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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-21-2018, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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Lots of questions here, need some help.

Hello all. New user here, but have been browsing the forum for a while. The time has come for me to make the plunge into nano tank, and planted tanks. Yes, I am new to both. My track record has been with large tanks and large fish, ranging from 75 to 300 gallon tanks, Africans, south/central Americans primarily. My fish tank experience is pretty solid, having around a decade in the hobby. The extend of my planted tank experience is a cheap LED on my 75G, with a few swords and java ferns. I have learned from youtube and this forum, but figured I could make a whole thread about my journey here and ask questions as I go.

The tank. The tank will be between 10 and 15 gallons. I am trying hard to find a tank in the dimensions I want, but aside from a couple of $150+ tanks, there's not much out there. I have 23" x 12" roughly to work with, and would like to maximize that space as best as possible. I may end up building a tank unless somebody here knows of something that would fit my needs.

The filter. I will be making an in tank sump filter similar to those on the Fluval spec V tanks. I love the look and simplicity of these style filters, as well as ease of maintenance. I want zero hoses filters or heaters in the display area, so this seems a great way to do it. What I dislike about Fluval's take on the design, is their use of only 2 compartments. I feel 3 is a much more efficient use of the space, as you can have a center dedicated heater compartment, which will provide more water contact time with the heater before it is pushed back to the tank. For the low cost of a few pieces of acrylic, some silicone, some black paint to hide it all and a couple hours work, I believe it to be worth my effort to design my own filtration system.

The lighting. This is one area I need lots of help. This will be a high tech aquarium, with focus on aesthetics. High light and optimum plant growth will be key here, however the location of this tank may make this tricky. The tank will be built to sit on my desk, next to my computer monitors. I spend a lot of time at my computer, and a tank in this location will be very pleasurable to look at all day. What this means, however, is that the light cannot blind me. My monitor is bright, so I don't think the light will be too much of an issue, however it cannot look like a dwarf sun out of the corner of my eyes. I have considered the possibility of window tint on the tank to reduce the light escaping from the tank, but not sure what I'll do there yet.

The substrate. Also need some help here. Looking for suggestions on good substrate, how much, do I need root tabs, how often, liquid ferts? Please help lol.

The plants. Another area I am undecided. I want a full carpet, I want possibly a piece of planted driftwood, I want some lush, calming plants. I realize I am being vague here, and I apologize for this.

C02. You know the tank, you know the general idea, now for the C02. Recommendations on bottles, regulators, diffusion styles please. Can I use a ceramic diffuser in the filtration area? Would this produce a lot of bubbles in the display? Could I build a reactor into the system somehow? Remember my filtration will be totally custom, so a reactor isn't out of the question. I want simple, but I don't want the display full of bubbles.

The stocking. The stocking will obviously be light on an aquarium this size. I've never done live-bearers. I was thinking maybe a hand full of those, couple shrimp and maybe a snail. Possibly a small schooling fish, who knows really. I really want balance with this tank, and with a heavy plant load and light stocking I believe this to be achievable.

If you have made it this far, I applaud you. I'm sorry this was a novel, but hopefully I can get some good idea of where I want to go with your help, and make this tank a reality. Thank you for any and all input.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-21-2018, 08:05 PM
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I made it through your novel and I think I understand what you're looking to do. I purchased a Spec V for the reasons you listed. However, after constantly having to keep the bio sponge and media clean, a canister filter seems very appealing to me right now. haha. With a canister filters, the use of glass lily pipes makes it less of an eyesore. I hated the HOB, visually, on my old tank but liked that it was so easy to clean, something that canisters are not known for.

Anyways, on to suggestions. Have you tried Fish Tanks Direct - Buy Freshwater and Saltwater Aquariums Online for the actual tank? They have both acrylic and glass versions. Just type in your dimensions on their site and browse that way.

