Eclipse 3 -- my first tank in nearly 20 years - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-14-2010, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
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Eclipse 3 -- my first tank in nearly 20 years

Been lurking here and reading for a few months or so, admiring all the beautiful aquaria and mining nuggets of knowledge along the way. I figured it was time to contribute something myself, so here goes nothing.

First, allow me to share a little background: I was an avid aquarist up until the early 90's, but dropped out for various reasons. However, I kept up my interest as an armchair enthusiast, joining the AGA, discovering Takashi Amano's books, and reading what I could to keep up with the state of the hobby. In March I ended up with a little time on my hands and decided to set up a small planted tank, just to get my feet wet again, so to speak. It's been a deeply rewarding experience. Reading forums like this one has shown me how much things have changed since I last kept a tank (back then, Horst and Kipper's The Optimum Aquarium was the cutting edge of planted tank info and the internet didn't really exist). It's so much easier to get a wide gamut of information and opinions now, and it's great to see so many different tanks and approaches to fishkeeping! I've reclaimed something historically very dear to me, and my rekindled enthusiasm for these tiny nano jewels has me already contemplating my next tank.

Anyway, you're probably more interested in the tank itself, so here's a couple of photos and some info about my setup.





Tank:
Marineland Eclipse System 3 acrylic tank, 3 gal.
Filter: Built-in Eclipse Bio-Wheel filter (slightly modded, see below)
Lighting: Stock 6W T5, 6500K, 10 hours per day
CO2: Excel, dosed daily
Substrate: Thin layer of peat, 1.5 in. of Flourite and some sand on the right side
Ferts: Seachem Flourish, Trace, Iron, N, P, K dosed semi-daily per Seachem's recommendations, Seachem plant tabs x3
Water change: 50% weekly, treated with AmQuel+ and Seachem Equilibrium
Temp: Varies. I don't use a heater, but the ballast in the light heats up the water to 78 or so by the evening, cools off to 72-ish at night.
Flora: Anubias nana, Anubias coffeefolia, Cryptocoryine wendtii (bronze), Cryptocoryne lutea, Echinodorus tenellus var. micro, Vesicularia dubyana, plus a bit of Microsorum pteropus and Lemna minor brought in as hitchhikers, and one tiny Anubias petit given to me by a friend)
Fauna: Tracked Nerite snail x2, Crystal Red Shrimp x3, one fast-growing hitchhiker pond snail

I modded the stock filter slightly by replacing the intake grill with a Fluval Edge sponge, then ditching the thin carbon insert and replacing it with a series of fitted foam blocks with a ton more surface area. I don't use any chemicals in the filter, although I've considered adding a small bag of Purigen when I eventually increase the bio-load.

Since cycling the tank I've had reasonably good chemistry, with ammonia and nitrites at zero, minimal nitrates, pH hovering near 7, GH and KH at about 2-2.5. The low light isn't a problem for the plants I've selected with the exception of the micro-sword (it's clearly ailing and I'm planning on replacing it with marsilea). The crypts and anubias are all putting on new leaves and roots and seem happy, growing slowly but steadily. I lost a few crypt leaves in the first couple of weeks, but that has stopped. The java moss has taken off, both on the wood and on the rocks I wrapped. I had an outbreak of brown algae, but the very active nerites have taken care of that, and in fact are so diligent that they have put some minor scrapes and holes in the bronze crypts, so I've been feeding them blanched vegetables and spiro pellets a couple times a week.

I have tried keeping two different otocinclus but neither has survived more than a week (I don't think either was very healthy to begin with). I may try again later, but the main reason I wanted one is to keep the brown algae at bay and the nerites have sorted that out nicely. The CRS's have done very well (after I lost one initially--there were four but I suspect I jumped the gun on cycling). The other three seem to have settled in and have all molted at least once, one of them at least twice. And joy of joys, I have a berried female that should deliver by the first week in May (fingers crossed).

