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Daniel's first Iwagumi - 64L Eheim Scubacube

DivZero

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30 Oct 2014
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Hello all,

I'm Daniel, 27 and from The Netherlands. This is my first post as I'm new to the forum but I have been lurking and reading up for the last couple of weeks. About 5 years ago I've had 4 planted nano aquaria of about 25 liters which ran for two years. I then moved and unfortunately had to get rid due to lack of space. Now that I've moved once again I'm back and ready to pick up this beautiful hobby! :)

Here's what I've got sofar:

Tank: Eheim Scubacube 40x40x40cm 64 liters
Light: Eheim powerLED (7W) that came with the tank (more info)
Heater: Aquael NeoHeater 75W (more info)
Filter: Dennerle corner XL (more info) Eheim 2224 (700 lph)
CO2: liquid EasyCarbo

Stones: Seiryu
Substrate: Amazonia Powder (approx 8L)

Time for some pictures:

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Eheim Scubacube 64 when after assembling the cabinet.

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Added about 8L of Amazonia Soil Powder

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~7.5kg of Seiryu rocks that I ordered online. I am happy with what I got!

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The result so far! It's really difficult to get a proper picture of a tank that even remotely resembles reality... Are there any tutorials on that? haha XD

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The hardscape from right side

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And the top...

The next step would be to decide what plants I want. I'm thinking of a nice carpet of HC Cuba, some dwarf grass around the rocks to soften them up a little. Maybe a couple of small crypts (parva?) more towards the back and regular hairgrass behind the two largest rocks (in the back).

My current concerns/questions at the moment:
1) will my filter even be strong enough for the startup fase of the aquarium. It's rated for 30-60 liter tanks which I figured would be enough, but once I got it I found out it only has a flowrate of 150L/h. In time I want to upgrade to an external filter with all the fancy lily pipes and such, but I was hoping I could postpone that upgrade some time.
2) will the lighting be enough for a nice carpet of HC?
3) In addition to my lighting question, Right now I'm planning on using EasyCarbo. I've see/read that most use pressurised CO2 and this is also what I want as an upgrade. But I'm still looking if it is possible to get a complete CO2 setup at around 75 pounds with all the bells and wissles I need. I probably have all the materials at hand required for bio CO2, would this be a viable option? At least before I start adding live stock.

Although having an aquarium isn't new to me, the Iwagumi style and it's high tech is. I would love to know what you think of my hardscape and if you have any suggestions to improve on it. The same goes for my questions, any advice is much appreciated!
 
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parotet

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2) will the lighting be enough for a nice carpet of HC?
3) In addition to my lighting question, Right now I'm planning on using EasyCarbo. I've see/read that most use pressurised CO2 and this is also what I want as an upgrade. But I'm still looking if it is possible to get a complete CO2 setup at around 75 pounds with all the bells and wissles I need. I probably have all the materials at hand required for bio CO2, would this be a viable option? At least before I start adding live stock.
Although having an aquarium isn't new to me, the Iwagumi style and it's high tech is.

Hi DivZero

I have this light fixture and I'm pretty sure this won't be a high tech tank in 64 liters... in my 24 liters tank it works perfectly without C enriching (with low C demanding plants) or adding a little bit (normal dose or less; when using more demanding plants or looking for faster growth). In 24 liters I recognise it can be a bit tricky to manage (I would say it is a low to medium intensity light depending on the hardscape and how it shades your plants), but in 64 liters you won't have any problem due to an excess of light. Never tried but IMO a HC carpet is not a good idea with that light and with liquid C. This plant loves light and loves much more CO2 and flow (you don't have these things unfortunately). Try with other carpeting plants that are less CO2 demading.
If you want to go high tech you will need at least two units and with that water volume you'd better buy a co2 cylinder which will be in the long-term much cheaper. CO2 Art (Ukaps sponsor) is IME the best value for money option
And regardig the filter, if you go high tech the corner filter won't be enough.

Jordi
 

DivZero

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Hi Jordi,

Thanks for your reply! If I did a dry start (DSM) with HC, would the light be enough? This would give the HC time to root and grow while I sort out my flow, lighting and CO2 "issues". Let me know what you think :)

Daniel
 

DivZero

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Good news! It seems my filter issues are solved. Tomorrow I'm picking up an Eheim 2222 external filter for a great price :)

What do you guys think about using the dry start method using my current setup while I figure out what to do with my CO2 setup and proper lighting? As the current light won't have to penetrate 40cm of water.
 

parotet

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Valencia, Spain
Hi Jordi,

Thanks for your reply! If I did a dry start (DSM) with HC, would the light be enough? This would give the HC time to root and grow while I sort out my flow, lighting and CO2 "issues". Let me know what you think :)

Daniel
Not sure Daniel, never tried DSM but I think it isn't a fact of have better rooted plants. I see that your filter issues have been solved partially (I mean now you have the equipment but you need to ensure good flow inside your tank which is not always easy), then you need definitely to sort out your co2 (this is the most difficult one for sure, as you can see in this forum most of the problems come when using high lights combined with poor co2 execution) and finally you have the light. Some plants are really adaptable to different light conditions but IMO (please anyone correct me if I am wrong) this a demanding species both in terms of co2 and light. A plant melting in your tank means increasing the chance of having algae.
Anyway your tank looks promising!

