ADA 30w Iwagumi build (first try) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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ADA 30w Iwagumi build (first try)

I was originally going to go with the innovative marine 10, but decided to go a bit smaller and picked up an ADA 30w along with some other stuff.


The ato is for my reef tank.

The plan is to grab an ada aquasky knockoff off ebay and once I am ready with the scape start growing the dwarf hairgrass carpet emersed, then flooding and then trying my hand in diy co2. Is there any other carpeting plant that would be a little more forgiving than the hairgrass? The stocking plan is just cherry shrimp for now.
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 05:24 PM
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Hey

Im looking foward to see your tank in progress! Dwarf hair grass is a bit hard to grow, require a good amount of light/co2. If you want carpeting plants, Marsilea crenata, Marsilea hirsuta are really easy to grow and look beautiful. For the light you should check out the Chihiros A - sÚries.

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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 05:50 PM
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Hi there! Honestly if you are going to go into carpeting plants. Dont waste your time with DIY. DIY has its place with low tech aquariums, supplementing CO2 for anubias and the like, however with carpeting plants, consistency is key and it is hard to get that with DIY setups. I have nearly gassed my inhabitants twice and decided to go with pressurized co2 and never looked back. What I am trying to say is weigh the costs and benefits since you already have such a nice tank!


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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Hi there! Honestly if you are going to go into carpeting plants. Dont waste your time with DIY. DIY has its place with low tech aquariums, supplementing CO2 for anubias and the like, however with carpeting plants, consistency is key and it is hard to get that with DIY setups. I have nearly gassed my inhabitants twice and decided to go with pressurized co2 and never looked back. What I am trying to say is weigh the costs and benefits since you already have such a nice tank!
I see. What would be a decent co2 setup? I don't know anything about the pressurized systems.
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 06:12 PM
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Why not just give a try with Seachem - Flourish Excel? I am having great results with about 1ml dosing a day.

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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 06:46 PM
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I see. What would be a decent co2 setup? I don't know anything about the pressurized systems.
Start here! If you have any questions after, I am an open book.

Pressurized CO2 FAQ


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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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Awesome I will read through that. One quick question though, on a tank this small do I need to use more than one substrate or will the ada amazonia powder work?
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 12:46 AM
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The powder should do pretty great as the only substrate. Not much else is actually needed, IMO.

I got super stoked when I seen the ato sitting on top. I thought man, this guy means business! I'm setting up a reef also so that's understandable

JuanSan pretty much nailed DIY co2. It's far to inconsistent for high tech, IME especially for such a nice tank and substrate choice. I may be wrong but I thought shrimp didn't do well with Co2 injection? I don't know anything about shrimp so...

I've heard a lot of good things about Monte Carlo as a no/low co2 carpet plant. Looks like larger hc if I recall correctly. Although, with dhg, if your emersed carpet is dense enough before flooding it would probably sustain itself for a decent time especially since you're using aquasoil. Dhg without co2 grows super slow, IME, regardless of lights and ferts. It doesn't really die or melt it just kind of sits their as if in suspended animation. I now have it in my high tech 26 bowfront and I'm trimming about 3 inches weekly, in regular ADA aquasoil, 4bps co2 injection, 2 Finnex 24" 24/7 on max for 6hrs, ei dosing.

I've also heard of people "dosing" plain ol' carbonated water in smaller systems like this introduced as new water during a water change or as daily top offs but that goes more along the line of the DIY Co2 meaning it usually only works well in lower tech supplemental situations (anubias, java fern, other low co2 demanding species). Excel should work just fine for most planted tanks.

If you end up towards a lower tech tank, I think a buce carpet would look real nice coupled with some mossy driftwood and needle-leaf java fern (or other grassy bush-like plants) in the background. Maybe add some stones for depth and definition. Actually, that description wouldn't necessarily be limited to low tech.

What other plants are you planning on adding, if any? Great start with the sweet equipment!
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 02:19 AM Thread Starter
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The powder should do pretty great as the only substrate. Not much else is actually needed, IMO.

I got super stoked when I seen the ato sitting on top. I thought man, this guy means business! I'm setting up a reef also so that's understandable

JuanSan pretty much nailed DIY co2. It's far to inconsistent for high tech, IME especially for such a nice tank and substrate choice. I may be wrong but I thought shrimp didn't do well with Co2 injection? I don't know anything about shrimp so...

I've heard a lot of good things about Monte Carlo as a no/low co2 carpet plant. Looks like larger hc if I recall correctly. Although, with dhg, if your emersed carpet is dense enough before flooding it would probably sustain itself for a decent time especially since you're using aquasoil. Dhg without co2 grows super slow, IME, regardless of lights and ferts. It doesn't really die or melt it just kind of sits their as if in suspended animation. I now have it in my high tech 26 bowfront and I'm trimming about 3 inches weekly, in regular ADA aquasoil, 4bps co2 injection, 2 Finnex 24" 24/7 on max for 6hrs, ei dosing.

I've also heard of people "dosing" plain ol' carbonated water in smaller systems like this introduced as new water during a water change or as daily top offs but that goes more along the line of the DIY Co2 meaning it usually only works well in lower tech supplemental situations (anubias, java fern, other low co2 demanding species). Excel should work just fine for most planted tanks.

If you end up towards a lower tech tank, I think a buce carpet would look real nice coupled with some mossy driftwood and needle-leaf java fern (or other grassy bush-like plants) in the background. Maybe add some stones for depth and definition. Actually, that description wouldn't necessarily be limited to low tech.