For lighting. Beamswork LEDs have different versions in the 6500K spectrum if you are looking to save money here. Finnex Planted + is what I use and I like the spectrum. I threw in a $30 programmable dimmer with mine and can set brightness as well as create sunrise/sunset modes of different intensities. You can also purchase a simple PWM dimmer for under $10 if dimming is all you want. With fluorescent (T5, T8, etc.) you will have to raise the fixture to 'dim' them. Something to consider.

Substrate: Do you want inert or active? Pick your poison. Not a real issue if you plan to dose fertilizer via the water column. Many have had success growing in black diamond blasting sand. Others swear by aquasoil.

CO2 may be difficult to fully dissolve unless you use a reactor. This may prove to be a challenge in anything other than a canister filter, due to the height needed for complete dissolution. Inline diffusers may be possible depending on your design but you'll still get some tiny bubbles. I just use a cheap glass diffuser in my 5g tank. The tiny little bubbles don't bother me. I get more bubbles from plants pearling than I do from CO2 injection, so it's no big deal to me. Not much different then the O2 bubbles I use to get with my HOB in my old tank.

Stocking can be a challenge for anything other than shrimp on a tank this size. If you have soft water, then you could keep more rare species of dwarf shrimp but most people start off with Amanos or Red Cherries for the hardiness and ease of keeping, then moving to Crystals or Caridinas after they have some experience. Some stock small fish like chili rasboras. A betta can also bring some entertainment with their quirky personalities. I believe there is a list on here of stocking suggestions for Nano tanks if you want to search that.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-21-2018, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Very nice suggestions, thank you.

I believe maintenance on the built in spec style filters could be very easy. My plan is to basically set it up like an AC in that aspect, where I basically build a little basket that slides down into the filter compartment. Some filter floss at the bottom, a bad of ceramic media on top of that (I've got plenty of seasoned ceramics ready to go for this one), and a sponge/multi later sponge sitting on the top. Grab the basket, rinse it out in some aquarium water, drop it back in. Lot's of experience with canisters here, but what would be a good choice of one on a tank this small? It wouldn't be impossible to do one, as I do have space under my desk to place it, however I would likely drill the tank if I went this route. What, other than cleaning, is making you wish you had a canister? This is great information for me to consider, I'm a do it once do it right kind of guy.

I had never heard of fish tanks direct, am currently checking that out, thank you. Have you ordered from them? I'm curious as to ship times with them.

I've looked at beamswork, but I've heard the PAR isn't the best for high tech tanks. Extra money in this area is no big deal, lighting is very important to me. I will check out that Finnex.

Inert vs active, I just want the best, most lush plant growth. I assumed active soil would be the best for my carpet/root feeding plants, but again I am not experienced here.

C02. I guess some bubbles maybe wouldn't be the worst. Inline diffusers/in tank diffuser, would this saturate the water well enough to give me what I want within the small filter chamber area? As in, I want the C02 to dissolve in the water vs bubbles just rising to the top of the tank and ultimately being wasted.

I'm not too worried about stocking, realistically the biological filtration in this tank will be massive vs the tank size between the bacteria and live plants, so my limiting factor will be actual swimming room. I like my fish to be comfortable, so this is something I will not be going overboard with.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-21-2018, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UsernameRequired View Post
Hello all. New user here, but have been browsing the forum for a while. The time has come for me to make the plunge into nano tank, and planted tanks. Yes, I am new to both. My track record has been with large tanks and large fish, ranging from 75 to 300 gallon tanks, Africans, south/central Americans primarily. My fish tank experience is pretty solid, having around a decade in the hobby. The extend of my planted tank experience is a cheap LED on my 75G, with a few swords and java ferns. I have learned from youtube and this forum, but figured I could make a whole thread about my journey here and ask questions as I go.

The tank. The tank will be between 10 and 15 gallons. I am trying hard to find a tank in the dimensions I want, but aside from a couple of $150+ tanks, there's not much out there. I have 23" x 12" roughly to work with, and would like to maximize that space as best as possible. I may end up building a tank unless somebody here knows of something that would fit my needs.

