:40 AM Thread Starter
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Update pic



Some plants were removed, some moved, some trimmed, some added. Still need to get some Liminophila Aromatica and that should be it.I have the limewood diffuser running off an air pump opposite the CO2 temporarily until I can install a bubble wall to run at night. The Aquacontroller if definitly fun toy to play with.
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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-23-2010, 01:42 PM
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That has to be the best carpet I have ever seen!

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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-23-2010, 02:08 PM
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Wow, that looks awesome!

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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-28-2010, 08:13 AM Thread Starter
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I decided to give some Philips 4200K 92CRI metal halide bulbs a shot. I do like them, and they cause more pearling in the tank. Here's a few shots...







The side shot looks like there's algae on the front glass, but it's actually the green reflection of the HC on the tiny microbubbles in the tank. You can see how small the co2 bubbles are in the first shot. It's also why the image looks grainy. I'll have to take a picture some time when the co2 is off.

I finished the autodosing pumps and found some nice 1/8" OD tygon tubing that helps me get the flow down to 25 mL a minute. I still have to get around to breaking up some more rock to put into this tank.

Here are a few action shots of the peacock gudgeons. They're inquisitive little fish that often come to the front of the glass to check things out.





Thanks for looking! Comments and criticisms are more than welcome!
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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-28-2010, 03:22 PM
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How reddish are those 4200k Phillips, got any shots of the lights on with jsut those burning?

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