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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I had a lot of difficulty figuring out what I needed for this tank. If it wasn’t for the members of this forum I would have given up.
Because I had so much difficulty I wanted to make this journal accessible to people who are new to the hobby, or just new to this tank. Thus, I am including where I found the item, the price it was purchased it, and the reason I chose that item over another.

Tank: Mr. Aqua 12g long
From: Cost: $80
Reason: I like this tank because I want to keep shrimp. My previous tank was a Fluval Edge 12g, and the shrimp, only used about 1/4th of the tank. They were lost in plants and could not be seen, and most of the tank went unused.

Lighting: Marineland Double Bright LED 36-48 in
From: Cost: $60
Reason: This light is half the price of a Finnex. I do not know (yet) if it is better or worse, but on paper it is just as good. I was trying to cut the cost where it could be cut, and here is a place where it could be cut.
If you want to read the discussion that made me choose this light, please read this

Light Stand: Zoo Med reptile lamp stand, large x2
From: Cost: $24 ea ($48)
Reason: There is a light by Beamswork that is $10 less which I could have placed on top of the tank, but it is only a 'single bright' and could only provide 'low lighting'. However, these stands allow me to use a brighter light, and give me the ability to adjust the light between low, medium, and high. The stands also add to the aesthetics by allowing you to look in through the top unobstructed. Lastly, and oddly, the room that this tank will be in is kind of dark (low energy lights in the ceiling), so this fixture will also be providing light to the room.
I could have gone DIY on this, but I figured that for the $20 I would save in making it myself it was not worth the time of shopping for the items or putting it together.
** If you are going to place the feet of these stands under the tank, the stands are too tall and will the minimum distance from tank to light will be 18 inches. However, the stand's feet are perfect for the width of the tank. If the smaller sized stands have smaller feet, I would use those instead. However, this stand is very simple and can be easily cut to fit your requirements. **

Filter: Eheim 2213
From: Cost: $75 (used)
Reason: This was a hard choice. It is an area where money could have been saved (~$40), but it would have performed poorly and looked bad in the tank. The length of this tank makes normal filtration unusable. While I was considering using a sponge filter in each corner and an air stone in the center, I did not want the sound of constant bubbles, nor did I think this would look good. An additional problem would be dispersing the water column throughout the tank. There would be areas of non-moving water, and o2, heat, and other things would not disperse throughout the tank evenly, leaving uninhabitable areas of this very long tank.
To read the discussion on this topic, please read this
However, while not as good as a canister w/spray bar, it is possible to use two hang on filters on either side of the tank. I have a suspicion that if you place them both on the sides of the tank, you can use them as a light stand for a low light fixture.

Spray Bar: DIY made from Lee’s Rigid Tubing
From: Cost: $10
Reason: Necessary to evenly disperse the water column throughout the tank.
Instructions: An Eheim 2213 uses 1/2'' tubing and also comes with a small 6'' spray bar and suction cups with 1/2'' clips. You can use any plastic 1/2'' tube to make this, and I recommend 36'' rigid tubing.
1) Cut the tube to the desired length. Mine is 33''.
2) Draw a straight line across the tube, marking every 1/2''. Use something that can easily be wiped off.
3) Find a drill bit that fits perfectly into the spray bar that the filter came with. If you do not have a drill, a nail or eyeglasses screwdriver can be used by heating it up on the stove and pushing it through.
4) Drill a hole at the intersection of every 1/2'' mark.
5) Find something to shove in one end to seal it. I used the cap to a highlighter (for now).
6) Connect the rubber filter tubing to the spray bar. It will slide on and be nearly impossible to pull off. Because of this, you need to be careful of the angle that you slide it on at. I like the angle to be about 30 degrees, facing up, because of how the suction cups hold the spray bar a little below the waters surface.
7) Put the suction cups that came with the filter on the spray bar and your done!

