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Waterbox Frag 105.4 Dutch High Tech

2429 Views 27 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  SLOBY
Technical specs:
  • Tank: Waterbox Frag 105.4 (48"L x 24"W x 16"H)
  • Filtration: Sump included with tank
  • Lighting: 2x BuildMyLED Dutch. I think they are the XB (more powerful) model but I honestly forget lol
  • CO2: Old GLA regulator with IDEAL needle valve. PVC reactor running on dedicated loop in sump. 10lb tank w/ 5lb backup
  • Return pump: Jebao DCP 5000 (~40%)
  • CO2 Reactor Pump: Jebao DCP 2500 (~30%)
  • Substrate: Black diamond blasting sand (BDBS)
Plants:
  • Rotala rotundifolia
  • Ludwigia red
  • Staurogyne repens
  • Dwarf hairgrass
  • Ludwigia arcuata
  • Monte carlo (barely any will probably remove)
  • Mermaid weed
  • Bacopa monnieri
  • Bacopa colorata
  • Blyxa japonica
  • Hygrophila araguaia
  • Limnophila aromatica 'mini'
  • Lobelia cardinalis 'small form'
  • Ludwigia sp rubin
  • Rotala Blood Red Singapore (SG)
  • Rotala Mexicana Goias
  • AR Mini Variegated
  • Physostegia purpurea (sword-like plant in back)
  • Penthorum sedoides
  • Limnophila belem
  • Limnophila helferi aka sp vietnam
  • Lagenandra meeboldii 'red round'
  • Heteranthera zosterifolia (all melted on me)
Livestock:
  • 10 rummynose tetra
  • 6 harlequin rasbora
  • 3 sterbai cory

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Waterbox Frag 105.4 High Tech
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Getting back into the forum after a long hiatus so I figured I should start another tank journal!

I did not do a great job documenting the early stages of this tank but here are some of the few pics / context from earlier this year.

We moved to our first house in Oct 2018 and I have not had any tanks set up since. I always wanted a nice shallow, large footprint tank as I thought this would be the ideal setup for planted. I still had my 2x 48" BuildMyLED and all other equipment from the past so I wanted to stick with the 4' length to reuse the lights. And big tanks are sick lol

After years of not having a tank (and enjoying not having to deal with it to be honest) I got the itch again eventually and pulled the trigger on the waterbox frag. The dimensions of this tank are AMAZING. First tank I have ever owned with overflow/sump so I was initially concerned with CO2. This is not an issue at all. I am easily able to get proper CO2 levels without doing anything special. Sumps are so much easier to clean/maintain too. Would recommend.

I received this tank in late Feb 2022. Set up completed in early-mid march. It was delivered after an ice storm so I had to haul it up my icy driveway which was super sketchy lol. My driveway was SHEER ICE at this point.
Hood Automotive tire Vehicle registration plate Tire Asphalt


Set up completed!
Wood Floor Flooring Hardwood Computer desk


Initially I had some hardscape with seiryu stone that I had leftover from past setups. I was really happy with this layout.
Wood Rectangle Natural material Art Artifact
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't think I have any pics of initial planting. I stocked with lots of stems to begin with. My goal was to grow out as many stems as I can to cultivate a large mass of plants, primarily bushy bunches of stems. I really wanted some nice dense stem groups in this tank.

Here are some pics of earlier stages.

4/30/22 - At this point I had no desire to aquascape so I am just growing growing growing.:
Plant Rectangle Botany Vegetation Aquatic plant


5/20/22 - Kind of a scape but still mostly just growing and propagating plants:
Plant Water Rectangle Pet supply Fish supply
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I eventually grew to dislike dealing with hardscape and decided to go dutch. It's kind of annoying to constantly keep plants at proper height so that the rocks look good. As you can see in the last few pics I had also removed some of the large rocks too. The large stones just took up too much precious real estate and made it really hard to grow those nice bushy stems behind them.

Over time I stocked with 40 rummynose tetras. The fish are doing amazing and look great. I am going to begin adding more species to the tank though... Initially I wanted one huge school but now I am realizing that the rummynose are kind of boring. They literally just swim back and forth across the front pane and don't venture to other areas of the tank. I may even swap 10-20 out over time to make room for more fish of other species.

I had recently overdosed some ferts (K in particular) and my ludwigia red and a few other species lost most of its leaves. Ludwigia red hit the hardest by far though. I replanted the tops and let them grow for a full week to get the volume back. They bounced back great!

