Shallow 24G nature tank (35x16x12" and photoheavy) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 84 (permalink) Old 02-05-2020, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
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Shallow 24G nature tank (35x16x12" and photoheavy)

Hiya!

Feels good to re-enter the hobby after a couple of years absence. I'm limited to only one tank, and I must've had a thousand bubbling ideas so far. Started off planning a blackwater tank, then a strict biotope, but realized I always felt I was missing out on something, so it'll be a mixed community instead. I want a planted, natural looking tank with an interesting mix of fish.

I've spent good chunk of my free time on this forum the past few weeks, and seen alot of people doing amazing and ambitious projects with hi-tech dosing pumps and micro-managed Dutch gardens. I can certainly understand the fascination of that, but don't expect that in this journal. This one will be less detail-oriented as I try to accomplish a relaxing and aestethically pleasing balanced tank, albeit not necessarily technically perfect or optimal. To put it this way, I can guarantee there won't be any excel-sheets of my dosing regime (I get enough of that at the office)

Tank is currently being built, expected to be ready end of February. Until then I hope we can bounce some ideas along the way as I've been out of the game for a while. I've planned alot in my head, and frankly I think that's what I enjoy the most. Just researching fish, plants and layout. I'm not a guy who keep the same setup for 10 years straight, I enjoy the build and planning too much.

My aim is to mimic a slow moving river/ flooded river bank, that could be anywhere south of the equator. I've pictured half the bottom of the tank being filled with a reddish sand, other half a carpet of HC Cuba or similar, together with AR mini and starogyne repens. Moss, anubias and perhaps a java fern to be attached to the wood, which will partially be emersed.

I'll update with intended products and stocking tomorrow, time for bed now!

Last edited by Hujeta; 03-16-2020 at 12:21 AM. Reason: Changed title
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post #2 of 84 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Let's talk stocking!

Firstly, fish. The top 3 I'm fairly decided on, the 4th depends on how crowded the tank feels like. Also a bit afraid it'll skewer the sense of scale as they're significantly larger than the rest.

2-4 Betta Channoides
10-12 Corydoras Hastatus
10-15 Vampire tetras
2-3 African Butterfly Fish alternatively Halfbeaks

The Corys fare better in higher numbers, and absolute minimum would be 8. When tank gets in place I'll see how it feels, don't want a crowded tank.


Plants;
Alternanthera Reineckii 'Mini' - love these!
HC Cuba - Potentially, I'd need CO2 for these. Cory's often frequent flooded forests & marshes, maybe it can work if I let the carbet spread before introducing the catfish. Carpet would cover ~half the back of the tank, the rest would be fine sand
Staurogyne Repens - Used in conjunction with HC, closer to the wood
Foxtail - or similar fast growing plant in the start
Various moss will be used to decorate the wood, probably some Anubias var nana and Java fern too.


Tank will sit where the printer currently is. Bench will be reinforced allthough it's quite sturdy already, and it'll be cleaned out to house canister + potential CO2 system. I hate the red wall but I just rent the place so what can you do. Black plastidip will be applied to the back of the tank, a personal preference. Was in the midst of a cleaning session as you can see, apologies for the mess.




The stuff I've acquired so far. Tape measure for scale, tank height will be 35 cm




The bench is almost same footprint as tank (like 5 cm shorter) so in anticipation for tank to arrive, I started to try out 3 scapes. Happy to hear your thoughts on them. The idea is for wood to break the water surface, links in end of post showing what my inspiration is.

Version 1:






V2, less crowded without the chunk in the middle?




V3 Not sure I like this vertical placement, but then again couldn't adjust angles fully to my liking



http://www.amanotakashi.net/portfoli...nderwater.html
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Last edited by Hujeta; 02-15-2020 at 06:53 PM. Reason: Added links
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post #3 of 84 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 06:39 PM
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Love all the configurations for the wood, but 2nd would probably give you the most space if you decide to go with HC. Any chance of flipping the longer right-hand piece of wood so that the stick is pointing right instead of left?

What are the exact dimensions of the tank? My "big" tank is 80cm long x 40cm wide x 30cm high, so I'd imagine similar size. Love scaping it with the width and depth, and plants seem to grow much faster in my shallower tanks than they do in my deeper tanks. I'm a little concerned about the missing corners at the back though?

