Aphotic Phoe's Nano Tanks - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-04-2011, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Aphotic Phoe's Nano Tanks

My low-tech "bookshelf" aquarium has been going for over a year. It has been my first successful planted tank, and just about as low maintenance as they come...

This is what it looked like fairly early on (April of 2010)


I mostly left it alone, replanting some of the plants that hitchhiked in such as HC and what I assume to be guppy grass. Ferts were added when it seemed necessary, trimmed everything back a few times a year. Eventually I decided to add some fish, and since they were lacking in swimming room due to overgrowth I ended up giving away about 2/3 of the moss & guppy grass.

After the big trim:


I wasn't really happy with this scape however. The tank was far more visually interesting on the left side of the tank in comparison to the right. The substrate was too flat, the more interesting features of the hardscape were obscured, and there just wasn't enough variation in leaf shapes and colors.

A rescape was in order:


- Deep gravel vacc'd 2/3's of the tank since after a year and a half of minimal water changes there was a bit too much mulm. All that shrimp and snail poop adds up! Some of it was used to seed my new tank, the rest has gone to fertilize the flower beds. The bag of fine gravel originally purchased for the tank wasn't enough to make a big slope, but I did try to undo some of the "flatness". Added some RootMedic Complete capsules.

- Removed most of the moss and attachment strings from the hardscape and re-positioned the driftwood a bit. Right now it might be a little too centered. I am hopeful that it the left end piece will be obscured better once things fill-out more.

- Added some Trident Java Ferns & Crypt varieties including 'Tropica', 'Mi Oya', and 'Lutea', although I do regret planting one of the taller ones in front of the hardscape (center right). Not sure how to place the smaller Marimo balls, so they're just chillin' at the moment. Some new stems will be added in the near future (hopefully), because I miss the vertical growth of the HC, most of which was transplanted into the new tank.

Coming soon... entry for the new tank.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-04-2011, 11:57 AM
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Looks good after the clean up! I know what a job that can be Maybe move the marimo balls so they are all "hugging" the wood base to the right? And move the crypts in the middle to the left side? Ever wonder what the wood would look like lying on it side? Looks good, can't wait to see more!


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-04-2011, 03:37 PM
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I agree with moving the plants out of the middle and clearing it out. Scoot the stone towards the middle more too and see if that helps out any. Once I got the temp on my adjustable heater to where it was consistent I submerged it fully, you may want to consider that unless it is not a full submerge model.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-04-2011, 06:31 PM
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I also like the idea of clearing out the middle. It looks really good though
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-05-2011, 12:35 AM
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There is still a lot of tweaking you could do, depending on what you want out of the tank, but I think it is already a huge improvement over where you started.
I personally don't think any tank looks complete without some sort of low foreground plants, such as HC, riccia, dwarf hairgrass, or something like that. That being said, it looks like you have a very cool jungle tank in the making already.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-05-2011, 06:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you duff, demonr6, The Dude, and Aphyosemion for the suggestions!

In response to your questions:
Definitely agree that the crypts would look better clustered together towards the left. There is just something about the negative space created under the wood arrangement that doesn't look good on it's own, but maybe something else would better suited for that spot. The wood is actually two seperate pieces, but this was just the most interesting / appealing configuration that I've managed to so far. I like to watch the fish peek out and swim through the little knot hole in the top piece. XD

The heater does need to be hidden it better, but at the moment it's not plugged in (no climate control in the room), and I'm a little concerned that it will be "out-of-sight, out of mind" when cooler weather arrives.

I also very much agree that some foreground plants are needed. There is some C. parva in there, but it doesn't want to stay rooted this time (Amanos & MTS might be partially to blame there), and it grows too slowly anyway. It's a bit of a challenge finding the *right* foreground plant for a shallow, low-tech / non-CO2 tank, but I'll keep looking. ;-)

Okay, now on to the new high-tech 3G nano.

You know how they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions? Yeah this is sort of like that. Bought a kit tank on sale with intention of using some of the parts to set up a simple betta tank for a friend, while using this tank as another low-tech for my bed room. Long story short; I decided it was time to try a high-tech tank, and after spending a lot more than originally intended, and a months worth of shipping delays, I've finally gotten it started.

Replaced the kit internal filter with an AZOO palm (it was the only filter that would fit in the precut lid), the kit light with an Archaea 27 W light, and used a mix of Flourite Black Sand and Tahitian Moon Sand for substrate. From a six pack of assorted Malaysian driftwood pieces, I decided the best looking combination was these 4 arranged to (somewhat) resemble a rotted stump...


One valuable lesson learned: no matter how many pics you take, it's not always easy to get things arranged the exact same way again. XD

Found some static-cling 5% "limo-tint" at a local car shop, and used that to provide a "black" background. Due to space limitations around the tank area, I decided to go with one of those Pierce CO2 systems, despite the pricey nature of the refills, but replaced the diffuser and check-valve with ones I already had. It is, at very least, an easy system to set-up and use.

Now I just need MOAR plants: (Apologies for the less than stellar photo quality)


The HC in this tank is a bit of an experiment. Certainly have more of it to plant, it's just bit pain-staking compared to what I'm used to. XD I couldn't find any references of people planting submerged growth HC that had been allowed to get tall, so I am interested to see if it will start to grow more compact after having a chance to root and receive regular trimmings.

In addition to ordering more plants next week, also plan to order a nano sized drop checker & 4dKH solution since I don't have one that quite fits this tank. Also need to rebag some Purigen for the filter. Another lesson learned: if you're going to use panty hose as a Purigen filter bag, fill it very loosely. The first attempt wasn't loose enough, causing beads to slip through the weave when packed into the filter, and drastically reduced the filter flow.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-05-2011, 04:08 PM
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I like the driftwood arrangement. It does indeed say old stump to me.
What is that in the back? C. Spiralis? I had SOOOO much of that in my 75 gallon at one time that it was very slowly taking over the tank.
I don't know, on closer inspection, it looks like narrowleaf java fern.

Two 1 GA desktops, a 5 gallon, a 2.5 gallon, a 10 gallon, a 20 gallon, a 25 gallon, and two 75 gallon tanks, all planted.
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