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Old 04-15-2013, 12:37 AM
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Default 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

Finally putting together a vivarium. I probably won't get it finished until this Fall, but I've made some progress so far. And I know I'll have questions along the way, so I figured I'd start sharing.

It's a 20 gallon long, probably destined for a pair or trio of tincs or leucs. But that decision's a ways off.

So far:
- I've got the tank, disinfected, with a false bottom and a layer of weed block (I poke holes in the weed block until water drained through it at a decent rate).
- I've got some driftwood (for the background + foam) and some dead manzanita (to be peat-coated for mock vines) boiled and baked repeatedly.
- I've got a mini water pump for circulating the water.
- I've ordered a DIY LED kit from aquastyle online & will soon get started on building that.



















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Old 04-16-2013, 04:11 PM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

Some progress...

I coated the manzanita and foam partition in silicone and peat.

I've zip-tied the partition in place, but will still need to foam it a little more to make it more contiguous.

I'm also going to foam in the background and sides

Just got my 14 LED w/ controller kit from aquastyle online.

When I get going on figuring all that out, I'll give a detailed post on it. I'll also be cutting the heatsink in two and building a frame for it, so that it'll span the whole tank. More later. Here's just a couple update photos.





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Old 04-21-2013, 08:22 PM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

Finished the background.

The next steps:
-vacuum up leftover peat & clean glass
-work on the placement of the manzanita & silicone those in
-construct diy led lighting (the lamp used in these photos is way more yellow than the leds will be)
-install & test water pump
-acquire substrate

Some photos from today:






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Old 04-23-2013, 05:19 PM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

Well, I've been working on figuring out how to make a lid and a hood for this tank. As well as how to incorporate a vent, a fan, access to my water pump, and the leds.

I'm thinking about using plexiglass since I've already got some, and building the hood so that it rests on the edges of the plexiglass to minimize warping.

I got carried away with Google SketchUp (first time using it - it's free and simple and awesome). Thought I'd share what I've been thinking so far.

So here's the lid, with the water pump access in back, next to a ventilation strip. And there's the fan, mounted in a raised portion of the plexiglass, so that the fan is inside tank, but not visible from the front.


Next up is the hood, shown from front.


Here's the hood and lid together, from the back. This shows that the hood doesn't cover the vent, so that the humidity won't interfere with the leds. I'll probably coat that back piece of wood with something to keep the humidity from causing it to mold.


And finally, the hood and lid together, from the front and underneath. This shows how the fan is pointed at an angle toward the front glass, to minimize condensation and to push air across the length of the tank.


Any thoughts? I don't have any other vents, other than the strip at the rear of the lid. How wide do you think that should be? I plan on keeping a spare piece of plexi around for covering part or all of the vent if humidity drops too low.
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Old 04-23-2013, 05:32 PM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

I think it's looking great so far.

With it being open on the top, I'm not sure you'd need to worry about leaving the vent uncovered.

As far as the hood, is it going to be hinged so you can easily access the lid?

Also, how do you plan on affixing this to the tank?
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:33 PM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

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I think it's looking great so far.

With it being open on the top, I'm not sure you'd need to worry about leaving the vent uncovered.

As far as the hood, is it going to be hinged so you can easily access the lid?

Also, how do you plan on affixing this to the tank?
Actually, the lid isn't open (it might look that way in the diagram because its translucent). I will construct the whole lid out of plexi, so it will closed except for the screen vent.

The hood is the wooden frame holding the heatsinks that will sit on top of the tank, routed to fit the lip of the tank top edges. I'm aiming for the whole hood to be easily removable, so that the lid can be accessed.

And yes, there will be a hinge on the plexi tank lid - you can see in the first picture a thin long handle for opening it. So to get into the tank, I would have to remove the hood and lift the plexi lid. I'm hoping that won't be a pain...
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:36 PM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

Some updates:

I made the vent and the hood. And got the LED's working.

I also attached all the vines to the background. I will update with pictures later this evening. You can check out some of the pictures of this process here: http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...technique.html

Next steps: vacuuming up the loose peat and getting glass for the lid.
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:04 AM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

As promised, update pictures.

I built a wooden hood following my plan, made to hold the 14 LED's and controller from aquastyle online. I will be painting the hood black eventually.

