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Six Gallon Rimless Flora Project

Discussion in 'Aquascaping Journals' started by aquaticmaniac, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. aquaticmaniac

    aquaticmaniac New Member

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    Today I'm starting up a 6g rimless tank my BF had in his cellar (which I only JUST found out about :33:).

    The Purpose
    To feed my aquarium/aquascaping addiction.
    To house collected flora.
    To utilise as much as I can with little purchased.
    To be an almost completely DIY project, e.g. make almost everything, except the tank.

    What I plan to Make (If I have what I need to make them)
    Substrate - I'm toying with a concoction now. I hope to make a substrate low in organic matter, that looks good, and is good for the plants. We'll see how that goes! My only other option, without buying something, is a largish grain of play sand, which isn't that disgusting yellowy colour, but more of a tan.

    Decoration - I have yet to find any wood suitable for this project. I have found a number of rocks from the garden, like river rocks, that I'm playing with the layout of now.

    Lighting - Not finalised, but I will probably end up using a flexible lamp with a CF light bulb. I'll have to find it and check the wattage :-"

    Filtration - I'll probably be making a sponge filter, if I can find everything I need. If not, I think there's an internal filter lying around here somewhere.

    What I Have (Some not assembled)
    Tank
    Filtration
    Rocks
    Lighting
    Water

    Since this is mostly DIY, it's going to take some time and may not see its end :time:. I have absolutely no plants, but hopefully can collect some, otherwise my poor cheap self will have to wait a while before it's planted.

    To keep myself busy I've doodled some things on powerpoint.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'll try and get real pics up later. The dimensions in the depictions aren't right. I thought it was a 10g, but after measuring it it's 18" L, 10" W, and 10" H. Advice, input, criticism welcomed :D
     
  2. Chadly

    Chadly New Member

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    hmm, it seems your focus is quite broad on this one. I would narrow your focus to the substrate and equipment, possibly forget about any type of hardscape, just plants. Work out the kinks, get the basics nailed down. Then figure you have a nice stock of well grown plants, things may move smoothly once you get to the actual scaping part.

    Are you planning to collect native plants in your area? If that's the case, getting that to work out may be quite a challenge.
     
  3. Brian

    Brian New Member

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    Thats is great. if I only have a GF that likes Aquariums and likes DIY. Only in dreaming

    recomendation:

    when you make it, put a lot of plants in it. That prevents algae that can be form because you use soil. I recently use soil on one of my aquarium (super natural) the aquarium are on my backyard :D. try to put some otos and snails can be very useful too. Mantain it simple. dont change a lots of water if you dont have to. The high levels of bacterias is important to converts the organics compounds to inorganic. And try to make a balance as fast you can. Have aroutine for change water etc..
     
  4. aquaticmaniac

    aquaticmaniac New Member

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    Thanks for the recommendations so far!

    Nice to know someone else has done something similar, Brian. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Chadly, yes, I'm hoping to collect some plants. Are you saying it will be a challenge because the plants will grow differently in my tank than they are in the wild, finding the right plants will be hard, etc?

    More information/advice is very welcomed :)
     
  5. aquaticmaniac

    aquaticmaniac New Member

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    Well, since this is a journal, I might as well update it.

    Tank News
    Turns out the tank is just a tad shorter (18") than a 10 gallon and not quite as tall. The volume comes to roughly 7 US gallons and roughly 6 UK gallons.

    Substrate Update, Cycling, and Algae Prevention
    I mixed up my substrate. If it ends up not doing much for plants, at least it has a nice colour! hehe. I washed it a few times and put a Fluval2 on it overnight. It's much clearer, but still has some to go.

    I'm seeding the tank with filter media from another established tank. In addition, I've also added a bunch (as in a lot, not a bunch bunch) of Elodea densa (no way this is staying permanently). Might keep the algae down? I haven't added a CO2 device yet, because I'm afraid that'll feed algae, since I don't have many plants. Thoughts? More info below.

