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Narada - w60xd35xh40cm, low tech

Paulthewitt

Member
Joined
30 Dec 2020
Messages
102
Location
Liverpool, UK
So this is going to be "the" tank moving forward. Hopefully it will be a positive journal!

Me

My background is that I had a couple of tanks a number of years ago ending in 2013 when planning moving to the North West. I had a Fluval edge 23L and a Fluval Vicenza 180L. The edge was a good intro, but a pain to do anything with due to the opening. I loved my Vicenza and had a go at planted with Yeast based CO2. I was not very good at it - although I think with the yeast based co2 there were a lot of fluctuations which did not help. I was however proud of the tank - Frankly as I look at it now especially compared to all the scapes on here - it was rubbish!!...but it was a start.

Cue the pandemic and me working from home for 9 months, I decided to get a little tank to go on the desk in the office - this was great, but also a mistake. It got my 'itch' back to do something aquascape based, but was too small to have any nice fish in it. It has been a shrimp tank for some Orange cherry shrimp every since. Its journal can be seen here: Fluval Spec 19l - I need to update that and kind of close the thread, as I stole some of the plants for this one!

I then picked up a 50cm tank that was local mostly because it was underpriced for what came with it. But mostly the breeding colony of blue cherry shrimp - my favourite, that I could not justify the price tag of when I bought the orange shrimp. It also had a good few plants in it that I liked! As well as 6 CPD's and an endler. I liek the CPDs but they sadly all got Dropsy and died, despite my best efforts to save them. The Endler - which I have no love for, lived....of course.


Budjet -
Not expensive. Whilst I have money to buy this stuff and more, I am renovating my house and generally have an aversion to spending money. Being a single income family on public sector pay, meaning no actual pay rise for over 7 years, money is tight. I have basically funded this by selling stuff I owned! Having said that, I prefer value to cheapness; and if I am doing something I want to do it as properly as I can within my means.


The Tank

Why the name "Narada". Well that is the name of the ship of 'Nero', the arch villain in a Star Trek film. When I played with the scape I ended up with a design that reminded me of how the ship looked when going in/out of the wormhole. A pic of the ship is below. Upon looking and finding the ship...it looks less like it than I thought... but you know, I wanted an interesting name for the scape...so its sticking!

Narada.jpg


The tanks is an optiwhite, second hand job that came with a cabinet. I recovered the door to be white rather than black to match the rest of my office stuff. But otherwise left it be.
The tank is at the end of my desk for me to look into, but viewable from 3 sides as you enter the room and go to my desk. As such this may make things more challenging as I want it to look nice from 3 sides.... well, Nice from my desk, pretty nice on the end and ok on the other side.


Being used as room divider so will be seeing it front back and side.
Size w60xd35xh40cm. Around 85 litres ....although more like 75 when filled I think.

The tank will be Low tech. Reasons include the cost of CO2 set up and then its an additional cost going forward. Also space in the cabinet,

Filter and in/output-
  • Oase Bio thermo 600 (some sponges and floss, but mostly bio ceramics) Seeded with some media from previous tank. Integral Heater
  • CHinese Stainless steel job with skimmer
Lights -
  • Twinstar 600EA
Water

Tap water. Its pretty soft here - Ph 6.4/6.8 consistently.

Substrate
  • Tropica aquasoil
  • JBL Sansibar River sand
Fertilizer
  • Tropica Specialised nutrition to start. Will likely switch to TNC when done as its cheaper. Delivered by autodoser (once set up...its not yet)

Plants

Mostly stolen from my previous nano scape, other tank or bought from UKAPS members.
  • Flame Moss
  • Mini Christmas Tree moss
  • Anubias nana petite
  • Anubias Bonsai (no idea came with the tank I bought!)
  • Bucephalandra - possibly green (no idea came with the tank I bought!)
  • Bucephalandra Kedagang
  • Mini Java fern
  • Trident java fern
  • Needle leaf java fern
  • Vallisneria Nana
  • Alternanthera reineckii 'mini'
  • Rotala Hra
  • Hemianthus micranthemoides pearl weed (thank you @Jayefc1 ... all of your portions were HUGE!)
  • Staurogyne Repens (thank you @Konrad Michalski also)
  • On standby - red root floaters

Clean up crew plans
  • the blue cherry shrimp to go to this set up once cycled
  • I will buy some Amano shrimp...any suggestions on how many?
  • Ottos - again - suggestions on quantity?
  • Maybe a feature snail ...lots of pest snails will have come over with my plants!

