NA 120cm - Asian Dreams-IAPLC # 251

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Iain Sutherland, 20 Mar 2013.

  1. Iain Sutherland

    Iain Sutherland Forum Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,590
    Location:
    Cambridge
    Edit* some specs :geek:

    Natural Aquario 120 x 45 x 55 superclear glass
    Natural Aquario Cabinet in matt grey
    Natural Aquario Light Arm
    Natural Aquario Stainless Steel inlet and outlets
    3 TMC Aquaray 1000nd led tiles on MMS rail and hanging kit
    TMC Aquaray 8 way controller
    Eheim 2080
    Tetratec ex1501 greenline
    Hydor 300w inline heater
    AM1000 co2 reactor (on 2 hours prior to lights)
    Dennerle profi 1000 regulator
    German manifold and needle valves

    In the tank:
    Natural Aquario Silver Series Bottom soil x 2
    Natural Aquario Silver Series Top soil x 3
    ADA La Plata Sand mixed with Natural Aquario River sand
    Bogwood and Manzanita
    Black Lava Rock

    Plants List:
    Taxiphyllum barbieri
    Blyxa Aubertii
    Blyxa Japonica
    Cryptocoryne Retrospiralis
    Bolbitus Heudelotii
    Hygrophillia pinnatifida
    Bucephalandra Melawi

    Currently using Vimi ferts, just micros at 40ml a day during start up then alternate days Micro and All in One

    Fauna:
    80 Caridina Multidentata (amano shrimp)
    will update as stocking progresses

    Hey folks, managed to make some progress today so thought id fire up the journal. Apologies for the long opening post ......
    So after seeing the NA set ups at Aquatics Live i was thinking about a 90 but decided against it thinking that i should stop buying new tanks and do a few more scapes in the one i have, yet due to Ed's silvery tongue Ive ended up with a new AquaRio 120cm NA setup minus lights.

    Im so glad i did as a few weeks ago it arrived as promised.
    First up was the cabinet, the packaging was all very robust and looked in tact, so it was all about checking out the build quality and functionality. NA have said that they have been working hard on 'improved quality' so i was pretty keen to see what it was all about.

    Looking straight at the cabinet it was clear the build was good, the doors line up nicely and joints are as good as invisible. A two finger press on the tops of the doors and they swing open smoothly almost fully. To my delight there is no middle brace, i was sure there would be something given its 120 long but no, just loads of space to play with and no obstacles to bend pipes round and/or make me 'hulk out' during maintenance.

    IMG_3776_zps91f5132e.jpg

    IMG_3777_zpsdda0baf8.jpg

    As far as slots and holes for pipe work and cables go i was originally a little concerned but Ed told me that they had addressed this already and they sure have. No chance you will need to get out the hole saw, which would be criminal anyway! With 2 long slots at the front on each end, 1 hole in the middle, 2 box cut holes at the rear of each side and 2 holes in the back 2 bottom corners you have a cornucopia of choices. Some may say overkill but i like the choice.

    IMG_3775_zpsa03d7ba1.jpg

    So here was my first minor niggle... The round holes cut on the back will most likely be used to feed power leads into the cabinet and in the UK we have big plugs... so big they don’t fit through. Ive spoken to NA and they have said that they will look to increase the size a little. I just removed the plug on the extension lead.
    Next out of the box was the steel pipes, what can i say? They look uber cool, fit the system perfectly and no more breakages! The real test will be once running of course, having a 2080 fire out of one small outlet (no cone like a lily) could be an issue but time will tell.... heres hoping.

    IMG_3782_zps71cf8c7e.jpg

    The inlets have 8 large vertical slots cut into them to let water in opposed to the usual small horizontal layout, i can see this working well and im hoping that with such large area to draw water in that the suction wont be so bad as to turn them into shrimp killers as some glass inlets can. As long as they all work i cant see that ill go back to breaking glass pipes anytime soon... also has the added bonus that if a pipe happens to pop off like i had before it will only drain about an inch or two before stopping :)

    IMG_3781_zps95c30208.jpg

    So onto the light arm... as i have a 90cm NA light arm currently it was interesting to see that they have reduced the profile significantly from 2.5cm to 1cm with the top beam being solid stainless.

    IMG_3778_zps432631af.jpg

    This assembles very easily as the cabinet has all the holes predrilled with threaded insets, an allen key later (would have be extra nice if this was included as i have no tools!) and its up.

    IMG_3779_zps7879e6cd.jpg

    The second niggle.... as im using the MMS rail suspension kit i need holes in that solid piece of steel across the top to hang them. So of i went to see my maintenance manager at work and got him drilling some holes for me, 10 minutes and 2 drill bits later...good as gold. I would also suggest to NA that they may wish to consider pre drilling the holes as a future feature, no doubt they aren’t needed with their own light system but many would appreciate it and if they aren’t used it does nothing to the aesthetic.

