New 46 gal bowfront tank setup!! New tank for the new year! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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New 46 gal bowfront tank setup!! New tank for the new year!

Hey guys, happy new year! I'm a little ways into this tank already, but thought I should share and hopefully get some feedback/advice on what direction to take it!

I'm combining my 15 gal and 10 gal into this bad boy that I picked up for a song ($40 used with stand!!). My 15 sprung a leak at the seam, so this is kind of an evacuation situation. I've got plenty of plants and lighting, hoping to scape it naturally with all the pieces of driftwood and zebra/lace rocks I've already had in my other tanks without making it look crowded or too deliberately decorated. I want to emphasize that I'm going for a very natural feel with lots of open space, but also densely planted around the frame/walls of the tank. Baby tears carpet for sure.

I'll start with equipment:
Tank is about 36x16x20" bowed front viewing panel
Fluval 206 canister filter
HJ-931 submersible pump rated at 800 l/hr (adjustable)
100w submersible heater (kinda cheap one, might need to upgrade with this cold weather)
Little Whisper 20 air pump with limewood diffuser

Lighting:
Light that came with the tank is 36" 25w fluorescent p.o.s.
I have an Oddysea 20" t5 with 2 x 18w bulbs (I have 2x 6500k bulbs and a 10000k bulb for it)
I also have 2x 30w LED flood lights in the 6700k spectrum that rocked my 15 gal. I got phenomenal plant growth out of them!

Substrate is about 2 gal of medium-size gravel in the back for the slope with eco-complete on top and I capped the whole thing with a mix of black flourite sand and Tahitian moon sand. I'm anticipating some criticism over this, but I've had really healthy plants and critters with this arrangement before. I was tempted to go with the Walstadt method on this tank, but I don't have the accommodations to mineralize the soil.

Plants on hand:
Ludwigia repens
Water sprite (may get rid of it)
Willow moss
Phoenix moss
Java moss
Hornwort
Banana plant
Baby tears
Java fern
Spiral val
Water lettuce

Critters on hand:
10x ember tetras
2x peacock gudgeons (mating pair)
~30 red cherry shrimp
1 amano shrimp
1 assassin snail

I plan on dosing Flourish and EI once things get going. I'm debating over whether or not to use osmocote capsules since the sand substrate is relatively inert and the eco-complete is used from my 10gal. They helped in my 15gal with most rooted plants, but I think I was getting some algae outbreaks from them (maybe used too much?)

I use a small 20g co2 tank setup, but it dissolves very efficiently at ~1-2bps with a bubble ladder and minimal surface agitation. Thinking of going DIY to save money and have a larger amount of co2 at my disposal. Can't really afford the initial cost of a tank/regulator right now.

I've got some large mopani driftwood pieces soaking right now, and a medium piece of Malaysian driftwood. Some sm/med pieces of zebra rock that I don't necessarily need to use. I've also got a couple medium lace rock pieces and river stones.

I put most of the established tank water in with about 12 gal of RO to get it cycling, I plan on slowly filling it over time so the pH stays stable.

So my pressing issues:
Should I supplement my substrate with osmocote? If so, I need to do it now so I can start planting.
My pH is similar to the 15gal (7.1-7.2) but I'm afraid of shocking the shrimp as they're pretty sensitive. I need to get them transferred asap though, I don't want the tank to explode before I'm able to get them to safety. Should I just start bagging and acclimating them? Or would I need to find a temporary home for now? I dropped the peacock gudgeons in a couple days ago and they seem fine.

Thanks guys, I'll post my progress if anyone's interested. Here are some pics:




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post #2 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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Here's the 15 gal before the leak:


Last edited by Profound; 01-05-2015 at 04:45 AM.
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post #3 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-05-2015, 04:44 AM Thread Starter
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Ok guess nobody cares, so I'll just update this for my own reference lol

I dropped all my plants, fish, and inverts into the new tank and started arranging a layout. Started dosing co2. Flourish mixed with new water added slowly. I added O+ capsules to the substrate about 6 sq. in. apart and started placing some baby tears, plugged in some ludwigia and wrapped willow moss onto the driftwood. Relocated the fissidens fontanus into some fast moving water in front of the pump output. Planted the water sprite for now, but still not feeling it, probly gonna tear it out.

I realize that normally you would build the hardscape first, add some plants and then flood, but like I mentioned I didn't have time to plan this build very well, so I'm kinda working backwards. I salvaged tank water, added substrate, then plants/rocks/wood last. What can you do...

Full view


Right side


Left side


Set up my led floods on either side of the t5 lamp and ditched the fluorescent fixture


The patch of baby tears as I pulled it from the leaking tank... Wonder if I should replant this piece by piece, or if I can plug in the whole patch somehow...?


The other 2 pieces of driftwood for the right side of the tank


That's it for now. I'll soak the wood a couple more days to be safe and so they'll lose their buoyancy. The last 5 gals of treated water should be ready to go in by then. Only lost one cherry shrimp the day after the transfer, so I'm hoping everything will stay stable.
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post #4 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-05-2015, 04:22 PM
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That's a great present! Looks like it's coming along nicely
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post #5 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-06-2015, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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That's a great present! Looks like it's coming along nicely
Thanks, it's been interesting. I've never had to do a transfer like this before, I've only done new setups.

Lost another shrimp last night. Not sure if it's stress from the move or if the peacock gudgeon are picking on em.

