60G Cube Jungle Journal - GTA Aquaria Forum - Aquarium Fish & Plants serving the Greater Toronto Area.
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Planted Tank Photos Let's see what you got! Show off your tanks here. Tank journals are encouraged!

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Old 02-20-2018, 12:09 PM   #1
FishNerd
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Default 60G Cube Jungle Journal

GOOD MORNING GTA AQUARIA !!!

I got involved in the aquarium hobby in the late summer of 2017 when my girlfriend and I purchased our first tank. A simple 40 gallon planted community tank. We learned a lot from that tank, and it wasn't long until we got another one, and then another. We now have way too many tanks crammed into our one bedroom apartment. But we love every single one of them.

Fish keeping is great and I absolutely love all the fish and their behaviour, colours and idiosyncrasies. But I have to say by far the most satisfying aspect of the hobby for me has been the plants. After reading Diana Walstad's book, Ecology of the Planted Aquarium, I was absolutely amazed and absorbed in everything and anything plant related.

The low tech, relatively low light planted tank world taught us the basics of aquatic plant care and continues to be an extremely satisfying aspect of our hobby. But it was time to enter the high tech world of aquascaping. The creation of an underwater world; an underwater landscape. This craft has so far provided a great deal of respite from an otherwise winter swept urban existence.

In November of 2017 I was puttering around the internet in search of the perfect tank to enter the high tech world. I came across an add for a 60 gallon cube, a 2ft by 2ft by 2ft starphire glass beauty. The add included the tank, stand, and two smaller tanks.(20G long, 10G) All for the amazing price of $100. I'm not sure if the tank is actually starphire glass since i've never seen starphire glass but I liked the look of the tank and at that price I couldn't say no. I immediately jumped on it, jumped in the car, and the cube jungle adventure was underway...

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Old 02-20-2018, 02:00 PM   #2
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Default Prologue

Originally I had planned to keep this journal as time went by in the life of this aquarium. That unfortunately didn't happen. As a result i'm going to post everything at once from setup to today.

I have to admit the tank was sitting in my living room empty for way too long. It was a combination of life delays and a slow procurement of all the necessary hardware. The light I ordered turned out to be out of stock and I waited for almost a month and a half to receive it. Then the filter I had decided on was also out of stock. Delays..delays..and more delays. But finally at the end of December 2017 I had all the necessary equipment and I was finally ready to get the tank up and running.

Hardware

Aquarium: 60G cube 24*24*24ins
Filter: Eheim 2217
Heater: Hydor 200W in-line
Lighting: Aquaillumination freshwater prime
CO2: GLA GRO-1 regulator with atomic diffuser
Flow: Hydor nano powerhead

Substrate & Scape

ADA Amazonia
Powersand
La Plata sand
Various substrate additives

Large eucalyptus root
Seiryu stone
Slate (for riccia)





Plants

Moss:
Fissidans fontanus/Phoenix moss
Peacock moss

Foreground:
Umbrosum sp/Monte carlo
Hydrocotyle tripartita
Riccia fluitans
Various Crypts

Midground:
Bacopa compact
Staurogyne repens
Blyxa japonica
Ludwigia super red
Hemianthus micranthemoides
Narrow leaf fern
Lobelia cardinalis

Background:
Hygrophilia polysperma
Myriophyllum tuberculatum
Bacopa caroliniana



Fish & Invertebrates

Pseudomugil furcatus/Forktail blue-eye
Danio margaritatus / Galaxy rasbora
Melanotaenia garylangei/Gary Lange’s rainbowfish
Caridina multidentata / Amano shrimp
Crossocheilus oblongus / Siamese algae eater

I have to send out a special thank you to jimmyjam aka aquaticplantman. I bought all the plants in this project from him. He was awesome to deal with, gave me some great advice and lots of extras. Thanks buddy! Decided to buy the rainbowfish, garylangei, from Dave Pauls. They are still growing out and I should be getting them by the end of the month. Thanks Dave!

Last edited by FishNerd; 02-20-2018 at 02:08 PM.. Reason: spelling and misc.
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Old 02-20-2018, 04:28 PM   #3
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Cool set up - can't wait to see it.

The only comment I would make is the Power Sand - I used it in my tank and regretted - but maybe that's just me, cause I replant / top off a lot in my tank and always end up pulling them out with root and can't get them back down so the back of my tank looks bad with white rocks on top of ADA soil.. lol

If you are not planning to 're-scape' or up root often, then you're okay.
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Old 02-20-2018, 05:03 PM   #4
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Default Setup

December 29th 2017. The setup day had finally arrived. It was a friday night with heavy snow and of course it was rush hour. But I had to drive up to Markham to pick up the plants. Everything else was ready. I had enough foresight to set up most of the hardware the day before. I filled up the aquarium, hooked up the filter and in-line heater. Setup the CO2 system and lighting. All that was left was to do that evening was to get the plants and start scaping.

Everything always takes longer than I anticipate. By the time I got home with the plants it was already 8pm. To make a long story short we were up until almost 2am putting this scape together. The next time I start a project like this i'll start in the morning. Things you learn. Here are some highlights...