I cut the heatsink in half lengthwise, to span more of then tank, and arranged 7 zigzagged LED's per heatsink. I had some problems with the two driving boards, but Ray (who runs the website) sent me replacements. Still, only one of the boards seems to be working (so these pictures have only 7 of the LEDs running). And the controller doesn't seem to be working... I will keep writing him to try and try to fix it for good! He has been very helpful. But if anyone has experience with the controllers from that site, I'd love to talk to you!

I also made a thin vent for the back of the lid. There's space on the left for a little removable square of glass for accessing the water pump.


Here's the vent with the hood on. As you can see, the hood fits just in front of the vent, so the lights and electronics won't be directly exposed to the humidity of the tank.


Next, here's the progress I've made on the background. I took my manzanita branches, broke them into pieces, and fastened them how I liked them to the foam. Then I super-glued them into place.


After that, I covered the super-glue with silicone and peat, and – when dry – I removed the fasteners to reveal the finished result.




I'll keep you updated!

Oh and please let me know if you're handy with LED systems, driving boards, or SolarLux controllers!
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:05 AM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

Looks great! Hard to believe it's a 20 long, looks bigger

Duff
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:12 AM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

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Looks great! Hard to believe it's a 20 long, looks bigger

Duff
Thank you!
That's my goal!
I'm purposefully using very small branches, collecting the smallest live oak leaves I can find, and searching for the smallest-leaved plants... all in the hopes of being able to achieve the detail, depth of field, and intrigue offered by larger tanks.

Unfortunately, adding the substrate will take up a significant chunk of space... that's coming soon!
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:46 AM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

Removing that hood wood drive me crazy. Im curious to see how the plexi holds up with the humidity

Nice tank either way!
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:20 PM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

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Removing that hood wood drive me crazy. Im curious to see how the plexi holds up with the humidity

Nice tank either way!
It's a small enough tank and the hood is light enough that I'm hoping it'll remain easy.

And I was worried abou the plexi too... so I'm deciding to go with glass! And I'm going to use the opportunity to teach myself how to cut glass while I'm at it.
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:23 PM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

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Originally Posted by mollbern View Post
It's a small enough tank and the hood is light enough that I'm hoping it'll remain easy.

And I was worried abou the plexi too... so I'm deciding to go with glass! And I'm going to use the opportunity to teach myself how to cut glass while I'm at it.
It looks really nice, but as the lights are attached to the wooden portion, how are you planning to deal with cords as you take it on and off? I suppose extra-long ones would make that less of an issue.
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:27 PM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

Some quick updates.

Painted the hood black:


Cut a groove in the foam for the water pump:


Stuffed it back full with the foam I cut out, and siliconed over the seam:


Vacuumed out all the peat moss at the bottom of the tank and filled it with enough water to test the pump, and it's working! It's hard to see, but it's dripping off the biggest piece of wood into the pond. Sweeeet. That piece of wood will look good one day with some ferns above and behind it...
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:26 PM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

I really like what you've done so far, you've managed to make this tank look much bigger than it is. I hope you'll be equally talented when it comes to planting this beauty

It's always nice to see a full DIY build, keep up the good work
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:54 PM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

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It looks really nice, but as the lights are attached to the wooden portion, how are you planning to deal with cords as you take it on and off? I suppose extra-long ones would make that less of an issue.
Yeah, this is something I'm still working out a bit. The tank is currently on a desk, with ample space to put the hood down on the side that is closer to the outlets – so there's no strain on the cords.
Also, I do have extra-long cords, and I'm working on cleaning them up a bit with clips and tubing.

It's not ideal, but it'll work for now. If I know I'm relocating the tank to a permanent location, I'll fashion a way to get the lights in a wall mount above the tank.
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:07 AM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

Well, it's been a long while.

Finally pulled the hardscaped tank out of the basement and got to planting it up!
Pm'ed BonnieLorraine and got an amazing plant package of small-leaved cuttings. Also made an order of some marginal/aquatic plants from Substrate Source.

I switched out the diy led situation for some 13W Jungle Dawns –– turns out it just was too much of a hassle with the heavy hood and all those cords...

Edit: Gonna re-upload higher quality versions of my pictures using an image hosting site

Last edited by mollbern; 02-18-2014 at 04:16 AM. Reason: re-uploading higher quality pictures
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:42 AM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

Alright, here's the update in pictures:









this one's taken from a little gap on the left side of the tank:


Will upload more photos as more plants arrive and as new growth starts happening...
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Old 02-18-2014, 01:09 PM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

That build is amazing.
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Old 02-18-2014, 02:54 PM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

Well, that puts the 20g I'm building to shame....very nice.
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Old 02-19-2014, 04:33 PM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

So my initial vision for this tank was to make it a paludarium. With a real stream of water traveling from the left of the tank, along the bank, and collecting in the pond portion.

