Two old Osaka cubes getting a makeover - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-09-2020, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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Two old Osaka cubes getting a makeover

Like my other tank journals, this one is going to take some time before there's much to look at but unlike those I'm not starting from scratch. Full disclosure, I've been saying I was going to do this for a year now and I'm largely making this post to motivate myself to hurry up on this project. I'd estimate I set these two up in 2008 and 2009. The first one shown was initially stocked with cherry shrimp and is my oldest surviving colony. That giant pile of crypts you see melted a couple of months back and are just starting to sprout new leaves. The other Osaka was set up about a year later after it didn't sell in my store and I wanted a matching set. I no longer have the literature, but recalled these being listed as 50 gallon. From measuring the tanks at 24" x24" x 18" they are actually 45 gallon. At any rate, here are the tanks as they are currently set up:



I ran passive CO2 on them a long time since I got away from pressurized on my shop tanks and had a spare canister. This works pretty well, but ultimately it was one more thing to have to remember to do daily. I'm over it, so going back to pressurized. Hopefully I can "unlearn" a lot of what I believed to be true about using gas and still remember to hook everything up correctly. Might need a new regulator, but I have two I need to test before spending the $. Digging through old equipment I've found this so far:

A regulator from a reef tank, two bubble counters, two needle valves, CO2 resistant tubing, and check valves. I have two bulky homemade Rex Grigg reactors somewhere in storage, but am hoping to avoid using them. I had to get creative when building them because the hardware store was out of some PVC parts and so I wound up with units much larger than they should have been. And they aren't small to begin with. So thoughts on the least obtrusive reactors appreciated.



Much like @Discusluv 's chicken pot pie, I am buttering the significant other up to my aquarium projects. In my case, I'm painting the interior of our house colors that she picked.


Before with a masculine olive color:

Last night after two coats of Sherwin Williams "Luminous Green":

The room is still a mess from hurriedly putting it back together last night. Tank #2 will be moved to the opposite corner from this one where the lamp currently is. It used to be there and I have no idea why I moved it. The CO2 tank will stay under tank #1 and I'll run tubing across the floor to reach tank #2. Still unsure of what reactor/diffuser I'll wind up with so hoping for suggestions. My better half would like my hobby much better if not for all the wires, cords, and clutter.

This is going to be a big undertaking so I'll be redoing one tank at a time. Since stopping passive CO2 for a few months, the plants are already noticeably suffering. The Anubias in particular looks like absolute trash in tank #2, with holes developing in leaves, algae, and yellowing and this tank still hasn't fully bounced back from the massive crypt melt that occurred after adding the Fluval 3.0 light. All the nutrients seem to be going to algae growth. I probably should have drastically reduced my fert regimen after stopping passive CO2 and then increasing light but I feel confident they'll bounce back quickly enough once I get everything sorted. I am finalizing an order of some very nice crypt cultivars for tank #1 which will be the first tank I rescape. Once I get it set back up, I'll post an update and ask opinions on other plants I could add. Then once that one is where I want it, I'll repeat the process on to tank #1. Thanks for looking!
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Last edited by Blue Ridge Reef; 01-16-2020 at 06:02 PM. Reason: typo
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-09-2020, 10:33 PM
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Iíve always wanted one of those tank kits. If I ever come across one, Iím taking it home. Looking forward to seeing the progress with these, should be fun!
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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-09-2020, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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I haven't seen one in ages and am not 100% sure Fluval is still manufacturing them. They were off the Hagen dealer website for a while and are back up without pictures so no idea if they are still around or going to be for long. But they are great kits and I have been very happy with mine. I'd say snap it up if you see one!
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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-10-2020, 12:27 AM
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Somehow I missed this post!

I love the way that paint turned out-- the soft green looks wonderful with the black accents. Your wife picked a winner! It is the perfect blend of masculine/feminine
Cant wait to see what you do with those 2 tanks. These are such hard tanks to make look good and the examples of what others have done are slim to none.
I have the 24 x 24x 24.
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-10-2020, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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One good thing about starting a failing LFS was getting to cherry pick tons of stuff like wood and rocks! When I drain these, I'll pull those pieces of Mopani out and show them with something for scale. Both pretty much go to the top of the 24" tall tanks, so that's a big help in scaping them -before I got those the top 1/3rd of the tank was empty unless I had a tall stem plant. But I've never liked the piece in tank #1 so much. The other one is a stunner, but you can't see it for Java moss and plants at this point. But no matter what you do, making a nice scape on a cube is more difficult than a rectangle. I have many times (over the decade of owning these) thought I was going to do something radically different but tank always looks pretty much the same because the wood only fits in one place! But I'm open to replacing the wood in tank #1, taking a saw to it, whatever. Tank #2 has a splendid piece of Mopani though, I just need to weed things out so it can be seen.
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-12-2020, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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Alright, tomorrow I break tank #1 down and start it over. I didn't get too much done today, since it's onward and upward with the painting project. But to get to one wall, I had a tank to move that had been there a long time.

