alang - Fluval 32G Flex - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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alang - Fluval 32G Flex

Thanks for looking. I am reentering the hobby after 10 years. I used to do high tech, but am going to go a different route this time and work off the Walsted method just for fun. This may change depending on the success.
I purchased a Fluval 32G flex and stand. Still researching plants that will work with its lighting and deciding on the scaping.



Note on assembling the doors. It appears that you are supposed to press the hinge into the door and tighten. The white plugs don't fit when attached to the screws. I had to remove the plugs and tap them into place then screw in the hinge.



But the finished product is amazing. Can't wait to get it wet.

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Last edited by alang; 08-08-2019 at 08:01 PM. Reason: no longer walstad
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-21-2019, 05:00 AM
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I'll be following along to see what you do. I have a similar story of being out for about 5 years from reef tanks. I just bought the same tank in white yesterday. Can't wait to see how the tank progresses.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Daughter got back from her summer abroad program and we started in on the scape design. We went over a bunch of pics I had collected of different types of scapes. We discussed them and decided on a few styles we liked. After that we headed out to look for rocks.
When we got to the first store's rocks we marked off a section of the floor that was the size of the tank and started messing around. Eventually we got something that was a good start. While we were checking out the dude at the checkout asked me if I had used that type of rock before. I don't know one rock from another so I said no. Turns out these rocks greatly increase Ph! And of course there was no signage informing people like me. So after 45 minutes of messing about, all the rocks got put back. Lesson learned. Ask someone before you start sorting through to be sure the rocks you are looking at will not mess up your parameters.

Time for the next store. I found a type of rock I really liked and first thing did was ask about its impact on water parameters. Was told no worries so back the the rocks.
Again marked off the approx size of the tank and started playing around. Eventually got a nice group of stones. Something we figured we could work with.



Back home I made a cardboard cutout the same size as the tank bottom so we could start fine tuning what we had. I used pebbles in ziplock bags to support/raise up the stones as needed. Its really easy to add or remove pebbles from the ziplocks to fine tune placement. A little wine and a lot of fiddling we get something we both liked.



Final step was to make some custom sized mesh bags to hold the pebbles when they are in the tank. I used a mesh laundry bag and a sewing machine. Replace one ziplock at a time with your custom mesh bag. Eventually you have all the stones supported by mesh bags you need and hopefully the stones are still where you want them. Moving the hardscape from the cardboard to the tank is pretty straight forward too.



Substrate and plants next!
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 09:45 PM
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I'm impressed that the 32gal Flex has such a nice footprint.

Have you given much thought to the livestock you hope to keep? I ask that question because the rock you choose may not even matter. The rock you have in your most recent photos can definitely alter parameters a bit, despite what the salesperson told you. But probably nothing you'll even really notice.

It's going to look really great once you get the tank flooded and it has time to develop a bit of algae growth here and there.

Looking forward to following along on your tank journey.


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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-09-2019, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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Filter mods.
The Fluval filter comes with a tiny amount of bio media. Also I wanted to be able to use polishing pads and there was really no where to put them.
The only place that I could see where the water is forced to go was at the bottom of the sponge/bio media column. Fortunately there is a lip around the column so it was a simple matter to cut some egg crate up and make a spot for the polishing pads.



The sponge filter as delivered has two small cutouts. One for bio media and one for carbon. I'm not using carbon so I had an extra cutout for additional media, but it was still not much. Additionally, the way the cutouts were positioned, it seemed to me that much of the water would simply bypass the bio media. I followed the lead of many Flex owners and removed the sponge between the cutouts and packed it with bio media. I sewed up two more mesh bags so the media fits very well into the sponges and slides in and out of the compartments easily.



I picked up my Amazonia today, but the store didn't have plants that I wanted, and those that they did have were really expensive. Going to explore online to see if I can find stuff I want.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 01:19 AM Thread Starter
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Got the tank scaped and planted. Still cloudy but that will clear up in a few days.



Lots of easy fast growers for the cycle

Amazonia substrate

S. Repens
Japanese Dwarf Hairgrass
Purple Cabomba
Lobelia Cardinalis
Foxtail (myriophyllum Pinnatum)
Rotala Rotundifolia Indicia
Ludwigia repens

Bump: I was planning on several weeks of WCs to cycle the tank, but it seems to be getting really close after just 6 days. I had an Anubis and 2 pieces of driftwood from my daughter's tank and nothing else for about 2 weeks before scaping the tank. The tank started to smell really bad so I took them out, drained the tank and soaked the filter material in chlorinated water for about 10 minutes hoping to kill off the bacteria.

For the first few days I was getting 5-10 ppm of ammonia and was doing large WCs
Day 5 ammonia was 1 ppm so I tested nitrites and nitrates and got: Nitrites 3 ppm Nitrates 10 ppm so no water change.
Day 6 ammonia was .5 ppm! Going down still, so no WC today either. I'll test again tomorrow and WC just cuz I am feeling guilty.

