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Planted Nano Pea Puffer Cube

20210527_110358-1.jpg?w=300

For the first time ever, I have a beautiful rimless all-in-one aquarium. Over the weekend, my partner and I picked up a Tideline AIO 11.3G, which is just under 14” cubed. Our eventual goal is to house a single pea puffer (and possibly some amano shrimp as cleanup crew). As a seasoned aquarist, I know this aquarium will take a while to establish before I can add our new tiny friend. In the mean time, I will be keeping a journal about its progress.

Full disclosure, I did pretty much pull this entire post directly from my blog. I use the blog to share information with friends and family and document my journey, but it makes it rather easy when I can format it there and just paste everything over here to spark conversation. Hope you enjoy!

💚ALL PLANTS ARE FROM AQUARIUM CO-OP💚

The Process

Substrate

20210525_163427.jpg?w=1024 Egg crate structure with *Magic Mud™️ 20210525_165143.jpg?w=1024 There are two additional layers of egg crate stacked in the back to create depth without using excess substrate. It also brings the nutrient layer up a bit so it’s easier for the plants in the back to reach.  20210525_171437.jpg?w=1024 As you can see, there’s about 1/2” of space from the edge of the egg crate to the glass, allowing me to keep a clean edged look on this rimless tank. 20210525_171453.jpg?w=1024 In the back, I have a total of 1.5” of nutrient-rich layer. This will help feed the Sagittaria subulata (dwarf sag), Ludwigia repens, and Helanthium tenellum (dwarf chain sword) without having to reach their roots through 4” of sand.

Hardscape

20210525_210716.jpg?w=1024 Initial substrate pour. Sand is Caribsea Super Naturals Torpedo Beach and accent gravel is Spectrastone shallow creek regular 20210525_212249-1.jpg?w=981 Addition of hardscape. I am unsure what kind of wood this is, but it’s very splintery and the glue wasn’t holding very well. Instead, I chose to zip tie it temporarily to ensure it doesn’t disturb anything or shift when I filled the tank. The rocks are a grayish toned dragon stone. All hardscape and sand was acquired from Dallas North Aquarium, which is an excellent store and I do highly recommend them. 20210525_212302.jpg?w=1024 Top-down view. As you can see, I chose a budget light, the Lominie Asta 20. I will write a full review once I have tested the light for a decent period of time, but so far I really like it. 

Planting

20210526_214546-1.jpg?w=1024 Addition of Sagittaria subulata – contained in the back corner behind the hard scape. My hope is that the hardscape will keep it from taking over the tank. This stuff grows fast and I really don’t want to be yanking up runners every week. 20210526_215309-1.jpg?w=1024 Cryptocoryne wendtii sp. pink flamingo in the front (I am so ridiculously excited about this plant, it’s so pretty!) and Ludwigia repens just behind. 20210526_220558-1.jpg?w=1024 Althernanthera reineckii and Helanthium tenellum added, and some baby java ferns tucked into the holes in the rocks. 20210526_222642-1.jpg?w=991 We added some Anubias nana petite, some Bucephalandra sp. Green wavy, and shoved some moss (Christmas moss? Unknown sp) into the splintery bits of the driftwood. The zip tie is a bit unsightly, but I would much rather have an unsightly zip tie for a month than have my hard work ruined by a stubborn piece of wood. I squeezed an established sponge filter over the tank, filled it, and started up the filter! 20210527_110358.jpg?w=1024 After about 10 hours, the water is tannic, but no longer super hazy. The filter pump is a little too aggressive for my liking, so I have one on order that’s a much slower 80gph instead of 150gph. A single pea puffer isn’t going to need that much crazy filtration, and quite honestly the poor thing would probably get blown around by the flow. I’ll reserve the pump that came with the tank for another project.

Final thoughts

This scape turned out pretty great, and I’m really enjoying staring at it, even without livestock. I uploaded a YouTube short of the “sparkle” that happens in this aquarium that photos just can’t accurately capture. You can find that video here if you’re curious. 

