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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey friends!

It's been a while. For those who don't know(everyone), I was all about the planted tanks back in the day. I started getting into the hobby in high school, and the best I came up with was a 29g I put together with donated parts, life savings, and Christmas gifts. Here's a poor quality picture, for anyone who through all this time might have remembered the thread, and because first posts are more fun with pictures:



That was something like 6 years ago, give or take. Since then, I've had a couple more freshwater tanks, put together a reef, and dabbled with amphibians by way of a poison dart frog terrarium. I carried them back and forth from college, and put up with that headache for four years. Eventually, after graduation, I took a trip overseas for around a month, where my parents agreed to care for my glass boxes. It was nice of them. Everything died.

I decided that was a sign. I packed it all up, and decided it would stay that way until my life had settled down a bit. Long story short, that's now. Or, it's not really now, but now is close enough and the itch is strong enough that I'm allowing myself/my girlfriend is permitting me to set up the relatively small Mini L. So...hooray!

Anyway, that's pretty much where we stand. I have the tank, and I have some plans:

I've decided to try out the Finnex Ray II for lighting, which Amazon will be providing shortly. Beyond that I'm thinking of using a Koralia Nano I had for circulation, and going filterless, and sans CO2. That move's motivated by this tank being pretty much in our kitchen, and me knowing that as little equipment as possible will keep things looking nicer out in the open. I'm thinking I'll just stock with shrimp, which should be just fine.

As far as tank innards, I'm not completely determined, but the current plan is to attempt an Iwagumi look, with the star being a glosso carpet. That's my concern, though. I've never grown the plant, and I'm not sure how it might fare with only Flourish Excel under the Finnex. If anyone has any experience here, I would appreciate feedback.

But alright, enough typing my life story. I will update as things come together, but for now here is a quick cellphone shot of where things stand:



Riveting.

And it's good to be back.
 

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Nice sized tank! I have a similar sized 45P. Are you going to be keeping it on the counter where it is in the photo? It would be an interesting challenge to do an iwagumi viewable from both sides.

As far as plants go I much prefer Micranthemum tweediei 'Monte Carlo' over Glossostigma. Less demanding and better looking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey locus, thanks for the tip. I took a look at that Micranthemum, and I liked what I saw. The only holdup I'd have on something like that is it seems very similar to HC, which I grew in a previous tank. Kinda wanted to try my hand at something different. But attractive and less demanding is a pretty easy sell, as far as this tank goes. If the shoe fits and all that.

And yeah, the counter there is to be the tank's permanent home. I do think you're right, in that a hardscape attractive from all the angles it'll be view-able from will be a challenge. I would actually prefer your 45P here because of that. The extra depth would help immensely. The plan is to go rock hunting this Saturday, though, so we will see what I can find and make happen.

Thanks for the support, bereninga. Good vibes your way. But yeah, the Mini L seems a little like the red headed stepchild of the ADA line, honestly. Little in the way of a full ADA product support, and I think the Mini M and 45P are better proportioned. But it's a nice tank all the same, and I'm looking forward to putting something together.

I appreciate the compliment, klibs. Especially since I took the liberty of having a look at your linked 75g, and it's what my 29 always dreamed of growing up to become.

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Anyway, I was hoping to document the arrival of my fancy new light today, but unfortunately UPS seems to have no idea where the package is. So the first thing that could have possibly gone wrong with the setup has, but I figure it's good to get the hangups out of the way early. It's probably a good omen, when you look at it like that.
 

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Very excited to see how this will turn out, the dimensions of that tank will lend itself well to a nice Iwagumi scape.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm loving the optimism and excitement I've created by placing an empty glass box on a counter, AnthonyJ. I will do everything I can to not disappoint.

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But alright, some progress in a small way. My light found its way to me today, so I now have all the equipment I need. My girlfriend is not the most thrilled anyone's ever been over the cords hanging down, but I have done the best I could to minimize them.

Here's another look at the empty tank, with the equipment to be used:

Kitchen side:



Living room side:



That's it. That's all I got.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah, yeah, I know nobody was impressed with me putting a light on top of a tank and cleaning off a Koralia. But I was excited, and figured I'd go all out with the whole documenting progress thing.

On that note, I found some time and hunted for rocks a day early. So, here is what I've put together for the 'scape.