Ph is stable so far at 7.0-ish, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, <25 ppm nitrates, steady photo period from 12-8pm with co2 period an hour before lights on and off. Water is about 75℉.

I think the driftwood and water can go in tonight and I can work on scaping the tank. I'll post more pics soon.
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post #6 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 01:44 AM
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off topic... but thats a good looking dog

lots to learn...
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as always, any comments, questions or criticisms are greatly appreciated.
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post #7 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-08-2015, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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off topic... but thats a good looking dog
Lol thanks! That's my 2yo American bulldog, Posey! She loves fish, sometimes I think she's more entertained than I am
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post #8 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-08-2015, 05:37 PM
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Wow your 15 g looked great!
I'm sure the 46 will fill in also.
Love the dog!
What is the strap around the tank in one picture for?
Keep up with updates will enjoy watching!

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post #9 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 04:50 AM Thread Starter
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Wow your 15 g looked great!
I'm sure the 46 will fill in also.
Love the dog!
What is the strap around the tank in one picture for?
Keep up with updates will enjoy watching!
Thanks! The strap was to keep the back panel from leaking in the 15g, since the leak was coming from the corner seam. That was my desperate attempt to slow it down until I could evacuate it.

My shrimp are dying I've lost 6 plus the amano. They look half eaten when I find them in the morning. I'm hoping the gudgeons are just eating the carcasses and not actually killing them. Again everything else looks stable, some hornwort is still a bit brown, no crazy temp/pH fluctuations. Spotted a couple RCS carrying eggs, not new ones, but still hanging onto em from the other tank.

I'm realizing from some advice in another post that I'm probably experiencing nutrient deficiencies since I'm not dosing macros... To be honest, I've never had to deal with it before, everything was growing faster than I could maintain in the 15gal. I'm a little intimidated by the idea of keeping up with something as demanding as dosing EI for this tank. Kinda on the fence, but it might end up being necessary anyway.

I'll post some pics tomorrow.
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post #10 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 03:02 AM Thread Starter
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Today was a good day for the aquarium. Readings are still stable, no dead shrimp, and some of the stem plants are perking up and getting green. The ludwigia has been streaming o2 bubbles from various spots, the baby tears I planted has started pointing its heads up towards the light and roots to the sand, and the water sprite of course is bursting (I don't know if that stuff can die lol).

After soaking and boiling for a week, I decided to finally put the last 2 pieces of wood in. The long, straight piece was still buoyant, so I weighed down one end with the piece of lacerock I had kicking around. I'm not 100% on the placement, but I think it generally looks good all the way to the right. The V-shaped piece has a lot of gnarled grain and holes and knots, which give it some great character. The shrimp are already exploring its caverns. I stuck java fern in a few holes, I'm loving that look.

I plugged in another pile of baby tears in the front. I know it looks crappy since they are all random heights, but I can't wait for it to fill in so I can trim it. I'm not sure what I'm gonna do with the cholla wood pieces. I'll probably hide em if they are gonna stay because the shrimp love em.

Obviously I've still got tons of stuff floating that needs to be planted soon ie. baby tears, micro sword and some water sprite. I'm not sure what to do with the java moss either, it's been a derelict drifter in all my tanks lol. I noticed some stowaway grass-like runners I've never seen before, so I shoved em in the sand to see what comes out.

I'm going to order some macro ferts this weekend. Any advice on what brand? Dry/liquid?

I'll probably fill the space where the cholla wood is laying with more baby tears


New wood on the right


I shoved a little cichlid stone cave under the mopani wood to see if the gudgeons will get back to mating eventually


Everyone is friendly at feeding time
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post #11 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 03:17 AM
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Everyone is friendly at feeding time
Are you feeding them out of the cone shaped thing? What is it?
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post #12 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 04:13 AM Thread Starter
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Are you feeding them out of the cone shaped thing? What is it?
Yes it's a worm feeder. It's a plastic cone with holes in it so the worms can fall through slowly. Sometimes the peacock gudgeon suck the bloodworms right out!
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post #13 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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Another dead shrimp today, looks like a young one this time. Didn't look eaten, the little guy was laying in the baby tears *irony*

The wood has started developing a white film. I thought soaking and boiling it would prevent that from happening. Hopefully it doesn't hurt anything.

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post #14 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 10:01 PM
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The slime on wood is only an eye soar and shrimp and fish will eat.It can get to be an ugly issue before it goes away.Soaking doesn't always keep it away as it is from bacteria(good ones) in the tank.
Sorry for the shrimp loss,have you tested water to see if you are having a mini cycle?
Tank is looking good!

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post #15 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-11-2015, 04:14 AM Thread Starter
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The slime on wood is only an eye soar and shrimp and fish will eat.It can get to be an ugly issue before it goes away.Soaking doesn't always keep it away as it is from bacteria(good ones) in the tank.
Sorry for the shrimp loss,have you tested water to see if you are having a mini cycle?
Tank is looking good!
Thanks! Well, I've been checking pH, nitrites, nitrates and ammonia with the API master kit, and everything has stayed solid. Temperature stays between 75.0-75.5, so nothing dramatic there either. I started the cycle with the existing filter and media from the previous tank, but I added about 15g of RO to 25g of established water. I squeezed the filter floss before setting it up in the new tank, but the bacteria should have still been OK I think.

Is there something I'm missing in regards to testing the water? I haven't tested kh or gh... Maybe a water hardness change? My co2 drop checker broke a while back, so I've just stuck to 1-2 bps for now until I get a new one. Thanks for the feedback!!
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