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Ethan's Mini M

4692 Views 24 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  ChemGuyEthan
Hi everyone,

Tearing down the Fluval Chi after my absence and an algae outbreak I just can't seem to get a handle on. I wanted to try my hand at more of a Takashi Amano, Nature Style tank. He has several examples of this sort of "Island" setup with rock barriers and shallow sandy fronts to them, I've never tried something like that to this point...

More up to date photo March 5th, 2015:

So here we go.

Specs:

ADA Mini M
Eheim 2213 with lily pipes
Inline paintball CO2
Light will be a 12 inch BML dutch planted suspended at a height to be determined later, probably several feet at first, haha
remineralized RO water filled only, no tap
Mild EI dosing
Spiderwood
Yamaya stone
ADA amazonia soil in the back
Generic medium/light colored sand up front

Flora:
[STRIKE]Blyxa Japonica and/or java fern, needle-leaf
Probably some bolbitis and/or hygro pinnatifida, just fern-like stuff.[/STRIKE]
Now will be mostly DHG and Buce of various species
mini pellia and fissidens fontanus
something red, probably a rotala species just for some contrast


Fauna:
Perhaps some otos
Shrimp (CRS and CBS most likely)

Here's the current setup, just trying to place everything in there for now. I will eventually glue the rocks down and fill in the back with aquasoil.





Top down


Let me know your thoughts. I'll probably fill this weekend. I think already the rock wall is a little too high, but perhaps with plants and the sand it won't look quite as pronounced.

Thanks!
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I don't think the rock wall it too high. You could have a foreground plant (hc, ug, glosso etc) or just sand - either way the height of the rocks looks good to me.

From the center all the way to the right the rocks are in a nice position.

From the center all the way left they look to be stacked, a little unnatural. See if you can play with their direction. Try to 'lock' them in. The bottom layer is ok, but the top isn't working for me.

As for the dw, it's very nice. An extra piece shooting off to the right would be cool too.

edit: just had an idea. Have the rocks start high on the left (even higher than what you currently have by an inch or 2), then, as they go across and sweep around have them gradually get lower to the substrate. So the last rock at the back is almost touching the sand (assuming there will be sand there). going for depth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ah, yes, the "stacked" look. I couldn't really place what looked so off about it, haha. I definitely agree with that. I like the idea of having them even higher on the one side and then trailing down to the right, that would certainly give an interesting perspective! I plan on using superglue to hold the rocks together so I don't need to worry about them falling over, haha.

I also wanted to get another piece that would shoot off to the right as well, just couldn't find one that suited the purpose or that I could cut up to do so. I'll have to go check out another shop this weekend and see if they have a good piece for that.

Thank you for the comment and suggestions!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Been pretty busy so I haven't really done anything, haha.

I did manage to pick up some more wood. I'm deciding between a few wood arrangements though I think I've settled on one in particular. Also looking to try and figure out how to get the rocks to look more natural, I think the last picture looks the best, but I'd like some opinions.

So here's the long string of pictures.

Wood option 1


Wood option 2 (similar to option 1 but the wood is just pushed closer together)


Wood option 3


And wood option 4 with rock option 1, I like the wood in this arrangement the most.


Same wood arrangement, different rocks


Same wood arrangement and the rock layout I like the most


Same wood and rocks, just top-down view


There's still just something not quite right with the last one, I'm not totally satisfied with it.

Once I decide on the wood, I have a piece of slate I'll attach them to and then go to town on the rocks and everything else. I've acquired about half the plants at this point and have them temporarily in another tank but I just have to get everything put together hopefully this weekend if I don't have to work too much.

This will probably be moss-heavy with buce, ferns, and some rotala species. Might not go with the NL-java fern, we'll see.

Thanks in advance for the opinions and comments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, last scape planning post, I promise, haha. I'll finally have all the plants in this week so I can tear down the Chi and get everything put together.

So I don't have the substrate all in yet, but I did get some more stones, much more variety now (grabbed about another 2 pounds). Some small pieces too to make things look more realistic.

I decided on somewhat of a terraced design. Back left will be the highest point where the wood will be. I'll have some slender stems in back, maybe blyxa japonica, or a thinner-leaved rotala (I have a few options). This tank will be medium-ish tech so I don't plan on any super challenging plants. I have mini pellia and fissidens to plaster all over things along with a bunch of buce plants for the rocks and wood. The back right will be the next highest terrace and will have some medium height plants, currently planning limnophila mini vietnam and pogo helferi. The front left will be the next highest terrace that will comprise solely of dhg belem. And finally the front right corner will be a real small layer of sand. Here is the rock layout for now.



