12L Nano Iwagumi Tank “Greystone” – Setup

I’ve always wanted a high-tech nano Iwagumi tank. After months of planning, I finally set it up and this is what it looks like step-by-step.

What You’ll Need

This will be a high-tech setup so a strong light and a CO₂ system will be needed. Other than that, the things you’ll need for this setup are quite similar to most planted tanks.

I’m going to list the things that I have used in this setup.  No hard and fast rule here regarding what you can use for your own setup. You can get anything similar that is available to you locally.

The Basic Equipment

  1. Tank (ANS Opticlear Tank 30M)
  2. Filter (AZOO Mignon Filter 360)
  3. Light (FLEXI-mini HCRI LED Light)
  4. CO₂ system (ISTA 95g CO₂ Disposable Supply Set – Premium)
  5. Fan (Crab Aqua Mini Cooling Fan)*


Substrate And Conditioner

  1. Aquarium soil (Tropica Aquarium Soil Powder)
  2. Water conditioner (Seachem Prime)

Plants And Stones

  1. Plants (carpeting plants like Glossostigma elatinoides, Hemianthus callitrichoides ‘Cuba’ or Micranthemum ‘Monte Carlo’ and small stem plants will be good)
  2. Stones (any type of stone you fancy but keep to only one type for eg. Ryuoh, Manten or Ohko stone)

Setting It Up

The most time-consuming part of setting everything up is probably arranging the stones in the tank and splitting the carpeting plants carefully for planting. Be prepared to spend hours on this so plan it carefully.

Step 0 – Place the tank on a flat and level surface.
Step 1 – Fill the tank with soil and slope it towards the back.
Step 2 – Arrange stones in the tank.
Step 3 – Mist the soil with water and start planting.
Step 4 – Pour in treated tap water slowly.
Step 5 – Fix equipment onto the tank.
Step 6 – Switch on all equipment.

The Next Step

The first four weeks is crucial. During this time, your tank is new and the condition is not optimal yet for your plants. Some might melt and just die away. It’s okay. Just don’t panic.

Amount Of Light

You also won’t have the plant density yet to fight off algae so it’s best to lower the light intensity and/or photoperiod to around six hours per day. It can be gradually increased later.

More about this from the following video.

Frequent Water Change

Another way you can prevent algae from setting foot in your tank during this time is frequent water changes. How much to change and how frequent to do it? Around 30-50% each time and this is how frequent I do it.

  • 1st Week: Daily
  • 2nd Week: Four times a week
  • 3rd Week: Three times a week
  • 4th Week: Two times a week
  • 5th Week onwards: Once a week

Fertilize Right From The Start

As for fertilizers, you can start off with a half dose of what’s recommended for your tank size. Remember, the recommendation on the bottle is just that, a recommendation.

What’s important is for you to observe the plants and adjust accordingly.

Got Any Question?

I hope I have laid out a nice step-by-step guide for you to follow and set up your very own nano Iwagumi tank. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section below.

What say you?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.