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25 Liters - Low Tech

Discussion in 'Aquascaping Journals' started by stefano-bonalume, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. stefano-bonalume

    stefano-bonalume Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Hey!
    Here I'd like to talk about my adventure with a little low tech planted tank.

    Soon I will buy a Wave Box 40 Cosmos (25 liters), in which I want to keep a Betta splendens. Maybe in the future some Neocaridina selection.
    I can't afford fertilizers and I don't want to use them, plus I'm going to grow plants like Microsorum, Bolbitis and Anubias, so I think it won't be an issue.
    The tank has a 20W Cosmos freshwater included, I think it will be enough.
    Filter is a Filpo Corner Twin.

    The tank isn't big, so I don't want to put too many plants in it because I want to leave space for swim.
    I'll use a very thin layer of yellow-ochre fine sand, maybe lighter/white if I don't find it at the store.
    On the left side I want to plant, on little rocks, Microsorum ('Needle Leaf' or 'Narrow Leaf') and Bolbitis in the back.
    In front of ferns I'll put Anubias to hide rocks on which ferns are.

    That's the general idea: On the left a "bush" of plants that ends with sand only on the right.
    From ferns clump maybe I'll add some little branches that come out going to the right side.

    With the Betta I'm going to put 2\3 Caridina japonica (Neocaridina are too small for the Betta) and Blue Planorbarius corneus, if I find them.

    I'm afraid if Bolbitis will grow too big, but I read you can cut off big leaves and leave small ones only. Could I do the same with Microsorum 'Trident', if I don't find 'Needle Leaf'\'Narrow Leaf'?
    I don't want to spend money for rocks and woods, so I went for a forest walk searching for nice rocks and little woods! Ahah
    So I collected some little woods and rocks near a creek.
    I'm going to use dark, quite sharp rocks; some of them have little quartz veins. I'm not sure if I'll use all those rocks. Maybe in the next days I'll try to search for other interesting dark rocks.
    Some rocks are totally different from the others, in particular bigger ones, because they are rough and I will put Bolbitis and Microsorum on them, so they will be covered and hidden.

    [​IMG]

    I choose little woods without bark. I boiled them, and when water was cooling down I put rocks in, so they have been in hot (not boiling) water only.
    I think they are hardwoods, probably Carpinus betulus, Fagus sylvatica or Quercus sp., but they are very thin, so I'm not sure about how much will they last submerged.

    [​IMG]

    I have a marimo ball (Aegagropila linnaei) in a glass jar, and some little pieces were not well attached, so I pull them away and put them on little dark lava rocks. I will use these little green pillows in the tank and see if it work.

    [​IMG]

    Probably next week I'm going to start planting the tank. I can't wait! ahah
     
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  2. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    stefano-bonalume

    Welcome to ASW can you add your Country and location in your Profile please.

    Collecting rocks and wood can save a lot of money but if they are unsuitable for your tank it can become very costly.

    Can you be 110% positive that the wood does not have any pollutants or poisons in it?

    This can be a danger to fish having sharp edges.

    I think you might have to rethink about fertilisers if you are growing them on rocks.

    Keith:):)
     
  3. Glomeridae

    Glomeridae Active Aquascaper

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    Welcome here! =)
     
  4. stefano-bonalume

    stefano-bonalume Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I wrote "quite sharp". They are not round but not like somone just cracked them creating sharp edges that could harm fish.
    Yes I think woods and rocks are safe, anyway I put them in very hot water and tested rocks with vinegar. Nothing happened.
    I'll wait a month at least before adding shrimps and the Betta.
    Maybe I'll buy a cheap liquid fertiliser, bot not more. I want to use slow growth plants and few animals to try to create a quite balanced nutrient cycle only by feeding animals, not using fertilisers. I'm going for low-tech you know.

