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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Arcadia Arc tank 35L, with glass lid (removed for now)


2 Arc pod 11w


HOB Azoo Palm filter

Ferts etc:

TPN+ & Seachem Excel with weekly water changes and evap top off


Common names for ease -
Christmas Moss, Java Moss, HC 'Cuba', Vallis Nana


Common names for ease -
Dwarf Puffers, Ottos, Amano Shrimp & a random guppy (LFS hitchhiker)


The Beginnings:

My girl decided to purchase a small nano tank for me after I helped to setup and make a tank for her beloved axolotl, weird thing!

While it was on order I started looking at various options of wood and came across a perfect section on AE. I decided to go with one of their nano sized portions of Redmoor which was spot on for the job, even though I had to lop of a couple of inches off. While also on AE I decided to go with some Oynx sand for substrate as it seemed to be a good choice others where using.

The Redmoor root could only go one of three ways but I settled on a face on, upright position. I added the chopped part too, just for fun! The substrate has a slight slope up to the LHC which seemed to work so I went with it.


So my girl had another up her sleeve, while I was busy mucking about with various Redmoor interior design plans she had ordered some RCS, pretty sneeky but very much a cool thing to do! The tank wasn't ready for the little guys so I used her Crisp (chips :smile:)tub as a make shift tank, I placed the small Classica filter that came with the tank and some pond weed for good measure.

They loved it and I managed to get some Macro shots in there while they played in the spray bar wake, Surfs up!..

These little fellas were only young but they rocked!


My girl had some plants left over from one of those ebay plant deal things, where you get 25 random plants so we popped them in as the CRS had been in the Crisp tank for few weeks and needed their home ready soon!..

I knew all I was putting in was coming back out, slowly over time so wasn't to fussed on location but my girl wanted it to look presentable so in a half ass manor I went about it.

Vallis, vallis, vallis and more vallis were added, I knew these fellas grew fast and absorbed like sponges for any spike that may pop up. I plonked in some Dwarf hairgrass, Dwarf sag and Ricca for good measure.

I raided another tank for a large stone as the Redmoor wood (sold as pre-soaked) was starting to lift like a ballon, the root had plenty of perches so I placed it where light wouldn't be affected (as much).

At this point I also knew that one arcpod wouldn't cut the mustard but had to go with it till I could get something else worked out.


Over the next couple of weeks I had another gift from my girl, infact four of them.

I managed to bag a macro shot of one of them on the root!

These things rocked, my tank had activity and watching the shrimps do their thing was relaxing as hell. Nothing better than a beer watching shrimps.

The Red Cherries also grew pretty quick and gained a lot of colour in these weeks. Heres one going for a version of the 'Lion king shot'.

The Ricca on the redmoor took off like a shot too, at first this stuff was close to my heart but now I hate the stuff!.. To this day Im still finding it in my tank even though I got rid months ago, if ever there was a hitchhiker plant, this would be it.


I felt it was time to add some fish and wanted something a bit different.

I added these!

Dwarf Puffers! Originally I started out with just three, as they were young sexing them was pretty hard also the fact that when they are young the have yet to 'choose' there sex. Odd I know but when I was researching into these guys I read that they actually choose their sex through hormones within the water column, whoever bags male first gains control.

Now, the above happened, they changed colour from what I had originally purchased, males gained the stripe on the belly and darkened while the female changed into a leopard like print. The males also gained there lines behind their eyes and things started to change.

I knew that a 2:1 ratio of males was probably not so decided to buy another female, based on my research I managed to get another female. Now I have a 2:2 ratio and things are evened out a little. I have read that you need the Dwarf puffer golden rule of 5g per fish, but I also found a great site where this guy was saying there are in fact a grouping fish, they will hunt and group together as a team. My Dwarf Puffers are exactly the same, they do hunt in packs and when the blood worm or snails go in they pack together like wolves taking turns to peck. Watching them is amazing as they all just hang about together like they did when they were tiny things, following the leader or all lining up when my face goes to the tank, its brilliant to see.

They get on just great with shrimps, I have read it's just a matter of time and they will turn but I'm still going with the rule of introduce shrimps and other stock before the puffers as it gets them used to the other stock from the go. Also from my findings get young puffers and not matured ones, they are more open to change instead of the isolation many give them. My puffers also live with a guppy that I got from the LFS, it came in a bag of shrimp I purchased as a little fry. Seemed pretty mean to put him in and also get rid so I plopped him in, waited and watched. To this day the guppy is much larger but also has a lovely big tale for them to nip, but they never have or will I believe. Guppy has actually joined the puffer team and been excepted, it feeds with them, groups and joins in the games.

before lights out all the puffers find their roosts in the redmoor root, plenty of holes and they all have their own hole in which they sleep, pretty intelligent fishes.

