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My first semi planned scape

Cavalier_Steve

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19 Jan 2022
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Bedfordshire
Hello everyone, I done an addition to my setup that I thought some of you maybe interested in, I was running all the electrical items off a 6 way power strip, this was not an ideal setup so I thought I would make a power board thing to neaten everything up.
First off, if you’re unsure about electrics then I suggest doing some research, although what I’m doing is similar to household electric’s we are still using a standard 13A plug so there is some protection there.
Anyway here is what I did,
I first off measured where I wanted my power board to be in my case at the back of the cupboard and I cut a piece of wood to the correct size. For the wood I had on old set of pine draws that I broke down a couple of years ago, I just used this.
I then sanded off the varnish, I guess I didn’t really need to do this as I m going to cover the wood over with a vinyl.
Next I covered the wood with some vinyl that I purchased from the range in a very similar style to my tank cabinet.
The film brand I used was d-c-fix which is also available in B&M home stores, I’m sure they are available in other retailers as well.
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Next I laid out how I wanted my sockets to sit now I’m sad and I wanted to add an actual electricity meter way over kill for a maximum 13A circuit, this isn’t the first time that I have done this and it’s definitely not the last 😊
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Next I wire up the meter and the sockets,

I’m using household twin and earth cable that I had lying around along with a lead with a plug on the end that I cut off an appliance, I strongly suggest that you use at least a 1.5mm square cable as this will be suitable for up to 13 amps, my setup wont use that my 300w heater is the most power hungry along with the light and filter both put together is only 25 watts but it’s good to have some capacity, I only had 1mm square cable so I used a 10A fuse in the plug, in my case the cable is the weakest link so I must protect it from over heating hence the use of the 10A fuse rather than the standard 13A.
If your sad like me and want to put a house hold meter in line these are wired up starting from left to right Feed Live in, Feed Neutral in, Load Neutral out, Load Live out. The terminals on the meter are very large as these are designed to take large cables that are designed to carry 100A loads, so I doubled over the multi strand cable to ensure a good solid electrical connection.

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I used solid core wire to feed the sockets the wire I was using is way overkill for what it’s being used but it’s what I had laying around. It’s also the old wire colours.
Live is Red(old colour) Brown (new colour)
Neutral is Black(old colour) Blue(new colour) For the earth connections I used an earth cable that I had laying around as I couldn’t find my earth sleeving that goes over the bare copper wire in my twin and earth.
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Now everything is together it’s time for a celebratory cup of tea, and what better way than to use the kettle for the test load .
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And here the board is setup in the cabinet. I want to fix the board to the back but this will have to wait when I’ve nearly emptied the tank as it’s way to heavy to move now.
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More to come soon.
 

Cavalier_Steve

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19 Jan 2022
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Bedfordshire
Hiya Steve,
From experience sussing out the best position for the co2 diffuser in these fluval tanks with twin duckbill outlets can be a pita, the best position I found after numerous attempts was to place it underneath the inlet like this.
View attachment 185019View attachment 185020

Depending on how much gas you inject you might find the filter burps every now and then.

Might also be a good idea to put the drop checker lower in the water, rather than near the surface.
Hi John, thanks again for this advice, late last week I decided to move my defuser to in between the filter intake and the outflow standpipe
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the gas exchange is now much better than what it was before, I was seeing quite a lot of the CO2 gas bubbles reach the surface and now no where near as much my drop checker is more consistent colour all day, I have been checking my pH randomly and I seem to be consistent with this at the moment. Today I’m doing a pH profile so far it’s looking pretty consistent.
Cheers for the suggestion I kind of wished I listened to you when you posted your message, reading that others also have there CO2 near the suction side of there filters with only positive outcomes so I thought I would give it a go.
Thanks again I will keep everyone posted.
 

Cavalier_Steve

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19 Jan 2022
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Bedfordshire
Hi everyone,
Hope you all having a good weekend, sadly my pH profile didn’t work out as planned because the Mrs wanted to go shopping 🙄☹️
Here is what I had so far.
Degassed 8.1 (Sample of tank water left for 24 hours)
04:00 CO2 on
06:30 6.9
07:00 7.0 Light on ramp up
07:30 6.9
08:00 6.9
09:30 6.9
10:00 6.9 Light on full (Set to 55% Max)
10:30 6.9
11:00 6.9
18:00 lights ramp down
20:00 CO2 off
21:00 lights turn to 5% blue
22:00 lights fully off
I only tested a hand full of times when we got home it was a consistent 6.9 right up to lights off, we should be home all day tomorrow so I will, give it another go I’m willing to get up early but don’t think I will get up before 4 though 🤣
Today the tank has been flooded for nearly 4 weeks, the plants are growing really well the BBA (Black beard algae) seems to be under control helped by @John q ,s suggestion of moving the CO2 defuser to near the pump inlet, best thing I have done so far in my opinion the results speak for themselves , I also reduced the lights to 55%.

