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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, first post here. First of all, thank you to everyone on here for creating such an incredible resource. This forum is my number 1 source of information.

Start with pictures!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157632782924016/

Plants:
-HC (just planted, not in most pics)
-Anubias Frazeri
-Red Stem Plant
-Green Stem Plant
(Some of the stem plants will be replaced as the tank settles in. Planning to add Riccia Rocks near driftwood, more Anubias in shady spots, maybe a crypt or two)

Animals:
7 Black Phantom Tetras
3 Botia Striata (Zebra Loaches)
13 Amano Shrimp
5 Ottos
(planning to add a small group of Angelfish)

Equipment:
-Mr. Aqua 48 gallon, 36"x18"x18", rimless glass tank.
-Fishneedit 150W metal halide, hanging from ceiling.
-Fluval FX5 with biomax, a handful of old eheim bio media with good bacteria, and one coarse filter pad and one polishing pad. Yes, I know that is a huge filter for this tank. More on that later.
-Pressurized CO2 with a Milwaukee regulator, and an Ista mix max inline reactor.
-Hydor 300W inline heater.
-Flourite/gravel mix (reused, with lots of mulm), capped with pool filter sand.
-Driftwood from the LFS.

Here is my thinking behind the huge filter: I know from my last tank that you can get by less filtration, but it takes more work. Also, if your filtration is low, you probably need to add pump(s) for circulation. I chose the FX5 because it is the highest flow rate and most media volume for the price, and it gets mostly positive reviews for maintenance and reliability.
Also, once you do the numbers, the FX5 makes sense for this tank: Pump is rates at 925 GPH, but that is just the pump without the filter. Once you add the filter, you get a rating of 563 GPH, but that is without media. I not only added media, but also an inline CO2 reactor and an inline heater. On top of all that, I am using a PVC manifold to connect them all. One you add it all up, flow rate is probably less than 10X tank volume.

There are a couple problems with using inline equipment with an FX5. First, the huge 1” tubing doesn’t match any other items (heaters, reactors, UV filters, lily pipes). Second, the flow rate is probably too high anyway (UV filters and CO2 reactors, specifically). So, instead of reducing the tubing diameter and running all of the equipment inline, I decided to make a PVC contraption that allows me to run up to 3 devices in parallel. To make changing out equipment and adjusting flow rates easier, I added ball valves, and also included a bypass so that I can maximize flow and/or run the filter without sending any water through the reactor or heater of whatever I choose to add. The main sections of the manifold at 1” PVC, and the device loops are ½” PVC with removable hose barbs to attach 13 or 17mm tubing. Right now there is an extra loop that I am not using, that may someday hold a UV filter, inline drop checker (anyone try that? Might be fun to build. As you can tell I do not like clutter in the tank), or ???
Here is the tanks progression so far:

After 2 weeks, the tank is running great! Zero ammonia and nitrites. Started EI dosing a week ago, and plants are growing well. Heading to the LFS later today to get some more plants and maybe a small group of Angelfish as the centerpiece.

Let me know what you think! Any recommendations for plants or fish?

-ETK
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! That plumbing took a while to design and build, but it was a really fun project and well worth it. I love being able to adjust the flow through the co2 reactor without reducing overall flow. With the mix max reactor you can see the wheel spinning and judge the flow rate visually.

I am in Sherman Oaks. Any good planted tank shops down in SD?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Angelfish, Anubias Nana, Crypt and Riccia

Here is a pic of the tank as it stands.

-Added three angelfish (Orange Marbled, i think)
-Added a second Anubius, this time a Nana. Perched in the driftwood on the right.
-Added a Crypt. When I removed it from the rockwool it came apart, so I planted it as three separate plants.
-Added Riccia. For now I am just floating it. After it grows for a while I will start making Riccia rocks to place around the driftwood.

Algae has finally made an appearance: a tiny amount on the glass, and a little on the sand. Hopefully the tiny patches of HC will cover the sand before the algae makes much progress. I also upped the CO2 a little. I am around 4 BPS.

