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SnBMeg

Planted 20g Hexagonal Tropical Tank

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Earlier this year I finally had some time to get my 20G hexagonal tropical tank up and running. I took a fair number of pictures during the course, so I thought I'd post some of them up here. ^^

The tank is acrylic, made by SeaClear. The filter is a Fluval 205 (180 Gph) canister filter. The light fixture is a Dual Satellite compact fluorescent made by Current (80 watts total), which includes a fan (those lights get hot!) and a white LED that mimics moonlight. :3

I didn't cycle the tank before adding fish. Instead I followed the planted tank article at Chuck's Planted Aquarium Pages ( http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/art_plant_newtank.htm ). It worked perfectly!

Here's the tank on day one of the setup. The filter is installed, and I've got a pretty piece of wood (from mmm) and a chunck of slate for base decoration (the latter will also keep a clear spot in the tank once the plants finish growing in.) The substrate is primarily flourite, with some laterite and a tiny bit of peat mixed in. Over the top is a layer of black gravel.

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Then I added water. I didn't pre-soak the wood, so I weighted it down with three bags of gravel to keep it from floating. It shifted around a bit in the process of filling, and the flourite let out a bunch of gunk that made the water all dirty (those who have used flourite probably know how messy it can be even with tons of rinsing. :P )

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Then I added most of the plants (Cabomba and Micro Sword)--what plants? Digging around to get them seated really got the water cloudy with flourite dust, which took at least a couple of days to settle completely, even with the filter running. But here you can see a few of the Micro Sword clumps.

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Ta-da! Two weeks later I added an Amazon Sword from one of my other tanks (putting it in also got the water a bit cloudy, but not too badly this time), and moved one of the Micro Sword clumps to the front of the tank. I also added an air stone, positioned just behind the base of the wood, and all that stuff to the right is my CO2 setup (my advice for this type of setup: just buy the bubble diffusor, and make your own fermentation "tank(s)" out of plastic bottles, and your own yeast mixture. Using the stuff that came with the C02 kit only gave me a maximum of about 5 bubbles in the diffusor at any given time, but with a homemade mixture I was getting up to a couple dozen! You can look around online to find lots of diy C02 systems and recipes. :))

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A little over two weeks following that, it's finally starting to look like a planted tank! The Cabomba had really taken off, and had reached the surface. (Shortly after taking these next photos I trimmed the tops and planted them in bare spots, which I'll continue to do until it's all filled out as I want.) The Amazon Sword was starting to fill out nicely, and the Micro Sword was putting out runners all over the place. I finally got some black background and put that on. And I felt comfortable enough to take one of the gravel bags off of the wood. I also installed a heater, partially visible at the back of the tank. By this time I had also added the first of the tank's inhabitants: three mature Apple Snails, and a week later three Otocinclus algae eaters (one of which died.)

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Here's a shot looking up to the surface. I had 3-5 pieces of Duckweed hitch-hike in on the Micro Sword, and with a bit of time it multiplied and spread out quite nicely. Now I've got so much of it that every week I have to take most of it out to prevent it from blocking all the light to the other plants (I feed what I take out to my goldfish--they love it!)

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A week after adding my Dwarf African Frog, I purchased a female Opaline Gourami (currently about 2.5" long.) The plan is for her to become the "centerpiece" of the tank. ^^

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And finally last weekend I added my three Emerald Catfish (which may eventually be moved, if/when they get too big.) The Gourami was pecking at them through the bag, and after I first let them free in the tank there was a fair amount of chasing/nipping. But things settled down after a couple of days (given that there are three of them and only one of her, and they're all easily faster than she is, I think the Gourami got tired of going after them. :P ) Now she pretty much ignores them, as she does all of her other tankmates. *crosses fingers that that doesn't change as she matures*

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Here's a rundown of the tank stats:

Tank - 20G acrylic

Filter - Fluval 205 canister (180 Gph)

Light fixture - Dual Satellite compact fluorescent (80 watts), set on a timer

Plants - Cabomba, Micro Sword, Amazon Sword, Duckweed (Eventually there'll be Narrow Leaf Temple, and possibly Willow Moss, as well)

Fish, etc. - Apple Snails (3), Otocinclus (2), Dwarf African Frog (1), female Opaline Gourami (1), Emerald Catfish (3)

Typical weekly maintenance - test water, 25+% water change, scrub algae off front walls

And, in case anybody wants to try the article that I posted a link to above, and is curious about my "schedule", here's a quick list of when I added my fish:

week 3 - Apple Snails

week 4 - Otos

week 5 - Dwarf African Frog

week 6 - Opaline Gourami

week 7 - Emerald Catfish

Thanks for looking! :)

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Great job! What a lovely tank! I hope to use my 15 gallon tank someday to create a planted tank. The problem is somehow goldfish just magically appear in this tank. :rofl Someday for now I'll enjoy yours! Keep us posted on the tanks progress!

