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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here it is, my 34 gallon Journal, detailing my custom equipment.

Tank: 36"w x 14"d x 16"h = appx. 34 gal.
Substrate: 40 lbs eco complete mixed with 20 lbs black moon sand


Stand: Homemade black lacquered MDF with matching hood, power controls and storage integrated




Lighting: Custom DIY Setup with up to 8 screw in cfl's (currently running 5 @ 23w each)



Filtration: Marineland HOT Magnum with spraybar fitted to outlet for better distribution


CO2: Diy reactor made from Hagen elite mini filter (thanks niko!) fed by pressurized system from a 20oz paintball co2 tank @ 1bps



Ferts: currently dosing Flourish and Flourish Iron, plan to switch to EI with product from aquariumfertilizer.com soon

Flora: Amazon Sword (echinodorus bleheri), Water Wisteria (hygrophila difformis), Red Rotala (rotala indica), Red Ludwiga (ludwiga repens), Moneywort (bacopa monnieri), Java Fern (microsorum pteropus), Bacopa (bacopa carolina), Micro Sword (lilaeopsis novae-zelandiae), Giant Hairgrass (eleocharis montevidensis), & Java Moss (vesiculara dubyana)

Fauna: 2 SAE's, 4 OTO's, 1 Blue Spot Gourami, 1 Pearl Gourami, 1 (surviving) Red Rasbora, 1 mystery snail, and 1 big fat Pictus Catfish.



 

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Nice setup!
 

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Very nice tank and impressive customs. I really like the cabinet storage and the canopy.

Do you ever have problems with your Pictus cat? I've got one (4-5") and he tends to uncover plant roots ALL THE TIME in his favorite spots. I've considered removing plants from those spots altogether or trading him in for something less 'active'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Aside from swallowing every shrimp I've ever tried to put in my tank, My Pictus is a model citizen... :rolleyes:

Really though, I think I got lucky. One thing I have done for him is to leave a gap between the back glass and plants, so he has a "tunnel" to swim through in the shadows and out of sight, stays back there most of the time but does get a bit spastic at feeding time:rofl:

He's about 5-6" at this point, looks like I may have to get the 75 up and running soon...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Recently I've received a few questions about my lighting setup, I thought I would put a little more detail here to show how I did it.

the Hood.

The Inside Shot

I built the hood itself from MDF and it is sized so it just fits over (and covers) the rim of the tank, there are cleats inside that hold it at the right level. The outside if black lacquer and the entire inside is flat white. As for the lights I used some porcelain sockets from Home Depot and mounted them to metal L brackets inside the hood with threaded nipples. I set the L brackets up so that the bulb position alternated from front to back along the width of the tank for better coverage.

My awesome handmade diagram...


...and some Photos

I then connected all of the black wires to the black wire from a heavy duty power tool replacement cord and all the white wires to the white one, and plugged it into a heavy duty timer.

I put more sockets in than I would ever use at once so I could fine tune my bulb placement over time.

I use the 23 watt cfl's (100 w equivelant) from lights of america at 6500k, but have used other brands, as long as they are at least 5500k I've never had any trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Got My shipment of Fertilizer from aquariumfertilizer.com today!

Potassium Nitrate, Mono Potassium Phosphate, and CSM+B Plantex.

Came packed pretty well but the good old USPS still managed to stab a hole in the package and tear the bag of Potassium Nitrate :mad:

No problem though, it was only the one bag (so they didn't mix) and they overwrapped the whole package in this plastic bag with a "we're so sorry" message on it. I dumped all the spilled portion into a new container and when I weighed it I still have a full pound. I'm guessing the people at aquariumfertilizer.com pack the bags with just a bit more than they advertise...:mrgreen:

Did a 50% water change and started my EI dosing today... will update as it progresses...
 

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congrats... i hate usps... they are down right careless! but atleast you got your stuff and none missing.

has there been any new growth?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Thanks for the compliments guys! I really appreciate it.

Bratboy - there has been a bit of growth since last photos, but when I started dosing my plants started pearling like crazy!
I expect them to be flowing out of the top within the week. I'll post some pics next weekend, should be a pretty dramatic difference...


