My planted aquarium build

Today, i give you a sneak peak into my planted aquarium build and touch base on other builds as well!

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The king of DIY


What do you think?


Written by The king of DIY

Content AuthorYears Of Membership


  1. Joey! you've bulked up over the last several months.

    I look at your vids from a while ago, and you were a string bean! now you look like a man!!

    must've got a gym membership! or a job in masonry haha!

  2. With a tank that small and such thick sides I would definitely go with a peacock mantis shrimp, I don't think it would be able to break the sides with his punch. Add some substrate a few hardy plants some LED's and a decent filter … sounds good to me 🙂

  3. I am late catching up on your videos. I hope it is ok to mention what I would make in a cube shaped tank. I have always dreamed of having an aquarium/terrarium build similar in appearance to the tank in this video. I want it to be a 36" by 36" cube. The way I would decorate it inside would be broken down into thirds going from top to bottom and in thirds from front to back.

    In the very front, in the bottom, front 1/3 of the tank (imagine a 12"x12"x36" aquarium inside of the tank, positioned in the very front on the bottom going from side to side), I would build an aquarium feature and have an Xenopus in there.

    I had one of those from a kit I bought as a kid. I sent the certificate off and he came to me as a tadpole. I fed him drops until he turned into a medium size fat cool looking water frog. I named him Robin and fed him earthworms when he grew up. He lived about 6 years old. When fishing season was slow in this area, I learned to go to stores at night (with the owners permission so I wouldn't get shot, lol) and catch bugs in the air around the security lights. I had to do what I had to do to feed Robin and I did not know about vermiculture back then.

    Back to the aquarium/terrarium diorama setup I would like to do:
    In the very back, in the top 1/3 of the tank, I would make a fake miniature snow capped mountain range with small artificial homemade "trees."

    In the middle 1/3 closer to the center of the tank, in front of but below the mountains, I would build a miniature log cabin out of pencil size twigs. Next to the cabin, closer to one of the ends of that section is where the water would come into a river type feature. That water would go down a waterfall into the Xenopus "river" area below and in the front. The idea would be to have a gentle, slow moving river or stream for the Xenopus at the bottom in the front.

    Those are the areas that would actually be visible and decorated. All other areas, (the bottom 2/3 in the back below the mountain range and the 1/3 at the bottom in the center under the cabin area, I would hide filtration and tubing to route the water where it needs to go to keep it circulating and clean. I would make the mountain range and part of the cabin area into one removable piece to access the filtration area.

    At one time, I thought about adding a turtle too, but I would rather the Xenopus be the main focus and not have to worry about something else living in there that might like frog legs for dinner.

    My main concern would be lighting. I would definitely want miniature live lily pads in the bottom area with the Xenopus, but I have never been able to find a good grow light that is affordable enough for me and good enough to grow plants without the plants becoming too "leggy." Years ago, when I experimented with trying to grow various things inside the house in winter, I used to use the BriteStik fluorescent tube grow lights, but I haven't seen any of those in years now. I think they discontinued them. I would definitely want to find an affordable decent grow light for area with the lily pads, but the rest could be just regular lights.

    I have no clue if it would work or not, but I would love to see it done, even if I can't do it just yet.

  4. I'd either go with an iwagumi with Kubotai Rasboras (aquatic arts sells them) and some really colorful shrimp, or alternatively I'd go with some type of Jungle tank. This tank could look amazing with a really high quality betta in it too.

    I've also thought about a blackwater biotope, that could be neat.

    I'll say though, any type of planted tank I'll do from now on will be a variation of a Walstad Method tank (soil capped with inert sand or fine gravel). The Walstad's (or at least soil capped) are so much better for the plants and I think even the fish. Soil microbes live even underwater and your tank will have much more natural life. The plant health in a soil capped is much healthier than an inert substrate.

  5. I would love the planted tank! I have really been digging the planted tank with underwater trees. I know for my next build i would love to make one. Preferably with a rectangular tank (to get more of a panoramic Forrest look).
    With the Cube I would say a Grand Tree with a thick trunk (I would find Huge/thick Drift wood. and tie java moss to the top of the drift wood.) I would also carpet the substrate with probably monte carlo. I do prefer dwarf baby tears but they grow at a slower rate. OH! You can try the Dry start method with Dwarf baby tears if you have never done it!!!! I am in the process of my first time, and it is showing great results!

  6. Hey Joey! Long time fan, first time commenting on your videos. Great rimless tank! Do a whole series that I don't think you've ever touched on before! DiY preassurized regulator (with selunoid) on a paintball tank, or 5lbs aluminum Co2 tank. With IR remote LED lighting so when growth has optimized we can turn the light from high par to low par. DiY inline Co2 reactor

    A little bit tougher footprint for many aquascapes. I enjoy aquascaping with real rock, finding a good foreground, mid-ground plant, and following a mountainous iwagumi layout. Now, I'm a resident of Minnesota, so we probably have similar geological structuring and at least around my part I've never found "cool rocks" like Seiryu or Dragon Stone. Yeah… What I do seem to have an abundance of, however, is black lava rock. Stacking black lava rock is really awesome when done right. I'd stick to very popular plants like a dwarf baby tears carpeting plant, Christmas Moss on rocks, maybe a bit of dwarf hair grass in patches.

  7. it would be really interesting to see you do a high tech planted. you're the king of DIY and i think it would be a fun challenge for you to figure out CO2, plant ferts and such. Plus if you would load that planted with nano fish would be super fun, since you do monster fish so well.

  8. scape for the planted tank. get some Dragon stone from Rachel oleary. black substrate. If you want to spend time trimming get some ludwigia. add some crypts to round out the edges and throw some anubias on the Dragon stone. get a school of tetras for it as well. I've got plenty of ludwigia repens that has a red hue to it that I could send when you're ready. just not sure of international shipping laws as I'm in Arkansas, USA. lol.

  9. Hey Joey, I would like to see you do a high tech planted tank with CO2 injection and lighting but with the caveat that you build your own lights, CO2, filtration etc. so DIY equivelents of a high tech aquarium.

  10. i'd make it a tank with led lights (the right type for enough brightness) than get some wood and rocks and low growing plants.
    for fish some sort of cichlide like fish



My 375 gallon aquarium build series INTRO