2.6 Gallons of Office Space - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-19-2018, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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2.6 Gallons of Office Space

I return! After much upheaval, final exams, tank drama, planting and a busy work schedule, I bring you now to one of my three newest tanks!

I have three tanks that I did not create a thread for as they were really only meant to be grow out tanks for the tanks I am about to write on. I will be sure to give updates on my 29 gallon for those who remember me. Technically an exchange of tanks, there will be three new threads created, only one tank being broken down and rescaped... But you don't care about that right now.

On with this tank!

Table of Contents

Update 2 - If you have a problem

Persistence does pay off. I pestered my boss enough that he relented and allowed me to setup a tank for my desk. Within 48 hours of his verbal consent, and guidelines for said tank, I had secured, purchased and set it up.

I had been scouring the local buy and sell sites in my area for a Spec tank for a few weeks, while simultaneously drafting potential stories for my husband as to why a tank followed me home. Again.

For some reason Canada doesn't like stocking the Spec III tanks except on amazon, or ordering online, and that leaves a money trail, so it wasn't an option. I found one on craigslist for $80, walked in the door like nothing happened with a bag full of plants, filter media and substrate and set about cleaning my tank.

I distracted my husband with the snails, said something muffled about having a tank at work and everything turned out beautiful.

Boiling water, some vinegar and a fresh sponge, cleaned her up good as new.





One of the things I commonly read about was the grates sucking in bettas fins given the strength of the pump at the intake, so that was the first modification that I made.



Enter our good friends: Craft Mesh and Zip Ties!



In the words of David Freiburger, here is our Zip Tie Tech Tip: You can zip things to other things to hold things together!

I cut a piece of mesh slightly larger than the perimeter of the grate itself so that I would have enough space to attach things to.



In the interest of neatness, I zipped it inwards. Additionally I did not want to make any permanent changes to this tank in case I change my mind. I'm fickle. And it's not just the ovaries.



All neat and tidy:





At this point, and not shown here, and also after much reading, I cut 4 holes in the tube of the outflow on the pump, to allow the water to mix in this section where I plan on placing to heater to allow the water to warm and circulate through the tank. This had an added benefit of lowering the actual pressure of outflow so the poor betta who will call this tank home won't be tossed about.

I like dirted tanks. So we start with some organic black earth.



Then came some black sand. The background that divided the tank and filter is also black, and my boss requested a colourful betta, so I went with black for a greater contrast.

Next came playing with rock formations and adhering sticks to rocks for the scape. I used river rocks from a place I shall not name. (Hint: It might be a river.) Additionally I adhere a piece of a sandblasted manzanita branch to a piece of slate to keep it down while it got water logged.





Next came the planting! Just some S repens, Hygrophilia and littifloria for easy plants that will survive in a low-tech setup that I won't be seeing everyday.





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Last edited by puriance; 02-09-2018 at 08:06 PM. Reason: table of contents
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-19-2018, 09:54 PM
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Ha!! I love It! I secretly acquired my Spec 3 in much the same way. Great idea about the mesh. I have been trying to think of ways to keep fry from getting sucked in, but I also did not want something permenant.
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Twin high tech 75's -
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-19-2018, 10:17 PM
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Looks great! Loved all the pictures.

So, who gets to ultimately pick out the Betta? You or the boss?
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-20-2018, 12:12 AM
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Not to sound weird haha, but I have the same map-pillows in my living room. It looks good so far Can't wait to see how it turns out!
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-20-2018, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dude1 View Post
Ha!! I love It! I secretly acquired my Spec 3 in much the same way. Great idea about the mesh. I have been trying to think of ways to keep fry from getting sucked in, but I also did not want something permenant.
I use craft mesh for everything so I had a bunch laying around. A lot of people also suggested plugging the lower intake hole, but again with a betta, I don't want the flow to be too much for him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JAMarlow View Post
Looks great! Loved all the pictures.

So, who gets to ultimately pick out the Betta? You or the boss?
I get to pick it out ultimately, but he said that he wanted a colourful betta. So that is my only guideline. The LFS near me is getting into transshipping and she has a batch of show bettas coming next week, so you can bet I will be there.


