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11.33 gallon cube

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Well I am the proud new owner of a 11.33 gallon, High Clarity Low Iron, Glass Cube.
Dimensions: 13.78" x 13.78" x 13.78"
For the stand I found an old speaker at Good Will ($6) and the fit is nearly seamless. So I gutted the inside and turned it into a storage cabinet.
So now I'm trying to figure out the best way to create an environment for the critters I'd like to keep.
Fauna plan:
1 Dwarf Puffer
3-6 Kuhli Loaches
Possibly 1-3 otos if the algae gets crazy
I know this is pushing the limits of what I can safely stock in the tank but from what I've heard Kuhlies carry a very light bio load. Does any one have any thoughts on the minimum or maximum number I should keep in this tank?
So keeping the Kuhlies in mind, I pulled out an old under gravel filter I had and I am going to try to turn it into a hiding cave for them. I think I might run a bead of silicone along 2 sides of it, to keep it from moving over time.

I also plan on adding an acrylic lid.
Here is a crude drawing of my hard scape plan.

Key:
A)under gravel filter [UGF]
B)up take from the UGF to the HOB filter
C)pile of stones
D)drift wood
E)sponge covered with moss
F)Plastic tarp
G)entry tube for kuhlies
So I am planning on putting a sheet of plastic, probably from a freezer bag, over the top of the UGF, leaving the back corner (around the filter intake) uncovered. In that corner I'll put gravel, and have the plastic rise up the side of the pile. I'll put potting soil over the plastic, and the rest of the bottom. I think I'll go about 3/4" to 1" from the tank bottom to the top of the soil. Then I'll cap the dirt with sand. I have white silica sand, but I might go with play sand instead, to give it a more natural look. Is one better for kuhlies than the other?
Letter G in the drawing is an entry tube for the kuhlies. I might do more than 1, I haven't decided yet. Any suggestions for what size tube will let the kuhlies through, but be too small for the puffer? Also I've heard that kuhlies are masters of the tight squeeze, what's the maximum size gap that should be over a filter intake?
One side of the UGF, that is up to the glass, has gaps that can be viewed through. I'm thinking about running transparent red tape along the outside of the glass, over this area. Then, hopefully, I'll be able to shine a light in and see the kuhlies without disturbing them. I would really appreciate any input any one can contribute.

2/29\16
I got a lot of good information about the girth of kuhli loaches and pea puffers in a different thread I posted. With this information, I've decided to remove the circle pate covering one of the air tube ports in the UGF, and put a short tube in. the theory is that the puffer won't be inclined to swim down the tube, and if it does then it won't be able to navigate the small space in the UGF, and will hopefully go back up. One of my biggest fears with this design is that I'll have to rip everything up to fish the puffer out of the UGF.
After boiling the water I let it sit for 2 days, emptied the water, and boiled it again. Now the water is stained red.

Now I'm imagining a tank that looks like Moses put a plague upon it.:hihi: At least it's progress, hopefully the tannins will thin out soon.
I got the back panel done today. Since the tank sits in a sunny window I decided to take some reflective window film, and paint it black. The effect looks like a watery mirror.

I went this rout instead of just painting the back panel so I could easily change it if the mood ever strikes. A word of caution for anyone else who wants to try this; I put painters tape on the corner of the film, to lift it from the plastic cover. When I went to pull the tape off, the paint started lifting from the film, so I just left the tape there. If I ever do this again I'll try to get the film off with out tape, or at least use a lower tact tape.
The next step is to silicone the UGF into place. The plan is to tightly wrap the 2 outside edges in saran wrap, then run a bead of silicone along those edges. Hopefully once it dries I'll be able to lift the UGF out, leaving the silicone border in place.

2/10/16 Progress update:
1.The UGF is siliconed into place.
2.I found a tube that fits the filter and into the UGF. I covered the end of it with mesh.
3. I cut out the bars across the plate & the ring in 2 places to allow for some separation, then put the tube in.
4. I cut the rectangular tube down to size. It's about 3/4" taller than I wanted it, but I didn't want to cut through the slits.
5. I cut out the bars over the other plate to make the round entrance, and I cut out a rectangle for the other.
6. I put it all in place and covered it with plastic.

Once I was finished I played around with the placement of the wood.

The plant is just some Anubias barteri var. that I am moving from one tank to another, so I just shoved it in there for effect. I do plan on putting a bunch of Anubias nana in the crevices of the wood. I'm still boiling the top piece, right now the difference between the 2 is noticeable, but once the top one gets some age on it, I think they'll blend nicely. The 2 shapes almost fit together like a puzzle. With all of the seed material I added from other tanks, the ammonia has already dropped down to 0, and I just dosed it back up.

I got a lot done today.

The water's still a bit cloudy, but I wanted to get a picture before all of the crypts melt.

Substrate: Ecocompleet mixed and topped with Silica sand.

Plants that I know the names of: Anubias barteri var., Anubias nana, Echinodorus tenellus (dwarf sword), Ludwigia repens, Staurogyne repens, Java fern, Java moss, and Crypts that I think are; Cryptocoryne wendtii, Cryptocoryne beckettii but they were sold as "Crypt Plant".
I don't know what the 2 with the sparse large leaves, that are red on the underside, are.

The one at the top, with the small bright green leaves I found and has done well in my other tank.

There also is some moss that was found.

I positioned and zip tied the 2 pieces of wood together. The top piece of drift wood is still letting out tannin, but at a much slower rate. I decided it was good enough, since I am still cycling the tank, so will be doing a very large water change in the future. Also I plan on adding Purigin, once the filter is established.

I've put the moss I found by a stream at a couple of the peaks on the wood. Then I put Java moss across the diffuser grid in hopes that It will grow tight onto the wood.

So far everything looks good with the UGF.

Not too much sand made it down.
I might need to replace my heater. It was keeping the 3 gallon tub heated to 75* but in the big tank the temp is at 72*.
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Wow, that water is just like coffee! Great shopping.

A lot of elegant solutions here, like it. Speaker cabinet, perfect, HOB taking from below and pouring over the moss, perfect so long as the motor is up to the task, is it? Like how the UGF will have water passing through it so the loaches will have plenty of oxygen and shelter at the same time. I think I'd add a number of openings to the hideout though.
 
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