Straha's Tanks - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
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Straha's Tanks

Over the past few years, I have slowly gotten back into the aquarium hobby after taking over a decade off.

I started back in with an old 10 gallon. Popped some plants in it without really thinking about what they needed. Put a Finnex stingray over it, threw in some guppies, and within a year, I ended up with a complete mess. The guppies, and several types of algae were doing great, but the plants were all dead. I don't really have any pictures of this phase, but I decided to tear it down and start over in a used 20 gallon long that I picked up for a couple of bucks.

I did enough research to really screw things up this time around. Again, no pictures of this phase, but ended up with a bunch of struggling plants, tons of happy guppies, and about ten pound of black beard algae. This time, my wife made it clear that if I didn't get things sorted, there wouldn't be another time, so cleaned it up, salvaged what I could, and started really focusing on being a good steward.

Enter EI dosing, co2 injection, and correct lighting.

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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 10:21 PM
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Very striking. I really like how you have positioned the wood.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-24-2019, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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From the disaster tank, I was able to recover the drift wood, substrate, nymphoides taiwan, and about 25 inches of good healthy java fern rhizome.

My father had kept aquariums for as long as I could remember, and when he passed away this past Christmas Eve, one of the many things that had to be dealt with was the big aquarium that he had a common pleco and koi in. His health had been failing in the months leading upo to his passing, and there was no way my mother could care for it

I did the best I could in finding homes for the fish because my wife and I didn't really have room in our house to keep them. I was able to find a home for the koi here in town with a family who has an outdoor koi pond. It is a beautiful seven year old 24" long fish. The seven year old 20" pleco on the other hand proved to be impossible to rehome.

We were unable to fit my dads tank in our house. I am unsure of the exact volume, but I figure it was around 100 gallons. It was a non standard, fairly tall tank, but relatively short and narrow. The other problem was that the seams were in rough shape. My wife and I did some rearranging and were able to fit a 75 gallon.



This tank is not as tall, but has a larger footprint so more room for the pleco. I built matching stands for the 75 and my 20 long, and did a small bit of work on the small tank.



My original tank scape just felt off to me...



Though our cat enjoys it...



So I removed the small slate, and replaced it. I removed most of the gravel substrate and replaced it with sand.



Bianca is a very active fish, even during the day. My wife and I enjoy watching her when the moon lights go on, because many nights she will start swimming around in a manner that can only really be described as ballet. She is a deceptively graceful fish.

This pleco was given to my dad by my youngest sister, and she passed away four years ago so there is a sentimental attachment. We named the pleco Bianca because I am pretty sure she is female, and Bianca is a traditional name from where she is from. My sister hand caught Bianca as a juvenile in the wild in Brazil. She has a mangled pelvic fin that was either injured, or has a birth defect, my sisters compassion kicked in, and she somehow managed to get Bianca back here.

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-26-2019, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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My 20 long starting to fill in nicely...



I am running a Finnex 24/7 with the three hour ramp up to six hours full light and three hour ramp down. Paintball CO2 injection into a diy Griggz reactor. A 24oz tank lasts me about three months. Filtration is a Fluval 206.

I have been dosing NilocG ThriveC and supplementing Iron. I also use the NilocG root caps since my Amazonia substrate is pretty much done as it is over three years old. I pretty much only do water topoffs.

The plant growth has been explosive, with trimming sometimes a couple of times per week. Very little algae, but the duckweed really lives up to the weed part of its name.

I have three zebra nerites in there, and more guppies that I can count. Always a ton of them at all stages of development. It is a pretty self sustaining population, and although I know there are deaths, I rarely see any dead ones. They are likely consumed quite quickly.

There is also a three inch long quite active Flash Pleco in the tank that likes to bully the guppies when they come for his algae wafers. He also likes to hang upside down in his cave he made in the substrate under one of the pieces of drift wood. He also regularly rearranges the front substrate, but thankfully not prone to digging up the rooted plant.

The bio load in this tank is quite high. Far higher than recommended, however, all the plants and animals are thriving. I keep a fairly close eye on the ammonia and nitrite levels, and they have been pegged at zero for two years now, so I think I have struck the right balance.

Here is the Flash Pleco out in the roots...



And here is where this tank is today...



