STOPGAP

Andrew Butler

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With so much going on in the world, at home and a whole host of other things holding me back for a while now I've opted to move forward with my 'STOPGAP' so I can hopefully enjoy looking at an aquarium filled with something interesting.

I've been completely and utterly against the idea of ADA aquariums, Oase filters, glass inlets/outlets, aquasoil and the likes but seems the easiest option for me now so it's what I'm going with, I just hope it's not something I later live to regret.

Aquarium: ADA 45P
Filtration: Oase Filtosmart thermo 100
Inlet/Outlet: Cal Aqua Labs X2s/G2
Lighting: ADA Aquasky G 451 + mirror unit
CO2: inline
Substrate: Tropica Aquarium Soil Powder
Hardscape: Riverwood and possibility of adding some small pieces of Frodo stone

I've a provisional plant list that I plan to work with, I think the main ethos is to have a large carpet and a 'big bushy bit' around the back and sides of the wood.
The main carpet will be made up of micranthemum monte carlo with a few different plants dotted around here and there.
My 'big bushy bit' I hope to make up out of rotala rotundifolia 'green' and rotala vietnam h'ra.
To the main piece of wood I will be adding some Microsorum pteropus Trident along with a few Buces and Crypts.
Aside from that other plants on the list are rotala bonsai, Staurogyne Repens, Alternanthera Reineckii ''Mini', hydrocotyle verticillata, Salvinia Auriculata, Cryptocoryne Costata, cryptocoryne nevellii, cryptocoryne petchii, cryptocoryne wendtii green and cryptocoryne lucens - I know it's only a 45P so will see how it plants out.

Open to hearing constructive input from people along the way.

Here's how things are looking before any plants are added, I'm thinking over whether I think this piece of wood is enough with plants alone, whether to add any more wood or a few simple stones enough will be enough. It's not here to win any awards, just give me something to enjoy looking at and with any luck not cause me too many problems.
20201021_123912.jpg
 

Andrew Butler

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Just curious, why are you completely and utterly against the high-end stuff?

Looking forward to seeing how it goes!
I'll assume this you refer to the comment below as 'high end' and will give my reasoning.
I'm sure you (and everyone else) wonder if I hold these opinions then why on earth go forward with it, the answer is convenience, being let down too many times by too many people and just wanting something convenient to enjoy.
I've been completely and utterly against the idea of ADA aquariums, Oase filters, glass inlets/outlets, aquasoil and the likes
-ADA aquariums: If I'm honest I always thought they were more expensive than they are is a big one that I'm pleasantly surprised to learn I was wrong about. Also reading stories of bending glass and finding the popular sizes I saw pictures of lack depth were the other reasons.
-Oase filters: I wouldn't class these as 'high end' but I had one before and found the flow absolutely awful compared to a Fluval G6 filter I had, although the Oase advertised a far higher flow rate. I also don't like how the glass heaters are positioned in the filter heads and felt a heated filter should offer something less prone to damage, his is an opinion I sill hold.
-Glass inlets/outlets: The fragility, how they show up all the dirt and the cost are my reasons.
-Aquasoil: I've used Aquasoil several times in the past and just always found it a nuisance being blown around if it wasn't carpeted, mainly at water changes when trying to keep things clean.

I know reading this back I have made decisions that likely seem stupid to everyone reading this, at least I've been honest about things so is my own fault if I come up against these problems along the way.
 

Deano3

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Hi andrew glad to see you have went with something convenient , the 45p is a excellent and easy to manage size that i had success with and loved the ease.

Tank and light looks great by the way

The ease of the aquarium and equipment will make it enjoyable. All your points anyone can understand, i do like the look of ada and also like the oase filters as had good success with them but read a few times about being under powered etc.

But cant wait to see some progress mate


Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
 

Nick potts

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25 Sep 2014
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Good start so far Andrew, I am liking the mirror unit.

I think I few choice stones might add some more interest to the tank, but if you like really minimal then stick with it as is.

Agree with you on the ADA tanks, there pricing compared to other ADA products is pretty good.
 

oscar

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Perhaps if available, another piece of wood transitioning from behind original ?!
Agree completely some stone, Frodo perhaps very natural placed around wood.
Oscar :thumbup:
 

Andrew Butler

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But cant wait to see some progress mate //emoji.tapatalk-cdn.com/emoji16.png
Thanks Dean, I made a tiny bit of progress by putting the Microsorum on the wood along with just plonking on a couple of small buces I had to hand, not their final location though.
@Nick potts @Wolf6 @oscar I completely had adding some stone in mind when I started but when putting a few small pieces in they seemed to take a lot of space up, quickly - how small do you go before they are a waste of time and a plant could take it's place more effectively? The 45P is a tiny little aquarium with an overall footprint of only 450 x 270 mm and a height of 300mm.

