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  1. BigTom

    Understanding adaptation to no Water Changes

    To echo what the others have said... I ran the old Bucket without water changes initially and had no algae. I then switched to regular water changes and still had no algae. No reason not to do them. Sent from my HUAWEI GRA-L09 using Tapatalk
  2. BigTom

    Plant collection

    I suspect most of those will be OK. RE: Aponogeton crispus red, mine went completely ballistic in the old Bucket of Mud, should be easy.
  3. BigTom

    Crypts, Anubias and substrate

    I think you mean net oxygen producers Darrel :) Posting from my mobile, please excuse brevity!
  4. BigTom

    Is minimal flow enough for low tech?

    I've run tanks with very low flow (even no flow at all) and lots of pants will be fine. Carpeting plants do tend to respond well to a moderate flow though in my experience. I'd probably aim for 2-4x turnover as a good compromise but there's no hard and fast rule really. Sent from my Lenovo...
  5. BigTom

    Οne stem species for low tech?

    Seems pretty unfathomable to me, and certainly isn't necessary in my experience. Sent from my Lenovo K50-t5 using Tapatalk
  6. BigTom

    Οne stem species for low tech?

    Sounds like hokum to me. Sent from my Lenovo K50-t5 using Tapatalk
  7. BigTom

    Use of ADA Soil in Low Tech.

    Just use the ADA.
  8. BigTom

    Problems with UG

    I tried UG a couple of times low tech and like Darrel only had success when it was growing right at the water surface (mixed in with some already established moss on a piece of wood). Sent from my LT30p using Tapatalk
  9. BigTom

    Low Tech noob!

    Grows like a weed in almost any conditions. Kind of hard work for a carpet because you forever have to bury the new growth, but for nice clumps and trails it works really well.
  10. BigTom

    Low Tech noob!

    Yeah sag got pretty large for me too. DHG can be a little hit and miss but is generally OK, and Lilleaopsis brasiliensis has always done well for me. Blyxa was fine as well when I tried it but stayed very compact. Sent from my LT30p using Tapatalk
  11. BigTom

    Dwarf hairgrass low tech

    Could be flow, could be the extra ambient light from the window - I've noticed even indirect light can sometimes make a noticeable difference in low tech setups. Sorry meant to say that extra ambient light can make a difference to growth rate. I've had dhg grow practically in the dark so I'd...
  12. BigTom

    Black cube 123

    Needs another big cube for symmetry :)
  13. BigTom

    Black cube 123

    That last shot definitely looks like a sumatranus to me. The black spot is pretty characteristic as far as I know, at least for males.
  14. BigTom

    Biotope Fauna/Flora Lists

    Michael Lo is a pretty good source of inspiration for that neck of the woods, although a lot of the info is spread all over the place. http://www.aquarticles.com/articles/travel/asia/index.html (scroll down a bit to find the SE Asia stuff) http://junglemikey.blogspot.co.uk/ After that your...
  15. BigTom

    New to low tech.

    Yeah it'll just be harder to deal with if it gets established. Make life hard for it.
  16. BigTom

    New to low tech.

    Probably the swing in co2 that's triggered it then. I'd manually remove as much as possible, and perhaps add some ramshorns, spot dose excel if you have some and remove the reflector from the light if possible. The usual advice!
  17. BigTom

    New to low tech.

    Which algae would you say it was? http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/algae.htm I find with most of the longer filamentous types that manual removal is a good start, they normally don't come back once the tank has matured.
  18. BigTom

    To soil or not to soil?

    Yeah i can't see a whole lot of point in bothering with soil if you're mainly going to be attaching plants to hardscape.
  19. BigTom

    Low-tech lawns

    Well if you insist :p The L. brasiliensis is getting a bit of green spot sadly, but then most of the leaves are 1-2 years old I guess.
  20. BigTom

    Aquatic Jungle

    Those plants should all be fine. I wouldn't worry about the epiphytes, they're quite slow growing and should get all they need from the water column (half the plants in my low tech soil tank were previously fans and suchlike and did fine). You may want to consider occasional fert dosing if...
  21. BigTom

    Maxing CO2 in Low Techs

    Um, dunno. It's an Eheim 2323 but probably running at reduced speed because it's pushing water through a very fine filter sock (I get water clarity issues otherwise). A quick google tells me its rated at 700l/h and I've got a maximum of 200l of water in the tank (probably a bit less), so...
  22. BigTom

