60cm Riparium

Discussion in 'Journals' started by hydrophyte, 12 Mar 2010.

  1. hydrophyte

    hydrophyte Member

    Messages:
    774
    I have a start on a new display. I don't have the tank in place yet, so I start this pre-journal thread to jot down some ideas. As I get it rolling I might just continue with this thread, or start a new journal thread.

    I had a lot of fun with the layout that I had going in my 200L tank. Here's a recent shot of that one.

    18-ii-10-tank-i-m.jpg

    I list here are a few features that characterize this one pretty well:

    • A tank filled with water to about 2/3 of total depth
    • Relatively bright lighting
    • Erect, tidy, "grassy" background plant (Cyperus) that throws relatively little shade
    • Fine-leaved sprawling stem plants (Bacopa, Limnophila, and others) growing on trellis rafts and forming dense floating carpet
    • Underwater scape lacking plants, but with an artistically-rendered stone layout
    • Relatively large and showy fish
    • A striking centerpiece plant (Cyrtosperma)

    This new project will use some of the same elements, with important variations. I want to employ a general "Nature Aquarium" design concept. I list here the main features that will support this idea, which include a couple of important modifications for emersed riparium growing:

    • Emersed plants with relatively fine foliage
    • Emersed plants having mainly subdued, green foliage, as opposed to leaf variegation or bright coloration
    • A well-rendered underwater hardscape lacking plants or having just a few bright green plants
    • A group or two of small, tightly-shoaling fish
    • No conspicuous centerpiece plants or fish

    So, moving on to more specific ideas, I organize the general plan here by sub-heading.

    Tank Hardware

    As for the 200-litre display, I intend for this setup to also feature a mostly-full tank, but I will use a smaller enclosure. My best idea right now is to use a standard 60-litre tank--I have several of these laying around--with the top rim plastic rim removed. I like this tank shape (60cm wide X 30cm deep X 30cm tall) very much. This is a smaller tank than any that I have tried for an actual riaprium layout, but I think that it should work well with the right configuration of equipment an plant selection. As I did for the 200-litre setup, I will probably fill this tank with water to about 2/3 of total depth, so it will hold about 40 litres of water.

    I will figure out some kind of canister filter for filtration and circulation.

    I want to put this tank on a stand built in the raw industrial (http://hydrophytesblog.com/?p=214) style that I have used several times before. This type of stand will look perfect with this light fixture...

    http://www.paradigmgardens.com/hydroponicstore/store/product.php?productid=2204&cat=84&page=2

    I will put all of the background plants in magnetic riparium planters. For a small layout this planter style is superior to the model that uses suction cups. The suction cups stick out from the side of the planter cup, adding about 5cm to the total width. By using the magnetic riparium planters I will be able to fit seven cups along that rear pane of glass in the 60cm tank.

    [​IMG]

    Hardscape

    As I mentioned above, I hope to draw on Nature Aquarium design principals for this layout. I intend for the underwater area to lack plants, or include just a few, and feature a well-rendered hardscape with rocks. I have enjoyed the effect of the rounded river stones in the 200-litre setup.

    [​IMG]

    While it is pretty easy to situate these rounded stones in a convincing layout, I think that I will try to use angular pieces for this project. I will also encourage the development of an algae crust or patina for these rocks. So long as filaments of hair algae are scraped away from the rocks and the gravel is maintained clean with frequent stirring, a scape with algae-covered rocks like these maintains a neat yet natural appearance.

    Emersed Plants--Layout Background

    My general idea is to develop the background with "grassy" foliage. The major constraint for the plant growth habit and shape is that they scale well with this smaller tank. I think I have some pretty good selections for this concept. The selections that I describe here grow well in wet/marginal aquatic situations.

    I have several ideas for midground emersed plants to be grown on trellis rafts. I will come back to describe these with another post.

    Of these three plants only the first, Pogonatherum crinitum is a true grass (Graminae). The Cyperus is a sedge (Cyperaceae) and the Acorus is a sweetflag (Acoraceae).

    Pogonatherum crinitum

    This one is still untested for riparium culture--I only recently acquired it--but it looks like it might be a winner. Known with the common names "baby panda bamboo" or "miniature bamboo", among others, it is not a true bamboo, but it is a grass. I am confused as to whether Pogonatherum paniceum (another plant that appears in searches) and P. crinitum are synonyms, or two distinct but similar species. I get the impression that they are the same thing. Descriptions for both describe plants growing with bamboo-like foliage to about 45cm tall. It is very popular as a bonsai subject or houseplant and also makes a good houseplant. This could be a great riparium plant.