I took a photo when I did add a couple of pieces in, to see how they looked size wise as much as anything so not their final destination and has left me wondering whether they are needed or not as I explain above. You wouldn't believe the detail you can see on the stones in person that don't show in the photos but I guess the smaller you go, the less detail a piece of stone has, regardless of what it is.

20201029_203936.jpg
 

Wolf6

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Maybe a small mound at the base of the tree and slightly following that forward low root? You can always use anubias, mosses and buce to 'green' it up. I believe the contrast of the rock makes it more natural and more interesting, but I am biased, I've always loved rocks :)
 

Andrew Butler

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Maybe a small mound at the base of the tree and slightly following that forward low root? You can always use anubias, mosses and buce to 'green' it up. I believe the contrast of the rock makes it more natural and more interesting, but I am biased, I've always loved rocks :)
Would you explain what you mean by a small mound in simple words as I'm unsure what you mean. I'm always interested to hear constructive input in as much detail as you can give.
I too am a lover of rocks ;)
 

Wolf6

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A few rocks where I put the circles is what I ment with mound. But thats just one opinion, perhaps others have more creative ideas :)
voorbeeldmound.jpg
 

Andrew Butler

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A few rocks where I put the circles is what I ment with mound. But thats just one opinion, perhaps others have more creative ideas
And get rid of all other rocks completely?
I've had input from an aquatic plant shop and following my brief their suggested planting is intended to have the Crypt Costata around the area you highlight, this doesn't mean that's exactly what I'll be doing though.

I think you're offering constructive input so it's most welcome, thank you. :)
 

Wolf6

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I'd personally use the mound as a base and maybe add a smaller group somewhere near where the bigger rock on your pic is now for some effect, but I'm not a pro scaper by far, you could just try out some setups that appeal to you :) and settle for one thats completely different, like I always do XD mostly because I cant replicate what I had but I already have the plants and dont want to wait any longer and its not like it matters because all my tanks end up as jungles anyway.
 

Andrew Butler

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I'd personally use the mound as a base and maybe add a smaller group somewhere near where the bigger rock on your pic is now for some effect, but I'm not a pro scaper by far, you could just try out some setups that appeal to you :) and settle for one thats completely different, like I always do XD mostly because I cant replicate what I had but I already have the plants and dont want to wait any longer and its not like it matters because all my tanks end up as jungles anyway.
Thanks for the input, much appreciated. :)
I'll likely just plant things out and let the carpet establish itself and add them in later if I decide I want to.
 

Andrew Butler

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I didn't manage to get the plants in for over a week after they arrived, so was just a case of get them in quick and allow them to establish themselves. Everything seems to have stayed alive* but have very much been thrown in so I will wait another week or so then I will likely take it all out and start again in a more organised manner.
*Everything aside from the Microsorum pteropus Trident, a plant I just don't seem to get along with for some reason so considering changing that for something else - quite what is the question.

The piece of wood is very unsteady and has moved quite a bit so I plan to get something on the bottom to keep it sturdy and some (a load) of the volcano mineral I put underneath has come to the surface and uprooted plants where the wood has moved quite a bit at the same time- the first time I don't get the piece of wood fixed rigid.

I'm starting to learn what works for me, also understanding this kind of style aquascape (which I've never tried before) and its appeal. Sure I've got some changes to do and a lot to learn about maintenance to keep this style going but maybe this is just as easy as a restricted plant aquascape, which would be more sand/stone only with a few plants - am I right?

No tidying up, water changes etc; just a quick snap with my phone the other evening of how it's looking now. You will likely notice how far back the wood has fallen over.

45p.jpg
 

Andrew Butler

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And now it's empty!
The wood kept falling back further so I need to get that fixed in place better, how does everyone else keep their wood in place?

How does everyone go about keeping a tidy trim of the Rotala (which was behind the wood) and most importantly keep it all clean.
I'm sure I will hear turkey baster pop up, but how do you use this in a dense bush without exerting so much force that it sends the soil flying all over the place?

