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Old 09-22-2013, 12:38 PM   #1
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Typical story... a friend of my gf says "oh he's into fish now? He can have our old tank." So late last week I went and picked up what was once a children's/family tank with plastic plants, sponge bob decor, hood, light heater, add hob filter.

Can't complain about "free" too much.


Took it home, tossed the junk we don't want and cleaned out/tested the tank.

It sat on on our balcony overnight full of water and didn't leak so I figured it was gtg. Drained and reserved the water.

Since this is a grow out tank and looks don't really, matter I decided to keep it cheap and practical. Substrate is Miracle Grow Organic Garden Soil ($8 for 40# @ Home Depot) capped with medium grain Art Sand from LFS, natural tan color. I like the larger grain, play sand, while cheaper, is too fine, IMO.

I layed down about 1.5" to 2" depth of MC and capped it with 1" of sand. 3 bags of sand at $5 each. I the filled the tank w water, carefully not to mix the sand and soil, and again let it sit on our balcony overnight full of water: and again didn't leak.



Drained most of the water the next morning, reserving half, and moved the tank to our hallway closet on top of my file cabinet. The space had previously stored stuff we really didn't use so it was a good, and cathartic, exercise to clear and prep the space.

I leveled the file cabinet and capped with an extra shelf board from those knock together metal shelves and placed the tank on one end leaving room for other tank related stuff.

I then filled the tank half way, carefully again, and moved the plants from our grow bucket in the kitchen and planted them into the MC w SS tongs.

Here it is right after I filled it. The white baggie in front is the bio max from the palm filter that used to be on the grow bucket. Plants from left to right:
Echinodorus amazonicus, left row
Blyxa Japonica, across the entire middle section
Microsorum pteropus, matted and tied to rock in the rear right corner
Anubias nana v petite (superglued to DW in rear right)
Ammania sp. 'bonsai' in the rear right corner
Ludwigia Repens x Arcuata, on right
Eichhornia diversifolia (not sure, just a best guess) next to the Ludwigia
Bacopa lanigera, front right corner
-the last two were RAOKs along with the Blyxa from a fellow SCAPE member last week

The water was a bit cloudy, and the HOB that came with the tank was tired, and cracked, so I opted to use an Eheim 2213 canister I picked up used, but complete, for $40. I got enough hose segments with the canister to make up a complete working filter w the stock eheim pipes.


The seller had left the canister full so I did run it clean w fresh water treated w Prime and Stability. I plan to tear the canister apart and freshen up the filter media soon.

The integrated light and hood that came with the tank are handy, but won't cut it. Its only an 18" fixture in a 24" hood so I threw a $9 F15 GE Sunlight bulb @ 5100 in it... it's temporary. I've got a Finnex 24" FugeRay en route from amazon.

Not sure what else there is for now but I've got about $135 into this setup with the Finnex. Oh, and no more bucket in our kitchen! which is priceless.

Here's a shot this morning with the filter placed next to it... wonder if it would be better lower?



I'll post pics of the growth over time once I figure out what the dosage of ferts will be and whether I add CO2 to this tank.

I welcome all questions, comments and advice
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Old 09-22-2013, 02:07 PM   #2
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Nice job, and yes. I'd lower the 2213.
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Old 09-22-2013, 03:02 PM   #3
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Nice job, and yes. I'd lower the 2213.


I assumed the filter would have a better mechanical advantage the lower it is but I'll need to do some serious re-jiggering of our closet to make that happen.

I was also thinking about placing the filter in a 3.5 Gallon paint bucket and wire up a normally-open relay with sensor wire (one conductor on the floor of the bucket and the other 1/4 up the side) so if there is a leak of any sort (gear inside the bucket) the relay can power off the filter and lessen the chance of damage.

Perhaps that is overkill, but better safe than sorry since I'd hate to come home to 20 gallons of water in my carpet
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Old 09-22-2013, 05:47 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by octanejunkie View Post
<Snip>
Since this is a grow out tank and looks don't really, matter I decided to keep it cheap and practical.

....

I welcome all questions, comments and advice
wow. The mind boggles at the effort and expense you must put into your tanks where looks DO matter!
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Old 09-25-2013, 02:44 AM   #5
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wow. The mind boggles at the effort and expense you must put into your tanks where looks DO matter!
Not really... I'm focused on buying the right stuff as frugally as possible. I'm happy to make the investment & effort to get the results I want.
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Old 09-25-2013, 02:53 AM   #6
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So the Miracle Grow has been leeching nutrients like mad. Ammonia is through the roof, nitrates and trates are almost zero. My tap water is ammonia free right now.

I've been doing 30% daily water changes and combating BBA


Gonna dose H2O2 with filter turned off before next few water changes; 1ml per gallon, maybe more
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