Kitchen side:



Living room side:







Walkway side:



Perhaps too many photos...

But, pardon the pictures, the phone could not really handle the brightness of the LED and so some detail is washed out. The stones look a light grey here, too, but are a dark grey/slate color with some visible quarts veins when wet. Use your imagination for that.

It was, as I expected, a little difficult to make something that I thought looked decent from each angle. I was forced into a sort of center mound look, and I attempted to use rocks to hold back substrate in a sort of retaining wall approach in order to get steeper slopes and more interesting gradients in such a small space. In the end, I'm pretty happy with what I have, though I'll be leaving it for a week or so and mulling it over while I wait for plants. So of course comments, criticisms, and advice are expected and most welcome. Speak now or forever hold your peace once plants root.

On that note, the plants. I ended up foregoing the glosso idea. I just didn't see it working how I wanted for the look I'm going for. I really think that some classic dwarf baby tears or monte carlo, as was suggested earlier, would do this 'scape right. I also intend to add a bit of fissidens to the crevice under the large stone on the kitchen side. I think it will help cover what seems to me an unnatural looking part of the layout, and add just a bit of contrasting color and shape. Again, suggestions welcome.
 

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I like the rocks! It's also pretty cool that this tank will be viewable from 3 angles. It seems a bit unnatural from the kitchen side. But if that rock that's holding the big rock gets covered by plants anyway, it doesn't matter that it's there. I like the switch to HC or Monte Carlo. Maybe even a few bits of DHG would look good in this. I like the progress so far though!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A thank you to bereninga for the only feedback I received on the layout. I even posted it under Aquascaping looking for opinions, and got nothing. I took the radio silence as nobody could think of anything to improve my 'scape, swelled my ego appropriately, and moved on.

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So, the final decision for foreground on this tank was Monte Carlo. I'm going with a dry start to this bad boy, hoping to preserve the slopes I've got in there.

As an aside, I got my shiny new plants from foster on the forums here, and he was generous with some extras. Normally I would have stuck to my guns on the plant list, but I got an unexpected few stems of Staurogyne repens, and that's a longtime favorite of mine I've not been able to work with. I threw it behind the largest rock closest to the wall. I think it'll look nice enough there.

So, while we wait, picture time!

Kitchen side:



Living room side:



I'm anticipating something like 5-6 weeks growing emersed, then flooding. I'll use that time to think over a stocking list...
 

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I am really excited for this tank!
Living in Australia now but moving to florida in July and obviously cannot take all my tanks with me so I have made the decision to start up a Mini-M when I arrive and I love watching other people Mini's come together!

I am not a great aquascaper by any means, but I understood what @bereninga meant about it looking somewhat unnatural on kitchen side. I do not know how it would look but my only suggestion would be making the father rock (main rock, whatever its called) slant towards the walkway side. Is this possible? Im sure you've already tried it and im sorry i've only just come in and said this after you've begun your DSM, just trying to help.
Love the tank mate keep it up, from your previous tank I can tell this will be amazing.

Subbed.
 

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Lol No worries. I feel like I've received a lot of radio silence on many of my own posts and journals. Maybe TPT is just not as active as Facebook these days. TPT is a place where OG's hang.

Is this your first time using Monte Carlo? I've done it without a dry start and it picked up pretty quickly as its a fast grower vs HC. Not sure if a dry start is as necessary for it vs HC. Now that I think of it, Monte Carlo is prob the better choice since you don't plan to have a canister filter and inject CO2.

On the S. repens, it's always really hard to resist to just one type of plant for an entire scape. I know I couldn't do it.

Don't forget about that fissidens in that crevice. Anubias petite or a Buce could do instead if you fancy that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Ha, no worries, Jamo33. Better late than never, I'll say. And I do agree with you guys on those rocks coming together on the kitchen side being a weak point in the layout. I stand by my belief that I'll be able to cover that in the long run with moss, though. If I'm honest with you, and myself, I don't think I'll move the rockwork now unless I'm very disappointed when things grow in.

Aside from that, exciting stuff on the upcoming move to Florida. Whereabouts, if you don't mind my asking? I spend a decent amount of time visiting the Daytona area, doing some fishing. I've toyed in the past with doing a native tank for the area, either fresh or salt water.

