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I'm planning on building this:

Stan's DIY 12g Tank Plans - Design Introduction

I can't find the light he said he used, so any advice or suggestions from you guys would be greatly appreciated in that area. I'm also going to build a stand, the bottom of which would hold my filter. I'm thinking either a canister filter or a sump, but I don't know a whole lot about sumps. I know they increase the volume of water in the system, which sounds prettty good to me in this case. I've never had an aquarium this small. My plan is to put sand in the bottom with a large piece of driftwood sticking straight up the middle and some sort of thick, mat-like plant covering the bottom. Perhaps there will be some moss or something on the wood, but that's another area in which I can plead ignorance. I'd like to stock it with red cherry shrimp and possible some other gentle, calm, non-sensitive fish that won't leap out of the tank and will eat similar food as the shrimp. Any and all of this I could use help with.

Summary- Questions regarding the following:
1. Lighting (models, methods of holding up above the water, etc.)
2. Filter (sump? could I make one just like I'm making the tank?)
3. Plants (mat-like floor covering and moss-like stuff for wood)
4. Stocking suggestions

3,274 Posts
Hi arnoldrew. This looks like a pretty tank. Since it's going to be taller than longer, you will want some calmer fish that don't need a lot of length to swim around in. Turning this into a shrimp tank with maybe a few otos or something sounds like an awesome idea.

The coralife light is really nice but it's geared toward a nano reef with actinic lighting. If you want to grow some plants, I'd recommend this fixture: Finnex Fugeray-R Ultra Slim Aquarium LED Light Fixture: Pet Supplies


I have used the Finnex fixture and it works great. Can't vouch for the Aquatop one.

Since the tank will be a bit deeper, using low light plants would work best so you don't have to have intense lighting. Affixing a lot of moss, java fern, and anubias to the driftwood with fishing line can create a really nice focal point while giving those plants the desired substrate that they prefer. If you want to use the moss as a carpet, look for it already fixed to mesh plates so it stays put on the bottom until the moss grows out a bit more.

Like this:
Taiwan Moss, Taxiphyllum alternans

Riccia is another very good carpeting plant that shrimp love.

For a small, planted and lightly stocked tank, you can get away with a simple canister filter. I got this one and while my particular one didn't work for me, maybe I just got a bum one and it will work for you. But it's made for tanks like this: Finnex PX-360 Compact Canister Aquarium Filter: Pet Supplies

The Tom's mini canister filter may work as well.

Hope all this helps you. Really look forward to seeing how the tank turns out. :)
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