I need to sort myself out an aquarium that is more about something for me to enjoy looking at than spending time and effort on; a very different approach to many on here, I know, but aside from sticking to a low lit aquarium with better filtration and a few plastic plants which wouldn't be enjoyable to look at in my opinion are there any suggestions how I can achieve this?

45p.jpg
 

Wolf6

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Easiest is to accept a few algae and be less fussed about that part, once you get into that mindset it already helps a lot. You could maybe try a lean dosing regime, which leads to slower plant growth which then leads to less maintenance in the way of having to trim plants, and once everything is grown in there shouldnt be algae issues either. But I have the same issue as you, I want maintenance to be limited to about an hour each week, preferably no more. I dont mind that the startup phase costs some extra time, but once thats over, I'd prefer to just sit back and enjoy :) For my new tank I'm going for more automation of maintenance... automatic dosing of ferts, sump instead of cannister to have less cleaning to do on that end (and easier cleaning hopefully). Automatic top-off for evaporation. Still have to think about how to set up the plumbing to make water changes easier and faster. Right now I'm doing 50% water changes, I'm reading people who only do 25% and have great results as well, also cuts down a lot of maintenance time. Hoping people here will have more tips on this subject!
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Easiest is to accept a few algae and be less fussed about that part, once you get into that mindset it already helps a lot
I've got that one covered, you just have to think: "not algae, you mean the <"highly beneficial periphyton">.
You could maybe try a lean dosing regime, which leads to slower plant growth which then leads to less maintenance in the way of having to trim plants, and once everything is grown in there shouldnt be algae issues either
Ferns, Aroids and other rosette plants <"are definitely the way forward">, when you are time limited. @Andrew Butler has a <"Low maintenance..."> thread.
I dont mind that the startup phase costs some extra time
<"Floating plant (or sub-surface floater)"> initially, once everything has settled down you can take them out if you wish.
Hoping people here will have more tips on this subject!
<"Hamburg Matten Filter (HMF)">, or <"overtank trickle filter">, if you can't have a sump?

cheers Darrel
 
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Andrew Butler

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Easiest is to accept a few algae and be less fussed about that part
I never really had that problem, especially once a couple of inhabitants had been put in to keep on top of things.
@Wolf6 with regards to things like ATO, doser etc; these are all things I used to employ so agree they have a place in the right circumstance.
The sump idea isn't something that would work for me, but I did have an AIO (All In One) system built but was quite a battle with the first one being delivered built incorrectly, the next started coming apart when I filled it with water so swapped company and certain aspects just weren't correct with this third one; I had the simple solution of just putting a new piece of acrylic in and reconfigure it which was going fine until Covid and I got messed around for months so had to decide it was just becoming a stressful burden and give up on it unfortunately.
This is what has now led me to this more 'conventional' method.

@dw1305 I looked up HMF before when I was looking at the AIO system, at the time I think the size system I had planned meant they weren't suitable but now I'm looking at a smaller system the major drawback I see is space taken from the display.
You mention noise regarding and overtank trickle filter which isn't something I want in a room I sleep in.
Also looked into HOB but concluded that a simple canister filter could be as simple if I chose the correct one and would take care of heating too.

@dw1305 the problem I'm finding regarding your plant type suggestions are people seem very quick to dismiss them in a system alone as it would not be balanced, sure I can add the floating plant for starters, I've Salvinia Auriculata growing like crazy in the 600 where I've some fish residing until things are settled and that's with poor filtration, no CO2 etc.
I know this isn't the first time I've posed the question about an 'easy aquarium' but things seem to dry up and I thought I'd found the answer with the AIO.
In my thread and the one you mention the aquarium is much bigger, this one is a 45P but long term a 60P is planned so plant choice changes I imagine?
For some reason Ferns just don't seem to hit it off for me, I'm unsure why but sure I remember someone mentioning water hardness as an assumed reason it didn't work for them and I'm in that same boat - maybe it's something else I've been doing wrong in the past?
The 'Escape' thread was mentioned before in my other thread and is one I very much like the hardscape of but once planted it lost interest with all the moss so soil capped with pebbles I like, simple piece(s) of wood I like, moss not so much, or the Vallisneria for that matter which puts me back wondering what plants if I go that style next time.

Back on track..............
Keeping this kind of style clean and trimmed, particularly where there are densely planted stems that get crud stuck at the bottom - how do you do it?
 
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