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Not to sound weird haha, but I have the same map-pillows in my living room. It looks good so far Can't wait to see how it turns out!
lol! Ikea special! They are called "pirate pillows" in my house because that was the only way I could convince my husband to agree to couch pillows.


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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-21-2018, 01:43 PM
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Welcome back!


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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-22-2018, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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Update 1 - More Mesh, Less Mess

So to continue on with my tank, I used some more craft mesh.

There is a huge sponge in the back of the Spec Tank, with holes cut for ceramic filter media or carbon. However it only came with one bag, because the lady tried to sell me her left over stuff separately.

I politely laughed and said no. I have my own from another cycled tank, but you can keep that proprietary material that you have no use for.

So all in all I'm pretty happy with the amount of BB that I am going to accrue. That being said, I had a gaping hole that I could fill!

So everyone give a round of applause for the return of craft mesh and zip ties! Not they ever really left. They hold a place close to my heart and within my fish suitcase (I will take a picture of that in a later thread).



Basically I measure the width and height of the hole in the sponge, cut the corners of the mesh to that it was indented, zip tied it all together. My husband was so proud. I didn't even ask for help.



Then I trimmed the tops down so it would fit snugly in the sponge, but they were tall to start.



Look at that fit!



So I stuffed the other ceramic rings in, gently squeezed the sponge on the back, neatly zip tied all the cords together on the back for the heater, pump and light, and took her into the kitchen!

(Also if you are still amazed at my use of zip-ties, I suggest you shouldn't be. They hold the world together better than duct tape.)



Beautiful thing about having the tank in my kitchen, is my pull-outable head which allowed me to gently fill the tank without disturbing any plants or substrate.





The shipment of bettas comes into my LFS today, so Wednesday I will post an updated pic with fish and plants!

Basically I have just had it running with the light for about 10 hours a day slowly decreasing to 8 hours by a half hour each day. Just enough to get everything rooted. Waiting on my timer, and everything else to come in from the interwebz.

There has been a lot of great growth already so I am super pleased with how it has turned out so far. The only thing I have been adding is a little bit of microferts from Tropica.

I have cycled media that I will be replacing the bottom ceramic media with, and adding stability in addition to daily water changes once I do get the betta. So this tank is about 2 weeks away from going to work, but by then I'm sure the hygrophillia will be taking off!

Let me know what you think


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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2018, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Today is the day I get the inhabitant for this tank!

I have a little bit of algae starting on one of the rocks given my extended photo period which is great, because I didn't want to drop in the lovely little onion nerite that has been cruising around one of my heavily planted 10 gallons until there was some food.

Temperature is sitting at a balmy 78 degrees meaning that my heater trick worked, but my concern is that the flow is now not enough given that I did cut holes in the output tube, and I notice a consistent biofilm on the top of the water. I'm going to do a 50% water change today before I put in the new betta, and may plug one of the holes with hot glue and see if that increases the flow enough to disrupt the surface without blowing my finned buddy about.

I am decreasing my lights to 8 hours, but this is the upgraded spec so the light may still be too much. I am hoping that as the hygrophilia grows in, they will thrive with the better light and keep the algae in check, but the tank is at home for at least a couple of weeks for close monitoring and water changes and testing. I had good success with my last tank cycling it with just stability and seeded media in about a week with daily testing and water changes every other day.

To start a tank I have only been using a water dechlorinator and not prime, until the tank is established. Just to ensure that I am getting true ammonia readings and not overlapping with the marvellous ammonia lock properties of prime.

But we will see.

It looks so beautiful I can hardly wait!
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2018, 09:35 PM
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I politely laughed and said no. I have my own from another cycled tank, but you can keep that proprietary material that you have no use for.
Savage...

Quote:

(Also if you are still amazed at my use of zip-ties, I suggest you shouldn't be. They hold the world together better than duct tape.)
Sacrilege..


but as always of your posts,

Entertained.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 07:46 AM
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Where do You get that mesh? :P

I hope to arrive to my death late, in love, and a little drunk.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 05:08 PM
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Where do You get that mesh? :P
Craft hobby store like Hobby Lobby or Michael's. Its called Needlepoint Canvas.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-30-2018, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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but as always of your posts,

Entertained.
You do me a great honour. I like writing for you guys. It's not often that I can write with my humour AND about something informational and get away with it. Something something lawyers something.

