NA Island Journal

Discussion in 'Journals' started by danmullan, 3 Dec 2012.

  1. danmullan

    danmullan Member

    Messages:
    148
    Location:
    Hampshire
    Hi all,

    Welcome to my journal for my new high-tech planted tank. I've recently replaced my entire set-up with a tank, cabinet and lighting arm from Natural Aquario, who are based in Portugal. I actually ordered the tank way back in June but due to what feels like an endless list of issues I've been delayed in starting the tank until the weekend just gone.

    I chose to order from NA because I liked their cabinets so much, and the lighting arm. It didn't actually take that long for my bits to be made and delivered. About 3-4 weeks if that? I chose a charcoal grey colour, it actually turned out a bit lighter than I thought but I'm really pleased.

    8239571522_ff965b6402_c.jpg
    Tank + Cabinet by Dan.Mullan, on Flickr

    The tank is a 60w X 45d X 40h (cm) opti-white. The stand is 85cm tall, the lighting arm is attached to the sides of the cabinet and is over 200cm tall from the ground.

    I'd decided to use 2x TMC Aquaray GroBeam 1000nd tiles for lighting, the biggest selling point for me was the total control over the light. I had my heart set on a light that could ramp up and down to simulate sunrise, midday and sunset. They seem to be hugely flexible and easy to use, I'll do a separate post and go into more depth when I have time.

    Here's the Aquaray stuff before I suspended the lights.

    8239589452_e0b9291655_c.jpg
    Equipment by Dan.Mullan, on Flickr

    By this point I had already decided on my hardscape, I wanted to use bogwood as I've not used it in a planted aquarium yet, and also I'd seen it used in James Findlay's "Nature's Chaos" scape. This scape by TGM is one of my favourite planted aquariums, it has also inspired me to try an island layout. Here's some of the hardscape I've used.

    8238518821_8e326b4873_c.jpg
    Hardscape - Bogwood by Dan.Mullan, on Flickr

    I'd begun to plan hardscape and planting layouts, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted the tank to look like and what plants I wanted to grow. I'll show you some of my scapes from when I was in the 'sandbox' stage when I update this tomorrow.

    I'll be bringing this journal up to speed over the next week or so as I go along, I then hope to update as regularly as possible to show progress and growth, and no doubt a few problems I have along the way. I'll do certain posts about parts of the set-up that require a bit more going into as well such as the lighting I'm using. I hope you all find it interesting.

    Thanks for looking.

    Dan
     
  2. nayr88

    nayr88 Member

    Messages:
    2,086
    Ahhhh that cabinet light arm and tank look the part, NA are gonna have great success I think, really too quality stuff. How much did they NA bits set you back if I be so ruddy bold!! Haha

    Will defo be watching this one closely :)
     
  3. Ady34

    Ady34 Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,315
    Location:
    Co. Durham
    Hi Dan, really looking forward to this journal. I love the na products and also love natures chaos at TGM, it's an awesome scape and a great source of inspiration. Love your choice of hardscape material and I'm impressed with your patience already, it must have seemed an eternity since June!
    Cheerio,
    Ady.
     
  4. gmartins

    gmartins Member

    Messages:
    308
    Location:
    Azores
    Hi,

    This is not justify the delay but to let you know that there has been an endless strike in Portugal from the people working on the transport system (don't know the proper word). So this may have had some impact on the delay...

    Anyways, if looks like you have everything sorted and I can't wait to see it planted.

    cheers

    GM
     
  5. Joecoral

    Joecoral Member

    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Neath, South Wales
    Very nice, big fan of the NA stuff myself so will be keeping a close eye on this thread, hopefully going to order one for myself sometime in the new year :D

    What filter you going with?
     
  6. pepedopolous

    pepedopolous Member

    Messages:
    687
    Location:
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Nice setup! Seems to be a lot of us planning on buying NA aquariums and cabinets soon. Hope they can cope with the demand! Really looking forward to reading more from this journal.

    PS. Did you specify those dimensions as on the NA website they're 65w X 40d X 45h. If so does this affect the cost much?
     
