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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All of this is my girlfriends fault.

I became intrigued by her little betta named Jupe Jupe. It found great joy in squeezing underneath the tiny gap of an overturned piece of decor. I thought it was both amazing and sad, so I went to Petco and bought him a new double wide crib. It turns out that the coral stuck out of his bowl a few inches, so my girlfriend bought him a bigger bowl to house it. But while I was at that pet store, I happened to catch a glimpse of some fishes, and their low prices...and so this saga begins.

[to be continued]
 

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All of this is my girlfriends fault.

I became intrigued by her little betta named Jupe Jupe. It found great joy in squeezing underneath the tiny gap of an overturned piece of decor. I thought it was both amazing and sad, so I went to Petco and bought him a new double wide crib. It turns out that the coral stuck out of his bowl a few inches, so my girlfriend bought him a bigger bowl to house it. But while I was at that pet store, I happened to catch a glimpse of some fishes, and their low prices...and so this saga begins.

[to be continued]
LOL! you're gonna visit that LFS quite a bit:icon_lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, I've spent more hours browsing the LFS than I care to admit...but I digress.

As I returned home from Petco, I began researching the necessary components of fishkeeping. Little did I know that hours would turn to days, would turn to weeks...

How did such a thing happen? The planted tank.

Now, it is true that many people might see examples of the planted tank and move on, but when I first gazed upon such a living work of art, I fell in love. You see, I've had affairs with others of a similar nature. The asian arts, like bonsai and Chinese brush painting, captured my attention many years ago. In these, I have dabbled, but these passions take many years to mature. In the planted tank, I saw the possibility of both long-term perfection and short-term enjoyment.

So, to the drawing board I went.
 

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same on my case and I found out it does not take long to develop multiple tank syndrome. In my case I already have 4 tanks in just a few months and no matter how good you scape and/or stock it, new and better ideas keeps popping out.
 

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same on my case and I found out it does not take long to develop multiple tank syndrome. In my case I already have 4 tanks in just a few months and no matter how good you scape and/or stock it, new and better ideas keeps popping out.
Yep. 3 tanks in... what 2 weeks?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
After deciding to attempt the planted tank, I began shopping for the basic building blocks. The Petsmart starter kits quickly came and went as I considered dimensions and lighting needs. Upon discovering the 40 gallon breeder at a local high end dealer, I fell in love. The tank is manageable in length, not too tall, and has a mysterious depth that lends interests overall.

Tank: CHECK!

Of course, one can't buy a tank without considering a stand... Lucky for me, the 40B has an array of cheap but beautiful options.

...Ok, I kid. I kid. There is nothing of the sort. So, after looking into DIY stands on the internet, I ventured into my first aquarium stand build for the 40 gallon breeder.

Off to Home Depot...
 

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Oh your going to love it! As a new aquascaper myself I can say don't be surprised if after so much research what you think you need isn't what works. It's finding out what works for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Time to move the story along and get it caught up to the present...

The DIY stand is taking some time to build. I used this guys plan for the frame but to my own dimensions:



The stand will be a little more fancy, and a little more expensive, though. I used birch paneling and pine trim. I also made a door. Hopefully, the stand will be stained soon. I’m having trouble finding the right stuff for the job. I planned on using Polyshades Expresso, but it just wasn’t giving me a nice finished texture on a scrap piece of wood. I took it back for some water based stain and got a separate can of spar varnish. The water based stain didn’t give me the color I’m looking for, so I’m going to take that back and try something else. As soon as I finish the stain, I’ll post picture of the final piece.

The light that came with my 40B was traded in to my local used equipment store for a used Eheim eXtreme 250 canister filter and some sweet rocks. I believe the rocks are slate...? I would like to keep the rocks as the focal point. I’ve considered adding some wood, but I’m having trouble visualizing the rock/wood combo. I think if I’m not careful, the wood could take too much away from the rock. After looking at countless pictures of tanks, I'm still not convinced that I can pull off rock and wood, while keeping the rock as the focus. If you have any ideas, I'm all ears...eyes. Once the stand is done, experimentation will begin with the aquascape.

