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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The DIY Quad 40g Stand Journal
with bonus Main Display Tank
see DIY link in signature for the cross reference to the thread

I have been a member here for a few years now but never really shared pics of any tank I have kept. Honestly, I wasn't too proud of them, lol. Although I have been in the hobby for more than 10 years, up until a few years ago, I wasn't over excited about creating show quality tanks. Mainly because I wasn't aware of what a show quality tank meant. That quality was brought to my attention in 2012. That is when I developed MTS. Its been a long road since 2012 but I finally feel that I have progressed enough to start a journal to show what all my efforts have been for.

This will be the journal in which I post to for every tank that I setup from here on out. Previously, I only had a 29g tank setup for the past 2-3 years. It was suppose to be an emergency tank from when my mid-tech 55g planted tank went down. In 2012 when my 55g lost its seal I resealed it but never put it back in the mix. My thought process was to upgrade the 55g to a 125g. As I entertained the thought, the 29 was to be temporary. It didn't happen that way as I kept pushing it off. The 29g turned out to be my main display for about 2.5 years. It's now part of my garage experiment. The pic below is from when I had my 55g setup and of when the 29g stepped in for its temporary replacement.

55g from 2009. I had just reset this up after moving to a house

29g as the temporary

I moved the planted 29g to my garage at the end of fall last year as an experiment to know how my other tanks would fair in the garage prior to setting up other tanks in there. The tank and its inhabitants survived a Texas winter. There were several days in which the tank was pushed but things pulled thru. The temps stayed at 70 or above as I had (2) 150w heaters going and they struggled at times. They were set to 76-77. On the days the tanks struggled to hold 70, my garage thermostat reads 40-45. This is the lowest it reads for winter here. Garage temps of 40-45 is when it's 20-25 degrees outside so not to shabby I guess. North Texas sees 1-2 weeks worth of temps below 30 on average so my garage setup should hold up for winter. Summers are a different story. That part is coming up and will really test my ability to house fish. Cooling methods are already considered.

The current status of the 29g is not really show worthy. As mentioned above, its setup as an experiment so there is stuff that is visually not appealing but I will post it anyways. Currently it is EI dosed with a Finnex Fugeray and it gets 1bps pressurized co2.

Plants are Frans Stoffels swords, Wendtii Bronze, Anubia Coffeefolia and Tiger lotus. I had recently modified the lighting duration but had to dial it back again due to green spot algae increasing. I increased the photo period because I had recently purchased some Nerites and wanted to grow a little more algae for them. The tank already had BBA issues but it was brought within reasonable toleration. It has now kicked back in a little more now so I get to fight it some more.

Fish are 7-8 Panda Cories, 3 Metae Cories, one oto, 1 cardinal tetra and 25 Nerites. The lone oto was the lone survivor of the 2012 55g tank take down out of 4. The lone cardinal is the only survivor out of 2 dozen from the 55g. It use to be housed with half a dozen in the 29g as the others have perished within the past year. There use to be a female bristle nose that I got when she was 1-2 months old . She was in my 55g and migrated to the 29g as well. I recently took her back to the store I got her from and she now has a mate for breeding. She was housed with a slightly younger male. The 29g was really just to small for her anyways but she made due. The Nerites are a recent purchase as I was going to place them in my 125g as part of the clean up crew but I wanted to let the plants settle in first. But nevertheless, here is the 29g currently.

I have spent a 1/4 of the time here by collecting components. I think I have enough to really start putting some scapes together with all the other components in place now. I have probably spent $300 or so here over the course of 2 years. I have gathered some Oregon Coast Driftwood from one particular Evil Bay seller. Some Malaysian Driftwood from multiple sources but primarily Evil Bay as well. My rock collection mostly came from a local stone yard and they weren't exactly cheap either. I probably spent $130-150 here. There Seriyu Stone alone was about 40% of that cost.

