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Hobgoblin's Cave 240L

naughtymoose

Member
Joined
8 Oct 2014
Messages
205
Location
Basildon, Essex
This is my first attempt at a big tank, and my first attempt at a 'proper' aquascape.

I'll call it 'Hobgoblin's Cave' because I like Hobgoblin beer.. and I might have to have a secret emergency stash of it hidden below the tank!

Starting Specs:
  • Fluval Roma 240L
  • Fluval 306 filter x 2
  • Filter intakes using the two holes in the bottom of the tank
  • Spray bars across the back
  • Fluval 107cm, 40w tubes x2
  • Fluval E300 heater by filter intakes
  • B&Q Verve Aquatic Compost
  • B&Q Play-pit Sand
  • Black fine gravel (looks like PAH stuff)
  • Lava rock
  • Sumatra driftwood from Maidenhead Aquatics
Intended:
  • Heavily planted, dry start method
  • Dosing using APF starter kit
  • CO2 using FE and 2x inline diffusers
  • Blue LED light for transition to Moonlight
  • Possible bright LED for a short period (high noon tank time)
  • Possible red LED bubble disc thingy to blow off the CO2 at night (might stick this in the cave)
Fauna:
  • Norman's Lampeyes (Apolocheilicthys normani)
  • Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish (Melantoaenia praecox)
  • Otocinclus sp.
  • Ember Tetras (Hyphessobrycon amandae)
  • Corydoras sp.
  • Shrimps (possibly)
Flora:
  • Ferns etc
    • Anubias nana
    • Microsorium pteropus 'Java Fern'
    • Microsorium pteropus 'Windelov'
  • Stems etc
    • Rotala Wallichi (Red, background, difficult- may need more light)
    • Hygrophila rosaeaustralis
    • Hygrophila corymbosa 'angustifolia'
    • Didipils diandra
  • Moss
    • Weeping moss
    • Caloglossa beccarii (red moss)
    • Fissidens
    • Flame
  • Carpets
    • Hemianthus callitrichoides 'Cuba' 'Baby Tears'
    • Eleocharis sp. 'Mini'
    • Sagittaria subulata
    • Glossostigma elatinoides
  • Foreground etc
    • Pogostemon helferi
    • Alternathera reineckii 'mini' (red)
    • Alternanthera reineckii 'rosaefolia'
    • Cryptocoryne nurii 'Rosen Maiden' (just bought from alanyusupov)
Problems:
  • I'm not working due to long-term illness (CFS/ME & Fibromyalgia) and need something to keep me occupied and relatively sane
  • Progress will be at the 'Dead Slow' rate due to a combination of this and also funding issues
  • My partner isn't interested...
  • I've also been given a 130L 88cm tank to scape...
Shameless beg
  • If anyone has any useful cuttings/plants that they could send my way for beer money, I'd really appreciate it.
Suggestions/help
  • Please offer criticism/advice/suggestions. All welcomed and needed!
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kirk

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2012
Messages
1,671
Location
tewkesbury
Hi, sorry to hear of your illnesses, my mom has fibro so I know what your going through. The tank will help you relax and somthing you can enjoy when your not having a good day and cheer you up. As for your arrangement ( hob cave).

I like what you've done so far. Are you going for a twisty path?
 

Tim Harrison

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UKAPS Team
Joined
5 Nov 2011
Messages
8,448
Location
UK
I'm sorry to hear about your illness too...but perhaps the slow rate of progress will be a blessing in disguise...give you plenty of time to get things right. And good start as well by the way. I'll look forward to updates no matter how long there is between them...
 

naughtymoose

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Thread starter
Joined
8 Oct 2014
Messages
205
Location
Basildon, Essex
Thanks chaps

Kirk, I've been thinking about a twisty path in light coloured sand; the dark fine gravel is going to be used as a base for flora.

Troi, is it a good idea to put my base soil over the entire area of the tank, even underneath the rocks? I can afford to lift them by 50mm anyway, but should I use a lava rock 'packer' or just use my soil?
 

naughtymoose

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Thread starter
Joined
8 Oct 2014
Messages
205
Location
Basildon, Essex
Just a few random notes on the set-up phase:

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Treated myself to a pint!

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Testing for water-tightness. Use of a clip-on extension lead is not recommended...

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Painted back and right side with several coats of black emulsion.

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I used the box from the cabinet to start playing around with the hardscape.

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Satisfied with my efforts, I let the Hobgoblin out!

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Next, I used some carpet underlay to protect the glass base while I started to scape.

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I bagged up some lava rock in net bags (I cut the zips off first) to add a bit of a contour.

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Then I covered the base in the B&Q Verve Aquatic Compost. This has been festering away for about two months, topped up every now and then with water, as suggested by Clive.

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I covered the base in windbreak fabric and then started to lay down the hardscape. The white things in the left corner are plastic tooth picks, which I used to hold two bits of the fabric together after I cut it wrong.

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Inserting cardboard formers to separate the sand from the gravel, and placed the first tree.

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It will be a while before I can put any fish in, so I put my trusty wooden kissing fish in for effect.
 
Last edited:

naughtymoose

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Thread starter
Joined
8 Oct 2014
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205
Location
Basildon, Essex
DOH! I had a major brain fog incident...

Just realised that having washed the gravel that was given to me by a friend, and sieving the majority of the snail shells out from it, I didn't wash the nice black sand that I went and bought! (I also bought a big bag, and could have got away with less than half)

Will it be a good idea to get the majority of the sand out with my old DeWalt vac and wash it before doing anything else?
 