    CO2 Updates
    I also made a DIY CO2 diffuser. I am so proud of that little thing, heh. Air seems to diffuse from it well enough, but the real test will be when it's up and running on my tank. On top of that, it looks nice for a DIY job.

    I haven't added CO2 to the tank yet for a couple of reasons. For one, I haven't found a suitable plastic bottle. Would it be stupid to use a large glass jar? I know there's a fear that it'll blow up, but as long as the CO2 can vent, it shouldn't blow, correct? Anyway, I'll add CO2 when I get it together and hopefully have some more plants in it.

    Questions
    I don't have problems with snails, as in I like them. I was wondering why people seed their tanks with them? I've seen this done on a few forums now. Help with cycling, they eat matter that might decay, etc? I'm not sure, just theorizing here.
     
  6. Chadly

    Chadly New Member

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    leah, Don't get me wrong, I'm not doubting your abilities. I would guess that some of your local plants would have different requirements than most tropical plants that are typically grown by most hobbyists. I think that goes from my experiences attempting to grow some plants I've found outside and failed. For example, you probably wouldn't need a heater... I would initially assume for myself that I'd have problems growing any new local plant I find in the wild until I get one or two that do well.

    I've heard about the snail seeding thing as well. I've given some out for people who wanted some. Although they are very common, MTS are added by people to help keep thier substrate fresher by burrowing through it and releasing areas that are compacted and anaerobic.

    I dont' mind snails either, I actually put some pond snails in my 28 to clean off some leaves of my plants that have some fuzzy algea on them. It was amazing that when I moved some infected trimmings from one tank to another, the pond snails clean them off literally overnight.
     
  7. aquaticmaniac

    aquaticmaniac New Member

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    Thanks for the info, Chadly. I currently don't have a heater in the tank. Supposedly riccia and Eleocharis parvula are native plants. I think I may have found some hairgrass in the past, but I'll have to find/identify it later on, if I can.

    I'm familiar with MTS burrowing in the substrate, but I've read where people seeded their new tanks with physa, etc. I thought it was a bit odd, but maybe it's just to keep it looking lively? :p I really can't think of another reason. I can't imagine the bioload would be enough to help the cycle, would it? I'll be adding some regardless of the reason.
     
  8. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm not a big fan of snails. I'm thinking you probably don't need to add them into your tanks purposefully. They will always find their ways into the tank via plant clippings or tank cleanings (or at least in my case). Anyways, I believe the benefits as mention before at least with MTS is to stir the substrate slightly. I personally don't think it's needed but if you like snails then it certainly doesn't hurt to add them. As for putting other species of snails in their to help cycle..never heard of people do that regularly The only other reason I can think of why people would add snails is because they are keeping Pufferfish in that tank and want to start a food source for it.

    Shifting gears to local plant collection. Chadly's right about some plants growing differently then how they look in the wild. I would keep them in a separate tank if you have one and see how they grow first. This would help keep your aquascape clean from the potential plant rot that may occur, and will help quaritine any "wild" hitchhikers.

    Lastly, the overall aquascape plan looks good. Very nice illustration of your plan. Hopefully it'll come together as you imagined it. You have an interesting DIY substrate plan which I think will work. Make sure the "organic" stuff that you are topping off with the sand doesn't get blown up into the water column.

    -John N.
     
  9. aquaticmaniac

    aquaticmaniac New Member

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    Thanks, John! It seems that some snails have managed their way in already.

    As far as the hardscape goes, things look different than the illustration. I wasn't able to find any wood that I liked, so I've gone with some dark river rocks of various sizes. In the past, I've mostly used wood in my tanks in the past, so it's a bit different trying to lay these out. I can always switch the rocks out if I come across wood that I like.

    This is what the layout sort of looks like. I moved things around after adding the substrate. I'm not entirely happy with it; definitely more of an ornamental look than I usually go for.
    [​IMG]
    Just the layout
    [​IMG]

    And for kicks, here's a pic of the diffuser I made. I don't know how well it'll work when hooked up to my CO2 supply, but I'll find out and change it if necessary.
    [​IMG]

    I apologize for the photo quality. My photography is usually much better, but the screen on my digi cam is broken, so I can't really see what I'm shooting :rolleyes: A few other things to point out, I need to get that darn label off the back! Missed it, hehe. And I'll be adding a proper background when I decide on colour.
     
  10. aquaticmaniac

    aquaticmaniac New Member

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    Journal Update
    Today, since the water is cleared, I plan to make a sponge filter that's more fitting in size and remove the internal filter. I'll post photos if I get it done today :)
     
  11. KristinM85

    KristinM85 New Member

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    Sounds like a fun project, Leah! I'm glad you are getting to setup a tank over there. :)
     
  12. aquaticmaniac

    aquaticmaniac New Member

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    I thought I might have to tempt people's advice back to this thread with brownies for a second :))

    Thanks, Kristin! I'm glad I finally got to set up a tank here as well.

    Soo, today has been very productive.

    Filter: I made a sponge/air driven filter. I didn't have a big bit of sponge to use, so I used some clear tubing, a slender glass jar, filter media, airstone, and airline. That seems to be working great so far.

    CO2: I found a couple things that might improve the look and effectiveness of my diffuser. I'm going to have to seal off some parts before using it. If it works, I'm going to be very happy :D If not, that's ok, I've got an airstone I can stick on, and hey, it was free and worth a try. I just need to finalize the diffuser, make some seals, and make my CO2 mix, et voila.

    Lighting is still an issue. They make things kind of differently than back in the States, heh. That said, you can get some pretty cheap lighting hardware, so I'll probably be fine in the lighting department. I want to shoot for at least 2-2.5wpg.

    So far no creapy crawlies in my substrate I mixed up.

    Now for a question...

    Whilst rummaging through a box of aquarium supplies, I found ~230ml of "Nutrafin Aquatic Plant Food: Plant Gro 'New Improved Formula"

    Constituents:
    Total Nitrogen 0.15%/0.15% Water soluble organic nitrogen (chelated agent), Iron 0.26%/0.26% Chelated iron, Maganese 0.05%/0.05% Chelated & Soluble Manganese, Zinc 0.003%/0.003% Chelated Zinc

    It says to dose "10ml per 70 liters provide 0.3mg/l of iron." Should I use this stuff? Anyone know if this product is good? I guess if I don't have enough plants when/if I use it, it might lead to algae. How heavily planted does it need to be to be worth using, if at all? I grasp the concept of ferts, but it's confusing to me when I should add them and what to do if I get algae.
     
  13. aquaticmaniac

    aquaticmaniac New Member

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    I got the answer to my question about the trace mix. I might try it out. It sounds like it's not that necessary, but might help a little. I'll have to wait and see.

    The filter is working beautifully; better than any air driven filter I've purchased. I'm surprised that it's providing a fair amount of surface agitation as well.

    I've installed my CO2 unit. I have yet to actually provide any CO2 because I don't have many plants, besides the anacharis which is just there to suck up some nutrients. I may go ahead tomorrow and make my mix and see what happens. Hopefully not leading to an algae plague :rolleyes:

    Everything seems to be going fine otherwise. I need to do a bit of a clean on the substrate surface. I'm also trying to convert a moss to fully submersed. I'm not entirely sure what type of moss it is, but I've managed to grow small portions submersed in smaller (0.3L) set ups before.

    I haven't got around to my lighting issue yet...boo. I need to work on that. I feel like I'm talking to myself :-p

    *puts out a plate of brownies*
     
  14. aquaticmaniac

    aquaticmaniac New Member

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    Not much to say today. The CO2 is up, planted the moss I found, 'scaped a bit, and did a water change.

    There's a bright green damselfly or dragonfly larvae in my tank. Must have come from the bucket of water outside. I want plants, and I'm getting impatient, hehe. I would have taken pics today, but the camera is MIA.
     
  15. aquaticmaniac

    aquaticmaniac New Member

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    Bad pics from a phone. It's very cloudy because I just stirred things up quite a bit.

    FTS
    [​IMG]

    Left side with DIY filter
    [​IMG]

    Right side with DIY diffuser
    [​IMG]
     

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