    Maxing CO2 in Low Techs

    Faizal there's no way I would want to try and pass something off as a conclusive answer with the meager data at hand, and I'm not sure I even concluded anything from the tests other than that no flow = lower pH. I think your tank has really nice dimensions and it should be possible to produce...
  23. BigTom

    Maxing CO2 in Low Techs

    That's what I was expecting to see. I must admit I hadn't really considered the role of oxygen in all this - my understanding was that it's effect on pH was relatively small compared to CO2, have I got that wrong? I had been wondering if the similarity in the graph shapes was due to the plants...
  24. BigTom

    Black cube 123

    I think albi are supposed to be pretty easy to keep/breed as well (certainly compared to macrostoma) and are almost as nice, so perhaps not a bad thing.
  25. BigTom

    Black cube 123

    Pretty much in the dark.
  26. BigTom

    Black cube 123

    Glad its not just me that was wondering that! Hope you didn't pay macrostoma prices... although having said that the last albimarginata I saw were still £35 a pair.
  27. BigTom

    Black cube 123

    I've never kept them either but as far as I know pretty all species need hard and relatively specific water conditions. Also your macrostoma are going to end up over 10cm long and chunky and I'm willing to bet will demolish anything shrimp sized.
  28. BigTom

    Maxing CO2 in Low Techs

    I just did an experiment, sort of. I've stated a couple of times previously purely on the basis of intuition that I reckoned a shallow tank like mine with a reasonable amount of flow would probably be fairly good at keeping CO2 levels somewhere around equilibrium. So I measured pH at regular...
  29. BigTom

    Maxing CO2 in Low Techs

    Funny this thread got bumped, I'm right in the middle of a little trial to see what effect shutting off the flow/surface movement has on the pH (as a proxy for CO2) in my tank. On the second day of monitoring pH with the usual flow setup, if it agrees roughly with yesterday's results I'll shut...
  30. BigTom

    EI Natural/Low Tech Literature?

    I really like the articles on this blog, they were a lot of inspiration when I was starting out - Natural aquariums « tuncalik.com – Natural Aquariums and Sustainable Life
  31. BigTom

    Maxing CO2 in Low Techs

    Perhaps you have convinced me. I'll add it to the list for Santa.
  32. BigTom

    Maxing CO2 in Low Techs

    I've never actually read Walstad, but I think in this case it just refers to the fact that the commercial soil mixes favoured in this sort of approach tend to contain limestone, which is a ready source of calcium carbonate.
  33. BigTom

    Maxing CO2 in Low Techs

    I used to run zero flow a la Walstad on my tank, and while plenty of plant species grew really well I did have trouble with some. Glosso, for example, only ever grew upwards and predictably died off in the end. I've now tried again and have glosso happily carpeting along the front. Although I've...
  34. BigTom

    Maxing CO2 in Low Techs

    I certainly think it is for these tanks. A good trickle filter should give comparable results though, I would think, if paired with appropriate flow through the tank.
  35. BigTom

    Maxing CO2 in Low Techs

    And at the risk of self-promotion, I think Alastair and myself have demonstrated that the shallow method works pretty well -
  36. BigTom

    Maxing CO2 in Low Techs

    Some discussion here - Starting up on the fresher side of fishkeeping. | Page 2 | UK Aquatic Plant Society And here - Low tech lighting levels | Page 3 | UK Aquatic Plant Society
  37. BigTom

    Maxing CO2 in Low Techs

    Yeah we've discussed this a little bit in a couple of threads, but I'll be darned if I can find them. The general feeling from a few of us low-techers was that maintaining an equilibrium level of CO2 through having shallow tanks, lots of surface movement or wet/dry trickle filters was a better...
  38. BigTom

    Low tech questions?

    Ah well, therein lies the rub. Single most important thing with low tech - patience (or having an excess of mature plants to use).
  39. BigTom

    Low tech questions?