Anywho, let me know when you do get around to setting up the Mini M, so I can see what you get up to. Like I've mentioned, if I was starting from scratch and picking a mini tank, the M would be it.

And bereninga, it is indeed my first time working with Monte Carlo. If we're truthing here, I was not aware of it until locus tossed out the suggestion. I am open minded and he made brief, but solid points as to it's use here.

I decided to still go with the dry start for a couple reasons. For one, I am still a little worried about the lack of CO2 injection, and thought that all things equal, the tank would do better with well established, growing flora. I also wanted to give the Monte Carlo time to root well, and so hold the slopes that I've so painstakingly set up here. I've seen water hit sandcastles, and will be darned if the same thing happens to my little tank. Pardon the language.

Lastly, I have not forgotten about the Fissidens. I hope to have some here by the end of the week. I wasn't as worried about getting the moss in, honestly. worst comes to worst, I can just super glue a Fissidens moss there after filling even. The foreground rooting and growing is what I wanted to get going as quickly as possible.

Thanks for taking the time, friends.
 

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Doc, agreed. After all the setting up I honestly don't think I would go to the effort of moving the rock either and it might not even look good if you did, conclusion is its not worth it.

Moving into Summerfield, just shy of Ocala and Orlando.
Extremely excited for it all and hopefully the Mini-M will come soon after the move, but I doubt it!

Also with the fissidens, look at the yogurt method being used around, i believe shaman used it in all of his tanks with moss with great success!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey Jamo33, thanks for the interest. I actually had meant to post weekly progress pictures through the dry start; thought it'd be interesting enough to look back fondly on when growth really started to take off. Obviously didn't work out that way, what with life and all. Beyond that, the tank has pretty much been on autopilot. The light's on a timer, and I mist every week, or two weeks, or whenever a misting mood strikes me. That's about the extent of it.

The Monte Carlo is coming along, though. The Staurogyne is also rooting nicely, and doing its thing. Take a look for yourselves:



The Fissidens is around the other side too, don't worry. It's just sitting on the steel mesh I received it on, but I've been meaning to get it directly onto that stone. Just haven't quite gotten around to it...

But so the plan is still the plan. I'd guess three more weeks of doing nothing, based on progress and my current travel schedule. So stay tuned!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Wow, did I say three more weeks of doing nothing? I was just a bit off on that one. Things got a little busy for me, and I have not been terrible proactive with the aquarium. Trimming the dry start growth didn't really happen. I once cut back the Monte Carlo, something like two months ago, trying to promote thicker growth and better rooting. The Staurogyne also got a hack, and I replanted some of the tops to fill in the side a little more. And now everyone's pretty caught up with what I've done over 4 or so months. Doesn't feel like so much typed out like that...

Regardless, I ended up filling the tank over the weekend, and giving things a decent trim. Here's how we're looking:







There is still some patchiness, but I think once it fills in and once the Staurogyne grows back up a bit it'll look nice. Maybe at that point I'll attempt something better than the shoddy camera pictures I've managed so far, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
To give an update after about a week of having the tank filled: things are chugging along. I've not had any plant issues going from dry to wet, and algae so far has not been too bad at all. I'm blasting this tank with light, considering I'm not running CO2. I'm apprehensive, so I've also been heavy handed with the Excel. Currently I'm dosing every day about 5-6 mL, split into 2.5-3 mL servings about 10 hours apart during the day. That level has had a noticeable effect on the patches of cyano present from dry start puddles. They are still there, but shrinking. Small amounts of brown algae and biofilm have shown up, but nothing out of the ordinary for a tank startup. The water has also been slightly hazy since filling, and I am planning on doing a reasonable water change to see if that's all is needed to start clearing it up.

The plan going forward is to cut down on the light over the tank. I've ordered tint film to apply to the fixture, and am waiting to see the effectiveness and practicality of that solution. Assuming I can find a lower light level that keeps the plants happy, I will slowly step down on Excel until I begin seeing any algae crop up. If everything remains balanced with an Excel regimen I think would allow for fauna I'll start to give stocking some consideration.

And I know, I know, all I do is throw pictures of the same thing up all the time in this thread. I'm trying to make up for my months of doing nothing, I suppose. But so here is more of the same, the tank one week in:



 
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