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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So this will be my first tank build journal, or attempt at one haha. Since I'm starting classes tomorrow, I'm not sure how often I'll be able to update, but I'll try my best.

I recently received a Mr. Aqua 12G Long as a Christmas present. It took a couple of weeks, but today, I finally got most of my equipment together and started my dry-start. My previous tanks have been sorta slap-dashed, throw stuff in and hope it grows kind of projects, so I wanted to set this one up slightly more "methodically".

Here's my 20G and 5G tanks. They've been pretty hit and miss when it comes to the planting, but is doing well so far. I'll admit, not the prettiest tanks in the world haha. The 5G is a quarantine/ holding tank as of now for extra fauna and flora. I have some White Clouds and Chili Rasboras in there for now. I plan to transfer most of the stuff over to the 12G when it's fully operational

Equipment/ Substrate So Far
Finnex Planted+ 24/7 CC
Tetra Whisper Air Pump 40
AquaClear 20 Filter
Two Sponge Filters
Fluval M 50 Watt Heater
Altum Aquatic Shrimp and Plant Aquarium Soil (guy at the LFS recommended it to me; apparently some sort of Japanese volcanic soil?)
AMACO Mexican Self-Hardening Clay, 5-Pound, Red

This is my first time using aquasoil, or anything that already had some nutrients in the substrate really. I just really wanted to do this right, you know? At least once haha. I used the clay to make a bunch of little balls, around the size of a small marble or tapioca balls, and had them air dry so I can use them as an iron supplement under my main substrate.

Might be a slight overkill on the clay, and I'm not exactly sure how long this will last me, but we'll see what happens. Trial and error. I added another layer of the soil on top of that before adding in my hardscape. I'm using some spiderwood and rocks that I happened to get in bulk.

why is this one image so big omg

Not sure if I'll change it up later or not, but it looks good for right now. So after this was done, it was time for me to wet the soil and plant my carpeting plant, in this case, some very sketch "glosso seeds" I got off amazon. (I'll include a link somewhere). And here ladies and where I SCREWED UP.

Not even 3 hrs into running this tank and I have possibly ruined this tank. Ahh typical. I should've researched these seeds more thoroughly before sprinkling them everywhere. So, there is a very high chance my mystery seeds from China could be Hygrophilia Polysperma or such (which isn't horrible; I'll just keep some in the back and rip out the ones in the foreground) OR they could completely be some seaweed seeds that is used for face masks _:)3 |L)_ I guess for right now i can:

one: Start plucking them out as they sprout and begin carpeting something else. I do have some Marselia Minuta sitting in a jar with some topsoil. I do also plan on getting some Hydrocotyle Tripartita Japan; might be easier. I have to wait for them to grow cause these seeds are like the size of my pores.

two: Wait and see what they grow into, pull out the foreground, and plant some Hydrocotyle or Marsilea. This way I might get something out of it. This will most likely be after it's flooded.

ignore the round rock on the far left. I'm trying to see if the seeds will grow on top of it so I can gift it to a friend

So this is what it looks like as of now. I have the light running on the 24/7 mode. I will have to play with the settings later when the tank starts filling up. I have two airlines running into the tank so that there is some air movement in there; I don't want mold to start growing. My house stays rather cool, probably too cool for the dry start. I might have to hang a heat bulb above it to make sure it get warm enough to stay humid.

And that's about it for now :)) If anyone has any advice or suggestions, it would be greatly appreciated. Even though I've had those two other tanks prior to this, I'm still pretty novice at this haha. I'm still thinking on what plants I want to use in the tank. I've had pretty good luck with Amazon Swords and Crypto. Wenditti so I might try those guys at the back corners. Also looking at some Java moss, Java Fern, and Anubias. What other plants should I get? If I haven't flooded the tank before removing the mystery plant, I might try another carpet plant to dry-start. Maybe Monte Carlo? I'm only dosing Excel for the tank so not sure how well it will go.

Here's the link to the seeds. Apparently the seller also sells some kind of functional lingerie if anyone is interested:

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45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Update -- 01/19/18

So it's been a few days since I initially set the tank up and I've made a few changes to the tank :>>

On Wednesday, I decided to remove as much of the seeds as I could and add in some sturdier carpeting plants. I took a strainer as tried to "sift" the seeds out by putting it under running water and catching them in a bucket. They're noxious to the environment so I didn't want them going down the drain haha. I think i got most of them out, around like 75%. The rest will just have to be removed as they sprout!

Speaking of sprout, a few actually popped up today! I'm plucking out the ones in the front and leaving the ones in the back corners to grow :)) Like Jasi said, they're still like a Christmas surprise haha.

I planted the Marsilea Minuta in the front right side and some Hydrocotyle sp. Japan towards the back. I filled the rest of the front out with some Pearl Weed clippings I got from the LFS. They didn't have any for sale but needed to trim their shrimp tanks so they gave me some. The plan is for the Hydro to fill out the back and have a carpet of Pearl Weed in front. They guy at the store assured me that they'll do fine emersed and without CO2, at least a lot better than what I initially wanted with glosso

Hopefully, they'll take off and do well. Going to stop misting since I may have over saturated the soil a bit from rinsing. But, I don't know how to keep the humidity constant. I don't see any condensation on the class; there's very little towards the substrate. Going to try to raise the tank temperature with a heat bulb or space heater and see what happens.

