Thursday, 15 January 2015

64 Litre "Hidden Paths" Tank

I recently decided to re-scape my 64 litre tank into an ultra-low maintenance aquascape.

It is based on just sand substrate, rock and wood hardscape, and hardy plants tied to objects. This setup will still retain the use of Co2 injection to support the plant growth.

The main objective of this aquascape is quick setup and easy adjustment of the layout without mess or hassle. The selected slower growing plants require alot less maintenance too. In addition, the tank will also be used to grow out various plants for transfer to larger tanks in the near future.

Here is a short walk-through of the tank's setup process...

I started by filling the tank with a small mound of sand in the back and middle, keeping the layers thin at the front.


The benefit of using sand substrate is the ability to aquascape with the tank filled with water, and it stays clear throughout without the usual mess and cloudiness associated with soil substrates.

Next i placed piles of small volcanic rocks across the sand substrate with paths between them.


This is followed up by the addition of branchy driftwood to simulate some random root-like structures around the rocks, along with Anubias sp. Angustifolia as the initial background plants.


Bunches of smaller Anubias sp. "Petite" and various Bucephalandra sp. are added to help fill in the gaps and create accents around the hardscape.


And its done... the entire layout was completed in less than 30 minutes. Quick and simple.


The tank's canister filter was allowed to run for a few hours, then livestock from the previous setup were acclimatized and added back into the tank (no issues with ammonia spikes or tank re-cycle due to the use of inert sand substrate).

I'll be swapping out plants and adding in new ones regularly (one of the objectives of this tank is to make that process easier), so the aquascape will change over time... and it'll help satiate my aquarist "itchy fingers" syndrome too. :)

--

Here are the tank stats:

Tank Size: 60cm x 30cm x 36cm (High Clarity / Low Iron Glass)
Substrate: Sudo Reef Sand

Filter System: Eheim Ecco Pro 300 + 13mm gUSH glass intake / VIV glass lily pipe output
Filter Media: Seachem Matrix
Temperature: 28-29°C (Day) / 27-28°C (Night)

Lighting: Up Aqua Z-Series Pro LED Z-20 (60cm) 1st Generation Version
Light Duration: 8 hours (10am-6pm)

Pressurized Co2: ANS Co2 System + ISTA Inline Reactor / 0.25bps / 30ppm
Co2 Duration: 7 hours (10am-5pm)
Carbon Supplement: Seachem Excel / 1ml daily
Fertilizer: Tropica Plant Growth Premium Fertilizer / 1ml daily
Fan/Chiller: None

Water Change Regimen: 20% Weekly

Water Parameters (Cycled):
Tested using API Freshwater Master Test Kit
pH = 7.0
Ammonia = 0 ppm
Nitrite = 0 ppm
Nitrate = 5-10 ppm


Fauna: 
Otocinclus Cocama
Boraras Brigittae
Indostomus Paradoxus 
Neocaridina Davidi 
Clithon Corona

29 comments:

  1. Nice setup!
    I see you used reef sand, I guess it has no effect on plants and freshwater fauna?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For the Sudo Reef Sand that i've used, it didn't have any significant measurable effect on the water parameters so far, hence no issues encountered with the plants and livestock. The tank inhabitants are also the hardy types, so they are able to adapt to different water parameters quite easily.

      Note that i used relatively low amounts of sand (only around 2+ liters worth) versus the water volume, so that's probably one of the factors too.

      If you have sensitive flora or fauna that require specific water conditions (ie. lower pH), then you'll probably need to look at other additional methods to adjust the parameters to suit them.

      Delete
  2. wow, nice and simple

    thanks! i will try this concept for my next tank

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great setup. Where did you purchase the sudo reef sand?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!

      I bought the Sudo Reef Sand from Seaview Aquarium... i've also seen them in stock at places like East Ocean Aquatic and C328 too. Can check at those LFS.