But even though I kept the layout the same, I haven't filled in the water that high – and am trying to do achieve the same feel, just all emersed.

Here's the 3 aquatic/marginal plants I've got in there so far. All of which have successfully been grown emersed by others in the hobby:

Hemianthus callitrichoides (dwarf baby tears) as the main ground cover. I hope it fills in – I've got a couple root tabs in the aquatic plants' substrate (Seachem's Flourite mixed with peat [ABG everywhere else in the tank]), but I know that HC benefits from CO2 dosing, which I haven't been doing...


Cryptocoryne parva (dwarf crypt). It's been dropping just a couple leaves since being planted – I'm hoping that's just the stress of travel & transplanting.


And anubias barteri 'nana petite', which has been browning around the edges of the leaves a bit. Any clue what this might be?
Too dry? (I've been misting them three times a day, so the leaves area almost always wet. The roots are submerged in water.)
Too much light? (I've got two 13w Jungle Dawns – but about 1/3rd of the time only 1 of them is on)



And what do you think, should I raise the water level so that section of the tank is more submersed?
Or just give the HC time to spread and see how it looks?


Thanks!
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:11 PM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

Since your Hemianthus callitrichoides is growing above water, it has access to plenty of CO2 without supplementation, particularly if you have some air movement. I think you'll see it take off rapidly after it has had some time to acclimatize.

As for the C. parva, you’re right that it is not uncommon for plants to lose leaves when they switch from immersed to an emergent growth form. As I understand it, cryptocorynes are a little slower to acclimatize, but they should do just fine.

It looks like you buried the rhizome of the Anubias. As they are epiphytes, burying the rhizome can kill the plant and is often made evident by leaf rot. You might consider uprooting it a little so that the rhizome is sitting on the ground, or, even better, you can place it on a piece of wood or stone. It is also possible that this is also just a result of natural acclimatization to your vivarium, and after a few of the leaves drop, it will settle in. They are generally slow growers, though, so it may take a while.

Finally, I don't think that you need to flood the bottom of your vivarium. While I find that the aquatic plants in my vivarium grow fastest with their roots in the moving water of a water feature, the completely emersed plants always grow faster than their completely submersed counterparts.
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Old 02-19-2014, 10:38 PM
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It looks like you buried the rhizome of the Anubias. As they are epiphytes, burying the rhizome can kill the plant and is often made evident by leaf rot. You might consider uprooting it a little so that the rhizome is sitting on the ground, or, even better, you can place it on a piece of wood or stone. It is also possible that this is also just a result of natural acclimatization to your vivarium, and after a few of the leaves drop, it will settle in. They are generally slow growers, though, so it may take a while.
Hey thanks!

Did some more research – seems I totally missed the general practice of mounting anubias to wood/stone rather than burying their roots in substrate.

I'm going to attach them to some pieces of stone with fishing line and see how they do.

Do you think I should I rest the stone on top of the substrate, or submerge it part or all of the way?
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Old 02-20-2014, 04:07 PM
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Anubias update:

Last night I mounted the anubias 'nana petite' to some small stones with black nylon thread. I pulled off their rotting leaves, though today they seem to be browning around the edges of their remaining leaves...

I then made depressions in the substrate and set the anubias stones in them about halfway. I didn't press the substrate up around the roots. Hopefully, the roots can access the moisture enough – from what I read, the most important thing is to not bury the rhizome, which tends to rot when buried.









I'm a bit worried about them drying out. They're almost entirely emersed now, and I don't have a mister or fogger – I just aim a spray bottle at my marginal plants when I think of it (about 3-4 times a day). Also, I'm about to get a fan – which will only make it harder to keep them adequately humid. I know they need time to adjust to their new positioning, but as of now they still seem to be on the decline...
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Old 02-27-2014, 07:10 PM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

Just a quick update with pictures (fyi my camera makes everything look a little darker and more yellow than in person):

anubias are still browned around the edges, and the crypts are dropping a couple more leaves, but they all seem to be hanging in there:


added sheet moss to the back wall, which seems to be doing nicely (there's tiny bits of new growth – hard to see in picture though):


current full tank shot:
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Last edited by mollbern; 02-27-2014 at 07:10 PM. Reason: spelling mistakes
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Old 02-28-2014, 09:49 PM
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Love this tank! How are you not tempted to put a frog in there?
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Old 02-28-2014, 10:08 PM
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Thumbs up re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

that's a fine looking set up.
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Old 03-01-2014, 12:46 AM
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it's mystical
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Old 03-01-2014, 03:49 AM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

Hemianthus callitrichoides (dwarf baby tears) as the main ground cover. I hope it fills in – I've got a couple root tabs in the aquatic plants' substrate (Seachem's Flourite mixed with peat [ABG everywhere else in the tank]), but I know that HC benefits from CO2 dosing, which I haven't been doing...