I'm thinking about upping the photoperiod a couple of hours to see if I can't get a little more growth out of the crypts, and I'd like to add some free-swimming fish to make the tank more lively. I was pondering CPD's, but I worry about how they might get along with the shrimp. Suggestions for suitable piscine tankmates would be welcome.

All in all it's a happy little aquarium that gives me a great deal of pleasure. Hoping to do more (I have a 5 gal vintage Metaframe I'd like to do next), and I'll post updated pictures when and if I get CRS babies.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-14-2010, 10:12 AM
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Thumbs up from me. You've packed a lot into such a compact space and it still looks nice and orderly. Very nice write-up as well. Also I appreciate your avatar, having grown up on public TV myself.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-14-2010, 01:08 PM
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Thats one beautiful tank! You did a great job. Just a suggestion though, and I know it may sound cruel, but kill the hitchhiker pond snail! Those thing are nothing but trouble! Chances are u have eggs or more snails in the tank so you'd do well to start killing them on sight before they reproduce (which they do EXTREMELY quickly) and cover your entire tank. This happened in one my my 10 gallons and it just looked ugly! As for fish suggestions, people on here usually say to give CPD's more room or they'll hide a lot. I'd suggest 2 or 3 Scarlet Badis if you don't mind feeding them frozen bloodworm every day. Also they may eat some of your shrimp fry but they wont touch the adults and most likely some of the fry will escape. They are also great at controlling planaria and aquarium worms. And the best thing is they are between 1/2 and 3/4 of an inch! But if you don't like the hassle of the Scarlet Badis you could also try boraras-brigittae. I'm thinking of getting some myself and many members on the forum have them in smaller tanks. Good luck with stocking!

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-14-2010, 04:21 PM
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Wonderful tank. Its only going to get better with time.

I really like pygmy corys, they are really small and they like to school. Also they dont stay on the bottom all the time, they are all over the place!! A real treat!
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-14-2010, 05:07 PM
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Very nice tank! I like those huge crypts.

As quezoxx said, Pygmy Cories are well suited for smaller tanks. Male Endler's Livebearers claim to not eat any of their babies, so they would also be somewhat safe in a shrimp tank. Otocinclus also do not eat baby shrimp and eat algae off of the walls.

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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-14-2010, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I know the crypts are oversized, but I kind of like them, too. When I was a kid a friend of mine had a 29 planted with only crypts. They were so dense that they divided the tank into two zones -- over the crypts and under them. I loved peering into the shadows under the crypts to see what fish were lurking there. I think this is my subconscious attempt to recreate that feeling. I must be having some sort of mid-life crisis.

I haven't been able to keep oto's alive in the tank yet. Funny, because I used to keep them, but they seem so much more fragile now. I use drip acclimation and the water chemistry seems fine, but I think the real problem is that I selected poor stock at the store because I was so anxious to get a non-snail algae eater in there.

The pygmy corys seem like a great suggestion. I'll see if I can source them locally.

Last edited by King Friday; 04-16-2010 at 12:26 AM. Reason: Typos!
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-15-2010, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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Oh my. I had to move Mr./Ms. Pond Snail out today after I found six egg clutches. I took out all I could find, but of course I missed at least some of them, right? Looks like I'll be up to my ears in pond snails pretty soon. *sigh*

Of course, my wife has named him/her, and now wants to set up a little bowl to house his/her progeny. Guess who gets to do that? *double sigh*
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-16-2010, 12:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King Friday View Post
Oh my. I had to move Mr./Ms. Pond Snail out today after I found six egg clutches. I took out all I could find, but of course I missed at least some of them, right? Looks like I'll be up to my ears in pond snails pretty soon. *sigh*

Of course, my wife has named him/her, and now wants to set up a little bowl to house his/her progeny. Guess who gets to do that? *double sigh*

Gotta love it. Its nice that she takes a slight interest in your hobby though.

Very nice looking tank btw. Quite the comeback after 20 or so years

10G - Low Tech Planted [ Chocolate Neos, MTS, Tracked Nerite / Anubias Nana, Windelov Java Fern, Water Wisteria, Dwarf Sag ]
29G - Non Planted Native Tank [ Creek Chub, Yellowfin Shiners, MTS / Water Wisteria ]
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-16-2010, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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Gotta love it. Its nice that she takes a slight interest in your hobby though.

Very nice looking tank btw. Quite the comeback after 20 or so years
Heheh. She loves the tank and spends a lot of time checking up on the shrimp. I used to keep a number of tanks, including a 10 gal in our bedroom where I kept a breeding pair of Kribs. She obsessed over those little guys and their babies, but she's not really interested in trying her hand at setting up and maintaining one herself. I count that as a minor win.

Thanks for the compliments on the tank, everyone. It's fun to share with people who "get" it.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-19-2010, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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Good news!

Some time on Saturday/Sunday my female CRS delivered her first babies. I noticed two babies this AM, though I saw that she was sans eggs yesterday AM (I assumed she had dropped the eggs, since it was only about 23 days since I first noticed her her carrying).

And it gets better! I found a fresh molt this AM, then looked for her ... berried again! Woohoo!

Looks like this little eco-system is working so far.

Hopefully I'll find more than the two I've spotted so far. I mixed up a little cocktail of artificial rotiferous plankton and powdered spirulina and squirted some into the moss near the babies ... sound like a good idea? Also added a bit of dried oak leaf to the tank yesterday, just for another food source.
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 02:07 AM
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Hey, that is wonderful news about your CRS babies! I have never had shrimp, but maybe I'll try them now. I have planted Eclipses - three 6 gs, and a 5. I didn't know that shrimp could do well in a small Eclipse.

I think that your plants and driftwood look very pretty, just as nice as a much larger tank. Now I feel inspired to try an Eclipse 3.

In my small Eclipses, I have had good luck with lots of plants, micro rasboras like chilis and merah and otocinclus. I have a pygmy corydora (pygmaeus) in my 36 gallon bowfront, that I might move over into a small tank.

Thank you for posting all your information about your setup.
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Morainy, I was worried about the system given some of the less enthusiastic reviews I had read here, but I plunged ahead anyway since I didn't want to spend a lot of money and I had this setup just sitting in my basement. I think my success so far has been based on selecting low-light plants, not overdosing ferts, and keeping up with significant water changes. I think as long as you keep your goals modest and don't rush things, and improve the filter a bit, the E3 is a decent little tank.

Update: counted nine baby CRS so far. All look like they're foraging happily on my crypt leaves and in the moss. Up close I can see a fine film of brown algae missed by the snails, so it looks like they have plenty to eat for now.

However, my Nerites have continued to make a meal of my bronze crypts. Am I not feeding them enough other stuff? Anybody got any ideas about this? Love the snails, but if they're gonna chow all my nice crypts I'm gonna have to find them a new home!
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 06:00 PM
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I love the tank! It's beautiful!

I'd suggest some Assassin snails to deal with your pond snails, but I learned [the hard way] they aren't discriminate about Nerites, either.

You might try some Romaine lettuce for the Nerites, mine like it. Or grow some algae logs... Otos and your shrimp should like both of those, too. Peeled cucumber is another good possibility.





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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I'm not having a pond snail epidemic (yet), but even so I'd probably avoid the assassin snails. Jury seems to be out on whether they also prey on shrimp.

I know my nerites like green beans, so probably I should drop those in more often (in the morning I find the snails rolled over on their backs, wrestling a bean to death ... they won't give it up until it's just a skin). Tried Romaine, but they didn't eat it at all. Ditto for cucumber. I guess I have picky snails!
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 09:31 PM
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That is one gorgeous tank! As mentioned above, you've managed to pack a lot into that small of a space and it is done beautifully. Glad to hear you are back at it after 20 years. How does it feel?
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