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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Fauna:
-rainbows
-tetras
-bolivian rams
-cories
-ottos

Flora
-blyxa
-downoi
-S.Repens
-DHG
-A. Reineckii
-a couple ludwigia species
-rotala rotundifolia and nanjenshen
-Nesea pedicellata
-potamageton gaya
-S. Belem
-T. Fluviatilis
-flame moss
-fissidens

Equipment:

-20 gallon sump
-Beamworks 3W LED fixture
-CO2 Milwaukee regulator, cerges reactor)

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8/31/14 **CURRENT**


7/21/14


6/14/14


6/10/14


6/7/14


5/29/14


5/28/14


5/17/14


5/8/2014
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks :) Things are moving slowly.

I have all the rocks I want and I have some time tomorrow to put them together. I am having a little trouble finding a good piece of wood though. I was a little surprised when I moved to Rhode Island that there is a distinct lack of driftwood here. As a result, I have been scouring the woods to find some stumps that I can use. Atleast my dogs are happy with all the walks through the woods.

I am still a little trigger shy on the LED's...The beamworks evo looks like a decent fixture, I think I just need a few beers to get me clicking!

I have my DIY 20 gallon sump in the works. I have been apoxying some plexiglass to make different chambers. I think I may go a little crazy with my sump design. I have been toying with the idea of an algae scrubber. I have used them in salt water set-ups and I am curious if they would work in freshwater.

I have been working on a big plant order from aquabid...tons of plants, lots of stems, crypts, foreground and midground plants. I need to wait on the light before I order though.

So that is that, I will post some rockwork pics as soon as it is done. Hopefully I will have some wood this weekend!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Here is my design for the 20 gallon sump.



I had an old eheim canister filter that didn't work anymore, so I am going to use those media chambers (4 of them) filled with filter media (ceramic beads, balls etc). The water will drain right into the top of the chamber and pass through the bottom where it will go through the baffles stuffed with foam. I am going to use pot scrubbers as well.

I am building an enclosure out of eggcrate for the middle region, and I will wrap it in cotton batting to use as a sort of refugium.

The water will then pass through more scrubbies and through a bio wheel. Finally the water will pass through a large amount of batting as the final polish before it is pumped back to the tank.

I will also attach my cerges reactor to the outlet.

It should be fun to put together! I will post pictures when it is done.
 

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This sounds awesome! keep posting, i've been looking into starting my first 75 gal apisto tank myself and i'm looking for some inspiration from those who are more experienced in this stuff. cant wait to see how this turns out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks, will do. I am excited for this build!

I finished the sump yesterday, I just need to get the filter media. I think I will take a trip to the dollar store for pot scrubbers and sponges. I really want to get the plumbing done so I can get some water flowing in this bad boy.

I went for a long hike yesterday, looking for the perfect piece of wood, but I came back empty handed. It looks like I may need to frankenstump something together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Made some good progress today, woohoo!

Sump is done

Pic without filter media:



dollar store media :bounce:


Pic with filter media:


Added sponges and ceramic beads to the old canister cartridges


I think I am going to load the refugium area with moss.

Plumbing is done


Straight shot into the sump from the overflow.
I split the return line so that I would have to outputs into the tank.
Right now they are just feeding back into the sump, until I get my hardscape sorted out. I got the wrong size connectors for the cerges reactor so that will have to wait.

Substrate is done

Tossed in some mineralized dirt and covered it with sand.



Still need to set-up the hardscape, toying with a few ideas for the rock pile but I haven't loved anything yet. I Need some wood!

Light is ordered

I got the quad LED fixture from aquastyles. I plan on having it about 30" above the substrate, so we will see how it goes! Once that gets here I can order some plants.

I am getting excited!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes I hope to. Basically it means they should have their own little areas/caves with limited line of site between them. Whether it is hardscape or plants that separate them doesn't really matter.

I hope that the big rock pile will be able to have a couple pairs while the wood and smaller pile will make for a few more pairs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Unfortunately I had to tweak my vision for the tank considerably. I just couldn't find the wood I wanted, and I refuse to pay for driftwood! I still had a ton of cool rock from my last tank, so I thought I would just try to do a cool rockscape.

My inspiration for the rockscape were the Flatirons in Colorado:


And the needles mountains in South Dakota:


This is what I ended up with, it is probably 95% done.


Any suggestions, critiques would be appreciated! I think the large rocks are staying put but I may add a few more spires on the right and tweak some of the smaller rocks here and there. There certainly are a ton of caves!