    Today I found other interesting rocks. There is still some clay on them. Here there are old and found today rocks I think I'll use. Others more porous will be probably used to tie\attach ferns and Anubias, but they will be hidden by plants leaves and other rocks.

    [​IMG]

    I particularly like this side of the bigger rock.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2014
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  5. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    stefano-bonalume

    Those two plants are not aquarium plants but home indoor plants.

    Yes small rocks will be covered if you are growing plants around them.

    I like that large rock its full if character what size is as there is nothing to compare it to.

    Keith:):)
     
  6. stefano-bonalume

    stefano-bonalume Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Yes I know, those are some of my favourite plants, Fittonia. I was only photographing them, and I know they are not aquatic plants.

    The photographed side of the bigger rock is about 10cm. Not very big but the thank itself is not big, and the main thing I want to be noticed is the Bolbitis and Microsorum "bush".

    Today I found some moss very similar to Fissidens growing near a temporary stream in the wood. Now I have a little piece of it in a glass. I'll tie it to some rocks and see if it grows.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    stefano-bonalume

    Photographs can be very deceiving if there is no reference.

    Someone on ASW might know what that lovely moss is for you.

    Keith:):)
     
  8. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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  9. greenfinger 2

    greenfinger 2 Active Aquascaper

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    Hi Stefano Bonalume,

    Welcome to ASW (y)

    Great project you are doing :cool: I love collecting things from nature and using them in my projects too :D

    As to the Bolbitis there is a smaller slower growing one that you can attach to wood or stone / Link below
    http://www.flowgrow.de/db/wasserpflanzen/bolbitis-heteroclita-difformis

    Anubias , java fern , Bolbitis--- Will need ferts in the water column to grow and flourish. Ferts do not need to be expensive make you own ;)

    http://www.aquariumplantfood.co.uk/fertilisers/dry-chemicals/starter-kits/ei-starter-kit.html

    Sounds like a lot of money :( But they last for ages and a lot cheaper than buying ready made up bottles from your LFS ;)

    Looking forward to seeing how your planted tank comes along good luck (y)
     
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  10. stefano-bonalume

    stefano-bonalume Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Thank you for your answers!
    Bolbitis heteroclita difformis is too little. I'd like that Bolbitis heudelotii leaves would grow the size they are when you buy the plant, not bigger.
    In the net I read that others who live in Italy found Fissidens sp. in the woods in moist places. I think mine could be Fissidens taxifolius \ Fissidens polyphyllus \ Fissidens crassipes, or another specie, but they are very similar.
     
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  11. moss_maniac

    moss_maniac Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Hi Stefano,
    don't forget Fissidens grows very variable especially in nature and in tanks, too - so fissidens is really difficult to determine.

    I'm afraid, one can only really determine it safely when using a microscope. I do not understand something about this kind of determination but in the meantime I am no more so keen on knowing, which mosses I have in front of me - getting old and lazy I just enjoy them.:love:

    I have also a piece of fissidens hanging around in a plastik tin, I don't know which one it is exactly. Found it here in Bavaria in our nursery in a coldframe. Took only a small piece, because I did not want to destroy the moss. The next day they had thrown out each little piece of it. :eek:

    An extremely good moss page is
    http://www.andrewspink.nl/mosses/thumbnails.htm#f
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014
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  12. stefano-bonalume

    stefano-bonalume Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Very interesting link, thank you!

    Finally today I got the tank!
    I buy the gravel. I searched for ochre sand in lots of pet stores but the only sand color they have is an innatural white. So I bought a fine gravel which has a good natural color. I put the sand and rocks in.
    I also bought some plants: Bolbitis heudelotii, Microsorum 'Trident' ('Narrow Leaf' \ 'Needle Leaf' apparently desn't exist here), Anubias 'Nangi' and Cryptocoryne parva.
    I know C. parva requires fertile soil, but I will only use liquid fertiliser. I don' t care if it will grow slow.

