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Thread: First nano build - a journal!

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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr varanidguy's Avatar
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    First nano build - a journal!

    Hello All!

    I'm starting a journal for my first nano tank build. It's "9.98" gallons, so we'll just call it 10.

    The hard scape is dragon stone, purchased from ADA Tank Supply on the Bay.

    Substrate is Fluval Stratum, however that may change. I need to see how much this stuff will change my water parameters because the main focus when it comes to livestock will be neocaridina. I tested it in a bucket and dKH never fell below 2.5 and pH never fell below 6.8 so if that remains true in a tank, it'll stay. If not, it'll be scooped out and traded for something inert...

    Light is the Chihiros RGB. The amount of PAR it pushes out is impressive. What's not impressive is it doesn't go as far into the red spectrum as I'd like it to. The amount of PAR it is giving me is about 90 in the center of the tank, 14.5 inches from the light to substrate. In the front it bumps up to about 100, I'm guessing that's due to reflection of the glass. In both front corners, I'm getting a reading of 80-85, in the back corners about 50. Again, I'm thinking this could have something to do with the glass, as the back panel is black, plus the stones may be having some effect there.

    The next steps are to cycle it, get co2, and plant it...not in that exact order, of course, as the cycle is a long process. I'd like the tank to be aged a bit for the shrimp.

    Planned inhabitants are golden back yellow neocaridina, pygmy cories, and various snails (most likely MTS and pink ramshorn). Other fish may be added as well, but the main focus will be the shrimp. However it's hard to say no to pygmy cories because they're so dang cute! lol

    Planned plants are echinodorus aflame, crypt pink flamingo, dwarf hairgrass, staurogyne repens, buce, anubias, and alternanthera reineckii mini OR rosanverig - plus some moss for the tops of the rocks, maybe in lines while leaving the sides bare. The plants list isn't finalized but that's what I have in my mind's eye so far.

    Here are pictures of what I have so far. PAR data and the scape. Any comments or criticism is welcome!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    SCAPE Member SCAPEr varanidguy's Avatar
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    Got the paintball co2 system set up...only for it to fail a few hours later. The center stem is leaking which caused co2 to escape out the exhaust port on the adapter. Let me tell you...taking that co2 tank off made me have to wipe the back of my legs. For a split second, ice was spraying out. Luckily didnít hurt myself. Even after removing the co2 tank, the center stem is hissing...has been for 24 hours now. A 24 oz tank holds a lot more co2 than I thought! Paintball shop was closed today so itíll have to wait until tomorrow, still no plants yet so itís not a huge deal.

    Water has significantly cleared, going to squeeze out the very established sponge filter into the tank and start feeding pure ammonia. Get that cycle done!

    The lid did arrive today, itís the one for the UNS 45U/S and it fits this Lifegard tank perfectly!

    Canít wait to get proper co2 running and get this bad boy planted! Might need some floaters to help with how strong this light is, but we shall see. Gonna start with a 4 hour photoperiod and ramp up as things grow in.

    Hereís some update pics.

    Co2 before it had to be dismantled (finished product will be prettier).


    And the tank with the lid today.



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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr varanidguy's Avatar
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    First nano build - a journal!

    Got the repaired co2 bottle yesterday, gave it 24 hours for the loctite to cure, and installed the regulator. So far so good, hopefully it stays that way!

    Moved the diffuser to a much better location, the bubbles all seem to dissolve before even reaching the surface so thatís awesome.

    Planted the first bit of plants, echinodorus aflame and some dwarf hairgrass. Both from the main tank, the aflame was too shaded so it wasnít growing too well, and the hairgrass never took off because the cories were always rooting it. Little buttholes lol.

    I think tomorrow Iíll get some staurogyne repens and move in some anubias.

    Light is only on for four hours to start things out.

    Also I have to route the co2 tube better so it doesnít interfere with the lid. Was only trying out this spot but I think thatís going to be the diffuserís permanent spot.