Seems like you're going fairly high-tech, so have you thought about running a small pump round the back of the large left-hand piece of wood so that water trickles down the front? You could potentially grow emergent plants if so - I've done fairly well with java moss, java fern, an unknown buce, and anubias coffeefolia in a similar set up, although it has always been in a covered tank, so high humidity. Have you looked at any of the pennywort species?

Which fish do you mean by "Vampire tetra"? The only one I've heard of is hydrolycus scomberoides, which grow huge! I'd also be a little concerned about the butterfly fish jumping out the top, but will follow this journal closely as they've always seemed super interesting.

Final question - please tell me you got that would online from a UK site?? It's gorgeous!

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post #4 of 84 (permalink) Old 02-07-2020, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Thelongsnail View Post
Love all the configurations for the wood, but 2nd would probably give you the most space if you decide to go with HC. Any chance of flipping the longer right-hand piece of wood so that the stick is pointing right instead of left?

What are the exact dimensions of the tank? My "big" tank is 80cm long x 40cm wide x 30cm high, so I'd imagine similar size. Love scaping it with the width and depth, and plants seem to grow much faster in my shallower tanks than they do in my deeper tanks. I'm a little concerned about the missing corners at the back though?

Seems like you're going fairly high-tech, so have you thought about running a small pump round the back of the large left-hand piece of wood so that water trickles down the front? You could potentially grow emergent plants if so - I've done fairly well with java moss, java fern, an unknown buce, and anubias coffeefolia in a similar set up, although it has always been in a covered tank, so high humidity. Have you looked at any of the pennywort species?

Which fish do you mean by "Vampire tetra"? The only one I've heard of is hydrolycus scomberoides, which grow huge! I'd also be a little concerned about the butterfly fish jumping out the top, but will follow this journal closely as they've always seemed super interesting.

Final question - please tell me you got that would online from a UK site?? It's gorgeous!
Thanks very much! I'm quite thrilled by your response, it really seems you read my mind here, and we even got very similar tank measures as well! I'll pop in your journal soon enough, "unfortunately" I'm just about to head to Donegal this weekend with the gf so will be next week.

Agreed the 2nd seems best so far. I'll definitely try and swap the direction around for the right-hand piece and upload a photo when I get a chance. We got almost the same footprint of our tanks, mine will be 90cmx40cmx35, 35 being the height. The bench is a tad smaller than the tank, so I'll use a particle board between bench and tank to make sure there's support all around the bottom, that's probably my next step in getting this all setup. Not sure of which coulour to go for though, perhaps black.

You actually read my mind about a pump watering down the left root, that's why I got the powerhead Pennyworth is unknown to me, I have plenty of reading to do around plants as it's quite new to me, I'll add it to the list for sure. I've done some low-tech tanks before, even with DIY CO2 but I don't wanna do that again. Right now it feels like I'll get the pressurized version, but I don't have an interest in building it as advanced as possible. Medium-tech tank is perhaps the most accurate description of this build!

There's links to all the fish species in the above post, here's the one for vampire tetras:https://www.aquariumglaser.de/en/fis...steindachneri/
I really hope my LFS can bring them in as they look awesome and would fit really well in accordance with what I want to have, and they'll max out at about 5cm!

Finally, I hate to break it to ya but wood was all sourced locally. I visited a handful shops and ended up buying from two different ones. I got 6 smaller & medium pieces of mangroove so I could puzzle them together, and the big trunk to the left-hand side is some form of driftwood. It only cost 25 eur!! Didn't have to think much about that one before opening the wallet...
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post #5 of 84 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Visited a great fish store today, unfortunately located ~2 hours drive away. My car is at the shop so using public transport I had to limit my purchases a bit and therefore opted for just a small bag of Tropicas soil. I'm probably only gonna use it in certain areas for the carpet so it may last or I'll pick up another bag later. I wanted the Eheim Classic 250 but they only had Eheim Classic 350 or Ecco Pro 200 in stock so I chose the latter one due to smaller dimension. JBL sand purchased earlier.



Also picked up two small caves which I think will fit nicely with the real stone I have. Colour wise it didn't stand out too much and will probably put some moss on it to further blend in. In one of the display tanks in the shop they had the AT-AT with lots of algae growth on it, looked so cool so couldn't help myself from getting one. Not sure if I'll actually use it in tank or put it to use somewhere else.


