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 New tank setup begins...

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DL Lawrence
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PostSubject: New tank setup begins...   Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:07 pm

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Hi all! After much discussion with my wife, we have decided on a smaller tank for our main "living area" than we had originally thought about, i.e., we were considering something like a 125. All our current tanks are in my office. After taking a bunch of time to consider the room, time, space, weight, maintenance, and cost, we've scaled back our project to a 46 gallon bowfront, which fits nicely between two windows in our living room, without taking up much space. Picked it up today off of CL, up in Fred-vegas. It has a pretty nice black stand, which we think will look good in the room. It's made by Marineland. I'm going to do some re-sealing (following flippercon's awesome video), and clean it up real well, and then we'll begin the build. Since August, with the help of everyone here, I've learned a few things....well, more than a few.

So..for this tank we know this:

It will be planted. UPDATE- no plants...sand and rocks....
We're going to use pool filter sand for substrate. Maybe even a "sub" substrate for the plants (I'm open to ideas on this).
We're going to "step our game up" on livestock, and get a bit more ambitious, methinks. Some dwarf cichlids, perhaps...Yep, looks like we'll have a Mbuna tank...
This one will have a black background (I don't like looking at the cords...)
Canister filter, no HOB's, on this one.
I've been pleased with how clear my water is in the 55 running one, so I'm going to put in an inline UV Sterilizer.

First question- I'd like to go the LED light route on this tank. Any advice (or anyone using) LED lighting systems on planted tanks with success? Does it make that much difference, or is it that big a deal? Advantages other than less power, and less heat? Things to watch out for?

Maybe I'll take a few pics, and make this a build thread....

Thanks in advance for all advice and opinions!

DL


Last edited by DL Lawrence on Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:00 am; edited 2 times in total
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cichlidshane
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:37 am

Nice another Mbuna tank. I will be honest and tell you that Mbuna are harder than Peacocks to deal with. You will have to rehome some or lose some at some point since the males can be very aggressive. So, keep that in mind. Fluval or RenaXp will work fine. I have both and I ony had one problem since I bought them in 2001 but it was my fault when I didn't latch one of the XP correctly and the power went on and off a few times and popped the seal. You can always install a flapper type anti backflow device in the hoses to prevent this if it worries you. Just don't use the preasure kind since they will reduce the flow badly. As far as fish and tanks I can tell you the resealing is not that bad as long as you get safe silicone and take your time and clean the glass very well before you seal it. I understand the living space and having friends and family see the stand and tank so you want it nice. Once you get the tank up and running let me know. I should have a few fry I can donate to your startup if you like Yellow Labs, Red zebra and Hongi. Take a look at my youtube channel so you can see the Mbuna I have and maybe help you with some fry.


Lights....well I am going to stick with T5 lights over LEDs. I just do not want to deal with LEDs that burn out and some lights you can not replace the LED or part of the LED. I know I can buy a new bulb and adjust the wavelengths of the bulbs to what makes my fish look best or for plants etc. Just my 2 cents.


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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:53 am

Shane, your about 5 pages to late...
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:14 pm

Yeah...I see that now....it was late lol.....Hope the tank is doing well.

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Deb
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Wed May 15, 2013 10:03 am

How is this tank coming along, DL? The last set of pix show the background looking really good and the planting scheme taking shape. What did you decide about the Manzanita?

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DL Lawrence
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Fri May 17, 2013 11:47 am

Hi Deb!

Sorry for the delayed reply- I've been very busy at work and in the yard, and have not checked in here much lately.
Funny you should ask, the day you posted I actually found the last piece of the puzzle- a piece of driftwood of suitable size and shape- snagged it at the Home Goods store, after reading that tip in another post. With shipping, the manzanita was pretty expensive, so I bagged that idea.
So- Here's how the tank looks now. Jake the cat likes looking at the fish...thank God for aquarium tops, as we've caught him a couple of times on top of the tank...This will be our "final" setup, but you know how that goes...


As you know we really flip-flopped a lot between community planted, and sand/rocks/mbuna. Community planted won out, as we were not willing to get into sexing, compatability, aggression issues, etc., with the Cichlids. So, we actually stocked this tank from our other ones, excepting some Julii Corys we bought. We did lose one of the Corys, who did not make the transition. The other 5 are doing well. The tank has 6 Bloodfin Tetras, 8 Black Neons, and 2 Assassin snails also. I made the stupid mistake of transplanting a plant without washing it off, and now we have snails- ugh. I'm having a daily "hunt n' smush" session, and with the Assassins, are hoping to have it under control soon.

The tank runs good numbers, and is way over filtered. My water circulation plan seems to be working OK. The power head in the back really seems to be moving water around, so I don't have any stagnant areas behind the background. The screen on the left (intake side) is doing it's job, and keeping the fish out. The fish do not seem to mind the current, and actually sometimes look like they are playing in it. I'm trying not to overfeed- I'm having some issues from that in the 55.

The LED lights we love- and the plants do too, it would appear. Here's a picture shortly after setup with the moonlights on, after I added water, and planted the tank- notice the difference in the plants from the picture above-


And here's a closeup of the tank now:


You can just see the powerhead behind the rock/plant at the bottom right, coming through the background.
We like the moonlight setting on the LED's- it looks real cool at night while we're relaxing in the room.
I'm beginning to see just a bit of algae on the background- I've cut back the light hours a bit, and we have had to keep the drapes closed on one window, which was letting in too much sun directly on the tank.