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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr varanidguy's Avatar
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    Update: I planted some staurogyne repens from a tissue culture and added some AR mini taken from the main display tank. Rerouted the co2 hose so the lid can sit flush again. Finally did a WC for S&Gís.

    Iíve been adding a bunch of ammonia daily and it seems to all be getting consumed, not to mention this dollar store ammonia is really mild. I think itíll be enough to keep the tank cycled until biofilm grows and I can get more plants. Been thinking of adding a single fish of some kind to keep it going without dosing ammonia, but unsure of what. Maybe a male guppy or two? Anyone care to share any thoughts?

    Co2 has been holding this time so I think thatís good to go now.




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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr varanidguy's Avatar
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    Todayís update: I received two orders of plants. The first one contained one pinwheel Amazon sword. I decided to give it a shot because itís a dwarf variety (supposedly), so it should do well in the background of a nano tank. And it contained 12 baby stems of pogostemon helferi downoi. The pogo was a bit smaller than I anticipated and itís leggy side shoot growth, so I topped a few and planted them in the nano, and planted the rest in the main 40 breeder to see if theyíll grow out. They clearly came from low light conditions as theyíre small and long, but hey itís also clearly submerged growth so, as long as they adapt to my parameters, theyíll grow nicely!

    The second was the tissue culture of crypt flamingo! Thatís what got me fired up. I was able to split 6 plants total from the cup. I planted four in the nano and two in the 40 breeder to see if theyíll take. Fingers crossed for success!

    In the background I also decided to plant some pogostemon yatabeanus from my main display because it grows at a decent rate and I think it looks beautiful, and planted a green-ish trimming of alternanthera lilacina. This variety of AR is a moderate grower for me but when it colors up, itís intense, so maybe itíll be a good fit.

    I didnít test the parameters of the tank today as Iíve also been busy with chores, but I suspect theyíre okay. Still no algae bloom and the plants are doing well so far.

    I was going to trim the staurogyne repens and dwarf hairgrass today but since thereís no melting on the staurogyne and very little on the grass, Iím going to let them grow and establish for another week before the first big trimming.

    The light is still only being ran for four hours a day for now until growth gets more dense. No need in risking a big algae outbreak, itís a marathon, not a sprint (unfortunately lol).

    Thatís all for now, Iíll keep this thread updated with anymore progress! Enjoy the pictures!




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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr SCas's Avatar
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    This is gonna be a good scape

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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr varanidguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCas View Post
    This is gonna be a good scape

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    Thanks man! A lot of it hinges on success with the crypt flamingo.


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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr SCas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by varanidguy View Post
    Thanks man! A lot of it hinges on success with the crypt flamingo.


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    Love all the other plants too, but the crypt should be easy enough cause its a crypt

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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr varanidguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCas View Post
    Love all the other plants too, but the crypt should be easy enough cause its a crypt

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    Youíd be surprised. Lots of reported difficulty with the flamingo cultivar.


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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr varanidguy's Avatar
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    Update: The crypt flamingo is melting significantly but it also looks like there may be tiny buds of new growth. So long as itís only the leaves and the plant recovers, Iím good. Itís ugly but itís all about long term results, right?

    So I cleaned up the crypt leaves and figured might as well do the trimming now, so I did. After I was done with the crypts, I trimmed the hairgrass...what a nightmare lol. There must be a trick to do that.

    I then trimmed back the staurogyne repens and planted most of the tops to fill in the blanks.

    Today thereís some melting on the s repens, no big deal the stems seem fine, everything is still acclimating to the new tank. Some plants do better at that than others.

    Iím happy the tank is at least cycled bacteria wise. I think Iíll pick up some fancy male guppies or endlers to keep it going until shrimp can be added, then they can go to the QT tank with the same purpose.

    Hereís the standard progress picture, enjoy!




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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr Smilet's Avatar
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    Looking great


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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr SCas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by varanidguy View Post
    Update: The crypt flamingo is melting significantly but it also looks like there may be tiny buds of new growth. So long as itís only the leaves and the plant recovers, Iím good. Itís ugly but itís all about long term results, right?

