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30gal office build

3097 Views 20 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Solid
Hey all, it has been a long time... so long I don't recognize most of the members around here.

I'm still running my original low-tech 55gal, it's kind of Walstad, very few fish, stuffed full of driftwood and lowlight plants. For 6 years or so I hopped over to simple SW/LPS tanks. That went okay but got to be way too much work. My main tank was at my office, and while the maintenance was okay, hauling SW from home to my office was a PITA.

Last weekend I finally made up my mind to tear it down (thanks to craigslist, corals and live rock went to new homes,) and convert back to planted tank. What's better, this 30g tank already has 225w VHO on it (3 x 75w T12, which obviously is a bit overkill. Probably have to remove 1 ballast.) Also, for the first time, I've got enough of a budget that I don't have to DIY every last little thing.

I picked up an eheim ecco 2234 and hooked that up. Wow was that easy, and it was so quiet I wasn't sure it was running until I saw the waterflow. Impressive.

I also took a chance on an Archaea regulator that I found on a decent sale. Hopefully that works out nicely because it was a piece of cake to set up. One 5lb tank of CO2 later, and I'm up and running, although impatiently waiting for a diffuser, the one I'm using is junk.

I finally have a setup where I can hide the equipment, good thing since it's in my office waiting area.

A bit murky. I'm 5 days into cycle, with ammonia at .5ppm, and the white bloom has started.

Half coarse sand/half Aquasoil Amazonia substrate, layered.

Little baby micro sword. :)

The water here is so soft, I've had to add quite a bit of buffer to get the KH up to 3. Still not buffered enough, but it will get there. No critters yet. My lighting spectrum is still a bit off too. I'm waiting for a bulb to replace the last 50/50 still in there from the SW set-up.

I still want to put some Limnophila Aromatica across the back of the tank, and maybe some blyxa. The lace rock is for rose moss as soon as I can get my hands on some. Today was plant day at the LFS, but I couldn't break away to go raid the tanks, so I'll have to wait until next week. The stuff I want never lasts until the weekend. :icon_roll:)
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Heh. After calling all over town, I'm learning a lesson about getting too attached to a particular plant. I can't get my hands on L. Aromatica. I put a call in swap n' shop, so I'm hopeful, but I definitely do not have enough of a plant load in there at the moment to deal with 5wpg + aquasoil + co2. Green water here we come.
Forgot my update pictures, which are on my work computer, but I've discovered an interesting problem. The last new tank I set up was a reef tank, where it's all about maximizing the rockscape in the tank and giving yourself lots of ledges and crevices for fish hiding and coral placement.

So... thanks to swap n shop, I have all these fantastic plants, but now I discover that my hardscaping has monopolized too much of my tank real estate.

I really LIKE the hardscaping, I love big centerpiece type pieces in the plan, but I'm thinking at this point I should rethink it. The tank is currently STUFFED full of plants, which is going to be great for finishing up my cycle, but maybe not for long term scaping and maintenance. :rolleyes:

Any suggestions or comments?
Yeah, that would clear one thing. I probably should have detailed the number of pieces. There are 3 pieces of rock, all about the same size, and the driftwood is a single piece.
Update: I decided to leave the rock in, and fill in some of the depressions with areas to plant. I think the hardscaping will force open space, which is probably a good thing. My cycle is almost over, ammonia is undetectable and nitrites are falling, nitrate is registering at 20ppm. The plants are growing like crazy, the cambomba grew 4" in 5 days.

The amazing thing is that 16 days in, the cycle is almost complete, and there is virtually NO algae in this tank. You can see just a wee bit of film algae on the back wall. (Jinx!) I'm sure it will show up later, but I'm pretty impressed. LOVE the Aquasoil so far.

I'm planning on filling in the large depression in the driftwood with a handful of Aquasoil and planting, so there won't be such an unrelieved expanse of driftwood.

Today's FTS:
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Looks great so far. The driftwood would look great with some anubias nana on it in some of the holes.
Oh definitely, good idea. I'm also going. To pull the ludwigia on the left and put in a crinum calamistratum and some cypress helferi for different texture.
Holy cellphone typos, Batman.
got to love those.
how do you like the lace rock? im going to be using that in my next tank with rainbows
I like your hardscape - a little different than you normally see in a planted tank.

how do you like the lace rock?
LOVE the lace rock, it's extremely porous and dimensional. And it's lightweight enough to create some decent stacking options, but heavy enough to be stable.
I like your hardscape - a little different than you normally see in a planted tank.

Thanks! It's been a long time since I took a look at the planted trends, so I was kind of winging it on design. I had that big piece of driftwood in the garage from breaking down a goldfish tank last year, and it just begged to be used. I haven't ever tried rocks in a planted 'scape (other than the obvious as substrate,) so wanted to give that a shot too. I'm hoping it will grown in nicely and seem kind of riverbed/fallen-tree-like.
It'll be nice to see this fill in especially the stem plants in back, I do feel that the blyxa in front right is crowding the front of the tank a bit (especially when it turns into a nice bush). Otherwise, a very nice start.
I do feel that the blyxa in front right is crowding the front of the tank a bit (especially when it turns into a nice bush). Otherwise, a very nice start.
Thanks, are you talking about the blyxa by the driftwood or in front of the rocks? Because I think there isn't quite the room to the side of the DW, it IS a little crowded. It totally wasn't a week ago. LOL! it had a growth explosion!

The blyxa in front of the rocks doesn't look as pretty in a straight-on photo as in real life. There's a pocket there in the rockscape that looks like it was made for a clump of grass - looks amazing as long as I can keep the size under control.
Ah, it's depth perception thing. Yeah I was talking about the one in front of the rocks.
Dang cabomba grew 1.5" in 24 hours. :eek:
Cut then replant...
In the great tradition of tankers everywhere, I did a partial tear down because that dang piece of driftwood, in spite of being in and out of tanks for YEARS, is STILL turning my water oolong colored. :mad: Going with all rock, and doing a bit of plant changing. Will post photos again when it doesn't look like crapola.
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