What other plants are you planning on adding, if any? Great start with the sweet equipment!
I needed a new ato because my hydor ato has decided to not turn off while pumping. Tried to make it work, but not going to mess around with it anymore. What typw of reef are you setting up? I have 2 up right now, my im lagoon 25 and my fluval spec v. The spec will be coming down soon though.

The plan is to go high tech. I just thought I could get away with diy co2 on such a small tank, but I do get every one's point on consistent co2 delivery. I am just a bit intimidated by pressurized systems. If someone could get me a shopping list it would be a great start. Thanks for the heads up on the shrimp + co2 = death, I will have to look into that.

As far as the rest of the equipment goes, the kessil tuna sun is looking really good right now. I had a tuna blue on my spec and the shimmer was sick. The nanobox flare is also one I am considering.

Plants is really dependant on fauna. If shrimp do indeed do poorly in co2 injected tanks I will look into other inhabitants. Boraras micros look really sweet. I am not sure how they would do in an iwagumi though. I heard they like dimmer tanks.
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 02:53 PM
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ADA 30w Iwagumi build (first try)

Shrimp are fine in CO2, just make sure you don't overdo it. Dial in the CO2 to the max limit where they are active and look combfortable. You can also stock them together Boraras micros with them, they'll be fine in the Iwagumi. Shrimp have negligible bio loads. What's the volume of the tank?
To be honest DHG (there are many species mind you), is one of the easier carpeting plants. Your substrate is good (ADA Aquasoil is the best substrate IMO), and if you go for CO2, have a good light and dose decently you can grow any carpet (or plant really). Go for the plant you like the look of most.
You can dry start if you wish, maintaining adequate level of moistures is key, to make sure you don't cause BGA with too much. Also having adequate gas exchange every now and then to prevent fungus.
Note for when you want to scape this. In Iwagumis rock selection is paramount. Make sure you pick one rock that looks wayyyyy too big (okay within reason) for the scape. I always underestimate it, go big. Having a strong main stone makes the Iwagumi in small tanks.
For your CO2, you need a CO2 tank, a 1 litre one should suffice for this size (maybe larger would be better if you want to change tank size), a bubble counter, drop checker (with 4dKH water and pH solution), a solenoid regulator if you want to run it on a timer (there are manual ones, but it's not worth it) and a diffuser either inline, a reactor or a cermaic in-tank diffuser. Since you are using a canister, and seeing the size of the tank either the ceramic in-tank or the in-line would be good. Up to you on your aesthetic choice.
Hope I have answered most things, may have missed some details, got a bit lengthy and my brain is a bit worn out today.
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Last edited by Opare; 06-15-2016 at 07:10 PM.
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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 03:07 PM
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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 03:11 PM
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From my experience... Shrimp and CO2 was a bad choice. Although they don't die they just don't appreciate being gassed. Neos were fine but my caridina seemed more susceptible and sluggish. Amanos seemed to be completely fine though and were always berried (but never gave birth ofc).

Also it looks like the eheim filter you chose is going to be way too powerful for a 30W. You're going to be blowing your fish and substrate all over the place. Even if you can turn down the outflow you're better off just using a smaller filter (than putting extra stress on the motor). I recommend using a smaller canister filter or an AC20 which obviously doesn't look as good but does the job.

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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 05:30 PM
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CO2 and shrimp

IME, once again consistency is key. Shrimp are tough, resilient little bastards and you have to nuke them with CO2 to kill them. I have both Amanos and RCS in my tank atm and they are doing great! As you probably already know with smaller tanks, even small changes have massive effects on the state of the aquarium. If you take it nice and slow, they will acclimitize. Start with some ghost shrimp for practice since they are cheap and when you have all of your parameters dialed in after a few weeks/months, then progress to Amano and RCS if those are what interest you. Also, now that i looked at your equipment a little closer, I agree with a previous user, that filter is super powerful for your tank. You may want to consider dialing that down a bit or you will literally be blowing substrate, plants and fish away. The other issue is that the intake could suck in even the strongest of swimmers!
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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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I intially ordered the 2211 but they were out of stock and upgraded me to the 2213. I was actually worried that the filter would be too weak (the reefer in me). I plan on packing the canister full of media and dialing the flow down a whole lot. Once the motor breaks in I don't anticipate any issues.

Nordic, sorry to diappoint. I should have mentioned that this would be a super slow build. I still have a load of work to do with my reef. Once I can leave it be to grow in then I will go full tilt on this little guy.

Would it be excessive to run an apex jr on a tank this small? I saw the ada electronic co2 solenoid and figured an apex would be abit more reliable than any timer, and it just so happens that I have a spare apex jr...
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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 06:37 PM
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You're going to switch out the existing media with some others? I thought the set comes complete with filter media and all? Anyway... Mine straight out of the box with the media was extremely powerful even with the spray bar and it was in a 17G... Picturing this filter on a 3G... It's perfect now after 5 months of use and gunking up (due for a cleaning soon). Will be interesting to see if I did something wrong or if you figure out a good way to control the flow because the only suggestion I found thus far was to reduce the outflow tab (never inflow).

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Originally Posted by Tmr8188 View Post
I intially ordered the 2211 but they were out of stock and upgraded me to the 2213. I was actually worried that the filter would be too weak (the reefer in me). I plan on packing the canister full of media and dialing the flow down a whole lot. Once the motor breaks in I don't anticipate any issues.

Nordic, sorry to diappoint. I should have mentioned that this would be a super slow build. I still have a load of work to do with my reef. Once I can leave it be to grow in then I will go full tilt on this little guy.

Would it be excessive to run an apex jr on a tank this small? I saw the ada electronic co2 solenoid and figured an apex would be abit more reliable than any timer, and it just so happens that I have a spare apex jr...
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