    So finally the glass.... upon opening the box the first thing i notice is that the lids have been included? I thought Ed had said these were an additional cost but in the box they are along with 2 packs of funny looking clips that took me a while to figure out that they were for the lid.... at least one pack is, the second pack im still trying to figure out what they are for :oops:
    As standard the tank comes with the foam matt needed for the top of the cabinet, little bits like that make me smile :) So with the help of the housemate we lifted the tank up to have a look. The clarity of the glass is very impressive, aside from the edges you simply cant see it as it has almost no colour at all. The quality of the build was good with all sides matching up evenly and next to no silicone to be seen. There are a couple of teeny 1mm marks from manufacturing but without looking with your nose touching the glass you cant see them empty so will vanish entirely once wet.

    IMG_3770_zps818b0200.jpg

    Overall im very impressed, the whole lot looks very well built, well thought out, sturdy and clean. Having not owned an ADA system i cant really compare but i find it hard to quantify where any real improvement, as far a build goes, where it could be much better... possibly a couple of tiny patches where the silicone is only 95% but nothing to justify the price difference that i can think of.

    So having had it sat in the lounge for far to long while i sort hardscape etc i thought id busy myself putting the gear all together.
    Having had a few fair few tanks in a relatively short space of time i was adamant this is the last... for now! But i wanted to set it all up right from the start to make maintenance easy, look tidy and make taking pictures stress free (enough of that trying to figure out the camera!)
    Filtration
    Eheim 2080.... as all pipework is concealed inside the cabinet i was happy to use the standard Eheim green tubing as i still think its one of the best for performance. Running on one inlet is the Hydor 300w which ive yet to plumb in as its on the old tank. Ill be making sure to fix it to the cabinet with 22mm plumbing clips as a lot of you no doubt know the connection on the hydor’s doesn’t instill much confidence so doing so should mean ill sleep ok at night. Filter media will be alfagrog, some old eheim media mix from my mature filter, 250ml purigen every 3 months and possibly carbon with floss depending on how it all works out.
    CO2 injection
    Once the second inlet was attached i plumbed in the AM1000, now i know that these reactors always get mixed reviews but thought id give it a go without any media... well ill have to anyway as once i got it out (bought a few months back) i realised it has been sealed shut by the previous owner which i didn’t know or i wouldn’t have bought it, as long as it doesn’t leak and doesn’t need media then i can live with it.

    CO2 installation
    Next was the co2, pretty straight forward, the tank still sits outside the cabinet as i cant get any smaller ones free from work and am still running the dennerle profi2000 reg. I also treated myself to a new manifold from Germany CO2 Verteiler 2 fach Aquaristik
    which can run two tanks, the needle valve certainly feels really smooth and is 4 full rotations from open to closed which should provide good control.

    Lights and power
    First off, light in the cabinet! I have meant to do this so many times but never got round to it, so this time in went a T5 cabinet light fixed to the top that i have added a cabinet auto switch to just to be swish.
    IMG_3773_zps81a3a9b2.jpg

    As TMC have bought out the 1500 tile there are some great deals out there for the older 1000’s so opted for 3 tiles on the MMS rail with suspension kit. I cant express how nice it is to be able to move the lights up and down with such little effort, the only slight draw back i can see is that when i want to raise the lights for maintenance etc that when one end goes up first the tiles slide about and could fall off. Currently looking for a solution to this if you have an idea im all ears.
    I then fitted the Aquaray 8 way controller programmed for 30 min ramp up 5 hours on 60% then 60mins ramp down until i figure this set up out.

    IMG_3772_zps606ea81b.jpg

    Backlighting experiment- to follow

    If youve made it this far then thanks, i hope to get it wet in the next 3 weeks once all the other bits arrive.
    As always all comments, critisism’s and suggestions welcome.
     
  2. NanoJames

    NanoJames Member

    Messages:
    507
    Location:
    Angus, Scotland
    I'm looking forward to this. :) Have you got any idea of hardscape, substrate livestock etc? Looks like a really nice tank!
    Cheers
     
  3. tim

    tim Forum Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,844
    Location:
    Middlesex.
    Looks like a very good quality set up the na stuff, as an avid follower/ admirer of your last scape will be following this one Iain look forward to seeing this progress.
     
  4. Ian Holdich

    Ian Holdich Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,315
    Location:
    lincoln uk
    Love it mate, very impressive set up. Looks the biz.

    Any plans on style of scape yet?
     
  5. Iain Sutherland

    Iain Sutherland Forum Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,590
    Location:
    Cambridge
    Hey guys, it is an impressive set up that NA have built just hope i can do it justice.