    I'm with Darrel on the importance of a large plant biomass, and balancing biomass with light. I'm terrifically inconsistent with my tanks; I've got the big shallow one and three nano cubes (with only 1/9th of the surface area:volume ratio of the shallow one), and all have been run at very...
  40. BigTom

    Cube 123, first Low-tech try

    Most commercial mixes seem to have a large amount of peat in them anyway. I'm sure you'll be able to find some pond mix or something locally (or dip a bucket in a polder!). Just be aware that a lot of commercial mixes also contain limestone which will raise your hardness and pH (regardless of...
  41. BigTom

    Help and advice on lowtech

    Heh, looks good to me. Although you've put the Lileaopsis at the back and it'll end up shorter than the hairgrass once the HG gets going. You can always trim the HG to the desired length though.
  42. BigTom

    Help and advice on lowtech

    They're defintiely swords (Echinodorus) of some sort. The larger ones are probably E. radicans/cordifolius, not sure about the others. Should be pretty straight forward to grow. Be aware that the leaves they've got now are from growing emersed (out of water) and will slowly die off and be...
  43. BigTom

    Help and advice on lowtech

    Looks fine to me.
  44. BigTom

    Help and advice on lowtech

    Nice. I'd leave it without water in until you've planted, makes it much easier. PS, you might find you get quite a lot of tannins from the soil at the start - regular water changes or some carbon/purigen in the filter should clear it up easily if you don't like the look.
  45. BigTom

    Help and advice on lowtech

    Buy the blue bag stuff (original aquasoil) from the nursey. Alastair and myself have both used it without issue; it'll grow plants well and not mess about too much with your water.
  46. BigTom

    Help and advice on lowtech

    The Fluval stuff is one of the 'Gucci' planted tank substrates. They're all really expensive but have the advantage of being less messy and probably not needing a cap. The J Arthur Bowers will just be normal pond compost and should work fine. Not entirely sure what it's make up is, but I'd...
  47. BigTom

    Help and advice on lowtech

    Depends mainly on what sort of water stats you want Liam. They'll all grow plants fine but the John Innes mixes and most other commerical mixes will contain lots of limestone, phosphate and sulphate which will raise your pH and hardness considerably. The Aqua Soil doesn't contain these and won't...
  48. BigTom

    Help and advice on lowtech

    There was some discussion of non-co2 plant sin this thread - help me choose the right plants | UK Aquatic Plant Society All the ones you've been offered should be fairly easy.
  49. BigTom

    Help and advice on lowtech

    L. brasilliensis should do well (it'll be slow but steady spread). H. callitrichiodes is a no go without lots of co2. You could plant some E. acicularis in between the lilleaopsis to get a mix of textures and then it wouldn't matter if it wasn't so dense. The various java fern varieties...
  50. BigTom

    Help and advice on lowtech

    Most carpeting will spread by sending out runners, although it's likely to be quite slow with low tech. Lilleaopsis brasiliensis has done well for me, and Alastair's mutant tennelus (or whatever it is) is going berserk. Hairgrass only ever seems to do 'OK' for me, never spreads terribly...
  51. BigTom

    Help and advice on lowtech

    Cutting and replanting only works for stems really. If you chop hairgrass in half the top end will just die (as far as I know! /prepares to be corrected).
  52. BigTom

    Help and advice on lowtech

    You can bulk out soil with grit or gravel no problems, just remember to wash the dust off before hand or it may cloud your water. And capping with sand is a good idea, bare soil is really easily disturbed. About an inch of sand on top should do the trick.
  53. BigTom

    My new low tech attempt

    Looking really nice there faizal. Well composed layout with good lines and balanced planting. I'd just let the plants grow a bit wild now to soften the edges and jobs a goodun. Vertical stick at the back I'm not sold on though...
  54. BigTom

    Which soil for low tech tank?

    Hi Matty, this was covered quite recently in this thread - which potting compost ? | UK Aquatic Plant Society
  55. BigTom

    Is it ok to....?

    I guess it depends on how much water you're changing. If you've got a tds meter then that should be able to give you a rough idea if you're dosing more than your plants and water changes can remove. Duckweed index is a good idea, or you could try something like 1/4 ei and keep an eye on tds.
  56. BigTom

    Inspired once more

    I'd go for a good inch personally.
  57. BigTom

    Inspired once more

    You could try without a cap, but it'll be very messy if you ever try and move anything, have strong flow or have bottom dwelling fish. I have seen it done in small filterless tanks though. The pond aquasoil is quite literally soil (like you'd dig out of your garden) and hence turns to mud once...
  58. BigTom