Jordi
 

DivZero

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Not sure Daniel, never tried DSM but I think it isn't a fact of have better rooted plants. I see that your filter issues have been solved partially (I mean now you have the equipment but you need to ensure good flow inside your tank which is not always easy), then you need definitely to sort out your co2 (this is the most difficult one for sure, as you can see in this forum most of the problems come when using high lights combined with poor co2 execution) and finally you have the light. Some plants are really adaptable to different light conditions but IMO (please anyone correct me if I am wrong) this a demanding species both in terms of co2 and light. A plant melting in your tank means increasing the chance of having algae.
Anyway your tank looks promising!

Jordi

After a lot of thinking and looking around for better lighting I have decided not to use HC Cuba. Micranthemum 'Monte Carlo' seems to be a lot more forgiving in a less high tech/high light setup and I have also fallen in love with Eleocharis acicularis 'Mini' from Tropica (more info). I think a carpet of this dwarf grass throughout the tank would just look amazing!
 

DivZero

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A small update as I just ordered my plants :D

Eleocharis acicularis mini
Micranthemum Monte Carlo
Echinodorus tenellus green

I hope to get them in the mail friday or saterday, that way I can take my time planting it all and getting my Dry Start going this weekend :)

I also hope someone will help figure out what lighting to use, because I'm kinda stuck. Please have a look at http://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/lighting-choice-for-60l-cube.34987/
 

DivZero

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So the place I ordered my plants "lied" about having the plants in stock. I think their website can't display products that aren't in stock. They were kind enough to call me the day before yesterday and tell me the plants will be shipped to them on monday to guarantee maximum plant quality and not have the plant's sitting in a cold warehouse over the weekend. I am expecting them on wednesday or thursday!

Additionally I just ordered a Chihiro Aquasky 401 from France which I am also expecting to arrive around thursday. You can read more about that over here. I'm fully aware this is a knock off ADA light, but ADA doesn't sell a 401 version. Another forum member was very pleased with his Chihiro 601 and it doesn't break the bank.

And last but not least I've started fishless and TANKLESS cycling of my filter! I'm not sure this has been done before but the idea is the same as fishless cycling. The main difference being I'm using a 10L bucket instead of my tank which I will attempt a dry start in. The setup for this is very simple. Take your external filter, a bucket, add ammonia until 10mg/L (which I check with my test kit, which showed my calculations were correct of adding 2mL of 5% household to the system which has around 10L of water). I added a couple of mL of Profito fert I had lying around and finally added a couple of grams of sugar (which the denitrifying bacteria can use as carbon source). Dumped in my heater and cranked it up to a whopping 31,5 degrees as 30-32 degrees C is the optimal temperature for growth of a mixed culture of denitrifying bacteria. According to my small literature study the optimal concentration of ammonia would be around 150mg/L but I think that is a bit excessive as I might be able to start smelling the ammonia, which wouldn't be so great. Also I expect that disolved oxygen would start to be the limiting factor at those concentrations, which is easily solved by adding an airpomp I have lying around doing nothing... However... it's so loud I'm fine with just agitating the surface with the outflow of the pomp. I will keep this setup running while my plants and other stuff arrive and I am dry starting, adding ammonia whenever I see fit. Once the tank is almost ready to get flooded I will swap out the bucket with one with fresh water twice, in effect doing a very large water change. After a day or two (maybe less?) the ammonia and nitrite levels should no longer be measurable. And it's time to flood the tank and hook up the already cycled filter! :D

This is all a theory of course, but I think it will work. As I studied biotechnology I should have at least a clue of what I'm doing. My hope is that with both the dry start (starting denitryfication of the Amazonia soil) and a precycled filter I would be able to remedy most of the ammonia and nitrite spikes. HOWEVER, I won't be so bold as to use less water changes than recommended or introduce fish sooner, but I hope this limits the chances of algae taking in the first flooded stages and give my plants a better chance of converting to their submerged state.
 

