New 20g Planted Tank (Epiphytes only) - 9/21/20 - GBR Fry Foster Care - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 162 (permalink) Old 03-10-2020, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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New 20g Planted Tank (Epiphytes only) - 9/21/20 - GBR Fry Foster Care

Hi everyone! Well I got inspired to change some things up here at home - and I am actually going to redo my small 8 gallon with the leftovers from this 20g build but in this thread I will update the bigger tank, my new 20g tank. I'll update my other journal with the nano redo.

***FYI I actually already scaped and flooded it - HOWEVER, I am not sure how many other people are like me, I have become pretty obsessive about the whole thing and have decided I am not happy with the design and to do a mild re-scape already! I am really not happy with the day I spent doing the scape about a week ago, I let myself get rushed and made a few bad decisions (IMO)... which mostly were using too fine and too bright white of sand, as well as this [censored][censored][censored][censored]ty super bright white gravel I wanted to use in the back... really not happy with how it turned out! Then the placement of everything was a bit off I believe.

So the photos in these first couple posts will be of my construction of the lava rock formations (inspired by reef builds) and then my first scape... to document my first attempt at my first "serious"
scape and the mishaps and successes involved! I learned a lot though! Then in the next few days I will drain and redo it!

What I learned:

-Patience is KEY

-Stretch the build over more days and breaks

-Simplicity of scape-concept is best (for newbies at least)

-Don't rush into buying all sorts of different plants haha!

-Don't put unsoaked driftwood in a tank (and don't choose a weird type that I can't find anymore of to finish the scape with haha).



*****My revised plan: to remove all stem and substrate plants and to just create a tank with Epiphytes and mosses. This will create a much more coherent and easier setup for myself because I generally want this to be a relatively low-maintenance tank. Plus substrate mixing and plant soils and etc annoy me a lot so with only Epiphyte plants I can just use sand and a bit of lava gravel at the very bottom.


Plants: I will use mostly trident ferns and a few easy mosses, some various anubias, and then I plan to try some nice bucephalandra plants as well.

Fish: 1 Pair of locally bred GBR and perhaps a schooling fish that won't eat (hopefully possible fry).

Shrimp? Maybe some Amanos?


Gear:

80 Liter "Scaper" tank - 62x36x36 CM
JBL E402 External Filter with Stainless Out/In-Flow Tubes (with "Skimmer")
Chihiros WRGB Light with Bluetooth Controller 60 CM



Basically the plan is: I want this to be a nice black lava rock heavy centered ONE island tank with a kind of beach vibe with a tower of plants on the rocks and driftwood (my formations aren't correctly sized for my tank to do the 2 island setup, plus I think the 2 island setup to look correct the far sides need to be blocked off which isn't so great for the GBRs to freely roam in the tank). I will be switching out the dark driftwood for some thicker dominant pieces to form elevation out of the rocks.

Thanks for looking and hopefully the next few updates will be of a nicely redone tank


Custom Made Aquarium Stand in my woodshop


A bit trendy retro... something different!


The Chihiros Light... Don't know if they are in the States yet but they seem to be a good cheap option!




First external filter!


Lucky to have a nice workshop to make my custom lava-rock formations (this was MESSY but kinda fun).


Mock-up


A lot of the build was drilled and "welded" with acrylic to a bit of an acrylic grid-work as the basis


It took a lot of time and fiddling but I think it was worth it to have a stable basis for the hardscape and something that is easy to remove as mostly 1 unit (for re-do...haha or moving or etc)


Made a cave structure with an exit on the far left side, was something I felt would make a bottom oriented territorial fish feel safer (female Apisto or Ram for example)


First mock-up with the wood


Setup at home!


Intial Scape


Ugh... that horrible bright white gravel in the "pits"


Flooded!


Side view (left opening of the cave)


The rift between the 2 "islands"



But alas... it will be redone a bit but oh well, it is still cycling so it has no inhabitants

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Last edited by andrewss; 03-24-2020 at 06:02 PM. Reason: Rescape!
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post #2 of 162 (permalink) Old 03-13-2020, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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So does anyone have any good ideas for this tank stocking wise? A priority is to have a type of fish that might explore in the cave(s) a bit - like a bottom oriented fish, any ideas there?

