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My Tanks
Well, as I said in my intro, I would get around to telling you all about my tanks & set ups. So here it is, and no apologies for it's length.

About 3 years ago I came across a story about Amano Takashi, (a sad loss to aquascaping, may he rest in peace), and was absolutely stunned by what he achieved. I have been keeping aquariums, fresh and saltwater, off and on since I was 11 years old, (I am 62 this year). At the time of reading the article I had not kept an aquarium in over 10 years, but something ‘clicked’. I started to do research, getting ideas of costs of tanks, having an ADA style tank made, the works. It stayed this way for nearly a year, then, I and 11 others, were suddenly made redundant at work, (for me, after 13 years with the company), and within a month I was diagnosed with cancer of the tonsil (squamous cell carcinoma), which needless to say, on top of the redundancy, completely shattered me. So there I was, no job, and diagnosed with cancer.
I remembered an article about aquascaping, by a psychologist, who noticed that people with ADHD, depression, and PTSD, all improved quite significantly after creating and caring for an aquascape. I spoke to my psychologist, and it was underway. I aimed to start when treatment was completed, and I was in recovery, which alone takes 8 to 18 months before you feel that you’re back to normal, or as close as you’re going to get.
I finally started the build on the 17 Jul 2015, placing orders online. On the 16 Sep 2015, my stand was delivered, but the tank, and ADA Garden Cube 60H, was coming from Japan, and didn’t arrive until the 20 Oct 2015. 
In that period, I designed and built the plumbing for my filtration, heating, and CO2. I built a temperature monitor and control unit, (don’t trust the Hydor), based on an Elitech STV-1000 (thank you YouTube..), and mounted all my electrics (all labelled), on the back wall, in cable management trays, (I work in System and Network security, and dealt with computer racks and cable management all the time), and the filtration plumbing is mounted on the right hand wall.
As I was using a Sera 1000 reactor, and I was not going to be able to ‘tilt’ it very much, to clear the initial air lock, I designed an ‘air bleed system’, as part of the CO2 system, to accomplish this.
I decided to include the inside of the cabinet doors in my design, and created ways to mount, cleaning brushes, scissors, tweezers, nets, etc., to keep things tidy. (This is an ongoing thing, as I still have some space, and I’m looking at how I can use it). I am even going to extend this to the outside of a nearby bookshelf unit ...
I created the hardscape on the 20 Nov 2015, and kept making changes to it over the next week or so. I placed orders for the plants on 29 Nov 2015, and on 03 Dec 2015, they arrived and I started to plant the tank, and fill it. Started at 10:00 and finished at 16:30, with a few hiccups, (to do with the filter plumbing & filling the filter, but the Sera 1000 reactor ‘air bleed system’ worked perfectly! There is only a faint gurgling sound, when the cabinet doors are open, otherwise, the only sound is the faint sound of the cooling fan on the LED light unit.)
I loosely followed Tropica’s 90 day start up plan. Today plants start pearling about 2 thirds of the way through the day, and I fertilise & add trace daily using Continuum Aquatics products, except for Seachem phosphorus. I also used Nutrifin Cycle during start up, and for each water change. I have since switched to Continuum’s bacter gen F’
I lost a couple of Otos in the first few months, no apparent cause, (looked healthy, body & colour), and had the odd loss since, but in all, healthy. Had some BBA appear, but quickly got rid of it by spot dosing it with concentrated EasyLife EasyCarbo, daily, and after a week it had turned gray and died. Also had ‘silk’ or hair algae off and on, but I manually remove it and it appears to be well under control. The Chihiros Doctor seems to work well, as I have very little other algae in the tank, though I had to set the CO2 bubble rate higher than suggested, because of it.
I have a spare Chihiros Doctor reactor, and I swap it out weekly, and clean it with a solution of citric acid (from the baking section in your local supermarket), as the build-up is not calcium, but lime, and 2 teaspoons of citric acid powder to half a cup of hot water, and soak for about 3 – 4 hours, and it’s like new. It doesn’t affect the titanium mesh at all.
I rinse the filter sponges and one of the media baskets, in tank water every 3 or 4 months, as well as clean the filter tubes and Lily pipes. I intend to swap out the media in one basket every 6 months, with media pre-soaked in tank water, then thoroughly clean and bake dry the old media for re-use.
The biggest job is the 6 monthly clean of the cabinet plumbing and Hydor in-line heater, that’s fun, as I have to completely disassemble the plumbing, clean it and put it all back together, plus the normal maintenance, water change, etc.
About 18 mths after setting up the tank, I found myself wanting to try a low-tech tank, and more shrimp, with no CO2, etc. So, on the pretext of getting a quarantine tank, I bought an Aquael Shrimp Smart 30, and put it on my desk, and … well .. it just evolved.
Hi-Tech Aquascape
The Setup
ADA Garden Cube 60H (60cm x 45cm x 45cm)
Custom built ADA style cabinet (2 doors)
Illumagic Blaze P 60cm LED light unit, (with CADE stainless steel overhead mounts attached to rear of cabinet)
Fluval 406 canister filter (3 of 4 baskets filled with Biohome Ultimate media)
Hydor ETH200 inline heater
Sera 1000 CO2 reactor
2.5Kg/4Lt CO2 bottle with dual regulator & solenoid control valve ( I have a spare 1Lt bottle, as backup)
Chihiros Doctor Nano