Fish stocking:
  • The endler (my daughter has named it "sparkles" or something ridiculous!)
  • Apistogramma pair (agizzizi probably) ... or maybe black rams... thoughts?
  • Forktail rainbowfish - loved this critters.... full of life - maybe 12-15? I need to find these locally and at a decent price first.
I'm open to other suggestions.

....................................................................

The build:

I picked up some stone (Grey Mountain Rock) from facebook market place. Riverwood aquatics was the source of the wood. I tried local first, but they just didn't have what I wanted. I started messing around and came up with this. I knew I needed to leave space for sand as I want apistos and I believe they like to mess around in it sometimes.

1.jpg
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4.jpg



Next the sand was added as well as a few bits of rock:


5.jpg
6.jpg


7.jpg


Then...planting time:

8.jpg
9.jpg
10.jpg
11.jpg
13.jpg


I was aware that this may be the best it ever looks!! We shall see.

This is how it looks today on day 4, just after its water change. I am going to do 50% daily if I can, but I was away yesterday, so have done 2 in 3 days. The filter is seeded so that should help.

14.jpg


I know it may need some more plants - but I was struggling to visualise what I had and may need. I am thinking maybe another Trident java fern on the wood in the middle front area.
Also questioning if I should add moss to one or two of the wood 'arms'?

Feedback and suggestions appreciated!
 
Joined
23 Feb 2021
Messages
84
Location
Cochrane, Alberta, 🇨🇦
Beautiful looking tank you got there! You managed to source some great equipment, hard scape and plants for wanting to keep conservative. It would be interesting to know the cost of you set up vs bought all brand new.

I wish I had feed back to offer other than it looks great as is now! To moss or not to moss? I think it looks great without personally.
 

Jayefc1

Member
Joined
2 Sep 2017
Messages
2,247
Location
Swadlincote
The plants where a pleasure mate glad to see they arrived safe and sound
Tank looks really nice I personally would put some moss on the woods but that might just be me
 

Paulthewitt

Member
Thread starter
Joined
30 Dec 2020
Messages
102
Location
Liverpool, UK
Love the back story. Tank looks fab. +1 on the Crypts suggestion for the shoreline, and you have plenty of room for more Buces. I am going through a bit of a Buce obsession phase though, so I would say that.
Haha, thanks... I totally used @Zeus. featured journal as a template as I loved reading his! plagiarism is the greatest form of flattery they say!
Would love more buce - I'm doing the maths in my head as to whether I should buy...or just wait for growth then cut out and replant!
What crypts would you suggest that stay really compact? my challenge is I want the rocks, etc... to still stand out and not be totally covered and I have struggled to see anything that will do well in a low tech

The plants where a pleasure mate glad to see they arrived safe and sound
Tank looks really nice I personally would put some moss on the woods but that might just be me

After the gigantic portions I got from you.... I have loads spare!! I think I only used two thirds of a portion. Only the Hra got used up; and thats because it isnt as bushy.
 

Zeus.

Fertz Calc Meister
Joined
1 Oct 2016
Messages
4,207
Location
Yorkshire,UK
I totally used @Zeus. featured journal as a template as I loved reading his! plagiarism is the greatest form of flattery they say!

Thank you for your kind words :D, and glad to hear you found it helpful
 

Paulthewitt

Member
Thread starter
Joined
30 Dec 2020
Messages
102
Location
Liverpool, UK
Quick little update on this one.

The tank now has livestock of:
  • a colony of the blue shrimp
  • one endler from my old tank that I cannot pass on to someone else because my daughter saw it and named it sparkles! (or twinkle some days)
  • 12 Forktail Rainbows - love these guys...so much character
  • 1 female plakat Betta.

I still hope to add a pair of apistos... but maybe let the tank continue to grow in for a bit more first...or settle after some changes.
Also a couple of Amano soon as there has been some green thread algae.

Water changes are every three days ish at the moment.

The reinecki mini is not as pink as when planted, but there is no Co2 so I expected this. but it seems healthy and growing...perhaps a bit too well over some of the Buce. The anubias at the front has come loose, so needs replanting in.

I'm just not sure on the pearl weed... its not as bright or bushy as hoped. I may pull it out and replace and maybe put some Ludwigia mini super red in as a plant that I originally planned to use.
The Hra looks ok and doing fine - similar to the reinecki its not as red as could be, but as no co2, I expected this.

