Tank journal

ADA Mini M Iwagumi

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The Start – The First Layout

This is not my first time setting up a nano tank. Before this I’ve made 3-4 layouts and I learned new things each time. But I’m still far away to become an expert though. I’m hoping to turn this Mini M into a beautiful Iwagumi style tank for my future inhabitants.

Update – January 7th, 2012

Just some updates, nothing much has changed. My Mini M Iwagumi seems to progress smoothly after recovered some algae attack which I think not very serious. Only green algae was spotted on the glass especially at the back and on the glass diffuser. Algae growth in between HC at the front glass is yet to be removed because I’m still figuring out what method should I use. I was thinking to remove some portion of HC near the glass wall, removed the algae, and let the HC growth again. or Any suggestion?

The only sad news is that one of the fish was found dead and became dried fish. Now I’m thinking to add some glowlight tetras but I never had experience with this fish. Will they harm the shrimps? There are some new baby shrimps in the tank and I’m worried about them become prey to the fish.

Final Update – No Maintenance

I’m going to post the final update of this tank.

I left this tank unchecked for almost 3 months during the summer. No CO2, no ferts, no proper trimmings. I just let a friend of mine who has no experience at all with tank keeping to take care of this tank (feed the fish, add water). After I returned from summer holidays, I was surprised to see the plants still growing, but in very poor conditions (lots of algae). Then I start again with all regular maintenance in hoping to see this tank shine again. I’m not going with all the details. You can see it yourself. So, this is it. I’m going to tear down this tank and come up with another scape using Sado-Akadama stones. Maybe I should start another journal, with more regular updates (senior year is much more relaxing than expected. haha).

Start – New Hardscape

Sorry guys, I had to postponed my project because i was kinda busy with other stuffs; labworks, programs etc. and also the stones’ shipments had been delayed.

looks familiar? no? LOL~

The Sado-Akadama stones did not meet my expectation. I thought they were supposed to be more brownish just like what advertised on the website. But never mind, they still look nice though. and Im already out of time because I have to finish this layout in May before my graduation and then I will go back to Malaysia. Hopefully this layout will become a success.

My plan is to use stem plants on the background, HC (from previous layout) as foreground, some Lileopsis and Crypt. parva at midground.

I’m playing around with the Sado-Akadama stones a bit trying to find the right hardscape I want. I also sketched out how I want to plant my aquascape.

Update – Planted

The Mini M Iwagumi is now planted!

The water is still a bit cloudy even after a couple water change. Some plants also float up after I turned on the filter. I just removed them. Too lazy to plant again and I don’t want to disturb the soil too much.haha And it looks really messy right now…

I did some adjustments with the rocks arrangement. I don’t know if it looks better right now but since the tank is already planted, I won’t do any adjustment again. Too much work. However, I really do appreciate your comments and opinions. Let me know what you think..

Update – Filtration

I’m using Finnex px-360 rated as 95gPH. Yes it is on full blast but I can see reduced flow rate compared to my previous setup using same filter but different configuration. This is what I did for current setup:

Update – December 9th, 2012

The water now has become crystal clear. (I love Purigen) Did 80% WC and will repeat it everyday for the whole week. No chemical dosing at the moment. I will start dosing after a week with K and then Iron and Flourish after 2 weeks. That depends on plants growth. I also begin the CO2 injection at 1bps using pressurized CO2.

Before this I said no craters formed with my filter flow rate. Well, I take it back because when I woke up this morning I saw small crater formed. It was not big enough to cause serious problems but just for precaution I put the empty drop checker on the opposite side of the filter outlet in hoping it will help to reduce flow rate at that particular area.

Update – December 15th, 2012

After a week there not much things to say. There were some hair algae growing on the HC probably from the stargrass. Then I put 4 hungry cherry shrimps and now no algae growth observed. Maybe I will add more cherries after this to take care some decaying plants. But now the HC looks healthy and starts propagating. Lileopsis growth rate is very slow…haha maybe I got used to hairgrass growth rate that is why I find Lileopsis is very slow although it is rated as medium growth rate. Anyway, new shoot and runner!

What annoys me the most right now is the small stone at the right front which has contrasting color compared to other stones. Actually it is a Seiryu stone. I’m thinking to remove it and just leave that area without stone and let the HC fills in.