ANS 17mm iflow glass Lily pipe set with Surface skimmer combination intake
ANS Drop checker
ADA Power Sand Special-M
ADA Aquasoil Amazonia
ADA Aquasoil Amazonia Powder
 ‘Gold Sand’ small/medium grain gravel
Seiryu rock
Golden vine driftwood
Other hardware
ISTA 16mm Quick release taps (this enables me to remove completely the whole plumbing, Hydor & Sera reactor in one section for maintenance / replacement)
16mm clear acrylic tubing (hand bent for elbows, etc.)
16mm clear poly tubing
17mm stainless steel spring clips
Nutrik Power Con quick release 240V power connectors (fitted in-line on the power leads for the Fluval, Hydor and CO2 solenoid, to allow quick release and removal for maintenance or swap out, as and when required, because I do not want to have to unravel the power cables from the cable management each time I need to remove a piece of equipment). These connectors are commonly found in the entertainment industry, used by bands to enable quick setup and take down at venues.
5mm blue yoga matting as sound insulation and grip on the bottom of the cabinet, and on section of wall, where the CO2 bottle sits against the wall, for stability.
Eleocharis belem AKA: Dwarf Hair Grass Belem
Limnobium laevigatum AKA: Amazon Frogbit, South American Sponge plant
Staurogynes repens
Alternanthera reineckii
Alternanthera reineckii 'mini'
Cryptocoryne willisii
Anubias barteri var. nana ‘petite’
Rotala sp. 'Vietnam' AKA: Rotala Vietnam
Rotala sp. 'wallichii'
Fissidens fontanus AKA: Phoenix Moss or US Fissidens
Darwin ‘Algae’ Shrimp
Red Cherry Shrimp
Otocinclus vestitus
Pygmy Cory
Ember Tetras
*snails that hatched from eggs in our water supply.. these had an initial population explosion, but have since levelled out to the extent I see very few in the tank.
Future Upgrades
Replace all the Rotala with Bacopa Caroliana, as the Rotala has just too strong a growth rate, and spread in the tank, plus I’m not quite happy with the ‘look’. A different ‘texture’ in the right rear and side of the tank is needed.
Replace the DIY STC1000 Temperature monitor/controller, with Robo-Tank, to control an ATO set up, heating and cooling, monitor pH & TDS (on the Nano), and dosing of fertilisers.
I hope to eventually customise to manage both my tanks. It will control the DIY LEDs on the Nano, but not the Hi-tech tank’s lights, as my current Illumagic light has an inbuilt computer controlling gradual daylight schedule and moonlight, so for the time being, I don’t need to use Robo-Tank for that.
Low-Tech Aquascape / Shrimp Tank
The Setup
Aquael Shrimp Set Smart 30 (30Lt)
-         Aquael 6mm glass Nano cube 30 x 30 x 29
-         Aquael Smart LEDDY LED light (on a timer set for 8 hrs/day)
-         Aquael 25W pre-set heater
-         Aquael TAM sponge/power head filter
ADA Aquasoil Amazonia
ADA Aquasoil Amazonia Powder
Qinglong (Azure Dragon) rock
Anubias barteri var. nana
Anubias barteri var. nana petite
Cryptocoryne wendtii “brown”
Cryptocoryne wendtii “green”
Cryptocoryne beckettii “petchii”
Cryptocoryne wendtii “Tropica” red
Cryptocoryne willisii
Microsorum pteropus - Java fern
Fontinalis antipyretica AKA: Willow moss
Cabomba caroliniana AKA: Carolina fanwort
Subwassertang AKA: Freshwater seaweed
Adler cones / Indian Almond leaves / Mulberry leaves
Yellow Cherry Shrimp
Otocinclus vestitus
Pygmy Cory
Boraras maculatus – Dwarf Rasbora
* and the ubiquitous snails from the water supply .. here’s a thought that I had to get over .. I was ingesting them each time I drank a glass of water, and apparently this is true for every water supply on earth.
Aquael Comfort Zone Gold 50W heater
Eden 501 canister filter * with the Aquael TAM power head providing higher flow
2nd Aquael Smart LEDDY Led light (on a timer set for 2 hrs/day during middle of the day)
6 Blue 12V LED stick on strip light, on 24/7, with intensity controlled with a dimmer.
Future Upgrades
Having run the Eden now for 8 mths, I intend to replace it & the TAM power head with an Eheim          250 (2213), because the Eden flow rate drops rapidly, (which is why I have the TAM power head),         and I am having to flush it once a month. Replacing it with the Eheim, means consistent water flow,          longer cycles between filter media flushes, and I can remove the TAM power head. Oh, and the          Eheim will sit on the floor, not on my desk next to the tank.
Replace the 2 Aquael Smart LEDDY LEDs with a DIY 6” MakersLED Slimline LED with 8 LEDs to match the modular configuration used in the Illumagic Blaze-P on my Hi-Tech Tank, which is working extremely well.
-         4 x Cool White
-         2 x Neutral white
-         1 x UV
-         1 x Royal Blue + Red (Custom 3-UP star with only 2 LEDs)
Water Changes
I have set up a 5 stage RO unit to produce water for top ups and water changes. I produce 30 Lt a week, as that is all I need, for now. I use pure RO for the twice weekly top ups, and for the Hi-Tech’s water changes, between 10 - 20Lt of treated tap water with 10Lt of RO, depending on whether it is a fortnightly or monthly water change, and for the Low-techs water changes, I use pure RO with GH++. I also occasionally use RO treated with peat moss, aged for a month.

I have attached pictures of my setups, the Hi-tech's wiring, plumbing and completed cabinet setup, the large cube unit I have taken over for all my aquarium needs; from food and fertilisers, to hoses and test kits, and a picture of both tanks as they are today.

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Those are impressive tanks, I really like the hardware pics, excellent job done. One of these days I need to get more shrimp, I enjoy them more than my fish.
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Wow... ;-)

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Current time: 05-23-2022, 11:36 AM