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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Bought a 20 gallon a couple of weeks ago in hopes to start my first planted tank. I've kept african cichlids in the past and I wanted to try something smaller especially since I live in a 630sq feet condo now.

Overall Plan
The overall plan is to make a relatively simple low-tech tank. I'm new to planted tanks so I want to make this easy on myself.

*Progress*
Tanks is quite heavily planted and nitrogen cycle is close to complete. Waiting to stock inhabitants.

Equipment
20 Gallon Long Marineland Tank (~$42)
Homemade Stand (~$100)
Finnex Planted+ (~$100)
Eheim 2213 Used ($70)
Hydor ETH 200 In-Line Heater ($50)
Glass Canopy ($32)
40lbs of Eco-Complete Black ($84)
Nutrafin A7690 Co2 System ($42) - still waiting to be delivered

PS - I can't believe I spent $84 bucks on dirt/soil (i.e. Eco complete)

Plants
- Dwarf Hair Grass
- Taiwan Moss
- Riccia
- Vallisneria americana (Tape grass)
- Lacy Java Fern
- Java Fern
- Java Moss
- Phoenix Moss
- Flame Moss
- Wendtii Crypts

Livestock
I am probably going to keep one or two BN plecos in there since they have been pretty effective in cleaning my tanks in the past. Also thinking about keeping two or three apisto agassiziis and maybe another two petricolas.

Pictures tell a thousand words so here we go:

Stand Build
Tools used: Mitre Saw, Jig Saw, Drill with Bits, Impact Drill, Clamps, Ruler, Hammer
Materials used: 2x3s, 1x1s, Moulding (for framing), OSB Panels, Screws, Nails, Paint, Puddy








 

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Coming along great. Love the stand. If I had the resources, I would have built my own, but I just had to break down and buy one. It will be great to see how your vision on folds. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Coming along great. Love the stand. If I had the resources, I would have built my own, but I just had to break down and buy one. It will be great to see how your vision on folds. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Trigger! I almost bought a stand too but also wanted to learn how to build one. It was a good way to spend a weekend. The right tools are definitely necessary.
 

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Not sure if you were planning on hanging the light or just using the legs provided with the finnex fixture, but I would advise hanging it. My attempt to do low light with the standard fugeray was a struggle because of how shallow the tank is. Other's may chime in and say that it is fine, but I grew a lot of algae with it sitting on the tank. Just some food for thought. Stand look great too! looking forward to seeing the tank progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks alot everyone for the great comments!!

I was actually thinking about the finnex fixture being too low as well. Hanging is unfortunately not an option for me. I need to figure out a neat way to raise the lights. Perhaps I'll build a canopy.

Out of curiosity, how long did you leave the lights on for which resulted in the algae outbreak? I'm hoping I can battle the algae by limiting the turn-on time for the light, and adding the 2 BN plecos. Since I'm steering into the direction of low light plants, I'm hoping that won't limit growth.

Not sure if you were planning on hanging the light or just using the legs provided with the finnex fixture, but I would advise hanging it. My attempt to do low light with the standard fugeray was a struggle because of how shallow the tank is. Other's may chime in and say that it is fine, but I grew a lot of algae with it sitting on the tank. Just some food for thought. Stand look great too! looking forward to seeing the tank progress.
 

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I have a ray2 over my 20l and had to raise the lights too. There's some people selling so raisers on the mart. You can also pick up some hagen glo mounts like how I use in my tank. Or the canopy option is a good idea. Hagen glo mounts with some wire(make sure you get the kind that doesn't rust) was an easy option for me.

If you get floating plants like duckweed or salvinia minima you can also reduce the light that way. I would suggest salvinia because its a bit easier to control vs duckweed which kind of takes over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have a ray2 over my 20l and had to raise the lights too. There's some people selling so raisers on the mart. You can also pick up some hagen glo mounts like how I use in my tank. Or the canopy option is a good idea. Hagen glo mounts with some wire(make sure you get the kind that doesn't rust) was an easy option for me.

If you get floating plants like duckweed or salvinia minima you can also reduce the light that way. I would suggest salvinia because its a bit easier to control vs duckweed which kind of takes over.
I just took a look at your journal. Amazing tanks! where did you get your raisers from? that's a pretty neat idea and it looks great too!
 

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I just took a look at your journal. Amazing tanks! where did you get your raisers from? that's a pretty neat idea and it looks great too!
I got them at my local fish store but these are the ones:

http://ca-en.hagen.com/Aquatic/Lighting/DIY-Lighting-Systems/A3915

Then I used aluminum 3/32" wire and bent it and slid it into the slots that the fixtures normal legs fit into.

The whole setup should be under 20$.

Other options are stuff like this:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=530218&highlight=finnex+acrylic

You can also use the same idea to make a hanging kit like these:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=197311

Also thanks for the compliment :) Stands looking great btw!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I got them at my local fish store but these are the ones:

http://ca-en.hagen.com/Aquatic/Lighting/DIY-Lighting-Systems/A3915

Then I used aluminum 3/32" wire and bent it and slid it into the slots that the fixtures normal legs fit into.

The whole setup should be under 20$.