Getting some really nice colors...





Bump: Here is a hint as to my current project...

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-26-2019, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by straha20 View Post
From the disaster tank, I was able to recover the drift wood, substrate, nymphoides taiwan, and about 25 inches of good healthy java fern rhizome.

My father had kept aquariums for as long as I could remember, and when he passed away this past Christmas Eve, one of the many things that had to be dealt with was the big aquarium that he had a common pleco and koi in. His health had been failing in the months leading upo to his passing, and there was no way my mother could care for it

I did the best I could in finding homes for the fish because my wife and I didn't really have room in our house to keep them. I was able to find a home for the koi here in town with a family who has an outdoor koi pond. It is a beautiful seven year old 24" long fish. The seven year old 20" pleco on the other hand proved to be impossible to rehome.

We were unable to fit my dads tank in our house. I am unsure of the exact volume, but I figure it was around 100 gallons. It was a non standard, fairly tall tank, but relatively short and narrow. The other problem was that the seams were in rough shape. My wife and I did some rearranging and were able to fit a 75 gallon.



This tank is not as tall, but has a larger footprint so more room for the pleco. I built matching stands for the 75 and my 20 long, and did a small bit of work on the small tank.



My original tank scape just felt off to me...



Though our cat enjoys it...



So I removed the small slate, and replaced it. I removed most of the gravel substrate and replaced it with sand.



Bianca is a very active fish, even during the day. My wife and I enjoy watching her when the moon lights go on, because many nights she will start swimming around in a manner that can only really be described as ballet. She is a deceptively graceful fish.

This pleco was given to my dad by my youngest sister, and she passed away four years ago so there is a sentimental attachment. We named the pleco Bianca because I am pretty sure she is female, and Bianca is a traditional name from where she is from. My sister hand caught Bianca as a juvenile in the wild in Brazil. She has a mangled pelvic fin that was either injured, or has a birth defect, my sisters compassion kicked in, and she somehow managed to get Bianca back here.

What a wonderful story of how Bianca came to your family. I can see how you would be very attached to her. These larger pleco's are actually very long lived-- so will be apart of your family for a very long time. I really like the scape that you ended up with- looks fantastic.

Bump:
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Originally Posted by straha20 View Post
My 20 long starting to fill in nicely...



I am running a Finnex 24/7 with the three hour ramp up to six hours full light and three hour ramp down. Paintball CO2 injection into a diy Griggz reactor. A 24oz tank lasts me about three months. Filtration is a Fluval 206.

I have been dosing NilocG ThriveC and supplementing Iron. I also use the NilocG root caps since my Amazonia substrate is pretty much done as it is over three years old. I pretty much only do water topoffs.

The plant growth has been explosive, with trimming sometimes a couple of times per week. Very little algae, but the duckweed really lives up to the weed part of its name.

I have three zebra nerites in there, and more guppies that I can count. Always a ton of them at all stages of development. It is a pretty self sustaining population, and although I know there are deaths, I rarely see any dead ones. They are likely consumed quite quickly.

There is also a three inch long quite active Flash Pleco in the tank that likes to bully the guppies when they come for his algae wafers. He also likes to hang upside down in his cave he made in the substrate under one of the pieces of drift wood. He also regularly rearranges the front substrate, but thankfully not prone to digging up the rooted plant.

The bio load in this tank is quite high. Far higher than recommended, however, all the plants and animals are thriving. I keep a fairly close eye on the ammonia and nitrite levels, and they have been pegged at zero for two years now, so I think I have struck the right balance.

Here is the Flash Pleco out in the roots...



And here is where this tank is today...



Getting some really nice colors...





Bump: Here is a hint as to my current project...

Id also recommend checking out those nitrate levels, with only top offs you may be getting high enough that they will cause long-term stress in fish and contribute to secondary bacterial infections. Just a thought.


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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-27-2019, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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I had a specific idea in mind for my next tank, and I also wanted to build one from scratch. So after a whole lot of research, I set out to do just that.

Unfortunately, I only took the one picture of the actual build process, because I was so involved, that documenting it was an after thought.



I collected a bunch of sandstone and shale from this river...



Bought some terra cotta watering spikes, cut up the rocks with my wet saw, and started on laying out my hardscape...



