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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-05-2015, 06:34 AM Thread Starter
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Smile First. Aquarium. Ever.

Hi all,

So after waiting (not so) patiently for 3+ months after first seeing the Fluval Edge 6G, I was pleased to open one on Christmas morning, courtesy of my lovely (and extremely patient) wife.

I've never owned an aquarium before this, but as the father of an 18-month-old toddler and with a new arrival expected in March, my social life has been pretty much vaporized and I'm essentially homebound for the next handful of years; the aquarium lifestyle seems a perfect and highly enjoyable fit. For the record, I'm extremely happy to be homebound, not complaining at all!

Anywho, after reading more forums, blogs, web pages, and assorted books than I can count, I finally ordered the various components for my first foray into aquarium-keeping. Having studied so much, and being a true jackass at heart, I formulated some pretty ambitious ideas for the nano tank, and Friday evening, I was finally able to put it all together to see just how in over my head I am with this endeavor.

Enough carrying on, here are a series of pics from Friday night (Day 1), various times Saturday (Day 2), and a couple taken this evening (Day 3).

Stuff that's in my tank right now:

EcoComplete substrate, topped with Tahitian Moon sand
Rocks/Spider Wood
Dwarf Hairgrass (major issues w/ placement at the moment)
Chain Sword
Red Leaf Ludwigia
Willow Moss (major issues w/ this as well right now)

You may be able to see as the pictures progress, I think I had a bacterial bloom for a while yesterday, and freaked the eff out, before researching a bit and seeing that the water was a good deal clearer today.

There are no fish or inverts in there right now, and won't be for several weeks.

I've ordered some light upgrades and a CO2 system, both should arrive Tuesday and I can't wait to get 'em setup, because I'm worried about the Moss and DHG.

Today was the first day I was able to get out and pickup a test kit, early results are positive (I think):

pH = 7.4
Nitrite = 0 ppm
Nitrate = 0 ppm
Ammonia = .25 ppm

I'd like to get that pH a lot closer to neutral as my livestock plans include Galaxy Rasbora/CPD. Obviously like to see that Ammonia go down as well, but as I understand it, there may be a decent spike in the Ammonia as I cycle the tank at first.

I'd also like to run a hardness/softness test this week, so I can know more about the specific attributes of the water around here. The water itself came directly from the tap, as we have really clean, (relatively) pure water in Colorado, so I took a gamble there; we'll see if it pays off.



That's all I got for now (which is quite a bit). Thanks for any and all feedback and/or insight you experienced aquarium pros might have.

Cheers!
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-05-2015, 03:16 PM
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That looks like a great start! An aquarium is a great stuck-indoors hobby to pick up. It was minus 11 degrees Fahrenheit up here in the Twin Cities yesterday and I didn't leave my house once, not even to pick the newspaper off of the stoop! Glad to have my two aquariums to distract me all day.

My first rule of aquarium keeping is: Do what makes you happy regardless of what other people say as long as you aren't harming your fish. So, take this thought with a grain of salt: The white rocks are a bit distracting to the eye. The gray ones are a good fit.

Good luck, and have fun!
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-05-2015, 04:07 PM
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Very ambitious for a first time! Great job with that Moss tree. Don't worry about the moss it comes alive quickly once it gets some nutrients and light. My willow moss looked like it was dying at first and now 3 months later I don't know what to do with all the trimmings lol. I only use liquid fertilizers (Seachem) i was way to scared to try co2 my first time.

I just started my 5g CPD tank, they are wonderful fish. I love watching them do their little dance with each other. May I suggest you get your plants to fill in a bit or add more as the CPD are rather skittish without hiding places. I waited about 1-2 weeks before my CPDS went in. (Although I did seed it with seasoned media from my other tanks)


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-05-2015, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NotCousteau View Post
That looks like a great start! An aquarium is a great stuck-indoors hobby to pick up. It was minus 11 degrees Fahrenheit up here in the Twin Cities yesterday and I didn't leave my house once, not even to pick the newspaper off of the stoop! Glad to have my two aquariums to distract me all day.

My first rule of aquarium keeping is: Do what makes you happy regardless of what other people say as long as you aren't harming your fish. So, take this thought with a grain of salt: The white rocks are a bit distracting to the eye. The gray ones are a good fit.

Good luck, and have fun!
Much appreciated, and I agree RE: the white stones. The foreground one is purely functional for now, helping deflect the current off the sand so I can avoid the sand bowl you see in one of the early pictures. The other 2 grey stones are salt and pepper rock and work nicely with the black substrate, so I'll definitely be picking up some more of them. I had hoped the white quartz would work, but that'll have to be for another tank!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoidborg View Post
Very ambitious for a first time! Great job with that Moss tree. Don't worry about the moss it comes alive quickly once it gets some nutrients and light. My willow moss looked like it was dying at first and now 3 months later I don't know what to do with all the trimmings lol. I only use liquid fertilizers (Seachem) i was way to scared to try co2 my first time.

