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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello hello all fellow plant-enthusiasts!

I wanted to post my new tank! I bought the tank several weeks ago and have finally acquired everything necessary to start 'er up!


So to start off... Specs!

12 gallon long, 36" long, 8" deep, 9" tall
[STRIKE]Aquatop DF-200 canister filter[/STRIKE] Now an Eheim 2215 with glass inflow and outflow
Hydor ETH 200W inline heater (with Finnex temp controller cause I'm paranoid about frying everything after the mixed reviews on these bad boys)
GLA inline CO2 connected to a paintball tank
El cheapo drop checker
36" Current Satellite Freshwater+ (literally the perfect light for these tanks)
Under tank squishy matt
Aquatic fundamentals 30/38/45 gallon tall stand (top is 37" by 13", good, inexpensive stand if anyone is looking for one for these tanks)

Substrate: ADA aquasoil amazonia, sand is some "natural" sand from my LFS
[STRIKE]Rocks are Ryuoh I got from a local shop[/STRIKE] Now dragon-scale stone

On to the pics from the build!

So here's the tank.

Applied a frosted glass backing

Here's just a few pics of my preliminary rock setups until the last one I decided on. I thought about doing a wide mountain range type of setup, but ended up settling on a "two peaks and a valley setup." My inspiration was something like this

The third is the one I settled on. I wasn't entirely opposed to the second one, but my original thought was two hills, so I combined the two for the last picture.

Here's the power sand dumped in the back (1 x 3L bag)

Next comes the normal sized aquasoil

Then the powder

Recieved a TON of HC grown immersed from a guy on here (many thanks beviking), it was literally the perfect amount for this tank.

Covered and filled!

I think I need to trim some of those scraggly bits off, but for now I'll leave them.

Maybe pearling? Haha, probably not.

Could also just be from all the CO2 collecting on the leaves. I have it cranked right now since it was grown immersed, about 5 bps through oil. The drop checker is at yellow at the moment. I'll slowly be dialing it down over the coming weeks while the tank cycles. Light period is six hours from 3pm to 9pm with the sat+ set to about 80% brightness with the whites and full red LEDs.

I'm planning on adding some hydrocotyle sp. japan to grow around/between the rocks (just posted a wanted ad here which has now been answered :D). I also want to add some moss-covered rocks around the larger rocks to give the "pine forest" look around my mountains.

Please give me your thoughts and opinions!

Thanks for looking through the long post! :thumbsup:

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596 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'd like to say... She's a purty tank.

Can't wait to see the carpet ;)
Looks great!!! Can't wait to see how this progresses
Thanks! I'm excited to see how it turns out too! I've never really carpeted anything until recently, and that was just hairgrass...which is basically a weed anyway, haha.

Hoping it turns out well. :biggrin:

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596 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Looks great!! I am starting a 12 long soon! May I ask where you got your rocks and tank? I am still waiting for marine depot to restock..
I think the HC looks fine for now, but I would trim once it gets established to influence growth :).
Thanks! Look forward to seeing your build soon! The rocks were from a local shop here that orders them from ADA. It was nice to be able to hand pick them though. You should be able to order them from ADA online, I haven't checked to see if they're actually still available... The tank was local, found on CL.

Be careful HC can be tricky. See my journal in my signature to avoid mistakes.
Thanks for the heads-up! I checked out the thread, I'm sorry to see all your hard work with the DSM go up in gooey melted plant mass... :icon_sad: The restart is looking good though!

I'll do my best to learn from your experience and others on here. Starting by dosing some phosphates and micros (might also add extra potassium, but not a nitrogen source as the aquasoil provides that) once or twice a week and cranking dat CO2 while cycling.

Fingers crossed and knocking on wood. Now where did I put that lucky rabbit's foot...:confused1:

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Looking good. I love these 12L tanks.
Thanks! I was also a big fan of them, so when one finally popped up on CL, I had to jump on it.

I have the exact same set up as you. and by the exact same set up, i mean the tank, light, co2, and stand. looks great though! good luck with the HC carpets, i'm currently working on a micro sword carpet myself.
Thank you! I think I knew early on that the sat+ and a paintball setup would be the simplest way to go, and I looked around for a while to find a stand. That one seems very well suited for this tank. It feels quite sturdy as well. I really am hoping the HC does well. Drop checker still yellow as of last night (didn't look this morning and I'm at work now). I'll maybe dial it down a smidge at the end of the week after things have settled a little more. Good luck with your micro! Hope to see pics of your setup soon!

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596 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
How long is your tank? I know the Mr. Aqua 12 long is 24 inches..
You may be thinking of their 11.4 gallon?

Both the GLA and Mr Aqua 12 gallon long aquariums are ~36".

Mine measures 35.75" long, to be precise.

Oops, didn't see your second post after the question. Well there's the exact measurement anyway, haha.

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I wish you the best of luck. Keep us posted. I'll stay tuned.
Thanks! Will do! Nothing really to report at the moment. Some growth, trimmed the HC scraggly bits to hopefully encourage horizontal growth instead of vertical growth. I don't really want to up my lights at the moment while the tank is still cycling... We'll see how things go in the next week.

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Quick update, no picture at the moment. HC is definitely starting to fill in and I added some hydro japan which is still getting established.

Struggling with some thread algae, started half dosing excel to try and combat it.

Still not quite done cycling, but I suspect it will be done later this week as ammonia is zero and nitrite is just barely registering. Once I am, I've got some extra amanos in my other tanks to transfer over to go to town on any leftover algae.

Any more tips for the algae will be appreciated.

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Hm, probably just an unbalance of setting up a new tank.

I take a new, clean toothbrush and gently brush the HC. It catches the algae real well, only thing you have to worry about is uprooting your HC.
Ok, I haven't done too much to the HC for fear of making a mess and uprooting it. I'll try it out. I have been using a toothbrush on the rocks and hydro japan.

Yeah, I figure it's from imbalance of the new tank. I've been trying to dose phosphates at about half the EI level to counter the high nitrogen levels of the cycle, but maybe that's not the thing to do...

I'm not too concerned yet, I mean, the tank is only 3 weeks old... If I can't get a handle on it in the coming weeks I might start to get a little more concerned. :redface:

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Discussion Starter · #26 · (Edited)
Alright everyone, here is a long overdue update with pictures!

Overall things have been going well, HC is filling in quite nicely. The hydrocotyle tripartita has really grown...too much. I haven't trimmed the tank yet, but it's time. I particularly want to level out the "mound" look to the HC that resulted from my not breaking it up enough when planting... This weekend I should be able to and may post an update later. There is a patch of HC in the back that just will not stay down. :mad: (You can see it floating again in the pictures) I'll have to break it up and replant the bits. At least it's in the back behind some rocks so it's not too obtrusive other than an annoyance. There's another spot on the right that's similar, so I'll need to address that as well.

Plants are about all the same, except I added some alternanthera reineckii 'mini' that I stuck in between two of the rocks on the left.

Otherwise the biggest issue now is some GSA/GDA, but that's to be expected on the rocks that are right under the light. If I were better at keeping up on the brushing, it wouldn't be as noticeable. Though I think the GSA/GDA adds a nice touch of green to the rocks, haha. :icon_smil

The tank for a while just had some amano shrimp in there to take care of the hair algae, which they did a phenomenal job of. Then I decided to redo my corner tank, so the inhabitants of that were moved to this one. So currently I would say this tank is overstocked, but it's been this way for two weeks and I haven't noticed any issues. Fauna are about 20 amanos (half were from the corner tank), 3 ottos, and 20 cardinal tetras. I do have the tank over-filtered, and considering the plant mass and my minimal feeding, I'm not too worried. So don't bother telling me I'm overstocked, I'm well aware and most of the inhabitants will be moved back to the 40 once it's cycled.

EDIT: Forgot to add that I picked up a few more of these same looking rocks last weekend. I'm contemplating adding them to sort of bridge the two rock structures. This would also require me removing some of the HC...but I that can easily be done. The rocks are about half the size of the largest one on the left. Thoughts on this change?

Anyway, time for some pictures!


Left side (see that stupid HC...)

