A Blank Canvas.... 37 gal - UPDATE 12-23-2016 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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A Blank Canvas.... 37 gal - UPDATE 12-23-2016

I just revived my long overdue planted aquarium project. About 5 years ago I made a custom background for my 37 gallon Tall tank. The plan had been to turn it into a planted tank. I created the background using pink foam insulation that I carved rocks into. I placed PVC pipes into a couple of the rocks to make tunnels for fish. I then used tinted Epoxy resin to coat the foam and covered it with sand. I used the epoxy resin because I did not want to have to worry about elevated PH levels in the water by using the concrete method. The overall result came out great and I was very happy. Then life happened and the project was put on hold.

Now that I have revived the project I am open to suggestions. I have been an aquarium hobbyist for years but have never had a planted tank. I uploaded a video of the tank on youtube which I will post the link below. I also just designed and built a custom stand for the tank with plans to build a matching lid also. I'm an Architectural Engineer by trade so if anyone is interested in the plans I drew up for the stand and lid I can post those also. As of right now I have just filled the tank with water. I am using aquariumplants.com freshwater planted aquarium substrate, 100w Heater, 18w LED Light (seems like it should give off adequate lighting), and Marineland Penguin 200 Biowheel filtration. It must also be noted that with the background the tank is probably more like a 25 - 30 gallon tank now.

Here's the video. I'm interested to hear peoples thoughts and suggestions. I don't know much about CO2 systems but I imagine I will need one. I'll post some more pictures later today also of the tank and a few pictures of the stand build.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoEwS5uZ-jA

*EDIT* Photos of the tanks as well as photos of the stand build. I apologize but apparently a bunch of the photos of the stand build didn't upload to the could as I thought they had and I deleted the originals off my phone. This was also my first time building anything which is sad considering I spend all day drawing cabinets in AutoCAD. Overall I think the stand came out pretty good. It matches up great with the white furniture in my office. Hopefully i will have time this weekend to build the top. It will be nice to stare at a nice aquarium during stressful days while working.
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Last edited by travis424; 12-23-2016 at 05:03 PM. Reason: Photo Additions
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-01-2016, 09:38 PM
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Wow! That background is insanely gorgeous. That idea is going in my back pocket for someday.

I personally would want to go heavily-mossed, just to get that classic 'mossy rock' look. Make sure to check out the plant database here for some ideas. Steering clear of floaters seems like a good idea, just since you've got such great lighting. Something low-light right under the higher 'planter' would give some variety, especially with something in the planter to drape down, like microsorum.

As for fish, I've been spending a lot of time with this guide. A bristlenose pleco or two would love that background, and fish like zebra danio, neon tetra, and cherry barb would really pop.
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I just wanna have some happy fish and some happy plants.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks I actually had the same thought in mind about the moss. Those are some great resources too. I will be spending some time reading up. Your fish suggestions are good too. Plecos do well in planted tanks? I assumed they would feast on the plants.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 12:43 AM
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Plecos are more into algae than plants, but they'll happily munch any blanched vegetables you give them! They do need wood to chew on and take shelter in. This source was recommended from r/plantedtanks. A lot of that grapewood would look good in your tank, or you could go with smaller freshwater driftwood.

I just wanna have some happy fish and some happy plants.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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Good to know. I was curious because the plecos I have had over the years have always loved munching on veggies. I was thinking I was going to purchase one of these DIY CO2 Kits using the citric acid and baking soda method. I have done a little reading and watched a few videos. This is what I'm thinking of ordering.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...A2M99LKXDQEZXD
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...=ATVPDKIKX0DER
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...=ATVPDKIKX0DER
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 05:00 PM
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I'm low-tech folk, so I'd suggest you head over to the Equipment or DIY forums and ask there.

I just wanna have some happy fish and some happy plants.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-03-2016, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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New Pics....

Put a couple of Amazon Swords and 10 neon tetras. Not going to to do much more until the tank is fully cycled. Just put the tetras in so they aren't doing much exploring yet.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by roodbot View Post
I'm low-tech folk, so I'd suggest you head over to the Equipment or DIY forums and ask there.
Thanks I ended up deciding against the DIY approach anyway. Gonna probably go for the Aquatek regulator and Paintball tank.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-03-2016, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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3M Vinyl Wrap around bottom trim piece. Didn't really go as easily as I had hoped for. There's a couple of spots where it didn't trim off as nice as I would have liked. There was an overflow of silicone at the corners too so it didn't come out so great there either. Overall I think it looks good (From a distance lol). I'll keep it on there for now. I have plenty of vinyl left I might try again . Not sure if I am bothering with the top piece of trim as this will eventually be covered by a top for the tank. Once I get around to building it.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-11-2016, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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Well I had my first casualties in the tank today. Apparently three of my tetras managed to swim between the edge of the background and the side of the tank. One was already dead but I noticed two of them were still alive. I managed to gently push one out using a butter knife and he's fine swimming around the tank as we speak. The other one I managed to get out but he didn't survive. I might have damaged him trying to get him out from the side. I ran the butter knife all along the side of that background there were only two tiny spots they could have gotten in.I think I plugged them up. The one on the bottom i managed to push substrate back there so hopefully that covers that and the one in the middle I pushed a piece of plastic in there. Hopefully that will keep them out from the side. I guess if I ever do another background like this I will make sure to silicone along the edge and fill any gaps. The other side seems fine. couldn't get the knife in there.

