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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm really trying to take my time with this tank and plan out as much as I can. The tank itself has been passed around a bit. My uncle gave it to my brother who threw out the canister filter that came with it. Now that I have it I'm planning on going low tech with it. The dimensions are 24"w x 12"d x 20"h. I'm planning an Asian-ish biotope (I'm not going to be too geographically picky on the specifics). Here's a picture of the tank with the branches I'm putting in, before they were cleaned and soaked.

The branches have been soaking for a few days now and after 3 hot water changes the water already looks pretty clear.

I've also put a reflective film on the back of the tank. The top of the tank is going to be a bit tricky. I'd like to plant the top wells and grow plants immersed through the opening, and possibly have some of the ends of the branches through this space as well.

(Please ignore the bookshelf explosion) The wells in the back are shallow, ranging from 2"-3" deep. I'm planning on cutting out spaces to put planters in. I'm going to have a pump running up to the back left corner. The water will flow to the other side then trickle down the branches. I'm also thinking I'll keep the water level a few inches below the rim, to better observe the floating and immersed plants, which I guess would make it a Riparium. For the substrate I'm planning on 1-2" inches of dirt capped with about an inch of play sand.
The fauna I'm planning on housing are 6 to 10 sparkling Sparkling Gouramis, 8-12 Dwarf rasboras, and something on the bottom. I'd really like a fish like a small goby or darter, that just scoots around on the bottom. I've mostly ruled them out because the darters are hard to come by and need live food and the gobys that do well in fresh water are known to be jumpers. I'm also thinking about Kuhli Loaches, but I've also heard of them jumping. I may just go with some type of cory, but I'm very open to other suggestions if anyone has any. Once the tank becomes established I'll probably get some otos to help with clean up.
Plants will have to be mostly be low light. The room has lots of windows that get all of the afternoon sun, and there are two 15 watt 18" florescent tubes in the front of the hood. But I'm not sure if plants in the back and bottom of the tank will get much light because of the shadows from the branches and plants between them and the light. I'm hoping to put lots of tinny plants and moss along the branches, and possibly some small to medium sized ones in spots where the branches meet. I have some great moss I found in the woods by my house, it pearls when it gets enough light. I put some of it in my 10 gallon to see how it does in warmer water and if it fairs well for a while I'm hopeful to use quite a bit of it in this tank.

(Its the moss on the left, on the right is java moss) Does anyone have any suggestions of how long I should observe it to be reasonably sure it will make it in warmer water? so far it's been in there a week and is doing great. I'm hoping to begin a dry start sometime in the next week or 2.
That's all I can think of for now, I'll update as things progress. Any suggestions, questions and/or concerns are very welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Plants are in! Today I put in the branches, planted all of the plants, caped the dirt and filled the tank. the plants are Crypts that I think are Cryptocoryne wendtii and Cryptocoryne wendtii-red, ANUBIAS BARTERI-NANA, Creeping Jenny. some Amazon Swords; normal, red and dwarf, and some Red Ludwigia.


I'm digging the way the plants look tucked into the branches, I hope they will prosper and grow up out of the tank. I did buy an aditional, submersable light. I was originally getting to suplement the plants for growing. After getting some advice I'm not sure how much help it'll be to the plants, but it helps me see everything. The tank looks pretty cool with just the back light on.
 

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Nice one mate!! You may want to add some root tabs?
 

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That back light will be usefull to the plants...but will cause a bit of GSA on theglass back there also. The Amazons get 22" tall and almost that big around. Rubins may be a good substitute. The two T8 bulbs will be enough light for the Anubias. The red and dwarf
swords likely will be a good size for the tank. I'd try Crypt Petchii(e-bay) as it only gets about 4" at most. You may be able to just cut parts off of the Wendtii but they get
fairly large around when mature. They send up new plants but right in the same cluster.
Not with runners. So it all looks like one big Crypt plant about 6" around and maybe
7" tall. Plenty of room on the bottom but the Petchii might do better on top of the wood.
You found a way to use the height well. No dead space up there in this tank.
 

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Nice tank!

I have kuhli loaches and highly recommend them. I like how unique looking they are. It really adds a different element to the tank. They do like to hide, but come out a lot as well. Mine have not attempted to jump. I think dwarf chain loaches would also be a great pick if you want to stick with an Asian bottom dweller.