The filter. I will be making an in tank sump filter similar to those on the Fluval spec V tanks. I love the look and simplicity of these style filters, as well as ease of maintenance. I want zero hoses filters or heaters in the display area, so this seems a great way to do it. What I dislike about Fluval's take on the design, is their use of only 2 compartments. I feel 3 is a much more efficient use of the space, as you can have a center dedicated heater compartment, which will provide more water contact time with the heater before it is pushed back to the tank. For the low cost of a few pieces of acrylic, some silicone, some black paint to hide it all and a couple hours work, I believe it to be worth my effort to design my own filtration system.

The lighting. This is one area I need lots of help. This will be a high tech aquarium, with focus on aesthetics. High light and optimum plant growth will be key here, however the location of this tank may make this tricky. The tank will be built to sit on my desk, next to my computer monitors. I spend a lot of time at my computer, and a tank in this location will be very pleasurable to look at all day. What this means, however, is that the light cannot blind me. My monitor is bright, so I don't think the light will be too much of an issue, however it cannot look like a dwarf sun out of the corner of my eyes. I have considered the possibility of window tint on the tank to reduce the light escaping from the tank, but not sure what I'll do there yet.

The substrate. Also need some help here. Looking for suggestions on good substrate, how much, do I need root tabs, how often, liquid ferts? Please help lol.

The plants. Another area I am undecided. I want a full carpet, I want possibly a piece of planted driftwood, I want some lush, calming plants. I realize I am being vague here, and I apologize for this.

C02. You know the tank, you know the general idea, now for the C02. Recommendations on bottles, regulators, diffusion styles please. Can I use a ceramic diffuser in the filtration area? Would this produce a lot of bubbles in the display? Could I build a reactor into the system somehow? Remember my filtration will be totally custom, so a reactor isn't out of the question. I want simple, but I don't want the display full of bubbles.

The stocking. The stocking will obviously be light on an aquarium this size. I've never done live-bearers. I was thinking maybe a hand full of those, couple shrimp and maybe a snail. Possibly a small schooling fish, who knows really. I really want balance with this tank, and with a heavy plant load and light stocking I believe this to be achievable.

If you have made it this far, I applaud you. I'm sorry this was a novel, but hopefully I can get some good idea of where I want to go with your help, and make this tank a reality. Thank you for any and all input.
i would probably suggest low to medium light for your tank since it will be in your room next to your desk. low light if its in a darker corner of your room. medium light for more growth. you can use the finnex 24/7 light that can be adjusted.

substrate, you can go with budget soil + sand/gravel cap or medium budget eco complete. or ada aquasoil. you dont need root tabs, but they will help if you have a group of needy plants in a corner. liquid fertz is a must. get a squirt bottle and give it a squirt once a week.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-21-2018, 09:40 PM
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If you are into rimless tanks, ADA 60P are very popular, for a lot of reasons (I have 2) at ~ 24x12x14 ~$130. Mr Aqua clones are cheaper.
High Clarity Low Iron Glass Aquarium Tanks Free Shipping still have a couple of choices. All 3 brands are high quality.

For what you want, my personal list:
- Aquasoil
- Current USA Satelite+ PRO 24"
- Eheim 2213 or 2215
- Hydor 200W ETH in-line heater
- in-line co2 atomizer (search Amazon)

Fish - many choices. My personal favorite would be 18-24 Ember Tetras and 6+ dwarf cories (3 species to chose from)

Have fun!
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-21-2018, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by UsernameRequired View Post
Very nice suggestions, thank you.

