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Four years ago I joined this site and documented the build, and progress of my first planted aquarium. It was a very interesting learning experience for me, and I met a lot of great people on this forum, many have offered invaluable information, for that I am grateful ! I decided a few weeks ago that the 34 gallon Fluval Fresh & Plant had run it's course, So I started doing some research, and found the Fluval Flex 32.5 gallon ticked off all the boxes. I tore down the old tank, and gave it away to a friend of mine, in return he came into my home and helped get the new Flex stand built. What a pain in the butt that was !! I don't know if anyone else on this forum has built the deluxe Flex stand, but I can NOT recommend it. The directions are just plain stupid, so after much swearing and grumbling, it finally went together. Now that it's complete, I gotta say I do like the looks of it ! Very clean lines, and no equipment ,or wire visible. Even the C02 diffusser is concealed in one of the three filter chambers. I imagine I will be doing a bit of tweaking over the next few weeks. I decided on a minimalistic approach this time. For the scape, I filled 8 large mesh bags with lava rock, and used them as the base for the build. Then I used 9 liters of Tropica soil, and topped that with 6 litres of Tropica Soil powder. I had a lot of Seiryu stone, so that sort of inspired my scape. I also decided to keep the clean look by using just 3 plants, Monte Carlo in the front, dwarf hair grass in the back, and Christmas moss on the rocks. It will remain lightly stocked with a few of my remaining fish from the former tank. My plan in a few weeks is to add a good sized school of black emperor tetras. So stay tuned for weekly updates ! My apologies for the orientation of some of the photos, couldn't rotate, or change the order ??
 

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Discussion Starter #2
First week observations!
So it's been 5 days since I setup the new Flex 32.5 gallon. The first thing I have noticed is that the tissue culture plants are all growing ! It's quite a noticeable difference, but I believe it is because the mega flex is not as deep as other tanks with similar capacity. Also I really built up the substrate with several bags of lava rock. This aquarium came with one Fluval Aquasky led strip, but I did order a second one,which should arrive next week. Fluval supplies you with additional brackets when you purchase the aquarium, so they must know that you need additional lights to grow anything other than Anubias, or java moss. Another interesting observation is the visibility of my 6 amano shrimp! I had them in the old "Dutchagumi" set up for several weeks, and never saw them. I honestly thought they had all escaped,been eaten , or shriveled up and died, but no ! When I drained the old tank & removed the existing plants, there they were. All present & accounted for ! Since I moved them into their new home I can't believe how active they are. Really fun to watch. I had no idea they were so busy. 馃
 

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i had an acrylic tank once that looked like that.... made me super nervous! lol

all joking aside, tank looks great! very sleek! what kind of lighting did they set you up with? also did you get much ammonia out of that tropica soil? have only ever used ada soil, bought some uns contrasoil for my new build but was considering the tropica..
 

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Thanks, yes I agree. I really like the clean curved lines of the mega flex. The stock lighting that comes with the aquarium is the Fluval Aquasky. It is bluetooth, and offers several different programming options. Manual,Auto, and Pro settings, with a lot of different weather patterns you can program in, such as cloud cover,and lightning storms. I used to have the Fluval 3.0 plant light in my previous set-up, which I really liked. I guess it will take a while to see how the Aquasky compares. I have tested my water every day since I set it up, and so far I have zero Ammonia yet. The tank is very lightly stocked, with just 6 amano shrimp, 3 small otocinclus, and a couple panda garra. I have been adding Fluval Biological enhancer, and I think it may help to consume ammonia. I have two other fluval tanks that are also planted with Tropica soil. I really like it. Easy to use, and when you use the tropica soil powder on top, it is really easy to plant in, even the tiny roots of Monte Carlo.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Week two plant growth

Two weeks since I set up the Mega Flex. I have not received the much anticipated second Aquasky led light yet, however I am pretty pleased with the overall results so far. Currently running c02 an hour before the lights come on, then lights ramping up to 60 % maximum for another week. ( 6 hours a day) I will gradually increase intensity and duration so I don't get an algae outbreak. The aquarium was lightly stocked to begin with, and daily additions of Fluval Biological enhancer has kept water quality in good shape. I do test daily, and yesterday got the first nitrate reading of 20 ppm. I also added 12 lovely Black Emperor Tetras, so now I have them, 3 otocinclus, 6 amano shrimp & 1 panda garra. I haven't done a water change yet, but that's on the calendar for tomorrow. Here's how thing are looking before I added the tetras.
 

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Fish are here !
I just added a dozen Black Emperor Tetras, and they do look quite fabulous! Next week I will add another dozen, and that should do it 馃悷馃悷馃悷
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Black Emperor Tetras
Week 3 update
New school of Emperor's are doing great ! Plants are really taking off as well, especially since I added a second Aquasky led. Really pleased with the minimal scape. Looking forward to seeing how all the mosses do.Also just added a dozen Royal blue "Kerri" tetras.
 