Plant mass is really solid at this point. I am still going to continue to scape the tank in different ways before landing on a scape I really enjoy. This current scape is still not at all what I want long term but the tank is overall in a very good spot. Ideally I will have more established foreground/midground and greater variety of background plants. I will probably also place things to provide better texture etc. This is my first dutch setup so I have kind of been trying different things. I am still mostly focusing on growing out certain species, keeping good plant mass, and propagating the species I want to use more of for future scapes. I am also going to begin sourcing more varieties of plants to grow out soon.

I also removed the taller stems from the left side and started to add more of a foreground there. The left side of the tank is viewable from the kitchen area but the right side of the tank is prettymuch up against a wall. That's why I have the taller stems on the right as you can't really see back there anyways.

Before and after trim pics (8/8 - 8/10):
Plant Rectangle Lighting Grass Line
Plant Plant community Rectangle Nature Botany


I'll probably be adding more pics of the setup in general (sump, CO2, etc) at some point

Right now I have 7 harlequin rasbora and 2 sterbai corys in QT. If the sterbais do well I will get a school of about 8 of them. Probably school of 15 harlequins at the end of the day. We'll see. The sterbais are absolutely gorgeous
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That looks sweet! The dimensions are pretty sweet. I love mine! Looking forward to see the evolution of this tank.
Yeah frag dimensions are way better. Coming from a standard 75... it was wayyy too tall. So much harder to light, stems have to grow really tall which causes issues near the bottom, etc.

I really like the quality of waterbox for the most part. I wish my glass was thicker like your tank (which obviously needs it because 2' longer). Only 1cm glass kind of scares me. Also my first rimless so I am just scared of rimless tanks in general I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The quality is pretty good. I was impressed with the stand (minus the 30-something leveling feet which yout cant get to unless you flip the stand over.) Marine grade plywood makes hecka more sense than particle board and all the edges are sealed so there is little chance of raw "wood" making contact with water.
I was nervous about rimless tanks too, but with a shallower tank it is not as critical because there is less pressure pushing outwards. This is what I learned before I bought mine and makes complete sense to me.
How is do you have your reactor plumbed? I made a cerges style and it does the job, but it gets noisy from time to time.
Mine is a griggs style reactor on a closed circuit running off of a small dedicated pump inside the sump. It is not plumbed to the return, rather on a small pump that feeds from water in the return chamber in the sump back to the same return chamber from the sump. It basically just injects the water in the return chamber in the sump with CO2. At first I tried to T into the return line but that totally failed. Having its own dedicated pump/circuit works great for me
Wood Gas Machine Room Musical instrument

Hood Motor vehicle Automotive lighting Automotive tire Automotive design
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Awesome tank, gives me hope for growing plants in bdbs. What is your dosing regime like?
I honestly dose very little. Just feeding the fish does most the work for me. I keep track of everything in a spreadsheet I created that does all the calculations of how many PPM of each nutrient I am adding. I dose dry ferts directly into my sump

Right now I am dosing about 1/2 tsp of KNO3 / 1/4 tsp of KH2PO4 / 1/4 tsp CMS+B each week. Not all at the same time. I am not too disciplined about it though lol. I got messed up when I dosed "EI levels" for a while so I dose far less than that and it works better for me
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have been seeing some twisted and/or stunted new growth on some species (ludwigia red is the worst offender) and some dark veins and paler leaves. So I have tested my water hardness. My kH is 2 and my gH is also 2. I think I am seeing calcium and/or magnesium deficiencies which is impacting the new growth. And my water is quite soft. I am adding some CaSO4 and MgSO4 to increase general hardness by approx 1 point for now. I will likely increase this even more over time and supplement my water changes with these chemicals to boost gH.

I already had some of these dry ferts from a long time ago so I am just going to use these instead of some all in one gH booster mix.

I am also going to be modifying my CO2 reactor for increased flow / greater efficiency soon
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Are you using RO or tap water? And also do you know what's your PH, GH, and KH?
An FYI that I recently tested these parameters. My tapwater KH is ~2 and my GH is ~2. This is a little too soft I think (low GH) and some of the deficiencies I am seeing in my plants reflect what could be Ca or Mg deficiency symptoms (dark veins, stunted, twisted new growth). I am also seeing some K deficiency symptoms despite having more than enough K in the system. I think this may also be a symptom of Ca or Mg deficiency preventing the plants from properly taking in K.

I have since started to add Ca/Mg to raise GH and provide more of these nutrients

I will also say that I just recently tested my P levels and they are way too high. Over 5 but not quite at 10. My nitrates are always above 20-30 so I am going to straight up stop dosing macros except for maybe some K from now on and see what happens

I have also replaced my return pump / CO2 reactor pump with more powerful DC pumps that I can adjust. Previously was using Sicce syncra silent 2.0 / 0.5 respectively. I bought some cheap Jebao DCP pumps (5000, 2500) and they have far exceeded my expectations. They are DEAD silent, include controllers, and are far more powerful than I was expecting. I am running them both at very low settings with good results.