    Got a style in mind but waiting on a delivery from Tom Barr for a load of wood which will dictate how it all comes together. All i can be sure of at the moment is that it it will be 85% Asian flora and fauna.... just love barbs too much, so currently searching for some less common varieties i like.Its a big space to fill so think perspective will be quite important and as i dont have the natural eye for building a scape off the cuff im in no rush. No doubt ill be asking for hardscape opinions along the way.:thumbup:
     
  6. Nice Iain! Very very nice.

    I don't know if I'm being cheeky here , but I imagine people will be wondering how much you splashed out on all this approximately?

    It does indeed look like top notch hardware, sleek. I'm also surprised that there is no middle support, makes for such a nice space below.
    Thanks for your in depth description of your findings, Im looking forward to this one :)

    Cheers,
     
  7. Ian Holdich

    Ian Holdich Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,315
    Location:
    lincoln uk
    Sounds great mate...btw saw some sawbwa barbs the other day! You have to get some!
     
    Iain Sutherland likes this.
  8. tim

    tim Forum Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,844
    Location:
    Middlesex.
    You'll be happy with the manzi from Tom mate I got two boxes last year but haven't had the balls to use and do it justice yet :) your fish selection in your last tank got me hooked love barbs but have only got round to keeping cherries set up sounds the dogs danglies, will you be using maple leaf rock in this as well ?
     
  9. Iain Sutherland

    Iain Sutherland Forum Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,590
    Location:
    Cambridge
    Alright Nath, you'd have to get a price from Ed for the NA stuff mate, but to say there is a dent in my wallet setting this all up would be something of an understatement.

    They are great looking fish and wanted to keep them for a while now, just a little to colourful for what i want from the schoolers in this one. Next scape :)

    It is top quality wood and good value, get it in your tank Tim. Maple leaf rock will make an appearance but will be covered in moss.
     
    tim likes this.
  10. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,091
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Great start and nice review of nice kit. Watching this one closely. :)
     
    Iain Sutherland likes this.
  11. charlie

    charlie Member

    Messages:
    74
    Location:
    Derbyshire
    Very thorough start, and a great looking set up. I will be looking forward to see how this goes Iain.
     
    Iain Sutherland likes this.
  12. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,298
    Location:
    London
    Looking great Iain gotta love the NA kit :) Been a fan for many years and it just keeps getting better, just a matter of time before I get one myself, watching this one ;)
     
    Iain Sutherland likes this.
  13. PM

    PM Member

    Messages:
    611
    Location:
    London
    Looks great and I have to say, it's ALL about METAL inlets and outlets. I can't stand the glass ones I have broken several and believe me I am very careful with them.

    Though I still think there could be a better attachment system than suctions cups IMO
     
    Iain Sutherland likes this.
  14. Ady34

    Ady34 Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,315
    Location:
    Co. Durham
    Hi Iain,
    I've been really looking forward to the start of this journal and im not disappointed :)
    Your NA set up sounds dreamy and I'm eager to see more.
    Cheerio,
    Ady.
     
    Iain Sutherland likes this.
  15. Iain Sutherland

    Iain Sutherland Forum Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,590
    Location:
    Cambridge
    thanks george, i can only hope it will be half as interesting and informative as your current journal.

    All too easily done Tim and no dirty pipes, visibly at least!

    And im eager to do more Ady just need the old tank out of the way to get much further.
     
  16. pariahrob

    pariahrob Newly Registered

    Messages:
    646
    Location:
    Warminster
    Gorgeous new setup. I like the new cabinet design a lot.

    I have the older version of what you have and I think the new options for routing gear are a big improvement. That said, they were great anyway!

    As for the quality vs ADA I think ADA are a bit more refined in some areas but not anywhere near enough to notice unless you're up close. I actually think the NA glass is clearer.

    Looking forward to seeing what you do with this.
     
  17. grathod

    grathod Member

    Messages:
    96
    Location:
    Preston, Lancashire
    Loving the cut outs, I'd be spoilt for choice as to what to plumb with, watching this one closely & looking forward to your progress on this NA beauty... I think once I've moved in a few months depending on monies, am going to keep NA on my radar for a grand 6 footer... subscribed!
     
  18. Gary Nelson

    Gary Nelson Member

    Messages:
    1,297
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    A great start and some great photos too! very good review as well - it looks a lovely bit of kit and I will be watching this progress :thumbup:
     
  19. Stu Worrall

    Stu Worrall Forum Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    1,986
    Location:
    Flintshire, North Wales
    wow! that looks like a very nice setup Iain and im sure youll grace it with a great scape soon! Love the metal pipes and the cutouts and youve got that perfect scaping ratio in a 4 foot. Its the one I want but cant fit in the house! :(
     
  20. Dave Pierce

    Dave Pierce Member

    Messages:
    195
    Location:
    England
    Really cool setup, looks very well made....even underneath the tank looks smart! Can't wait to see this progress
     

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