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Discussion Starter #22
Back in January, I swapped out my 20" narrow reactor for a version with a 10" wide housing. The motivation at the time was that the tall reactor was always tipping over when I serviced the canister. The shorter version was indeed more stable, but it had 1" ports and I wasn't super careful with the plumbing, so it ended up just taking way too much space in the cabinet. It was also quite a bit louder. Having just recently made a new 20" reactor for another tank, I realized that it can be stabilized by just affixing the housing to a piece of acrylic. So, this past weekend, I switched from this:

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to this:

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This change gave me a lot more room in the cabinet and moved the important reactor valves and connections to the front to be more accessible. It's also quite a bit quieter, which we'll appreciate when that couch finally arrives...
 

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Wow great tank! Awesome recovery too, it can be so frustrating. Are those all dwarf neons? They look huge! I have 6 I got back in November that are about 1.5 inches. Your pearl gourami is beautiful too. Do they go after the shrimp at all?
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Wow great tank! Awesome recovery too, it can be so frustrating. Are those all dwarf neons? They look huge! I have 6 I got back in November that are about 1.5 inches. Your pearl gourami is beautiful too. Do they go after the shrimp at all?
Thanks - it's been quite a ride!

Yep, those are dwarf neon rainbows. There are 17 of them in there. Love those fish. They have to most interesting behavior, especially in the early morning. We also have way more males than females which is supposed to be a no no, but it's really working for us. Lots of chasing but no real aggression. It's like we went so far in the wrong direction it's okay.

Nobody bothers the shrimp that I can see, and the shrimp spend a lot of time out in the daylight hours.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Tried to capture some of the early morning rainbow behavior this am. They really only do this before the lights come on, so it's a bit challenging to video...


 

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Discussion Starter #37 (Edited)
Are you ever just in love with your tank and then one day you look at it and think, 'I hate it!'? That happened to me recently with this tank. For a while I've struggled with the observation that (I think) the tank looks really cool close up, but not from a distance (like, say, from a hypothetical couch in the same room). When you're standing right in front of it, it looks varied and textured. From far back it can look pretty homogeneous and boring. A few days ago I looked at it and realized, "my god, it just looks like a big, dumb, green blob".

When I first planted this thing, I had a plan. I was going to trim the hygro to encourage bushing. I wanted big leaves emanating from down low in the center of the bush. I thought it would look weird with tall, vertical stems, so the plan was to discourage that. Well, the tank started to struggle SO HARD that by the time the plants started doing better, I was unconsciously resistant to chopping them. I sort of lost the thread a bit on what this tank was intended to be from the outset. And, lo did it come to pass: it did look weird when it was full of mostly tall stems.

Anyway, this is post-trim, looking somewhat less blobby. I'm going to work up (or down?) to having less of the vertical palm tree-like stems and more horizontal growth and bushiness. I think some more variety may be called for as well. Moving forward, I'm going to experiment with making other mini wabi kusa bombs that can be dropped into the bush. I've got some ludwigia glandulosa growing out in another tank - I think that would compliment the hygro well in terms of color and vertical growth rate. I have no idea how it would respond to the substrate ball treatment. We'll see! Might try spicing things up with some buce and anubias around the bottom too. Never stop fiddling...

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