How long have you had that HC planted without CO2? I just received two 2" pots of HC and I am worried it'll end up dying because I wont use any CO2 additives or anything.
Also I've read that if you plant it in small clumps it'll spread rapidly, it looks like that is what you're doing. Was your plant in clumps or did you kind of break it up in clumps?
I really dig this tank and I am curious as to how the HC holds up!
Keep up the sick work.
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Old 03-01-2014, 03:53 AM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

I guess I should've kept reading ahead, I didn't know that HC will grow decently well if kind of out of the water.
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Old 03-01-2014, 03:57 AM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

1) The anubias should be attached to a larger rock or piece of ghost wood, it will eventually grip the mount.

2) What is the ambient temperature in this tank?
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Old 03-01-2014, 04:01 PM
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How long have you had that HC planted without CO2? I just received two 2" pots of HC and I am worried it'll end up dying because I wont use any CO2 additives or anything.
Also I've read that if you plant it in small clumps it'll spread rapidly, it looks like that is what you're doing. Was your plant in clumps or did you kind of break it up in clumps?
I really dig this tank and I am curious as to how the HC holds up!
Keep up the sick work.
The HC has been in there about a month. It came all in a 2" pot from SubstrateSource. I divided it into lots of little clumps and layed them on the Flourite/peat and then sprinkled peat on top and sprayed it down again. Also got one of their root tabs and buried it in the middle of the marginals.

Somehow all the HC has been staying green and putting out new growth. It's definitely been spreading over the past couple weeks. And staying low to the ground, probably a result of high light.
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Old 03-01-2014, 04:15 PM
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1) The anubias should be attached to a larger rock or piece of ghost wood, it will eventually grip the mount.

2) What is the ambient temperature in this tank?
How big a rock? I've got them on smallish rocks for now – is that not going to work?

And I actually don't have a temp gauge in there. I'd guess between 65-80F throughout the day and night.

Thanks for writing in!
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Old 03-01-2014, 06:22 PM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

This your viv is stunning, so simple and clean... I'd put in it some Phyllobates vittatus or Epips.
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Old 03-04-2014, 03:40 PM
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Big update!

Got a couple 60mm fans from hydrophyte and installed one in this tank.

Just in time for an order from Andy's Orchids to arrive. Got those in here too.

And, I kind of got attached to two froglets I was watching for Followgravity.

Luckily, I've been disinfecting everything as it goes into the tank, & everything I've used should be frog-safe. Just needed to add in some leaf litter, and I also threw in a cocohut since the hiding spaces are so minimal right now. I plan to remove it when the plant growth takes off more.

Alright, pictures:







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Old 03-04-2014, 04:36 PM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

Good job on the tank! Looks great!
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:26 PM
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Ha! I knew it was only a matter of time until you put some frogs in there! Nice!
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Old 03-05-2014, 02:51 AM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

very nice tank. the divider looks pretty wet, how do you keep it that way? Just by misting/spraying? Also, is the raise area behind the divider just abg mix? or is there some sort riser (to use less abg)?

definitely saved a ton of the pics for inspiration.
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Old 03-05-2014, 03:25 AM
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That is amazing! Wow im speechless.
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Old 03-05-2014, 03:48 PM
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Default re: 20 Gallon Long (slow, with pictures and questions)

Thanks so much folks! I'll keep posting pictures as changes happen. Also, I have more pictures of the process & of specific plants - just let me know if you're interested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomer.baron View Post
the divider looks pretty wet, how do you keep it that way? Just by misting/spraying? Also, is the raise area behind the divider just abg mix? or is there some sort riser (to use less abg)?
It's just foam covered with black silicone and peat. It's not always wet, but it does look like it, & it's darkened over time. All I do for moisture is hand misting - once or twice a day for about 20-30 seconds.

The substrate is ABG. And yes, behind the barrier there is a riser to conserve ABG. I think that at any point in the tank there's about 1.5 inches of ABG.
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