Here's the culprit area...


As you can see I manged to get some substrate in the bottom gap and I wedged plastic in the upper gap.




And here they are. Hanging out at the scene of the crime

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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-12-2016, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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New Additions.....

2 Neon Tetras to replace the two that I lost
2 Rubber Plecos






Getting some browning on the taller leaves of the sword. I'm guessing that's normal considering the rest of the plant seems fine. They actually were already a little brown when I bought them. That one leaf is actually torn and needs to be clipped.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-13-2016, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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CO2 Regulator

CO2 Regulator came in the mail today. I do love Amazon Prime. I installed all the tubing, bubble counter etc. I will head out later today and fill the CO2 Tank. This is all new to me so hopefully I will get it dialed in correctly. I have been floating around (no pun intended ) the idea of 1 bps @ 4hrs per day to start. Once my order of plants comes in and they are in the tank I would increase to 6-8 hrs per day? I'm really not that sure what a good amount would be for my tank. I have read a few different views on this. Any suggestions would be welcome.






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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-14-2016, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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CO2 and More Plants...

Started up the CO2 Today. Have it going at 1bps for 9 hrs per day. Currently set with the lighting timer. Hoping that this is a good amount for this tank. CO2 Newbie lol.

I stopped by my fish store today and bought a few plants. I was actually shocked by the amount and quality of the plants they had there. I will be going back again. Still need some foreground stuff and some moss but its slowly getting there. I bought Anubia, Moneywort, Corkscrew Val, and some Wisteria. Wanted to get some fast growing plants. My order for Fertalizer Tabs came in the mail today so I stuck a few of those in the tank also. The Amazon swords seem to be doing well. The roots are starting to take hold. When I went to try and move them to put some tabs under them I noticed they were now firmly in place. Still a little discoloration on the leaves of the swords but I'm guessing that's normal. I figure if the Wisteria and Moneywort start to take over I will Move some of it to my 55 gallon as it is my understanding that they will grow under pretty much any conditions. Excuse the cloudy water. I forgot to rinse the substrate before putting it in the shelves in the tank so it clouded up the water a little bit. Planning on a 25% water change tomorrow anyway so that should help if it doesn,t clear up by then.





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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-16-2016, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
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More Plants !!

Went to another Fish store today and bought some more plants. I hope I didn't go too crazy. I should be done for now. Just need to wait and see at this point. I alos purchased a Fluval CO2 indicator just to get an idea of the amount of CO2 in the tank. I think it's starting to come together now. The Tetras seem to like all the new plants. I managed to attach java moss to my driftwood. Not a fun process. I tied it on there with string. Took me an hour to attach it without it falling off.

New Plants:
1. Anubias Nana
2. Dwarf Four Leaf Clover
3. Java Fern
4. Java Moss






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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-20-2016, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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UPDATE: New Growth! :)

Saw my first signs of new growth in the tank today. Plants seem to be doing well in the tank. Had a little bit of browning going on as the plants acclimated to the tank. Most notably with my Amazon Swords and Corkscrew Val (I guess this is considered melt?). The dwarf four leaf clover started to brown a little bit but I'm seeing new growth all over the place with that. The Wisteria however has grown quite a bit. I know this is a fast growing plant just a little bit faster then I expected lol. The plan for that plant is to move some of into my 55 gallon tank once it gets out of control. I hope I'm not going overkill with the updates. This is my first planted tank and its exciting to see it going well.


Sorry for the glare. We had a little bit of snow here today so it's very bright outside.




Wisteria Plant sprouting new leaves CO2 Indicator can be ignored as my light and CO2 had just turned on. After awhile the indicator turns green and stays there.





Dwarf Four Leaf Clover started to brown slightly but now showing sings of new growth. Hoping this will eventually be a nice thick carpet on the substrate. Noticing new growth on every section of the plants I bought. There is also some new growth popping out of the substrate in other areas also. This plant was my biggest concern as it seemed to have the most requirements for growth.



Corkscrew Val. Hopefully its done melting? I'm guessing that is what that is. However its starting to curl into that nice corkscrew look. The blades were straight when I purchased them.

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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Tank Finally Gets a Hat :)

Finally this weekend I was able to get my top built. When I first set out to build this stand I scoured the internet and local fish stores looking for a white modern looking fish stand to match the furniture in my office. I wanted something modern and simple with clean lines and it had to be white. After months (literally) of searching I gave in to the fact that I would need to build one. I figured I spend all day drawing cabinets for work how hard could it be to build one? Well I have never built anything in my life larger then a birdhouse so this was new territory for me. I'm pretty proud of what I was able to accomplish (with some help). The tank fits in beautifully with my office now. The top although I feel it could have come out a little better I'm happy with. It really completes the tank. No more ugly light and filters on top of the tank. I made it a double lid so that I could have access to the filter as well as the front of the tank. The light kind of just sits there at the moment but i would like to eventually attach it to the lid. I also have to buy some air tubing so I can move the air filter under the tank.


Really matches well with the furniture in the room.







Need to figure out a way to attach the light.



Air Pump in it's temporary home.


My Tank Journal: 37 Gallon Tall - Custom Built Stand.

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