Critique my hardscape Fluval Flex 57L

Jayouz

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4 Jan 2017
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UK
Hello everyone!
I finally dug out the flex I bought a couple of years ago and decided to actually get it setup,
the selection of hardscape in the local shops was a bit poor so I went with the see you you get approach and ordered some river wood and dragonstone from Aquarium Gardens.

It didn't look like I'd bought much in the box until I tried placing it in the space I had and realised I didn't buy enough tank..... Anyway after some playing I've come up with this, any tweaks or critique much appreciated! :)
 

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Siege

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Looking good :)

Add a couple of larger rocks behind the smaller ones to give the idea that they go behind the wood, will give a sense of depth.

Another rock to smash up for detail would be good.

Think about height when adding soil.

Defo Check out aquarium gardens you tube, or George’s farmer AG shop tours.

you will see a dennerle scape that jurijs did a couple of years ago with just dragon stone. Very similar (tank taken down a couple of maonths ago now)
 

Jayouz

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Thank you! I'm trying to be careful not to put too much hardscape in and leave no space to plant anything! :(

There's a few bits I want to do to the tank before filling so just doing this to figure things out a bit,
I'll be using tropica plant growth substrate capped with silver sand ( Need to figure out a good way to add height without really deep sand )

They put a massive boulder in the box, I might smack that with a sledge to try and shatter it into pieces! :lol:

I'll go and look for those videos.
 

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alto

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One consideration I see is shading from the substantial wood - look at the LED placement in the Flex - I suspect anything behind the wood will be deeply shaded - what are you planting?

Nice scape though :)
 

soggybongo

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if you can create that look on soil in water you have a nice scape. my only advice and it is IMO as I have a flex 57 is take one of the segments from each outlet away as not needed and also point one towards the surface. if you want to reduce the flow but not the turnover pull off the segments from the outlet and wrap with a course sponge.
If you want a full shrimp friendly flex then install a mesh behind the two inlets and not foam as this will clog slowing down the filtration.
 

Jayouz

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UK
It looks like the light is slightly back a bit, although I've been contemplating adding a 2nd light.... I haven't really thought much about plants,
I was going to get the hardscape right then figure out what I can plant.

I'm changing the filter a bit as I wasn't happy with the way it was, not sure how much it'll reduce flow but if it's an issue I'll have a rethink!

In the first compartment is just sponge, coarse, medium and fine, I doubt anything much will hit the fine but it adds a bit of colour! :lol:
In the 2nd will then just be bio-media.
 

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Keith GH

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Jayouz

I like it very much but there is always improvements that can be made.

Having made the box its a pity you have not made it the height of your tank also no substrate (Sand) to show what you intend to do with the substrate re heights etc.

Yours is very simple the two small rocks front LH side I would remove them reasons not doing anything for your Aquascape plus more room for planting.

Keith:wave::wave:
 

Hudson

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One consideration I see is shading from the substantial wood - look at the LED placement in the Flex - I suspect anything behind the wood will be deeply shaded - what are you planting?

Nice scape though :)
It looks like the light is slightly back a bit, although I've been contemplating adding a 2nd light.... I haven't really thought much about plants,
I was going to get the hardscape right then figure out what I can plant.

I'm changing the filter a bit as I wasn't happy with the way it was, not sure how much it'll reduce flow but if it's an issue I'll have a rethink!

In the first compartment is just sponge, coarse, medium and fine, I doubt anything much will hit the fine but it adds a bit of colour! :lol:
In the 2nd will then just be bio-media.

I'm currently doing my research on light upgrades (34L Flex) while still retaining the standard hood. TBH I'm not having much joy and will more than likely have to go with low light plants only.

I've also had to upgrade the pump on mine with a Eheim compacton 600 as the standard pump just was not good enough for a planted tank.

I even changed the filtration to something similar to your self, in the first compartment i use black coarse and blue medium. Then a piece of green fine running front to back.
 

alto

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Tropica plants that have done fine in Fluval Flex 54/34 (no difference really except in footprint) - stock filter and media, stock LED, no added CO2,

S repens
C helferi
H micrathemoides
R Vietnam H’ra
H quadricostatus
Crypt wendtii green, Tropica, willisii, beckettii Petchii
H Araguaia
H Siamensis 53B
S subulata
P erectus
H pinnatifida - remains green
H zosterfolia
E parvula
H tripartita
L sessiliflora
L palustris
M mattogrossense
R rotundifolia
Various mosses, Anubias, Microsorum (of course)

Note local tap water is soft, slightly acidic AND use of Tropica Aquarium Soil (this may be less important in more nutrient dense (usually “harder”) tap water)
Obviously growth characteristics are different than under conditions of CO2 and high light, but all grow fine with healthy leaf structure (minimal algae)

George Farmer’s Flex 54 (he has a couple videos on this tank)
Hard tap water

If you alter the filter media this can dramatically alter flow, otherwise I can’t imagine needing to upgrade the pump on this AIO aquarium kit
LED - not great, definitely need to be careful with hardscape re shade (will also impact flow of course, I’ve seen people block the lower flow grid as well) and choose plants that are tolerant of lower light; choose the Fluval Flex AIO kit if you want a higher light system (again the stock filter and media are grand)

Note that the plant source can be very important as these plants are developed and selectively bred over years to be what they are
Same “species” from a different cell (breeding) line can have very different growth characteristics
 

Jayouz

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I'm currently doing my research on light upgrades (34L Flex) while still retaining the standard hood. TBH I'm not having much joy and will more than likely have to go with low light plants only.

I've also had to upgrade the pump on mine with a Eheim compacton 600 as the standard pump just was not good enough for a planted tank.

I even changed the filtration to something similar to your self, in the first compartment i use black coarse and blue medium. Then a piece of green fine running front to back.

Have you thought about just buying a replacement light and having two of them?
 
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Nice scape, with plants it will look amazing. Just be careful with plants selection as Fluval Flex doesn’t have really strong light. So smart selection of the plants and you’ll get an amazing scape on the end :thumbup:
 

Hudson

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Have you thought about just buying a replacement light and having two of them?


Yeah that was my first thought, but at a cost of about £29 for the lamp and another £20 for the transformer I'm looking for another better option at that cost.
 

Jayouz

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I'm in two minds, part of me wants to stick an aquasky in there as well, but the other part of me realises it's a small tank which you can't do a huge amount in so will probably just be better to keep it more simple.
 

alto

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Adding CO2 will be a lot more beneficial than an Aquasky ;) ... with which you’d definitely need CO2 anyway :p

The last display Flex 54 I set up at a local shop received loads of compliments - even from local Aquascapers - some of whom were surprised what can be grown in a Flex ... plants are slower to establish re lack of CO2 + lower light

A good number of shrimp were added maybe a week after set up, tank ran with no visible algae despite minimal water changes & long hours of light (white LED during shop hours and colour LED “rainbow setting” after hours)

It’s really a decent AIO kit
 

Jayouz

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It'll be using proper pressurised CO2 I still have the kit from an attempt years ago, dual stage reg with unlimited free fire extinguishers :lol:
I'll also be using EI dosing as again I already have the stuff for it....

The wood is a tiny bit floaty now but does stay down, I also picked up another small piece of non-floaty wood so I might try and use that to pin down the floaty piece!

If I can decide on planting I'll get them next week and get the tank up and running :thumbup:

I'll be using a pool filter sand substrate with tropica underneath, I'm thinking more of a jungle look and not worry about anything carpeting.
 

Hudson

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I'm in two minds, part of me wants to stick an aquasky in there as well, but the other part of me realises it's a small tank which you can't do a huge amount in so will probably just be better to keep it more simple.

I'm Looking at either the Chihiros A or the RGB
 

Hudson

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Adding CO2 will be a lot more beneficial than an Aquasky ;) ... with which you’d definitely need CO2 anyway :p

The last display Flex 54 I set up at a local shop received loads of compliments - even from local Aquascapers - some of whom were surprised what can be grown in a Flex ... plants are slower to establish re lack of CO2 + lower light

A good number of shrimp were added maybe a week after set up, tank ran with no visible algae despite minimal water changes & long hours of light (white LED during shop hours and colour LED “rainbow setting” after hours)

It’s really a decent AIO kit

Got to agree i really enjoy the kit itself as an out of the box solution, it's like most things with me though i end up pushing it past it capability.
 

Hudson

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Location
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Adding CO2 will be a lot more beneficial than an Aquasky ;) ... with which you’d definitely need CO2 anyway :p

The last display Flex 54 I set up at a local shop received loads of compliments - even from local Aquascapers - some of whom were surprised what can be grown in a Flex ... plants are slower to establish re lack of CO2 + lower light

A good number of shrimp were added maybe a week after set up, tank ran with no visible algae despite minimal water changes & long hours of light (white LED during shop hours and colour LED “rainbow setting” after hours)

It’s really a decent AIO kit

Did you use a carpeting type plant ?
 

Jayouz

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UK
This might be a weird question but I was considering washing the sand and putting it in the tank to figure out the scape,
Will it be an issue leaving wet sand sat on the tropica for a few days until plants arrive?
 

Hudson

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This might be a weird question but I was considering washing the sand and putting it in the tank to figure out the scape,
Will it be an issue leaving wet sand sat on the tropica for a few days until plants arrive?

Wouldn't think so, might be a pain getting all the sand out though.
 
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