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Old 08-21-2018, 07:26 PM   #21
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Sounding good! That is odd on the seal - fingers crossed. Seen the odd air bubble but nothing like that.
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Old 08-21-2018, 08:44 PM   #22
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Jack's 20G Long Build Journal

For the initial filling the tank, you could place a bowl or saucer on the substrate and slowly pour the water in.
For refills after water changes, direct the water to one of the stones. Or you could get something like Leeís Specimen Container, drill a bunch of holes in it and, use it as sort of a hang on colander. When you pour water into it, the flow will be broken up and diffused.
That is quite a turnaround with the LFS!
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Old 08-21-2018, 10:26 PM   #23
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Regarding the tank size, I recently picked up a 29g and even though it has the same footprint as a 20g long it seems so much more bigger. I keep nano fish for the most part so a large tank was never a necessity.
The 20 long had a great footprint to volume ratio and was ideal for getting the most out of the lighting due to it being so shallow (12Ē).
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Old 08-21-2018, 11:42 PM   #24
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I did fill it with a small saucer to not upset the substrate too much. There were still bits that floated. Weird stuff. I did use the stone when it got more full!

I will be mostly keeping little guys so I don't think I'll ever need anything very big. Maybe a 40 gallon is where I should aim my aspirations. Big enough to feel luxurious for the stock I want, but small enough to be manageable. We'll see how I feel when next year's dollar a gallon sale comes around!
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Old 08-22-2018, 04:00 AM   #25
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I've always been impressed with the 40g breeder tanks. I think you would be happy with that in the future.

That seal looks sketchy. I've gotten bubbles on the outside of a seal but never that deep to the corner.
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Old 08-22-2018, 10:56 AM   #26
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Is there anything I can do to make the seal more trustworthy? It's completely smooth on the outside and is fairly thick on the inside.
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Old 08-22-2018, 02:15 PM   #27
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Ya idk. I've tried ironing out bubbles but it seems as soon as you add water and it sits for awhile the bubble returns. Without resealing it, I think you will just have to keep an eye on it. The outside looks sealed tight right now.
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Old 08-23-2018, 02:43 PM   #28
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Most of my plants will be here today, so I drained my tank low in preparation. I'm so excited!

I went ahead and tested my water prior to draining and got interesting results. It's been running with the filter and light for 2 days. My results are:

pH: 7.8
Ammonia: Between .5 and 1.0
Nitrite: between 0 and .25
Nitrate: 0

My pH is high as hell. I guess the shrimp and endlers will be happy. Hopefully it's not too much for the cories. I'm actually surprised that my ammonia is that high when I haven't been putting anything in the tank. Seeing nitrites this early is also pretty exciting.

I love how involved and connected this whole process feels. I'm glad I've done the amount of research that I have. So far everything is pretty straight forward and understandable. I like that I get what I put into this project and that there are real, tangible ways to measure progress and success. I hope the luster doesn't wear off when I hit inevitable challenges.

I've always been really fascinated by micro ecosystems, both natural and built. That you can have decades of self-sustained life in a tide pool or cave system is amazing to me. The idea of building a vivarium, terrarium or aquarium that serves the needs of multiple species is so awe-inspiring.

I'll be updating again later with the planting process. I'm so ridiculously stoked to get something living in there after over a month of planning!
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Old 08-23-2018, 11:18 PM   #29
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I'm disappointed with how the plant situation went. When I dropped by my LFS, someone had pretty much cleaned her out of all of her plants.

I gave everything a super good rinse before putting it in the tank.

She only had a little bit of java moss left in wisps that she chased around her tanks to collect for me, though she didn't charge for it.

I ended up pressing bits into the substrate in the back of the tank in a thin carpet. I'm hoping it'll fill out eventually.


She only had a two java ferns left that the previous buyer turned down because they looked rough. She gave me both for the price of one.

I attached them to a small stone and am hoping they perk up. There are a couple of leaves that are starting new plants, though!


She did have good looking anubias petite that I snagged.

It is such a chore removing everything from a planted anubias! Though I will say that the hype is true. These things are tough!

I ended up threading it onto the driftwood stump and would like it to fan out across it over time.

She only had 4 frogbit left. I didn't want to be that person who grabbed the last of everything so I only took two frogbit, which she also discounted for me. It spreads fast, so I'm not too bothered. But it looked really healthy.


The hairgrass looked decent and I got a good amount for the price. I cannot begin to express how much of a pain in the *** this stuff is. I tried to separate it into small clumps but it either refused to separate, or I'd just end up breaking off pretty much single strands. Then it was quite an ordeal getting it to stay in the substrate. I'd get one to stay and it would cause two more to pop right back up. It's all a crooked mess atm. It better sort itself out because I'm so not touching it anymore.


The tank is pretty sparse right now as I expected a larger volume of plants.

She did say that she had more plants coming in next week and would offer me a discount then. I also have my buce coming in next week and that'll go in the mid right, in front of the stump, attached to that rock.

After getting everything in there, it seems like I need something between the left rock and the arch, toward the back. Also perhaps something between the stump and the arch in the back. Does anyone have any suggestions? I'd like something that isn't going to block too much light, or be longer than 8-10". There's also a filter back there that I don't want to block too much. Maybe mini Ludwigia on the left and Vallisneria or Aponogeton crispus on the right?

Keep in mind this is low-tech with low-moderate lighting and I'm a complete newb!
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Old 08-24-2018, 12:22 AM   #30
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Hate that when rush off to store to check new stock and already cleaned out
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