Aussie's Freshwater 2ft Cube - 'Planted Cave'

aussieJJDude

Member
Unfortunately my current setup, the corner pentagon was broken down. To cut to the chase, a new 2ft cube (cubish, its technically 2-4 inches taller than it is wide/long) is in its place.

This is originally a marine/reef aquarium, so it comes with a sump (sumpthing ;) I'm truly excited to try out!) and an overflow. Due to the overflow only having 2 holes (one for drain, other for return) I decided on making a herbie where both drain, and return will be plumbed over the top. Hopefully it doesn't look too bad!

Since it was missing the plumbing, I got it for a steal ($700) which was hard to say no. Hence why I have the chance to do my own plumbing work.


74c9bad6d62df23d43c1b9f6bbb1a88b.jpg



Here it is as it was just brought inside


8787e7c15085d52db8cb712a16e2151e.jpg



I decided I wanted to try my hand with painting the background black using arcylic paint. 3 coats later, and I'm pretty happy how it turned out, hides the overflow somewhat.


4f0694ec7b0852785a8947e1fcf6fd00.jpg



b2e3251a0e8bf5fa3fa1ac00b3617871.jpg



Here it is once I decided on a scape. I'm using seriyu stone (approx 7-10 kg worth) and goldenvine. Quartz sand is used for the foreground, around 2- 3 inches deep. This is due to the tank having a black trI'm (made of glass...) that's around 3 inches deep, which the back of it is a really ugly grey colour that looks better hidden. If the deep sand becomes an issue, the bulk will be removed.


bb5c7f133891cb533bc88c087a25ae73.jpg



35fc3928ec768684194cad0c0e8720bc.jpg



5afdb127fb6edbcfe18f1b866eb58d74.jpg



With this tank, I wanted to maximize floorspace while ensuring that my loaches (kuhlI loach gang!) has enough areas to hide in. In order to facilitate my loaches, my plan was to build a shelf where I can scape on top, and allow the loaches free reign underneath.

This was contructed using PVC (have a few pipes in there where the fish can hide in further) the seriyu stone 'holes', eggcrate on top of the PVC and then lined with flyscreen. I really want to limit the amount of substrate mixing if I can help it, so also used expanding foam (popular in reef/vivarium setups!) to fill in gaps where soil can fall through and to cement some of the larger wood peices to the rock. The foam was then covered with sand and allowed to cure.

I've never seen anyone else do this for freshwater (for this application of making a cave/level/shelf/seperating substrate combo) so I'll be interested to see how it progresses in time and whether it was successful or a fail.


9de91f3acb4b83940a980abf2859e0ee.jpg



Hopefully it all works out! The ADA amazonia is around 2-4 inches deep, and around half a 9L bag was used. So I think my plants will be very happy with the amount of space for root growth! :)


467512981e42723d6c056b0bedd7b6c7.jpg



To allow fish to access underneath, they have 4 openings. 2 on one side, and 2 on another. I know the kuhlies will love swimming through the openings to the cave underneath, and I also think my cories, apisto and rams will enjoy it as well. Time will tell.
 
  • Thread Starter

aussieJJDude

Member
The cave openings


3a5b8a409e62cc71864f34c77a52eb0c.jpg

2a15ea2b2c1b03da42298eaa8d0489cd.jpg


And circled to show where abouts, if they weren't already obvious as is! ;)

3152aae1591334e0446c88867e018603.jpg



071a734207d92b7b05cac7bea93eb16f.jpg
 

AcuarioAmazonico

Member
Looks amazing
 
  • Thread Starter

aussieJJDude

Member
AcuarioAmazonico said:
Looks amazing
Thank you. Once its all planted, it should hide much of the expanding foam and look a little nicer.

coralbandit , all good now. Many thanks for the heads up!
 

MacZ

Member
Wooow... neat!
 

Thedudeiam94

Member
Can’t wait to see it come together! Looks like it will be fun to scape!!
 
