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Old 07-20-2014, 03:17 PM   #1 
InStitches's Avatar
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Florida
14.5 Gallon Planted Community Build

Figured I should get this thread started finally :) Tracking progress for myself, asking for tips from you wonderful lot, and might post a tutorial for lighting mod.

Two weeks ago, my 14.5 Auquatop arrived, and I've been compiling everything for the build.

The tank:

Comes with hood and two CFL bulbs for lighting.

Will be modifying for LED's.

I will be using Cool White 5630's:

I have room for at least four lengths of these in the hood. I'm hoping this might allow me to have some med/high light plants at some point.

I like the idea of putting in the lights I want. I looked inside the new LED minibows at Petsmart last week and was so disappointed to see there are just two LED's in the hood. With the strips I'm buying I can get a butt-ton of LED light into anything.

I accidentally purchased non-waterproof LED's but I'm thinking they will be fine inside of the waterproof housing ;)

The LED driver is waterproof, at least!

I bought two because I have two switches - but I might only keep one switch in use and use the second driver in my other tank.

connectors, so I can make the necessary rows:

This image shows where the LED's will go in place of the bulbs:

The tank came with an under-gravel filter, but I have set that aside.
I am currently using Aquatop's PFE-3:

It is indeed "Super Quiet." I prefer the shape of my Marina S10 slim HOB, but this filter gets the motor out of the tank. I will need to baffle this filter.

50W heater is from Aquatop as well:

Gold Coast background is being shipped from Designs by Nature, my favorite company ever:

I haven't decided on a substrate, but it will be darker.

Hardscape includes Mopani driftwood and river rocks.

Heavier planting, going for a more natural - but not overgrown - look. I'm trying to leave some open space for schooling fish to show off in.

Is it worth is to add CO2? Would prefer to stay low-tech.

Stocking with glow-light tetras, neon tetras, an albino bristlenose, and Kanoa the copper HM. He is much happier in the community tank than he was on his own :) I currently have two Japanese trapdoor snails, and they are pretty awesome, but I might replace them with some cory catfish.

I currently have one black-finned red platy in the tank as well... he was part of an accidental spawn from half a year back. I had 13 fry, all survived for two months until I put them in a tank with my betta at the time (Matanzas). He ate all but this one surviving platy, now named Piggy. He has two black spots that make it look like he has a pig nose... and he eats everything. EVERYTHING. Slime off of the heater. Slime off the glass. Poop. Food that no one else eats.

He was a little growth-stunted, but now that he's in a bigger tank, is growing rapidly. I don't know if I can keep him in the tank for long with the amount he poops.

I also wish I had just all neon tetras - I prefer them over the glowlights. They're friendlier ;)

I think the pleco is female, but its name is Waldo. A kid I nanny for named him/her.

Any tips as I go in?

Currently boiling the driftwood.

Would anyone be interested in a step-by-step when I do the light mod?

I'm so excited, I love this tank and seeing Kanoa so happy in it!
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Old 07-20-2014, 03:57 PM   #2 
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Location: Iowa

There's also black fluorite, people seem to like that for planted tanks too.

Or you could do NPT with a black sand cap...
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:01 PM   #3 
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I would go with Eco Complete black. Its less messy then flourite, they provide about the same nutrients.
It dosnt desolve and turn to mud like many other plant substrates.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:13 PM   #4 
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Location: Tennessee
You can seal those LEDs with silicone. I bought my waterproofed moonlight strip on eBay but the seller still gives instructions about half-way down.

Aquarium Moon Light Waterproof LED Lighting Strip SMD 5050 300 LEDs 20 ft Blue | eBay
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:30 AM   #5 
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Originally Posted by mpooyan83 View Post
I would go with Eco Complete black. Its less messy then flourite, they provide about the same nutrients.
It dosnt desolve and turn to mud like many other plant substrates.
Thanks for the tip! I will silicone.

I'm thinking of using eco complete since it is heavier.
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:57 PM   #6 
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everything but the connectors and background has arrived :) I was able to get waterproof LED's, yay!

So, it looks like I can fit 135 LED's easy in here. Will that be too much? (a FugeRay of similar width would have 94 LED's)

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Old 07-31-2014, 10:00 PM   #7 
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So far I'm really putzing up the LED's, so I will probably end up purchasing a Finnex Fugeray Planted + to hide under the hood. The 20" probably won't fit, so I need to find out if the 16" will be enough light. Hmn :/

Anyhow, while I'm still fumbling with the lights, I think the background, dirting & driftwood are going well.

Driftwood is all boiled, so hopefully will avoid the excessive amount of tannins that hard wood provides. I don't mind light tannins but my water was getting crazy dark.

Went with Coralife's Ecocomplete. Love it! It seemed heavier than the other similar choices. Rinsed 5 times over and once in the tank, it settled in just a couple hours.

Cut down my background to size, and while it fit, my filter did not reach over it.

Today I spent a couple hours solving this issues. I pulled all the fish out and drained the tank. Cut a square from one side of the foam, siliconed plastic mesh over the hole, and returned the background to the tank. This time, rather than being up against the back of the tank, I pushed it about and inch forward. Now I can hide all of my equipment behind it! It's perfect to hid the filter, heater and air stone. With the sides siliconed and dirted (to hide the shiny silicone) my fish are safe - cannot get stuck behind the background and no one comes in direct contact with the heater. I will also get better water circulation - output it on one side of the tank, and the intake square is on the other, and the water behind the background will not be stagnant.

Now just waiting for the silicone to cure and then I can put my lovelies back in :)

Current stocking:

-7 Neon Tetras
-2 Glowlight Tetras
-1 Bristlenose Pleco
-Piggy the Platy (quarintined for possible illness)
-2 Trapdoors
-1 Java Loach

Aside from Piggy, everyone is doing gorgeously. All of the tetras are growing and sparklier than ever. Kanoa is growing his fins back and is stress-stripe-free. Everyone is active and behaving as desired. All of the schooling fish are in one shoal together - the tetras even let Piggy join them.

I'm probably throwing off my cycle but keeping up with Stability dosing and using absurd amounts of bio filtration media.

Following Aquadvisor, I will be adding more Java Loaches once my filter upgrade arrives - I decided to move a size up because I love good filtration.

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Old 08-13-2014, 07:13 PM   #8 
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Finally some progress :) mashed up pieces of a PF-3 and PF-4 filter, it's performing well.

Gutted the tank hood and put in an LED light (Current Satellite USA Freshwater +)

Kanoa is as happy as ever and fins almost at 100%

Java loaches... lost 1/3 but they still seem happy and twirl around each other in an adorably loachy way.

The accident platy has become my cleanup crew. She is eating everything. Slime off of surfaces. Things I didn't know fish could eat. It's impressive but I wish she would show a little restraint so there wasn't an ever-present ribbon of poo flying behind her.
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Old 08-15-2014, 10:36 PM   #9 
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Just ordered an absurd amount of plants from various sources! Kaffrin here, someone on ebay selling a butt ton of banana plants, and bamaplants. Also grabbed a sword from Petsmart because I'm impulsive and addicted to decorating Kanoa's glass house.

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mmmmn streaky glass.

Still seams off-balance but I'll keep playing with the incoming plants and the hardscape until it's right.
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Old 08-16-2014, 06:28 PM   #10 
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I like your tank! It's very cute and clever putting all the equipment behind the background! I'm glad your tank is coming together so nicely!
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