12G Long Iwagumi Build - A Reefers First Planted Attempt
My Journey From Reef to Planted...
I'm new to the Barr Report and to Planted tanks. In just a few days I've learned a tremendous amount (although I've got a long way to go on dosing.) I'd like to say Thank You for all the help as I work my way through the learning curve and apologize in advance for all the questions I'll undoubtedly have.
For the better part of the past twenty years, I've kept reef tanks, mostly SPS. As did many, I got my start in aquaria with freshwater tanks. In my case it was 55 gallon tanks with Oscars and Jack Dempsys in my bedroom some 40 years ago. While I was certainly aware of planted tanks, I never really paid much attention, that is until a couple of weeks ago when I stumbled across Takashi Amano's builds at the Sumido Aquarium in Tokyo. These were different. While I knew they were an incredible and complex undertaking, they instilled a calmness and serenity that I found irresistible. I truly love my reef tanks, but I HAD to try this.
I have a few Mr. Aqua 12 longs and stands on hand that I had purchased for other reef builds that I imagined would provide nice proportions for an Iwagumi -Here's a compendium of the progress so far,
- Tank - Mr. Aqua 12 Long (36" X 8" X 9")
- Stand - Mr. Aqua Elm stand stained ebony (just a hint of grain) and finished with Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane - Satin. All equipment will be hidden in the stand with only the clear drain, return, top off and CO2 lines visible.
- Lights - 23W TrueLumen Pro 8,000K, R2 LED Moonlights
- CO2 - Aquarium Plants Carbon Doser, ADA Pollen Glass Type 3
- Filtration - Eheim 2215 with Lily Pipe Outflow P-2 13mm and Lily Pipe Inflow MINI V-1 13mm, Cabochon Ruby check valve
- ATO - YTBD (I travel a lot so an ATO is needed)
- Substrate - Power Sand>Aqua Soil- NEW Amazonia Regular>Aqua Soil- NEW Amazonia - Powder
- Hardscape - Ryuo stones
- Flora - YTBD
- Fauna - YTBD
- Heater - Hydor ETH200 200W Inline (much larger than needed, but the smallest inline I could find.)
- Controller - Apex Aquacontroller managing two reef tanks in the room where this build will reside will provide temp probe (heater failsafe), pH probe (CO2 failsafe) and perhaps ORP if I can deduce some usage in freshwater IF I can figure out a way to hide them without having a sump. It will also manage lighting sunrise/sunset and Lunar cycles (probably functioning just as a nightlight as it doesn't seem lunar cycles are of much value in FW.)
- Test Kit - API
- Water - Well water, RO and 0TDS RO/DI available
Due to my lack of planted experience, I decided to largely use ADA recommended equipment, supplies and dosing regimes understanding that while it surely could be done less expensively - it might help me avoid "newby" mistakes, although I'm learning there may be far better ways to handle the Ferts...
101-507 Clear Parts Set 1
104-041 Aqua Soil- NEW Amazonia (9 liters)- Powder Type 2
104-012 Power Sand SPECIAL-M 6 liter 1
104-111 Bacter 100 1
105-021 Clear Super 1
104-113 Tourmaline BC 1
150-005 Penac P 200g (For Plants) 1
150-003 Penac W 200g (Aquarium) 1
102-1014 Pollen Glass Type 3 1
103-001 Green Brighty STEP 1 500ml 1
103-021 Brighty K 500ml 1
103-101 Green Bacter 50ml 1
103-104 ECA 50ml 1
103-103 Phyton-Git 50ml 1
103-102 Green Gain 50ml 1
106-002 Pincettes M 1
RyStone Ryuo Stone 30 (I won't need anywhere near 30lbs, but it will provide for more options in stone selection)
104-043 Aqua Soil- Africana (9 liters)- Powder Type 1
105-300 Clear Hose (3m) 13mm 1
102-512 Cabochon Ruby 1 (I've got lots of check valves, but this one is beautiful )
102-412 Lily Pipe Outflow P-2 13mm 1
102-433 Lily Pipe Inflow MINI V-1 13mm 1
102-701 Joint Glass 11mm 1
103-302 Drop Checker 1
102-011 NA Thermometer J-05CL (5mm) "Fahrenheit Ver." 1
Here are a couple shots of the Mr. Aqua Stand (not my photos)
While I like the minimalist style, the fit and finish are lacking. The stand requires a lot of filling and sanding prior to finishing to come anywhere near furniture grade. There are many finger joints visible hence my use of ebony stain....
The Mr. Aqua stand required so much finish work, I would have been far better off building one from scratch (not to mention the missing hardware.)
I only had a few moments, but I put the tank on the stand, grabbed a few quick photos and PAR measurements. I'm very pleased with the results. My guess at PAR was pretty close. If needed (largely depending on the aquascape) I can dim these to lower the PAR output. The quality of the light is better than I had expected.
I used an Apogee MQ-200...
These PAR measurements were taken in "open air". Based on my experience, they will differ little when measured with water in the tank. The fact that these lights use surface mounted emitters without any optics might provide different results through water - I'll remeasure once the tank is wet.
I Moved the the stand to the garage for a few days to allow it to "outgas" The fumes from the oil-based stain and Helmsman were still a bit much.
I don't like the way the black power cords are so noticeable on the TrueLumen Pro - especially since the fixture itself mostly disappears. I'm painting the the docking brackets white and ordered some vinyl stain to make all the exposed parts of the cords (above the black stand) white and hopefully less noticeable.
Decided on frosted glass (cling film) for the back of the tank
I've been thinking through the aquascaping (I guess it's "hardscape" in planted speak ) I might vary a bit from my interpretation of a traditional Iwagumi design. I really love many of the the Manzanita/Moss trees that I've seen created and would like to try one. I;d like to try and emulate a cliff-side, wind-swept Cypress. I still have to research the best mosses/plants to use in the creation of the tree.
I also stumbled across some petrified wood tailings that I think might have a couple interesting uses. I'm hoping my DFS-100 (diamond blade band saw used in Fragging corals) will make quick work of these allowing me to create custom sizes/shapes....
At some point I have to start thinking about a planting plan. Likely HC for most of the foreground. I want to maintain some negative space, so, from what I have learned thus far, the challenge will be balancing enough plant mass to avoid algae against - the minimalist design I have in my minds-eye. I'm also trying to come up with a balance between my water options (horrible, tannin-laced well water and 0 TDS RO/DI) with a livestock plan and how I might be able to include a couple shrimp species.
One other observation for anyone considering the the Mr Aqua stand - It has a very small interior with only ~7" usable depth. It will take some finagling just to get the 2215 and it's water lines in there. A few shots of the completed stand. The finish has a "tortured" look to it - Just image the resulting offspring if a black-lacquer baby grand piano mating with a wooden shipping pallet...
Yup, that pretty much describes it
The shelf has to be removed in order for the 2215 and 5# CO2 bottle to fit. While this is not a type of finish I would have normally chosen, somehow it seems appropriate for a Wabi-Sabi style cabinet. The shelf has to be removed in order for the 2215 and 5# CO2 bottle to fit. While this is not a type of finish I would have normally chosen, somehow it seems appropriate for a Wabi-Sabi style cabinet. The only somewhat disappointing part is that many hours or work went into creating this and it ends up looking like it was made from a left-over shipping crate
Thanks again for tagging along
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. - George Bernard Shaw