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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm gonna start my journal to track the progress of my tanks.

Story:

My wife bought a betta last summer, 1 gallon tank, plastic decoration, etc. I didn't know anything about fish keeping, but I soon learned that what she had purchased was insufficient. BOOM. I'm hooked. Got a 15 gallon tank with a bunch of plastic plants and a rock for a decoration. That one is currently in my kitchen.

I bought a 6g edge with the hopes of growing a nice HC carpet, but the light is just poor plus I had purchased a fluval CO2 mini kit and it just didn't work.

Fast forward to some proper planning this time. I am tearing down the 15 gallon and the edge and setting up a 10 gallon and a 20L to replace the two. I'm gonna sell the 15 gallon, but I'm gonna convert the edge to a saltwater tank to put in the kitchen.

The 10 gallon has been planned a lot more than the 20L at this time minus a few things

10 gallon Aqueon tank
Finnex Fugeray 20"
Aqueon 50W pro heater
Seiryu stones
Flora-max, flourite mix with soil gro tabs from hydrophyte (sp?) capped with black sand
Fluval AC30 (I have two AC30's on my 15g. I'm gonna take one unit and put it on the 10g, and then set up the AC70 [for the 20L] on the 15 to get all the bacteria going before I set up the 20L)
Bettatail CO2 regulator with 20# tank (dual tank setup to supply both the 10g and 20L)

Plans for fauna/inverts:
Schooling fish, probably a tetra of some sort or potentially Harlequin Rasbora's.
RCS's (currently in my edge, and I'll add them once the tank is cycled completely).
Oto's

Plans for plants:
HC on the right and up the "mountain"
Anubius nana on the "mountain"

Onto the pics of where I'm at thus far:

Frosted spray paint:


Final resting place:


First layout:


Didn't like that set up. It's on my desk to the left of my computer, so from where I sit I'm looking to the left at it and I didn't want 4-5 inches of substrate blocking my view, so I changed it to slope from the front right corner (low) to the back left corner (high) to draw my attention through the tank and not just stop in front.



Wasn't thrilled with that layout either, so I changed it to this:


Doesn't look great because of the substrate and rock with little contrast, but I liked the placement of the rocks. I then added the black sand and holy cow what a difference (picture doesn't show it's true potential, but it looks GREAT)




I had ordered two co2 diffusers from e bay, but e bay "overstocked" the person and they didn't have any left so I ordered them (along with the drop checkers from nilocg). I'm gonna wait for those to come in and then I'm going to order the plants. That's where I stand now. I hope it turns out well.

Thanks for looking.
-Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Plans for the 20L thus far are:

Fluval AC70 (I like filtration :p)
Finnex Fugeray 30"
Bettatail SS CO2 regulator as mentioned above
Substrate: undecided
Scape: undecided

Fauna:
GBR's
Bristlenose pleco
Peppered cory's
Dwarf gourami
Male platy's (although I'm going to use two male sunburst platy's to cycle the 10g, and if they die so be it, I'm not too fond of them, the Mickey Mouse platy's are where it's at)
Oto's

Inverts:
Amano shrimp
Snails

Plants:
Undecided
 

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Hello fellow Coloradoan!

That second scape is looking good. I'd suggest a carpet plant for that, it looks kinda like an iwagami.
 

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Wow, that black sand really did set it off. There's something about a finer grain of substrate that makes a tank look bigger. HC is gonna look great in there.
 

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Nice start! I really like that frosted spray paint look. Was the 15 gal a regular rectangle one? I always wanted one because of the added depth compared to a 10g to make a cool scape.

When I started my 10g, I tried to make a slope with aqua soil. It leveled out after a month. I'm not sure how well the flora max will hold but try making the slope a bit more dramatic.

Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hello fellow Coloradoan!

That second scape is looking good. I'd suggest a carpet plant for that, it looks kinda like an iwagami.
Hey there Coloradoan :)

I am planning on HC as the carpet.