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Six week update !
Everything has been doing well since I set up this 32.5 gallon flex 6 weeks ago. This aquarium has been the easiest to maintain so far. Not sure why ? I think maybe because I decided to try a minimal approach this time. Just a few different plant species, and no stem plants ! I think that's where I made some errors with my previous set up, and it turned into an unruly jungle tank. I was hoping to keep a very low profile with this newest project, and so far I am pretty pleased with the overall look of the tank. I have been experiencing some difficulties with the temperature in this aquarium, and have finally figured out the problem as outlined in " a lighting dilemma " on the Lighting thread.
So the problem I was having with constant high temperatures has a lot to do with the the hood/light configuration. It is very streamlined & close to the surface of the water. I added a second Aquasky led strip & that made a huge difference with the overall temperature, coupled with the fact the tank is tightly sealed, so all the accumulated heat stays around 78- 80 degrees even when the lights are off for 12 to 14 hours ! I had originally believed it was an issue with the pump, however that has been researched, and I don't think it really generates enough heat on it's own. So here I am at the six week point, No visible algae anywhere yet, except for a wee bit of green on some rocks. I have 16 amano shrimp, 2 otocinclus, and a panda garra for clean up crew. The tank it stocked with 12 Nematobrycon palmeri,and 12 Inpaichthys kerri.
Plants :
Micranthemum monte carlo
Eleocharis acicularis "mini"
Taxiphyllum barbieri
Vesicularia dubyana
Vesicularia montagnei
Eleocharis montevidensis

I am currently dosing 5ml of Thrive liquid fertilizer daily and doing 50 % water changes every 7 days. This schedule is working well, and keeps the N03 @ 20 ppm . TDS on water change day is usually around 300, but after a 50 % change it's approximately 100. KH =100 ppm GH=70 ppm
C02 is consistently in the 25- 30 ppm range.
Here's a now ,and then look at how things are going
 

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Do you think if you remove the two lights and drill small holes on the canopy directly above the lights the heat from the aquaskys will go straight out the tank?
 

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Do you think if you remove the two lights and drill small holes on the canopy directly above the lights the heat from the aquaskys will go straight out the tank?
Yeah, that's not happening. The reason I got this particular set up was so I didn't have to fiddle with it. I really love this hobby, but when it becomes an issue, then I quickly lose interest. Thank very much for you input though :smile2:
 

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Yeah, that's not happening. The reason I got this particular set up was so I didn't have to fiddle with it. I really love this hobby, but when it becomes an issue, then I quickly lose interest. Thank very much for you input though :smile2:
In that case maybe getting some spacers for the canopy and some type of a fan like this might be the only option
 

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Discussion Starter #13
In that case maybe getting some spacers for the canopy and some type of a fan like this might be the only option
Yes, definitely looking at getting a couple 4 inch fans for the back portion of the canopy. There is a removable piece in the canopy designed for filter maintenance. Two fans will fit perfectly !
 

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8 week update !
Total moss mania going on now ! Monte Carlo carpet is well established & has been trimmed twice. The Eleocharis Vipara is starting to grow on me! Had my doubts a couple weeks ago as it was supposed to be Eleocharis Montevidensis, but my plant guys got it wrong. My 24 amano shrimp are thriving. They love all the moss. Still have all tetras I originally added,no casualties. I did just add 3 Columbian ramshorn snails,but they have buried themselves in the Eleocharis Acicularis. Other than that,no new issues with algae outbreaks, fingers crossed as I continue to ramp up the dual light strips . Currently at 60 % intensity, on a timer for 8 hours. I do see a little algae on a couple rocks,but have a good clean up crew !
 

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It's a new year, so out with the old....
I had been debating what to do about the Elocharis Vipara I added a few weeks ago, as it was sent in error, instead of the Eleocharis Montevidensis, which was the desired plant. Anyway, I pulled it all out on New Years Day, except for one tiny bunch that my shrimp really seem to love. I am hoping that I will be able to finally get my hands on some Eloecharis Montevidensis in a few weeks ! I had planted three different types of mosses when I set this tank up. I must say I really like the way they are taking over the scape. I currently have 24 amanao shrimp, but never see them because they love to hang out in the Christmas moss. Next week I am going to add a dozen orange Sakura shrimp for a nice pop of color. Until then.....
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Did you end up fixing your heat issue?
Kind of resolved excess heat by removing the back filter access panel. Temperature has dropped to a managable 76 degrees.

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Super healthy patch of moss. I like it!
Christmas moss is one of my favorites. I agree, it is very healthy & home to several amano shrimp. I think that's why it's growing so well, the shrimp keep it algae free !
 
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