    [​IMG]

    Acorus gramineus "dwarf"

    I am still uncertain about the best classification for this plant. I have the species right, but I have run into some conflicting information on the variety, so I just identify it with "dwarf" in double quotes. The foliage is neat and tidy and has a perfect shape for a setup like this, with leaves that arch forward from the creeping rhizome at about a 45 degree angle. The top of that planter cup is three inches or so wide. The leaves reach to about 20cm in length. Bruised foliage of this particular Acorus variety has a wonderful sweet spicy smell. Sweetflags are highly susceptible to spider mite infestation and damage, so it will be important to watch for these plants and treat promptly if they appear.

    [​IMG]

    Cyperus albostriatus 'Nanus'

    I have had this plant for a couple of years. It is unusual among Cyperus in that it has a running rhizomatous growth habit, instead of clumping habit. It is a bit difficult to see in this photograph, but the foliage includes leaves that arise in whorls from axils on the tops bare flowering stalks, like other umbrella sedges, as well as longer leaves that grow out of the ground from the plant crown. It grows to about 30cm tall. This is a hardy plant and it stays looking very nice all winter long when kept as a houseplant. It dose well as a marginal aquatic, but thrives best with the crown at least an inch or so above the water surface.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,298
    Location:
    London
    Re: Pre-journal: 60cm Riparium

    Did you ever find out which Cyperus you were using on the 200 litre? I am looking for something like that for my nano tank and all I find are versions that grow to 2m tall lol thanks
     
  3. hydrophyte

    hydrophyte Member

    Messages:
    774
    Re: Pre-journal: 60cm Riparium

    That one is Cyperus alternifolius var. gracilis. You should be able to find it. It is one of them readily available Cyperus over here. It is an excellent plant for medium to large riaprium layouts. It grows to about 50cm tall.
     
  4. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,298
    Location:
    London
    Re: Pre-journal: 60cm Riparium

    That is still too long, any plant species you would recommend for a smaller nano tank? tried some bamboo but the leaves dried off.
     
  5. hydrophyte

    hydrophyte Member

    Messages:
    774
  6. hydrophyte

    hydrophyte Member

    Messages:
    774
    Re: Pre-journal: 60cm Riparium

    Emersed Plants--Layout Midground

    This is just a quick post. With consideration that the background plants will be rather small i will also need to use emresed mid-ground plants of short stature.

    I don't have a whole lot of experience with them, but it appears that aquatic mosses can grow very well on riparium trellis rafts. Here is some Christmas moss after five weeks growth on a Nano Trellis Raft.

     
  7. Mark Evans

    Mark Evans Expert

    Messages:
    6,492
    Location:
    newark notts.
    Re: Pre-journal: 60cm Riparium

    Devin. I think it's time I prepared my 60cm for a set up like this. I'll be following this like a hawk.
     
  8. hydrophyte

    hydrophyte Member

    Messages:
    774
    Re: Pre-journal: 60cm Riparium

    You got it Mark. I am certain that you could put together a stunning layout in that tank. I ought to get you more of these magnetic planters.
     
  9. hydrophyte

    hydrophyte Member

    Messages:
    774
    Re: Pre-journal: 60cm Riparium

    I have some hardscape ideas here. I'd like to hear opinions that you might have about these.

    Lace Rock

    I believe that this stone is calcareous, so it will probably affect water chemistry. It is also very rough. I have a number of old pieces from a saltwater tank that I had some time ago. It has a neat appearance about it, but I don't see it used much in planted setups

    14-iii-10-lace-rock-i-s.jpg



    Lava Rock

    Lava Rock has a way of looking overused to me. It is also very rough and I wonder about how compatible it will be with the oto cats that I want to use in here(?). I'll need to find a source for this material I only have this one piece.

    14-iii-10-lava-rock-i-s.jpg



    Limestone

    This is a limestone or dolomite (?) that is the main kind of rock around here. I can find it sticking up out of the ground anywhere that I look. I would expect this one to affect water chemistry through dissolution, but it might not be a very severe effect. I could perhaps just use RO in the setup, then count on this stuff to slowly add minerals.

