First dip into a "proper" planted tank.

NorthernDan

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Hey guys

Thought I'd make a journal as somewhere to keep the progress on my first "proper" planted aquarium.

I've had numerous planted aquariums in the past, large Discus one, smaller nano types, but I've always tended to try and bodge something. Generally this comes from me never having the nerve/bottle or finances to go Co2 injection. However, in anticipation of a large Discus aquarium when we finally get some house renovation done I've decided to dip my toes into a small planted aquarium hopefully done with all the trimmings but still on a budget where I can.

What I've managed to pick up so far.

Equipment.
Aquamanta Nano 60 aquarium. Got a great little bargain for this tank second hand. Its a one with the little sump in the back. Measures 60x40x40cm approx 90l.
Aquael Ultra Heater. Had one of these lying around from my marine or Discus days.
Couple of 2kg FE. Again a cracking bargain as a guy local to me sells them for £7 a pop.
Co2 Art Pro SE series Regulator. This is one item I bit the bullet on and bought brand new. I don't feel experienced enough or have the balls to risk a ebay no name type and tbh the second hand market on these is close to what you can buy one new with the discount.
Chihiros A601 Plus. A bit of a gamble for me, I really wanted to try the whole RBG/ App adjustable lighting but everything seemed massively out of my budget. I had read good things about Chihiros on here and with me not in any hurry I decided to order direct from Nicrew via Aliexpress. Was only £45 which I thought was worth the gamble for this type of kit. I kinda expected to be waiting till Christmas to receive it but its actually just come through the post this morning. Less than two weeks since I ordered it, can't really argue with that plus it looks great and took less than 5 minutes to set up.

Hardscape.
Luckily we have a relatively new dedicated aquascaping shop withing 40 mins of us in Horizon Aquatics. Popped over a couple of times and decided on a few nice bits of Redmoor type and a few kilos of mini landscaping rock.

Fish.
This tank isn't really about the fish so much. I've let the other half pick what she likes as a way to get her on side and for a easy life. Will likely be your normal Otto/Neon combo. Maybe try a Betta or another "stand alone" feature fish.

Still to buy/receive.
While I was on Aliexpress I did notice some hellishly cheap Bubble counters/Diffusers etc. For the sake of a couple quid I ordered a few but whether I receive these or they are any good is another matter.
I have a order waiting to go in on pro shrimp. I'm almost certain I'll go with tropica soil, I was thinking of using some Lava rock underneath the substrate at the back to kinda cheat without having to buy more (very expensive) substrate but still add depth to the aquarium. Also on that order is some test kits and other random bits.

Sorry its not to exciting compared to some of the jorunals on here, should hopefully have some pictures and updates within a couple weeks!

Thanks for reading
 

Siege

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I’d suggest if you’ve got a decent lfs nearby that you like that are into aquascaping, Don’t go with pro shrimp.


Ditch the test kits from your order (you won’t need them and go with your lfs at Horizon.

The advice they will give you will save you money in the long run and you are supporting a local store you like. 😃👍
 

Nick potts

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Sounds like a nice setup.

I have used JBL volcano mineral under my soil with good effect, though i have found the same, crushed lava rock a lot cheaper on amazon (25kg for £30)


I’d suggest if you’ve got a decent lfs nearby that you like that are into aquascaping, Don’t go with pro shrimp.

Apart from supporting local, any reason not to use pro shrimp?
 

Siege

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Apart from supporting local, any reason not to use pro shrimp?

No none at all.

Pro shrimp wont Give any advice. May save a tenner ordering from them but with no advice. That advice will probably save £20.

Of course the buyer must satisfy themselves the advice is decent. Look at their display tanks etc. What products do they use etc. You can see if they work.

There is a caveat here though, Lots of people walk into their local Maidenhead aquatics or whatever and come away with incorrect products sold by people who donot know about aquascaping.

”Does it work”?........“I don’t know, but it’s the one we sell”

Northern Dan has a specialist close on his doorstep. Why not take advantage of their knowledge and build a relationship with them? 😃
 
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FishKeeper55

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I'm not as experienced as some users on here but we have the aquamanta nano 60 and if you planning on keeping betta in there you will need pump that have adjustable flow, original pump I think is made by aqua it self and is 720l/h, or you need to find a way to slow the flow.

On another hand could you post a pic of them Chihiros lights over the tank as I was thinking of getting a set.
 

NorthernDan

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I'm not as experienced as some users on here but we have the aquamanta nano 60 and if you planning on keeping betta in there you will need pump that have adjustable flow, original pump I think is made by aqua it self and is 720l/h, or you need to find a way to slow the flow.

On another hand could you post a pic of them Chihiros lights over the tank as I was thinking of getting a set.

Sure mate
 

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PARAGUAY

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That's a fair point @Seige . I like to visit a shop were I can see enthusiasm tells me they have a passion for the hobby. Realise to with the internet many struggle atm so l call in a shop l usually buy a little something
 

NorthernDan

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Quick update. Nothing majorly happening, hoping to have it planted in the next couple weeks. I did however get the stand sorted. To appease the better half I had to get something that matched the TV unit. Luckily the IKEA unit came in the exact size of my tank and it had a few posts about being used as a aquarium stand with decent success.
I added a couple supports but to be honest its surprisingly sturdy, as it happens I'm almost the exact weight of the aquarium so jumping around on it there was no sign of flexing anywhere. The biggest issue will be if it gets wet. I know from prior experience IKEA hate water so I'll have to be particularly careful to clean any splashes up. On the plus side it does look great and at £40 + some old timber I had lying around is quite a bargain.
 

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NorthernDan

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Got my hard scape in. I'm quite happy with it (until I start looking around at what others have done Haha). Will hopefully put my plant order in next Monday! Exciting stuff!
Couple of questions I have.
My lighting, as posted above it's the Chihiros A601 Plus (35w). My intention was to start with a 8 hour photo period (including a half hour ramp up/down) at around 60% power. The light is approx 45cm away from the substrate at lowest level to approx 35cm at the back. Would this be a good starting point?
The second question is a bit of a silly one about the wood. I've had the wood soaking in a spare tank in the garage for around a month so it sinks perfectly fine atm. It'll have been sitting in my new tank around 1 week dry by the time of planting/filling. Am I likely to lose all my work of soaking it? Or once wood has been soaked does it tend to stay down there?
Thanks for looking
 

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Wolf6

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Promising start, I love tanks that have the filtrationstuff out of sight like this. I hate unsightly tubes and such. I hope the ikea stand holds, is this one massive wood or the hollow/honeycomb filled wood (like kallax cabinets use)?
 

NorthernDan

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Promising start, I love tanks that have the filtrationstuff out of sight like this. I hate unsightly tubes and such. I hope the ikea stand holds, is this one massive wood or the hollow/honeycomb filled wood (like kallax cabinets use)?
Thanks mate. It's similar to the kallax units. I'm pretty confident with it holding. As I said I'm a similar weight and I bounced around on it, even put all my weight central to test any flex and there was no movement. Theres a few videos on YouTube of people having good success with this particular unit too.
 

dcurzon

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Thanks mate. It's similar to the kallax units. I'm pretty confident with it holding. As I said I'm a similar weight and I bounced around on it, even put all my weight central to test any flex and there was no movement. Theres a few videos on YouTube of people having good success with this particular unit too.
Which ikea unit is it? it looks good
 

FishKeeper55

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My daughter aquamanta 60 sits on kallax ikea and no problems so far, no bowing or anything, think is slightly wider then the 39cm they spec, you should be absolutely fine with the Besta unit, one thing for sure good units from ikea but they don't like water at all. If you get spill clear up asap. Oh and I like the scape 👍

link to unit https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/p/kallax-shelving-unit-oak-effect-70307493/
 

Siege

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Hardscape comment ,

why the wall?!
You are going soil all over so no need to stop soil falling onto sand. The rocks are just making a barrier to prevent viewing entrance to whole tank.

Will look better moving the right hand ones back a bit to slightly under the wood. Make the wood and rocks look joined up more if that makes sense.

👍😃
 

NorthernDan

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Hardscape comment ,

why the wall?!
You are going soil all over so no need to stop soil falling onto sand. The rocks are just making a barrier to prevent viewing entrance to whole tank.

Will look better moving the right hand ones back a bit to slightly under the wood. Make the wood and rocks look joined up more if that makes sense.

👍😃
Thanks for the comment. The wall is there as I'm planning a monte carlo carpet on the lower area. This was kinda a compromise with the Mrs as she really liked the island aquascapes with more cosmetic sand around the edges but I told her theres no way I'm spending a fortune on a co2 setup and not attempting my nemesis carpet :banghead:. If I was to push the right side further back I'd just be eating into my space for trying different plants (this is a practice tank so to speak) and I only really want a small "border" if you like for the carpet.
We sit kinda directly in front of the tank but off to the right so my plan is to plant quite heavily towards the back corner. Hope that makes sense :)
 

NorthernDan

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Well water and plants are in. The stand didn't waver in the slightest so that is one potential problem avoided.

I seem to have hit a decent sweet spot at approx 2bps with the co2. Gives me a nice lime green for lights coming on and throughout the day.

Plants selected were quite random, mainly picked on stock, cost and what i liked the look of.
Background left to right... Nesaea crassicaulis, Hygrophila guanensis, Ludwigia glandulosa, Rotala indica
Midground left to right... Alternanthera reineckii Mini, Cryptocoryne wendtii Green, Lagenandra meeboldii Red, Lobelia cardinalis
Carpet... Micranthemum monte carlo
Wood and Rocks... Java Fern Microsorum pteropus Petite and Anubias Petite



Also after the shock of noticing the price of bloody tweezers!!! I decided to give this set from Ali express a go. £8 delivered. Looks great solid quality.
 

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NorthernDan

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Had 3 weeks growth now so thought I'd put a few pictures up.
Added 6 ottos in, typically one died off within a week and I wouldn't be surprised to see another couple go before long. Such frustrating little fish, perfect for the job but feels like a Russian roulette buying them.
I pulled the Nesaea crassicaulis after a couple days. I shouldnt really have planted it as it looked well past it's best and was worried if it all rotted away I'd be giving myself issues I didn't need so I had a little re jig.
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NorthernDan

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Should probably add in the last pic I'd replanted a load of ludwigia tops to fill out the right hand side gap. The ludwigia has been growing like crazy.
 

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