The Lazy Asian Biotope

Chris Jackson

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23 Apr 2014
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Location
Falmouth, Cornwall
Hello,

Lazy revamp time for a very old 4x2x2 tank. It may seem strange but I have not done a full re-scape with new substrate in well over ten years...!

In 2003 it was like this..

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For IAPLC 2006 I got a pleasing #299th for this..

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Since then it's waxed and waned in different forms before spending the last 18 months lanquishing as a low tech jungle with no water changes beyond evaporation top ups...

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The setup dates from the days when under gravel heater cables were still popular and there is one of Dennerle's finest bodenfluter cables with digital controller still running things under there and judging by the way the sword plants etc. keep growing after 10+ years of fish poop and few other ferts etc. it's working and I'm not feeling any burning desire to change the substrate.. We've kind of become attached! The substrate is a mix of Dennerle Deponit, Eco Complete and Onyx Sand..

Live stock wise I've had a bunch of Rosy Barbs quietly breeding for many years and there's about 25 left now. My daughter chose these when she was much younger and they have become part of the family though a tad annoying due to their delight at nibbling many types of tender plants and digging up grasses...

So...I've never run a biotope aquarium or anything that mimics a fast flowing stream... Barbs are of Asian origin, as are crypts and java moss, I have barbs, moss and established crypts... Hello Asian stream biotope...and not much work! See lazy...

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So the big Echinodorus were cut off at the gravel, leaving most of the roots to decompose in the substrate as ferts (thank you old established substrate and maybe heating cable). I collected pebbles and sand from the beach and after a good rinsing added this to get a washed river bed effect. I moved one of the rocks and added 10 new pots of Crypt Balansae in amongst the straggly old ones. I'm also adding 1bps CO2 direct to one of the filter inlets via co2 hose with a Rizla filter stuck in the end. In low tech mode it was zero CO2 and lit by 2 old T5's 12 hours per day so now in mid-tech mode it's also getting 4 of these 12 hours with all 4 lit. New arrivals are some 14 Danios of a spotted variety (More to follow). The not so Asian inhabitants are Otos and Amano shrimp but I'm allowing that..

For the river function Santa bought me a Maxspect Gyre 35w... nice bit of kit! It only arrived today and for now I have it on alternating mode at a fairly slow 5ms rate. Any faster seemed to much..

Let's see how it grows in and develops....

 

Sarpijk

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The only thing I would change is the square rock in the back. Some more wood would look less distracting.
 

Mick.Dk

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Thanks, It's been a while but I think it was Bleheri
Sorry to intrude......but defenitely not Ech. bleheri. Leaves much too wide, and newest leaf much to red(ish) for Ech. bleheri.
Since in Low Tech environment appearance suggest Ech. osiris, Ech. 'Barthii' or even a "not-so-bright" Ech. 'Red special'.......or another one of the varieties with red(ish) newest leaves (there are numerous/uncountable of those :rolleyes: ).
Very nice and healthy plants, both of them.........
 

Chris Jackson

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23 Apr 2014
Messages
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Location
Falmouth, Cornwall
The only thing I would change is the square rock in the back. Some more wood would look less distracting.

Yes that is sticking out a bit mainly because of the bright new looking bit that was previously hidden from the lght by another rock. I'm thinking that once it ages a bit and the balansea grow in then things will be different...
 

Chris Jackson

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Messages
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Location
Falmouth, Cornwall
Sorry to intrude......but defenitely not Ech. bleheri. Leaves much too wide, and newest leaf much to red(ish) for Ech. bleheri.
Since in Low Tech environment appearance suggest Ech. osiris, Ech. 'Barthii' or even a "not-so-bright" Ech. 'Red special'.......or another one of the varieties with red(ish) newest leaves (there are numerous/uncountable of those :rolleyes: ).
Very nice and healthy plants, both of them.........

Indeed...I should keep better track of these things... I did have the pot tags but cleared them out in a fit of tidying a while back. In fact I'm not sure what the various crypts are either...doh!
 

Mick.Dk

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Names of the plants doesn't really mean anything, to enjoy them, Chris - and like said; those Echinodorus looked beautifull.
- sometimes, though, it's necessary to know names - f.ex. if you get inspired and need to purchase the exact same plant !!