Update – January 4th, 2013

After 4 weeks, growths in the Mini M Iwagumi is slower than I expected. The foreground is still not fully covered by the HC. Compared to my previous layout, the HC successfully covered my foreground in just 3weeks. At first I thought the problem is my lighting because the bulb I’m using is already more than 1year old so I added extra 20W 6500K screw bulb. Still the HC did not show any improved growth rate. Then I observed that many new shoots emerged from the soil but not many visible new runners growing on top of the soil. After I looked carefully, I realized that the shrimps actually moved the soil pellets around and the HC become buried beneath the soil that is why less visible HC growth. I sucked up the soil covering the HC every day and now more growth is observed. So hopefully in 2 weeks the foreground is fully covered by HC.

I’m planning to switch the stargrass at the back using plants with smaller leaves. Maybe Rotala rotundifoliaor Didiplis diandra. I don’t really like the stargrass because the leaves size is to big for this small iwagumi. Ludwigia arcuata looks good currently but man, this plant is also a slow grower. haha (I want everything fast!).

Other updates:
-added 5 juvenile guppies from my other tank. 1 already died. jumper.
-no longer using the lily pipes because of difficulties during maintenance. Much easier to use current set up.
-the odd colored stone has been removed. Thank you for your advices. but I can’t find suitable stones to replace it..hmm..
-Started dosing 1ml Seachem Potassium, 0.5ml Seachem Iron, 0.5ml Seachem Fluorish for every 2days and 1ml Excel daily.
-CO2 set up at 2bps.
-Lighting period for 8hours.

Update – January 8th, 2013

I think it’s getting a little bit messy in this tank. I should really start trimming.

Update – January 22nd, 2013

Trim Time in the Mini M

Update – February 9th, 2013

Alright, time for UPDATE although I’m very lazy to do this LOL~

Anyway, it is already a week since I remove the stargrass and replace it with D. diandra. There are new shoots now and so far I’m very pleased with it.
Mayaca fluvatilis is still adapting. I still cannot see its impact to this layout but lets wait a little longer and see whether it really improve the layout.

I decided not to put Rotala macrandra because it’s too big for this tank. Last time I saw this plant it was not that big. So I decide to let it grow in another tank first and see whether the new growth is smaller. But then I found a short stem of Althernanthera reineckii survived in that tank. I’m quite surprised to see it because I can’t even remember when the last time I grow it.haha so I transfer it into this tank. Maybe it can be a suitable replacement to R. macrandra.

And I changed my ligthing to 16″ Finnex RAY 2 (9W). All I want to say is that it is SUPER BRIGHT!hahaha I exaggerate a lot but this lighting is definitely brighter than my previous 27W compact fluorescent and cheaper too. Well done Finnex!

Okay, enough with words.

Update – February 16th, 2013

I trimmed the HC and H. glomeratus on Thursday and here is how the tank looks like now.

The saturation seems a lilttle bit off here..hmmm

BTW, Didiplis diandra has grown a lot. Maybe I will trimm it next week after I have done will my final exams.

Update – March 31th, 2013

It’s been a while since last update. Not many has changed, only the color of Didiplis diandra has become redder.

Update – April 13th, 2013

Still not much progress for update.The Didiplis diandra at the back grows very very very slow which makes me doubt this plant as D. diandra. Last time I grow D. diandra, they grew really fast and instead of dark red color, the previous one was pinkish red. Maybe the one I have now is Limnophila species.

I think nutrients in the soil has depleted because many of the plants started showing some deficiencies. The HC turned yellow. Some of the microswords leaves died. Probably those were old leaves because if you notice, I never trim the microswords. I hope the next owner will trim them and add some root tabs into the soil.

The End – July 7th, 2013

This tank is now a history. haha Anyway, I just want to post the final photo of this tank I took before I let it go.


– ADA Mini M
– ADA New Amazonia Powder
– Finnex Ray 2 LED (9W)
– Finnex PX-360 canister filter
– Fluval 88g CO2 at 1-2bps
– Sado-Akadama stones
– Cherry shrimps

– Seachem Flourish Excel 1ml
– Seachem Potassium 1.5ml
– Seachem Iron 0.5ml
– Seachem Flourish 0.5ml
*all above were added for every 2 days, but as mentioned before my dosing schedule was not regular.

As requested, I labelled the photo with numbers for reference of the plants featured in this layout

1- Hemianthus callitrichoides
2- Lilaeopsis brasiliensis (micro sword)
3- Hemianthus glomeratus
4- Ludwigia arcuata
5- Mayaca fluvatilis
6- Didiplis diandra
7- Althernanthera reineckii

There is also Crypt parva but cannot be seen in the photo.

Well, this is it. Thank you so much for all the supports given to me to keep this journal up until now. I apologize if this journal is not informative or not updated as much as it should be. I really enjoy keeping the this tank, as much as my passion in this hobby. I will try to create another aquascape when I’m ready to do so. Again, thank you.


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