    Inspired once more

    Sphagnum :) Yes. Yes. You'll want to cap the soil with something though (sand or fine gravel). Yes. No problemo :)
  59. BigTom

    Soil tank dosing

    This is possibly going to sound a bit patronising (and isn't at all meant to be!), but one of the most important skills for low tech planted aquarium success is patience. The joy of soil tanks is being able to watch your plants flourish with the bare minimum of fussing and worrying. My advice...
  60. BigTom

    Soil tank dosing

    No idea mate, sorry. I've got a bottle of all-in-one mix from TNC which I almost never use anyway... gone through about 200ml in 2.5 years. Completely ignorant when it comes to dosing.
  61. BigTom

    Soil tank dosing

    Yeah I did exactly the same thing, started out trying to keep Parosphromenus and other soft water fish, eventually realised how hard the John Innes was makign the water and switched to more suitable fish species. Well lots of plants have different shaped leaves depending on whether they're...
  62. BigTom

    Soil tank dosing

    I'm struggling a bit with the idea of nutrient deficiencies soon after setup with JI3 in a low tech tank, it's absolutely loaded with ferts (John Innes Composts explained). Which plants are struggling and how long has the tank been running? Some will not do well due to a lack of co2, that's...
  63. BigTom

    Co2 in a low tech

    Darrel, we'll forgive you because it was 5.30 on a Friday, but the post was about Java fern, not moss :p
  64. BigTom

    Co2 in a low tech

    Yeah, using a mix of Westland's aquatic compost and that blue bag stuff, with a bag of extra grit thrown in to improve aeration because it's 6 to 8 inches deep in places. Capped with sand. Get quite a lot of what I'm guessing is CO2 bubbling up from time to time.
  65. BigTom

    Co2 in a low tech

    Darrel pretty much covered it all, but to put your mind at rest I have quite a lot of surface movement these days Alastair and plants seem to be doing better than ever.
  66. BigTom

    What is the best dirt for a dirt tank?

    Maybe try the 'Original Aqua Soil' that Alastair is using Morgan... doesn't seem to be affecting his stats much.
  67. BigTom

    Deep Sand Bed low maintenance 70litre

    To be honest I never thought about it in that much depth. It's just a normal, low tech planted tank really (similar to a 'Walstead' style approach), with the addition of riparian plants, a larger than normal area:volume ratio and a very light stocking. Substrate is about an inch of soil capped...
  68. BigTom

    Deep Sand Bed low maintenance 70litre

    At the risk of self-pimping, you may find the info in my two threads useful for a non-DSB take on a self sustaining setup http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=14521 http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f= ... =tentative And also this, for another example of how it can be done -...
  69. BigTom

    Soil That Wont Boost Ph,Kh,Gh

    Depends how soft he needs really as to whether or not Westlands/B&Q will do the trick. I'm using the Westlands stuff at the moment and TDS is up to about 230ppm, compared to 45ppm out the tap.
  70. BigTom

    Soil That Wont Boost Ph,Kh,Gh

    Sphagnum moss peat is the stuff to go for (bit environmentally unfriendly, mind you). Just make sure it hasn't been treated with anything. For the loam, I'd just find a nice bit of beech or oak woodland and dig some up. Might still want to test if it effects hardness if it's growing on chalky...
  71. BigTom

    Soil That Wont Boost Ph,Kh,Gh

    Re: Soil That Wont Bosst Ph,Kh,Gh I'm sure Alistair will post here soon, he's been trialling some pond Aqua Soil which doesn't seem to be effecting water parameters too much. Failing that, I would make up my own mix from peat, lime-free grit/sand and collected beech/oak loam. All the...
  72. BigTom

    miracle grow organic potatoe/veg

    Yeah, that's all I could find online as well. I suspect it's high in peat, so will be balanced with lime as almost all these commercial mixes are. What I'm not entirely sure of is how much of the effect they have on hardness is due to the lime vs the phosphates and sulphates.
  73. BigTom

    miracle grow organic potatoe/veg

    Any idea what it did to your water chemistry? Like I said, contains lime, phosphate and sulphate. Will grow plants fine, but pump up your hardness a lot, whether or not that's an issue depends on your proposed fish.
  74. BigTom