Oregon Coast Driftwood collection

Malaysian Driftwood Collection

Oklahoma Surface Collection

Basalt Collection

Sandstone Collection

White Crystal Marble Collection

These were recently broken down into much smaller pieces as they are the largest pieces I have collected of all the rocks. I will be using them in my first scaped 40g tank and wanted to go with smaller boulder formations.

Petrified Wood Collection

These are the rocks I have had when I first entered the hobby in 01-02. They were part of my 55g setup. I ended up trashing half of the collection because I didn't have a place to store them at the time of my 55g crash. I still regret trashing them til this day, lol.

Seiryu Stone Collection


These are the only rocks that I could not get ID for while at the stone yard.

All rocks above were vinegar tested and muriatic acid tested. As a result, some coloration changes occurred. Most noticeably was the Seiryu Stone. The goal with my rock collection is to have a different type in each tank.

For the most part, outside of lighting, I have quite a bit to work with here to start setups. A goal here is to have (8) dirt tanks with (8) different caps of substrates. So far I have:
1) Flourite Black
2) Flourite Dark
3) Flourite Red
4) PFS
5) Safe T Sorb
6) Black Diamond

I would like to try Eco Complete, Aquasoil and perhaps Turface if I decide not use the PFS as an overall cap. I'd like to use PFS as sand pits thru layout designs but I will see. Pictured I have MGOCPM and the Home Depot counterpart Vigoro Organic Potting Mix. I originally bought the Vigoro brand for a head to head comparison to see if some savings could happen with the cheaper HD brand. I did the experiment awhile back for about a month. Once I saw the Vigoro brand loosing pace with the MG, I stopped the testing as there was no need to go further. I didn't have tanks to place the MG grown ground cover had I grown it out, so I just took the tanks down.

Not pictured but I caught one heck of a deal about a month or so ago on MGOCPM. I went in to purchase 2-3 bags. I left with 5 bags for $0.00. Yep that's right. They were given to me. I posted on the subject awhile back for everyone to check their local Home Depot for the clearance. But in a nutshell, the Home Depot I shop at had them on the sales floor in which they were suppose to be trashed. Each bag was actually marked down to $0.01. Clearances this low, HD typically trashes stuff. I know the system because I worked there from 2003-2012, plus the garden associate told me this. Since the product was still on the sales floor, they couldn't ring me up at $0.01 at the check out so they just gave them to me. That actually offered me to take more but 5 bag plus 1 at home already was more than enough for my needs.

The Grow Out Tanks
I finally broke ground and started making progress with the Garage setup. For those that have followed my DIY Quad 40g project (see link in signature), this is a leap towards those tanks you all have wanted to see get setup. The grow tank is now in effect and will be responsible for stocking each tank upon setup. Instead of buying plants to fully stock (8) different tanks at (8) different times, I decided to use my 125g as a grow out tank to heavily stock each tank at setup.

Quick story on the Grow Out tank
I got this tank for $40 bucks on craigslist back in June of 2013. The plan was to use it as my main display tank. This was one of those to good to be true deals but I just had to check it out. The tank and the stand's original asking price was $60. The seller was a young lady who got out of the hobby for several years and her dad was just storing it in their shed. They wanted to get rid of it since it was wasting space. So I am thinking, worst case scenario, I can use it for something like making RO water if the tank was ruined. So I went across town to check it out. It was in garage/storage shape so I figure I could just take it home and get it cleaned up to see what I really got. Good thing they lowered the price for they really just wanted it gone. Below is the tank when I brought in home in June of 2013.

Well I get her home and cleaned her up that weekend thinking I had a heck of a deal. It turned out, I only had a deal. Once clean up it turned out that there were swirl marks on all the glass panels as if the Karate Kid was practicing wax on, wax off. I was like, I can't believe this. Then I thought, yes I can. It was cheap, used and eager to be sold for a reason. That's when I de-rimmed it as I was going to just break it down for scrap glass for my sumps. Then I thought I could use it for RO storage but changed that thought obviously. After deliberating, I got the thought to use it as a grow out for my MTS. So that's exactly what I did.

The Progression
The grow out tank started taking form 2015-04-06. I needed to get things in place first before getting it going though. I started doing the plumbing for it in early spring. Then I started addressing its lighting needs. The light fixture you see above it was the result of that build. You can see the construction of it along with other things in my DIY link from my signature. Once the lighting components from AH Supply came in, everything else just started falling in place.

Originally I had hoped to use MGOCPM uncapped for the substrate. This would give me a good nutrient based substrate and allow me to easily pull up the plants when called upon. I filled it on 2015-04-06 and let it charge up for about a week and a half with the MG I had on hand. The problem with the MG I had is that it was dried out, like 2 years dried out, lol. I did have unopened bags of it but chose not to use it.

Back in 2013 when I thought I was going to get this whole project underway, I had bought like 5-6 bags of MG and went about screening it. Later I found out that it wasn't really necessary. I won't go into detail but there was a thread I started back in 2013. I am glad I started that thread about needing to screen MG because it was debunked by Wndracer himself ( the Dirt Fraternity starter). Anyways, I wanted to use what I had opened instead of having it go to waste. The problem was that it was so dry that it had to be water logged. After 3-4 days, 2/3 of it floated. After 1.5 weeks, 1/3 of it remained floating and wasn't smelling so great. So I removed it and replaced it with Safe T Sorb with Osmocote sprinkled on the bottom.

The attempt to water log the MG

Safe T Sorb fill and setup

Dividers made using 1/8 acrylic from HD. Drilled 1/8" for flow circulation.

I let the Safe T-Sorb charge for about 3-4 weeks prior to continuing. Perforated dividers were made and added. Plant order was placed on 2015-04-27. Turned out to be a $200+ order for I thought I should stock as heavily as I could. Not to bad for I was expecting to pay closer to $300. The original order list is as follows:

1 Cryptocoryne Wendtii v Tropica
2 Cabomba Pulcherrima
3 Limnophila Aromatica Hippuroides
4 Pogostemon Stellata
5 Rotala Macrandra
6 Limnophila Indica
7 Ludwigia Peruensis
8 Hygrophia Balsamica
9 Cabomba Furcata
10 Bacopa Australis
11 Eleocharis Acicularis
12 Ludwigia Inclinata var. verticillata
13 Hermianthus Callitrichoides
14 Glossostigma
15 Blyxia Japonica
16 Pogostemon Helferia
17 Shinnersia Rivularis
18 Staurogyne Repens
19 Echinodorus Parviflorus
20 Cabomba Carolina
21 Potamogeton Gayi
22 Echinodorus Frans Stoffels'
23 Hygrophila Corymbosa Kompakt
24 Telanthera Reineckii
25 Nesaea Golden
26 Echinodorus Cordifolius v. Tropica Marble
27 Ludwigia Needleleaf
28 Ludwigia Inlinata var. Cuba

the Plant Order.

Plant dip in progress

Due to some items not being in stock there were a few that did not make the shipment I received on 2015-05-08. On top of that, there were some issues from the online seller I purchased from. I won't blast their name in this thread though. Some items didn't ship well at all and I was charged for some that where not sent. I was even shorted on a couple of items which really ran me hot. One of plants was even substituted when I left a message for them not to sub upon ordering. This was what the site said to do when you don't want subs. I called to discusses the issues I had and the owner did resolve them. The issues I had where corrected and the seller added some bonuses for the next shipment. I received that package 2015-05 29 as the items where now available from back order. Again there was an issue as one item didn't not ship well. The seller uses 2-day shipping for one. I'd rather pay the extra and pay for overnight shipping but I wasn't given that option even though they claim they do it on their website. I don't recall having issues with plants melting when being shipped over night in the past from the online site I typically purchase from. All in all, I probably won't return to this current seller for any more plants. They did have a great selection with competitive prices, I will give them that but I will return to buying where I have always bought from in the past. At any rate, here are the grow tanks.