  7. danmullan

    danmullan Member

    Messages:
    148
    Location:
    Hampshire
    Can't find the invoice now it was so long ago, was in the region of £400 inc shipping, really good value in my opinion.

    Cheers Ady, worst thing is I've had the tank in place but had to wait on other issues. Pretty much everything gone wrong so far. It's really bizarre to see the tank full of water and plants.

    Unfortunately all the delays have been caused by problems with products I've bought. The tank and cabinet was delivered quite quickly but I had to have the cabinet replaced which delayed the whole process, and everything after seemed to go wrong too.

    I just sent them an e-mail with what I wanted, originally I was inquiring about a 90cm wide tank, they called me to discuss final sizes and prices but I ended up ordering a 60x45x40. When I decided I wanted a 60 wide I wanted a 60x45x45, but this needed 8mm glass. They said they could do a 60x45x40 in 6mm glass which made the tank a bit cheaper.
    They seem very confident in the quality of their products, they even compared themselves to ADA. In fact at one point the guy said their stuff was better than ADA but I've never had one so I can't compare.
     
  8. danmullan

    danmullan Member

    Messages:
    148
    Location:
    Hampshire
    Here's a full list of kit for this tank:

    Tank - 60w X 45d X 40h (cm)

    Stand - 85cm tall (over 200cm with lighting arm)

    Lighting - 2 x TMC GroBeam 1000ND tiles run through power controllers, suspended with cables so the distance from the water surface is easily adjustable.

    Filter - Eheim pro 3 350 (spray bar along back wall)

    CO2 - JBL co2 kit, 500g refillable bottles with JBL reg and solenoid. Using a UP inline Atomizer (16-22mm)

    Substrate - ADA Aquasoil Amazonia (I've ended up using about 2 and a half 9ltr bags)

    Hardscape - Bogwood from TGM

    I'll post my plants list soon.

    Cheers
    Dan
     
  9. Antipofish

    Antipofish Guest

    Hi,
    Out of interest, why did you go for 2 x power controllers instead of 1 x 8way ?
     
  10. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,298
    Location:
    London
    After seeing the NA cabinets at Aquatics Live I now want one myself!! haha good luck with the setup :)
     
  11. danmullan

    danmullan Member

    Messages:
    148
    Location:
    Hampshire
    2x power controllers was a slightly cheaper option.

    Also I thought if ever I had 2 smaller tanks, I could use them separately, which is far more likely than me getting such a large tank that I'd need more than 2 tiles.
     
  12. danmullan

    danmullan Member

    Messages:
    148
    Location:
    Hampshire
    Time for a little update.

    Once the tank was in place, I was ready to buy the lighting. I had already decided on TMC's freshwater Aquaray LED lighting, despite the price which initially put me off. I'd decided that it was smarter to invest a little more money than I originally wanted to, and not have to buy again. Also the savings on leccy bills and tube replacements will more than make up for the price difference over the 5 year minimum life expectancy.

    I knew I wanted to hang the units from the lighting arm, and thought this would be fairly straightforward with the suspension kit. However the TMC Aquaray 'MMS' (modular mounting system) kit was meant for ceilings, so it wasn't quite as straightforward as I'd thought. I knew that I would need to make some holes in my lighting arm to make it compatible with the cable kit, so I set to work. But drilling through stainless steel without a pillar-drill, was not as easy as I'd thought either. Eventually, a couple of days, a sore wrist and a few broken drill bits later:

    8239597694_959ea2be67_c.jpg
    Hanging rail by Dan.Mullan, on Flickr

    This shows the 'lug' that holds the cable that would normally be screwed to the ceiling. It also shows how the top section of the light arm connects to the sides.

    And here's the lights suspended for the first time.

    8238536213_c3e5cf36d5_c.jpg
    Suspended by Dan.Mullan, on Flickr

    The two tiles are connected together with a 490mm 'MMS' rail.

    This suspension kit is really good so would recommend it to anyone with Aquarays and an open top tank. It's really easy to raise/lower the lights for maintenance or more light. I'll be doing a more in depth post about the lights with more pics soon.