Also, been trimming the decaying leaves off of the Marsilea. Hopefully, it's just a normal melt to get use to the new set up, but so far they don't look to well.

This is right after replanting. Looks good so far!

Top views of the tank.

From today. Looks like it's rooting? I could be wrong.

Finally, the evil sprout has surfaced. I'll let this one live since it's not in the way of my carpet.

I'm wondering how I can get the humidity up. SoCal isn't a very humid place year round haha. If anyone has some advice that be great :>> And if anyone has any experience growing these guys emersed, I would love to hear about your experience :grin2:

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Please share some pics when you get a chance. I want to see this awesome tank!!!
I have been. But every time i post them they seem to disappear after a while :// ill try to figure out what's wrong! Thanks for taking an interest! I'll post an update soon!

Bump: The tank is doing well! Most of the plants are sending out runners and new shoots. The seeds are sprouting, too, so I have to pluck them out once in a while. It feels like I'm weeding my crops haha. Apparently, the pictures I embed are disappearing after a while, so I apologize if you can't see them. I'll try to figure out what is wrong. But for now, enjoy the new pics of my sprout-lings :>>

Organism Soil Non-vascular land plant Annual plant Natural material

Organism Glass Aquarium decor Pet supply Freshwater aquarium

Nature Green Blue Grass Organism

They're sending roots!

Nature Vegetation Organism Blue Green

Top shot of the Pearl Weed (HM) and Hydrocotyle

Produce Ingredient Seedless fruit Fruit Grapevine family

Marsilea growing tall

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The power head will be placed in the tank to create water flow and circulation. It is important for carpetting plants to have enough flow as to not create low flow or stagnant areas in the tank that may cause die opt due was spots.
Good start!! Keep it up!
Ah. I see :>> I'll look into some! Thinking of looking into the Koralia nano powerhead. Hopefully it won't be too strong for the fish. Planning on stocking with some chili rasboras and pygmy cories. Do you have any that you can recommend?

Also, thinking of possibly making a sump out of those long, plastic planters and growing some house plants in there hydroponically. Might be cool, but it's all down the line once the tank is further along.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Apologies for my terrible spelling and odd sentences, must have been having late night insanity and illiteracy.
Personally I am a huge fan of chili rasboras and have no quarrel against you having them, good choice. Cannot vouch for pygmy corys, maybe they would make a mess of the substrate? Not too sure about their habits.

Definitely know what you are talking about with the planter, except one thing. A sump could be a difficult thing to grow terrestrial plants in, IE you now have to have sufficient light inside the cabinet and depending on plant type it will be stunted by cabinet height and not to mention completely hidden from view inside there. Have a search around TPT and look for some of the members HOB (essentially a HOB) planters. They sit at tank level and grow all types out the planter box, up the wall etc. Very cool stuff, but if you want the plants in the cabinet that is possible too.
I have a space behind the tank, so it wouldn't be sitting inside a cabinet, but thank you for all the advice :)) I'll take what I can get hehe. Been looking at planted HOBs recently, too. so that might be a cool in-between.

However, as of now might have to hold off on adding extra weight onto the table the tank is currently on. I just realized it's dipping severely towards the center where my 5G used to sit, and now the center portion of the 12G does not rest on the table flat, even with foam underneath. Big no-no. Well, I'm not planning on filling this up till April, so I have until then to either buy a new table, add some supporting beams to this one, or build a new one once I'm done with this semester of classes. Currently eyeing some ones I found on Target. Hopefully they'll be able to bear the weight of the 12G (or at least 200 lbs).

Other than that, plants are doing great. Got lots of runners from all the plants. the Pearl Weed is starting to fill out nicely and the Hydrocotyle is growing super fast. I might want to just grow a tub of these guys for fun haha. I also moved some Cryptocoryne Wendtii nodes I pulled out from my 20G when trimming and planted them. Hopefully, they'll grow well. They were looking a bit limp and sad this morning. Also, planted an avocado plant I've had hanging in my 20G about 6 months now. Small experiment to see what happens.

Need to figure out how to fully program my light. As of now, I can't get the settings to save, and it doesn't seem to be turning completely dark 1AM-5AM (I pull quite a few all nighters). Gotta get that sorted definitely before I flood. Also, looking at GLA CO2 kits even though I wasn't planning on using CO2 at all. I was helping a friend choose one for his tenner and got secondhand "I-want-it" syndrome. All my tanks have been surviving well on being relatively low-tech so far. I'll think about it in a few month when I catch up on a few paychecks haha. But, I know for sure I'll at least get the Korila powerhead.

Bit of a long post. I'll post an update with pictures soon! It's getting late here and I'm not in the mood at 2 AM to upload pictures from my phone haha. Good night.
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