I just started my 5g CPD tank, they are wonderful fish. I love watching them do their little dance with each other. May I suggest you get your plants to fill in a bit or add more as the CPD are rather skittish without hiding places. I waited about 1-2 weeks before my CPDS went in. (Although I did seed it with seasoned media from my other tanks)
Great tips on the moss and CPD strategy, will definitely pick up some Seachem and try to bring that tree back to vibrancy. I have another flat slate rock I'd been thinking about covering in moss and placing behind the tree to create some more cover, but given your recommendation RE: CPDs and hiding, that's now a priority. I'll probably go ahead and add some more plants as well, because, heck, this is fun as hell!!!

Thanks for the feedback :-)
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-05-2015, 05:15 PM
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CPDs are a great fish for a small tank like that. I have a school in my edge 12g. One cautionary note of them is that they are are very shy and skittish and love hiding places. If there are not enough hiding spots and cover to swim around, they will just hide all day until they feel safe enough to come out.
The first 6 I got were wild caught and I barely saw them for 3 months (even with a tonne of plants). I did a rescape and let it grow in, then got another 6, but this time were captive breed. The captive breed and raised fish were super friendly and are out all the time and have taught the wild ones to not be so scared. It has been 8 months now since I first got the wild caught CPDs and while they are less skittish, they still are terrified whenever someone walks past the tank, and you have to wait for a few minutes, very still, before they will come out and do their little dance and chase each other around.

Unfortunately, most CPDs are wild caught, but if you can find some captive ones, you will very happy indeed.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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Day 4/5 Update

Finally got some lighting upgrades in place, 2 x 3.5W Mr. Aqua LEDs which really brighten things up. I'm in the process of rearranging a couple of things to accommodate the lighting change, and adding a valisneria and wood for additional moss.

Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure I've got some BBA issues now (images 2-4), so I'm definitely looking for some tips on how to cut that off before it becomes a bigger issue.

Image 4, the substance in question is in the middle of the pic, on the wood (if that's helpful).

Help?!?
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 04:43 PM
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Yeah, I might also add that the larger rock in the back is a bit distracting. I don't mind the smaller ones, but the back one really sticks out. I would say maybe move it over towards/behind the tree, try and make it smaller perhaps by rotating it, or replace it with some more plants.

Also I think if you can raise those two new LED bars by about an inch, that should help the light spread a little better so you get rid of the "spotlight" effect, unless that's what you'd like. What CO2 kit did you get? And you say tap water, which I think is fine (having grown up in CO, the water there is typically pretty good), but you are treating for chlorine, right? The plants may be able to tolerate it, but the fish will be unhappy.

The CO2 will lower your pH whenever you get that set up, so I wouldn't fuss about it until you get that set up.

It's a little hard to tell with the moss if that's just from die-off or if that's from algae, and honestly the stuff on the DHG could also just be a bit of moss, haha. Algae is an unfortunately normal occurrence in a new tank. You can expect several types while the ecosystem establishes itself. A large plant mass can really help stay this process, so I'd highly recommend some fast growing plants (even if you don't keep them all in the end) to grow rather than letting the algae grow. And the dark patches on the wood look like they might just be natural to wood, do they scrape off?

Patience is key to a new aquarium, it takes time for the plants to grow in and the bacterial colonies to establish and cycle the tank. Seems like you're already doing your homework, so that's good. Might want to look into dosing ferts too, I think someone mentioned that... With CO2, you won't notice as much growth as you would if dosing ferts, Seachem's line is good for starters, but DIY is also not difficult (despite what people say).

Best of luck and keep up the good work!

Old tanks, all torn down:
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Hope to get a new tank (or two) up soon...
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 05:20 PM
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It's kind of hard to tell from the pictures whether the dark spots on the rock, plants and driftwood is black beard algae or sand or natural coloring. But you've seen the tank and decorations before and after, and if you think there's black beard algae, then there probably is.

Like ChemGuyEthan said, placing more plants in there would help combat the algae problem. I'm no expert on lighting because I like my tanks low-maintenance, but that looks like a lot of lighting for a very small tank that's not planted heavily. It's a recipe for algae problems.

I'd suggest reducing the lighting, either by removing one of the lights or dramatically cutting the hours that they're on. My four-foot tank with val, java moss, anacharis, dwarf lettuce and hygrophila gets by with natural sunlight and LED lighting for the 3-4 hours I'm home in the evenings after work.

Good luck!
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-08-2015, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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Evening all, just wanted to share a quick thanks for all the helpful feedback to date; this is just an awesome hobby and an even better culture of community surrounding it and I truly appreciate the insight and expertise as I get started.

I've added some new components (including a CO2 setup) and done a pretty major reworking of the tank, so I'll be adding some updated photos real soon.

Thanks all!
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-18-2015, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Morning all,

I've attached some pics of the tank.

I mentioned in another FE6G owner's post, I've come to absolutely despise the tank for its small opening, which makes aquascaping a sisyphean task at best, and a comprehensive waste of time at worst.