    miracle grow organic potatoe/veg

    You got a breakdown of added ingredients for that foxfish?
  75. BigTom

    miracle grow organic potatoe/veg

    These all contain added lime, sulphates and phosphates. The Miracel Gro organic range seem to replace a lot of the peat with other organic matter. Either way, these will happily grow plants, but be prepared for a long period of ammonia leaching (especially the MGO), and for your water to be...
  76. BigTom

    westland aquatic compost

    Used this recently when changing substrate... pretty much just planted then headed off for 5 weeks so wasn't around to monitor ammonia. All livestock seems fine so i doubt it leached too much ammonia (although I do have a huge amount of plants that would have soaked it up). Just an FYI though...
  77. BigTom

    miracle gro organic choice - enriched

    The MGO stuff also contains a lot of cow/chicken manure by all accounts, so be prepared for a long period of ammonia leaching. BTW, for anyone wondering about the JI micex this is handy - http://www.gardeningdata.co.uk/soil/joh ... _innes.php Of course, it doesn't tell you what's in the loam...
  78. BigTom

    Joe's tank

    Love those morphos. Never kept them myself, but they're definitely on the 'one day' list.
  79. BigTom

    Question about soil, ammonia and water quality

    When I set up my soil tank I ended up going away for nearly a month as soon as it was filled so I can't say for sure how long it took for the ammonia spike to pass, but if the soil has not been mineralised than I suspect it is a matter of weeks rather than days until your soil stops leaching...
  80. BigTom

    Joe's tank

    Very nice Joe. Almost makes me with I had a top on my tank to try some of the high humidty emersed plants.
  81. BigTom

    New low tech tank idea, please advise

    One of the John Innes mixes, think it might have been Number 5 but not entirely sure (one of the leaner ones anyway). I hear Miracle Grow aquatic compost is also OK.
  82. BigTom

    New low tech tank idea, please advise

    Agree with Darrel, I used a roughly 1:1 mix of compost/sand, capped with an inch or so of pure sand and seems to have worked well.
  83. BigTom

    A tentative plan for self sufficiency

    I get back to Edinburgh on Tuesday Darrel, that would be great. I might break out my super-macro kit sometime this month and try and get an inventory of the various critters.
  84. BigTom

    A tentative plan for self sufficiency

    Hi Mxx, This tank has now been running for 9 months (you can see progress in the journal here - http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f= ... &start=130). Currently supporting 4 otos, 7 Bororas maculata and 6 Parosphromenus sp. 'sintang'. I found that cylcops and various other inverts arrived...
  85. BigTom

    Setting up el natural 220l tall, help needed.

    Ps my tank is very lightly stocked, if you're going to fully stock I would err on the safe side and have a small matten filter or sponge filter as Darrel suggested.
  86. BigTom

    Setting up el natural 220l tall, help needed.

    Yeah you do get a pretty noticeable thermal cline without any water movement. I tried it both ways and settled on a heavily throttled powerhead which spreads the heat and helps dissipate surface scum which is pretty common in El Nat tanks.
  87. BigTom

    A tentative plan for self sufficiency

    Tanks here :) 3'x1'x3', loving the dimensions! Scaping it is going to be awesomely fun. Sadly I'm away again in 2 weeks so might have to wait til I get back in December.
  88. BigTom

    A tentative plan for self sufficiency

    Well, this is go! Custom 36"W x 12"H x 36"D braceless tank ordered and due in 2 weeks, and I've got a preliminary plant list and scape planned out, and a 70W halide on the way (£20 off ebay). Planning on using John Innes or similar as the substrate, but not sure what to cap it with. Need...
  89. BigTom

    A tentative plan for self sufficiency

    Pretty set on this now, although if anyone has any further input it'd be appreciated. Away soon on fieldwork til end of September, but hopefully will su a journal thread after that. BTW Matt, how are your chocs doing? They're one of the species I was considering for this project, but think it...
  90. BigTom

    A tentative plan for self sufficiency

    Thanks for the feedback Matt. The tank cover would only be in place when I was away, and as the tank will be in my room it isnt an eyesore for anyone except the fish. As long as the extra humidity doesnt knobble the emergent plants then it shouldn't be an issue. Defintely want to have fish...
  91. BigTom

    A tentative plan for self sufficiency

    Right... this may turn into a wall of text, so please bear with me! I gave up fishkeeping about a year ago due to starting a PhD which involves being away from home for 6 weeks at a time, 4 times a year. However, I've recently started thinking if there was a way I could run something lowtech...
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