40b Nature Aquarium

bshenanagins

Junior Poster
Mar 3, 2017
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Been out of the game for a while but I’ve been itching to get back into it and I’ve now got my 40B well on its way. I’ve grown very fond of the nature style tanks and I have been collecting materials for a while now. I’ve always wanted to do a sump so I decided to drill my tank and hooked up the Eshoppes Eclipse Bean Animal. It’s certainly overkill for my size tank, but an overflow to me provides a clean look. I had an old AGA tank stand that I had initially coated with spar urethane but I have since stripped, sanded, and painted it white with topside paint. I also added new bronze hinges and knobs to the front of the doors. I have collected several pieces of spiderwood for my hardscape, and managed to get some great rock locally from an outdoor hardscape center for $20 and I still have plenty left over. I’m trying for a triangular layout and this is what I have created thus far. I think I did a good job for my first go round but let me know what you guys think. The plan is to utilize either a complimenting gravel or sand in the front and the entire rear of the scape will be filled with aquatic soil. I will use plenty of buce and anubias for the cracks in the rock work and the branches of the spider wood. I also plan to use some java fern and bolbitis in the center of the spider wood. For the background, a mix of stem plants that will gradually slope to the right to give the triangular effect. I’ll continue to update my progress, as I need some more items to get the tank running. CO2 injection and the Twinstar 900S is my plan. I also mocked up my own internal Venturi from Tom’s design. Appreciate any feedback

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bshenanagins

Junior Poster
Mar 3, 2017
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Thanks so much! This is kind of a big project for me, never drilled a tank, never had a sump, and I have to really impress my wife so big shoes to fill!
 

bshenanagins

Junior Poster
Mar 3, 2017
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I’m planning to add a group of tetras to this tank, and I’d like to have an apisto pair as well. Is there anyone on this forum that breeds apisto or know of any breeders? I’d like to get them from a reliable and healthy source.
 

bshenanagins

Junior Poster
Mar 3, 2017
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My Twinstar 900S is on the way! I also orders the “Way2top” controller with 100 steps of dimming. Still need to hard plumb everything and set up the sump. The money keeps adding up its unreal...
 
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bshenanagins

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Mar 3, 2017
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Just received my Way2Top S2 Pro light controller. Super compact, and super easy to set up. Based on what I could figure out, it has 8 time intervals you can set up and it will gradually ramp up to the intensity you set it to. Just from playing with it works very well.
 

bshenanagins

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Mar 3, 2017
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CO2 is all set up and ready to go, plumbing is getting done shortly and I already have a nice batch of plants on it’s way courtesy of fablau!
 

bshenanagins

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Mar 3, 2017
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Plumbing almost finished! Tomorrow or later tonight I will test for leaks. I didn’t realize how much Aquasoil I need, and I can’t justify $100+ on substrate so I I’m doing a bottom layer of safe T sorb, then a 1-2” layer of soil, topped off with the Amazonia.
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I think this would work well.
 

bshenanagins

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Mar 3, 2017
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Filled the tank and got the pump started...No leaks!!!! Nearly silent, I just need to play with the height of the drains but otherwise running beautifully. Anyone on the fence about drilling their tank or getting the Eshoppes Eclipse, go for it you won’t be disappointed. I will say, drilling and plumbing is a well planned and articulated feat. Do your homework and get all the materials you need, shortcuts will encourage failure. I am running the Jebao DCP 2500 pump and it’s awesome, I can’t hear it unless I’m in the cabinet and even then, a barely audible hum. It’s currently running at 45% power and working beautifully.

I’m currently mineralizing Miracle Gro Organic Perfromance soil, it’s their newer version I guess and it’s got a clean profile.
 

bshenanagins

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Mar 3, 2017
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I’ve got one batch of soil mineralized, I have another right now I’m working on. It’s amazing how little your left with when you sift through it and remove all the pieces of wood etc. My largest piece of spiderwood did not want to sink when I test filled the tank, so I decided to anchor it to the rock it was going to sit on. I drilled a 1” pilot hole into the base of the wood and then drilled several 1/4” holes into the side walls of the pilot hole. The rock I have is quite hard and drilling into it was no easy task, so I opted for Original Gorilla Glue. It is non toxic and inert after 7 days according to the company, and working with it in the past I can attest to this. Since it likes to expand when it cures, I filled the 1” hole with the glue in the anticipation that as it cures it will spread into the other holes and help anchor the wood to the rock. I didn’t want the glue to come free of the wood once it’s saturated, so even if that does happen, it’s still anchored down. It’s been two days since I glued it and it is SOLID. Once this last batch of soil finishes I’ll make my order of plants.
 
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bshenanagins

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Finished mineralizing! No smell and a light airy texture. There are still some larger pieces in there but I’m not concerned.
 

bshenanagins

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Alright, I think I have my plant selection down. Any thoughts or ideas? Criticism?

the trident fern and hydro pinn will be arranged in the driftwood pile. I also left out the Buce and Anubias petite, which will be plugged into the base of the driftwood, and the cracks and crevices of the rocks. Any other plants that might look good or compliment the scape please let me know.
 
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Phishless

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Pygmy chain sword is not so "pygmy" when planted in soil.
Easily a 10" tall plant and then the runners go mad!
 

bshenanagins

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Pygmy chain sword is not so "pygmy" when planted in soil.
Easily a 10" tall plant and then the runners go mad!

I'm sorry, what I meant was Echinodorus tennelus "narrow leaf chain sword." Which also seems to be the same as Helanthium Tenellum based on what I can gather. I think the plant gets confused with dwarf sagg or similar grasses and then like you said, explode in height. Any other recommendations?