*Magic Mud™️ is a product of my own design that I am still working on perfecting. Its main components are organic worm castings and natural red clay. The egg crate is simply there to keep everything in place and to avoid having the soil slide down to the edges of the aquarium, giving it a nice clean look all the way around without sacrificing a nutrient-dense base layer.

Want to see more? Follow me @Nirvanaquatics on Instagram and Facebook!

Edited by Nirvanaquatics
Forgot to include my co-op plug 😅
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2 minutes ago, Patrick_G said:

It looks really nice! Those Lominie lights are intriguing. I have a 14” cube and I’ve been wondering if it would work. 

So far I'm really impressed with this little light. It's nothing fancy, but it looks great and feels really well built. At full power it does get pretty hot, but not enough to burn you. The LED diode is honestly huge, I'm surprised it doesn't get hotter. I will definitely keep people posted on how my plants do and how much algae I end up with 😅 

I really wanted a Fluval aquasky 2.0, but the shortest one is 15" and I was kinda bummed about it until I turned on the Lominie and saw how good it looked. We shall see what the plants say in due time! 

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15 minutes ago, Patrick_G said:

I’m using the Fluval 3.0 Nano and I’m happy with it but I’d love to play with a spotlight. 

It actually comes with a second lens, too, if you want to change the light cone. It's like $45 on amazon, so def worth a shot for how well designed it seems to be. I was mostly salty at Fluval for not making a 12" version like everyone else 😂

[Fluval if you're listening, make the aquasky in a nano.]

A girl can dream, right? 

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  • 2 weeks later...
6 minutes ago, Nirvanaquatics said:

Haha yeah I removed it a few days ago, and thank you 😊 I still feel like it needs more detail stone, but I'll need to make another trip to the lfs for that. 

I’ll admit I used the zip tie idea in my 3g soon after seeing your scape. Luckily I had a black one and some Java moss to cover it. It’s pretty much permanent now.

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5 minutes ago, H.K.Luterman said:

Looks great! I too have utilized zipties to keep wood in place. 😄 

My worst fear is setting up a hardscape, planting it, and then going to fill it and having the wood float up and ruin it. I used a nutrient dense base under that sand cap, so I really didn't want anything moving lol. I can deal with an ugly zip tie for a week if it means the rest of my scape stays intact! 

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Just now, Nirvanaquatics said:

My worst fear is setting up a hardscape, planting it, and then going to fill it and having the wood float up and ruin it. I used a nutrient dense base under that sand cap, so I really didn't want anything moving lol. I can deal with an ugly zip tie for a week if it means the rest of my scape stays intact! 

Yeah, I totally get it. I'm the same way. 

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Just now, Patrick_G said:

I’ll admit I used the zip tie idea in my 3g soon after seeing your scape. Luckily I had a black one and some Java moss to cover it. It’s pretty much permanent now.

Well that's flattering 😊 do you have photos of your 3g? I don't think I've seen it posted yet but I've been busy and may have missed it. 

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On 6/10/2021 at 11:22 AM, Patrick_G said:

It’s a great size to grow out trimmings from my 75g. 1DAEC1A6-4629-4F82-8AF4-66F6D89C1E58.jpeg.781d637b45161f7f5ff55b34c443985a.jpeg361BBE1D-3E64-4A1A-8007-77DD4766AE41.jpeg.8a2cb3d71b170930921611d3a777b408.jpegI have another tank this size that’s going to be some sort of Wabi Kusa scape. 

This looks fantastic! I definitely wouldn't be able to tell there's a zip tie in there. I love the little moss ball, and are those air plants in the first photo? 

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On 6/11/2021 at 4:34 PM, Griznatch said:

Coming along quite nicely! I like the clean lines of those nano tanks but I think I've maxed out my tank count with this last rescape and subsequent increase in tens gallon tanks as a result 🙂
 

 

I really like the all in one cubes, it gives you a nice spot to hide any heaters and co2 if you so desire. 

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