killi69

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Having been a ukaps member for three years, and reading many accounts of your fabulous tanks, I have finally taken the dive and have recently started my journey on trying to create a planted tank.

My background in the hobby has mainly been around the keeping of killi fish. My previous project was based around a number of 40cm cube tanks in which I bred a range of African killi species. I can't find a picture of the set up in its former glory but here is one taken in its early days.

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I have since moved house and now live in a flat and have neither the room nor the time for the kind of intensive fish keeping I was previously engaged with.

I have always wanted to create a large planted aquarium to show off the vibrant colours and interesting behaviour of killifish. When I saw an ad on eBay for a 5 ft tank for less than £300, incl T5 lighting, Eheim II Pro, two other power filters, RO unit and lots of other stuff, I could not resist the temptation.

The traditional way of keeping killifish is in small tanks (10-20l tanks are common), with dim lighting, gentle sponge filtration systems (if at all) and usually only one species per tank. This will be a tank of gigantic proportions in comparison and will house a number of different species of killis with sufficient lighting and flow to allow for a lavish display of plants.

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I have lots to learn and look forward to sharing my pitfalls and (fingers crossed) successes with you over the next few months.
 

sarahtermite

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9 Nov 2010
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South Devon
What a great plan! I recently bought my first pair of killis (Aphiosemion australe); they're housed in my 2ft tank, and I love them. The male is particularly inquisitive and whenever I'm up close looking in, he's usually there looking right back at me. I'd love to get more, but that tank's at capacity now. Plus I wasn't sure it would be possible/right to keep more than one species in a tank.

I'm looking forward to seeing how your tank develops. :thumbup:
 

killi69

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Thank you foxfish and sarah. I like the killis for their behaviour - it's all about the display from the colourful males really I suppose - always sparring with each other or trying to mate a female (sounds like another species we all know :lol: ).

I suffered my first major set back within an hour of having moved the tank and cabinet into my flat. While admiring my new tank my heart sank.

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I don't know how it happened. Before I went to pick up the tank, I had asked the seller fill it up again so we could check for leaks. I inspected the tank before buying it and am pretty sure I would have noticed the crack and chipped glass in the corner. I had asked the man with the van to be a bit more gentle with the tank while shifting it into his lorry and we did struggle quite a bit to place the tank into position onto the cabinet.

The significance of this small crack on the back window took a while to sink in. I filled the tank with some water to see if it leaked. It didn't and I overcame my initial shock by telling myself that as the tank is not leaking and the crack is only small and sits within the siliconed area, it should all be ok. Also the tank has a double base and is made of 10mm glass. I spoke to some other tank enthusiasts who advised me to buy some braces to glue alongside the bottom/ side panels to bring together the back and front panels of the tank.

I had some thick glass strips cut (5cm wide) to glue in as braces for extra support.

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killi69

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I ordered matching Juwel Rock panels for the sides of the tank. This is not really my favourite type of background (I prefer the plain black Juwel Strata) but as the tank already had a background in it, I went for the option of ordering matching panels for the sides to save money. I have always had backgrounds on the sides of my tanks (I am Dutch lol). I like the enclosed feeling this gives - more of a viewing box kind of thing - and also provides opportunities to cover the walls with ferns, moss or anubias.

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As the first week went by, I grew more and more concerned about the crack in the glass. In the end, I decided against keeping the tank as I realised I would always be worrying about this weak spot and would forever wonder if my flat will be flooded when I get home from work or holiday.

So, I sold my 5 foot tank for £30 on Gumtree and made someone who was looking for a larger home for his turtles very happy. At least I still had a wooden cabinet, two great pumps and other equipment left over from the sale, so it was not a complete loss of my £285 investment.

I decided to have a brand new tank built and while I waiting for its delivery will fix up the cabinet and get other things (such as CO2/ hardscape materials/ plan list etc) sorted. What started as a spontaneous initiative to buy a bargain tank with everything included and ready to go is fast turning into a much bigger (and more costly :crazy: ) project.
 

sarahtermite

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What a nightmare! But - even though it's not working out precisely as you'd initially envisaged, at least this way you get a brand new tank! Plus you'll have peace of mind; I'd have done the same in your shoes, otherwise I'd always have this niggling worry that it might start leaking.