    14-iii-10-limestone-rock-i-s.jpg
     
  10. rad89

    rad89 Member

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    Preston/Essex
    Re: Pre-journal: 60cm Riparium

    I like the idea of Lace rock as it isn't all that common, as you said. If you were planning to cover some of the hardscape in moss then I think you could be rather clever with the lace rock due to the amount of indentations in it and the extremely random shapes available.
     
  11. hydrophyte

    hydrophyte Member

    Messages:
    774
    Re: Pre-journal: 60cm Riparium

    Yeah I am leaning toward the lace rock too. The only trouble with that choice is that hair algae really likes to grow on its surface, and it's difficult to remove from the deep pockets in the stone. I might just try that one out and it will be easy enough to remove and replace later on.
     
  12. hydrophyte

    hydrophyte Member

    Messages:
    774
    Re: Pre-journal: 60cm Riparium

    I made some more headway late last night. I had all of the plants goring out the top of a 80-litre that was sitting in the same spot where the new setup will go. I moved the riparium plants to this plastic basin while doing the switch.

    15-iii-10-tank-i-m.jpg

    I think that I'm going to use most of these same plants for the layout. This gives an idea of what they might look like together.

    Here's the tank, a "flood damage special" standard 60-litre (60cm wide X 30cm tall X 30cm deep) with top plastic rim removed.

    15-iii-10-tank-iv-m.jpg
     
  13. hydrophyte

    hydrophyte Member

    Messages:
    774
    I painted a background on the tank. The background goes to a bit higher than 2/3 up. I will fill it to even with the top of the paint, so there will be about 15cm of seem above the waterline.

    17-iii-10-tank-i-m.jpg

    I also filled it up for a leak test. It looks OK so far.

    17-iii-10-tank-ii-m.jpg
     
  14. hydrophyte

    hydrophyte Member

    Messages:
    774
    I got a few plants into the tank too. The dwarf A. gramineus is really a great plant and perfect for a little setup like this one. Sometimes Acorus are a bit tricky and resist growing, but these plants are doing well and already have good root development inside of the planter cup.

    17-iii-10-acorus-gramineus-i-m.jpg

    Notice that the cup is filled to more than 1/2 full with hydroton. It seems this plant does better with a coarse-grained substrate. As is true for Anubias plants, it is also important for the creeping rhizome to be on top of the substrate. You can see the little bit of green of the rhizome in this next shot.

    17-iii-10-acorus-gramineus-ii-m.jpg
     
  15. altaaffe

    altaaffe Member

    Messages:
    309
    Location:
    Thornhill, Egremont, Cumbria
    Man, have I missed being able to see these posts over the last few months. Looking forward to seeing how this goes and trying a little of it myself on my tanks too.
     
  16. hydrophyte

    hydrophyte Member

    Messages:
    774
    Thanks very much altaaffe. I have some more shots here--just need to format them and load to my blog. Actually last night I got all of the riparium plants into this tank.
     
  17. hydrophyte

    hydrophyte Member

    Messages:
    774
    Here's the whole planting as I have it now.

    17-iii-10-acorus-gramineus-iv-m.jpg

    This is subject to change--I will probably move the plants around some. It definitely has that "just planted" look, but it should start to shape up as the plants grow in. The plants will also cover that foam and plastic as they get bigger.
     
  18. hydrophyte

    hydrophyte Member

    Messages:
    774
    Here is another view of the planting.

    15-iii-10-tank-v-m.jpg

    Those planter cups are conspicuous from this angle, but that is in part because of the light reflecting up from the bare glass tank bottom. The planters will become more obscured as the plants grow in and throw more shade.

    The plant layout really needs more vertical dimension. The Pogonatherum grass is supposed to grow to 30cm and look more and more like mini-bamboo as it gets larger. I might also consider adding an erect stem plant of some kind.

    I'll come back next with a shot of the tank with gravel.
     
  19. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    4,428
    Location:
    Leamington Spa, UK.
    That's really nice :) What light have you got over this?
     
  20. hydrophyte

    hydrophyte Member

    Messages:
    774
    Thanks Steve! That light is just a single-tube, 24-watt HO T5 that I purchased at a hydroponics shop for about $30 US. It is plenty enough light for these little plants.
     

Share This Page

Facebook Page
Twitter Page
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice