Ada mini m iwagumi "valley" journal - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 11:35 PM Thread Starter
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Ada mini m iwagumi "valley" journal

Hey guys,

After having a planted low tech tank for a year, new tanks syndrome has started to kick in.
I love iwagumi scapes and wanted to try one myself with a carpet of HC. So, it seems like its time to try high tech. Being a college student space and money is scarce so I've tried to achieve the ada look without spending too much.I've bought as much as possible second hand and from China, as well as getting a bio co2 kit . i got the following stuff:

Tank: ADA mini m
Light: Chihiros A series
Filter: Classic Eheim 2211 with fake lily pipes from ebay (only 11 bucks!)
CO2: DIY bio Co2 kit from eBay (known from king of DIY(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JzvfHO31Ug
Substrate: ADA Aquasoil amazonia powder
Hardscape: Seiryu stones
Heater: NONE (figured i don't need one since ill stock with RCS)
Flora: Foreground: HC, Background: Eleocharis accularis sp "mini" and pearlweed
Fauna: Red cherry shrimp


For fertilization ill use EI dosing and probably 1BPS of bio CO2 (if i go higher i probably have to change the acid and soda very often). I might also add Excel (will this be needed?).



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Any help is greatly appreciated.
Ill be sure tokeep you guys updated on the tank!

Last edited by Stijn Grundeman; 06-01-2017 at 11:03 AM. Reason: grammar
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 07:39 AM
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DHG around rocks and on the background is a good idea. Mixing carpet plants gives a more natural effect. Personally I would put some more flat.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 07:54 AM
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Really liking your setup. I also considered placing rocks like you have.. the only problem i ran into was shadows. hc-"cuba" needs plenty of light to grow, so I'm not sure how the shadowing will affect its growth. I did not risk it and placed my stones in another fashion. Looks great though! Those knock off lily pipes work great. I have some off amazon and i really like them!
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-26-2017, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input guys. i added some small flat rocks in the valley hoping to provide a more natural look of a valley eroded by a river. I also placed a flat rock under the overhanging big rock on the right to eradicate the potential problem of HC not growing there. I ordered plants and they will arrive tomorrow. Pearlweed was on sale 1 euro so naturally i could not resist buying it. i might add it to background to create the impression of a dense forest in the mountains.

Im new to high tech tanks and i have some questions still which i hope you can answer.

1. lighting intensity

Someone on this forum measured the following par values for the Chihiros led:

For the 13G (30cm / 12 inches from substrate middle line of the tank), dimming levels 1-7 on the included dimmer.
Level 1 - 8.5 Par
Level 2 - 30 Par
Level 3 - 49 Par
Level 4 - 70 Par
Level 5 - 90 Par
Level 6 - 105 Par
Level 7 - 130 Par

I was wondering which dimming level i should choose for my setup (will be planted with HC and DHG sp mini)

2. Dry start

i was planning to do a dry start and mist the plants twice a day and and aerate the tank once a day by lifting the plastic wrap. Will this be sufficient to provide sufficient water and prevent mold? also, how long should i keep the lights on (10 hours a day?) and on what setting?

3. dosing

I plan on using Potassium nitrate-potassium sulphate solution for macro and a bottle of Tetra plantamin for micro's (i have learned that this stuff is not the best but its what i got from the pet store when starting my low tech. and i rather not buy more stuff if not nessicary ). The tetra plantamin does not contain magnesium btw which im afraid might cause issues. My water has a DH of 8 so does that mean that ill be fine?
I was wondering if i could get away with dosing micro's twice a week and the plantamin once a week since my plants are heavy root feeders. also ill be dosing excel once a day especially during the initial phase to deter algae. what do you guys recommend?

4Add amano's?

Will the red cherry shrimp be able to handle algae by themselves or would it be good to add 2-3 amano's to the tank (they eat more algae species right?).

Ill be sure tokeep you guys updated on the tank!

Last edited by Stijn Grundeman; 04-26-2017 at 01:07 PM. Reason: additions
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-26-2017, 10:43 AM
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I think you should swap the outflow with the inflow if you put the diffuser there. Although this may work to just something you can try.

I did a dry start to and I am having barely algae issues, but I didn't like the look of the tank during dry start.
If you want to watch your tank already, the dry start is gonna ruin the looks; due the humidity and wrap over it.


If you don't mind dhg and hc are good plants to dry start with. Also good for rooting to avoid floating plants when flooding. During a dry start plants can handle a lot of light due the unlimited supply of co2. I started with 8 hours a day and ended up with 12 hours a day. I even saw people with 18 hours a day during dry start. Spraying once a day and putting the wrap off for 15 min a day is fine. Leave a small opening to prevent mold.


Keep the soil moist but no puddles this will cause mold!

If you do the dry start make sure to blast a lot of co2 in there when you flood. The plants were used to unlimited co2 supply and do have less in the water. Don't add any livestock during this phase. Drop checker on yellow.

Not 100% sure what par dhg needs but someone on this forum told the dhg started to do "well" at 100 par. DHG needs pretty high light to spread. I think lower will work but it takes more time. Personally I would start with like 40-50 par and see how it goes.

Only use excel with a syringe if you have BBA
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Last edited by Nigel95; 04-26-2017 at 04:45 PM. Reason: edit
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-26-2017, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tip! makes sense that the co2 spreads more around the tank then. sadly i can't swap the pipes because it won't fit due to the slope. i might look into moving the co2 diffuser more to the back so its opposite the outflow pipe. regarding the dry start ill start with 12 hours then.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-26-2017, 04:49 PM
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Both RCS and amano's will eat algae. But amano's are the real work horses!! They eat it like crazy. You can keep them both
I have 3 amano's and 10+ RCS in a 6.6 gallon and they are keeping it clean. Only a little bit of diatoms on the stones but nothing big.

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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-29-2017, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Today i planted the tank and started the dry start! I bought 3 pots of HC since it was on sale and was only 2 euro per pot (im lucky to live in the Netherlands i guess since plants are very cheap here). It turned out i had enough to cover nearly the entire area that i wanted to plant! I just laid the HC as a carpet on the soil with the roots down. Since i played it as a carpet it was not possible to get the roots in the ground but i guess it will root by itself. Will this happen quickly or is it better to take it apart into small clumps and plant those? I also used pearlweed in the back, curious how it turns out

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I used pieces of plastic plant pots as barriers between the different plants. I hope this will prevent the DHG from taking over the HC.

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Since the tank is pretty much covered with plants i guess it will be a short dry start.
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Last edited by Stijn Grundeman; 04-29-2017 at 09:47 PM. Reason: additions
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-29-2017, 10:51 PM
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Looks good and it is really full already!

Make sure to plant them in the substrate (can be hard with HC).

If you don't put them in the substrate you will get floaters when flooding. Or amano shrimp pulling them up! They pulled so many hair grass of mine..

2 euros per pot? That's not 1-2 grow vitro cups or is it?

Good choice to use substrate dividers otherwise they will mix.

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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Nigel95 View Post
Looks good and it is really full already!

Make sure to plant them in the substrate (can be hard with HC).

If you don't put them in the substrate you will get floaters when flooding. Or amano shrimp pulling them up! They pulled so many hair grass of mine..

2 euros per pot? That's not 1-2 grow vitro cups or is it?

Good choice to use substrate dividers otherwise they will mix.
I read somewhere that you can just lay the carpets on the substrate and that the plants would root themselves. its hard to separate the clumps and it would be a lot of work to do this + plant each stem individually so it felt like it was worth it to try this first. Im guessing this is how the plant spreads in the wild so it makes sense that it will root in these conditions. Maybe someone with more experience can clear this up for me?
It are indeed regular pots i got. I bought from aquaplantsonline . I can really recommend it, the quality is great (Fresh plants, big portions and prices are low).
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 02:14 PM
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Yeah prices are great there but with vitro cups you avoid the risk of getting snails with your plants. Costs are x 3 so yeah a lot...

If you plant carpet plants and it is easy, you are doing it wrong :p. I didn't split everything aswell, still the monte carlo is spreading nicely. Just takes a little bit more time, but will definitely split more in future tanks.

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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Nigel95 View Post
Yeah prices are great there but with vitro cups you avoid the risk of getting snails with your plants. Costs are x 3 so yeah a lot...

If you plant carpet plants and it is easy, you are doing it wrong :p. I didn't split everything aswell, still the monte carlo is spreading nicely. Just takes a little bit more time, but will definitely split more in future tanks.
I did some searching and it made me doubt whether it will have good root growth if i don't bury it in the substrate. So, decided not to risk it i took it all out and devided it in small clumps and single stems. Even though it is a very small area it still took me a good 1.5 hours to plant everything
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-01-2017, 12:54 AM
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Great looking tank! What eBay pipes did you buy? Can you past a photo please?
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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-01-2017, 07:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stijn Grundeman View Post
I did some searching and it made me doubt whether it will have good root growth if i don't bury it in the substrate. So, decided not to risk it i took it all out and devided it in small clumps and single stems. Even though it is a very small area it still took me a good 1.5 hours to plant everything
Good choice good luck!

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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-01-2017, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Great looking tank! What eBay pipes did you buy? Can you past a photo please?
It does not allow me to link to eBay but i got them from a seller called elec-mall. So i guess you can find them easily.

Here's a pic of them on my tank:

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The quality seems fine and they look absolutely great in the tank. The only problem is that they are not completely straight. But this is not really noticeable when they are in the tank, so its not a big issue in my opinion.
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