  • Thread Starter

aussieJJDude

Member
MacZ said:
Wooow... neat!
Thanks! :)
Thedudeiam94 said:
Can’t wait to see it come together! Looks like it will be fun to scape!!
Me too, I really look forward to adding the fish and seeing how they react. :) I know that the bottom dwellers will pve of the hidy holes, but I'm interested to see how my angels act in such a tall aquarium.


Scaping is part of the challenge! Other part is plumbing, which is my current issue. :/
 

MomeWrath

Member
It's-a-meeee...devil's advocate again....Will you be able to get in under those caves to remove detritus/old food/possible corpses? Is it like a tunnel where you can just flow some water through to clean it out? Just a question that came to mind when I saw your clever and creative way to create the hardscape.
I too am excited to see the finished product!
 

coralbandit

Member
Very NICE ! :cool:
Can't wait to it stocked and then grown in .
The previous tank was quite an achievement and testimonial to your dedication and skill ..
You will love the sump and it will help you grow and expand even further believe it or not !
Glad to see thread open[did not get a notice though ?]..
 
  • Thread Starter

aussieJJDude

Member
Magicpenny75 said:
It's-a-meeee...devil's advocate again....Will you be able to get in under those caves to remove detritus/old food/possible corpses? Is it like a tunnel where you can just flow some water through to clean it out? Just a question that came to mind when I saw your clever and creative way to create the hardscape.
I too am excited to see the finished product!
Good question. Was kinda waiting for this one. (Thanks ;P)

Technically no, its not accessible for me to get in there. But my cleanup crew (snails, shrimp and plecos) make quick work of most fish that may of died. It morbid yes, but it works for me. So I'm not too worried about that.

As for removing detritus, a small powerhead blowing into thr xave will get rid of the majority, and the fish moving about will help with the rest. As for the remainer, its good beneficial bacteria food, and shrimp enjoy grazing it.


Old food. Not an issue with my kuhlI gang (approx 10 striped, 2 blacks...) I'll be feeding mostly on the sand, and don't offer fine foods where it can sweep to the caves. If I notice foods wafting to the caves, my pump can simply be turned off to account for this.

But if its an issue with others, then yes. The addition of a small pump blowing underneath would be wise (a few small lenghts of piping or elbows would work well!) Ot making it taller, with larger cave openings so its a lot more accessible.

coralbandit said:
Very NICE ! :cool:
Can't wait to it stocked and then grown in .
The previous tank was quite an achievement and testimonial to your dedication and skill ..
You will love the sump and it will help you grow and expand even further believe it or not !
Glad to see thread open[did not get a notice though ?]..
Us both can't wait to see fish. I'm very excited to see my angel gang enjoy the height of the tank.

Thank you for that, the previous tank was a little hard to take down. I practically grew up with the tank, and saw a lot of good and bad experiences with it. One day, I would love tp setup a tank similar dimensions to the old tank, just slightly taller! Its a really fun setup to stock and aquascape as it has a rather large floorspace.


I'm already loving the sump, and I haven't even set it up yet!

Sorry about the lack of notice, dunmo what happed with that. :/
 
  • Thread Starter

aussieJJDude

Member
So, yesterday, its planted! Here it is filling up:


3de728d55db8b8ac1acc194ce8432ed9.jpg


Somewhat, missing a few plants for the aquasoil portion, since I'd like to try my hands on some stem plants. I have mixed auccess with them, and want to try them out more! So have a shipment of those coming in.

Dont mind the floating plant, that's one of the buce since the wood has become buoyant over the last week being out of water. Need to superglue it back down. :mad:

May also notice a mass of green in the top right. That's a peice of wood suctioned cupped to the side (spare piece of wood) where I can increase my epiphtye plant collection.