    Probably I won't use woods; rocks take too much space and I think woods fit with them in this scape.
    I planted Anubias and Cryptocoryne. Tomorrow, after have added ferns I will post some photos.
     
  13. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    stefano-bonalume

    I can grow some varieties of Crypts like weeds and recently flowered one tall variety but I cannot grow C parva I believe its the smallest and hardest variety to grow.

    Your substrate must be pleasurably old and highly fertilised, weather you like it or not you still might have to use a high quality fert tablet like the Seachem Fert Tabs at least once every three months as well as the liquid ferts.

    If it starts to melt do not touch or remove any of the old leaves around the plant as this will become mulm a natural food for the Crypts, if the plant is OK it will very slowly start to grow again.

    If this happens it could be a very slow process to re-establish its self again.

    Keith:):)
     
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  14. stefano-bonalume

    stefano-bonalume Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I can't use any fertiliser tabs because I would pull all the C. parva out of the gravel if I touch it. If they grow, even if very slow, fine. If they die, it won't be an issue, I will try something else.
    Today I finished planting the tank. Water is a bit cloudy.
    Here you are some pics of the finished tank.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I tied Microsorum 'Trident' on a long rock.

    [​IMG]

    Bolbitis is behind Microsorum. Some portions are on a rock and some are on tied to a plastic pot. I put a little rock in it to make in sink and stay in place.

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. greenfinger 2

    greenfinger 2 Active Aquascaper

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    Hi Stefano,
    Great start looking good :rolleyes:

    You can put root tabs in. Crush a root tab up and add a 3-4 ml of water then suck this up into a syringe "With out the needle".Then lightly push the tip of the syringe into the gravel around the plants and add a little of the mix around the plants ;)
    After a couple of months you can then use tweezers to place the root tabs in as the plants should have there roots well established :)

    Looking forward to see it all grow in now :)
     
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  16. stefano-bonalume

    stefano-bonalume Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I didn't tink about doing it! Thank you very much!
    When should I start using liquid and tabs fertilisers? I was thinking of waiting a few weeks to give plants time to start growing new roots and attacking to rocks.
     
  17. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    stefano-bonalume

    Roy that is a great idea I never stop leaning

    The fert tabs are not that big all I do is push them in about 1cm deep it should not disturb the plants at all as you do not have to place them next to the plants.

    I would be feeding now especially the fert tabs as the Crypts are heavy root feeders and your substrate new therefore would not have much in the way of nutrients in the substrate at the moment.

    If you have any Carbon in your filter immediately as it will quickly remove the liquid ferts.

    It is an excellent product to use after using medications etc for 3-4 days then it must be removed.

    Keith:):)
     
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  18. stefano-bonalume

    stefano-bonalume Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Unfortunately I won't be able to buy fertiliser tabs and liquid fertiliser until a few weeks. Could I add very (veeery) little of potted plants powder fertiliser to the water while I wait to get the appropriate ones? I also have some MgSO4, could a little bit help? ..I won't add shrims and the Betta before a month or so.

    I removed the activate carbon from the filter.

    How many hours a day does the light need t0 be on?
     
  19. stefano-bonalume

    stefano-bonalume Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Added a few floating Spirodela polyrhiza and a few fish food to improve bacteria growth.
    Some other photos of today, a bit less cloudy. Hope all plants will grow because I like how they are planted.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Here you can see where Bolbitis is planted.

    [​IMG]

    Left side.

    [​IMG]

    Right side.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
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  20. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    stefano-bonalume

    I would only use the correct aquarium plant fertilisers its not worth trying unless you are a fully experienced plant grower and know exactly what and why you are using non Aquarium products.

    Plants love fresh water, I would be doing at least two 30% water changes per week.

    As far as the light I would start slowly try 8hrs per day for a week them move to 12hrs per day, if you start to have any problems go back 1hr until you get it right.

    Other members could have a different method then its up to you to decide what works best for your plants.

    Keith:):)
     
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