Other than that, it seems to be going well. I have discovered recently, however, that with some other activities I have when the weather warms, that it's getting harder to find time to maintain the tanks weekly. So, I'd really like to get rid of my 10 and 20 gallon setups. If anyone is interested in some of this equipment, let me know- I'm sure I can make you a deal you can't refuse. That way, the 55 and the 46 I think will be enough for us.

DL

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Fri May 17, 2013 4:07 pm

Wow! What a gorgeous setup, and it looks great in the room. You can definitely see the plants are doing well and everything looks happy.

Well done!

I know too well how warm weather directs attention away from indoor pursuits. I have a friend who has a 20-gal that lies completely fallow over the entire summer and she restocks and starts over again every winter. Shocked

I also had to consolidate and take down every tank except my most enjoyable, and keep things simpler, and I'm glad I did.

I have found it very convenient to have the extra tanks in storage, though, because there have been times when an emergency hospital or alternative setup was required immediately due to a tank leak, biofilter crash, personality conflict between fish, suspected toxin getting into the water and the fish needing to be removed pronto, etc.

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Fri May 17, 2013 7:24 pm

It looks great! I love the background. How long do you have your lights on? Just curious since I'm also trying out LEDs on my new tank but they've only been on for a week.
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sat May 18, 2013 8:29 pm

Hi VT- I began having them on the same as my T5's on the 55- 8 hours per day, 4 on, 3 off, then 4 more on in the evening. I cut 1/2 hour off each side, so I'm now at 7 hours per day.

Thanks, Liz! We're very pleased with how it turned out!
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sun May 19, 2013 11:30 am

Hi, DL!
Well, the look is great and that piece of wood has a certain marauding T-Rex look to it that adds a suggestion of movement. In a display tank that's a good feature to have. ThumbsUp

You say "HomeGoods." How did you determine that the wood was aquarium safe? (I haven't been in a Home Goods so I'm not sure what they have.) It's a dynamic looking piece of wood, for sure.

I'm glad the background is working out and I too am curious to see how the LEDs work out, long term. Very Happy Like you, I've discovered that (when it comes to display tanks) fewer and bigger tanks are better all around.

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Mon May 20, 2013 9:03 am

Hi Deb- "marauding T-rex"....I like that! Bobbie says it's creepy.....Wink

Anyway, I really have no way of knowing it was safe other than boiling it (had to flip it over a couple of times) in our biggest pot, and I left it out in the rain for a few days as well. It's been in there for a couple of weeks now, I think, and everyone seems happy, and I cannot detect any negative effects. It does leech a bit of white funky stuff, but not nearly as much as the Mopani did that's in my 55.

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sat Oct 12, 2013 12:21 pm

I'm doing tank stuff this morning, so I thought I'd post an update to this tank.  It has matured very nicely.  the plants seem to LOVE the LED lighting, and have done great.  All the fish are very healthy and happy.  I removed the "T-Rex" marauding driftwood and replaced it with a more natural looking piece.  The tank has settled in nicely, there's almost no algae, and it runs great numbers.  Lights are on for 3 hours in the AM, and then 4 in the evening.  I think (this being my 4th tank build since I got back into the hobby a year or so ago) that I have finally discovered what "balance" is.  Trial and error, and a lot of advice, have helped.  I think this tank has the right mix of animals, filtration, lighting, temperature, and plants.  I use no additives, only my well water and some Prime.  I do about a 30-40% weekly WC.  All in all, we've been very pleased with this tank, and we really enjoy it.  Thanks to all for the suggestions, comments, and advice.  Here's a picture as of this morning.

I've been experimenting with my camera, using tips from ddavis' post (thanks!), so there's no flash reflection, which is cool. It still looks a bit dark, but I'll get it figured out eventually!
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sat Oct 12, 2013 2:45 pm

Very nice job. You did just the right touches to this one. Looks great and thanks for sharing.

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:47 pm

It looks so good!

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:37 pm

It looks great, DL!  
Bye-bye T-Rex! *lol* It was fine but this piece has an even better feeling in the overall scape.

David gave a great talk at the meeting and we all took something away from it.  He will be glad to hear that some of his tips are working for you.  Very Happy 

Thanks for this update.  The tank is looking very well.

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:44 pm

Wow. What animals and plants are in your setup? Where can I find those tips on photography?

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:56 pm

Hi Donald- Thanks!

Here's a link for ddavis' photo tips:

http://cvas.forumotion.com/t1267-photography-quick-tips

There's some swords, anubias, and crypts in the tank.   It's a bit overstocked, although it's hugely over filtered as well.

There's 8 Black Neons, 6 Pristilla Tetras, 6 Bloodfins, 2 clown plecos (one of these will be moving to the Cichlid tank when I get it set up- they've doubled in size since I got them) and 2 male Dwarf Gouramis (well, they said they were dwarfs when I bought them, but they've also doubled in size- they are both about 3" long now)

It's a very pleasing tank to look at.  Everyone gets along fine, and the LED lights are the bomb. It looks pretty cool at night too under the moon light setting on the LED's.
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:48 pm

I'm really impressed by how healthy your plants look. No additives. I want your well water.

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