This morning I added my 2 Chinese golden barbs from my small tank, rightfully or wrongfully but I feel the time is right, the Ammonia and nitrate have been 0 for sometime now, I will be testing regularly to ensure that they are ok, especially with the plant growth I’m sure they will be fine my other fish will be put over the next week there is only 7 left so won’t be to long before they are all in.
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I will keep you posted.
 

Cavalier_Steve

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19 Jan 2022
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Bedfordshire
Morning all, on Sunday I managed to do my PH profile here is the results.
Degassed sample 8.4
04:00 CO2 on
07:00 7.1 Light on ramp up
07:30 7.0
08:00 7.0
08:30 7.0
09:00 7.0
09:30 7.0
10:00 7.0 Light on full (Set to 55% Max)
10:30 6.9
11:00 6.9
11:30 6.9
12:00 6.9
12:30 6.9
13:00 6.9
13:30 6.9
14:00 6.9
14:30 6.9
15:00 6.9
15:30 6.9
15:00 6.9
15:30 6.9
16:00 6.9
16:30 6.9
17:00 6.9
17:30 6.9
18:00 6.9 lights ramp down
18:30 6.8
19:00 6.8
19:30 6.8
20:00 6.8 CO2 Off
20:30 6.8
21:00 6.8 lights turn to just 5% blue
22:00 lights fully off
I’m not 100% sure what this is telling me honestly, I suspect I have my CO2 a little high I could probably get away with turning it down very slightly and having the CO2 come on 3 and a half hours to 4 hours before the lights but fish are ok drop checker is green all day, I’m getting good plant growth, algae is minimal, a little bit of dust algae on my highest stone that gets blasted with light all day and a bit on my filter standpipe outlet again because it’s so high up, nothing a standard maintenance and water change won’t resolve.

Overall I’m really happy with how this is turning out it’s the most success I’ve had with plants, especially the medium rated plants I may try advanced in the future but I’m wanting the tank to grow out and look beautiful.
I have moved across my single black neon tetra, I’m certain that the others will move across with no I’ll affects.
I just need a filter input sock thing before I transfer my shrimps as I think they will get sucked into the filter, then sadly I will have to sell my small tank 😢 which honestly I didn’t think will be so soon.
Pictures to follow.
 

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Cavalier_Steve

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Bedfordshire
Not much to report this time, other than posting up a couple of photos of my tank, I put 2 cherry barbs over from my old tank along with my 2 Chinese golden barbs and one black neon tetra looking good so far.
I still have 2 neon tetras and 2 guppy’s and shrimps to come across from my old tank, Yesterday I intended to buy 9 black neon tetra and 8 neon tetra whilst we was in Dunstable bowling, the plan was to go for a meal after in Hockliffe then pop to a LFS (Fathoms) down the road unfortunately my plans was scuppered that the restaurant had no gas and was basically serving chips and salad (that would never do!) so we went over to Bedford instead. The neons would go into my old tank and the black neons will go into the new one transferring the neons over at a later date.

I did do a nice large water change this is the first time since I’ve had fish in the tank. I really need to come up with a better way of doing my water change as I have been using the garden hose, although I put the heater on as when the water level allowed but really I feel it was to cold for them as they hid in the corner, I filled up a good 100 or so litres over an hour so it wasn’t fast, they are all swimming round and feeding ok today so no I’ll affects. I’m thinking of using a pond pump in a bucket of water from the kitchen sink for me this is where it gets difficult as my hot water is from a cylinder, so no mains pressure on the hot side just head pressure from the loft, the cold water is mains but the mixer tap is useless to achieve a good temperature whilst mixing the hot and cold together I’m not sure what to do for future changes any suggestions are welcome if you have any?

Here is how the tank looks at the moment I’m really very happy with the plants in here as I said in my previous update.
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Cavalier_Steve

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Bedfordshire
Hello everyone, I hope your all enjoying the Easter weekend!
Quick small update today, everything is still going really well, the plants are really starting to take off now, I have turned up the lighting to a maximum of 60% from 55%
My Macro for my EI dosing ran out today although my Micro still had a good 90 or so ml left in it this was partly due to the pipe coming out of the liquid so missed a few doses, it wasn’t fitted very well anyway, and a re-calibration wouldn’t go amiss.
I went to search for some more suitable containers, I knew what I wanted but wasn’t sure what they was called, eventually I found what I wanted, they are called Jerrycans which seems obvious after I found them 🙄 here is a before picture.
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And after:
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Much better in my opinion, I used a 6mm drill bit into the lids this gives a tight ish fitting to the air hose that I’m using.
The jerrycans are 1 litre and I dose 40ml per day so they should last about 25 or so days.

More fish maybe next week.
Cheers.
 

