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Starless & Bible Black

Vinkenoog1977

Member
Joined
14 Apr 2014
Messages
549
Location
The Hague, Netherlands
Well, since I have a birthday coming up, and this has been a craptastic year so far on a personal level, I decided to gift myself a(nother; #5) new tank. Initially, I was going to go for a large, shallow tank in the spirit of Tom's Bucket, but, alas, some unexpected bills (vet, garage, taxes), and other practical considerations, forced me to put that plan on hold for the coming months.
So, a new plan was born, for a smaller, more affordable tank, for a spot in my living room that was just begging for it. It started with the idea of a 60 x 40 x 40 cm. open top tank, but things moved on, and in the end, I opted for a Juwel Lido 120, which will be arriving tomorrow. :D The last couple of days, I've been working on the stand and other bits and bobs, in between visits to the lav, due to a stomach bug (lost another stone in about 4 days). Anyways.

The idea is to make this into a lush, green haven, with lots of wood and rock, and a nice mixed carpet. I'm thinking hairgrass and monte carlo for the carpet, Pogostemon Helferi around the carpet, Cryptocoryne Wendtii Green between the rocks, mixed mosses on the wood with lots of Javafern, Bolbitus Heudelotii in the back around the filter housing, and one bunch of Luwigia Perennis coming from in between the wood, to add some colour to it.
Inhabitants will be (subject to change of heart of course) (low-grade) CRS and CBS from my CRS and CBS tanks, some Red Cherries, guppies, a couple of dwarf gourami, some Hara Jerdoni, and maybe a little school of pygmae Cory's (to help keep the guppy population in check).

As a substrate, I will again be using Dennerle DeponitMix Professional with Dennerle FB1, covered with some coarse basalt gravel (5-8 mm.), and topped with either very fine basalt gravel (< 3 mm.) (if I can find some which has been rounded off a bit), or JBL Sansibar Black. I hope to be able to use the basalt, if only to keep all the black the same colour (since I will be using basalt rocks/ blocks as hardscape), so I might even opt to run the finer gravel through a cement mixer to round it off a bit.
As said, the rock for the hardscape will be basalt, and as wood, I will be using some dried out Lilac, which is now soaking, after which I will remove all the bark, boil it for a good hour, and then soak it for a couple of days more before placing it in the tank. There is no scent coming from the wood, it's been dried for a very long time, and it's a hardwood, so it should be fine, and it looks perfect!

What else? I'm still torn between either swapping the pump the Lido comes with (500 l/h) to a larger one (EccoFlow 1000), or using the 500, and adding a Koralia 600. I'm leaning towards the latter. I will have to move the filter to the other side, due to where the tank will sit, but I've done that before, so not too worried. For now, I will use the lights the Lido comes with, and adding reflectors to them. As far as CO2, it will be DIY Bio CO2 (sugar, yeast, gelatine), but it will be on a (threeway) solenoid in time.
I'm using an IKEA cabinet (yes, I know), which has been strengthened on the inside by a cabinet made from 18 mm. MDF, and it's solid as the proverbial rock.

This will be another dry start, to get the carpet going and rooted enough so the Cory's won't destroy it within seconds upon arriving. I'll aso be dry starting the mosses on the branches via the blender-and-paintbrush-method

I do have some questions though, I hope you guys can help with:
  • Regarding the lighting: I'm pretty sure that with the reflectors, I will have ample light to get the carpet going. The one thing I am worried about, is that it might be too much light for the Crypts, the ferns and the Bolbitus; will they thrive under higher lighting, or am I running the risk burning them?
  • Regarding the dry start: could/ should I also dry start the Crypts, and if so, would that prevent the usually inevitable melt after flooding?
  • Regarding the filter: should I swap the filterpump, or add the Koralia?

Well, thanks for reading, and any advice you might be able to give! I will be posting the first pics tomorrow after the tank is in its spot. It will be quite some time, about a month or two, before any water will be added, so be patient, cause I know I'm not!:rolleyes:
 

Vinkenoog1977

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Thread starter
Joined
14 Apr 2014
Messages
549
Location
The Hague, Netherlands
Tiny update, and some pics of the tank in situ. Got the basalt gravel and ditto sand I wanted, washed and ready to go. No basalt rocks as of yet though unfortunately, will resume the hunt tomorrow, maybe Monday. Spent a good couple of hours cleaning all the bark from the Lilac branches, and I've got 99% done now. It's boiling again as we speak, still releasing quite a lot of tannins. Will let it soak for another night, then let it dry out on its own, and then I will slowly oven dry them for a couple of hours, after which I will give it one final boil, and hopefully all the tannins will be gone by then. Spent a couple of hours removing the filter box, was a nightmare to get it loose, but victory was mine! Moved it to the other side, cleaned everything off a bit, and then put it in its future place, and I'm glad I choose this one over an open tank, as it looks wonderful! Some pics.

View from the TV-room:
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View from the sitting room:
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In situ:
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X3NiTH

Member
Joined
13 Apr 2014
Messages
1,244
Good looking tank, personally I would worry about the door getting barged, have you got a fixed stopper to prevent the door opening beyond 90 degrees? If you own the premises how about rehanging the door the other way so you get a spectacular entrance when you open the door. You have yourself a very nice living room there, hopefully the scaffolding outside wont be there for long!