I plan on leaving the tops of the spires unplanted, but I want to put anubias around the base along with fissidens. I left a lot of room in the back and sides for stems which will allow for some strategic accents. I will do blyxa and staurogen repens in the foreground.

My light is arriving friday, at which point I will put in a plant order somewhere!
 

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I'm digging it! Looks like this will be a great setup.

The sump design looks pretty simple but has lots of potential. Seems like you're not using that first chamber to its max potential though. If I'm looking at that correct it seems like you have the water entering into the media chambers out of your canister filter without any sort of mechanical filtration in front of that? You'll probably want to have some sort of sponge or batting in place before the media chambers. I'm also not seeing the purpose of the batting around the refugium area? And I'm not sure if that biowheel is really going to do anything beneficial for you.

The hardscape really does capture the look of your inspiration; but I have to admit I would rather see what you first described with the driftwood and various caves.

Cant wait to see the finished product!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm digging it! Looks like this will be a great setup.
Thanks! Looking forward to getting it planted!

The sump design looks pretty simple but has lots of potential. Seems like you're not using that first chamber to its max potential though. If I'm looking at that correct it seems like you have the water entering into the media chambers out of your canister filter without any sort of mechanical filtration in front of that? You'll probably want to have some sort of sponge or batting in place before the media chambers.
I didn't show it, but the top two chambers have sponge filters in them for the mechanical filtration. Followed by the two chambers with ceramic rings. I also have a large amount of batting between the biowheel and the return pump which should be my final polish. I think I may add some more batting though because it is having trouble getting out the dust from the sand.

I'm also not seeing the purpose of the batting around the refugium area? And I'm not sure if that biowheel is really going to do anything beneficial for you.
I was toying with the idea of keeping shrimp in the refugium full time, so the batting in that area was going to be to keep them contained. I have since changed my mind on that though and I may change that area. The biowheel was really just for fun, I don't expect it to have any real filtration purposes. What it has done though is allowed me to visualize the flow rate, which is kinda cool.

The hardscape really does capture the look of your inspiration; but I have to admit I would rather see what you first described with the driftwood and various caves.

Cant wait to see the finished product!
Thanks, yeah, I am a little bummed that I couldn't find the wood that I wanted. Perhaps I should have been more patient but I just REALLY wanted to get this tank up and running. This is the first time I haven't had a 'natural' tank. Seeing as this is more of a landscape type design, I have also been thinking about scraping the black paint off the back of the tank and going lighter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
^ thanks! Hopefully it comes together!

So I finalized the hardscape, removed the black painted background and built a backlit background set-up. I was getting tired of the dark backgrounds and wanted a nice light background that was variable. So I got some frosted window film and blue cellophane to create a backlit background.

Here are some before and after pics.

Black painted background


Black background removed


I set-up a T8 fixture to light the bottom


No background with the backlight


Added the frosted window film and blue cellophane over the light


I am really happy with the changes, I like that the center brace shadow isn't as prevalent in the pics and I like how the ripples show up on the background. I can't wait to get some green and reds in there from the plants! My light should be arriving tomorrow, so I am pretty excited!

The backlight is just a single t8 flora bulb (pinkish hue), so I think I may either replace the bulb with a bluer one or try to get a brighter fixture in there. I will play around with it tomorrow.
 

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That looks really cool with the backlighting. The hard scape looks really nice also.

What kind of Apistos do you plan to add? If you haven't decided yet you should look into Apisto panduro or Apisto nijsseni, both are very cool looking apistos but not the easiest to find. I will be watching this thread and look forward to see what you do with the planting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks!

I have had an agassizii double red trio before and I really enjoyed them, so much so that I was thinking of doing them again. The Borelli Blue look really cool though as well so I was thinking about them.

The Panduro are quite nice, kind of like a chubby agassizii, it looks like there are some available on aquabid. There are not many optiions around here for apistos, so I will probably have to order off of aquabids.
 

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In regards to the back lighting...you might try some LED lighting fixtures (I'm talking something like this: https://www.adafruit.com/search?q=led+strip not the kind you put over your tank), they will take up considerably less room behind the tank. You can rig up some small reflectors to reflect it back towards the tank. That T8 hangs a lot back there.

Looking good though. Love that you're using the Needles as inspiration.
 

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Very cool layout, really like the last photo! Are you still planing to add any plants?
 
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