That said, I've resigned myself to the fact this will not be the tank of my dreams, and I've continued to add plants with no real rhyme or reason, with a view toward learning as much as possible. I know, it was foolish to believe my first ever aquarium would be perfect, but that's how my brain works. "The Perfect Aquarium" may or may not also be how I sold my wife on this whole idea, but that's another story entirely ;-)

Anywho...

After almost 3 weeks w/o any livestock, I noticed an algae outbreak (brown bumpy style) yesterday and got real anxious. So I went to pick up some shrimp to do some cleaning, and ended up with a small school of neon tetra in the bag as well (funny how that happens!).

So, what's in my setup now:

6 ghost shrimp
7 neon tetra
lots of plants (the DHG is probably a goner, ready to pull it)
25W heater (Cobalt neo-therm)
Fluval's ridiculous "nano" CO2 system (the diffuser's size would be laughable if it weren't so disruptively awful)
Mr. Aqua LED lamps
3' IP68 color-changing LED strip inside the opening (there for ambience, but turned off in most pics)
The hero my aquarium deserves, protecting from the outside.

My moss tree is very slow going, but has definitely turned a corner and I'm really excited to see it finish filling in with vibrant green. Been dosing with Flourish Excel, and periodically running the 55 gallon barrel of CO2, so the plants are growing okay now.

Fish and shrimp have been in there for about 18 hours now, and really look to be doing well. I'd been testing the water regularly before adding them, and I'm feeling good about how my patient approach to this tank might be paying off with some healthy animals.

That's all for now, going to go stare at my tank for a few hours before football starts. I have some questions about a few other things so I'll circle back and see if I anyone can help me find some answers.

Thanks for the encouragement and help getting to this point, really appreciate it!
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Last edited by hooliganz; 01-19-2015 at 02:47 AM. Reason: typo
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-18-2015, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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Also, quick note, this isn't the permanent home for the neon tetras; will be starting a 20 gallon long very soon and they'll be living there long term.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-18-2015, 04:20 PM
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Tank is looking good. The opening for the edge is very challenging to work with and is a constant cause of frustration for me.... I have seen a few tanks now where folks have removed the top glass and turned them into a rimless tank. It looks very sleek.


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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-18-2015, 11:48 PM
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Love it! I was thinking of that same sand over my eco-complete and flora max. People said it would sink in. Where'd you get it?
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-19-2015, 02:38 AM Thread Starter
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Love it! I was thinking of that same sand over my eco-complete and flora max. People said it would sink in. Where'd you get it?
Those people are both wrong and correct at the same time; when disturbed with a planting tool or hardscape, it definitely sinks in some, but depending on the thickness of the sand layer, it's not big deal.

In my case, with such limited vertical height, I wish I had considered this and used considerably less Eco-Complete in the front 1/3 of the tank so I could've created a sand layer of considerable thickness and not stressed about moving hardscape items around when necessary. In a pinch, I drop a spoonful near where I need to replace some sand and shovel it into place with a chiller tool, or fan it into place by creating a mini current with the tool, and that's served me well.

I have yet to discover what this means for clearing the tank of substrate material down the line, but my sense is that will be a nightmare because of the decision.

All that being said, for me, it's all about aesthetics, and this sand really makes the colors of everything in the tank pop, and it's reflective/shimmering properties are top notch.

I got it on Amazon for roughly $14.00 USD, and still have about 1/3 of a bag left. I'll definitely be using it again on my next tank (probably with a different base substrate), because it is visually stunning.

Sorry for the short novel, it's just how I roll :-)
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-19-2015, 03:30 AM
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I read through and I I wanted to say that you are doing a good job with the tank. I only have one tank and like you this was my first one. but I started on the larger side and I couldn't imagine how you do it in such a small tank.

I like what you have done with the moss tree, they key to moss growing in think and nice is to constantly trim and force it to grow dense. letting it grow out wild will make it look messy.

I know you mention aesthetics so I wanted to comment on your scape and how you could improve on it. For starters the big rock in the middle towards the back just doesn't look right, its just too big.

With the tree in mid you are going to want to focus on trying to make things look more to scale.

The ludwigia stems are not right for the scape, same goes for the vals and what i believe is the larger crypt plant in the right back corner. The tree should really be your biggest item in the tank.

Focus on using smaller stone and smaller plants. Smaller crypts would be great.

any small foreground plant would fit the scape and since you running co2 and higher lighting you should be fine to grow it.

Since the tank is still new I would suggest siphoning out some of the substrate into a bucket and give it a quick rinse before reusing. Remove some from the front like you would like. You don't have much plants up there so it would be easy enough to do.

Reducing the amount of substrate in the front will also help you achieve the correct scale.

Its you tank and I am only trying to offer some tips to help but if you are happy with it then ignore my post and carry on. your opinion is all that matters

Keep up the good work, welcome to the hobby.

75 Gallon Low Tech w/ Green Terror Pair
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