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
6,241
Drop a handful in a bucket & see how many "fines" are there ... if the water settles clear in a couple minutes there's no reason to rinse.

It looks like you'll have decent filtration so you can always just let them do the "clearing"
 

naughtymoose

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Thread starter
Joined
8 Oct 2014
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205
Location
Basildon, Essex
So I ended up rinsing the sand.

I also moved stuff about a bit, and consequently disturbed some pond compost that I'd filled gaps with. Ho-hum. Lesson learned...

Then I planted some Blyxa japonica obtained from Konrad (many thanks)

The stuff in the bag is Rotala rotundifolia 'Green', also from Konrad, which I intend to deal with in the morning.

I have Flame Moss to attach to the left fallen tree. I also got quite a bit of Weeping Moss, which I think may be good on the middle tree. The tree on the right I'm hoping to spot some Red Moss on.

I might splash out on a bulb of Crinum calamistratum to go behind the Blyxa, in front of the inlet pipes.

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naughtymoose

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Joined
8 Oct 2014
Messages
205
Location
Basildon, Essex
Did a bit more to the tank yesterday.

Tied some Vesicularia ferriei 'Weeping Moss' on to the bit of wood above the cave. I have to say that I found this to be incredibly fiddly as my fingers don't always work properly. Not sure if I tied the moss on correctly, but it doesn't seem to have floated off!
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Not sure if I'm going to cover this tree in moss, or leave it bare. I have some Caloglossa beccarii, Red Moss, which I might try and make into a birds' nest.
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Planted some more Blyxa japonica (thanks Konrad); attached some Bolbitis heudelotii (thanks Eduard Gercog). Also added some Hygrophila rosae australis and some Vallisneria americana from my smaller tank. The Elodea densa is just there temporarily to help the tank start working.
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The silver heater along the back wall is temporary too. I've just been experimenting with water changing issues and am able to keep it on whilst doing my 50% WC. Eventually, I'll use a 100L slimline water butt on a stool, suspend the heater in it overnight and then pump the water into the tank using a pond pump. I also intend to use the pump to empty the tank before the water change.

My sandy beach/path isn't looking good. There will be a bit of maintenance to do on this.

At present, I've just got one of the 306's connected but hopefully will get the pipes and crooks for the spray bars this weekend.
 

naughtymoose

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8 Oct 2014
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An update. Progress is slow!

Fitted the two spray bars when I installed the second Fluval 306. Note: I had to superglue the end caps as they kept shooting off the spray bar. The 306's are at about half power, but circulation seems good. I cut the ugly light grey rubber fittings off the end of the Fluval ribbed hose in the tank too. Why on earth they use such a bright rubber is beyond me.

Fitted a second-hand JBL DC. Not sure if I will be going down the CO2 route now; cost is an issue, so it may have to wait a while.

Was given a big wodge of Vallis for a background, but mrs moose didn't like the effect of the overhanging leaves, so I had to cut them back.

Added some Cabomba, Anubias, Hygrophila rosae australis, moved the Rotala, Cryptocoryne cryspatula 'Balansae', Pogostemon stellata, Pogostemon helferi, Eleocharis aciculata, E. sp. 'Mini', Alternanthera reineckii 'Mini', Vallisneria spiralis (at the right), Cryptocoryne petchii, Cryptocoryne moehimani.

I've got some Heteranthera zosterifolia and also some Hydrocotyle verticillata to plant too. The first may go bottom right, and be kept trimmed low. The H.v. may go at the mid point. Also, I moved the wood about a bit, and may even turn the tree around.

I'm not sure if my choice of plants will all suit non-CO2, so advice is welcomed.

There is a definite temperature gradient from right to left, dropping by almost 2 degrees C. Should I be particularly worried?

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Another Phil

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1 Jan 2015
Messages
123
Hi Naughtymoose,
There is a definite temperature gradient from right to left, dropping by almost 2 degrees C. Should I be particularly worried?

I personally wouldn't worry as it would allow the fish to thermo-regulate unless they always stay at one end.
It's possible the 2 filters are causing 2 gyres which are staying separate ( a bit like the Earth's atmosphere circulating in northern and southern hemispheres without a lot of crossing over the equator), although having both outtakes on the same side will lessen this.
Assuming the heater is still at the back can you move it slightly to the cooler side?

If the above is the case you might find CO2 distribution problematic though.
cheers phil
 

naughtymoose

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Thread starter
Joined
8 Oct 2014
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Location
Basildon, Essex
Hi folks
Phil, as you say, there are two areas of activity, left-hand side and right. The filter inlets are both at the rear right, and are fixed because they are holes in the tank bottom.

I put the heater next to the inlets in the belief that the water would be heated as it passes into the filters. The fish don't appear to be concerned, and I'm sure that these sort of temperature gradients exist naturally, so I'm not overly concerned.

I had been hoping to get a CO2 system, but don't think I can justify the expense (I'm on long-term sick). I'm also setting up a second (80cm/110L) tank to house some Rainbowfish, so will have a bit of expense there.

Not sure if all my plants are totally suitable for non-CO2, but I am dosing about 6ml of glut daily, so this should be helping.
 

Akwaskape

Member
Joined
18 Mar 2015
Messages
216
Location
Southend, Essex
Rainbowfish sounds interesting, ive got 6 pairs of wenerii (threadfin) in the wings waiting for their new home. Hopefully I'll have it up and running in about 4-6 weeks. I've also got 7 german line bred male boesemani in my show tank My 'beefy boes' lol love them. Re the heat yeah its easy to get hung up on irrelevant details in this hobby. Happy fish, pretty tank what more is there
 
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