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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,
new to the forum. new to aquaria. i've kept geckos for a while. currently just have one leopard gecko and one crested gecko that i created some nice naturalistic display tanks for.

My leopard gecko tank (a converted 55gal aquarium w/ timed day & red night lights, all DIY):




and my crested gecko tank (euro-style commercial viv, live plants, timed lights, timed automatic fogger that drops the fog through the easter island head's nose. this is when i first built it about a year and a half ago, it's way more grown in now):



anyway (it appears i've hijacked my own post),
so i've got a 25g tall that i'm in the process of building the faux stone background. here's some pics (apologies for the crappy phone pics):











ok so here's my plan,
this is after the 2nd coat of acrylic fortified grout has been applied. i will probably end up doing 4 coats. notice the column in the middle that will house the intake for an aquaclear 50 gal HOB filter, a heater, some air hosing for a couple air stones, and a small sponge filter on the bottom of the column to add some polishing, but mainly for the agitation of the bubbles to add in circulation through the column. the slots through the background allowing water circulation through the column will have fiberglass screening siliconed in. and then the whole thing will be siliconed in with butt-tons of silicone. after that i will do some finishing touches such as filling the spaces will grout along the edges & in the cut, as well as masking & painting the outside of the tank to hide the styrofoam of the BG. then i've read that i will need to fill it with water (possibly some vinegar as well?) & do multiple water changes over the course of a few weeks as the concrete significantly affects ph.

i've got a standing order with fosters & smith for an API master test kit, API stress coat, a hood, a floramax bulb, some new filter media, the sponge filter, & 20 lbs of black florite sand. i also have a very well stocked LFS that i can raid.

after the ph of the BG is stabilized, i was going to do about 2" of miracle gro organic, a 1" cap of the black florite, have the single T-8 floramax bulb on a 10on/14off timed cycle, & start with some java ferns, anubias, maybe hornwort, & start cycling with fish food flakes.

so, yeah. as i am a complete noob to aquaria, any suggestions, criticisms, advice, etc. would be appreciated. thx! sorry for the long-winded-ness of myself.

a question i have for the experienced, i would like to keep tetras in here. i've been doing some research & apparently they are a schooling fish, so would this 25tall with maybe 5gal taken up by the BG be large enough for maybe 25-30 tetras?
 

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I sound like a NOOB compared to where and what your starting with. Sounds like you've done your homework and everything sounds in order.

You could probably get away with 20 cardinal or glowlight tetras but since you've taken up the back and narrowed the tank that might be pushing it. I would shoot for around 12 or so and some bottom dweller like some cory cats. Its your tank however so stock it how you like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
thank you, c gwinner for your advice. i think after looking at my LFS's stock of fish, i'm planning on maybe 10 cardinal tetras, 3-4 platys, & possibly 3-4 loaches, or 3-4 otos. any other advice, criticism, etc., especially on my stocking choices & amounts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
another layer of grout applied. added some brown, green, & black acrylic paint to the grout mix. applied the different colors in thin layers leaving heavy black in the crevice of the rocks to make it pop.





the grout is still kind of wet, and a crappy point & shoot digi cam aren't really showing the colors well.

any comments, advice on my stocking choices? plz, i'm new to this and some guidance and advice would be highly appreciated-
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
very slow going here, i know. i'm doing this in my free time between two jobs. basically i have siliconed in the fiberglass screening for the equipment column, and put a thick layer of dark grout on the inside of the column to prevent the styrofoam from getting all nastified. took a few pics that i think show the colors of the rocks better.











 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
got the background siliconed in. did some touch ups like filling in the sides & the seam in the middle with grout, and some color blending. masked & painted the outside of the tank to hide the guts of the background. have it filled with water & will start doing the multiple water changes over the course of a few weeks to bring the ph back down from the concrete. really need to get a test kit.

question:
i've read that it's bad to get water behind the background in the styrofoam. i used tons and tons of silicone, including a fat, fat bead along all edges to try to keep it all water tight. alas, it's not water tight and water has worked it's way into the styrofoam on one side. why is this bad? what can i expect to deal with?





 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
got an API freshwater master test kit & a bottle of stress coat today. tested ph & whoa 8.2. advice? just keep doing full water changes everyday? is it possible to add some vinegar to speed the process? use a commercially available product such as API pH down?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
wow. almost zero advice after 20 days. this forum kind of sucks for noobs seeking advice. kind of seems more of an online aquarium version of wiener wagging.
 

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Well as for the helping hand, hopefully I can answer something for you.
First there are quite a few products that will lower ph. I use one that brings it to 7.0 and it seems to work well, it is by API...I want to say it is called neutralize 7.0. I wil check in the morning for sure.

As for the water getting behind the BG, circulation is the issue. Stagnant water can cause any number of issues. If it was a bigger tank and/ or you had left a bigger gap you could have used a powerhead to ensured circulation. But with it being such a small gap, I would assume between water changes and your filter that this shouldn't be a an issue. Well I hope this helped, your setups look nice BTW.
 
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