As I hade a few hours on the bus today I researched my CO2 setup a bit more and found this great site to order from. I'm thinking of going for Sodastream cylinder as container as it's widely available. Just not sure how long I can expect it to last or if it'd be worth the hassle of sourcing a bigger container? Inline diffuser will be used and volume will be ~90L/ 24 US gallons.

Would also appreciate input on the below kits, I fail to see the difference more than the two more expensive ones have an extra pisco flow controller. Rather spend a few extra quid now and have no hassle later on. All below will have adapter, solenoid and UK plug.

Advanced:
https://www.co2supermarket.co.uk/co2...nced-p312.html
Pro:
https://www.co2supermarket.co.uk/co2...-pro-p509.html
Ultimate:
https://www.co2supermarket.co.uk/co2...mate-p486.html

Long & shallow 24G: a photoheavy
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post #6 of 84 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Hujeta View Post
Visited a great fish store today, unfortunately located ~2 hours drive away. My car is at the shop so using public transport I had to limit my purchases a bit and therefore opted for just a small bag of Tropicas soil. I'm probably only gonna use it in certain areas for the carpet so it may last or I'll pick up another bag later. I wanted the Eheim Classic 250 but they only had Eheim Classic 350 or Ecco Pro 200 in stock so I chose the latter one due to smaller dimension. JBL sand purchased earlier.







Also picked up two small caves which I think will fit nicely with the real stone I have. Colour wise it didn't stand out too much and will probably put some moss on it to further blend in. In one of the display tanks in the shop they had the AT-AT with lots of algae growth on it, looked so cool so couldn't help myself from getting one. Not sure if I'll actually use it in tank or put it to use somewhere else.





As I hade a few hours on the bus today I researched my CO2 setup a bit more and found this great site to order from. I'm thinking of going for Sodastream cylinder as container as it's widely available. Just not sure how long I can expect it to last or if it'd be worth the hassle of sourcing a bigger container? Inline diffuser will be used and volume will be ~90L/ 24 US gallons.



Would also appreciate input on the below kits, I fail to see the difference more than the two more expensive ones have an extra pisco flow controller. Rather spend a few extra quid now and have no hassle later on. All below will have adapter, solenoid and UK plug.



Advanced:

https://www.co2supermarket.co.uk/co2...nced-p312.html

Pro:

https://www.co2supermarket.co.uk/co2...-pro-p509.html

Ultimate:

https://www.co2supermarket.co.uk/co2...mate-p486.html


I used soda stream for about 2 years on a 7.5 gallon tank, a tank would last like 6 months on that. I was using a regulator I bought of marine depot so not sure about these kits, they look like they would work great though.
I like the hard scape layout and fish stocking ideas, I had a African butterfly fish a long time age really fun fish to feed but his food would always escape in the house. And I was always chasing down crickets.



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post #7 of 84 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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I used soda stream for about 2 years on a 7.5 gallon tank, a tank would last like 6 months on that. I was using a regulator I bought of marine depot so not sure about these kits, they look like they would work great though.
I like the hard scape layout and fish stocking ideas, I had a African butterfly fish a long time age really fun fish to feed but his food would always escape in the house. And I was always chasing down crickets.
Many thanks for the nice comment A quick calculation means that with same disbursement of CO2 one sodastream cylinder would last 1.5-2 months in my tank factoring in the larger volume, which I'd be content with. Yes the butterfly feeding behaviour is one of the prime reasons why I wan't to keep a few, only issue is I won't have lids since I intend to have the roots breaking the water surface. Were they avid jumpers in your experience?

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post #8 of 84 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 08:17 PM
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Many thanks for the nice comment A quick calculation means that with same disbursement of CO2 one sodastream cylinder would last 1.5-2 months in my tank factoring in the larger volume, which I'd be content with. Yes the butterfly feeding behaviour is one of the prime reasons why I wan't to keep a few, only issue is I won't have lids since I intend to have the roots breaking the water surface. Where they avid jumpers in your experience?


They donít jump they fly out of the tank. If they have room to take off they can make it quite a ways.


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post #9 of 84 (permalink) Old 02-22-2020, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Tank should be ready this coming week (fingers crossed). In the meanwhile I've been conducting some reconnaissance for new LFS's and found a new one tonight - by far the best one so so far. Got me an inline heater and some Tropica fertiliser, and I'll come back when it's time for fish.