Cavalier_Steve

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Hi all, time for an
update I think, I watched a video on YouTube suggesting that plants should be pearling and that this is an indication of them growing well and using up all the available nutrient‘s, I have still been getting diatoms so I thought I would up the light from 65% to 100% I’m getting a little bit of pearling from my Echinodorus Argentinensis and my Echinodorus parviflorus this is where the light is hitting the leaf, since putting the light up the plants seem to be responding well and have started to grow a little faster but I feel that the light is a limitation now which I knew it would be but not so soon after setup.
In other news my Bucephalandra Theo has flowered 😀 because I’m sad here is a little photo timeline, the buds started coming through before turning my light up to 100%
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I also purchased 10 neon tetras and 3 Albino Corydoras they have all settled in well the Corey’s I was most surprised to how active they was, I thought that they was quite docile, nope perfectly normal behaviour good.
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Other than being on red alert for any other Algae everything seems to be settling in well, I’m really happy with how everything is going people at work when I show them pictures of my setup are all like wow, I’ve got to be happy with that 😁
More to come soon.Hope your all having a great bank holiday weekend.
Steve.
 

Cavalier_Steve

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I'd love my buce to flower but they are quite puny at the moment, yours seems a fairly robust plant. Either that or I'm staring at them too much & putting them off! 😄
It’s a young plant it’s definitely got bigger though, I’m surprised that I haven’t put mine off, I’m always looking at them 😆 I use EI dosing I wonder if that has helped me. My Anubias barteri used to flower I think in total it’s flowered 5 times in 7 years all within the first couple of years but not since, although it has got big and has been cut up into 5 different plants 😁 hope you’re flowers for you one day keep at it. Cheers.
 

Cavalier_Steve

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Noticed @Cavalier_Steve that my Albino Corys are very active ,bought as youngsters, and don't interact much with my normal Bronze Corys except at feeding ,which surprised me
I’m so sorry, I thought I had replied to your message, how rude of me! 🤦‍♂️

I’m very happy with my Corey’s after a few weeks they still fly around the tank although they are a little calmer now, I’m enjoying them much more than I thought honestly, they are a great addition to the tank that’s for sure.
That’s surprising, although I did hear that schooling fish such as tetras and Corey’s etc. once they get used to there surroundings they no longer school in environments like our tanks because they are so comfortable with there surroundings, so apparently you can quite happy mix the fish together such as albino and gold laser Corey’s, they still school when you do tank maintenance though so you can still get that schooling together.
 

Cavalier_Steve

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So it’s been a good month since my last update 😯 nothing much to report really other than plants are really growing well at a nice steady rate algae is virtually non existent which I’m really happy with the most.
I went away last week for 6 days it’s the first time I have left this setup to its own devices, needless to say I was worrying about the fish, plants etc. so in preparation I cut back all the plants done my usual 50% water change decreased the lighting from 14 hours (remember I have a slow ramp up and down times) to 6 hours a day along with the ramp up and down CO2 times was also reduced to fit the new time regime.
When I came back I needn’t have worried all the fish was fine and the plants were all doing very well.
Sadly no before pictures from after the cut back but here is what I got from when I got home after a week.
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To make up for the lack of before pictures, yesterday I done another trim up and water change, pictures was taken this morning.

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Here is some close ups of the plants.
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Because my plants don’t really pearl, I was considering buying a better light, but then I remembered/read that flow around the tank was more important than light, so I was considering buying a wave maker or power head to distribute my flow, but this morning I’m thinking my plants are growing well and not growing out of control quickly algae is absolutely minimal my BBA is completely gone so I thought why change anything, I may need to up the flow in the future as my plants get bigger but I will reassess when that time comes.

For now though I’m very happy with my little aquarium I know it’s still early days as it’s just coming up 3 months since I have set it up, but overall I’m really happy with how it’s progressing.

More to come in the future.
 

John q

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For now though I’m very happy with my little aquarium I know it’s still early days as it’s just coming up 3 months since I have set it up, but overall I’m really happy with how it’s progressing.
And so you should be, tank is looking good mate.

I'm guessing the lights and extra flow will come at some point (you've been bitten by the bug) but for now kick back and enjoy your little slice of paradise.
 

Cavalier_Steve

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And so you should be, tank is looking good mate.

I'm guessing the lights and extra flow will come at some point (you've been bitten by the bug) but for now kick back and enjoy your little slice of paradise.
Thanks John! It’s not spectacular like most aquascape’s but it’s mine, I definitely have the bug, I absolutely enjoy tinkering with it, cutting the plants back, water changes feeding the fish. My wife says my fish know me as when I walk past the tank they are there when my wife or daughter passes they take no notice it’s awesome!

I have a plan for water changes as using the hose pipe from outside isn’t going to cut it in the winter time and using a pump in a bucket while it works for others won’t so much for me because my kitchen tap cold is mains pressure while the hot is gravity fed from the tank in the loft so it’s near impossible to get a spot on temp.
All will be revealed when I have planned it out and even if it works!
 
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