I changed my mind and went with the anubias nana petite's. They're not gonna grow as high as the regular nana's and hopefully the tops of the rocks will peak out simulating a "tree line."

I also ordered some stargrass for the back right corner in hopes of covering up the heater. We'll see how that goes.

Wow, that black sand really did set it off. There's something about a finer grain of substrate that makes a tank look bigger. HC is gonna look great in there.
I know right. I'm glad I liked the rock arrangement enough to keep it and see how it ended up with the sand. I hope that my HC grows just like yours did (Only difference is that I'm gonna be using pressurized CO2 from the get go)

Nice start! I really like that frosted spray paint look. Was the 15 gal a regular rectangle one? I always wanted one because of the added depth compared to a 10g to make a cool scape.

When I started my 10g, I tried to make a slope with aqua soil. It leveled out after a month. I'm not sure how well the flora max will hold but try making the slope a bit more dramatic.

Good Luck!
Thanks. Yeah, I'm tired of looking at the wall behind the aquarium's :icon_roll The frosting was actually pretty simply, as long as the temperature is above 50 it goes on really well.

The 15g is a rectangle. It's just an awkward size IMO and it limited me in my fish selections (hence the 20L also). But when I got it I did fake plants which I cannot stand anymore


I'm expecting the substrate to settle a little bit because of the gro soil tabs that are in there. As they dissolve, they'll create some depressions, but hopefully it'll add a "natural" look, at least that's what I'm hoping for :D

I agree, I love that frosted look! It's almost like ice, or the feeling of walking into the lfs when the water condensation covers the windows...
Yeah, I can't wait to fill it with water and see how it looks
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Not too much to report. Just minor details, but everyone loves pictures, right?

Got some plants in the mail today

7 anubias nana 'petites' and 5 stems of stargrass



Attached the nana's to small pieces of seiryu stone



And I put them in my edge temporarily until I can plant the 10g, the HC won't be here until next Friday




The stargrass I would never be able to plant in the edge without completely ruining it, so I put it in a small container with some substrate just to keep it alive (I used water from another established aquarium) and put it on the window sill so that it can get some sun and warmth.



In other news, this is my dual stage, dual tank regulator made by bettatail. Fabulous piece of equipment. I let the locktite cure for 2 weeks or so (I didn't need it right away anyway).



Since the tanks are going to flank my desk which is in the unfinished basement I anchored the CO2 tank to a stud just in case it gets bumped into.



That's it for now. Hopefully I'll have halfway decent pictures on Friday :)
 

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Not too much to report. Just minor details, but everyone loves pictures, right?


In other news, this is my dual stage, dual tank regulator made by bettatail. Fabulous piece of equipment. I let the locktite cure for 2 weeks or so (I didn't need it right away anyway).



Since the tanks are going to flank my desk which is in the unfinished basement I anchored the CO2 tank to a stud just in case it gets bumped into.



That's it for now. Hopefully I'll have halfway decent pictures on Friday :)
OMG!! I remember that sales thread, and I remember the price. I hate looking at Bettatail's threads... It's like driving by a Porsche dealership. I can only look. lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
OMG!! I remember that sales thread, and I remember the price. I hate looking at Bettatail's threads... It's like driving by a Porsche dealership. I can only look. lol
I won at the casino the night before I bought it to soften the blow :hihi:

But it is worth it since I wanted to do things right the first time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Got my HC in the mail today, and it looks great! I ordered 3 mats, but only needed 2 1/2 since one was "a lot" bigger than 3x5.





Planted one mat and I used tryank's "paperclip" method because I'm impatient :). I definitely already have a nice amount in there and hopefully it will not take long for a full carpet.



Made my "Mount Anubias"



All planted, dripping the water in



Looks like a great riparium :D



More to come later, I've been neglecting the children for a couple of hours
...

Once the water level gets above the plants I plan on skimming out the black sand substrate that is floating at the top
 

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Looking good! I'm excited to see somebody else try the "paperclip method!" My paperclips are still in the tank, under all that HC. I happened to pull one out when I tore up a chunk of HC for a friend. It was all rusty or something and had sand stuck to it, but it did it's job!
 