And does this mean that you won't need the backgrounds you bought, either?
 

killi69

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Yes, it was my way of coming to terms with the loss of my tank - the pressure was on to make sure that both the new tank and unit will look brand new.

I still have the backgrounds left over (another wasted £60 added to total cost of the project, which is quickly spiralling out of control :crazy: ). I will sell them on at some stage.
 

killi69

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A carpenter friend painted the cabinet and light hood white for me and fitted a higher rim to go around the front and sides of the cabinet, replacing the old rim. The rim will hide the bottom part of the tank, allowing for 5cm of gravel to be hidden from view. Also decided not to have any handles on the doors of the cabinet. This gives it flusher look and makes the middle door of the unit look more central.

It's already looking great, the only thing missing is my new tank.

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dw1305

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Hi all,
I'm a big Killi fan as well, I have Poropanchax normani at present, but I used to have a big tank (4' with about 8" of water and lots of emergents) with just Pseudepiplatys annulatus in it, and they formed a self sustaining colony.

I keep on thinking about a setting a new tank up with Aphyosemion (Diapteron) cyanostictum or fulgens, mainly because I like a challenge.

PM when you are set up if you want some food cultures, I've got Vinegar eels, Banana worms, Vestigial winged Drosophila etc.

When you get your big new tank I would definitely go for a paludarium.

cheers Darrel
 

creg

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21 May 2011
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191
gonna watch this with interest looks like its going to be amazing, good buy from ebay too (apart from finding the crack)
 

ian_m

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killi69 said:
.....
tankarrival005.jpg
...
If thats MDF make sure it is super super waterproofed as any water accidentally spilled (or leaking from a cracked tank, if you had one :D) would cause it to turn to a soggy mush and disintegrate.
 

killi69

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by creg » Fri May 04, 2012 1:26 pm

gonna watch this with interest looks like its going to be amazing, good buy from ebay too (apart from finding the crack)
Thank you Creg. I am a bit nervous, having never done a blog before or attempted such a large tank. I am playing catch up writing this journal and hope to be in real time by tomorrow.

by ian_m » Fri May 04, 2012 1:30 pm

If thats MDF make sure it is super super waterproofed as any water accidentally spilled (or leaking from a cracked tank, if you had one ) would cause it to turn to a soggy mush and disintegrate.
The rim is made from MDF I am afraid. Thank you very much for this information Ian.


by dw1305 » Fri May 04, 2012 12:41 pm

Hi all,
I'm a big Killi fan as well, I have Poropanchax normani at present, but I used to have a big tank (4' with about 8" of water and lots of emergents) with just Pseudepiplatys annulatus in it, and they formed a self sustaining colony.

I keep on thinking about a setting a new tank up with Aphyosemion (Diapteron) cyanostictum or fulgens, mainly because I like a challenge.

PM when you are set up if you want some food cultures, I've got Vinegar eels, Banana worms, Vestigial winged Drosophila etc.

When you get your big new tank I would definitely go for a paludarium.

cheers Darrel
I used to keep breeding groups of P annulatus together with Aphyosemion amoenum in one of the 40cm cubes described at the start of my journal. I found that if I kept them in rain water, I could fish out baby fry from both species every week. I also kept Diapteron fulgens (in rain water as well) but never managed to breed them. From what I remember, they liked to be kept in the dark and were quite shy but a really stunning fish with amazing colours. Also quite expensive - I paid more than £20 a pair for them and that was at a British Killifish Association auction where killis are relatively cheap.

Lampeye killis, Poropanchax normani, are one of the species I am planning for this tank also! At least these killis are among the few that are known to like flowing water. What kind of water do you keep them in?

The issue of soft water will be a major factor in a 540l tank. I am planning to follow the EI route so 50% water changes with rain water or RO will take some effort. I will be going with RO but have not exactly worked out a system for water changes with RO, or how to store the RO. Luckily I am not on a water meter so RO is an option providing I sort out how to store the RO water I will be producing.