**edit**
Today I did a major rescaping, nothing I had was surviving in the shadow of my sword, and my big driftwood burl was not displayed to it's fullest. So I pulled everything out from under the sword and laid the burl in it's shadow! Now my low light plants (java fern and java moss) are in the low light part of my tank. Looks awesome, when the muck clears a little more I'll post a few pics...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I detailed my co2 setup previously in a minor hijack of another post... (sorry Afyounie;))

So here it is where it belongs in my official tank thread!

I built the whole system including a filled tank for Right around $100.



Regulator, Needle Valve, Solenoid, bubble counter, tubing, and adapter all bought on eBay for a total of $73.50 + shipping.

Add any standard paintball tank, a $5.00 timer and a 50 cent brass nipple to connect the regulator to the adapter and you're in business.

Bought this kit with Regulator, needle valve, bubble counter, tubing, and electric solenoid combo on eBay, $67.00 total, Best deal I've seen for all that's included, quality stuff too... from seller "aqua_eworld" on eBay.
http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-CO2-Regulator-Solenoid-Complete-Kit_W0QQitemZ230250372845QQihZ013QQcategoryZ117435QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

+ this adapter $6.50 from seller "supply(n)demand" on eBay.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ASA-Paintball-CO2-Adapter-Fill-Station-Remote-On-Off_W0QQitemZ270235308739QQihZ017QQcategoryZ310QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

also added one of niko's $10 hagen elite mini reactors, see the thread below.
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/do-yourself-aquarium-projects/44053-tiny-super-efficient-co2-reactor.html

one 20oz tank at 1bps / 18 hrs a day has lasted over two months and still feels full (heavy) and tank pressure has not wavered a bit. Keeps my 34g at a consistent 30ppm co2.

I really cant say enough about how impressed I have been with the quality and value of that regulator, I modified it to work with the paintball tank, but right out of the box it would be great with a full size tank!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
**update** as promised ;)

After a week of proper EI dosing with the fertilizers from aquariumfertilizer.com I am very happy with the growth on my plants!
The only problem is that before the ferts arrived i had a nasty outbreak of brush algae, the black filmy kind that covers the slow growers in little black spots. It took out most of my foreground chain sword and quite a few leaves on my amazon :mad: I trimmed all that stuff out with the waterchange yesterday.
I also added a couple of new plants! Ludwiga glandulosa and a spiral val! The ludwiga is awesome and is showing very colorful new growth! the val is tiny so I have it in the front for now to get plenty of light to grow fast. I plan to replace the moneywort in the back with it eventually.
Other than that the java ferns seem to not like being moved when I rearranged the driftwood's orientation from vertical to horizontal as most of them melted, but they already seem to be growing back...
Look at the difference in the bacopa and rotala in just a month from my FTS here and the older one in my sig!


And here's my new ludwiga


The foreground should grow back in within the next couple of weeks, I will continue to update.

What do you think?
 

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Your sword reminds me of one I used to have it got so big I ended up taking it to the local fish store. It was at least a yard tall and took up an entire white 13 gal kitchen bag (still stuck out an top). There was just no going back. It doesn't look like you're going to be able to keep yours too much longer.

Everything looks really nice. Don't you just love it when it all works out!! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well I tried the Excel OD thing to try to clear up a little bit of BBA, and it did work, but it also killed my pictus cat and melted most of my new spiral val...

There's a thread about all that here: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/fish-planted-aquarium/52604-i-killed-my-cat.html

But besides that things are great!

There has been a huge amount of growth, and I haven't done a trim for a couple of weeks, There is a lot of rotala floating on the surface, and I wanted to let everything settle back down before I mess with it more.

Here's a recent pic:


and here's one from just two weeks ago...


Woooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thought I'd post an update, just did a nice big trim and water change, things are filling in nicely!



Have notices a little GSA on some of the older leaves, mostly lower leaves on the Ludwigas and on some of the chain sword. Other than that things are smooth. It's nice when things work out.

I may end up taking this tank down soon due to a very lucky find, see this thread for details: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/aquarium-equipment/52663-wow-find-century.html

Here's a little teaser if you didn't click yet...


It will probably be a while before I get everything together for that though, and who knows, I may decide to run both anyway...

Stay tuned for more updates!
 
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