I may continue to play around with adding a powerhead in the back left corner to increase overall flow... we'll see... I really want to avoid this but I honestly can't get much more flow through my sump design and have it work properly.

I also will likely try to suspend my light fixtures again and put them higher above the tank to increase spread a bit more. The fluval bracket mounts I am using right now are pretty good but I wish they could go a few inches higher.

Also have finished the redesign of my CO2 reactor with good results. Previously I was having trouble dissolving all the CO2 in the chamber throughout the day. The weak Sicce syncra 0.5 just wasn't enough. I also replaced the bushing at the top of the reactor with one that has a smooth, tapered, interior for superior CO2/water contact and limit the ability for air pockets to form. See pics for before/after of this fitting. I added the much more powerful Jebao DCP 2500 and realized that the 1/2" hose I was using was simply too narrow to allow the amount of flow I am looking for. I have since replaced with 3/4" tubing as well as 3/4" PVC for the output back into the sump. Before pics can be found earlier in this thread, after pics to come.

I think this iteration of my griggs reactor might be close to optimal. It is running almost dead silent, far more quiet that the previous iteration. The entirety of my system is nearly dead silent, all you can hear is a tiny trickle in the reactor where minimal CO2 is allowed to live. When CO2 is off the entire system is completely dead silent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Have since done a few more rescapes and swapped a few species in and out

A combination of lazy trimming habits and carelessness led me to lose most of my ludwigia arcuata and ludwigia red stems. I let the dense bunches get out of control and too much of the bottoms died off so I had trouble recovering the good tops. I only have like one healthy stem of arcuata left lol. Pretty bummed that I screwed up that bad but oh well it will grow back eventually.

I also did a really large water change and my mermaid weed all snapped in half so they are basically dead now too. Trying to bring them back to life as well...

In general my main focus now is on propagating stems back to be nice and dense like before

I've also since seen some deficiency issues with a few species and had some pretty tough losses in plant mass and overall plant health

I really like a few areas of my layout now but the background needs some serious time/work to grow in nicely again. Should be looking really good in a month or so time I think

10/11/2022 - 10/16/2022

Plant community Plant Nature World Grass


Plant Rectangle Lighting Grass Line


Plant Wood Rectangle Urban design Grass


Plant Plant community Rectangle Flower Leaf vegetable


Water Plant Light Green Terrestrial plant


Plant Wood Houseplant Pet supply Flooring
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
11/7/2022 - Just before my latest big trim and rescape. Will try to upload more recent pics soon. Things are pretty sparse now lol

I was also having some issues with BGA along the front of the tank. I nuked it with some H2O2 and it is totally gone now

Plant Leaf Green Botany Terrestrial plant


Plant Urban design Grass Terrestrial plant Machine


Plant Light Nature Green Terrestrial plant


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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Your scissors must be busy, that is a ton of stems! Love a good dutch. How are you finding owning it compared to other types of scapes?
I honestly just keep my scissors on my desk right near the tank and do little trims on a daily basis now. It really isn't too bad to maintain overall. The only things that annoy me and I don't look forward to are when I do larger rescapes or replant large groups of plants. Those things take quite a bit of time and a lot of care to find the healthiest stems, trim everything, replant, etc etc

The biggest learnings for me while maintaining this tank are along the lines of:

  • Use turkey baster / siphon to clean detritus from the substrate layer. This helps keep things really clean and prevents my N/P from going through the roof. When things get dirty I notice issues in a few plant species. Keeping the tank as clean as possible is key
  • Trim regularly to prevent buildup of unhealthy bottom stems etc. Lots of frequent maintenance sessions is way better than letting things get bad and needing to spend 3+ hours replanting large groups of things
  • Planning for stem growth over time and trimming to encourage that growth at the right times
  • Not dealing with hardscape is really nice. Makes cleaning things and making changes much easier
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Yeah I am constantly propagating stems and moving things around. Doing a little bit of that every few days goes a long way and I much prefer it vs long multiple hour sessions messing with my entire setup.

I'll probably get lazy eventually and lean towards slower growing plants that don't need as much maintenance.

Right now I am LOVING my bacopa colorata because it grows really well for me, grows relatively slowly, and is super easy for me to trim and propagate. I also love my blyxa because it grows fairly slowly and doesn't need to be maintained. Compared to something like my red rotala that can be picky, run into random issues, grow very quickly at times, needs to be trimmed and pruned much more frequently, etc etc
 
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