As a side note, I keep legally collected or purchased native darters, and I love them as well. They quickly learn to eat pellets and flake, although I also feed mine frozen food very regularly. They'll swim up the water column to compete with other fish, and do just fine. My tank is shallow, though (33 long).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all of the kind words.
You may want to add some root tabs?
I picked up most of the plants unexpectedly when I happened upon a swap meet last week. I had to make makeshift temporary homes for them until the tank was ready, so the last week I've been scrambling to get to this point. Of course no store around me had root tabs at the time. I did check back yesterday and was able to pick them up $8 for 10 tabs! I'm going to have to shop around for better deals online in the future.
The Amazons get 22" tall and almost that big around.
I'm counting on the height, I would love for them to grow right through the top. I know may have a lot of pruning in my future to control the width. right now it's only about 6" tall. At the swap meet where I got 3/4 of all the plants, I told the the guy selling them about my tank and he said something like "I'll take good care of you. 1 large sword, 1 baby sword, 3 dwarf swords, 4 crypts and a bunch of red ludwigia. 30 dollars." I gladly accepted his offer. If I were to buy all of them retail it would have run me $50-100 very possibly more. The Id's of the plants are my best guess after looking at various pictures. Once they start to grow in more I may have some better clues.
I think dwarf chain loaches would also be a great pick if you want to stick with an Asian bottom dweller.
I had never seen dwarf loaches before, those are cool little fish! I read lots of cool info about them in this article http://www.aquariumlife.net/articles/tropical-fish/dwarf-loach/218.asp They might be hard to come by, but if I ever do I might need to snatch them up.
As a side note, I keep legally collected or purchased native darters, and I love them as well. They quickly learn to eat pellets and flake, although I also feed mine frozen food very regularly. They'll swim up the water column to compete with other fish, and do just fine. My tank is shallow, though (33 long).
I would love to have some of these fish and it's good to know they can learn to adapt their diet. If I were to get them I would probably have to order them online from a specialty native fish retailer and pay a fortune for them. I'm not in a place right now, financially or experience level, where I feel comfortable taking that risk. Hopefully down the road that will change then those little guys will be at the top of my list.
I have kuhli loaches and highly recommend them. I like how unique looking they are. It really adds a different element to the tank. They do like to hide, but come out a lot as well. Mine have not attempted to jump.
Since I can come by them cheaply and easily I might take the risk of loosing one if it jumps, they are pretty neat.
Thank you every one for the suggestions and advice.:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wrong Measurement and Filter Woes

First off apparently I was wrong about the volume of the tank. When I received the tank I was told it was 35 gallons, and never thought to question this. But now I have done the math 24"x 12"x 20"=24.9gUS. Glad I caught that one before I dramatically over stocked the thing!
Now onto the filter. I don't want to talk too much about my first attempt at building a filter for this thing. Lets just say that I greatly overestimated my plumbing abilities and ended with quite a bit of water drenching the carpet behind the tank. So now I've decided to simplify things. I nixed the planter box idea and instead just focused on getting water flowing into the other compartments in the top.
I took the lid to a hardware store and through trial and error discovered that a cap for a downspout fit the open compartment perfectly. So I drilled a hole through the caped end, fit a piece of dishwasher hose through it, then attached one end to a HOB pump and the other I capped with the small cage that also went to the HOB. I have a 1" grey PVC outlet at the side to direct the water into the lid compartments.

The rubber tubing behind it is just there to keep it away from the back of the tank, and serves no other purpose than a spacer. I'm a little nervous because the water crowns right at the top edge. Any small trickles that make it over the edge will just fall back into the tank, but more then that and I may be in for wet carpet again. I may go back to the hardware store and pick up something to try to make some sort of top to help contain water if the pump suddenly kicks up more water for some reason.
The tank has actually cycled in the past month with just the air stones going in there, and it shouldn't take long for the BB to move into the filter media I'm going to put into the lid compartments. Right now it has quite a few little critters inside with no fish in there to pick them off. Hopefully it'll be ready for fish soon.
I'm still not sure on the stocking list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Stocking

So I think I've narrowed down my ideal stocking list to:
6 x Emerald Eye Rasbora (Rasbora dorsiocellata macrophthalma) or glowlight rasbora (Trigonostigma hengeli)
4 x Sparkling Gourami (Trichopsis pumila) [1-2 male & 2-3 female]
5 x Dwarf Chain Loach (Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki)
3 x Oto (Otocinclus vittatus)
1 x Amano Shrimp (Cardina multidentata)
Aqadvisor.com puts this stocking option at 92% and gives a warning that the Sparkling Gouramis may become too aggressive towards the Rasboras, when they are breeding. I'm seeking advice on this in another thread, but if anyone has any experience with them please feel free to chime in here. The Sparkling Gouramis are the one I'm more fond of, and the Rasboras are more just to fill in the top layer of the tank. I am hoping to be able to find the Chain Loaches. I have become very interested in them since they were suggested by NotCousteau (thank you), but if I'm unable to track any of them down, for a reasonable price, then I may go with kuhli loaches. I've heard they can burrow into the sand, :icon_ques does any one know if they will they bring up the dirt from the bottom? As far as the Amano Shrimp, I know there is a good chance that it may decide to climb out the open top, but the one I have in my 10 gallon is no longer welcome in there. I think it has made a snack of one it's chary red tank mates.
 
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