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Thanks very much! I've been wanting to do a fully planted tank for quite some time, and after I decided that the new hexagonal I had gotten wouldn't be the best choice for one of my goldies, it seemed to be the perfect opportunity to finally go ahead and do it.

I realized as I was writing that post that I haven't taken any full tank photos since the last one on there, so it's high time I did so! I also realized that I really need to make some adjustments to my filter exhaust; in these photos the Cabomba is all nice and upstanding, but right now a bunch of it is getting blown way to the right. >_>

I'm still waiting for the site that I ordered the plants from to get Narrow Leaf Temple back in stock, and once I get that in and established the tank will really look nice and complete (right now there's an empty spot behind the Amazon Sword and wood base, which is partially taken up by the gravel bags.) ^^ I can probably also take the gravel bags off the wood as well, by now.

In the meantime, I'm getting ready to plant my 38G tropical, which should really be interesting. If all goes as planned it's going to have a lot more wood, and Jungle Valisneria as the main plant (so my Common Pleco can be hidden and feel more secure. :3)

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:goodjob

Any chance you can post the site you order from? The last time I ordered plants the came with more pest snails then they did plants!

Keep posting pics.

Hmmm I have an old hex tank somewhere in my parents basement...

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:goodjob

Any chance you can post the site you order from? The last time I ordered plants the came with more pest snails then they did plants!

Keep posting pics.

Hmmm I have an old hex tank somewhere in my parents basement...

I ordered the plants for this tank from LiveAquaria.com, and as far as I can tell they are indeed snail-free. I did have some pond snails show up a while back, but I'm fairly sure that they came from the Amazon Sword, since the tank it originally came from was infested with them; and although I washed it off really well prior to replanting it, it's entirely possible that I missed some eggs.

My personal tip for handling pond snails is that if you see one in your tank, remove it IMMEDIATELY. Don't wait, and no matter how small it is, get it out! And take some time every once in a while to really scrutinize the tank, all the walls and plants and decorations, to see if you can find any. That's what I've been doing with this tank, and I haven't seen any pond snails for a few weeks now. :)

And go for the old tank! Now! Before you find another pretty goldie for it! :P

Thanks, small_ranchu, I'm really hoping that I can keep it looking nice. In a way, now comes the hard work! I definitely need to do some maintenance this weekend!

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Wow, it is a beautiful tank! You did a wonderful job. The driftwood is a beautiful touch that brings it all together. :heart

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Thank you very much! I was sooo happy to find that piece of wood! I had been looking for one for my goldfish tank for months with no luck, and although I later decided not to put it with my goldfish since it's a bit pointy (two of my gf are Moors, and one of them is blind), when I tried it out on a whim in the then-empty hexagonal tank, it fit perfectly! I think that was what definitively sealed the deal on this tank becoming a planted tropical. :D

Since then the mmm near my house has had a lot more similar pieces, so I've picked up several to use in redecorating/planting my 38G tropical, which I'll be doing very soon.

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Im very excited to see what you'll be doing with the 38. Lots of pics please! :D

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:D Great job! I am quite impressed with how it all turned out and will look forward to seeing more pics. Although I've always kept live plants,one day I'll have to get brave and try the CO2. :D

How are all the fish getting along now?

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The more pics of planted tanks I've looked, the more excited I feel when I finally get one. I'm definitely setting one up in the future, and I won't holdback on the plants, wood, substrate, the whole thing. Your pics is absolutely wonderful, and made me feel even more compelled now.

Looking forward to the 38 pics :yeah:

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Yes I do too- I often see faces in peoples tanks. This one is the end circle of the wood and the wood looks like the body- right?

SnBMeg your planted tank is stunning and a good education in how to set up too. I like your choice of plants and it makes me wanna be more adventurous with plants too. Great job and thanks for sharing :)

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Yes I do too- I often see faces in peoples tanks. This one is the end circle of the wood and the wood looks like the body- right?