5048cdc0d417f13dfa606ec85d55f410.jpg


8c7d27fe9e1074ebcf11b8e27160a57c.jpg


f015518e82ed6ca5d2ae192822702021.jpg


Current plant list (very similar if not the same as old plant list):

- Alternanthera reineckiI 'mini'
- anubias barterI var. 'angustifolia' (Anubias lancelota)
- anubias barterI var. 'coffeefolia' (one of fav anubias)
- anubias barterI var. 'nana'
- anubias barterI var. nana "gold"
- anubias barterI var. nana "pangolino"
- anubias barterI var. 'nana petite'
- anubias barterI var. nana "white"
- anubias var. "panda" (marbled)
- anubias var. 'white narrowleaf' *
- bolbitis sp. 'dwarf'
- Bucephlandra sp. 'Dark skeleton king'
- Bucephlandra sp. 'minI nano'
- Bucephlandra sp. 'Unknown' (dunno what it is)
- bucephlandra sp. 'velvet'
- Bucephlandra sp. 'royal blue'
- crepidomanes auriculatum (Asplenium cf. normale)
- crepidomanes sp. 'K1'
- cryptocoryne cf. beckettiI 'petchii' (its unknown)
- Echinodorus cordifolius var. 'Marble Queen'
- Echinodorus parviflourus var. 'tropica'
- Hygrophila pinnatifida
- Microsorum pteropus var. 'micro'
- Microsorum pteropus var. 'mini'
- Microsorum pteropus var. 'windolov'
- Nymphaea lotus zenkerI var. 'Red'


* may of reverted back to wild type, which is believed to be A. glabra

Oddly enough, this is intial plant list... and still left out a tonne of plants from the old scape (these are likely to go into the sump, where I'll be propgating/selling).
 
  • Thread Starter

aussieJJDude

Member
So, the floating driftwood and plants have been fixed.

Also started introducting some fish that handles cooler water since I don't have a backup heater (2 spare inline backup heaters doesn't help!) and no filter.. and all stores are currently closed over the last couple of day. Thankfully its summer, so I'm not too worried about temperatures and at over 200L in volume, I'm not worried about ammonia.

Current (in tank stocklist)

- 2 apistogramma borellI 'yellow face'
- 2 bronze cories


The cories absolutely love the cave, and already checked it out and surfing across the sand kicking up all the dust. Can't wait to set up the filter, and get some floss going to pick up all the particle matter present.

Apistos have been tailslapping eachother (a first) and generally checking it all out, so its pretty comical seeing them patrol the tank.



5ed4ea69a4a31e2426c27e2768899a90.jpg


bf0fc85a9de596c58bbca1e4f54cbe29.jpg


6be08f2ffae0e3148f533d9d181b508e.jpg


2179975cbddbcf51fbd63d3c80c16945.jpg


492f017460fb1702d132603215f1bed4.jpg


b6ee87a525e5c4f4fd9fb5d5731e344d.jpg


3c82eea78268bc6c5314acdbea6642a4.jpg


2a48f9b53f6478effa0f28f7d6581b7c.jpg


72519f796e51e3c16b944b46c6a7e9ac.jpg
 

MomeWrath

Member
Those apistogramma are beautiful! Looks like things are coming along nicely. New FTS please?
 
  • Thread Starter

aussieJJDude

Member
Yeah, they pretty. For some reason, I prefer the honey gold of the female compared to the males blues.



So, all fish were added to the tank yesterday due to their temp home basically chasing nitrates, even with large-scale daily waterchanges. The final kicker was I lost an angel, which I think was bullying (hI'm and the other male would butt heads) and in such confined quarters, I think it just took a toll. All fish weren't happy, and this was sadly the kick in the pants I needed to transition them over.

So, even though the plumbing of current tank isn't done, an el cheapo internal filter filled with all their bio media and a small USB pump with floss tied to the intake has ensured the tank is cycled and gets rid of all the dust in the sand.

So, all stock added:
- 2 Apistogramma borellI 'yellow face'
- 2 Bronze Cories*
- 11 Striped kuhlies (P. kuhlii/semicinta)
- 2 Black kuhlies (P. olonga)
- 7 Angels (2 koi, 1 Marble Pinoy, 1 halfblack veiltail, 1 Leopard, 1 Silver, 1 Zebra)
- 10 Lemon tetras
- 3 rummynose*
- 3 Golden Wonder Panchax
- Trio (1M/2F) KoI swordtails
- 2 Bolivian Rams (both male)*
- 1 Bristlenose Juvi

* they are the last of their 'groups', and will not be replaced for various reasons, mostly due to poor luck with them.






