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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone! I've been reading this forum for years and participating sparingly, but I think it's finally time for a tank journal. This tank has been running for almost 2 years total now, but was torn down and replanted a year ago when I moved. I recently built a DIY stand and light hanger and did some rescaping and I'd love to share it with you!

Some notes on my setup that may interest you
- The stand is made from cedar and galvanized steel piping.
- The light stand and some of my plumbing is made of acrylic rods/tubes that are cut to shape and/or bent with a heat gun then polished.
- All of the flexible tubing in my plumbing is silicone tubing made for cow milking machines. It has just the right amount of flexibility/rigidity, it's transparent and attractive looking, and it is completely inert and does not react with CO2. I had previously used several types of clear vinyl tubing and found that it would become hard and brittle and turn white over time which I suspect was due to the CO2 enriched water. I love this tubing but it's $25/meter from my source and I have yet to find a cheaper seller that carries the correct size for a canister filter.
- The empty glass tank on the bottom of my stand is to be a reservoir for an auto topoff system I'm working on.
- I never dose fertilizers in this tank
- My maintenance routine consists of
- Every 2 weeks: Clean the glass, clean the canister's mechanical filter
- Every 4-6 weeks: 50% water change, brush out filter plumbing, trim plants, replace/regenerate purigen, swap out CO2 diffuser for a clean one
- I ran an Ecoxotic E-Series fixture on this tank for a few months before giving it away to a friend and switching back to the Fluval. I was not impressed.
- I ran a Twinstar on this tank for the first few months and it did a great job. It has been removed from regular use for quite a while but I still run it for a week after introducing new flora or fauna to reduce the chance algae and parasite infections.
- I keep silver mollies because they have proven to be a useful solution to eliminating surface scum without having additional hardware in the tank. They eat the scum as it appears and my surface is always perfectly clear. I plan to add some small schooling fish to this tank at some point though.

Hardware
20 Long 30" x 12" x 12"
Fluval Aqualife & Plant LED
Fluval G3 filter
Hydor 200W inline heater
Aquatek Mini paintball CO2 regulator

Fertilization
Substrate is mineralized Miracle Grow Organic Choice Potting Mix capped with Eco Complete.

Flora
Dwarf Hairgrass
Dwarf Baby Tears
Pearl Weed
Anubias Nana (recently planted)
Crypt (not sure what type) (recently planted)
Glossostigma (rencently planted)

Fauna
Red Cherry Shrimp - 100-150
Silvery Molly - 5
Panda Corydoras - 2
Otocinclus - 4

Current Full tank shot:


Some views in situ




Thanks for reading!
 

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Very lovely.
I really like how you've let a beautiful lawn form, with out crowding it with taller plants. Too many times, I've seen that happen. The ones you have are tastefully chosen and tastefully placed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks to all of you who posted such kind words about my setup, I appreciate it! :)

What didn't you like about the E-Series?
To be clear, the E-Series is, in my opinion, one of the best freshwater planted tank LED fixtures that has built-in timing and moonlight features. It grows plants very well, is very power efficient, and it has "good enough" programming features. Unfortunately, I am extremely picky and difficult to please ;)

My criticisms:
- The resolution of their DAC is too low for a device that performs fades over 15 minutes. When continuously observing the tank during a fade you can clearly see it shift between each level of brightness in a way that looks very unnatural and is not elegant at all.
- I was disappointed with the amount of control you could have over the color temperature of the light with the RGB LEDs. There are only a few and most of the LEDs are a cool white, so the effect that the RGB lights has is too subtle for my taste. I'm not trying to get anything unnatural, but I was never able to replicate the same light that I get from my Fluval fixture which has the best looking light of any LED fixture I've seen. The E-Series always looked a little washed out to my eyes.
- The LEDs are not individually addressed. The entire strip's RGBW channels are controlled at once. In a strip that is supposed to do animations of rolling clouds and lightning storms, this is essential to a convincing visual effect. Speaking of the built-in animations...
- The built-in animations are not good. There are four or so animated settings that this fixture has and all of them disappointed me. They are all hard coded loops that are about a minute long, it's totally distracting and unnatural looking. They should have used procedural animations for continuously unique animations that never repeat. If you like to look at your aquarium for more than 60 seconds at a time, it's very noticeable.
- The timer features are very limited, you can only set one preset for daylight and one preset for night and and set a sun up and sun down time. That's it. It will always fade over a 15 minute period, you can only have a single photoperiod, and you are not able to have "weather" events like running the cloudy or lightning storm setting for a short period every day. Honestly though, all this is pretty understandable considering that...
- The interface is terrible. They are working with the hardware they had so I can't blame them too much for this. Given a single seven segment LED display and a remote with a grid of buttons there's only so much you can do. Still though, it's clunky and ugly and I don't like the way the controller box or the remote looks or works. I was reminded all over again how much I disliked the interface when I had to teach my friend how to program it when I gave this fixture to him.
- The underside doesn't look that attractive to me. This I'll admit is totally superficial and not a reason to dismiss a fixture, but when I already had several other disappointments this was one more point to consider when I was debating whether to keep it. Also, the cable that comes out of the fixture is ridiculously thick.

Now I'm back on my Fluval LED plugged into a timer and even though it doesn't fade or have a useful moonlight I am enjoying the quality of daylight far more and the design of the fixture looks much more attractive in my opinion.
 

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Inspiring build! Congratulations!


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