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post #3 of 162 (permalink) Old 03-13-2020, 11:41 AM
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Corydoras. There are plenty of species of Corydoras out there to keep you busy researching for a while.

They prefer sandy soft substrates, will root around keeping it tidy, will explore the Caves. Research the species you want though, pH, temperature will determine which species.

Nice looking tank, but wow, is that sand bright. My glasses transitioned while looking at it.

Gary


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post #4 of 162 (permalink) Old 03-13-2020, 03:04 PM
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Cool looking setup. The sand will most likely darken a bit once the tank is established although personally I like the whitish sand, I do the commercial sand myself. Corys are aewsome little fish and really keep the mulm from building up and in the filter. There are also some of the smaller cichlids that like establishing cave homes. All kinds of options.


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post #5 of 162 (permalink) Old 03-16-2020, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input guys! Right well I went through with the re-scape of the tank yesterday! Really liking the change, I think the whole thing is much more attractive now. Looking forward to seeing it a bit more matured. Thinking about planting a bit more Buce plants and some little things here and there, arranging some small rocks on the border of the main rock structures. Anyway - really happy with the improvement - hope you all like it too, I think its much more aesthetic!

I changed out the substrate for just ADA Playa sand with a wee bit of scapers lava mulch under the lava rock structures I built to raise them a bit and provide better flow and drainage. I like this way better than my peppering of stem plants with aqua soils and that [censored][censored][censored][censored]e bright white gravel I had in the back of the tank!

Really liking the skimmer out-flow now, finally understand how to set them up - they make it soooo clean on the surface!

Anyway - here are some pictures of the process (holy [censored][censored][censored][censored] a wet shop-vac makes such a process soooo much better!)




















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post #6 of 162 (permalink) Old 03-16-2020, 07:45 PM
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Huge improvement on the scape, you just can't beat ADA la plata sand.. What % you running the light at?

Congrats.
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post #7 of 162 (permalink) Old 03-16-2020, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ventchur View Post
Huge improvement on the scape, you just can't beat ADA la plata sand.. What % you running the light at?

Congrats.
Yep, I agree and it's nice to see another epiphytes only scape on the forum.


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post #8 of 162 (permalink) Old 03-17-2020, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ventchur View Post
Huge improvement on the scape, you just can't beat ADA la plata sand.. What % you running the light at?

Congrats.
Thanks! Yeah, the sand is much better! Really liking the rock arrangement now that I pushed them a lot closer together so it is 1 mound if you will, the cave effect is nicer now too - the large wood with contrasting color is also a lot better than the various small dark branches I had previously.

The lights... Well I am still playing with them but for some days now I have them peaking a bit high.

The first hour and last hour are on slow start/finish and the main period is about 7 hours. The main period in the middle has a peak of 90% for red 80% green and 70% white (blues always being more like 15-20%). I like the colors better this way but haven't looked into what is best for the plants. The start up for sunrise is a bit heavy on the green and red to give a kind of yellow sunrise effect and then the sunset ends up going heavy in the reds and blues for a purple tinged sunset then eventually into 5% blue for the night light effect. I really enjoy being able to customize the light like this! Was pretty cheap actually, hopefully it holds up... the only thing annoying with it is that the powersupply makes a bit of a high pitched hum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
Yep, I agree and it's nice to see another epiphytes only scape on the forum.
Thanks! I suppose most people mix in some stem/root plants at least in the back, I decided against it - I think epiphytes work so well with the lava island thing my scape has going! Plus in many ways it is more simple (cleaning and possibly tear-down for moving or something).

I'll have to have a look around for other epiphyte only (or heavy) journals on here!

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post #9 of 162 (permalink) Old 03-17-2020, 01:27 PM
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Looking really good- The rescape was a solid move, very nice! I'll be looking forward to watching this progress!



