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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Well it's been a while since I posted anything on this tank, Life has been fairly busy. We just moved last weekend and that meant a complete teardown and rescape. The move was only about 5 miles, so I was able to get the tank torn down, transported, and set back up in the same day (although I got done at about 3:00 am!) I left all the water in the (filthy) filter, but I did take the opportunity to rinse the substrate well.

I also took the opportunity to repaint my stand and hood, the glossy black was just looking a little too 80's to me, it's now a lovely satiny dark brownish-greenish something or other.

The plants and fish have been doing extremely well in the last week, by midday they are pearling so heavily that there are little streams of bubbles coming from some of them! - the plants of course.

Tested the water yesterday and ammonia was 0, nitrites 0, and nitrates 10ppm, I've been holding off on full fertilizing in case I had a mini-cycle, but I think everything is restabilized at this point.

Oh and to all who have commented on that sword you will be happy to hear that it had actually split at the base into three distinct plants, I replanted two of them for now, but had to get rid of the third, I'm pretty sure the three of them would fill the whole tank by themselves.

No photos yet (still need to unpack my camera :rolleyes: ) but I will try to have some up this week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 · (Edited)
Wow, I guess it's been a while since I've updated this...

So here's a FTS from back in the end of August, it shows the rescape after the move and the 2 now separate swords:


And here it is today, It may just be time for a trim... [smilie=l:
[IMG]http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc312/joskardi/APC%20Forum/IMG_0646.jpg[/IMG]

Almost hard to believe only a month went by between those photos, huh?

And here's a shot of the little guy that makes me "Logan's Daddy" - he just loves looking at his "fissies!"
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Yeah, I've been holding out on the trimming so I would have plenty to bring to the Portland Plant swap meet coming up this month, The sword to the Left will be one of my offerings, hope somebody has some room for it...

As always thanks for the kind words.

Hopefully this tank will be retired soon and contents transferred to the new 75 - and by the way zerozax I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on that driftwood on the 18th! It looks perfect for what I have planned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
The sword you gave away was AWESOME! I would have taken it if I had room:rolleyes:. I think everyone at the swap was kicking themselves for not having more tanks:pout:, to many plants! Looking forward to your 75g build! I am trying to find room now for more tanks, if the plants start to look bad I will just throw 3 or 4 more lights on top and call it good LOL:p
Yeah, more lights would pretty much fix anything.... :rolleyes:

The sword I gave away was only about a quarter of the one in the pic, there's still plenty.

And I need to say THANK YOU so much for the driftwood, it looks soooooooooooo perfect in the 75!
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Yeah, they are awesome!

I don't have any current pics, I'll take some tonight if I get a chance, things have been very busy around our house lately!

I still haven't set up the 75 gallon tank so I do not know if the driftwood sinks, I have most of the parts together and hope to begin that project really soon.

Eagle creek sounds pretty good though, count me in (when it's a little warmer, man, we just went from summer to winter without a fall this year didn't we?
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Patchworks, all of the sockets are attatched to a single cord, not individual ones.

As far as the max number of bulbs for one cord it would depend on the size of the cord itself, but with a "heavy duty" (14 gauge) one from a surge protector or outdoor type extension cord the max load would be about 12 amps with room for safety.

12 amps on a 120v circuit is around 1440 total watts.

So with a heavy duty 14 gauge cord you could run up to 72 of the 20w (100w equivelant) spirals if you really wanted to...

I think in your case you would be A LOT better off using 4' shoplight strips instead of the spirals, they are much more efficient at getting the light into the tank, the only reason I didn't use them is that this tank is only 3' long and they wouldn't fit.

I belive the lost wattage is around 1/3 (due to their shape, light trapped in the middle etc.) from what I can tell so if you were using 20w bulbs you would need about 29 of them to equal the 2.5 wpg everyone loves to talk about. On the other hand, you would need only 6 shoplight fixtures with 2 32w t8 bulbs in each to have the same impact.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
I didn't realize it would take that many. I was thinking like 6 to 10 of the 100W Equlivants. At 10 of them would be 1000 Watts in a 150 Gallon. Are you saying it is the actually watt usage. I was under the impression it was the light output equilivant. Also, I was considering putting in the ones that were like 4" long and not spiral.

The main reason I want to use the is ease of use since you can get the bulbs cheap and at Home Depot these days.

g
Sorry to tell you, the watts per gallon estimate is in fact based on actual consumption of the bulbs, not their "equivelant" a 20w (100w equivelant) bulb only counts as 20w. And again based on their design there is always some light lost due to restrike even the longer not spiraled ones lose some of their effectiveness.

Trust me, to get sufficient light once you buy all of the bulbs and sockets you will definitely be spending more this way than you would for equivalent shoplights.

My local HD has 4' shoplights for just under 9 bucks, and two packs of "daylight deluxe" 32w t8 bulbs for under 7. You want 2.5wpg or 375w total so that's about 12 bulbs (6 fixtures) or less than $95. And a lot more effective in the end, I plan to do exactly this with a 75 that I'm setting up only I'll be using 3 of the shoplight fixtures.

Keep in mind the tank this thread was originally about is only 34 gallons and I am currently running 7 of the 20w spirals and have no algae problems. (that would equal to 4+ wpg but I guarantee I am losing a lot of that light due to the design of the bulbs, I think I have an effective 2.8 - 3 wpg with my current setup)
 

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Thank you all for the kind words!

I think my last post may have been the best this tank has ever looked, currently, I've let the scape grow out a bit and am building up plant mass for my new project.....

I'm finally getting the 75 going, I haven't set up a build journal for it yet, I want to post it all at once, tthis thing is going to be insane.

Here are some teasers:

Concept sketch:


The beast itself:


Teaser on the stand construction (in front of the 34):


Don't worry, much more to come..... :)
 
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