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Could you elaborate or post link on this famous paper clip method. Please and thank you lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Looking good! I'm excited to see somebody else try the "paperclip method!" My paperclips are still in the tank, under all that HC. I happened to pull one out when I tore up a chunk of HC for a friend. It was all rusty or something and had sand stuck to it, but it did it's job!
And it's doing a good job right now :)

I had very few that lifted a little bit when I filled the tank, and none that truly floated away which made me happy. But I also haven't added the filter yet. I just didn't have enough time. I wanted to fill the water up and get the temperature up. I'll probably add the filter tonight, but when I get home from work today I'll be shoveling a ton of snow

Could you elaborate or post link on this famous paper clip method. Please and thank you lol
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showpost.php?p=2001510&postcount=5

The paper clips that I used were a little bit bigger and cut in a different spot
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
nice work so far :D
Thanks :)



Tested the water for the first time today. This is day 4

pH: 7.6 (my tap water just produces high pH for some reason)
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrites: 0.25 ppm
Nitrates: ~20ppm

The benefits of using a filter from an already established tank :D

Gonna do a partial water change and then add some fish. Not sure if I'm going to add some rasboras or the platy's until I get the CO2 dialed in (Still haven't hooked up the drop checker to see where I'm at). I'm leaning towards adding the platy's since I'm not too fond of them and whatever happens, happens.

I wanted to keep the tank open at the top, but the evaporation is just too great down here in the basement, so I had to get a versa top hood. The hinge is almost right under the light :thumbsdow, so I'll probably look into getting a custom piece of glass for the top that sits extremely precise around the equipment and hinge in the front 1/4 instead of near the middle (also try and find a clear hinge).

I was having a circulation issue with the filter flowing on low (the water wasn't moving too much on the opposite end of the tank from the filter). I need to add a few more rocks to my "mountain" to prevent the sand from being blown away from the outlet on the filter. I'll place the rocks where the current is strongest to prevent erosion.

Everything is growing well. I might have to trim the HC to prevent it from lifting up. But thus far the paperclip method is working well :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Curious to know how that HC filled in... is the tank still going?
2 years later ... No the tank was no longer. Shortly after I got the tank going I got into Nurse Anesthetist school in Florida. Broke everything down and moved to Florida. I set up my edge as a reef tank and had that one for 3 years while I lived in my condo, but it was starting to get neglected and I just let it go too far.

I just bought a 10 gallon tank and I'm working to get it set up. Going through all my spare parts that I've carried with me throughout the years. I still have the finnex light, aquaclear 30, all the stones, heater and CO2 setup. I'll be using those for now. Need to get try and locally source some substrate (one problem with living in Florida is that most of the LFSs are saltwater only).

Hope to get one going again soon ...
 

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2 years later ... No the tank was no longer. Shortly after I got the tank going I got into Nurse Anesthetist school in Florida. Broke everything down and moved to Florida. I set up my edge as a reef tank and had that one for 3 years while I lived in my condo, but it was starting to get neglected and I just let it go too far.

I just bought a 10 gallon tank and I'm working to get it set up. Going through all my spare parts that I've carried with me throughout the years. I still have the finnex light, aquaclear 30, all the stones, heater and CO2 setup. I'll be using those for now. Need to get try and locally source some substrate (one problem with living in Florida is that most of the LFSs are saltwater only).

Hope to get one going again soon ...
Most are saltwater especially in your area, but there are alot of excellent aquarium stores in Fl if you look. As far as substrate my favorite has always been the black sand from Petco. Like $12 for a 20lb bag and it only takes a couple minutes to rinse and it's ready to go unlike the BDBS many use. Of course it's a little more expensive, but on a small tank it's negligible.
You are also within driving distance of many of the largest fish farms in the country and many will allow scheduled visits to select fish. Florida is a good place to be an aquarium enthusiast.
 
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