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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

About me and this tanks backstory:

tl;dr: Previous salty boi switches to planted low tech.




I’m new to the planted tank scene, but, not new to the aquarium hobby. Several years ago I had a nice sized empty space in my room and was looking for a way to aesthetically fill it. I love the idea of recreating nature and it’s processes and so started my interest in aquarium keeping. I’m one of those people that seems to dislike something if it’s beginner friendly and decided to start with a 20g nano reef. I had this tank for 3-4 years and due to the complexities and finances of a saltwater tank it never became anything more than a soft coral tank. Still, having HOB only equipment I’d say it did well, and, have attached some photos of that tank in its prime. I made many mistakes, a good handful you can probably visually identify in the photos, but, also learned quite a lot. I learned I like minimal maintenance and upkeep in anything I do, and, due to the same reasons as previously stated I grew tired of the saltwater aquarium concept.

20g FTS

20g Pulsing Xenia Peak

I discovered this a little to late though. I had plans to upgrade my 20g saltwater to 40g’s, invested in a nice multi LED system, and roughed out what was to be a nice wood duty utility stand with space to convert my 20g into a sump, which, I had also had several glass baffles custom made for, and all other many of quality of life tings to make that switch happen. Well, several life related things happened over the course of the next year or so and that switch never really came. Good thing too as I’m not completely sure that 60g’s of water and everything else was very well suited for a second story bedroom. At this point I had a copy of Walstad’s book and a hankering to get my hands wet again. But, here I was, over a year later, with a disinterest in what I was invested in, an empty 40g tank, an active 20g saltwater tank, several tools and items I had planned to use for previous build, and a big and heft partially built wooden stand. So I sold it, I sold it all - except for the expensive LED lighting system. I sold the untouched 40g on the used market and tore the 20g tank down and sold it, the minimal livestock, and all the HOB equipment to my LFS. This essentially covered that cost of what I had planned next and my one and only fish, a royal gramma, after two years, ended up at the same store he/she was purchased from, albeit twice the size! A family member helped me tear the partial wooden stand down and we put the wood to good use in a variety of other projects and circumstances. Not the most efficient manner of getting where I am today in the hobby, but, all set and done, I had some left over store credit, a Mr. Aqua 12g Long “Serene” with low iron glass and, a dream! :iamwithst​
I had this idea, working at your local big box hardware store at the time, that I could easily build a nice minimal, modern, and metal stand to match my own desired aesthetic. Then I realized I didn’t have to. See, I had just recently upgraded my desk space and had a tempered glass rectangular desk exactly matching my desired aesthetic. I was planning on selling it to, but, wut-do-ya-know it's the exact length of my Mr. Aqua 35in 12g long. So, I repurposed it. I checked the weight capacity, made a few cuts, drilled some holes, and touched it up with some paint. Although, I didn’t take any pictures of building the overhead rectangular bar mount for the LED’s for some reason or I just can't find them. Unfortunately, due to life related occurrences this build has been sitting ready to be started for quite a few months now.

Glass Top Desk Before

Glass Top Desk After

Glass Top Desk After 2

Glass Top Desk After 3

As you can see, it’s currently serving nicely as a hold-all-my-crapola shelf with integrated floor stand. However, I’ve been researching and adding to my desired plant list, idealizing, and trying to visualize my next steps. Part of that process for me is this build log, hopefully, this will be the first tank log I actually complete. I’d like to create my ideal Walstad tank, which, in my case means some creative design liberties. I do plan on adding an initial plant purchase log soon. :help:

All the stuff:










  • I’m only listing things I’ve purchased or that are essential for this build, I already had a lot of other aquarium tools, monitors, and other aquarium junk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Update: 6/16/2019

The California driftwood, the Landen glass hang on thermometer, and the Fox Farm organic potting soil were all delivered to my house last week. I had a few issues with the amazon though. Amazon had sent me a blatantly used one Landen thermometer. I called Amazon support, sent some pictures in, and got a brand new one from Amazon like I should've in the first place. The second issue was the California Driftwood, which, was sent to me in a box maybe 5x larger than the two 12 in. pieces I ordered and with minimal padding, This resulted in one of the otherwise beautiful driftwood pieces becoming several pieces by the time it got to my door. Concerned a replacement would be sent in the same conditions I found Koyal's website and contacted the company directly. I showed proof of my purchase and was promptly sent another piece. Despite this the broken branch still had two large usable segments which I plan on using and I still recommend Koyal's wholesale driftwood because they look amazing. The branches are currently pre-soaking and are on their 3rd wash. I still need to go to my local tractor supply and pick up the black diamond sand which I'm going to use for the substrate cap. I do have a hand picked list of desired live plants I'd like to purchase and use, which, I tried my best to consider and tailor to this build and personal preference, but, I'm struggling with picking the right online seller. If anyone has any recommendations please feel free to let me know. I live in the Texas DFW area.
 

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I can't wait to see how this comes out! If you can't find a local store for your plant needs, I am a fan of Aquarium Co-op!
 

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It's not really close, but the Aquarium Design Group in Houston is on my bucket list of places I want to visit. I know they have all the plants you could want, plus some amazing inspiration. If you're buying online, I second aquarium co-op for easy/low-tech plants.

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