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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have not had a tank for almost 20 years. My last one was a heavily planted 75 gallon converted reef tank with sump, CO2 and 4 fluorescent tubes on timers. Hot stuff at the time. It was successful but after reading online for the past few months I am starting to think that I had beginners’ luck. The tank did last for 5 years.

Fast forward to yesterday. I now have the bug again and just received a beautiful 25 gallon Landen rimless tank with low iron glass. My plan is to try a low-tech approach this time. I received an Oase Biomaster Thermo 250 today. Still contemplating substrate and lighting. A testing kit will come soon to help me decide based upon how I find my tap water. I have not ruled out CO2 and strong lights yet but am still headed toward low light easy plants.

My current thoughts about substrate are a 1” layer of some type of aquasoil and a 1-2”+ layer of sand. For light I am really stumped due to the remarkable array of options. I would like the ability to dim and to recreate dawn and dusk.

I bought the driftwood on eBay. It is visually great but remarkably buoyant. It is also pretty soft. It is soaking in a spare bathtub under considerable weight. That could take a while!

Here are a few pictures from the Landen unboxing. The packaging was remarkable. It was a wooden crate.

Suggestions for substrate and lighting are welcome!

Best,
Paul

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Discussion Starter #5
Post more in progress! :)
Will do.

We had a change of venue for the tank today and moved it to the basement Den which is a more water disaster friendly location. Monday I go to Ikea to get a Besta cabinet. After that I can start the real build. Now that I will have a cabinet rather than a desk I may go for CO2 and stronger lighting.

I could still use a recommendation for lighting!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Nice looking tank, what are the dimensions? I was thinking to get myself 20 gallon long (and ofc shallow) as a next tank.
It is really beautiful and even holds water!

~24" x 16" x 16" (60x40x40cm)

If I knew how much the whole project would cost and also where I would end up putting the tank I would have opted for a tank that was more like 36 x 16 x 16 due to the nice proportions.

Still I am totally satisfied with the quality.

Bump: So I have changed my direction a bit. I was originally thinking of going Walstad but since I used CO2 before and had good results I have switched to stronger lighting and CO2.

Here is where I am now.

CO2Art Pro SE kit. I did not want to piece together the CO2 setup even if it might have lasted longer than I will...

Current USA 24"-36" Satellite Plus PRO LED with controller: I am not sure that I like the mounts. I really wanted pendant lights to give that halogen shimmer but my wife gets migraines. I still may look at other lighting since I have free returns from Amazon for a while.

OASE Indoor Aquatics Biomaster Thermo: Nice filter that allows the thermometer to be located outside the tank. I am big on a clean, tech-free tank look. I got glass pipes to go with it and the CO2 will be inline...for now.

Rocks and wood are lined up but I may have made a bad choice on my driftwood. It is still soaking in our basement bathtub. Could take a while. I may need to find a more vertical position if it is still buoyant or just get something else. Looked great online :)

Plants and fish TBD. Probably Tetras, Cories, Ottos and Amano shrimp. Easy care plants to start with some fast growing ones to help with the early cycle phase. A few floaters also.

Substrate: That part made me crazy. I ordered some Fluval Stratum as a bottom layer with pool sand for the top and front.

Wish me luck!

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Discussion Starter #8
I sent back the Current USA 24"-36" Satellite Plus PRO LED last week and have a Twinstar 600SA coming. More expensive but not so industrial looking and is adjustable.

Fired up the Oase filter and after burping it a few times it seems to be pretty quiet. I have some driftwood curing in the tank currently and putting out tannin so I order a packet of Purigen to help with that.

Still working on the basic hardscape. No living things for a bit...

Oh. I managed to break a lily pipe before I even pulled water through it. Doh!
 

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yes, I think switching out the lights was a good idea. the mounting hardware for the satellite made the tank look bulky. hopefully the twinstar will look better, worth the $$$
 

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Discussion Starter #11
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Still working on hardscape. My current plan is a few stem plants in the rear with Java fern, Bolbitis and Buce attached to the centerpiece. The centerpiece turns very dark brown when submersed and loses some of the nice detail. Plants should change everything.

Seems a bit busy to me right now. The front will be pool sand which should provide some contrast.

Replacement lights come on Thursday!
 

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View attachment 900177

Still working on hardscape. My current plan is a few stem plants in the rear with Java fern, Bolbitis and Buce attached to the centerpiece. The centerpiece turns very dark brown when submersed and loses some of the nice detail. Plants should change everything.

Seems a bit busy to me right now. The front will be pool sand which should provide some contrast.

Replacement lights come on Thursday!



I can imagine the contrast with sand, but have you considered a fully carpeted foreground and background? I think it would look amazing!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I can imagine the contrast with sand, but have you considered a fully carpeted foreground and background? I think it would look amazing!
Thanks for the encouragement. I always like the island look so my plan was to start with a sandy foreground. The stem plant background was to help with avoiding the possible initial algae bloom. I can always add carpeting plants later. I am sure that it would look great!
 