    I'll be bringing this journal up to date over this weekend so expect scape pics, plants lists and a box of water.

    Cheers
    Dan
     
  13. Ady34

    Ady34 Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,315
    Location:
    Co. Durham
    You tease.....
    Looks great so far!
     
  14. pepedopolous

    pepedopolous Member

    Messages:
    687
    Location:
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Great work on the lights. I was wondering too about how to secure the cables to the light arm. In the photos by NA they seem to use a granny knot! Perhaps another way is to slide a steel ring over the arm and attach the cable to that?
     
  15. alzak

    alzak Member

    Messages:
    376
    Location:
    Tipton West Midlands
    Where did You get the frame for those lights ??
     
  16. danmullan

    danmullan Member

    Messages:
    148
    Location:
    Hampshire
    :lol: All will be revealed soon.

    I was looking for one of these to use:


    This is the solution for rails, the loop would hold the lights to the rail... but I decided I would rather have them fixed than just resting on the cable.

    The frame is part of the cabinet, all ordered from 'Natural Aquario' in Portugal.

    Cheers, :thumbup:
    Dan
     
  17. pepedopolous

    pepedopolous Member

    Messages:
    687
    Location:
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Thanks! They look really classy. Did you find any place where you can buy them?

    EDIT: Found them!
     
  18. danmullan

    danmullan Member

    Messages:
    148
    Location:
    Hampshire
    Update time :thumbup:

    After the lights were mounted, I ordered some Aquasoil and a few more bits of bogwood from TGM. I had been planning layouts with the hardscape I already had and decided it wasn't enough to create the shape I wanted, trying to imagine how it would look a couple of months down the line when all the plants had grown in.

    1st bag of aquasoil goes in, the first ADA product I've used.

    8238540157_a953234fd9_c.jpg
    Aquasoil by Dan.Mullan, on Flickr

    8239611000_c0949c2af0_c.jpg
    Substrate by Dan.Mullan, on Flickr

    I had 2x 9l bags, when I saw the size of the mound I wasn't sure I'd need both. But once the 2nd bag went in and I'd spread it around a bit it was fine. The bogwood goes in and I started to play around with different positions for my island.

    8238549373_b64de341a7_c.jpg
    Scape 1 by Dan.Mullan, on Flickr

    8239624340_3504c47d37_c.jpg
    Scape 3 by Dan.Mullan, on Flickr

    I tried two islands but didn't like it.

    8239619742_ee672278e4_c.jpg
    Scape 2 by Dan.Mullan, on Flickr

    After an hour or so, I'd decided on my final layout:

    8239626504_21ef2e7f0d_c.jpg
    Final Hardcape Layout by Dan.Mullan, on Flickr

    I'd pretty much decided on the plants I wanted to use, most of which happened to be part of the Tropica 1-2 Grow range. I'd read that although the plants are young and small, there is a greater quantity of plantlets which could lead to nice even growth and coverage? Thought I'd give them a bash.

    I wanted Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis for the main carpet/foreground. Alternanthera Reineckii 'mini' and Pogostemon Erectus in the mid-ground between pieces of bog wood. Microsorum Pteropus (java fern) tied to the main piece of wood, maybe with some moss or HC growing on the top of the wood. Also with some Rotala sp. Green in the back ground.

    Since the initial plant list I'd decided to have HC in the middle of the hill, coming down towards the front glass, and some Ammania Bonsai infront of the P.Erectus. I also scrapped the A.Reineckii as I'd read the TMC LED's tend to wash the reds out.

    More tomorrow :D
     
  19. Ian Holdich

    Ian Holdich Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,315
    Location:
    lincoln uk
    Very nice Dan, I liked scape 2 personally, that had a lot of potential. However they re ll good.

    Just be aware of the movement you're gonna get from the wood when you fill it, do you have any stone to keep it in position?
     
  20. Antipofish

    Antipofish Guest

    Funny how we all like different scapes. I liked #3 ;) Its gonna be cracking either way :thumbup:
     

Share This Page

Facebook Page
Twitter Page
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice