James Shallow Build

Discussion in 'Journals' started by MrHidley, 14 Apr 2017.

  1. MrHidley

    MrHidley Member

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    Here is my diy shallow tank, it has the same dimensions as the ADA 60-F except it's made from acrylic and only cost just over £20 to make.

    Initial thoughts are that this is going to be low tech with a carpet of lilaeopsis brasiliensis covering most of the tank. Not sure what's going to go up above the rocks, but i am planning on some emergent growth coming out of the back, maybe using some hang on planters. Need advice plants above the rim because I really have no knowledge of this, so what will look good? I'd also like some above water epiphytes on the manzanita, so recommendations on this would also be excellent!

    Livestock will be decided once it's all up and running, but may turn into a shrimp only scape, either that or a school of tiny nano fish.

    Tank - DiY Acrylic 5mm 60cmx30x18cm
    Stand - Diy ADA-esque MDF
    CO2 - None
    Filter - HoB 600lph, but probably running at a restricted flow rate
    Lights - 60cm Satellite Plus Pro
    Substrate - Tropica Aquarium Soil above a layer of Tropica Plant Substrate
    Hardscape - Lava Rock from Aquarium Gardens + Manzanita Wood from my personal stock(I import and sell this)
    Plants - Anubias nana petite, lilaeopsis brasiliensis, some buces, moss, the rest to be decided.

    33879943992_3019afd36a_b.jpg

    Shallow Hardscape
     
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  2. zozo

    zozo Member

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    Nice one.. :thumbup: Compliments on the tank build looks realy good..

    You do not realy need hang on planters, there are plants enough which can be forced to grow emersed from the substrate. Some echinodorus sp. are very hardy. Some stemplants may need some guidense or be grown emersed big enough before planted into the substrate. Hydrocotyle could be growen from the substrate up climbing the wood. Many things are possible. Aslo a bit depending on your indoor climate if you keep the heating relatively low during winter season. A number of regular houseplants like Syngonium sp.. Spatyphillum, Dracaena, Philodendron and some palm sp. can be growen very good from a setup like yours.

    Epiphytes are much more difficult. Some mosses might do, Bromelias, Tillandsias and some Ferns and orchid sp. might do. But long term it can be tricky because of low air humidity.. The use of spaghnum beds or synthetics like Hygrolon can help overcome humidity problems. It will require a strickt regime of spraying and misting to keep it all in good shape.

    Good luck.. :)
     
  3. MrHidley

    MrHidley Member

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    Thanks Marcel!

    I've been for the epiphytes i had been thinking of ferns mainly, i'd love to try some orchids but doubt the humidity in south east England would suffice. I've just been looking at George's insularium tank, and some of the plants in that look great, however it looks like the company may have gone out of business as i can't find any information about them :(.
     
  4. zozo

    zozo Member

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    Most rather less demanding ferns, can get pretty big and require a rather large root system for that. I'm not sure if a small stick above a tank can provide the surface it requires. I've tried young small local evergreens like that on a bed of moss.. But till now i always failed.. I've seen some open top scapes with maiden hair fern looking pretty nice, tho these topics never grew old enough to see the final long term result. All long term succeses with thriving ferns i've seen were closed paludarium/riparium setups. But you could put some in the hangon filter..

    I believe this is @LondonDragon not sure..
    pict0578x-jpg.jpg

    A much easier to care for epiphyte for on the wood on a bed of moss would be the Peperomia sp. often sold as potted houseplant, but originaly grows as epiphyte in the south american jungles. And can stand lower humidity pretty good. Others requiring more watering especialy under artificial light (warmth), with very little substrate, absolutely need a lot of care like spraying several times a day, not to much and not to less.. 2 days absence and it could be over. Also winter time and central heating can be very hard on the plants.

    It's trail and error to find out what does best in your invironment.

    Here another inspirational journal.. :)
    https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/serenity-now-a-bettas-tiny-bog-riparium.40132/
     
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  5. MrHidley

    MrHidley Member

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    Thanks Marcel,

    I feel i have quite a lot of information to work with now :)
     
  6. zozo

    zozo Member

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    Welcome! :) I'd love to see your tank come together.. One little thing i didn't mention regarding epiphytes, something i'm thinking of but yet not tried myself.

    We're all doing something rather unatural, if you look at nature all epiphytes grow on dead and rotting wood or on the bark of live wood. Dead rotting wood is soft and holds moist enough for the roots to hold on to and penetrate. Or it holds on into the nooks and cranniies of the softer bark. You'll actualy never see it grow on fresh solid dried wood without bark, especialy not hard wood. Now what do we all use in and above our aquariums? Barkless fresh dried hardwood.

    But bark easily could be used on the emersed parts of the wood, could look for pieces of bark in the woods, soak it for a number of days and bend and tie it to the branches and plant on the bark. Than put spagnum on the roots of the plant, the roots should be on the bark not on the phagnum. Another possibility could be, buy bark chips in the garden centre, could be a nice puzzle, cutting bark chips to size and glue it to the branches till it is all around fully covered.. Could look very natural if done with care and proper scaling. :) I never tried the glueing chips part, no idea how long the glue will hold it in place. But using a piece of bark and sphagnum is a common practice in the Orchid hobby.

    So with plans like this and wood collected in nature, do not strip the bark from the emersed parts. :thumbup:

    That's a thing i noticed myself a lot, fresh dried hard wood is just to hard, emersed it doesn't hold moist very long and dries out to soon.. And this often leads to failure. In my next new setup i definitively will grab to bark..
     
