Aesthetically Matching Aquarium Setup
Having a visually appealing rimless aquarium on a nice stand is just one piece of your aquarium setup that adds to the· aesthetic feel of our aquascapes. A large part of our aquarium setups consists of technical equipment such as the lighting fixtures, filtration· plumbing, and CO2 equipment. They can effect the overall visual impression of the whole aquarium setup if the equipment does not· match the design of the tank and the stand. Like choosing the right plant species that complement each other in an aquascape, it is important to select equipment parts that fit the look of your stand and aquarium.
Today various types of inlet/outlet glass pipes, CO2 glassware and smoothly· designed lighting pendants can be bought. The well known style of ADA gives an approach to aquarium design with well made glassware to match everything but your paycheck. So we must sometime use knockoff brands and other products to imitate the minimalistic style. This gives everyone a chance to make their own ADA style setup and have a stunning setup in their own living room.
I have chosen to make a stand for my rimless 60x30x36cm tank, similar to the ADA wood stand. More info about this can be read in ASW’s April 2008 Issue, Tips Creating a DIY ADA Stand.
For lighting my aquarium,· I have chosen a 3 x 24W T5 fluorescent pendant, which has a simple aluminum profile that does not draw attention to itself (important since we want the viewer’s focus to be on our aquascape).· The pendant can be raised by its wires, making it easy to raise the lights and still have illumination while doing maintenance work inside the tank. For mounting the pendant, I have chosen two small wall brackets in the same color as the wall. The bolts in the end of the wire allow the pendant to be raised with ease and without the use of any tools. This part of the setup can be a difficult choice and it’s mostly a choice of personal taste.
I have chosen a combination of three types of fluorescent tubes:
In the back, I have chosen a 10,000 Kelvin tube to give a bright strong light. This combined with the reddish color from the Grolux makes a good combination and raises the intensity of· blue and red wavelengths which are beneficial for the plant photosynthesis.
The Sylvania Grolux which gives a reddish warm glow suited to bring out the red colors of plants and fishes. This tube is placed in the center.
In the front, I have chosen a daylight tube called LifeGlo II. It has a rating of 6700 Kelvin and a strong peak in the green area and has the highest lumen intensity of the three. This combination gives a full spectrum of light matching sunlight and should bring out the best colors from the plants and fishes.
The CO2 system consists of the Ferplast pressure reducer for disposable bottles, set to a fixed working pressure of 1 bar. I have used a single manometer to view bottle pressure so I can see when its time to change the bottle. The disposable bottles don’t take up much space and is easy to change. I have an electronic valve turned on and off by a timer to shut of CO2 at night. This saves CO2 and makes sure that the CO2 level does not rise to a critical level doing night.
There are many types of CO2 tubing on the market but the only kind suited for CO2 is PVC or PU tubing since it does not let the CO2 pass thought the sides. Regular air tubing in silicone will allow CO2 to escape and waste the CO2. I have chosen a knockoff Rhinox beetle counter since it gives a good easy reading of the CO2 flow and also looks nice with the glass spiral CO2 diffuser on the inside.
For distribution I have chosen a 3cm glass ceramic diffuser to give me a large surface area for the CO2 to dissolve though. A check valve placed before the beetle counter makes sure that the backpressure doesn’t empty the water into the electric valve.
Filtration is done by an Eheim Ecco 2232 with Ehfimech, a fine and a course filter sponge. I have chosen a set of 12mm Flo in/outlets connected with clear PU hoses, and placed them so that current flows towards the diffuser and down. This makes sure that the CO2 is distributed evenly and doesn’t rise to the surface.
Semi-Automatic Water Changing System
Just after the outlet of the filter I have placed a T-pipe and two shutoff valves. This will function as my semiautomatic water change system. When the valves are shut to the outlet and open to the other pipe it will use the filters pump to empty the tank fast. When the filter is stopped and the valve is shut for the outlet of the filter, an external pump can fill the tank with clean water from a reservoir. All I have to do is to mount a hose from my drain and water reservoir and open/shut the valves. This function makes water change easy and fast, and does not require me to pour water into the tank and possible disturb the aquascape.
Automatic Fertilizer Dosing System
As a last function I have chosen an automatic dosing system, the Aqua Medic SP3000 dosing pump combined with an electronic timer. This will dose a solution containing both micro and macro fertilizer every day following the estimative dosing index. All I have to do is carefully watch plant growth and add supplementary fertilizers when needed.
An automatic fertilizer dosing system removes the daily fertilizing maintenance requirements for a successful planted aquarium. I do not have to worry if I miss a day of dosing. This way I can focus on the overall appearance of the aquascape and not worry about the technical aspects or be disturbed by any equipment spoiling the look of the setup.