I still may add some Trident fern at the base of the second 'horn' from the front above the reinecki.

as always, thoughts and comments welcomed
 

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Paulthewitt

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Thread starter
Joined
30 Dec 2020
Messages
102
Location
Liverpool, UK
Its been a while - so time for a little update.
Its been a time of change with good and bad bits. First the bad:

The Alternanthera reineckii 'mini' just melted and died off. It was after a hack back and was doing well until then... but alas after 2 months I have given up and pulled it out and replaced with some of the staurgyne.
The Rotala Hra just wasn't giving the look I wanted and the Pearl weed was not looking as hoped either, so they have also been pullled. Instead I put in more Java Trident in the middle, and have Ludwigia Mini Super red at the back/right.. It seems to be doing ok but I keep cutting it back and replanting to make the future product more bushy. Vallis Nan is doing well and is long, sweeping around the tank. I took out the needle leaf at the back that filled the space. Initially it looks a little more bare, but I think with the extra space and a bit of repositioning now done, the vallis nana will fill it nicely and accentuate the flow of the scape.

I have been fighting BBA with spot dosing excel and generally seem to be on top of it. It keeps resurfacing in a couple of places. Research has suggested my large weekly water water changes may be a problem rather than a cure in this (its low tech remember) and Tom Barr over on plantedtank in an old thread is adamant to just top off, low techs aside from water changes when maintenance is done and a lot of mess created. So I think I will try that. I will also get more Excel and keep using that for a bit... but ideally it will be an ecosystem that does not need that degree of input and what amounts to pesticides.

Stocking is largely unchanged apart from Amanos added (7/8 I think... cant recall) and a bamboo shrimp that was supposed to be an Amano! - but my wife wanted one of these anyway as my old tank had one that she loved. I have rehomed the female Betta yesterday as i was sick of catching her eating my cherry shrimp... especially as she seemed to enjoy biting them in half and then moving on.... psycho! So I may add more fish, but want to be careful.
One of the forktails died after jumping out of the tank. I can only ever count 9, maybe 10... so I think I lost 2 or 3 overall, but none have been found floating.

I have also set up another nano tank (only this one and the new nano now though) - a 10l Aquael Shrimp with a sponge filter. I am using this as a baby grow out tank for the cherry shrimp, putting the pregnant females in there and removing them once they have given birth. Babies will then be moved over when big enough to not be eaten. One change I made is to switch to a Jebao 4 channel doser from the DD P1. This allows me to do daily water changes on this shrimp tank using the Narada tank as the source of better filtered/fertilised/etc... water. 1450mls are changed each day meaning it gets 100% circulation/change over each week and I only need to worry about the water quality in the big tank as this port over to the little one. But the overall water volume is increased on this system by 10 litres

I have added an auto feeder too. We had another baby 6 weeks ago, so travelling around and being away from my office was a concern. I have found this working well and set it to feed at a time I am usually at my desk when working so I can observe the fish, etc...

Dosing is now 2ml daily in the morning before lights on of Tropica Specialised Nutrition.
I have just upped the lights a little to run:
10am - turn on gradually up to
10:30am - level 45 then gradually up to
1pm - level 55 then gradually down to
2pm - level 45 then gradually down to
3pm - off

My aim for this scape is to make it nice to look at in my workspace, but low maintenance and input. I like to enjoy the tank rather than always be messing with it. This was a large part of going low tech rather than CO2 injected. As long as this BBA issue stays under control (or goes away fully!), I think this can be done. It was fine for a week when we went away aside from the glass needing a wipe down.

Pics (please excuse the mess the other side through the tank!!)

Side Profile:
090921 - 1.jpg


My View from my seat at the desk:
090921 - 2.jpg


Pic of the other side:
090921 - 3.jpg
 

Karmicnull

Member
Joined
6 Sep 2020
Messages
452
Location
Cambridge
Looking lovely! Are those long drifting leaves at the back the Vallis nana?
I'm always nervous with long sunset / sunrise periods because of the opportunity it offers to algae - I ended up reducing mine to 15 minutes as a compromise between plant health and no abrupt changes to upset the fish.
 

Paulthewitt

Member
Thread starter
Joined
30 Dec 2020
Messages
102
Location
Liverpool, UK
Looking lovely! Are those long drifting leaves at the back the Vallis nana?
I'm always nervous with long sunset / sunrise periods because of the opportunity it offers to algae - I ended up reducing mine to 15 minutes as a compromise between plant health and no abrupt changes to upset the fish.
They are indeed … unless I was miss sold, but they are very thin, so I believe they are genuine.
I started at an hour fade in/out… so this feels short, but you may be right. I would happily hear peoples views on the ideal length for this?
 

Paulthewitt

Member
Thread starter
Joined
30 Dec 2020
Messages
102
Location
Liverpool, UK
They are indeed … unless I was miss sold, but they are very thin, so I believe they are genuine.
I started at an hour fade in/out… so this feels short, but you may be right. I would happily hear peoples views on the ideal length for this?
Although I thought they were both 30 mins… thanks to your post I will now be checking this tomorrow!!
 

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