The wood in there. I plan to have it sitting higher up once I get some substrate in there. This will also force the branches to trail just a little more to the right than they do now. I also have some more rocks I could pile in the back left instead of the tall stems.



I could also do tons of wood, but I'm not sure I like it that way.



So, any last minute comments are appreciated. I'm becoming much more satisfied with the scape and I'm quite glad I got some more rocks to fill things in better.

As always thanks for any comments and for viewing the thread!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks! Just need to do a little more tweaking with some of the rocks, but overall I'm done!

Yeah, planting will be fun, haha.

Got some mini pellia to plaster all over the place. And buces galore!

Should make a fun little playground for some shrimps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well everyone, the day has come. The Chi was taken down and this has been put up in its place! And we are now planted and filled!

Current list:

ADA Mini M
Mini M mat
Eheim 2213 with lily pipes
in-line CO2 from paintball tank
heater is a cobalt neotherm
BML dutch planted, suspended currently about 1 foot and dimmed to ~50% (I might change this out at some point, but it's what I have for now)
ADA Amazonia powder and normal along with some generic sand
Yamaya stones and root/spider wood

Plants are:
Bunch of buce plants glued in (more species than I can remember right now)
DHG belem
some random stems in the back that may or may not stay there
mini pellia
some floaters for light/nutrient management while cycling since pretty much everything in here grows slow

Fauna will be shrimp, that'll probably be it.

First though... fuel for the journey ahead, delicious cup o' joe.


No more Chi.


Loaded up with buce!


Add some mini pellia


(unfortunately kinda crappy pic, I didn't notice the glare from the light until workup so it's not the greatest quality)

And now filled!


Needs a little cleaning up, but not bad if I do say so myself!
 

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I like it! Not too shabby! Are those RRF? Be careful with a big current on the surface. My RRF all got sucked under the surface and thrown around haha. It looks like a thick mist or fog. Sort of spooky.

Your tank looks a little unlevel by the way. The left side seems higher than the right based on the water level line.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks! It does look like it's foggy in there. I kinda like it now that you mention it.

And, I noticed the waterline this morning, haha. I'll have to find something to put under that side so it's level...

Oh, and that's salvinia minima. Surface under-current doesn't seem too high, they were all still on the surface this morning at least.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
got an updated plant list???
Heh, yeah, more or less. Lots of buce (some mini species and some regular size). I honestly don't know all their names anymore, haha.

Also some DHG belem, some mini pellia, and some random stems I had. Probably line the back with some rotala species or ludwigia for some color contrast. The floaters are salvinia minima.

And that's it. Pretty simple. Didn't want anything too complicated in this one.

So far so good with this tank. No pictures since not much has changed. I was gone for a week and a half and a fair amount of the water evaporated (it was warm here this past week), but looks like nothing is worse for the wear. No noticeable algae yet except the filter outflow, which I'll clean out this weekend.

I'll get some pics again in a few weeks, I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Alright everyone,

Figured it's time for an update!

It has occurred to me that it's been almost 2 months since I filled this tank! Crazy how time flies. I will be honest and say I've pretty much been ignoring it as far as maintenance is concerned. I cleaned the filter twice and had to clean out the clear tubing since it was growing some stuff... which was pretty gross.

Otherwise it's been hands off, just let the cycle go and plants grow. Dosed potassium a little bit and am due for some micros, I think. Maybe start in with some phosphates and nitrates now.

Here's the full tank shot!


And I have now added some inhabitants as well! That's the real reason for an update... Added 2 amano shrimp and 10 cherry shrimp from one of my other tanks. So far they seem to be doing well! Just grazing around the tank. I've got the CO2 down to about 1 bubble per 3 or 4 seconds, not much surface agitation, so it doesn't off-gas very quickly.

Here are some pictures of them!

One of the larger amanos...


Little guy I snagged out of the bigger tank. For an idea of size, remember that's dwarf hair grass he's clinging too!


And finally one of the adults (female?) hanging out on a twig. You can also just see one of my favorite suprise buce plants in the top left corner. Got it as a single, purple leaf and it's now sprouted 3 more and is quite a lovely color.


I hope you have enjoyed this! I worked on this instead of grading today... so you better like it! :hihi: :help:
 
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