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Thread: Glitch's First Swim! 40 Breeder Planted Community

  1. #1
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    Glitchonymous's Avatar
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    Glitch's First Swim! 40 Breeder Planted Community

    Hey gang, it's been a while since I've visited but an update is way overdue! Gather round and I'll tell you a story...

    Summer 2014: My small apartment was at capacity for houseplants. I thought about making a drip irrigation system for my window to let me have more plants and make it more of a system. In researching, I started looking at aquaponics and wondered how I'd go about that. Summer ended and I was moving out, so nothing became of these ideas.

    Summer 2015: The new apartment had more room for plants, key word is had. I was researching my Golden Pothos and stumbled into different DIY guides and forum posts about using it in aquariums. Soon I had dozens of tabs open seeing the variety of aquatic plants, different scapes and pretty much knew what was going to happen.

    I decided I wanted a 40 gallon breeder (36" long, 18" wide, 16" high) to give me lots of surface area for plants and critters. I had trouble finding a well made one but finally found an agreeable one.

    I didn't like the idea of commercially made stands, especially the chipboard ones. It boggles my mind how cheaply they are made and leave raw edges open to water exposure. My background is in engineering/building science so no surprise I wanted to be conservative and get something with more structural integrity and could withstand the inevitable stray splash of water. I designed the stand in SketchUp so I could get a good look at it and also pull off dimensions for the build.

    Click here to enlarge
    Click here to enlarge

    October 2015: With the help of a carpenter friend (thanks Henry!) we knocked the stand together from two sheets of 3/4" oak ply. The bottom frame was made from spare 2x4s to give it a larger footprint and we added a 2x4 header across the top front where the door openings are. A touch of red oak was used to trim the doors and the top.

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    Click here to enlarge

    November 2015: The stand was then stained using Varathane Premium in Kona, inside of the shelves and doors were done with CIL Premium Paint+Primer semi-gloss for high traffic areas, and then it was protected with several coats of Varathane Premium Diamond Wood Finish, a waterbased stain that goes on milky and dries to a clear satin finish without any yellowing. I was pleased with the end results, attached the hardware and that chapter was done!

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    As for inside the tank, I liked the idea of having a variety of swords, java fern and java moss. For critters, I didn't have any strong desires apart from something small that would school, so Danios seemed like a good starting choice. I picked up several pieces of driftwood and began planning the scape.

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    February 2016: With the driftwood sorted it was time to get dirty! I had read up a lot on dirted tanks and went with the standard Miracle Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix (MGOCPM) - this potting mix uses no manure in it and has no added fertilizers so your cycle won't be out of whack from the start. Living in Wolfville, I grabbed a bucket of the very iron-rich clay/mud from the mud flats in the harbour. This went in the tank first, MGOCPM next and then capped with black sand. I had picked up my starter plants from 1 Fish 2 Fish and got to planting crypts, anubias and swords. From there, the tank grew out a bit with only minimal melting of the crypts. I did a fishless cycle to prep for the first addition, which had now changed to Rummynose tetras. Over the next little bit I added two Zebra Nerites, some Java fern, and a few otos.

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    Click here to enlarge
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    Click here to enlarge

    March 2016: Something else I was curious about and added to the tank was ghost shrimp! I've heard they can be territorial and killers, but from my research and experience so far, I believe scientific names are important - Palaemonetes paludosus is what you're after, but sometimes small Whisker shrimp (Macrobrachium sp.) get in the mix and they're the aggressive ones. My ghosties are as passive as ever and even the largest one doesn't bat an eyelash when one of the tetras bumps into it. Adding the ghost shrimp was a nice turning point for the aquarium, as very soon after they were added, one was berried! I now have little ghosties crawling around as well, didn't expect any to survive but alas they have.

    Click here to enlarge
    Click here to enlarge

    April 2016: Overall I'm quite pleased with this tank, I've added some Harlequin Rasboras and from here out only plan to boost the size of the schools a bit. Time to enjoy this one as it matures and prep the 10g for a shrimp colony!

    Click here to enlarge

  2. #2
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    Carmelita's Avatar
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    Very nice tank great job .

  3. #3
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    Glitchonymous's Avatar
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    Thanks! With time there will be more updates and pictures, and hopefully faster than 8 months haha.

  4. #4
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    trav 1's Avatar
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    st.peters, capebreton
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    Nice

  5. #5
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    komodo182's Avatar
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    Charlottetown, PEI
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    Very nice and beautiful stand

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