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It's been a while... back with a view to setting up a low-te

bugs

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Hope everyone is well.

Low light / low tech to be precise...

I finally got round to finishing the corner cabinet upon which the tank would sit. I don't have the time for high-tech nor do I find the rampant growth as interesting as a slowly, ever-changing tank. Contemplated Cichlids, but they're high maintenance, so finally settled on something I've wanted to do for some time - low tech...

  • Tank is a 185ltr - lightly customised by covering the light imitation plastic "wood" insert strips with some home made Walnut veneer (to match that used on the cabinet).
  • I'm going to use pond soil as a substrate, topped off with 3mm(ish) natural gravel.
  • Debating whether to continue using my Eheim external or switch to using an internal Eheim Orb (or some such similar name internal). I suspect I will stick with the external as it has a built in heater. The only thought re the small internal is Diana Walsted's suggestion that high filtration is undesirable.
  • Stock tubes give just over 1wpg :bored: . I really don't want to get in to adding extra tubes etc, therefore, may swap to T6's in the fullness of time.

cabinet.JPG
 

bugs

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Thank you. "Slowly" will almost definitely be the case. The kitchen decor is vying for my attention too... :rolleyes:

Funds are a little low at the moment so looking to get a volume of fast growers on the cheap. Has anyone bought the "surplus" plant collections from Plants Alive? Clearly no idea what I will get so could backfire. I see what was Greenline seem to have survived their problems - anyone any experience of their or Java's "collections"?
 

bugs

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1" - 1.5" each of soil and gravel is in and now standing for 8 weeks (submerged) before being filled and drained a few times to flush out any nasties. Given the numerous questions (mine included) that I've stumbled across when researching soil to use I thought I'd record what I've used for reference (the gravel is Silica Sand). Second and third photo just show the current state - not especially interesting, again just a reference.

substrate.JPG

8weeks.JPG

substrate2.JPG
 

bugs

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Brenmuk said:
Is leaving the soil/gravel for 8 weeks submerged one of the dry start methods? :?

I think so... I'm a bit out of touch but when it came to deciding on the best way to start this tank up I followed a link from this forum to a member's blog where he/she described this approach. In fact, I think it may have been a link on a thread started by you.

Now, in a fit of childish smugness I felt compelled to post these pics. I'm a bit of a neatness freak in so far as I don't like to have to fight with the things I use on an "everyday" basis - I just like to get on with the job in hand. So... when first designing the cabinet for the tank I knew that I wanted to put the filter in a bucket to stop any damage to the cabinet from any leaks etc. I also knew I'd want to have easy access to my tools but again in a way where I could just pop them back in the cabinet still wet. However... my measurements for the internals of the cabinet were based on strength first and then making sure the centre shelf was wide enough to accommodate a DVD/Blu Ray player should I ever give up fishkeeping and put a TV on top instead. The final consideration was ensuring that this left enough space each side for external filters. I figured that I would end up making my own containers from perspex to fit the spaces... Imagine how delighted I was when I found that a spare bucket I'd had knocking about in the garage and the base cut off of a broken stacker box fitted the spaces perfectly (OK, I had to cut the handle off the bucket but that just makes it better for the job IMO). I don't really expect anyone to share my sense of satisfaction at getting rid of two things out of the garage which I couldn't bring myself to throw away and not having to glue perspex with that substance (albeit brilliant for glueing perspex) that scares me a little (but cannot recall the name of):
cupboard01.JPG

And yes, there is a gap either side of the bucket - it's not wedged in any way... :thumbup:
cupboard03.JPG

cupboard02.JPG


I'll get me coat...
 

George Farmer

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I'm with you. It's all about being neat and tidy!

My wife just wishes I made the same effort with the rest of the house!
 

bugs

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Dang - it's happened again...

I tried to walk past the African cichlid display tank at my local fish shop but it drew me in and left me standing there just watching the fish. I tried to stand in front of their planted tank too but it was not quite the same.

So now I have a dilemma... I have a little Aqua 40 and my wife is suggesting setting that up as a planted tank and making the Rena a cichlid tank.

It's a tough choice. On one hand I really fancy seeing the big tank set up as a jungle but, on the other, I find cichlids fascinating to watch and like what can be done with the tank scapes too.

:crazy:
 

ScottYalloP

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bugs

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ScottYalloP said:
it take a look at this http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=h ... 7&ct=image
i know its in german but i think he says hes kept cichlids in his aqua 40

I think you're right. The names are Cichlids and that's a pic of one in the tank. However... It don't seem right to me.

I've got the Aqua 40 sitting on my desk, full of water and a noisy filter (that will be changed). I'm also trying out a £1.73 PL light that is warm white and makes an empty tank of water look a tad too yellow for my liking - I've only just put it on so I'll give it an hour to really get going. What I've not yet been able to bring myself to do is remove the gravel and soil substrate from the Rena (i.e. I haven't quite brought myself to a decision to abandon low-tech planted in the Rena).

(And I've still got a Fluval 600 looking rather neglected in the corner of the dining room - waiting for me to make up my mind :rolleyes: )
 

altaaffe

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You're right to think it's not right, whilst demasoni may get away with a 3ft tank, most mbuna are looking at 4ft+, and certainly not 40 litres.

The lure of cichlids I understand only too well. My wife was mad as hell at me when my Oscar, Murph, got "relegated" to the dining room and a planted community was there in his place. Whilst she loves the planted look, nothing beats the sheer antics of an O with 7 Clown Loaches dancing around him for her - all trying to get attention.
 

Brenmuk

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Why not go for some plant friendly cichlids such as angel fish, kribs, keyhole cichlids etc or even some Tanganyikan cichlids such as julies or N. brichardi - I think the last 2 are plant friendly :shifty: . They all have loads of personality.
 

bugs

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OK, I know this is going to offend the sensitivities of those who Iguana or "Sheila's Thrush" etc so, if you're of this bent please look away now. For those with more whatever, I planted it yesterday. I deliberately did not spend a great deal of time aquascaping. The wood is in a position and at an angle etc that I know will cause uncontrollable twitches. I'm familiar with most of the plants so have a rough idea what to expect as they start to grow. FWIW - this is 2 x "36 collection" from Java. Most plants were good or good enough. Some were in quite a bad state. Pleasingly, none of them had pots and fibre to pick away at.

Oh, and that thing sitting on the wood... It's a handy tip. If you're wood won't sink put some gravel in a cut-down fish bag, roll it over a couple of times, 3 cable ties (with the sharp bits smoothed if you cut the tails off). Prick it with a small nail several times to allow any trapped air out. Rest nicely on the wood and can be lifted out quite easily once the wood is saturated.

tank.JPG
 

bugs

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It's been trimmed a couple of times. Some initial hair algae has disappeared. As have the diatoms and algae growing on the glass seems non existent these days. Water changed once, I think, not sure now. OK, so it's a bit random but it's growing and I like it. Might add a feature plant on the left-hand side - something with some red in it maybe. And the clay thing in the middle - it's a spawning pot for the Kribs.
tank3.JPG
 

dw1305

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Nice tank,
You can always swap the clay pot for a 1/2 coconut planted with moss. How do you Kribs and Keyholes get on?
Cheers Darrel
 

bugs

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Thank you. Kribs and Keyholes seem to be getting on just fine. Very occasionally there's a little sparring but most of the time they're happy in each other's company.
 
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