I don't know if the filter material was still bacterially active or what, but if this keep going I am going to have a world's record Amazonia cycle!
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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I have been having real problems with water temp on this tank. Its basically a sealed top, so little to no evaporation. With summer temps in the house around 75-77 f, I am seeing water temps of 82-84 f. This is ok for the plants and I have read it might even help cycle times, its way too hot for fish when I am ready to added them.

I adjusted the outflow to provide lots of surface motion, but with evaporation being so limited this wasn't an adequate solution.

I wanted to see if raising the top above the tank would help keep the temps down so I fabed up a pvc pipe hood stand that supports the hood about 4-5 inches above the tank. Hopefully I will see a drop in water temp, otherwise I don't know what to do about it. I can't drop ice packs in the thing all day long.





First signs of algae on one plant. Reduced the photo period and will manually clean the plant as needed. Hopefully it won't spread too much.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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I fabricated a tank lip riser out of craft foam. Raises the lid an inch over the tank. This is keeping temps reasonable and looks much better than the pvc pipe.

12 days into the cycle and I have a huge nitrate spike. Went from 5ppm to 40ppm in 2 days. I am getting melting on the plants down low. Lots of new growth on top, so I assume this is just the plants adapting to immersed living. The dying leaves are probably whats causing the nitrate spike. Ammonia remains at 0 and nitrites are steady at 2ppm. Go nutrifying bacteria!


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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 01:18 AM
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Great job! Whats you temp hanging out at now?


Another tip that I picked up from @somewhatshocked is to use a clip-on ( I think a clip-on) fan to keep the tank cool. Maybe he will chime in and speak more to that and/or show you a picture of what he has done.


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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 01:56 AM
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The cheapest option is to use an old computer fan (or a new one - still way cheap) propped up on the edge of the tank at an angle. Allow it to blow across the surface. Cools things way down for me.

70-90mm fans probably work best but I use whatever you can get your hands on. You can see in my Spec journal how janky and ugly the "stand" I made for one fan looks. In my Cubes journal I document using a gooseneck salvaged from an old LED fixture to hold up a fan.

There are obviously more attractive options but for a couple bucks? Can't beat it.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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I was able to keep the temp below 80, just. I was seeing 79.8 in the middle of the day. The AC keeps the house at 77, so tank was only a few degrees above ambient. I was seeing 83 before the risers so a step in the right direction.
I was already looking at cpu fans, its nice to see your results. I was thinking of getting like 4 25x25mm fans, and embedding them in the risers, 2 per side. Still thinking about this one. I like the idea of a timer on them. Have to think of a way to do this as well.
The annoying part is that during all my research on tanks, the subject of the Fluval tanks running hot never came up. I enjoy tinkering, but only when I want to. Having no choice but to solve this problem is a bit of a drag.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 01:35 PM
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I would get something much larger than 25MM. I have four 40MM fans on a couple 3gal tanks and they're nothing compared to a single 90MM fan.

One or two 90MM units would be perfect for your tank. Wouldn't go smaller than 70MM.


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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-14-2019, 05:09 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, the 25mm fans didn't do squat. I wish I had seen somewhatshocked's post before I had ordered them
I went to V2.0. It took a while to get it designed and fabricated, but its done and it actually works!

I started with 2 120mm fans. I wanted something what was hidden as much as possible since I would have to use it for months at a time.
I built fan boxes with detachable "chimneys". The boxes are in the stand and the chimneys run up the back of the tank feeding air under the lid.
The material is EVA foam. Its soft and pliable so I didn't have to be exact in sizing. It squishes a bit so it slides behind the tank easily. I also don't have to worry about scratching.
The detachable part is so I can actually take them on and off easily without disturbing the tank.


It fits snugly behind the tank and the top of the chimney raises the back of the lid one inch to provide airflow.
This pic has it at the edge so you can see how it fits. In place it sits about 2 inches away from the edge and isn't visible.


Inside the tank stand the fans side at the sides so don't take up much room. They are silent fans so no additional noise when they are operating.
The fans are controlled with a thermostatic controller so they aren't running all the time.
Of course I had to go for the LED fans just to jazz things up.



Week 4. Tank is cycled and stable. Heat issue is resolved. Time for some fish!

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Last edited by alang; 09-14-2019 at 05:13 AM. Reason: unknown bumps
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-10-2019, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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4 month update.
Everything seems to be dialed in.

Stocked with
10 purple rasboras
1 dwarf groumi
2 oto cats
2 yoyo loaches
1 galaxy rasbora (rescue from a friends tank)

No real algae problems that weren't solved with changes to lighting intensity and duration.
All in all this has been a really easy startup.

Only real issue is my yoyos keep digging around in the hair grass so its not filling in quickly. Oh well.

Very happy with the result. Thinking about adding a bit of color and variety on the right hand side if I can find some inspiration.

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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6 months. Yoyo have dug up all my hair grass so there is a blank spot front right. Working on putting something else there that is harder to dig up.
Been getting GSA, so am adjusting ferts and lights to see if I can battle that back.
Otherwise, its going well.
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