  7. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

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    It in indeed, have a look at my double nano link in the signature ;)
     
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  8. MrHidley

    MrHidley Member

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    Can Spathiphyllum be planted into the substrate of the tank, or will the portion of the plant under water struggle? I was thinking of placing it in the corners at the back.
     
  9. zozo

    zozo Member

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    By origine it is growing in south america as riparian (river banks), so if enough leaves are emersed it likely wont mind standing in the water. Outside the tropics in pots near a window this is not advised, only periodicaly in the growing season (summer) when the resting season (winter) comes when these plants get very little light and dry central heated air, than they just wont grow and the roots or leaf stems will start to rot in the stagnant wet sticky soil. So this growing / resting season described at most sites as house plant care is not the plants propperty, it is our climate requiring not to water to much in the winter.. In the tropics these climate changes aren't so severe the plant grows all year long.

    But in an (heated) aquarium artificialy lit for enough hours resambling its natural habitat this plant will just grow on. So yes if the tank is shallow enough it could be planted in the substrate.

    I have an Echinodorus growing like that in a tank and on the window sil, not a window sil houseplant in the trade but it can, its a typical bog plant.. Same story the one on the window sil i should not overwater it in the winter season, while in the aquarium it would even grow submersed. :)
     
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  10. MrHidley

    MrHidley Member

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    Thanks Marcel, I was thinking about throwing in some Echinodorus at the back as well. From what i read and your testimony they do really well planted into the substrate with just the leaves above water. I assume all these plants require regular misting? I don't have a problem doing it, but I don't want to over/under do it.
     
  11. zozo

    zozo Member

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    Here you see my Echi in current state :)
    DSCF8586.jpg
    I never do any misting, well once in a while i whipe some dust off with a damp cloth.. The brown edges is normal, these leaves are a few months old. Just cut them away as close as possible to the substrate. As you can see it grows enough it would have been twice as big (to big) without cutting leaves away. This leaf browning could be caused by the dry air, but regular misting wont make much of a difference. You spray them and 15 minutes later completely dry again from the lights warmth. Than you would need a closed riparium.. I have no idea if this applies to all Echinidorus sp. this is a Kleiner bär from Dennerle. But i've already seen a few other in equal state.. :) The other plant is a Pogostemon stellatus, also grows like a rocket it extends 30 cm beyond the lights.. Crazy plant..
     
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  12. MrHidley

    MrHidley Member

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    Superb! Thanks again Marcel.
     
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  13. MrHidley

    MrHidley Member

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    Tank has been planting and running for about 2 weeks. I haven't gone with any epiphytes at this point, although i do plan to in the future. Current plant list is

    Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis
    Riccia Fluitans
    Echinodorus Ozelot Leopard Green
    Echinodorus Tricolor
    Hygrophila Siamensis 53B
    Anubias Nana Petite
    Bucephalandra 'wavy leaf'
    Bucephalandra Brownie 'Purple'
    Hydrocotyle Tripartita
    Water Lettuce

    Here are a couple of pictures, including one of the Buces flowering above the water, I have no idea if the flower will open up.

    34339559981_0fae2942e4_b.jpg

    34428787456_18d43324a6_b.jpg
     
  14. MrHidley

    MrHidley Member

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    A little Update

    Came home from work to find water dribbling down the front of the stand. My DiY tank was leaking! I found the source, a very small leak in the back right corner of the tank. I've used bar clamps to hold the seem tight while the acrylic cement does its' work to repair the corner. I've also added a couple of tiny braces on the rear corners. Might add a rim brace or euro brace to the tank in the coming weeks, next time i build an acrylic tank, i'll definitely use 1mm thicker acrylic than is reccomended.

    Other than that, the tank is now home to a pair of apistogramma cacatuoides who are doing great and beginning to excavate a cave under one of the rocks for spawning.

    The Hygrophila has really taken over the back of the tank, and one of the echinodorus has thrown out an emersed leaf. @zozo was right, they literally seem to shoot up overnight, incredible growth!
     
  15. Natasha

    Natasha Member

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    This looks ace! Sorry to hear about the leak, hope the cement holds up. How do you clean algae from the acrylic without scratches?
     
  16. MrHidley

    MrHidley Member

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    I give it a quick wipe with a very soft sponge once a day to stop any algae build up. If it did build up i'm sure the scrubbing would scratch the acrylic.
     
  17. Natasha

    Natasha Member

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    Thanks! I quite like working with acrylic and you've tempted me to try this. Any joy with the cement?
     
  18. MrHidley

    MrHidley Member

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    Yes, the leak fixed, I just left the clamps on for 3 days before removing them to allow the join to re-seal properly.

    Tank is really starting to mature. Some above water pics below.

    Also the Apistogrammas have spawned, Female is working really hard to keep track of the fry, though i fear she may have taken them too close to the filter at some point as i've yet to see them today. They are first time parents and very young so i'd expect mistakes.

    35115718455_e51b7118db_b.jpg

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  19. Natasha

    Natasha Member

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    Stunning!
     
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  20. MrHidley

    MrHidley Member

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    Turns out that the fry are still alive and doing well. Here's a couple pictures of the parents, fry are too small for me to photograph even with a 68mm macro tube!

    34316127054_bb98431a1e_b.jpg

    35030344651_c45756bf32_b.jpg
     
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