I believe maintenance on the built in spec style filters could be very easy. My plan is to basically set it up like an AC in that aspect, where I basically build a little basket that slides down into the filter compartment. Some filter floss at the bottom, a bad of ceramic media on top of that (I've got plenty of seasoned ceramics ready to go for this one), and a sponge/multi later sponge sitting on the top. Grab the basket, rinse it out in some aquarium water, drop it back in. Lot's of experience with canisters here, but what would be a good choice of one on a tank this small? It wouldn't be impossible to do one, as I do have space under my desk to place it, however I would likely drill the tank if I went this route. What, other than cleaning, is making you wish you had a canister? This is great information for me to consider, I'm a do it once do it right kind of guy.

No other reason. Cleaning this particular tank (spec V) is tedious for me because I try to keep the organics as low as possible with the moss I'm growing. It just doesn't scrub the water very well due to the 'sponge'. It catches most of the bigger stuff but without a polishing pad as the final stage, it's not getting the finer particles... my moss is. If it weren't for my amano shrimp I would most likely be fighting hair algae blooms. I feel as if I've reached a balance now but it wasn't easy in the early stages. Keeping organic mulm, detritus, poop. whatever out of the water column is critical when blasting over 100 PAR of lighting on your plants. Sure, I could add a polishing pad up top, but I'd have to rinse it everyday with my bioload. Not to mention bogging down the flow on such a small pump.

I had never heard of fish tanks direct, am currently checking that out, thank you. Have you ordered from them? I'm curious as to ship times with them.

Not yet but I plan to soon. Free shipping and UPS delivery on tanks 50 gallons and under seems appealing to me. I also want a rimless design without paying a small fortune. This may not be an issue for you. UNS and ADA make some beautiful tanks that are built to last. Not sure about the variety in dimesions, though.

I've looked at beamswork, but I've heard the PAR isn't the best for high tech tanks. Extra money in this area is no big deal, lighting is very important to me. I will check out that Finnex.

Depends on the particular model Beamswork, but yeah, a budget light for sure. Finnex too, just with a heavier price tag. I'm not sure but I think they use .5 watt LEDS, same as the Beamswork. @jeffkrol is the man to talk to about anything LED related.

Inert vs active, I just want the best, most lush plant growth. I assumed active soil would be the best for my carpet/root feeding plants, but again I am not experienced here.

ADA Amazonia is a good choice if you want to go active. It will need some time to 'break down' so to speak. I believe most allow 3 weeks or so for ammonia to stop being produced, which will be the same with any soil/humic source that is used.

C02. I guess some bubbles maybe wouldn't be the worst. Inline diffusers/in tank diffuser, would this saturate the water well enough to give me what I want within the small filter chamber area? As in, I want the C02 to dissolve in the water vs bubbles just rising to the top of the tank and ultimately being wasted.

This seems to be a concern for many. I think it just comes down to visual appeal really. The plants could care less. My pH can drop a point to a point in a half with the slightest touch to the needle valve. CO2 efficiency can vary, sure. Not really something I'd really worry about on a tank this size. CO2 is cheap enough in the grand scheme of things. If you attempting to inject a 150 gallon, that would be another story.

I'm not too worried about stocking, realistically the biological filtration in this tank will be massive vs the tank size between the bacteria and live plants, so my limiting factor will be actual swimming room. I like my fish to be comfortable, so this is something I will not be going overboard with.

Logical thinking there. I may have slightly overstocked myself. haha

Answers in bold
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the input. That ADA 60-P is looking pretty nice, I'll have to look into shipping prices and times but I like it. I'mm have to add on a piece of wood to my desk about .5 inches long to make sure I have a solid flat surface under the entire tank, but no big deal. Can anybody suggest a lid of some sort that would fit this tank? Push comes to shove I can just make one, but buying would be easier.

ADA Amazonia looks good to me, if there are no objections I'll add this to my list. How much to I need? And the 3 week break in period is a non issue, as I need to balance my tanks ecosystem before ordering fish anyway.

Inline or in tank diffuser seems to be winning here, so I'll plan on that one. No suggestions yet on an actual tank to get, but I guess that won't be hard to figure out.

That Current LED seems great as far as options go, and is a light I had always actually considered on my big tanks just for this reason. Anybody have a better option than this?