Heater: Hydor ETH 200 in-line external 200w
From: Cost: $58
Reason: This is one area of the tank that I splurged on. I could have used a $20 in-tank heater. However, for the extra $40 I would rather keep the tank looking clean and neat on the inside. With the canister filter, all that will be in this tank are the intake and outtake hoses.
If you are keeping shrimp and the room that your tank will be in is always warm, you don't need a heater.

Substrate: Eco-Complete, 20lbs
From: LFS Cost: $30
10lbs of Fluorite from my old established tank Cost: free and seeded with MTS!!
Reason: This is the only brand my LFS sold. I'm not going to pay for shipping on a more preferable bag of rocks. As to the old substrate, it was already established and helped to prevent my tank from cycling.
Here are two good threads on substrate and shrimp: one and two

Flame moss wall (currently growing enough moss to make a wall)
Dwarf Chain Swords (bought a 2x2 and growing it out.)
Whatever unidentified plants are left from the old tank.

Red Cherry Shrimp
Painted Fire Reds (please breed with the RCS!!)
Orange Eyed Blue Tigers
Malaysian Trumpet Snails
Assassin Snails (adding after a few months once MTS population increases.

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Day 1 of Aluka living vicariously through DrakeScree.

Btw, i wouldn't use flame moss as a wall. They have vertical growth. They grow towards the light. Most moss walls has a drapy look, yours will look pointy? with a upward angle. I think its more commonly use as a carpet or with driftwood. =) But it totally your choice.

I am still super JEALOUS!!! =< Can i come see it after you are done in a few months =D!

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So i had a prep talk with my xmass moss, they said they will grow faster if i dose excel regularly.

But my crypts has indicated that they will object to the excel by melting.

lol, they are growing, haha =<

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Very nice info that you have broken down, which will help people with similar tanks just starting out. I love the stand as well, and cant wait to see it setup. I do have to agree with the flame wall might look awkward or it will become the best thing since sliced bread :icon_smil

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Here's the temporary set up.

Property Rectangle Wood Interior design Table

Waiting for a 2x2 of Dwarf Chain Swords to come in the mail to start a foreground.

You can probaly see two black rectangles in the back of the tank. They are two small moss walls. It's going to take forever to grow enough to cover the whole back of the tank.

My shrimps aren't doing so good since the tank change. I think the high KH (8), low GH (1), and high PH (8) of my tap water is starting to affect my shrimps molts due to the stress of the tank change. Ordered some GH Booster from a forum member and started dosing Seachem Acid and Alkaline buffer. Hopefully I can normalize this thing.

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just got my plant package in from h4n. Added in a 2x2 of micro sword, some dwarf water lettuce, and another piece of driftwood.

Also got my OEBT RAOK from Dukendabears! I won 5, but he sent seven juvies and one so small it is barely visible.

I really hope I don't kill these plants and OEBT...!

Green Rectangle Plant Pet supply Wood

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Started using GH booster from Niclog. My GH was 0 and KH was 9ish. Added the GH booster directly to the tank and it raised it to 3.
However, I can't get the PH to drop from 7.8 in the tank no matter how much Seachem buffer I use. So I stopped adding the buffer and GH booster directly to the tank water and now keep a 10g bucket full of water with a heater. I treat the bucket water to bring the PH to 7.0, and GH and KH to 3, and also add liquid ferts. The bucket has water in it at all times and I refill it when it drops below 5g. I think I need to add a bubbler to it...

No! I can't get ro/di water. Not a possibility.

I can't get my KH to drop to 0 no matter what I do. If someone knows a natural method to lower PH and bring KH to near 0, please tell me!

Since adding the GH booster there is a very noticeable difference in my plants and shrimp. The plants seem to be growing much faster and are more colorful.

However, the new piece of driftwood (on the right) started to grow white fungus (it was boiled for 6 hours and soaked for 7 days prior). I scrubbed it with a hard brush and put it back in the tank.
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