      Delete
  4. Long time since an update on your blog. Any updates on your tanks ? Been following your blog for sometime and get quite excited when you post new updates.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not much to update at the moment... my tanks have been converted over to low maintenance setups, so the plant growth rates are slower, hence updates are much further apart. :)

      Delete
  5. Hi, how do you hold up the small mound of sands in the middle? Mine tends to flatten after some time. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess the mound of sand in my setup is being "supported" by the rows of rocks, so that probably helps to keep the sand from flattening out.

      Delete
  6. Hi UA, can I check with you where you bought the Tropica fertilizer? Went to few LFS like Seaview, C328 & Polyart but can't seem to find any product from Tropica. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bought mine from C328 last year... i guess its probably sold out there at the moment.

      You can get the Tropica fertilizers directly from Fishy Business too, they are the local distributors of the Tropica brand products.

      Delete
  7. Nice set-up. Looking forward to more interesting posts.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I noticed that you do not have a surface skimmer in your tank. How do you get rid of the surface protein from your tank?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, i guess i feed my fishes and shrimps very lightly, usually only once every 2-3 days, and the overall bio-load is kept minimal, so that helps to reduce the build up of oil layers on the water surface.

      I also usually keep the water level just slightly above the lily pipe outflow, so that it generates a mini vortex which pulls down and mixes the water, as well as creating a constant ripple current at the surface.

      My weekly water changes also help to clear away any surface oil layers before they can accumulate too. :)

      Delete
  9. Thanks for sharing the useful tips to minimize protein level.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi, may I know where can I get the Anubias sp. Angustifolia? Tks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I got them from Clementi Florist & Aquarium (aka C328) and Seaview... they are usually tied to wood or coconut shells and packed in plastic packs.

      Delete
    2. one more thing, where can I get the driftwood branches? I tried Nanyang and their choices are pretty limited. Tks.

      Delete
    3. You'll have to shop around the various LFS to find nice branchy wood pieces... places that specialize in aquascaping like Green Chapter, Fishy Business, East Ocean, Aquarist Avenue etc have a wide selection of different types of wood.

      One of my "side" hobbies is looking for interesting wood and rocks whenever i visit any LFS. If a good piece catches my eye i will buy it (even if i have no immediate use for it yet), so i slowly accumulate a collection of nice rocks and wood for future use in my tanks. :)

      Delete
    4. Wow! Great tip!

      Delete
  11. Hi UA,

    I would like to check if you only use Seachem Matrix as filter media? How many liters do you need to fill in Eheim Ecco Pro 300? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, if i remember correctly i used around 3L of Seachem Matrix for the Eheim Ecco Pro 300 (instead of the original stock eheim media).

      Delete
  12. Do you superglue all of your plants to pebbles and drop them where you like? Or do you plant the roots in the sand?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to superglue my plants, but nowadays i just tie them on with fishing line (its less messy and looks cleaner from the start). Needs abit of patience tying plants onto small pebbles with fishing line, but it gets easier with practice. :)

      Anyways, by securing the plants on rocks and pebbles, i can re-position and shift them plants around easily, very useful when doing tank cleaning or re-scaping.

      My sand substrate is relatively thin, so i simply place the plants and their pebble/rock bases sitting partially in the sand. Over a period of time, the plants will eventually grow longer roots into the sand on their own.

      Delete
  13. What's the watt of your lighting? Do u dose any other supplements other then the plant fertilizer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Up Aqua Z-Series LED lights i'm using is the 1st generation version with 0.06W LEDs and its total wattage works out to only around 15+ watts. I guess its considered low light for this tank size, but its more than sufficient for the types of plants i keep.

      I don't dose any other supplements in this tank, just the basic Tropica plant fertilizer... and feeding the fishes and shrimps regularly. :)

      You can check out the progress of this tank over the subsequent months in these links:

      http://www.urbanaquaria.com/2015/05/64-litre-hidden-paths-tank-week-16.html

      http://www.urbanaquaria.com/2015/05/64-litre-hidden-paths-tank-week-16_8.html

      http://www.urbanaquaria.com/2016/03/64-litre-hidden-paths-tank-week-60.html

      Delete