030fb6673d7dace7c2d45f959b3ba2eb.jpg

4897e0c2e8f8af94ae8d9f590fa2a984.jpg

22af6a8f83aefd9bec8572bf16d165d1.jpg


You may of noticed the discus. Yep, a trio was also added. They not amazing quality, but I'm hoping they do well. I know once all the angels/discus grow up (around 4 angels are sub adults..) things may change where I may have to remove. Hopefully not. But for the time being, everyone seema to be settling well.


17c56cca77dfa58ad79ac2c8b21867b8.jpg

b2ccfb029f74acced0b73efde2c79b63.jpg
 

AcuarioAmazonico

Member
I’ll have to get you round To mine to scape/pretty up my tanks.
Looks amazing.
 
  • Thread Starter

aussieJJDude

Member
AcuarioAmazonico said:
I’ll have to get you round To mine to scape/pretty up my tanks.
Looks amazing.
Haha thanks. Give it a couple more weeks before you jump the gun. ;)
 
  • Thread Starter

aussieJJDude

Member
One week in. Already finding the swords are enjoying the aquasoil a lot more than the mix I was using prior (powder nutrient mix with blasting sand)... and the tiger lotus is throwing out leaves no issue. Pretty stocked that my rpoted plants appear to be doing well. My 'favourite plant', the Panda anubias (Anubias 'panda') is beginning to throw a new leaf, which I'm pretty excited. Never did so in the old tank, so must be liking the new setup!

59ebda6ec83551e78b1dfbb2a6473797.jpg



And now, for overall shots. I can see some differences in the plants, and most look a little perkier than a week ago.
Then (FFS - full front shot)

202feac3975a301148bac96d7e35539a.jpg


Now (FFS)

959aac4d5f334cdba53d1558d838db17.jpg




Then (FSS - full side shot)

10bad1c22c3d89f7059d927f344a8643.jpg


Now (FSS)

858632ce3a4ced313571254d299bb418.jpg



KuhlI gang is starting to come out and explore a little more, which is good to see since adding them, only seen them a couple of times. They recently made this:

047a59f4b66f87fecd01cb460bee8f7f.jpg


Which connects to the rest of the cave/shelf. So they must be liking it. :)
 

StarGirl

Member
Your tank is amazing!
 
  • Thread Starter

aussieJJDude

Member
So, new addition has been added. Part of the clean up crew.
A single Stenomelania cf . aspirans (Giant Cone Snail). He was originally in my 25g, but due to the amount of driftwood, its basically devoid of gH/kH. Doesnt help that my pH comes out very acidic from the tap, so my water is very soft and acidic.
He finally appeared cruising around the 25g, so quickly netted him out and plopped in the cube - should be a lot happier in the cube.
Since this has seriyu stone, this should buffer gH/kH abd hopefully keep this snail happy.

Angels checked him out (and then got bored and was after the food)

0ac71af529faa578987c3e9d87d11dad.jpg


Dive! Dive! Dive!


4bcc25b889fb13de3303399ee3277ed9.jpg


90199afee3f2c35743b617e08a778ee1.jpg


7a9fba04adeaccc87d40fd2f81c563e5.jpg


StarGirl15 said:
Your tank is amazing!
Thank you! Quite a bit of time went into it, and all I see is the faults and problems! Haha
 
  • Thread Starter

aussieJJDude

Member
Ok. After a recent holiday I'm back. Green substrate, diatoms galore and what I previously thought was missing fish (turns out it jumped into the weir, and did fine in an inch deep of water for a couple of weeks :/ It was a golden Wonder kili, so not very surprised haha ). Wild.