Im not saying the above is correct but it works for my puffers and the other guys inside the tank, been like that for months since I've had them and all seem happy, aggression free tank!..


As the months have grown on I have eventually phased out all the plants I have first put in, its been slow but along way I've been learning how I actually want things.

I bagged some Christmas moss of flEaBAY from some guy who have lifted some from his tank, I paid next to nothing for a large pot of the stuff.
I added it to the Redmoor root where I thought It would be cool and I could trim it to shape as and when needed.

When I first got the Christmas Moss it was a pretty dark green but as the months, light and patience have gone by its now displaying a lovely green.

I also added some Java Moss just to mix it up a little, It had quite a lot of brown in the pot but few months have gone by it has picked up.

I added some Vallis Nanas as I like there grassy appearance, they sway pretty well in the flow and Shrimp, puffers and my random guppy love playing in it. Still got his tail!....

I'm pretty happy with the way the root looks now but the moss seems to collect quite a lot of crap which I blow off with a turkey baster every now and then. I also give it a trim and put trimmings in my glass jar which is on the window sill, I'll put some picture of that up soon. Not sure why I have a moss jar but just didn't want to throw any of that lush green stuff away, Im hooked on moss!


So the shrimp I did have in my tank are on a holiday in another tank, not sure if they will return but gave me a chance to get some new guys in.

Amanos!... These guys are nuts and growing pretty big, I think its due to the fact they often join in with the puffers looking for blood worm, they love the stuff. I didn't think that shrimp went for blood worm but these guys love the stuff, when tweezers go in they grab on to make sure the grab one. There like mini thief's, its pretty funny to watch and they'll even risk being out of water just to grab one.

I've also seen two saddles since owning them, must be a good thing.

I've heard its a long winded process trying to spawn amanos as they need salt water to actually get the process going, not something I'm willing to try so Im guessing the puffers have their way when they find the spawn.

So far, so good:

This pretty much brings me to present date, my tank seems to be going well and I spot new growth each day. I think patience and taking it slow will win the race, I have thought about Co2 but I think I'd go DIY when I can get my head around a few things first, may start asking soon. As it stands now Im happy with what's going on but I'm no where near half way so looking forward to what happens.

Quote jurassic park - "Nature finds its way"

I have added some HC Cuba which game from TGM as I wanted a good, looked after bunch, its sending out runners and is great to watch. I also added some 'four leaf clover', hoping it will blend in with HC.

Please excuse the crud, I went turkey baster mad before the shot and water change.

And to cap of my first post here is the tank of last weekend!..

I hope to keep this journal going for my own sake, I would like to keep track of what's changed as Im currently trying to fight the urge to go to salt through looking at nanno-reef way too much!.. I'm hoping having put this up on here will give me the kick to continue and not stop taking this tank forward to the end.

Cheers for reading!


3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Tank looks cool but soon it will be shrimpless once the puffers decide to experiment :(

Nano reefs are fun, i have several but i feel drawn to planted nano tanks still.

Thanks for looking!:smile:

Shrimps maybe so, call me a fool but the puffers show no interest in shrimps and I've never seen one foul move against them. Maybe a time bomb waiting but as I said get them young and they learn, may not work for others but its been working for me since day 1. Nature finds a way!

Nano reefs have bitten me hard, been something I've wanted to do for years and was always put off through lack of research. just gotta stick with what im doing.


3,614 Posts
I have to agree with mgdmirage, the tank will probably be shrimpless in a short time! Although all fish are diffrent! It looks really good though! Good job!

3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The tank looks good:) What are the dimensions of the tank? It looks like it's in a cube shape.

And that piece of driftwood looks really cool;)
Thanks for the kind words!:icon_wink

The Arc tanks come in 2 sizes:

20L - Dimensions: 30 x 25 x 30cm (W x D x H)

35L - Dimensions: 40 x 28 x 33cm (W x D x H) which is what I went for.

Tank link -

The 20L seems to have a more 'cube' shape and the glass is real nice, here in the UK we get them cheapish but you can get copies of them. They come with a glass lid which is nice too, you get a complete package which is a good start if you haven't got the wallet for ADA.

I wish I could take the corners of the rim but too scared i'll fudge it if I try.

The root is wicked, took me hours on AE to find just the right one, finally tracked it down :proud:
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