We wanted to paint an image of a mangrove root or tree trunk growing over a rocky beach. I've always loved aquascapes that incorporate some sand. We took into account the rule of thirds and separated the aqua soil and sand with a strip of cardboard. We were pleased with the proportions. But again this took longer than anticipated. You don't have to rinse aquasoil, thank goodness. But the sand needed to be rinsed. Again, everything takes longer than I anticipate...







Next we added the rocks. We took our time with placement and proportions.





Finally we were ready to plant. Mistakes were made and lessons were learned. We started planting the foreground plants first. Starting with the monte carlo, I didn't have any experience with monte carlo or delicate stem plants in general and this proved to be a major challenge. If I had to do it over again I would plant the background plants first and work back to front. We found it difficult to get the background plants in place with the wood and rocks in the way. It was a challenge. Especially the delicate stem plants. But we got it done, and again, it took way longer than I had anticipated.



By this point it was pushing 2am. We were wiped out. But we still had to attach the moss to parts of the eucalyptus root. It was going to have to wait until the next morning. We were out of energy and patience. The moss was actually the easiest part of all. Used some crazy glue and attached the moss onto the wood beautifully. I'll never use thread again.

The cube was complete, we were pleased with it...







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Old 02-20-2018, 06:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teemote View Post
Cool set up - can't wait to see it.

The only comment I would make is the Power Sand - I used it in my tank and regretted - but maybe that's just me, cause I replant / top off a lot in my tank and always end up pulling them out with root and can't get them back down so the back of my tank looks bad with white rocks on top of ADA soil.. lol

If you are not planning to 're-scape' or up root often, then you're okay.
Ya I kind of used it on a whim. Maybe it's because I got hypnotized by all the Takashi Amano scapes and all the green machine videos. I wasn't actually going to use any. But when I saw it at the shop I figured why not go with the full pull. I wouldn't have used any substrate additives either but the guy at the shop threw them in for free. But good point with the replanting, I could see that getting really messy.
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Old 02-20-2018, 08:27 PM   #6
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Default Early Days

In the first couple weeks of January there certainly were some difficulties. When you use ADA soil standard practice dictates daily water changes for the first week. Then every couple days in week 2, every 3 days in weeks 3 and 4, then weekly. Or something similar. I had read about this, knew it, put it into practice for the first week. But then during week two I didn't notice any algae the tank was looking pretty good, I decided nah i'm good for weekly water changes now. Big mistake. Algae party. Green algae on the glass and on some leaves, and green hair algae all over all the moss. I immediately started on daily water changes, reduced my photoperiod and light intensity and did a ton of manual removal. I was also unsure of wether or not to dose ferts during the first month or two. The soil is brand new and packed with nutrients, why dose. After a lot of research and reading I decided to go with dosing half EI for the first few months then going full EI. I'm new to the whole CO2 high tech side of things. I got confused about how to measure the amount of CO2 dissolved in the water. I purchased a drop checker, but I found the amount of lag involved to be frustrating, and i'm not sure how accurate they are. I found a KH/PH table on the barr report forum. But i'm using aquasoil which lowers ph rendering the chart imprecise for my purposes. So I decided to go with the 1 unit PH drop to achieve approximately 30ppm CO2. I learned the hard way that that 1 unit ph drop is based on degassed aquarium water. I was initially measuring the PH of the aquarium in the morning and aiming for a 1 unit PH drop. I would consequently blast the aquarium with CO2 aiming for that 1 unit drop based on the morning reading, when I should have been basing it on the degassed sample. Sigh, Things you learn. While all this was going on my monte carlo was melting like crazy. Actually all the leaves melted off. But as this was happening new leaves were forming so I wasn't too perturbed by the situation.

But I got the algae under control, and now that I have the Amano shrimp and Sae's it's completely gone. Have the CO2 dialed in. I'm slowly extending the photoperiod and intensity. Dosing 1/2 EI. I think i'm finding some balance.



I dropped and broke my gla atomic diffuser and had to use this tropica model for a little while while I waited for another atomic to ship...sigh.





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Old 02-20-2018, 09:07 PM   #7
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That's a really nice setup.
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Old 02-20-2018, 09:19 PM   #8
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Default February so far

The past few weeks have been about fine tuning. I moved some plants around. Moved some of the crypts naively planted up against the wood in the mid/back of the tank that were buried by plant growth. Planted some additional crypts in the foreground. Been doing lots of trimming. Added some rocks to the sand at the front of the aquarium to provide some much needed depth and detail.

At the beginning of February I put in the Amano shrimp and Sae's. In hindsight I should have put them in earlier, say around the two week mark. But I wanted the tank to be fully cycled before adding any livestock. A couple weeks ago I put in the Forktail blue-eyes and Galaxy rasboras. Elegant fish, they're still quite small but once they grow out a little bit they will be gorgeous. But my showcase species will be the M. garylangei, I should be receiving them sometime during the next couple of weeks.


















Last edited by FishNerd; 02-21-2018 at 09:39 AM.. Reason: images added
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Old 02-20-2018, 09:25 PM   #9
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Default Then and Now

Then


Now
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Old 02-25-2018, 02:27 PM   #10
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Great job on the layout and awesome growth!
I can't wait to see pictures with the garylangei when they're settled in!
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