......and keeping track of names is really not obligatory.......:p
 

Chris Jackson

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Joined
23 Apr 2014
Messages
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Location
Falmouth, Cornwall

The Rosy Barbs are convinced I may feed then
New arrivals this week are
Cryptocoryne Walkerii
Cryptocoryne Petchii
Cryptocoryne Willisii
to go with
Cryptocoryne Balansae
Cryptocoryne Wendtii
Hygrophilia Polysperma
Taxiphyllum Barbieri

Things are picking up nicely, I trimmed away many of the older more ragged crypt leaves and these old plants are showing steady new more compact growth. The
balansae added before Christmas have settled and are growing in well also.

Another addition is an Eheim 2217 classic filter to replace the big old Unimax model that was looking messy on the floor next to the tank (I used established media from the Unimax to setup the 2217) and the which means filtration now comes from an Eheim 2226 and this 2217 that live in the cupboard underneath.
Ferts are 2 pumps Tropica Specialised with 10% weekly water change and fairly generous feeding daily. (As mentioned previously there had been no water changes to this tank for 18 month s-
ish prior to re-scaping it so I have no idea what the water chemistry so I don't want to do any huge changes too quickly)

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Chris Jackson

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Falmouth, Cornwall
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So it's about 4 weeks in now and the newly planted crypt balansae is growing in steadily now and the other crypts added a couple of weeks back are also settling in very well with no sign of melt. The old original crypts are sending out fresh shiny new growth and becoming more compact in the brighter light and increased current.

I'm really enjoying having a much more lively tank with danios and barbs darting around, ottos enjoying rodeo rides on the swaying leaves whilst the 4 new hillstream loach scuttle around in a slightly disturbing mite like manner.

It's become a very happy tank, the fish colours are stronger and shrimps, ottos etc, are very active. There is pretty much no algae growth on the glass week to week but yet still a nice mellow greening of the new pebbles.

I'm not convinced that the hygrophilia in the background is well suited to this scene but I'll let it grow in some more and have a re-think on positioning/keeping...

 

Chris Jackson

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Messages
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Location
Falmouth, Cornwall
Meanwhile:


Balansae swaying in the stream.... I turned on the twin 150w halides for these images but after that it was back to the standard 12 hour on 2x 54w T5 with a 3.5hr spell of 4 x 54w T5 in the later stage of those 12 hrs. I can watch this scape for ages because there is so much going on with the high activity danios etc. it's very soothing after the challenges of a working day.

The Maxpect Gyre is great and currently on pulse mode at 10ms which is pretty quiet and must be about ¼ to ⅓ power...full power is way too powerful and noisy for my liking. The noise increases later in the photoperiod when there is way more fizz in the water from pearling. CO2 is still at a gentle 1bps into the Ehiem 2217, fert is 1 pump Tropica Specialised weekly plus generous feeding. 20% water change, glass scrape and trim weekly. Easy care!

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Chris Jackson

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Falmouth, Cornwall
Very nice! Good balance with 2x 54W and 1 bps of CO2. Everything looking very lush

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

Thanks Flygia!

It should be noted that all these 54w T5's are very old indeed (10+ years maybe for the oldest and 6 for the newest) as I only replace when they fail. So they certainly wont be high output anymore.
Lights are on 09:00 - 21:00, CO2 is 09:00-19:00. I credit the very well established 100mm of substrate that has never been vacuumed for the ease of this tank and who knows it just might be possible the heater cable is actually providing a benefit...
 

flygja

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It should be noted that all these 54w T5's are very old indeed (10+ years maybe for the oldest and 6 for the newest) as I only replace when they fail. So they certainly wont be high output anymore.
Lights are on 09:00 - 21:00, CO2 is 09:00-19:00. I credit the very well established 100mm of substrate that has never been vacuumed for the ease of this tank and who knows it just might be possible the heater cable is actually providing a benefit...
I see your CO2 and lights come on at the same time as well. How did you arrive at this schedule? Sorry but I'm just trying to pick your awesome brain for ideas ;)
 

Chris Jackson

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23 Apr 2014
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Location
Falmouth, Cornwall
;) indeed...

Well now.... because this is a low speed tank the demands on CO2 etc are pretty low. Overnight the plants are releasing CO2 and the CO2 build up in the filter during the day is also still dissolving so CO2 is always available to some degree but builds during the day so that there is plenty for the higher light period in the afternoon with 4 T5'5 when CO2 demand should be max.

Remember this tank was running low tech with no CO2 and the same 12 hour on 2 t5's regime for 18months or so before i modified it. I'm really only adding the CO2 for the high tech afternoon session...
 

Chris Jackson

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23 Apr 2014
Messages
725
Location
Falmouth, Cornwall
Thanks Flygia,

In my experience planting between pebbles and stones plus high water current certainly contribute towards denser more compact growth as does more light you just have to be a bit careful with the light...
 
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