I am also working on a light shield for the fishneedit metal halide. This version (pictured) is larger than the final product will be. I found Feral13's journal a little late, so I didn't know to pick up hinges for the light shield. Here is his awesome journal:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=120702
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Mahalo Tippee!

Here is another livestock close-up. This is one of three Botia Striata (Zebra Loach). I got these for my 29 gallon to control the snail population. They eliminated the snails almost immediately! I like these loaches because they stay relatively small and they are peaceful. Oh, and they have stripes. Who doesn't like stripes?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have had no problems with the Milwaukee regulator. The trick for the needle valve is to keep an eye on the pressure in between the tank and the valve. It needs to be 20-30 pounds. When you first set it up it sometimes goes down after after the first few hours, which makes the needle valve finnicky. As long as you get the pressure stable around 20-30 pounds, it works great and the needle valve is linear and stable.

I used to use a 2.5 pound tank, though, and that was a pain since it only lasted about 2 months on my 29 gallon. Also, I can't find any more of the specific washer that it uses. I have been reusing the nylon one it came with, which has worked fine so far. I guess it's reusable . . ..

The 10 lb tank has been great -- been using it for a long time. Much more than 4 times the useful capacity of the 2.5 lb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here is a close-up of my Angelfish. these are just under silver dollar sized.

Anyone know if their shape is normal?

I am curious about the rounded shape of their dorsal fins. Can I expect them to take a more typical stretched out Angelfish shape eventually? Are these fish healthy, or is their shape evidence of health problems or bad conditions previously? I have only had them a few days and they looked like this when I got them.
 

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Anyone know if their shape is normal?

I am curious about the rounded shape of their dorsal fins. Can I expect them to take a more typical stretched out Angelfish shape eventually? Are these fish healthy, or is their shape evidence of health problems or bad conditions previously? I have only had them a few days and they looked like this when I got them.
I may be wrong, but I believe the dorsal fins should have been "fully in the upright and locked position" by now. It's probably more a result of poor breeding/inbreeding that has occurred here. If the fish are eating well and you don't plan on breeding them further, no sense in not enjoying them for the time being.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Water Plant Pet supply Organism Wood


Here is the tank after the first real trimming. Not much to trim yet, but I am trying the make the stem plants into bushes, so I cut pretty low. I am going to cut them progressively higher each time in an effort to create the nice dense branching look that I have seen on other tanks.

Here is a pic of some of my Bacopa, which seems to be branching. I am not sure what this plant will look like trimmed this way, but I mostly have it I here to get the tank established, so I am willing to experiment.

Plant Water Terrestrial plant Flower Aquatic plant


I can't remember the name of this red plant, but it is really thriving. Not really sure how it will respond to trimming since the nodes are pretty far apart and the leaves are big, so I don't think it will make a dense bush.

Water Plant Wood Branch Organism


And here is the HC. No need to trim this yet, but I think it is growing.

Plant Green Botany Vegetation Grass
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Here are a couple pics of a light shield I made recently for my fishneedit 150 watt metal halide. Another TPT member led the way by showing how to use disassembled hinges to slide into the slots in the light. I chose to glue the hinges to thin aluminum from Home Depot (1'x1' sheets are about $1). All you need is a thin piece of aluminum, JB Weld epoxy, tin snips, 1.5" hinges with removable pin, and a metal file to take the sharp edges off after cutting the aluminum to size. Rectangle Tints and shades Font Electric blue Fashion accessory
Wood Rectangle Automotive exterior Auto part Electric blue
Table Furniture Desk Wood Rectangle
Water Property Plant Vertebrate Nature
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The plants are filling in nicely. Plant Water Leaf Botany Pet supply


Does anyone have any ideas for mid-ground plants? I like the way the light green stem plant is growing (Some kind of rotala I think), and the red plant is a nice contrast, but I think I want to replace the bunches on the front right and front left. I don't really know a lot of mid ground plants that work well in high light tanks. The anubias are growing great, but as expected they are picking up a little algae. Same for the crypts. Should I just add more riccia rocks?
 
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