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post #10 of 162 (permalink) Old 03-17-2020, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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Looking really good- The rescape was a solid move, very nice! I'll be looking forward to watching this progress!
Thanks! Yeah I don't regret it one bit! Was certainly worth the 4 hours it took me to do it, the original scape was just poorly executed but at least my rock constructions can hold up to a lot of handling and so I just popped em back in after I cleaned off the white gravel and sand from them and went at it

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post #11 of 162 (permalink) Old 03-17-2020, 03:29 PM
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BTW How do you like the Chihiros WRGB Light? Reason I ask is just started up a 60cm and might change my light. I have a an older Chihiros A that I was using on a nano and it still running fine 3 years later. That one was only manually dimmable, so looking for something with better color and programmable.


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post #12 of 162 (permalink) Old 03-17-2020, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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BTW How do you like the Chihiros WRGB Light? Reason I ask is just started up a 60cm and might change my light. I have a an older Chihiros A that I was using on a nano and it still running fine 3 years later. That one was only manually dimmable, so looking for something with better color and programmable.
I quite like it, for the price I think it is probably pretty hard to beat, though I guess the top brands are better but then again the pricing premium for them is inflated a bit much... so far the most overt cheapo aspect I notice with this light is the powersupply makes that electronic "buzzing" and I suppose the brand name ones supply better ones (though I don't directly know).

The app is definitely also not the most intuitive one but it works, I've managed to be able to program a nice day cycle, can certainly tinker with these so that is fun. That bluetooth unit was also quite affordable as well!

I am generally quite happy with the light, I think it actually has grown on me a bit! I couldn't imagine having a non programmable light now haha!

BTW I plan to have it hanging soon (not a huge fan of the aquarium mount brakets) - I'll let ya all know how that goes!

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post #13 of 162 (permalink) Old 03-17-2020, 11:03 PM
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I quite like it, for the price I think it is probably pretty hard to beat, though I guess the top brands are better but then again the pricing premium for them is inflated a bit much... so far the most overt cheapo aspect I notice with this light is the powersupply makes that electronic "buzzing" and I suppose the brand name ones supply better ones (though I don't directly know).

The app is definitely also not the most intuitive one but it works, I've managed to be able to program a nice day cycle, can certainly tinker with these so that is fun. That bluetooth unit was also quite affordable as well!

I am generally quite happy with the light, I think it actually has grown on me a bit! I couldn't imagine having a non programmable light now haha!

BTW I plan to have it hanging soon (not a huge fan of the aquarium mount brakets) - I'll let ya all know how that goes!
Thanks for all that detailed info on the light, appreciate it. I'm definitely going to consider and look at a few others, although as you mentioned not much at that price point and don't know if I want to spend three times as much for one of the other ones that has good aesthetics.

I considered hanging my fixture, I do like that look over a rimless. I guess I settled for a semi-hanging style with my light bridge. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.


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post #14 of 162 (permalink) Old 03-18-2020, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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I will be doing that over the weekend! I have been busy in the workshop with my shelving system for the wall around the aquarium - these shelves will be more kitchen storage and a few window plant perches, in my flat we don't have a living room and the kitchen is relatively larges so the couch and aquarium serve as the living room part of the kitchen, quite a mixed up room but I am liking it!

The light will hang from underneath one of the shelves - hopefully I can make it look good, also gonna have to execute perfectly the mounting for the shelves that will be directly above the tank because they will be 100% wall mounted with no legs.

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post #15 of 162 (permalink) Old 03-19-2020, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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A little update, well actually a kind of big step (wasn't cheap haha) - decided to go with co2 - plan to go with about a 20mg target for co2, anyway here is a shot of the order... I kinda pieced together what I thought comprises a good complete set (minus a co2 bottle) - did I miss anything? Also I plan to keep the tank in the corner in the room behind the other tank stand and will need about 8-9ft of hose to lead to the diffusor for my 20 gallon, is that ok? From what I understood that ought to be ok, though I have no experience with co2 systems!

ps, pardon the german on the order but I think the photos explain it... Went for a bit of a fancy dual regulator and decided to go with a stainless diffusor - thought also a constant test glass bit would be ok but also thought a bubble counter is also good for immediate setup? Do you think that's overkill, could return something eventually maybe if need be.


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