Memos aren't always that fun to write.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-01-2018, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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Update 2 - If you have a problem...

Dramatic Drum Role please

We have a name!

I wanted to wait until everything was started and set up and my little office buddy was named before I did another post.



To start, the set up was pretty uneventful. Although I did tilt the substrate a little on the ride over as I put the tank on my passenger seat instead of my floor as my car does not currently have carpets. (For reasons entirely unassociated with THIS forum.)



That was all well and good though. I just adjusted the rocks and a bit of dirt was exposed. Also, the slate I had attached to the little tree, was producing an incredible biofilm on the top of the water that would just not dissipate, so naturally the whole tree got turfed.

Additionally, I covered the bypasses on the filter with hot glue rather than silicone given that I didn’t have to wait for it to cure, and also because I wanted to see if it made a difference in the performance of the filter. The filter intake did not seem to be drawing water in, and only pulled from the bottom bypass. However, this certainly did the trick and now the water is moving through my cycled media properly.



I am really pleased with the amount of light in this little tank. Seems to be just enough to keep the nerite zooming around eating, (as much as a nerite can zoom (I’m really into italics today)) and my little betta isn’t too stressed by the current!



Ended up going from a local pet chain rather than my LFS. I bought a betta for myself at my LFS which is STUNNING and BeautiPhil (please hold your breath for the subsequent thread). This little guy is just a simple halfmoon, in the colours my boss wanted, and he is super super active. Not Frantic darting, but hiding in bushes, swimming in the current, chilling in his tube…



We had him in the office for a bit, as Bettas in my experience take a little while to settle into their attitudes. This morning we held a draw for names and so my I present to you…

Betta Call Saul!



Oh the puns make my soul cringe and my heart gleeful.

The s repens is totally taking off in this tank which is awesome and I am only in 3 days a week given that I go to school as well. In the mornings I come in, I make sure the tank is free of uneaten food with a turkey baster I have, and Saturday he will be getting his water changes. But I won’t lie, I feel a little anxious about him when I’m not here. Even when I go away on trips, I find myself constantly thinking about my tanks at home.

This has really shown me how invested I am in them I had always thought of this as more of a hobby that I put a lot of money into sure, and yeah whatever heartbreak happens, and dear god the amount of time I spent researching and changing water, and testing, and asking, and helping and writing…

That doesn’t mean I’ve… become… attached…does it?

Basically at this point I feel like I need to write a Will to ensure the proper care of my fish, have a pet trustee, and setup a webcam so I can spy on my fish when I’m not home.

Do I…. Do I need an intervention?

It wasn’t the 7 tanks I had hidden in various places around my house, but the increase in anxiety that alerted me to my… devotion to this hobby.

Also someone remind me to remind my husband that I need to get my CO2 canister refilled.

Last edited by puriance; 02-01-2018 at 11:59 PM. Reason: correction
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-04-2018, 03:22 AM
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I found you. Lovely fish! the name makes me cringe though.
What happened to the manzanita branch?
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-08-2018, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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I found you. Lovely fish! the name makes me cringe though.
What happened to the manzanita branch?
2 things:

  1. I'm glad you found me! I promise to do an update on my 29 gallon tank by the end of this week. Finally finished doing what I wanted with all my other tanks, so I am all sorted out and finally have time to breathe and think about them.

  2. The manzanita branch was glued to a piece of slate, as I showed earlier, and the slate was producing a crazy biofilm. I had never encountered it in my larger tanks because I also have a lot more surface agitation, and after researching it, it turns out it is a common issue. I removed the slate from the manzanita branch, (more like the crazy glue came undone when I pulled it out of the tank) and the branch was water logged enough to stay in. However, I had trimmed the tops of the branch and when I pushed it into the soil, it looked silly.

    So I ditched it.


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