Yes,at the top of the driftwood. :) Good,I am not seeing things... :rofl

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Thanks so much for all of your wonderful comments, guys! It's so nice to find others enjoy something that I've put a fair amount of work into and that gives me such a feeling of accomplishment. :D

Beautiful tank-you did your homework and it certainly shows. I like the stow away duckweed.

I spent literally weeks choosing plants, and I have so say that I've very happy with the results! (Now if LiveAquaria would just get some Temple back in stock, I'd be set!) I'm not sure how long altogether I spent on planning and research, but I'm certainly glad that I did; everything went quite smoothly. :)

I was so happy to find the Duckweed on the 'Swords, and even more so when it actually multiplied. I had been trying to find out what the little floaty stuff was that I had seen in some aquarium and pond photos, but hadn't had any luck and so had no idea where to get some (although I think there's a plant nursery not too far from my house that has it in their ponds.) It really makes a pretty ceiling, too.

Great job! I am quite impressed with how it all turned out and will look forward to seeing more pics. Although I've always kept live plants,one day I'll have to get brave and try the CO2.

How are all the fish getting along now?

Thanks! More pics are on the way!

The CO2 really wasn't as complicated as I had initially thought it would be--I think the hardest part was drilling a hole in the cap of the plastic bottle. XD Of course, I think mine is probably the easiest of the possible setups, but it got the job done. ^^

Everybody's still getting along fairly well. Little miss Gourami still chases the kitties anytime she catches them in "her" part of the tank, but they always lose her easily in the plants. Now that she's had a bit of time to settle, I think her feisty nature is starting to come to the fore. ;)

The more pics of planted tanks I've looked, the more excited I feel when I finally get one. I'm definitely setting one up in the future, and I won't holdback on the plants, wood, substrate, the whole thing. Your pics is absolutely wonderful, and made me feel even more compelled now.

Looking forward to the 38 pics

Thanks very much! In the months before I put this tank together I spent a bunch of time online looking around at aquascaping sites and the like, seeing dozens upon dozens of gorgeous planted tanks. They really made me want to try my own, and were immensely inspirational.

It's definitely worth it to go the full mile on preparation/materials. Btw, I highly recommend checking out the site that I posted a link to in my original post--there are a lot of really useful articles, including a very detailed one on substrates. :)

At this point the 38 is waiting on plants. I'm going to be using a whole bunch of Jungle Valisneria as the primary plant--I'm going to line about 1/2-3/4 of the tank with it, I'm thinking, to give my Pleco ample cover--and none of the LFS have that much, so I'm going to have to find it online. :/ I also need to decide definitively on what other plants I want in there. Research time!

Is it just me on does anyone else notice a face in the second picture? lol

It took me a minute, but yeah! You're right! XD It reminds me of one of those theatre masks.

SnBMeg your planted tank is stunning and a good education in how to set up too. I like your choice of plants and it makes me wanna be more adventurous with plants too. Great job and thanks for sharing

Thank you very much! I spent quite a while picking out the particular plants that I wanted--even going so far as to save photos from online so that I could see the ones I liked all together on my computer and be able to see which ones fit best. I've been really happy with how well they've turned out so far. :)

New pics are on the way, guys! Although the tank is a bit messy right now since I spent a while today doing maintenance. :P Thanks again for looking, and for all of your wonderful comments!

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Is that grapevine? Hows it going for you? I've heard it get fungus at first but it goes away.

I just bought a large branchy piece on the weekend. Right now it is soaking out side in a tub. I'm going to put it in my tank as soon as my ADA substrates arrives so I can replace my flourite.

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Is that grapevine? Hows it going for you? I've heard it get fungus at first but it goes away.

I just bought a large branchy piece on the weekend. Right now it is soaking out side in a tub. I'm going to put it in my tank as soon as my ADA substrates arrives so I can replace my flourite.

I think it might be grapevine, although I'm not 100% sure--it's been quite a while since I bought it. It did get a bit of stuff on it shortly after I set the tank up, and now that you mention it I guess it could very well have been fungus. I brushed it off when I was doing early maintenance, prior to adding fish, and it did disappear completely after a couple of weeks or so.

Since then it's been great. It was getting pretty covered with algae for a while (as were the tank walls and the piece of slate), but since I added the snails and Ottos, the algae is kept down to little more than a green stain. :P

I'm curious, what exactly is ADA substrate, and in what way(s) is it better than flourite?

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Please do not bring up threads a year old like this unless they are your own. Thanks.

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