9d54b702c82e248920ac420439182c2b.jpg


117d98afb4c84b5fd07c2c41c200bbfe.jpg


69f648449c85ca2a9377f6f911619deb.jpg


34345c97cabf70b6c9f569bc54ef0135.jpg


But good planr growth, so was happy with that. Much of fhe anubias has shown good root growth (as well as leaves), 90% of H. pinnatifida died back (but the ones that survived have grown well/strong, so I'm hopeful it will grow back in. I'm still waiting for my stem plant shipment to be shipped - supplier had an issue with stock due to a heatwave :( - so it should look a lot nicer once they get in.

c3eb195dd691c5cea2bce9306175e60d.jpg



As for fish, they're going well. I lost a discus one day, not sure how - and no, not in weir. Just vanished really. I was surprised, he was my most active, outgoing and greedy discus. A little disheartened tbh. Current two still seem to be doing well, and eating. So fingers crossed!

Also recently increased my brown kuhlI gang from 2 to 8. They now all a lot more active, and it was a good decision. All kuhlies are now happy. Funnily enough, all the brown kuhlies tend occupy the 'upper level' while the stripes hang out in the lower level. I noticed a similar tend when I had silvers, striped and browns - everyone had their spaces!

Along with the kuhlies, I got a group of Pinocchio whiptails. Such interesting fish, I really love em as they all hang out on the sandy areas, walk around (like a shark walks with its pectoral fins) or slightly burried.

a5ad67e08328d4b0b6b3a3dcb0941e5a.jpg


7e9ee7398ff2392e378f37eed4c6d501.jpg


So, tank updates. SUMP IS OPERATING! Kinda. I need a light for the fuge, but its working. And even though its a pita, I still love it! Basically water travels into a sock, makes it way into the fuge (very low flow rate in there, so a good nursery for microfauna), through a sponge baffle zone, into the bioball chamber (hoping to get some K1 in there), then through more sponge and then pumped back into the tank - 10% makes it way back into the sump....

1de3a076355ce2c5341318c72b3841cb.jpg


d1485fbd2b34f855cdc1606d0d1e5cf3.jpg


1039ff301468c1d941e4e13b5d2c8f26.jpg
 

AcuarioAmazonico

Member
How do the discus go with three plants? I’ve always wanted some
Discus in with my angels as the water is crystal in that tank (and only that one!) but it’s planted and everyone says they’ll destroy it...
 
  • Thread Starter

aussieJJDude

Member
AcuarioAmazonico said:
How do the discus go with three plants? I’ve always wanted some
Discus in with my angels as the water is crystal in that tank (and only that one!) but it’s planted and everyone says they’ll destroy it...
Discus and plants are fine, I've never heard that. The only thing I hear about discus and plants is some plants don't like warmer water or keeping discus in a well planted tank when juvI so they grow out well.
 

TWiG87

Member
Awesome tank. I love your stocking as well, some beautiful fish!
 
  • Thread Starter

aussieJJDude

Member
TWiG87 said:
Awesome tank. I love your stocking as well, some beautiful fish!
Thank you. I know to some/many its overstocked, but currently its working. In the future, if things get bad - mainly the angels - I'm not opposed to rehoming and keep a favourite/favourites.
 
  • Thread Starter

aussieJJDude

Member
So, not much has happened really. Just plant growth, and plants really showing signs of settling in the main display. I'm planning to do a trI'm in a next couple of days, as I'll be getting a small order of plants which will help fill out the back.


As for the fuge, things have really kicked into gear. I have a large rock of common bolbitis growing in there, along with some Marsilea sp. and crypt parva, some sußwassertang and a couple 'fronds' of fissidens fontanus and xmas moss. (I've lot a lot of my fissidens/xmas to green hair algae that I've been fighting for ages in my 25g).

Been seeded with cherry shrinp, snails and Australian glass shrimp from my 25g. I hope to form a colony, where juvies may end up being washed into the display and become a way to populate the maintank for food... we'll see.

It has also been seeded with 'scuds', daphnia, rotifers.... and noticed some copepods from the introduction of the bolbitis. Which I'm pretty happy about.

Will seed with blackworms again (last time, they were placed in the display... bad decision!)

I'm still tossing up with leaving it barebottom or putting some gravel for bacterial colonies (making it an undergravel filter of sorts)

Algae has developes nicely, which the shrimp/snails enjoy grazing.


1cf128487772a604606f39af85651cf6.jpg



f6f5e608bad8210b428f1465d913c194.jpg
 
Top Bottom