    So I cleaned up the crypt leaves and figured might as well do the trimming now, so I did. After I was done with the crypts, I trimmed the hairgrass...what a nightmare lol. There must be a trick to do that.

    I then trimmed back the staurogyne repens and planted most of the tops to fill in the blanks.

    Today thereís some melting on the s repens, no big deal the stems seem fine, everything is still acclimating to the new tank. Some plants do better at that than others.

    Iím happy the tank is at least cycled bacteria wise. I think Iíll pick up some fancy male guppies or endlers to keep it going until shrimp can be added, then they can go to the QT tank with the same purpose.

    Hereís the standard progress picture, enjoy!




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    Looks good

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    SCAPE Member Jr. SCAPEr Redchigh's Avatar
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    I vote endlers over guppies, but thats just me.
    Ive seen guppies tear a shrimp limb from limb, and can get a little nippy, endlers seem more docile.

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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr varanidguy's Avatar
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    First nano build - a journal!

    Quote Originally Posted by Redchigh View Post
    I vote endlers over guppies, but thats just me.
    Ive seen guppies tear a shrimp limb from limb, and can get a little nippy, endlers seem more docile.
    I was planning on using them simply to keep the cycle going while the tank ages for another couple of weeks. Iíd like the plant melt to finish before adding the shrimp (although I know the shrimp will nibble on it too, but I did add some MTS to do some melt cleanup).

    However once the colony gets established, I was considering corydoras pygmaeus.

    The guppies/endlers would be moved to the QT tank once the shrimp were ready to move over.

    The pogostemon helferi seems to be establishing decently.




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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr varanidguy's Avatar
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    Went with three cobra endler males. Adds a bit of life to the tank in the interim and they should keep enough bacteria alive for a handful of shrimp. I can kind of see the appeal with these fish.

    They will also be good to help get co2 optimized, watching for gasping and whatnot.




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    SCAPE President 2000 posts, Star SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by varanidguy View Post
    Went with three cobra endler males. Adds a bit of life to the tank in the interim and they should keep enough bacteria alive for a handful of shrimp. I can kind of see the appeal with these fish.

    They will also be good to help get co2 optimized, watching for gasping and whatnot.




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    Awesome Progress, the tank is coming along nicely.

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    More Tanks!

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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr varanidguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kole85 View Post
    Awesome Progress, the tank is coming along nicely.

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    Hey thanks Kole! That means a lot from you!

    I did another large water change today, about 50%, to remove some melt and whatnot, trying to keep the organics low to avoid as much algae as I can. The glass is getting a slight haze to it which I'm stoked on because that means it's aging along nicely.

    The melt setting in is annoying but I know things are annoying in the beginning. The MTS seem to be doing a decent job eating some of it, but for now I'll continue to remove melt a couple times a week with big water changes to keep things down. Once the melt stops and growth turns around, I'll start ramping up the lights, by 30 minutes to an hour at the most at a time.

    I did increase co2 today because the pH of the tank without injection is 6.8, and when the light came on, it was only down to about 6.4. I want the co2 to get it down to about 6.0 and that should be enough.

    The endlers are dancing around the tank, they like to hang out in a group most of the time, and they do this flashy dance around each other. It's kinda cute...dammit Shane, you can't get into guppies or endlers. lol

    Not much as changed so no photo today. Thanks all for looking!

  18. #18
    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr SCas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by varanidguy View Post

    dammit Shane, you can't get into guppies or endlers. lol
    My thoughts on like every sub hobby of fish and plant. Endlers are so cool though! And that dance they do is them sparring

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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr varanidguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCas View Post
    My thoughts on like every sub hobby of fish and plant. Endlers are so cool though! And that dance they do is them sparring

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    Thatís the most mellow, harmless sparring Iíve ever seen lol.


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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr SCas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by varanidguy View Post
    Thatís the most mellow, harmless sparring Iíve ever seen lol.


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    They just kinda put theyre fins out and circle each other right?

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