• Aquarium Tips,  Personal Aquariums,  TIPS + HOW-TOs

    Planted Tank Automatic Water Change Overview

    Time for a long overdue overview of how I set up my Auto Water Change (AWC) and Auto Top-Off (ATO) systems! First, let’s start off with the major components. The most important component of my Auto Water Change system is the GHL Profilux Controller, seen here. In the case of the AWC (Auto Water Change), I created a Timer. 8x per day, the Profilux turns on the AWC pump for a specified amount of time.The Profilux also controls the ATO (Auto Top-Off). The water level in the tank needs to be monitored, so I installed an optical level sensor.The level sensor is seen here on the right. It’s held in…

  • Personal Aquariums

    Hardscape… not too hard to scape!

    This is my first real planted aquarium hardscape, but I’ve had plenty of experience creating aquascapes for my saltwater reef tanks. The basic principles are the same, just different materials. The number one factor when it comes to creating a stunning aquascape is composition. There are “rules” you can follow if you are new to the concept of composition. Mainly, the “rule of thirds”. As seen in the diagram above, the rule of thirds says that the most pleasing composition occurs when the main subject of the image lands where the lines intersect. In this case, the apple. And even further, the stem and leaf, which are the more interesting…

  • Personal Aquariums,  REVIEWS

    Tank, Lights, Action!

    Well, not much action yet, but at least we have a tank and lights! GHL Mitras LX7 The lights went up first. I needed access to the back of the stand and it is a whole lot easier to move the stand WITHOUT a large glass aquarium sitting on top. I went with the GHL Mitras LX7. These are the new 4-cluster units and the leds are selected specifically for freshwater planted. The model is 7004. I’ve used the saltwater version over my reef tanks in the past and have always been very pleased. Here is an unboxing video that shows the light and what comes with it, as well…

  • Personal Aquariums

    Oase Biomaster 600 Thermo

    Now that the stand is complete, it’s time to start adding equipment. The first and most important thing I needed to decide on was the filtration. I went back and forth between a few different canister filters but finally decided on the Oase Biomaster 600 Thermo. Two of them. The Oase Biomaster 600 is the largest canister filter that Oase offers. They advertise a max flow rate of around 1250 l/ph or 330 gph. Since my tank is 5′ long (143g) I decided it would be best to have two for proper flow throughout the aquarium. This will also allow me to clean on an alternating schedule. One canister will…

  • Personal Aquariums,  REVIEWS

    Building the Waterbox Clear Pro Stand

    We found the perfect spot for the new Waterbox Clear Pro aquarium, so now it’s time to build the stand! The stand is from Waterbox and it’s designed to fit the new Waterbox Clear Pro 6025 tank perfectly. Gathering the pieces: Here is the hardware as supplied from Waterbox Aquariums. Next we had to bring all the pieces in from the garage. And there was a lot! Let’s build! You start with the base. There are A LOT of leveling feet.The instructions are bit lacking. They are illustrated steps, nice and clear but almost zero mention of any of the hardware.If you’ve put IKEA together before, it shouldn’t be a…

  • Personal Aquariums

    NEW TANK BUILD!

    After more than a decade and several successful builds in the Saltwater Reef hobby, I’ve decided to jump ship (for a little bit) and try my hand at this planted tank thang. For real. Not the little low tech 7g cube I’ve posted about here, but a proper, large aquarium. So time for a new planted tank build! I set up the little 7g cube that I’ve been fooling around with to kind of dip my toe in and start familiarizing myself with freshwater planted practices. But it’s really just scratching the surface. For the big tank, I’m going all in! So, let’s get on with the show, shall we? Here’s…

  • Personal Aquariums

    Betta Tank July 2018

    It’s been a while since the last update, but this low tech Betta Tank is cruising along. Although the Betta behavior changed and he’s not eating well. The Betta situation has been interesting. He was doing great, then his behavior changed. First, he seemed to become quite anti-social! This sounds funny, but it’s true. He likes to go inside the rock structure and he spends much of the day in there. He has also become a bit listless. If he is out and about, he tends to be just sitting on the substrate. And finally, it’s like he became blind and dumb when it comes to food. If I drop…

  • Personal Aquariums,  REVIEWS

    The Elos Experience

    Automobiles, Cigars, Fashion, Food, Wine… One thing these all have in common is they all have a product that seems to be the pinnacle in their category. Your daily driver may be a Honda Accord but you dream about owning a classic 60’s Ferrari GTO Spyder. Your faux leather purse gets the job done but you drool over your best friend’s Coach handbag. In the aquarium world, there are a couple of brands of aquariums that are regarded as best in class. Some just appreciate them from afar, some strive to create the look of them, but what is it like to actually own one? Read on for my personal…

  • Personal Aquariums

    7 Gallon Betta Tank – It Begins!

    Hi there! I was about to jump head first into the world of hi-tech planted tanks (coming from over a decade in Reef tanks) but the new Waterbox Clear Pro I plan on using won’t be shipping for a few months so in the interim I decided to set up a little planted Betta tank. The Setup After some back and forth on tank size, I picked up an Ultum Nature Systems 30c from Aquarium Design Group (ADG) in Houston, along with some river stones and a few sticks. Lightly planted and low tech is the plan for this tank. For a filter, I’m just using one of those little…

  • Personal Aquariums

    Video of My 120g Elos Mixed Reef Aquarium

    This is a 2 year old saltwater reef aquarium. The tank is the Elos 120XL Diamond Line with “Quiet Drain” overflow. It was started with live rock and sand from Tampa Bay Saltwater, as are all of my reef tanks. The filtration consists of a berlin style sump and refugium from LifeReef, along with a LifeReef Skimmer. This system is controlled by a GHL Profilux 4 controller. Dosing the big three (Alkalinity, Calcium and Magnesium) is accomplished with the GHL Doser 2.1 dosing unit. Lighting is provided by 3 Radion G4 Pro LEDs from Ecotech Marine. Additional flow is also provide by Ecotech Marine via two Vortech MP40w powerheads. For…

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