• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up
  • You can now follow UKAPS on Instagram.

30cm cube tank


25 Oct 2019

I made an account awhile back but finally decided to start a journal here. I'm usually active on plantedtank.net but have been finding it rather quiet there in recent times. Wanted to share my tank here and document its changes (if there are any) and at the same time learn how to better take care of my tanks and pick up some extra pointers here and there. I also want to document what this tank used to look so show my progress a little.

I've had this little nano tank since 2019 but it has been torn down and set up maybe 4 or 5 times over the years, most recently in late April of this year. Have had varying degrees of successes before the latest rescape but I've never really been satisfied with the plant growth in this tank until now. This most recent rescape I changed two things which I think really helped:

1. Pushing the CO2 to higher levels. I do understand that a good way to make sure there's a good amount of CO2 is to inject enough so that the pH drops by 1 when the lights turn on but I don't think I ever did this test properly. Recently I've taken to simply pushing more CO2 before my fish and shrimp show signs of discomfort. It seems to have worked.
2. Realising that plants need less nutrients than I thought for them to grow well. I've always had a lot of stem plants in this tank and was under the impression that they would grow better if I simply fed them lots of nutrients. Some of the stems didn't seem to mind but members of the lythraceae family would stunt constantly. This time I've taken to dosing substantially less in the water column and my plants seem to be doing way better than in previous iterations of the tank. No doubt the aquasoil helps with this.

It is not much of an aquascape as this time I wanted a tank full of vibrant, healthy plants instead of a nature aquarium (or any other style of aquascape for that matter) and I think I have more or less achieved what I wanted with it. I'm also not much of a scaper anyway. I have been maintaining it for only slightly less than 5 months so still a very young tank but hopefully I keep this going long term.

Will be doing some maintenance tonight so here's a picture of what it looked like the night before:


This post is getting longer than intended so I'll share a bit more about the tank and some older pictures maybe in another post.
Lovely, I will be copying that! Could you do a plant list please?
Thank you for the kind words.

Plants are
  1. Rotala 'Bood Red' - background right
  2. Rotala tulunadensis - that little pop of green amongst the blood reds and also a few stray cuttings in the foreground
  3. Rotala indica 'Bonsai' - right in front of the Blood Reds
  4. Bacopa salzamnii - background left
  5. Limnophila aromatica - in front of the Bacopa
  6. Ammannia pedicellata 'Golden' - right in the middle
  7. Cryptocoryne wendtii - foreground right
  8. Cryptocoryne lutea 'Hobbit' - foreground extreme left but planted not long ago so melted heavily and yet to recover
  9. Staurogyne repens - foreground left
  10. Anubias nana 'Jade' - a tiny cutting in the foreground
There are supposed to be 7 ruby tetras in here. During feeding today only counted 6. I'm not sure if I've lost one. Accidentally sucked one into my hose when changing the water yesterday night but I believe it swam out just fine the moment I stopped the siphon. Probably not worth going through the tank and risk messing it all up to find it. Hopefully it's just sulking and will come out tomorrow. If it's dead I hope the shrimp cleaned it up...

Anyway, pictures after maintenance:

Rotala 'Blood Red' and indica 'Bonsai' got a trim. Bacopa salzmanii had to be uprooted and replanted

Ammannia pedicellata 'Golden', not the easiest plant to grow... It's never stunted completely but I've had more than my fair share of wonky leaves

Rotala tulunadensis! Supposed to be quite finnicky but is doing well so far. These were cuttings which I took from a stem growing right in the front of the tank and planted last week

The bottoms of the Rotala tulunadensis which I left to regrow. Already producing multiple shoots.


  • 53191366853_d5b491957a_h.jpg
    313.4 KB · Views: 38
  • 53190803114_162c184eb4_h.jpg
    231 KB · Views: 35
  • 53190542412_55aca2a625_h.jpg
    294.6 KB · Views: 43
  • 53191366878_5705605c8e_h.jpg
    330.2 KB · Views: 48
Rotala tulunadensis will be reaching the top in a matter of days. Will have to deal with it very soon.

I sometimes notice a tiny bit of BGA appearing on the tips of some of the stems. But the flow and dissolved oxygen levels should be at their highest closer to the top of the tank. Always found that confusing. I've never seen BGA on or in the substrate which is where you'd usually expect to see it. Not sure what to make of it.

I usually trim the affected tips and throw those away so it hasn't had the opportunity to spread. I just had to trim one of my Bacopa and Blood Reds because of this.

I've never really paid it much heed, but I did recently do two really big maintenance sessions back to back which involved a lot of uprooting and trimming. I wonder if the instability from all that uprooting might have be causing the BGA to appear. I'll have to pay more attention next time.

I only hope there isn't any more lurking around in this tank.

Picture from today:

Wanted to share some old pictures of my tank. Had this tank for 4 years now but have never run it continuously for very long as I was never satisfied with the plant growth until very recently when I finally figured some stuff out.

Original intention for this tank was to do a low tech nature aquarium style scape and keep a Betta in it with some Neocaridina (and hope they don't get eaten). It was also my first real planted tank. I had been running a larger tank with plants in it for a while but it was all rheophytes so I'm not sure it really counts as a planted tank.

