My 15g Box Room Build

bigemrg
  • #1
Let me start off by saying that this isn't a new build as such, just a repurposing of my QT tank.

For those who are interested, the following link describes the story so far...
My 15 gallon Quarantine Tank Build

The tank is all glass and has dimensions of 24x12x13 inches, holding about 15 gallons / 60 litres of water.

It's filtered using an air driven sponge filter, has a 50W heater and a cheap low powered LED lamp.

The decor is largely artificial plants although I tend to store new live plants in the tank until I'm ready to plant them in a display tank. There is also a thin layer of gravel on the base of the tank.

Current tank residents are a small group of Sparkling Gourami, a lone Ember Tetra, who missed the trip when I moved the rest of his group to a different tank, and a couple of Assassin Snails to deal with any pest snails that hitchhike in on the live plants.

Here's one of the current occupants...

af68149f22707adbe42858078e3c37f2.jpg

So, what are my plans? Well, I'll be ditching the artificial plants, increasing the depth of the gravel, planting up with live plants, which also means I'll have to improve the lighting significantly.

I then wouldn't mind increasing the number of Sparkling Gourami, and getting some bottom dwellers, maybe some Pygmy Cory's or Loaches? Oh, and Shrimp, gotta get some Shrimp in there!

Watch this space, as they say, for updates...
 
Coradee
  • #2
Sounds like an interesting project, don’t forget the pics as it progresses
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Sounds like an interesting project, don’t forget the pics as it progresses
Thanks! It's probably going to take me a while to get everything ready before I begin the changes, but I'll certainly be posting pics along the way!

Could I ask, what Cory's you'd recommend? The base dimensions of the tank are 24x12 inches and I keep the temp at 25C.
 
Coradee
  • #4
I’d suggest C.habrosus if you want a really small cory or C.trilineatus, usually sold as JuliI or false Julii, or pandas, both on the smaller side of the normal size corys.
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I’d suggest C.habrosus if you want a really small cory or C.trilineatus, usually sold as JuliI or false Julii, or pandas, both on the smaller side of the normal size corys.
Brilliant thanks! I've got a small group of Pandas in another tank, and have kept JuliI before, but I like the look of habrosus so will see if they're available locally.
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Okay, so I thought I'd post a picture of what the tank looks like at the moment and share some plans on how I hope to change things up.

So, this is what I'm working with...

814ae48106016aa20362cbb7760a2a2f.jpg

As they say, everything must go! Well, almost.

I want to change the substrate from black gravel to natural coloured sand.

I plan on removing the artificial plants, Marimo Moss balls and the potted Crypts - which are only in there temporarily anyway.

I will keep the Guppy Grass and add an Aponogeton bulb as my centrepiece plant, some sort of carpeting foreground plant, Echinodorus in the back, and I'd like to try some leaf litter - maybe Oak leaves?

I have some Dragon stone and lots of pieces of wood that could also make it into the aquascape.

I'll keep the current sponge filter and 50W heater, but will upgrade the lighting to something significantly better!

Stocking will be Sparkling Gourami - there are currently five - a group of half a dozen Corydoras habrosus and some Red Cherry Shrimp.

I think that's everything for now. Just need to work out how I'm going to get the gravel out and the sand in, then everything else should be easy!
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Haven't managed to work out how I'm going to replace the gravel with sand yet, without having to take down the whole tank - any and all ideas welcome..

However, I thought I'd share an and fishy story.

Here are three of my Sparkling Gourami group all posing nicely in the same photo...

2a91bec0b9fe27a1292a7a3a77050c10.jpg

Now, while I was in the process of grabbing some pictures I kept hearing a creaking sound.

I couldn't work out where it was coming from.

Was it the stand? The seams of the glass? The floorboards?

Err, no! It was one or more of the fish! I'd completely forgotten that Sparkling Gourami are also known as Croaking Gourami!

What a fantastic sound they make!
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Okay, so another month has passed and not a lot has changed with this tank.

However, today I picked up an 8kg bag of White Quartz Sand, which should be enough to get a decent depth in this tank.

d1e8f089a43fbe6edf5371b504c01400.jpg

I've also got a plan to add it to the tank without removing the fish!

I've already relocated the plants to another tank temporarily, and every water change I've been removing a couple of jugs full of the existing gravel.

All of the gravel should have been removed after another couple of weeks.

So, on the day I do the change, I'll remove the remaining decor, lower the water level to about a third, and add the sand wet from an upturned bottle to reduce the risk of over clouding the water.

Just got to make sure the sand is completely clean before I begin. I see a lot of rinsing in my future!
 
Small Tanks
  • #9
I would recommend you put your fish in a bucket with an airstone while you do the sand.

1. it's going to make the whole tank REALLY messy for a few hours and
2. You having your hand in there and doing so much may stress them

Easier to move them, do your work and then move them again.

Also I <3 sparkling gourami.
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
I would recommend you put your fish in a bucket with an airstone while you do the sand.

1. it's going to make the whole tank REALLY messy for a few hours and
2. You having your hand in there and doing so much may stress them

Easier to move them, do your work and then move them again.

Also I <3 sparkling gourami.

Yeah, removing the fish is probably what I'll end up doing. It'll probably take me longer to catch them than to change over the substrate though!

The little Sparklers are great aren't they?
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Okay, so tank is now looking a bit sparse...

7cfb9c5d8424e6f0448120d44ed10e61.jpg

As mentioned in an earlier post, most of the plants have been removed, with only a bit of floating Guppy Grass remaining.

All other decor has been taken out, and only a thin layer of gravel is left.

I think I'll remove the fish before I remove the remaining gravel and add the sand.

The good news is that the sand has been washed, and then washed several times more, so it's ready to go in.

Hopefully this will happen before next weekend!
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Okay, so the difficult bit is done!

The remaining gravel was removed...

137b6adaf770731dfe073d4f5c2895cc.jpg

Then the whole base was vacuumed and I couldn't believe how much detritus was beneath the gravel...

1d8e919b00748a2f3221457a1c999feb.jpg

Then the sand was washed one more time and placed in the tank while still wet. This picture was taken about five minutes after adding the sand and I was surprised at how little the process clouded the water...

6da695f58500d24e6fd8878966c9bf1c.jpg

Finally the tank was refilled...

00ba81d4999527e4fd376fb0228bd634.jpg

Next to do will be the plants, but that's for another day!
 
barandemir09
  • #13
You should add some root tabs for the plants
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
You should add some root tabs for the plants

Yeah, I'll probably add some if I go with Amazon Swords, but if I stick with Crypts they probably won't benefit that much from them. I'd like to try Vals again as I've never had any luck at growing it, but I really need to upgrade my lighting before I try and grow anything more exotic!
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Okay, so I ordered some plants and they arrived today.

I went with Monte Carlo Grass for the front of the tank...

9d8887760d3cdd6da652ec6a29f86919.jpg

A selection of Cryptocorynes for the mid and background...

626343bdd0b2a1391e4138cdb273f537.jpg

Some Vallisneria, which I've never been able to grow, but thought I'd give it another try...

1552840ab1ce91b6123f24c254e8a10a.jpg

An Anubias nana 'Golden' for a centrepiece plant...

bc25e2aad544382830ebbb1c310a45c5.jpg

And I also got a Crinum, but I think it'll be too big for the tank already, so it will probably find a home in my 40g.

I've also got a Fluval Nano Plant LED light on order, and will begin planting when it arrives.
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Okay, so my new Fluval Nano Plant LED light turned up and first impressions are that it is very good.

I couldn't resist fitting it to the tank, and playing around with the settings in the iPhone app...

f4261e16cc8a9e9c976c207e9b35d907.jpg

It's much brighter than the cheap LED lamp I was using previously, and much more controllable, with settings for sunrise, daytime, sunset and moonlight!
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
Okay, so I still haven't managed to get the plants into the tank yet, but a little progress has been made.

With the aquarium being quite bare, the fish were acting a little skittish every time I approached the tank. So I decided to give them a few more hiding places. Here's what the tank looks like at the moment...

935d096eb54ccb6db269cb94c48ad130.jpg

As you can see, I've got a bit of a dragon stone semicircle going on, with a couple of pieces of driftwood behind.

I think it'll look quite good when I eventually get the plants installed.
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
Okay, just thought I'd post a shot of one of my little Sparklers looking rather handsome since giving them a few more hiding places to make them feel more secure...

2f3719c2d0e6ed3a60e9db2a297156a0.jpg

They're going to look even better when I eventually get the plants into the tank!
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
Okay, so I finally got around to adding the plants to the tank...

a51de7a87a5bd38a63b3a2029e9d0e63.jpg

There's Monte Carlo Grass at the front, with short growing Crypts interspersed. Then larger Crypts going from middle to back.

There's also some Vallisneria in the back right but I think I'll have to get more as you can hardly see it.

There's also an Anubias nana 'Golden' attached to one of the pieces of dragon stone that I really like the look of.

Planting looks a bit sparse at the moment but I've got my fingers crossed that everything will grow in nicely.

Next up, a small group of Corydoras to help keep the sand turned over and a couple of snails to combat the algae!
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
Okay, so I've had good and bad news with this tank since my last update.

The good news is that most of the plants are growing well...

2cf222e3a29517d486954ce8583dce30.jpg

The Cryptocorynes are taking hold, the Monte Carlo Grass is holding its own, the Anubias is growing larger, and even the Vallisneria is still alive!

