65 High-Tech Build
I trashed my 65 low-tech last fall and spent the winter planning, plotting, and building. The tank's finally looking decent, so it's time to share my utterly novice adventure in plumbing and construction. I've been in the hobby for 6 years and have built several tanks of various types. The prototype for this tank was a 12 gal JBJ cube that I turned into a mini-high-tech, high-light tank. Figured I'd go big or go home on this one. Turned all the livestock, plants, shrimp, snails in at the LFS for credit to buy supplies for the new build. Went this way:
Handbuilt stand, waterproof paint.
Foam auto-leveling mat, applied 2 layers.
Tank was already painted black on the back.
Lighting grate to keep the rocks up off the glass.
Sorted my dragon stone by color after hosing it off multiple times to get rid of the clay and sediment.
Decided to gamble on cheap high-power Mars-Aqua LED Light fixtures. Bought 2 of them and plan to use mainly the RGB channel. The blue/UV channel is turned on at lowest power to cool the light a bit and give the plants that extra UV kick they seem to like. For whatever stupid reason, I don't have pics of the arms I've mounted them from. I also foolishly can't find the receipt to offer up the brand. I know they're arms for a major LED light company. I used a threaded eye and a nut to create a loop from which I used the clip included with the Mars-Aqua LEDs to hang the lights. Zip tied the cables to the arms to keep things tidy.
Used lava rock to create the base for the mountains. I had already done a 'dry run' with rock and roughly knew how I was going to stack up all of the pieces to build what I wanted to build.
Assembled some PVC pipe to create a way to hide filter intakes/returns, and to possibly give a pleco somewhere nifty to hide.
Used silicone and sand to coat the pipes in sand to hide them. Messy but worked well!
Used Fluval coral putty/epoxy and silicone to assemble the rocks securely on the lava rock and PVC pipe base.
The base layer of gravel was Ecocomplete, just enough to cover the lighting grate.
Added Bacter 100 from ADA.
Added CarbiSea Flora-Spore just before filling the tank (later)
Then I put down a layer of coco fiber matting.
Atop that, enough Ecocomplete/Flourite gravel and sand to mound up the landscape the way I wanted it.
Secured curly willow branches with silicone and coral putty/epoxy
Installed the Marineland Magnaflow 360.
Installed a Cobalt MJ-1200 powerhead that runs to my Aquaultraviolet UV Sterilizer (15W)
Installed a PVC CO2 reactor (homemade) in-line with the filter return.
10lb CO2 cylinder w/2-stage reactor, Milwaukee MC122 pH controller.
Using a Zoomed power strip w/digital timer to turn on the lights/CO2.
Since initial fill, have added a powerhead, circulation fan, and surface skimmer.
Bucephalandra sp. (Katherine, 'green')
Micranthemum 'Monte Carlo'
Utricularia graminifolia (since removed because that plant is the devil and I can not make it grow to save my life)
Various moss species (Spiky, weeping, Taiwan)
Hydrocotyle tripartia sp. 'Japan'
Pogostemon erectus (barely visible, and it's likely to come out)
Fertilizing with Greenleaf Aquarium PPS-Pro system, Flourish Advance
Supplemental bacteria with Seachem Equilibrium, Pristine
Seachem clarity (3 treatments at the beginning to get rid of the chuff in the gravel, plants, rocks)
AquaBiotic Botanical weekly
Currently just hitchhiking snails from my other tanks
Plan is to stock Danio tinwini if I can get enough to make a single big school.
Other fish on the want list include Jae Barbs, Fire Barbs, CPD, Kyburz Tetra, Red-Blue Peru Tetra, Yoma Danio. I'd like to go with a single species large school, so it all depends on what I can get that comes in healthy and doesn't have a 60% mortality rate 2 days after shipping.
Had a crazy slime/hair algae breakout a few weeks after putting in the plants. Manual removal plus a couple of H2O2 + Metricide/Excel dosings knocked that down. Once the plants were better established, that went away. But then... stag horn! That showed up when I was running the UV/Blue light channel way too hot. As soon as I scraped most of it out and shut down the UV light a bit, it went away.
So far so good?