Fluval Edge 23L

The Fluval Edge Experience – Part I

This is part of a series of articles chronicling my experience with the 1st gen 23L Fluval Edge. It is largely based off of a 2011-2012 journal thread on plantedtank.net

Back in the summer of 2011 I decided that I wanted to set up a shrimp only tank that I could use to develop a redder/higher quality line of Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina heteropoda). I hadn’t originally intended to purchase an Edge, in fact when they first appeared in stores I thought them rather silly little contraptions. But then, the more I researched the various nano tank setups available in my price range, the more I realized that I really loved the design of this little tank. Of course, it helped that so many people on this forum (and elsewhere on the internet) were doing amazing things with them. The modification possibilities and the challenge of keeping all the equipment ‘behind the scenes’ also began to appeal to me as well.

I had Fish Doctor’s in Ypsilanti special order one in Pewter and since they do internet price matching I got a really sweet deal and did not have to worry about shipping!

I also purchased a red metal locker/cabinet from IKEA that I’d long admired to use as a stand, I’d say it makes for a pretty striking setup….

Fluval Edge & IKEA PS Cabinet
Fluval Edge & IKEA PS Cabinet

Setup occurred in early July and I spent most of that month cycling the tank (I used bio-media and water from my 30gal planted tank to kick-start this) and collecting plants. I had a rough idea in my mind that I wanted to attempt an Iwagumi style tank, however, given the nature of the equipment that came with the Edge and because I wanted to keep it on the low-tech side so it would be optimal for shrimp breeding, I knew that I would never be able to grow classic Iwagumi plants like Hemianthus callitrichoides and Eleocharis parvula. I resolved then that I would create a moss carpet across most of the tank, and this is where I ran into trouble.

Collecting plants- Fissidens, Xmas Moss, & Cryptocoryne parva
Collecting plants- Fissidens, Xmas Moss, & Cryptocoryne parva

It all began when I went to my local hardware store and purchased some stainless steel mesh to tie Fissidens fontanus to in the hopes that it would grow into some super lush carpeting. What I did not know at the time was that the mesh I was buying was zinc coated. After several months, many shrimp deaths, and slowly eliminating all other suspect variables,  I finally figured out that I had toxic levels of zinc in my tank.

Throughly disgusted with myself I pulled all the fissidens (which hadn’t done well) out of the tank along with the mesh it was attached to. What followed then was nearly a month of 2-3x weekly water changes. I also crammed a ton of ChemiPure Elite in the filter to help remove the zinc. After this I rescaped the tank, cycled it some more and added some ‘test pilot’ shrimp to the tank… these were a couple of my brownish RCS from my 30gal. They ended up surviving and were eventually moved back to their old home. The tank’s current residents are my three reddest adult females and a newly added colony of Sakura grade RCS that I had just received from a plantedtank.net forum member.

Here are some shots of the setup after the rescape:

The Cryptocoryne parva did not make a smooth transition to the new scape and suffered a lot of melt. In an attempt to help them adjust I loaded the substrate with root tabs and hoped for the best.

Complete specs are as follows:

  • 23 L (6.6 gallon) Fluval Edge Aquarium
  • Lighting: 2x MR11 LED bulbs- Initially I had toyed with the idea of building my own LED lightbar modification but decided that I was not confident enough in my DIY skills to play around with electricity and water any more than I already do.
  • Filtration: Mini Aquaclear HOB that came stock with the tank. Stuffed with seasoned bio-media, Chemi-Pure and filter floss.
  • Heater: Hydor Mini crammed into the filter basket.
  • Substrate: Fluval Shrimp Stratum
  • Fertilization: Light doses of the Seachem line maybe once a week.
  • Flora: Xmas moss, Mini Pellia, and Cryptocoryne parva.
  • Fauna: Red Sakura Cherry Shrimp and one Nerite snail for glass cleaning.

Q & A

I’ve gathered up some of the most useful or interesting questions that I fielded on the original discussion thread and have posted them here. To read the entire thread and all the questions and comments, head on over to plantedtank.net!

Q: I love the layout, I think the only problem I could see down the road is that your rocks will be swallowed when your plants fill in. Other than that good luck with the shrimps.

A: I’m actually hoping that the plants will overgrow the rocks… my original vision was of lots of green with just the peaks of the petrified wood poking out here at there.

Q: The tank looks nice, are you using any Excel or it that dirty word around this type of shrimp.

A: Originally, I had responded: “I am dosing a bit of Excel (about 2ml) about 3x week. Its definitely helping the plants so I plan on continuing to do so unless I notice any problems with the shrimp- in which case I will stop immediately. I dose it daily in my 30 gallon and the RCS in there breed like flies. I am however slightly concerned about this tank since it is much smaller, but I do feel that Excel is safer and easier to countermeasure than CO2 should a problem arise”, however, in the past few years I have come to a different opinion…

As of this writing, I am personally not using Excel on any tanks with shrimp, nor would I advise someone to use it on their own tank if they are intent on having healthy shrimp.

I’ve come to hold this opinion after observing that shrimp kept in tanks dosed with Excel are simply not nearly as prolific as shrimp kept in tanks without. Note, I did not perform any serious scientific study in this matter so I have no hard data to back this up. This is completely based on observations of my tanks over the past couple years while I was taking evening programming classes. Basically, during the semester I tended to neglect my tanks a bit, and did little to no dosing. The plants always suffered a bit, but the shrimp would prosper. Between semesters, when I resumed regular dosing, I noticed an increase in random shrimp deaths and a decline in reproduction. My observations are similar to those expressed by Ryan Wood on planetinverts.com (see the end of the linked to article).

Additionally, while I am happy with my decision not to dose Excel in shrimp tanks I encourage you to make up your own mind about this and do what is right for your tanks and the goals you have set for them. Do your own reading on the matter, it is not difficult to find numerous discussions on the matter on both plantedtank.net and aquaticplantcentral.com.

Q: I love the whole thing! Your moss looks great. How did you attach it to the rocks?

A: I attached the moss to the rocks with hair nets… works pretty awesome, you can barely tell its there unless you look real close- of course, my less than awesome camera helps this out too.

Next in this series >>
Part II: Adventures with Moss

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