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Creedmoor Aquatics 60 Gal Office Cube Tank

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Hey everyone! I have recently started a new tank at the office and wanted to document the process and hopefully receive feedback along the way!


I have set up this tank in my office where I commute to 3 days a week to my (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays).
My goals for the the tank are to look great, be inviting to coworkers and office visitors, and to require maintenance only 1-2 days a week while being self-sustaining the 4 days out of the week I am not in the office. 

I am initially concentrating on growing a colony of Neocaridina with future plans to add friendly fish after the shrimp colony is large/robust enough to continue under light predation. 

Current Livestock
Neocaridina Davidii 'Bloody Mary'
Vitta Zebra 'Zebra Nerite' snails

Current Plants
Alternanthera Reineckii
Diplidis Diandra
Cryptocoryne Lucens
Cryptocoryne Tropica
Cryptocoryne Lutea
Pogostemmon Stellatus
Echinodorus sp. 'Red Flame Sword'
Helanthium Tenellum 'Dwarf Chain Sword'
Bacopa Monierri 'Compact'
Ludwigia Arcuata

Tank & Current Equipment
Tank: Aqueon 60 Gallon Rimless Cube
Filter: Aquarium Co-Op Large Filter Sponge
Air Pump: Aquarium Co-Op USB Nano Air Pump
CO2: 5 lb CO2 tank with CGA320 Value (Luxfer Brand on Amazon)
CO2 Regulator: Aquarium Co-Op CO2 Regulator
CO2 Diffuser: Aquario Neo CO2 Diffuser
Lights: 2x 24" Aquarium Co-Op Easy Plant LED Lights (100%)
UV Sterilizer: AquaShine JUP-23 13W UV Sterilizer

Current Substrate
1 lb Crushed Coral
5 lb AquaNatural Bio-Substrate
40 lb AquaNatural Diamond Black Inert Substrate
100 Aquarium Co-Op Root Tabs, 2" x 2" spacing

Edited by Creedmoor Aquatics
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Earlier this year I received permission to add an aquarium to my office, and pretty much immediately began searching for a used tank. I wanted something a little different from a typical 55 gallon, and was thinking more along the lines of a 90 gallon corner tank. However I one day in early June I stopped by the local PetCo to kill some time and found they had all Aqueon tanks for 50% Off, including the rimless cube tanks!

While not exactly cheap, the 60 gallon cube looked great and would fit well into the space I had available so I decided to pull the trigger.


From that point I was in something of a rush to have the tank setup. I would later regret rushing, as I made several mistakes along the way, but I was very driven to have the tank looking 'presentable' as quickly as possible so as not to be a nuisance in the office or risk being told it needed to go. 

I quickly ordered filters, lights, plants, and other items from the Aquarium Co-Op, and some additional stem plants from AquaBid. The plan was to get the plants growing and the water parameters stabilized quickly so I could transition to introducing shrimp. Two big mistakes set me back.

First mistake: I forgot to add dechlorinator! What a boneheaded move! My house runs 100% on rainwater collected in large cisterns so using dechlorinator has never been part of my routine. About half the initial plants died as a result, which greatly contributed to issues with algae, mulm, etc. I would have gravel vac'd a lot harder to counteract those issues if not for...

Second mistake: I used too many root tabs, and the gravel layer was not quite deep enough. I think the recommendation was to plant them 4" x 4", which I meant to do, but ultimately I had around 100 root tabs in an obvious 2" x 2" grid pattern. Also, the gravel layer being a little thin, the tabs started poking out a few days after adding water.

I now had a bunch of dying or dead plants, and any attempt to aggressively pull them out or gravel vac started sending burst root tab gunk all over the top of the substrate. Not ideal!!

I was regularly plagued with greenwater which required very large water changes, which I felt weren't great for the plants. Eventually I added a UV sterilizer which in a few days cleared up the greenwater issue. This was an improvement, but I began seeing increased algae growth on the plants and glass. The glass in particular was growing a very thick mat of algae.

On the plus side, water parameters were stabilized and I wasn't having to do large water changes weekly. In early August I ordered 18 Bloody Mary shrimp from Aqua Huna. They weren't too expensive, and when they arrived were also close to full grown. Was that enough shrimp to get started? Probably not. Should I have ordered more? Probably yes.

While I had every expectation that I would start off small, and then breed to a larger colony I had two issues, namely that the shrimp were rarely visible, and the tank was still full of algae. Coworkers would stop in to take a look, and leave disappointed there were no fish, no visible shrimp, and the tank looked dingy. Ready to keep on waiting for the shrimp to grow and breed, I did feel I needed to tackle the algae once and for all. 

At that point I felt like snails were my only hope. I didn't really want snails, but in terms of algae munching efficiency can they really be beat? Not wanting the snails to breed I opted to get 12 Zebra Nerite Snails, which in about a day and a half had demolished the algae on the glass. 


Edited by Creedmoor Aquatics
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When I bought my CO2 tank my plan was to fill it myself rather than going somewhere like Airgas. I thought it would be a bit cheaper that way, and definitely more convenient. We receive a regular weekly delivery of dry ice, and any remaining dry ice melts away on the weekend, so scrounging a few pounds is no problem at all. 

If you're considering doing this err on the side of caution, but with some planning it is relatively simple to do. 

I had bought my CO2 tank off of Amazon and thought it'd be quick and easy to take the valve off, but it most definitely was not! 

I first opened the valve all the way to ensure the gasses inside had completely vented, and then attempted to twist the entire valve off the bottle. No matter how hard I twisted, it would not come off. I even tried having a buddy hold the bottle while I twisted the valve, but we still could not get it off. I had almost convinced myself the valve was reverse threaded, but everything I read online told me it was not. 

Eventually what worked for me was using a large set of vicegrips to hold the valve and a rubber strap wrench to hold the bottle, and then twist the both of them in opposite directions. Even still it took quite a lot of strain before the valve loosened up. Once I got the first 1/32 turn it quickly freed up and then came off relatively easy. 
I did add a small black line with a Sharpie before twisting the valve off, drawing across the brass and aluminum. This allows me to index the valve back to 'fully tight' when reinstalled. 

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With the valve off I could now use a funnel to feed small pellets of dry ice into the bottle. The bottle is rated for 5 lbs of CO2 so I started with just 4.5 lbs of dry ice to leave myself a wide safety factor. In the process of adding the CO2 to the bottle some of it sublimated away, so ultimately there was less than 4.5 lbs in the bottle. Adding less than the rated amount ensures the bottle will not be overpressurized.

Once I was done adding the dry ice I re-installed the valve and turned it tightly, aligning the black lines I'd previously drawn to the 'fully tight' index. I then closed the valve and left the bottle to sit for 24 hours and warm up to room temperature. The bottle initially frosted over completely as the dry ice cooled the surface to below freezing, but after an hour or so the ice began to melt, and by the next day the bottle was charged to >800 psi. 

At this point the bottle could be used as per normal!


Edited by Creedmoor Aquatics
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