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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Upon seeing photos of this tank and lighting combination in a small space on reddit I was hooked and drawn back into the hobby after nearly six years without aquariums.

Hardware:
Mr. Aqua 12 gallon long
Current USA Freshwater Satellite LED+
Eheim 2026 (turned down slightly to avoid uprooting all the plants)
5lb CO2 (slightly more than 1bps)
Up! Aqua ceramic diffuser
Ebay Nano drop checker (DIY 4DKH water)

Plants:
HC
Downoi (currently melting)
Staurogyne repens
Hydrocotyle tripartita japan
Dwarf hairgrass
Christmas moss
Rotola Indica
Fissidens fontanus (still waiting on shipping from Taiwan)

Hardscape:
13lbs of petrified wood purchased during a half off sale at LFS (Aquarium Adventure in Bolingbrook)
9L ADA Aquasoil Amazonia

Starting Fauna: (main fish inspired by a forum member with the same tank)
5x Threadfin rainbowfish (Iriatherina werneri)
3x Ember Tetra (Hyphessobrycon amandae)
3x Otocinclus
2x Amano Shrimp
2x Fancy Nerites

Ferts:
EI liquid solution (5ml dose)
CSMB+Iron liquid solution (5ml dose)

5 days in.







Viewable from both sides, this side is coming up the stairs into my apartment





 

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Beautiful!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the compliments everyone!

All critiques are welcome too. :)

Amazing. That petrified wood really is a knockout. any effect on water parameters?
Not that I've noticed yet, the Amazonia is doing an amazing job lowering my KH down from 15-16 out of the tap to 6-7 in tank. Although I wasn't aware of how much ammonia it leaches or I wouldn't have attempted a fish in cycle with small delicate fish. I've been doing daily water changes the past few days to try to keep it under control, finally have it down to .5ppm but nitrites are still off the charts, I lost one nerite today and one of my ember tetras is really struggling tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks! I love photography and it's where I've sunk most of my hobby budget the last few years.. I'm excited for this to get going too and I'll add some more shrimp, they'll be fun macro subjects. I'm going to practice more on video as well so keep an eye out for that. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Nitrites are out of control! With daily 60% water changes Ammonia has dropped close to zero, I suspect it's being crushed by the bio media in the 2026 but it's causing insane amounts of Nitrite.

The left Nitrite vial is immediately following today's WC, right vial is taken just before the WC.



Nitrite must be >10ppm before the WC then, right? The fish don't seem to be showing any signs of stress, I assumed they'd be dropping like files at this level. I did lose both Nerites yesterday, but that may have been starvation. I'm using Prime at about 1.5x dose to dechlorinate, maybe that explains why things seem to be okay?

Edit, just did a second big WC and this time the test came back slightly less bright magenta but I'd say it's still reading about 5ppm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I've been a bit worried about this high Nitrite, so I decided to give Tetra Safe Start a run for it's money, I've never used anything like this but I've usually had other tanks to jump start the cycle with in the past. Apparently it's a miracle product!

Left most vial - After the daily emergency 60% WC
Center - An hour after adding the Tetra Safe start directly into my filter and letting it sit for about 10 minutes before turning it on
Right - For the hell of it I took this sample about six hours after adding Tetra Safe Start, I was floored by the results.. this is 10 days in to the cycle.




Happy Amano finally came out of hiding.. kinda





 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
These were taken with a Nikon D300s and Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro lens, no flash was used. I was kind of disappointed when I noticed the large amount of diffraction that gets in the way when trying to take close macro shots from any angle other than straight on, it makes things much more difficult. The shots in the OP were taken with a Sigma 30mm f/1.4. :)
 

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I was kind of disappointed when I noticed the large amount of diffraction that gets in the way when trying to take close macro shots from any angle other than straight on, it makes things much more difficult. The shots in the OP were taken with a Sigma 30mm f/1.4. :)
I noticed this exact same thing. Even an inch to one side or the other makes a big difference.
 

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I've got these two things now. I am planning on running an eheim 2232 on it. Keep the pictures coming I need some inspiration.
 

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Nitrites are back way up this morning, I'm not sure what to make of it.
That's part of the cycle. At first you just have ammonia. Then as you build bacterial colonies to eat the ammonia, the levels drop. But those bacteria give off nitrite, which is where you are now. Eventually you'll build bacterial colonies to consume the nitrite, and that'll start to drop. When that happens, you'll see nitrate usually start to rise, since that's what those bacteria convert nitrite too.

Also, since you have aquasoil, which leaches a lot of ammonia, you'll be converting ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate for a long time. As such, expect nitrate to possibly be high for quite some time once the nitirite bacteria can consume all of the nitrite that the ammonia bacteria are producing. You'll be getting nitrate in the end until the aquasoil stops leaching ammonia. Your plants will also help consume nitrate.

Just keep up on water changes for now.
 
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