Four, 9 liter bags of ADA Aquasoil Amazonia was ordered and arrived. After doing a lot of research, I decided that I wanted to start with high quality substrate...hopefully I didn’t get pick-pocketed by clever marketing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
And now, for the last leg to get caught up to the present...

Craigslist has been helpful to find some odds and ends. I grabbed a couple box’o’randoms from two people. 

The first had a few nets, an algae magnet, a tiny hex tank, a hang-on-the-back filter, some test kits, some feeds and some water additives. The best part of that box was an undergravel heater with a stat. I was debating whether or not to use one and decided not to bother since they don’t seem very popular, but now that I have one for cheap, I might as well use it, no?

The second box contained a 150W Acura heater. I think I’m going to have to get an additional heater though. I was thinking about an inline to minimize the tank clutter. Also, there was a tub, a bucket, a siphon, some more additives, aquarium silicone, test kits, and a piece of driftwood. The driftwood keeps leeching off some brown residue. I think it maybe varnish, so I may end up scrapping it.

Do test kits or water additives (e.g. detoxifier, ph adjustments, etc.) ever go bad? Some of these things look rather old...

Home Depot provided a sheet of polystyrene for a few bucks and replacement hoses for the Eheim canister filter.

Lastly, my Finnex Fugeray came in the mail a couple days ago. It’s a sleek little light that should be perfect for my low-tech set-up.

Now, if I could just get this cabinet stained, I’d be in business...I tried a handful of stains and been disappointed with the results, though there may be hope in the last test piece...
 

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The brown coloration coming from the driftwood are tannins. You can boil the wood and do it a few times to remove more tannins. But only time and water changes besides the boiling is all you can do. I boiled driftwood and it worked for me it no longer leeches anything into the water.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Tapatalk 2
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The brown coloration coming from the driftwood are tannins. You can boil the wood and do it a few times to remove more tannins. But only time and water changes besides the boiling is all you can do. I boiled driftwood and it worked for me it no longer leeches anything into the water.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Tapatalk 2
Thank you for the input, Unikorn! I'll give it a try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Aquascape Input

Soooo...this stand is taking forever to finish! It will get a third coat of spar varnish tomorrow. Hopefully, it will be doing its duty in a couple weeks.

In the meantime, I've been fiddling with some aquascape ideas. Do you have any input? I'd appreciate it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well...I guess that means that it's amazing and couldn't be better. Next step: COMPETITION!

No really, lay it on me. What's the scape need?

I'm thinking a white or beige "river" through the little canyon in the midst of the ADA Aquasoil Amazonia. Yeah?

Also, this dry start method intrigues me. And Tom Barr seems pretty confident that HC grows fine in a low-tech set-up. With a Fugeray LED light and no CO2, what plants would you throw in the background, mid ground, and foreground?
 

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some staurogyne repens between some rocks would look great. Also i'm not sure if you're going iwagumi or not but some red stem plants would be great contrast against those stones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
some staurogyne repens between some rocks would look great. Also i'm not sure if you're going iwagumi or not but some red stem plants would be great contrast against those stones.
I look into the staurogyne. Iwagumi is certainly a love of mine, but I'm not strictly set on it. Do you have any particular suggestions for red stem plants? Also, I understand that "red" plants are really high-light plants, no? Thanks, Hecto!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'm so conflicted over plants...right now I'm leaning towards a dry start with marisela. Any suggestions for foreground? Maybe some moss? If I did moss, what's a good thread to learn start up?

In other news, the stand is nearly done. I'm debating whether to lay one final coat of spar urethane. I'll post pics as soon as I have the door on.
 

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Glosso is nice, marselia minuta is a deeper green so glosso being a more bright green color might make the rocks pop a bit more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Glosso is nice, marselia minuta is a deeper green so glosso being a more bright green color might make the rocks pop a bit more.
Hey puopg, do you have any experience with glosso in low-tech? i was shying away from it because of some of the things i was reading about it requiring high-light and CO2...
 
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