:)
 

Vinkenoog1977

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Thread starter
Joined
14 Apr 2014
Messages
549
Location
The Hague, Netherlands
No, there's a stopper in place, and a moveable stopper on the other side (the door's always open) so no worries about that, or it thrashing in a draft or something like that. Rehanging wouldn't really work, you'd be looking at the back of the tank, plus, it acts as a backdrop for the tank. ;)
Just a couple of weeks, hopefully, and then they start at the back of the building. Well, it needs doing, but why in the sparse few weeks/ months we can enjoy some sunshine? Ow well, it is what it is, for now, I'm mostly looking at stuff indoors, not at the traffic outside. And my dog is nearly blind, so he doesn't notice the difference when he tries to look outside. :cool:
Thanks for the compliment, am quite pleased myself, even though I wish I could stuff more plants (and tanks LOL) in there, but with about 45 plants and now 5 tanks, it's getting pretty full. :rolleyes:
 

Vinkenoog1977

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Thread starter
Joined
14 Apr 2014
Messages
549
Location
The Hague, Netherlands
Well, it took some elbow greese, but I've finally managed to get all of the bark from the branches. Right now, they are in their final boil, and they should be ready to go then. Hardly any tannins coming out anymore, and none during a regular soak, only during boiling, so I think I should be good to go. They've been soaked, boiled, soaked some more, oven dried, boiled and soaked some more, and finally boiled some more. Worth the effort though, they don't darken up too much when wet, so the combination with the black soil and rockwork, and the - mostly - dark green plants and mosses on them, should look the dogs dangly bits. Just a quick for more, hope to find some basalt rocks tomorrow, and the hardscaping can finally commence. Okay, okay, I made a start already by laying the substrate, but needs some tweaking of course.
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Vinkenoog1977

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Thread starter
Joined
14 Apr 2014
Messages
549
Location
The Hague, Netherlands
Couldn't resist tinkering with it some more. Cut one piece down a bit, and I think I've pretty much got it nailed as is right now. Will move a bit of course, since I need to add more gravel to add to the slope, and I still need to add the rocks to keep the wood in place, and have something to glue the wood on to, because this will take some time before it will sink. I used some cut-up plastic placemats as substrate supports, these will of course be covered with the sand I still have to add; not even sure I will need them with the rocks that are going in, plus, the coarser basalt split underneath seems to be a good base to do slopes on, does not really seem to want to move any which way.
Any thoughts on the layout so far guys?
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I do have one more question though, hardly an urgent one, but still. After rinsing and washing the sand thoroughly, there still ar quite a few particles that want to float. They will sink after a while, but when the time comes to flood it, I don't want it messing up my hardscape and plants, so any ideas on how to deal with that, and prevent the floaters? What I was thinking, even before this issue, was to, after 6 to 9 weeks of dry start, to gradually fill the tank over the course of several days, using an airhose, and doing 20 liters per day, in two sessions. The reasoning behind this was to gradually let the dry started plants get used to being emersed, and so hopefully prevent melting, especially of the crypts. In that same period, I will reduce the photoperiod from 14 hours during dry start, to 6 hours when finally fully emersed. The added bonus would be that any floating particles would have time to saturate and settle, without too much movement in the tank, and thus blowing them all over the place.
What do you think about this plan, has this been done before, what were the results, or should I just go ahead and experiment? I see non real downsides to doing this, no risk of stale water since there will be some movement and fresh water added daily, which was the only real risk I could think off. Again, any advice or help is appreciated!
 

X3NiTH

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13 Apr 2014
Messages
1,244
You could try the Ebb & Flow Drystart Method when you add your water, its daily legwork work but it is supposed to combat fungi growth by never letting it get a foothold which is what usually prompts dry starters to flood the tank earlier than planned when they see it growing. You start with a moist substrate and get it all planted up and then let it rest for a day, the next day you fill the tank with enough water to submerge the plants and then immediately remove it, you repeat this process daily until you decide to flood it for good at which point you change the cycle to allow the plants to remain submerged for a period of time before you empty the tank, you then extend this period daily until your happy to let the plants remain submerged. Your plan of 20L in and out through an air line would be good for this method, maybe two lines to make it slightly quicker.
 

X3NiTH

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Joined
13 Apr 2014
Messages
1,244
Cool, that sounds like a good alternative. Any articles you know of that I can read up on in regards to this method, or is this in Diana Walstads book as well? Still haven't read that, ashamed to say.

Don't know if its in Walstads book as I haven't read it either! You will find the method in books on hydroponics, which is essentially the art of trying to grow non aquatic plants with their roots in a heavily nutrient rich aquatic realm. Looking at it from a plants point of view, a drystart with a single flooding event is the apocalypse and you either survive or you don't, since they're aquatic plants they should survive but only if they are not overcome by environmental pathogens beforehand (mould), however periodic flooding with lengthening intensity gives them a fair bit of warning allowing them to adapt to the impending apocalypse but in an environment more conducive to keeping the bad stuff in check.

:)
 

Vinkenoog1977

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549
Location
The Hague, Netherlands
I tried Google, and that did come up with all sorts regarding hydroponics, however, being Dutch, Google supposes I mean growing the Herb, so I was somewhat confused. I understand the logic now as well, makes great sense, and is sort of what I had in mind with the step-by-step method of flooding, but this sounds like a much better plan of attack, great tip, thanks for that!

Well, I did most of my hardscape today, and would love some feedback from people! I still have to add the three branches that will be pointing "up", and I still need to glue the wood to the rock to keep it from floating. Carpet plants and the Crypts are coming this Thursday morning, so I need to wrap this up sometime tomorrow.
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