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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I built a 3gal cube with black 100% silicone (has no anti-molding chemicals)

I put down a 1" layer of organic miracle grow dirt then capped it with black flouraLite.

I bout a few lace stones from my local PS. I used 3 of them. I went outside and grabbed a few branches of a lilac bush (lilac is a very hard dense wood) boiled the **** out of them for roughly 4 hours and they are now soaking in a bucket and already sinking.

I made a DIY lamp with a 13 watt CFL bulb hanging over the cube. Not really happy with the size and ordered a GU 10 9 watt LED (3x3) and will try to build a smaller fixture from that. Will see what happens.

I plan on dry starting a HC carpet, putting in dwarf sag in the back and maybe doing a little hunk of anubias nana somewhere.

I plan on using excel instead of co2. hang on back filter and dosing dry ferts. I hope the HC will live in these conditions once I flood it, if not I may have to drain it and plant some glosso.

im posting a pic but since then ive dropped the water level down to basically just under the gravel and planted my HC.

Sorry for the crappy iPhone shot.

any thoughts on this setup? layout, equipment, plants

thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I planted some anubias nana and have my small amount of dwarf baby tears (originally planted in my 20g but didn't do so hot. salvaged what i could) and some dwarf sag.

Ill post a new pic tonight so I can see the progress.

I took the branches out and have them soaking in water, im going to wait until the plants fill in a little. MABJ might be right, it could make the display too busy which takes away from the harmony.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
man, pretty tough to take a good photo.

anyways this is basically the start.

You can barely see the small amount of HC in there ha ha ha! Im lame. I just put an order in today for a pot of new HC at my LFS. Not really sure i want to wait 6 months before i can flood the dang thing.

got my new GU10 9 watt bulb over the thing. Visually it appears a bit dimmer at the edges of the tank. I might replace the 30 degree optics for 60s. Or.....ive read people say the 9 watters heat up too much and burn out quickly. First what is quick? in LEDs quick could mean 5 years. So i may build a 3 bulb 3x1 GU 10 light. will see what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
ps i mist everyday and keep a glass lid over the top. It fogs up pretty good in there. I open the lid and blow the air around once a day as well. Not sure if that does anything but in theory it blows the stagnant air around to combat mold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
thank you. A dart frog terrarium is on the to do list. Ha.

Ya I think adding the branches is one of those beginner mistakes. You want to add all of these elements so it looks SUPER AWESOME!!!! But you hit a tipping point where you just create Chaos. The thin branches might look better in a softer display with taller flowing plants vs Big Bold Rocks and short matted plants.

I will post a new pic when I get more HC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
update, the dwarf sag is growing, not worth a photo, just minor growth and my hc comes this friday so I can hopefully fill it in thicker and cut down the wait time.

A side note the microscopic amount of HC I have in there IS ACTUALLY growing so thats good news.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
ok my LFS got in my HC. Came in 2" cup and unfolded into about a 2.5 diameter mat. The owner ordered 6 cups in case others wanted some. SHe was selling them for $3.00! well needless to say i grabbed 4 instead of 1.

I l planted them all up and here is what i have now. I basically am waiting for the roots to dig into the soil and anchor the mat. Id like the Dwarf sag to get a little thicker as well before I flood. I know the nana anubias is a slow grower so im just letting that go along for the ride.

While this fills in Im still planning my mechanics of the whole thing. Im def going to do a paintball CO2 DIY and prob going to use a tiny HOB filter. Since the background is black I will be painting all equipment black (or get black parts) that enter the water so it blends and keeps the display "clean" looking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The anubais are pushing out new leaves and the dwarf sag is doing the same. Im thinking I can flood this baby in 4 more weeks. Still need to put together my Co2.

My GU10 bulb is doing a very nice job of lighting the tank. Not bad for $4.50 and using less than 9 watts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well, here is an update. The tank is flooded and was doing very well. Now I have Cyano. I tested my KNO3 and they were zero. Ah crap. I am keeping them at 20ppm right now and testing every few days. I dont want to resort to medication but if I have to I will.

I have diy co2 running continuously.

My plan of attack is going to be keeping my nitrates up (maybe even bring them up to 30. At least I can bring them back down and when I add shrimp they can eat the real algae), adding an airstone at night, manual removal, and spot treating with excel. I hope all goes well as everything was growing well and filling in. Once I get this under control I will post new pics. Nobody wants to see blue/blackish green nightmare bacteria.
 
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