After curing for a month, and leak testing for a week, I finally felt just comfortable enough to start building...



Hardscape going in...



And finally, the first plant layout...



This is my 30 gallon cube shrimp tank.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-27-2019, 07:52 PM
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I had a specific idea in mind for my next tank, and I also wanted to build one from scratch. So after a whole lot of research, I set out to do just that.

Unfortunately, I only took the one picture of the actual build process, because I was so involved, that documenting it was an after thought.



I collected a bunch of sandstone and shale from this river...



Bought some terra cotta watering spikes, cut up the rocks with my wet saw, and started on laying out my hardscape...



After curing for a month, and leak testing for a week, I finally felt just comfortable enough to start building...



Hardscape going in...



And finally, the first plant layout...



This is my 30 gallon cube shrimp tank.
Very nice! Lots of nooks and crannies for those shrimp to hide!

Glad to have another shrimp-keeper on the forum. I am a total shrimp noob- but, Im learnin'.


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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-27-2019, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Very nice! Lots of nooks and crannies for those shrimp to hide!

Glad to have another shrimp-keeper on the forum. I am a total shrimp noob- but, Im learnin'.
Yeah, I've been following your threads as well, and learning. Also been bugging @somewhatshocked with a lot of questions, mostly hand holding.

One of the issues I had with the hardscape and using stone blocks to hold back the sand was the sand flowing out between the blocks, and between the terra cotta caves. I really didn't want to silicone the blocks together, so I used filter floss to plug the holes from behind. As far as the caves go, I cut a piece heavy batting, and pushed them through. It is keeping the upper level sand nicely in place.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-27-2019, 08:33 PM
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. Also been bugging @somewhatshocked with a lot of questions, mostly hand holding.
Lol! I do that too. Poor guy, lots of questions and hand-holding.


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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Once it started growing in a bit...



I rethought my plant placement and how I had some higher light plants on the low level, and lower light plants on the high level. I really didn't think my planting through all that well, so I did some rearranging.



And let it grow...



And grow...



And after a bit of a trim...




It is ready for shrimp.

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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-03-2019, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Well, my wife gave her blessing for me to scratch build a hillstream tank. Got my glass today, so will hopefully get it siliconed tonight!
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-04-2019, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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Well, besides feeling a bit under the weather, I sat the bottom piece of glass on my stand, and while it visually looked alright, once that glass was on there, it was very obvious the plywood base was not anywhere near flat. The glass rocked from corner to corner, so I am going to need to rebuild it before I can assemble the tank. Tonight maybe.

The tank is not too terribly big...36x12x12, but the glass is 1/4" low iron, and free. I bought another tube of Momentive RTV 108.

So now for the thing I have been mulling around in my head for a few days...what light should I get? I am planning on lightly planting some java fern and java moss in a lower flow area, but other than that, no plants. No co2, and ferts only as needed. The thing is, since I am going to be keeping reticulated and spotted hillstream loaches, algae growth will be very welcome, highly desired even. I also want it to have a good color spectrum, so I have been going back and forth between the Fluval Fresh and Plant 3.0, and the Finnex 24/7 CRV.

Any advice on the lgihts?
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-07-2019, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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Not too terribly pretty silicone job.



I plan on trimming it up a bit, but I am not sure how much I am going to dig into the corners because, while not pretty, they look good...



This is the only bubble all the way around. A potential leak point for sure, but it is only an inch long, is in the top half of the seam, I am using Momentive RTV108, 1/4" glass, and the water is only going to be 11" deep.



Given how the other three joints and bottom look, I just can't bring myself to tear it down and do it again. I think it'll be just fine.

I went with the Fluval 3.0 light, and damn, it is pretty!
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-07-2019, 10:51 PM
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Beautiful tanks. As for the 20 gallon, I would hack back the stem plants to the left some more as they are spoiling the scape by taking over. You can't see the front of the spikes anymore either. It looked kinda nice before you trimmed it, perhaps thin it out a bit is what I am trying to say. I wish you luck on the hillstream tank. I don't have the guts to build a tank yet, though my work couldn't be much worse than Aqueon's lol.

75 gallon planted tank. About to stock.
10 gallon QT

"Do not pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult oneĒ Ė Bruce Lee

75 gallon tank journal
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