Hydor 200W heater, does a tank this size really require a 200W heater? Or is that just it doesn't have to work as hard?

Liquid ferts, no problem. Suggestions on which ones?

Thanks again guys, learning a lot.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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Update: The shipping on that ADA 60-P is insane. It would cost me $250 to get the tank. Can anybody link me to an alternative tank with close quality please? I just cannot justify spending the tanks price on shipping.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 04:36 AM
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Hydor and Aquatop are the only off -the-shelf in line heaters I know off. For a 75-100w in tank heater Cobalt is my current favorite brand.

Search for Mr Aqua, Innovative Marine, and AquaMaxx brands. I'm seeing a number of good tanks with shipping included. Here is one https://www.marinedepot.com/Innovati...NCNTTN-vi.html

See what is available at your local LFS, as I am seeing more people carring the ADA line.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you. Mr Aqua tanks seems to be discontinued everywhere that I can find. The tank you linked looks nice, but that black side glass is a deal breaker for me. Because of the area this tank is going, both of the long side panels needs to be visible, as well as one of the shorter sides. That's another reason I was considering building in a sump.

Does anybody have experience with this tank?

https://www.marinedepot.com/AquaMaxx...NCNTTN-vi.html

As for LFS, where I live the aquarium hobby is small so there are no LFS. Only a petsmart and petco.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 06:05 PM
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Thank you. Mr Aqua tanks seems to be discontinued everywhere that I can find. The tank you linked looks nice, but that black side glass is a deal breaker for me. Because of the area this tank is going, both of the long side panels needs to be visible, as well as one of the shorter sides. That's another reason I was considering building in a sump.

Does anybody have experience with this tank?

https://www.marinedepot.com/AquaMaxx...NCNTTN-vi.html

As for LFS, where I live the aquarium hobby is small so there are no LFS. Only a petsmart and petco.
Don't discount petsmart and petco simply because they're stores. If the manager and the employees care out the fish section then they'll have a good selection of healthy fish. I've heard good things about the aquamaxx tanks. I'm actually looking to buy the aquamaxx 12g long tank for my next build. Rather than
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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I was not discounting them, I was simply stating they are the only stores near me with fish supplies. The tank selection at their stores also is not what I'm looking for, mostly cheap or trendy aquariums. The staff at the 2 particular stores near me, as it turns out, are not knowledgeable in the fish department. That's totally fine too, as I am pretty educated in the fish area, but we were talking about tanks.

I do appreciate the input on the aquamaxx tank, I'm leaning that direction currently. Would like to pull the trigger on a tank tonight more than likely.

Looking at the marine depot site, I actually stumbled on a tank that meets my needs as well. Does anybody have experience with these?

https://www.marinedepot.com/Innovati...4-FIAQ-vi.html

I know not everybody enjoys the built in sumps, but this one has a media basket as well which would make maintenance a breeze.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-25-2018, 06:27 AM
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For a rimless tank with a build in sump, Fluval EVO series.

Something like https://www.amazon.com/Fluval-10531A...mless+aquarium
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-25-2018, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for that, the EVO was originally my favorite tank actually, but due to that lid design it seemed I wasn't able to swap to a freshwater light. I now see there are a couple of people making some aftermarket lids for it, still seems a shame to waste IMO a good looking lid.

I ended up not ordering a tank the other day, as I realized I was going to impulse buy just due to my excitement for the project. Stepped back for a couple of days and am now researching heavily again.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 05:07 AM
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Setting up a new tank and all the research and planning are my favorite parts of the hobby.

Bump: on ebay, the ADA / Mr Aqua clone of 60P by AquaMaxx at $135 free shipping, just search for rimless tanks.

Or better yet, https://www.marinedepot.com/AquaMaxx...NCNTTN-vi.html

Last edited by OVT; 02-26-2018 at 05:49 AM. Reason: Tank info
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