Anyway, this is the tank shortly after it was set up. There was a lot of algae everywhere especially on the glass. Picture was taken after I had cleaned it up some:


I noticed my Betta's fins getting torn. I thought it was the lava rock, so I removed it:


Looking at these pictures now... the tank actually looks much better than I remember it to be. Strange.


  • X0qSCnZm.jpg
    8.7 KB · Views: 40
Not much of an update since I am fairly satisfied with the layout currently. It is Saturday morning here in Singapore. Decided to take a day of annual leave yesterday as still have too many leave days left and I needed to exchange currency anyway. Did weekly maintenance yesterday morning which I usually do at night. Just a filter clean and water change. Nothing needed trimming yet which is nice.

I'll be going to Tokyo for 9 days in about a month. A little nervous about what will happen to this tank while I'm away. Since the tank has been running for close to half a year now, I might start adding a couple of root tabs in the soil so that the plants have the nutrients to grow even when i'm away.

Some pictures


Bacopa. Their growth and colour should improve if I give them more light but since I'm heading to Tokyo in a month's time, might not be such a good idea to increase the brightness now

Rotala tulunadensis shoots from the bottoms of my first stems. Looks like multiple nodes got activated. Absolutely love this plant
Lovely looking tank.
Thank you. The tank did not always look this good unfortunately.

Sharing even more old photos of this tank. I eventually removed the wood from the old scape because my betta's fins were still getting scratched up. Replaced it with Ludwigia palustris and Rotala rotundifolia green.


Now that I'm thinking about it a whole 4 years later, maybe his fins weren't being torn up because of the hardscape but because he was unhappy in this tank. Bettas are not very good swimmers and I do sometimes notice him being pushed around by the filter. He might have been nipping at his own tail.

In any case, I moved the betta to the larger tank and his fins improved eventually. He was pretty good as a community fish, never once bothered the my other inhabitants. I also recall my betta having flared only once, when I tried to get a rise out of him using a small mirror. Subsequent attempts to get him to flare failed. Perhaps he was just more laid back than other bettas. He passed maybe a year later, when I was very busy at work and hardly had any time to feed him except very sporadically, just two to three times a week. My other fish came out unscathed more or less. I still deeply regret not caring for him properly.

This tank ended up becoming an algae farm. Plants did not grow very well despite my efforts to maintain it. At this point I was still under the impression that throwing a bunch of nutrients at the tank was the way to get my plants to grow well. No CO2 at the time and the light (Chihiros WRGB 1st edition) was fairly bright so it's no wonder what happened to it. I rescaped it not even a year after I first set it up. I was not very good at planted tanks at the time, whether in terms of maintenance, plant husbandry, or just knowledge about planted tanks in general. I'm still lacking even now tbh!
Nice. Whats your dosing regime for this tank? Tropica Specialised?
2hr stuff. I'm using the bottles with the pumps which supposedly dispense 1ml per pump.

It's 1ml of complete and 2ml of zero per week, diluted with distilled water so spread out over 7 daily doses.

When I started this tank up, it was getting 3ml of complete per week spread out over 3 doses. Started dosing zero along with complete a bit later and then decided to dilute the fertiliser further at a friend's suggestion so that I could dose daily. Been about a month and working well so far.
Not much of an update. Rotala tulunadensis has grown a lot in just a few days. From the picture I posted above which was taken on Friday, they reached the surface on Sunday. Couldn't bear to trim them so I pulled them out to shorten and replant them. Also moved the one in the front to the main bunch in the midground.

Currently fairly pleased but the Rotala blood red looks a little messy. Will need a bit of trimming to even it out very soon.


Did maintenance on Friday and Sunday. Trimmed the Limnophila aromatica and replanted the Ammannia pedicellata and Rotala tulunadensis which grew way too tall. Also replanted some Bacopa on Friday night, but decided to pull out and replant a few more today. Also decided to try increasing brightness by just a touch.


So nice (as I said it before in my journal aha).

This is 30L right (30x30x35?)? The plants actually made the tank looks small aha - well done really.

Really nothing else I could think of to add to the tank lol. But ya since Black Friday is near and I think Flux backlight company is actually in Singapore? Could give it go and you might like it ha. I will always want one now for any new tank since I had a taste of it lol (mine is white light only from Chihiros that I use for my dutch tank).
So nice (as I said it before in my journal aha).

This is 30L right (30x30x35?)? The plants actually made the tank looks small aha - well done really.

Really nothing else I could think of to add to the tank lol. But ya since Black Friday is near and I think Flux backlight company is actually in Singapore? Could give it go and you might like it ha. I will always want one now for any new tank since I had a taste of it lol (mine is white light only from Chihiros that I use for my dutch tank).

Aw thank you so much for your kind words. This is the first tank in which I've grown stem plants successfully so I am really pleased. It is 30x30x30 though so only 27 litres.

I'm not actually sure if that company is in Singapore. Never used a backlight before but it does look interesting.
I would never setup a tank like that with stems front to back.....but maybe I should because that would look lovely in my living room. The colours go so well together in there, and the varying heights at the front does something really nice to break upt the pallet. From the front I guess is like looking at a full aquare painting :D

Also loving the industrial look there with that luminaire / stand and the steel pipes. Almost like a gallery setup.