Right side (You can see a little bit of that other section that's lifting up)

Well as always thank you for looking and all comments are welcome! (unless you plan on berating me over the fish load :tongue:)

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Here's an update for everyone! Did a HEAVY trim on things, tore out all the hydro tripartita. That, as I suspected, wreaked havoc on the HC that it had grown over. This meant that I basically had to replant about 1/3 of the stuff. So that was fun. Also mowed the rest of the HC down and leveled things out a bit. I took the opportunity to swap out a rock as well. I took out the tallest rock on the left side and replaced it with a smaller one, let me know what you all think about that. Otherwise, things are good! Amanos are doing well, I lost one of the otos... and as mentioned, the cardinals are doing great! I also added some cherry shrimp, which are tiny, but I think they are all doing well! Hopefully I didn't accidentally pull some of them out when I removed the hydro...

Anyway, here are the pictures!

The cardinals and the one remaining oto hanging out in the corner. You can also see the scraggly bits of HC I replanted compared to the nice stuff on the front.

And here you can really tell the difference between the different HC, freshly planted in the back with the amano and old stuff up front with the cardinal.

Thanks everyone for the views and comments! Happy scaping!

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
New Scape!

Hey everyone, quickly put together this new scape the other day before I left for the holidays. I updated the OP with the new specs, but I'll summarize the changes: upgraded filter to an eheim 2215, rocks are dragon-scale stone, and added sand to the front.

Rock layout before putting them in:

What a mess...

Sand in:

Rocks in:


-right side-

-left side-

I really like the way the right side turned out, but I'm not sold on the left... just kinda ran out of creative steam. It can be changed.

Plant list (will change I think I don't like it all):
HC, replanted the bulk of what I had and chucked the rest. I would have considered selling it, but it was in pretty sad shape :(
AR mini, clipped the tops off what I had in there before and replanted
Blyxa japonica, I don't know if this will stay, I can't really decide...
Rotala mexinana goais
Couple mosses: mini pellia glued to the rocks in various places and xmas moss the become "pine trees" around the base of the mountains.

Thoughts are appreciated and any plant suggestions also appreciated. I'm not married to either the AR mini or the blyxa but would be up for something with small leaf structure behind the rocks. The rotala mexicana goais will be nice when it grows in, hoping for some nice small red leaves, might move it from behind the rocks to beside them, we'll see.

Forgot to add that I'd like to turn this into a shrimp tank, maybe some ottos, but otherwise I don't think I'll put any fish in there. Hoping to delve into the more ornamental shrimps. I have an RO unit to combat the KH/GH increase from the rocks, it'll take a little experimenting...

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
I like what you're going for, my only critique if you'll allow me, is that the tallest rock is centered. I feel like it should be farther to the right and you'd really have something special!
Hmmm, well I will say that the tallest rock is actually a little right of center. I think it just looks that way in the pictures. I wanted it to be around 1/3 of the way from the left, but it looks like it's more 2/5 of the way in instead... I'm not sure I want the tallest to be all the way right.

I appreciate your comment though! Thanks!

Nice rocks!

I like how you have arranged them on the right, but yeah, you look like you ran out of steam on the left. The last three on he left look a little out of place and are not "flowing" with the rest of the look. Now that I look closer, the second rock from the left looks too tall and is pointing in the wrong direction. Perhaps if you flip it on its end and lower it's horizon line it will compliment the tapering-off effect I think you are trying to achive.

Otherwise, looking great. You could get some pygmy Cories, a school of six or so would be great to watch digging in that sand.
Yeah, I had problems with that second to left one, haha. The other face of the rock doesn't have the same texture that fits in with the rest of them, I even considered just not putting it in there. I might be able to rotate it some to make it shorter and flow a little better. It does contrast too starkly with it's angle.

Pygmy cories would be nice. I think they would get along fine with shrimps.

Thanks for the suggestions!

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Loved watching the progress and changes. How's it looking these days?
Haha, thanks. It's certainly been an adventure. I need to do some revamping on this tank, actually. It's become a storage tank for plants while I've been setting up another one so it's been neglected a bit...

I'll see about getting some pictures this weekend when I clean up some.


Oops, I lied, haha. I actually had some pictures I can share now. I added some CRS and CBS a while ago, they're doing well, though I haven't noticed any babies yet but also haven't been scrutinizing the tank that thoroughly.


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