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February '04

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February '04 - Willian Marques's 170 L Built-In Planted Tank. (Brazil)

Who doesn't dream of someday being able to have a "living portrait" on their wall? Built-in tanks are so desirable that we often end up sacrificing too much practicity and general recommendations of what a well set-up tank should be just to have one like that, and in the end we risk having many headaches and disappointments. So this month let's learn a little with this beautiful setup about the proper way of doing it!

Owner:Willian Marques, 27, from Patos de Minas (Brazil), 21 years of fishkeeping
Setup:January 2003
Dimensions:121x33x43 cm
Volume: 170 L (nominal)
Filtration:Fluval 204 with sponge, wool and ceramic media
Lighting:5x32 W daylight fluorescent 6500 K controlled by a timer, photo-period 12:00 to 22:00
Heating:Visiterm 150 W.
Substrate:6 cm layer of swimming pool filter sand, 500 g concentrated laterite, 1 box Tetra Initial Sticks
Others:NY CO2 Cylinder and regulator, Azoo diffusor
Fauna:20 Cardinal Tetras (Paracheirodon axelrodi), 5 Rummy-Noses (Hemigrammus rhodostomus), 2 Clown Loaches (Botia macracanthus), 5 Oto's (Otocinclus affinis), 1 Red-Tail Black Shark (Epalzeorhynchus bicolor), 1 Flying Fox (Epalzeorhynchus kalopterus), 1 Siamese Algae Eater (Crossocheilus siamensis)
Flora:Echinodorus tenellus, Sagittaria subulata, Java Moss, Hemianthus micranthemoides, Micranthemum umbrosum, Alternanthera reineckii, Hygrophila corymbosa, Didiplis diandra, Heteranthera zosterifolia, Rotala macrandra, Rotala rotundifolia, Nymphaea gardneriana
Maintenance:20% water change with Aquasafe treated tap water, maintenance on the filter and glass cleaning every Saturday, plant pruning every 2 weeks. So far I've never used fertilizers.
Comments:I have a special fondness of this tank. It's my first planted setup. When I was starting to build my house, the first thing that went into the project was the installation for it to be built into the living room wall. In the beginning it had only artificial plants, but when I saw these wonderful tanks with natural plants on the internet I went crazy wanting to have one. But things weren't so easy, since in the small town I live in there aren't any aquarium shops and I had to buy everything through on-line shops on the internet, resulting in a very high final price due to shipping costs. But with patience and study in this website's discussion board, I went on learning how the specialized equipment worked, how to keep each plant species, and the effort was worthwhile.

As for the difficulties or not in working with a built-in tank, the only difficulty I have is with the glass cleaning: on the front glass I use a magnetic cleaner, but on the side and rear glasses I have to stick my entire arm in the tank and clean with a sponge. In order to avoid difficulties with a built-in tank you need make a good project to begin with, with the size of the opening for maintenance, filter location, lighting location, and especially how to do partial water changes. I use a ladder with a 30 x 30 cm platform on top where I place a bucket with a faucet at the bottom which leads the Aquasafe treated water straight into the tank, so I have no need to carry buckets back and forth. I just bring a hose into the bucket on the ladder and fill it up with new water, then I use the faucet to control the water flow going into the tank in order to minimize temperature or pH shocks.

If you'd like to submit an aquarium for Tank of the Month, just contact me.

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Who wouldn't like to have a "masterpiece" like this on their wall?

Photos taken by Willian Marques and displayed here with his permission.

oF <=> oC in <=> cm G <=> L