DivZero

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Small update on the filter cycling: it has run for about 36 hours in total now and I only added the sugar about 12 hours ago. The water has since turned very cloudy. I should have know better because by adding the sugar I have created near perfect conditions for bacteria using sugar as their energy source. These kind of bacteria multiply very rapidly. There is a big chance it's mainly E. coli bacteria which can double in numbers every 15 minutes under perfect conditions. Easily outcompeting the slow growing denitrifying bacteria. I will keep cycling overnight and in the morning I will do a water/bucket change. Growth of the other bacteria will most like have stopped due to having next to none sugar left to consume. This way I will have effectively removed the sugar from the water and get rid of most bacteria before they start dying of starvation and potentially releasing all kinds of toxins into the water. To be continued :)
 

parotet

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Sugar? Just leave your filter running with or without plants and it will be colonized by bacteria in a week. No need to add sugar, ammonium or whatever... Just a bit of patience. In the time you will receive your plants, your microbes will be nearly ready. And if not, there is no problem as your new plants will happily uptake ammonia and nitrites. As long as you don't introduce critters in the tank from day 1, there is no need to 'cycle' before or faster.
We have to understand 'cycling' not as a final stage to be reach (=get there fast to solve the problem) but a continuous process in which bacteria not only grow but have to be maintained healthy in the right conditions.

Jordi
 

DivZero

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Today my plants arrived! :)

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Eleocharis acicularis mini
Micranthemum Monte Carlo
Echinodorus tenellus green

All plants are 1 2 grow plants from Tropica. I'm really happy with the quality of the plants. I started the DSM and hope it fills in nicely.

My Chihiro Aquasky 401 light has arrived tonight at a distribution centre in The Netherlands (after traveling from the south of France) and I expect it to be delivered tomorrow. On my birthday, great! :D
 

DivZero

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So yesterday was my bday and that means only one thing:

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CAKE :D

And to make the day more special my new light arrived!

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The LEDs

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Assembled. The acrylic stand is of really good quality. If you are not an expert and know the other lights you wouldn't know it's a cheap chinese knockoff. If I would be that kind of guy I could probably get away with bragging about my 300 euro lighting system... (don't worry, I'm not that kind of guy :p)

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My aquarium is exactly 40cm wide with 5mm glas. The Chihiro Aquasky 401 was also designed for these dimensions and it fits perfectly! The legs are a little high for my taste, but besides that I really love it. But when looking at it from the front this is not an issue due to it's sleek form factor:

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After the show and tell it was back to sealing it up for my dry start.

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I have a glass lid which only needs to be sealed with cling film on the sides which is really convenient. There is a hole in the middle which I closed up with a small transparent dosing cup (from my EasyCarbo bottle) which gives me easy access for misting. All-in-all it's still beautiful to look at (IMHO) while dry starting. I hope this helps me to be patient with filling up the tank :p

With the new light the temperature seems to get as high as 23 degrees during the day and dropping to 21 af night which I am pleased with.

There is also a small update about my bucket-filter fishless-tankless cycle. After a couples days of running the nitrite levels have gone above the readings of my testkit (5.0 mg/L), which means the nitrite peak is starting and the cycling is working.

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As long as you don't introduce critters in the tank from day 1, there is no need to 'cycle' before or faster.
We have to understand 'cycling' not as a final stage to be reach (=get there fast to solve the problem) but a continuous process in which bacteria not only grow but have to be maintained healthy in the right conditions.

Jordi

I know Jordi. However, as I studies biotechnology having a strong filter, grown under near optimal conditions is fun for me :). As a bonus my filter will be cycled when I finally flood the tank. It will then probably only take a couple of days before the filter reaches it's new equilibrium. Also, you mentioned my filter would be colonised in a week. I read in a scientific paper most common species of nitrifying bacteria will duplicate about once in 17 hours under optimal conditions. And a day would be more realistic. 7 days to colonise a filter seems a bit short to me given this fact. But as always, thanks for your input!
 

Tonytony

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5 Nov 2014
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Hi..good move for the light..are u able to dim it with the dimmer u purchased on ebay?...I would appreciate more pics and a review of the light..
Cheers
 

DivZero

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Hi..good move for the light..are u able to dim it with the dimmer u purchased on ebay?...I would appreciate more pics and a review of the light..
Cheers

Yeah, so far I'm happy with the light! The dimmer from ebay hasn't arrived yet. I will probably do a review when the dimmer arrives, but I already took a couple more pictures. Have a look at my imgur album (very pic heavy!), all pics I took are in there. As for the review sofar: unbox the light. Put the LEDs/heatsink in the acrylic stand, put it on your aquarium, hook it up and turn it on :p
 

Tonytony

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Ok..thanks will look at that...I like this eheim cube with open top...will look great once flooded!
 
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