Other options are stuff like this:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=530218&highlight=finnex+acrylic

You can also use the same idea to make a hanging kit like these:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=197311

Also thanks for the compliment :) Stands looking great btw!
Thanks for all the info!! Will also drop by Home Depot this weekend to see if I can find other effective ways to do this.

Nice build on the stand. Subscribed for future updates :)
thanks Burr!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So I've added the Eco-complete substrate and started planting a few things.

Dwarf Hair Grass, Taiwan Moss (on mesh), and Riccia. I didn't have anything to attach the Riccia to. Temporarily it's sticking on some extra eheim tubes that I have, haha.. We also picked up two other plants (not sure what they are called) - picked those up first without research which is probably not a good idea. They don't look like they are doing too well.. = /

As for the cycling process.. I tried to speed it up by bringing water up from my established tanks at my parents' house. I probably managed to bring up about 5 gallons. Filled up used waterbottles, haha..

Right now, there are just a couple of things I'm concerned about.

1) I'm still thinking about how to raise the light fixture. Made a trip to home depot and couldn't find any clean solutions. Might just add some wood to raise it..

2) The water circulation from my Eheim 2213 seems to be too strong. So I turned the output to face the glass. Water circulation still seems strong. Any suggestions? is it good to have more water circulation? only problem is that some of my dhg looks bent..

3) Not sure if my plants will thrive without co2 - I think I will have to wait until my tank is fully cycled.

Currently dosing excel only.

 

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The filter should be fine. Generally you want some kind of waving with the plants but not tornadoish waving. After time the filter will build up gunk inside and this lessens the flow somewhat until cleaning time.

Fluval sells little intake sponge covers for about 2$ and I use them on all my filters. Keeps a lot of the big particles out of the filter itself and makes the need for canister cleaning take a lot longer. Just have to pull off the sponge squeeze it out in some dechlorinated water and done.

I used to run a 2211 on my 20l before the 2213 and the 2211 wasn't enough.
 

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Out of curiosity, how long did you leave the lights on for which resulted in the algae outbreak? I'm hoping I can battle the algae by limiting the turn-on time for the light, and adding the 2 BN plecos. Since I'm steering into the direction of low light plants, I'm hoping that won't limit growth.
I left the lights on starting for 10 hours before realizing how much light it was. Dropped it down to 8 hours and started to get the algae under control before making the switch to the other fixture. I was in the same position where I couldn't hang the lights because of where the tank is. Next best option would be the raisers like theericafish mentioned. I remember seeing them at one point but can't remember who it was selling them.

I would stick to a single bushynose unless you are really into plecos. They just have a relatively high bioload and don't consume all that much algae. I always keep one because I like them. Consider some otocinclus and japonica shrimp.

As the tank fills in more and the filter starts to break in you will notice the flow is reduced. Are you sticking with strictly plants or have you considered some hard scape?

I can't tell for sure form you photo but that plant in the back looks like dwarf cardinal. Like I said, just a guess though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The filter should be fine. Generally you want some kind of waving with the plants but not tornadoish waving. After time the filter will build up gunk inside and this lessens the flow somewhat until cleaning time.

Fluval sells little intake sponge covers for about 2$ and I use them on all my filters. Keeps a lot of the big particles out of the filter itself and makes the need for canister cleaning take a lot longer. Just have to pull off the sponge squeeze it out in some dechlorinated water and done.

I used to run a 2211 on my 20l before the 2213 and the 2211 wasn't enough.
Thanks for the advice! I'll look into getting a sponge cover to keep the particles out of the filter. As for the flow, my DHG was all bent when I woke up this morning so I had to move them a bit closer to the front. I also rejigged some of the larger plants from the rear right and placed them behind the DHG.

fantastic stand, love your placement and how it blends with your decor. sub'd for future updates.
Thanks so much!

I left the lights on starting for 10 hours before realizing how much light it was. Dropped it down to 8 hours and started to get the algae under control before making the switch to the other fixture. I was in the same position where I couldn't hang the lights because of where the tank is. Next best option would be the raisers like theericafish mentioned. I remember seeing them at one point but can't remember who it was selling them.

I would stick to a single bushynose unless you are really into plecos. They just have a relatively high bioload and don't consume all that much algae. I always keep one because I like them. Consider some otocinclus and japonica shrimp.

As the tank fills in more and the filter starts to break in you will notice the flow is reduced. Are you sticking with strictly plants or have you considered some hard scape?

I can't tell for sure form you photo but that plant in the back looks like dwarf cardinal. Like I said, just a guess though.
My gf actually took a picture of the sign before we bought the plants in the back. One of them is a bacopa species. In either case, they don't look like they'll survive. I must have put them in way too early before my tank even cycled.

I'm planning on adding some rocks and tieing some moss on it. Planning to stay away from driftwood.

On another note, I just found out a simple CO2 system that I've decided to implement, the Nutrafin A7690 CO2. I'm planning to mix my own yeast after the pre-packaged ones are finished. I also don't know how I feel about the ladder CO2 diffuser. I might buy a glass diffuser instead.

Nutrafin A7690 CO2 Natural Plant System with CO2 Activator and Stabilizer: Amazon.ca: Pet Supplies
 
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