low tech aquariums with emergent plants

Discussion in 'El Natural & Low Tech' started by dw1305, 26 Jan 2010.

  1. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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  2. a1Matt

    a1Matt Member

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    cheers for the link Darrel. Interesting reading.

    That guy is pretty dedicated to his low tech; I have heard the methodology of not feeding the plants and letting fish waste provide for them. He has gone a step further on one of his tanks and is not feeding the fish either (by letting daphnia and similar grow for some months before introducing the fish).

    I have contemplated similar myself; I was thinking a shrimps colony in the hundreds, jungle style planting to give them hiding places and a pair of dwarf cichlids. All conjecture for now though as I do not have that many shrimp or dense planting (yet!).
     
  3. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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    Hi all,
    I start my tanks like that too, I don't cycle them, but plant them and add some invertebrates, and then just leave them for several months until the invertebrate numbers build up, some biofilm develops and the plants are fairly established.
    At the moment I'm "seeding" them with Daphnia, Cyclops, Ostracods, MTS, Red Ramshorn snails, Asellus and Cherry Shrimps. I wanted to establish Blackworms (Lumbriculus) in the substrate as well, but you can't get them in the UK.
    Plenty of other organisms (rotifers, nematodes) will come with filter sponge and re-used substrate etc.

    Depends a little bit upon the fish after that, but I've kept several generations of Killis (Epiplatys annulatus) in this type of tank successfully without feeding them (although I did feed the shrimps), and it was a very densely planted 4' tank. Apistogramma borellii was also partially successful, but eventually eliminated all the crustaceans including the shrimps, and Apistogramma cacatuoides was a total failure and ate all the shrimps in less than a day.

    I would like to try Corydoras hastatus/pygmaeus, any Pencils, Threadfin Rainbows (Iratherina werneri), Dwarf Badis (Dario spp.) and Dwarf Sparkling Gourami (Trichopsis pumila) etc. I think all micro-predators should have the potential to be successful.

    I think that it should be a more be successful approach in a paludarium or terrarium or with a sump refugium, where you can have fish free areas for breeding invertebrates in.

    cheers Darrel
     
  4. a1Matt

    a1Matt Member

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    Very interesting indeed.

    Especially having a sump/refugium; I know the marine guys do that, but I never considered it in a freshwater setup.
    I like the idea of a sump with refugium section coupled with maybe a flow pump in the tank.

    My list of things to try at some point has just grown :thumbup:

    Do you have a source you can recommend for getting original starter cultures?
     
  5. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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    Hi all,
    Yes I just got them from the pond in the garden. Any reasonably clean fish free water should do, you can find Ostracods for example even in large puddles. All the micro-organisms (Rotifers, Tardigrade etc) are common on old filter sponges.
    The easiest collection technique is poke any aquarium net into all the algae and weed and dead leaves in the pond and then tip it all into a tray, once the water settle you should be able to see what you've got. Daphnia, Ostracods and Cyclops can be pippetted out into a clean beaker of tank water, Asellus (Water Louse) are big and don't swim (they look like woodlice) and can just be picked out. Once you've got what you want tip the rest back in, but reserve a few bits dead leaf and filamentous algae. I put these into the tank, but if you don't want to, you can give them a really good swirl in some water to remove the diatoms etc and then pour the water with the detached micro-organisms into the tank.
    These are some bloodworms (and Daphnia) from a bucket of pond/rainwater left in the garden for several months and harvested just after Xmas.
    leaves_net.jpg
    tray_net.jpg
    pipette_beaker.jpg
    If you want to buy culture of Daphnia etc we buy cultures for work from http://www.blades-bio.co.uk/shop/cat.php?n=2&sus=Freshwater Invertebrates, but it is an expensive option, I've just found out that they sell blackworms (Lumbriculus), so I'm going to give these a go next time we order.

    cheers Darrel
     
  6. a1Matt

    a1Matt Member

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    Thanks Darrel, I might take a net and bags out with me when next walking past the local pond :thumbup:
     
  7. ghostsword

    ghostsword Member

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    Hi, this is an amazing thread, and exactly what I was looking for.

    I want to try a very low tech tank but with plants. I was looking at Sygonium and some Crypts on a hydrophonic planter on stilts, just with a heater and maybe a small koralia to allow for water current.

    This would be placed on my mother's house, as she likes fish and plants, but would not bother with water changes at all.

    A simple setup of just top up water, feeding the fish once a day and with natural light, with a small shoal of neons would be perfect, won't you say?

    Alternatively I could place guppies on it, they would produce enough fry to feed themselves.

    Makes sense?
     
  8. mr. luke

    mr. luke Member

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    Lincoln
    Ive been down the shrimps, snails and 'pods only route before.
    It was flitered though and had monthly water changes.
    Worked really well although baby shrimps didnt grow very fast at all.
    Was a 20l tank though so i assume a similar thing in a 2 footer+ would give great results.
     

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