Thank you so much for your offer of starter cultures for rearing any fry. I had told myself that I was going to keep the killis for display purposes only but I might not be able to resist the urge to breed them :thumbup: .

Paludarium?? That is dream for another time ... Dendrobatus poison arrow frogs with some South American killis ... No, this tank will be for West African killifish only.
 

killi69

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Milton Keynes
I will be using a mixture of cat litter and bonzai clay http://www.kaizenbonsai.com/shop/pr...=2193&osCsid=10de2fddc4d059e9e16332e77b8068ac for substrate and spent many happy hours washing it. In the end I set up a little system for washing the clay (before the hosepipe ban came into force off course :lol: ).
gravelandwood008.jpg


I used 60l of bonzai clay and 50l of cat litter.
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The cat litter on the right was a little bit darker than the bonzai clay. Rinsing it took much longer though.
gravelandwood017.jpg
 

killi69

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The tank I ordered (5x2x2) will have black paint on the back and sides. I also asked for them to use black silicone. I know that many people do not like the look of black silicone as it creates the illusion of a frame in an all glass tank but as my tank will have the sides and back blacked out, I think the black silicone will look better against the painted panels. The front window will also look better for it I think (where the sides meet the front).

To help camouflage the tubing for the filters, I have spray painted them black using a spray paint called Krylon Fusion http://www.patrolbase.co.uk/details1.asp/ProductID/540/sid/133/krylon-fusion-black.htm. I was sceptical at first about whether this could be done but after Googling 'Krylon Fusion fish' I came across many references on various forums recommending this for use inside the tank.

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tankfilledandblackpipes001.jpg
 

killi69

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Milton Keynes
I bought three large pieces of Redmoor wood.
gravelandwood041.jpg


and have been soaking them in the garden waste bin
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Here is how I plan to use them

aquariumwood181.jpg


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Any feedback very welcome

aquariumwood181a1.jpg
 

Ady34

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Loving the detail of this journal...substrate washing techniques and wood soaking photos, i love seeing this stuff, we all do it, but its nice to see the unseen work! Keep us posted.
Cheerio,
Ady.
 

killi69

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Milton Keynes
After a LONG wait, the tank has finally arrived. We were able to lift it onto the cabinet without any problems - or cracks appearing anywhere this time!

I am very pleased with the result. The finishing on the tank is superb - a big thank you to Greg at the Aquatic Design Centre for organising this for me. Well worth the wait and in hindsight the crack in the first tank was the best thing that could have happened. I would never have had such good looking tank or cabinet otherwise. If only the inside will look half as nice, I will be happy.

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newtank003.jpg


hoodandtanktop003.jpg
 

killi69

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by Ady34 » Fri May 04, 2012 11:40 pm

Loving the detail of this journal...substrate washing techniques and wood soaking photos, i love seeing this stuff, we all do it, but its nice to see the unseen work! Keep us posted.
Cheerio,
Ady.

Thank you Ady! Look forward to getting this journal up to date. One more post (below) and we will be in real time.
 

killi69

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OK, so the tank arrived yesterday and today I have been busy getting the substrate, wood and water into the tank.

One big draw back I only now discovered of having a large tank; you need something to stand on to get in there! And difficult to have your hand in while looking through window at the same time. I foresee problems trying to catch any fish released into this tank.
gravelandwood018.jpg


Had some left-over Tropica substrate which I put on the bottom together with a sprinkling of peat and some slow release fertiliser granules.
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tankfilledandblackpipes010.jpg

tankfilledandblackpipes011.jpg

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Here we go
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The wood has been soaking for four weeks yet after a few hours sitting on dry gravel while I arranged the layout, some pieces are not sinking completely. Really like the way the rim at the front hides 5cm of substrate.
tankfilledandblackpipes014.jpg
 

awtong

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15 Dec 2011
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Newmarket
This journal has great detail.

I really like your Redmoor root pieces.

I have the same problem with trying to look through the front glass while doing tank maintanence up a step ladder. Having a Juwel Vision 450l and being a short blahblahblahblah is hard work :lol:

Andy
 

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