I got it moved back to the opposite corner and now have my living room getting the way I'd wanted it.

I had a helper who took a nap on the drop cloth for much of this project, even though she has a bed and is allowed on the couch. She has to be nearby at all times.


Here's the front of the tank I'm tearing down tomorrow:

When the light is this near the front glass, lots of scratches are evident. If I move them towards the back the scratches can't be seen but I know they're there. Might try some Barkeeper's Friend on that, but I hadn't planned on totally emptying it -though now would be the time.
Left side:

Right side:

I have a mini bonsai tree in there I was waterlogging and letting block Val growth with. Doubt I'll incorporate that.


All that I know is that all Val is going and lots of the Anubias might get moved out. I'll post more tomorrow as I get started and show better what I have to work with. I have a few new arrivals from @Marylandguppy I'll be incorporating for sure and some fancier crypts on their way. I also need to get off of my rear about testing my CO2 regulators.
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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-12-2020, 02:44 AM
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Yeah! Im getting some vals! (Happy dance)

Your room is looking awesome-- Im loving on that color.

Your making great progress- and , of course, that doggie is adorable.
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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-12-2020, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Step one is done, getting the white cloud fry out, they're big enough to go in the main tank now.


I've picked up 2 bags of Eco Complete since the substrate has dropped considerably over the years. I guess that's from vigorous vacuuming. I plan on filling this back up with no fauna at all, or as close to that as I can get. I'll probably fishless except the Ancistrus and put shrimp in here, just undecided on what type. Most plants will be taken out, I'll decide on what I keep as I can better inventory what's in there.
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-12-2020, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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Pulled the stump out and it's covered in plant growth. It seems a shame to pull the Anubias off of this. I'll try to trim it and see what I wind up with.




This is all yours, Amy! Or as much as you want:


Getting the last of stuff out of the gravel and then will scrub down, drain completely, and set back up. I'm finding a few odd shrimp in here, those will all be moved as well so I can start over with a clean slate. If humanly possible, I want to evict the MTS and only have ramshorn and pond snails in here going forward, that's a tall ask though. There's an inch of mulm on the bottom from uprooting all of the plants. Would photo but tank is too dusted up to really tell.
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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-12-2020, 08:23 PM
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Wow, awesome stump. Why trim it?
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post #11 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-12-2020, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I'm having second thoughts now. My main reason was because then the tank will look the exact same, but I have a couple of ideas. Might just take a little of the A nana off and change the foreground. We'll see how it looks. There are networks of Crypts that are only 1-2" with foot long roots in this tank. The substrate is absolutely full of roots, no way I could get them all out. But they'll feed things I suppose.


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post #12 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-12-2020, 09:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
Pulled the stump out and it's covered in plant growth. It seems a shame to pull the Anubias off of this. I'll try to trim it and see what I wind up with.




This is all yours, Amy! Or as much as you want:


Getting the last of stuff out of the gravel and then will scrub down, drain completely, and set back up. I'm finding a few odd shrimp in here, those will all be moved as well so I can start over with a clean slate. If humanly possible, I want to evict the MTS and only have ramshorn and pond snails in here going forward, that's a tall ask though. There's an inch of mulm on the bottom from uprooting all of the plants. Would photo but tank is too dusted up to really tell.
Too cool! I will put it in my 60 gallon and the 180, so Ill take it all.


Look at that anubias-wow!
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post #13 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-12-2020, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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It's all yours if I can get it into Ziploc bags, some of this was pushing 4'. There's a lot of younger plants though, so no worries if I have to compost some of the oldest growth.

Refilling now. I've filled it halfway, stirred the substrate, drained again and now have added another bag of Eco Complete.

I'll trim anything off the stump while in the water. There's surely Bolbitis and Java fern I don't want in this one growing on it, but I'll wait until I can pull the paper towels to do so.

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post #14 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-12-2020, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Lots of roots showing, which bugs me. Not sure if all the Val hid this or I had the stump turned the other way around. One thing I prefer about Buce is that it doesn't send those long runner roots shooting downward. Fair amount of Buce on this stump too, but not nearly as much. I'll try turning it another direction. If I can't hide the Anubias roots I'll just plant something pretty that grows tall in front of it.

Top view:
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post #15 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-12-2020, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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Ordered a couple of more things out of the classifieds, plus have another package coming to help take care of the foreground. Wanted Blxya and Erio "Vietnam" on the right side, but didn't have a ton to pull from other tanks. I'll share a better look at things when the dust settles tomorrow. Hopefully after I get the CO2 rigged up I will have this one looking something like I had hoped by April or so. Still might cut more of the Anubias back. I like it but it's hard to do much else with so much of it shading things.


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