Also went to a DIY store and got a MDF board cut, which matches the footprint of the tank thus providing an even surface to avoid any tensions in the tank and ensuring that the load is spread across the whole bench. With this in place I tried some more compositions, think I like this one the most so far. The idea is to resemble a flooded ditch or riverbank, and I plan to have the sand build up towards the root (on the left, roughly from where the stones are placed), simulating an old shattered tree trunk that's now submersed. Around the root itself there'll be a carpet, likely of HC Cuba, and mosses covering the wood to give more of an aged feeling. Sand will cover most of the rest of the bottom. On top of this I plan to run water via a powerhead to water the mosses, and I've also gotten a mister which I hope to fit in there as well.




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post #10 of 84 (permalink) Old 02-26-2020, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Tank is scheduled to arrive this week so doing some prep work around the scaping. With the mdf board cut to the exact footprint it's easier to compose it. The aim is a somewhat natural part of a flooded riverbank, and I'm gonna add a fogger for some extra zeist! Instead of wasting money on expensive substrate I ordered some net bags and filled them with gravel from the backyard, hoping this wouldn't cause any nasty pockets underneath the top-layer substrate.

The bags filled with coarse gravel, rinsed and hung to dry


Cut the aquarium mat after painting the edges of the board


You've seen this tree trunk before, I modified it to house the fogger. Quite amazed how well the different roots fit together, all bought from different stores at different times. Contemplated if I should try and capture this in a video instead but don't have a program for editing it, nor the knowledge required.

















Also spent a significant amount of time installing the filter in my whiskey cabinet, took some effort but it'll be fully hidden and the bonus of keeping it in the cabinet (contrary to directly in the shelf under the tank) is the added soundproofing, which'll come in handy considering I'll be sleeping in the same room. Also gonna pick up the lighting units this weekend.

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post #11 of 84 (permalink) Old 02-26-2020, 09:35 PM
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Really cool project you have here, can't wait to see it progress. This is going to be fantastic!

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post #12 of 84 (permalink) Old 02-26-2020, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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Really cool project you have here, can't wait to see it progress. This is going to be fantastic!
Much obliged good sir, means a lot to hear that.

Also couldn't contain myself so just ordered this CO≤ kit: https://www.co2art.co.uk/collections...e-co2-diffuser I'm gonna have to live off nudles the coming months lol...
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post #13 of 84 (permalink) Old 02-27-2020, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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I've gotten alot of positive news today.

-Tank ready for collection tomorrow
-Lights are set aside in the store for collection on Saturday
-DHL express estimates the CO≤ stuff to arrive tomorrow before 6

I still have my doubts about DHL, considering that it'll be shipped from UK but fingers crossed. Don't think it's the end of the world if I'd start cycling a day before the carbon gets installed and nevertheless, perfect timing as I have the whole weekend free for starting up the tank!! I'm so excited (and just can't hide it)

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post #14 of 84 (permalink) Old 02-28-2020, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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!!





Letting the tank stand overnight to make sure it's leak-free. Dropped the roots in to make sure they're sinking. Suppose it's good to get an indication if there's tannins that'll stain the water - which I'd have no objections against.

Tomorrows shopping list:
-black background
-lights
-plants (going for ~6 species, Anubias petite, HC Cuba, AR 'mini', something fast-growing, a bucephelandra and potentially something else)
-sodastream cylinder
-thermometer
-maybe a test kit, allthough I might just bring a selection of water to the store for testing to have a reference. Heard rumours the water is rather hard over here, some soil and CO≤ should take it down a notch. Gonna ask the lfs for advise as I believe the tap water is treated with chlorine.
-hose, for waterchanges. If I can find one that has some sort of adapter for the tap, as the ones in the house lacks threads. Took 10 buckets just to fill up the tank, and now that I only have 1 tank I thought I'd be fine 'bucketing' but soon realized I've been kidding myself.
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post #15 of 84 (permalink) Old 02-28-2020, 06:25 PM
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Nice! You did all the planning, now you get to make it happen!

Style: Organic potting soil, gravel, sand, wood, plants, algae, biofilm, snails, shrimp, fish, dual siestas
Tech : Small tanks, Fluval Nano Plant Spectrum LED, Top Fin MF10, Neptune Systems Apex EL
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