I only added a small amount of Guppy Grass a few days ago and it's growing like there's no tomorrow.

I also added a small colony of Red Cherry Shrimp, and they're growing up fast too. They're even moulting...

56a27ff2a0a4e9292bd5125c61860afb.jpg

The bad news is that I lost two of my Sparkling Gourami, both to what looked like Dropsy, and both within a couple of days of each other.

I suspect that they became stressed from the fluctuating tank temperature and the upheaval caused by the substrate change.

Thankfully my remaining SG's are looking fit and healthy, but I'll obviously keep an eye on them.

I'm still trying to source some Salt n Pepper Cory's, and have also decided I'd like a small school of Celestial Pearl Danios if I can find them locally...
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
Okay, so I haven't updated this thread in quite a few months and there have been a few ups and downs to report.

My two remaining Sparkling Gourami eventually succumbed to the same disease as the first two, which was heartbreaking to watch.

However, the Red Cherry Shrimp colony has exploded! They're absolutely everywhere!

As can be seen from the picture below, the Guppy Grass has gone ballistic and is getting out of hand...

9a1d11031f113b6f13a1492188d74850.jpg

However, this may be good news for the Celestial Pearl Danios I plan on adding when I can source some. I hear they become more confident when they have plenty of hiding places.

Other than that, I'm still on the lookout for some Salt and Pepper Cory's, but may end up with Pandas as they crop up quite often here locally.
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
Hurrah!

After visiting many LFS many times over the last few months I've eventually tracked down some Salt and Pepper Cory's!

Here they are acclimatising in the tank...

202a36d2e322560258b8e0786b8b36d4.jpg

I bought half a dozen to start with and hopefully they'll still have some left when I go back in a couple of weeks time.

I think I'll have to get the Celestial Pearl Danios online as they still appear to be a rarity around here!
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
Interestingly, since I introduced the Salt and Pepper Cory's earlier tiday, my ever growing colony of Red Cherry Shrimp must feel threatened, as they're congregating in little groups like this...

dda104ee1bf85dd9e1506b07bab54856.jpg


21f7541d14b5c7ebb4d932beef0ae572.jpg

Of course, the RCS have nothing to worry about, but it's interesting behaviour nonetheless!
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #24
Okay, I'm definitely going to have to do something about the rampaging Guppy Grass in this tank.

Just look at it...

5eaa87ed0b54f1bfea8180b47f31f35f.jpg

On the plus side my Nitrates are less than 5ppm in this tank - the lowest I've ever had in any of my tanks!

Unfortunately my Crypts and Anubias are starting to die off though as they're not getting enough light.

I don't really want to throw it out but it's not really suitable for any of my other tanks as they have too much water flow in them.

Maybe I need to set up another tank?
 
Kelso k9
  • #25
I love reading these stories...the more natural the better..and that guppy grass looks like something almost anyone could grow. In a yard maybe it would be called low maintenance landscape
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
I love reading these stories...the more natural the better..and that guppy grass looks like something almost anyone could grow. In a yard maybe it would be called low maintenance landscape
Thanks! I think you're right about the Guppy Grass, although I've actually had problems growing it in one of my other tanks where I tried getting it to root in the substrate.
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #27
Okay, so I've removed the vast majority of the Guppy Grass and can now see into the aquarium again...

f6f5228c48d4f24043056146dcb8dc24.jpg

I was pleasantly surprised that my Crypts were still alive and were getting bigger. I didn't think they'd be getting any light.

I've lost a few of the leaves from the Anubias, but it's still healthier than I thought it would be.

I knew there were lots of Red Cherry Shrimp in the tank but not quite as many as there are. They're everywhere you look! Hundreds of the things of all ages and sizes.

It's also the first time I've seen all six of the Salt and Pepper Cory's since they went into the tank a few weeks ago.

So, all is good with this tank again, and I'm now on the look out for more Corydoras hasbrosis and some Celestial Pearl Danios.
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #28
Okay so after I rescaped my 30 gallon bedroom tank I was left with quite a few Crypts going spare.

I decided to plant them up in this tank along with an Echinodorus barthiI and some Bacopa caroliniana.

I also added about half a dozen root tabs to help them along.

So here's what the tank looks like at the moment...

360e0f612ade94f02d25b9d05bb0fb11.jpg

I'm still removing bits of Guppy Grass from this tank. It seems to get everywhere!

Other than that I'm very pleased with this tank's progress.
 
PheonixKingZ
  • #29
I think it looks good I just don't see what you need help with.
 
bigemrg
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
I think it looks good I just don't see what you need help with.
Thanks! I don't need help with anything! This is a journal of one of my aquariums where I note changes I've made to the tank.
 

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