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Thanks for the encouragement. I always like the island look so my plan was to start with a sandy foreground. The stem plant background was to help with avoiding the possible initial algae bloom. I can always add carpeting plants later. I am sure that it would look great!

I think you just pointed out something else that I didn't consider before I get started with filling my tank. UGHH. So many things plan and try to mitigate.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yesterday I connected with another aquarist via Craigs List who coincidentally lives about a mile from me. He is breaking down a heavily planted tank and had been trying to sell it for many weeks. I asked him if he might just sell his plants and luckily he agreed.

His tank looks healthy and he had a lot of the plants that I am looking for so we struck a deal. Within a day or so I will collect them. The nice things is that they are large and used to the same water that my tank will be using.

The other plus is that it forced me to decide on hardscape and to finally add the soil and sand to my tank.

Pictures soon...
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
I have a bit of catching up to do.

The tank is basically set up and cycling now. CO2 turned on today. CO2 and lights on timers. CO2 starts first and ends first.

The hardscape was tough. I have learned a lot and probably would have made a different choice in retrospect but I think that once the rest of the plants arrive and these grow in I will basically be going Jungle style anyway. I decided to stick with my original driftwood. It took a very large piece of slate to tame it. The size is a bit too big but it will just be the central feature until the Java and Anubias overtake it.

I have three sources for my plants so far: local seller, LFS, and an online purchase. I took a chance on the local buyer. It did not turn out so well since I could not see the plants first. He was breaking down the tank and had let the plants go a bit. I think that with some attention they will be fine. The LFS was depressing. The store was large but not well kept. Most of the plants looked bad. I did buy a red sword, a crypt and two nice small Anubias. Over priced but I was desperate to cycle with lots of plants. This was my first foray with superglue and it worked great for attaching the plants to rocks and the wood. The online shipment is more ferns and assorted Buce. It was picked up by USPS on Monday but does not arrive until Friday ...so wish me luck.

Now I am looking for critters: rummy nose tetras, small cories, ottos, amanos and snails. I might sub something else for the rummies. Any good recommendations for a reliable online fish vendor?

So far so good...

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Discussion Starter #17
Adding more plants and the tank seems to have cycled so next week I will either order some inhabitants online or risk the LFS.

Plants are mainly ferns, swords, crypts, anubias and buce. Needs to fill in a bit!
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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
This past week I added fish and snails. The first pass was from the LFS. 4 silver tipped Tetras and 3 Nerite snails. One Tetra was very timid and I thought that it might be sick. The others were a bit combative. The timid fish is still so but not sick. I added 4 more silver tips hoping that a larger group might be calming but they continue to chase each other a lot.

I have 6 pygmy cories coming from Aquatic Arts. I realized that now that I am feeding the tetras I really need some bottom feeders.

Plants are looking good but I am starting to get some slight brown algae on my glass and a bit of green on my sand. How many Nerites do you think a planted 25 gallon tank will need? I did a water change today and am going to feed a bit more lightly.

My next purchase will probably be a few shrimp.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The silver tipped tetras have turned out to be a bad choice. They are very aggressive and chase each other constantly. There is not much of the sought peace that I was hoping for.

The pygmy cories are remarkably cute and remarkably small. Hopefully these are juveniles and will grown to more that their present 1/2 inch. Unfortunately when they swim anywhere above the substrate the tetras chase them. I see no damage but it must be intimidating.

I now remember how careful I became after 5 years with my previous tank. I vetted fish very carefully. This time I missed the boat on the silver tips. I am actually considering trapping them and either returning them or giving them away. They need a big tank or Prozac.

Any tips for trapping? I have seen the water bottle videos on YouTube...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
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Things are going pretty well. Only the plants that I got from the local guy have not done too well. They are starting to collect algae and melt a bit. The plants from the LFS, Buce. and Aquatic Arts are thriving. I have a bit of brown algae on the glass and a bit of green on the sand. Chemistry is good and I am going easy of ferts(Flourish). I did add a couple of Antherium cuttings which whose roots hang in the water to hopefully help compete with the algae.

I have additional cleanup crew coming: more Nerites and also a group of red shrimp. I am also getting a few more Pygmy Cories which I love.

My only issue to work out now would be placement of my output and return skimmer. My skimmer is at the right/rear and the output at the front/right. I would love to move the output to the right/rear next to the skimmer due to tube management but circulation is good currently. There is strong movement in a "U" shape even at the back of the tank with gentle plant movement throughout the tank. I am concerned that if I move the output to the right/rear it will not reach the left side of the tank as well and so not pull across the back.

I also love watching the Cories surf the outflow across the tank front :)

One final thing. I use Amazon Echo Dot's to automate various things around the house. I have programmed one smart plug to stop my pump and its internal heater when I say "Stop pump". It then will wait 5 minutes and then turn it back on. I will use this for feeding so that I will not forget to turn the pump back on. I have been feeding with the pump on but removing the skimmer intake tube but found yesterday that I had a ton of food particles on my pre-filter. I am pretty sure that is a recipe for an algae party and also that I am overfeeding. I also use a smart plug to start CO2 before lights on and stop it before lights off...
 
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