Day 1 Setup for the 125g

The 10g tanks are stocked with the following; DSM style:
1 Glossostigma
2 Hermianthus Callitrichoides
3 Utricularia Graminifolia
4 Eleocharis Parvula

Week 1 10g DSM

I ended up having to locally purchase Eleocharis Parvula. It wasn't the hair grass I thought I was getting at first. I also ended up purchasing Limnophila Aromatica Hippuroides, Pogostemon Helferia and Staurogyne Repens. The Repens and Downoi was melted badly on the original order and the Hippo grass didn't look much like the photos advertised. The problem is that the seller didn't state anywhere on their website that they grow a lot of their plants emersed. Quite a few of their plants didn't look like I thought they should as the result of me not being aware of the emersed grown plants. The claimed that they grew everything in house but the order told a different story.

Nevertheless, I can say that they are now taking form after 3 weeks of being submerged. As of 2015-05-29 the current status is pictured below. I already had to prune about 3 stem plants since being setup. Changes where already made to some plant slots as all the fine leafed plants were not fairing well. So I pulled all the Cabomba and the Ambulia. Too bad because I really really like the look of the fine leafed species. I think my flow may be too strong for them at the substrate level. They lost all their lower leaves and the stems started melting. Replacements were the Rotala Indica and Rotala Wallichii, in which are doing very well. The Potamogeton Gayi, Pogostemon Stellata and the Nesaea Golden may be next as they are just hanging in there. I am hoping they just need more time to settle in. They are all showing a bit of new growth so settle in time could be the issue. If not, it could be the quality of my water. I filled the tank with treated tap. I have RO but didn't use any. I do add ammonia and so far, I do minimal dry dosing sense there is Osmocote at the bottom. I will implement EI dosing eventually but I will have to place another order with Nilocg first. I only have stock for the 29g experiment.

125g after 3 weeks. Pruning already taken place.

125g and 10gs from this past weekend

I forgot to take close ups of the 10g tanks at start up but the current status is below. The UG is starting to show signs of spreading so I expect it to survive. Thank you Nilocg for getting me started on this as I could not find UG anywhere. A hard plant to get hands on indeed. The Dwarf Hair Grass (Eleocharis Parvula) was purchased from Petsmart. Every since they changed up how they sell plants, I buy them there now on occasions. They are much improved from when they kept them in tanks. As of 2015-06-01, I ended up purchasing (2) healthy packages of Downoi for only $10 a piece. Cheapest place to get Downoi solo imo. The packages are 4-5 inch strips worth of Downoi in sealed bags. I think they call packages tissue cultures. Online sites have been selling them as single stem or very small porting for the same that Petsmart sells a package. Very overpriced in my opinion. As its considered rare and/or hard to find, places increase the prices on them. So go to Petsmart to get them. Check weekly if you have to or visit several locations to get it.

10g close up

Purchased from Nilocg. Great prices and includes shipping. I purchase the EI based NPK + CSM+B package along with Iron Chelate. I just got into dry fertilizers as the Seachem line is just too expensive for EI dosing once you have MTS and/or larger tanks.

I purchased this $10 gram scale on Amazon for measuring quantities. I have not used it yet but it was only $10 and I prefer to having it and not use it than to need it and not have it. Instead I use a 12pc measuring spoon set that I got from Amazon for $14. It includes the 1/64, 1/32, and 1/16 that I couldn't get at Walmart.

I will continue to see what grows well for me in these grow out tanks and make changes as needed. As of now I have slots for 28 different species of plants total. (24) in the 125g and (4) in the 10g tanks. The more variety I can grow, the more variety I can plant with, so keeping at least 28 will be ideal. This approach will make it much easier for me to just get those 1-2 plants outside of the grow tanks that I'd like to have but don't have room to mass produce. Wish me luck everyone, lol. Enjoy the thread.
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