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The Mossy Spider - my third tank and first journal!

shangman

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13 Jul 2020
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249
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London
This journal is for my new tank, a 30cm-cube which sits on my desk. I got it to keep shrimp, as they don't like my main tank's rainwater, so I'm giving them some good, old-fashioned London tap.

I started my first tank in June, and have been completely taken over by it, MTS was inevitable! Along with this tank (my personal second), I've also "helped" set up a tank with my dad in his office, a 45L cube with a jungle-y style (I'm somehow already doing all the water changes :Z ). My first tank was 'sortof' aquascaped (will share some pictures in a later post), it's got some lovely plants but the hardscape isn't very dramatic or structured (it's a flat-ish bottom with some river-like stones I pinched from my garden), and I want to try something more sculpted this time. I also feel that my first tank is almost 'done' and right, so I wanted to give myself a new challenge :)

I got some nice rocks that are black with white marbling from a garden center as the base, so the bottom isn't too boring. Apologies that I didn't wet them before the photo, the next post will show them in their full glory! They are darker than the sand when wet.

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Since I couldn't use bogwood, I got 2 pieces of spiderwood and glued them together with resin putty. I also just bought some spiderwood twigs to add some complexity (you can see the different coloured twigs below, the additions), which works really well, it a bit like a Louise Bourgeois Spider sculpture. As the wood has a raised bit near the top, I'd like to try some emersed plants coming out of that, but not really sure how, and if they'd need soil or not amongst moss. Was planning on winging it and just sticking some hydrocotolye and things like that on there and seeing how it goes.

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This is my view from my chair, so it has to look nice from this angle particularly. From this angle I get a (quite) good view of the top bit of the wood that I think should have some emergent plants amongst some emergent mosses. I also have that weird stick coming out, not sure if I'll try to grow something up it but it seemed wrong to saw it off.

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I would've made this tank jungle-style, but my dad's tank uses all of those kinds of plants (LOTS of buce, mini java fern, echinodorus, etc) and bog wood, so I want to try something with a different vibe. I also want to try a carpet, though I'm not using CO2, and the water is hard which I think will make it more difficult. Also under some of the wood it's rather dark, so I need to make sure that whatever goes there doesn't mind that.

I think that shrimp look very cute on both tiny leaves, and giant leaves, so it's going to be mostly mosses and liverworts, ideally with a carpet of moss, and moss covering spiderwood branches, with a bit of pgymy sword and marsilea and mini crypts for detail. I think I'd like a nice "bigger" crypt in the background for lushness (any suggestions??), and an anubias coffefolia for a dramatic large leafed plant. Might have a few tiny buces on the branches too, but the focus is really the moss with highlights. I want thinking since the tank will be mostly green, then there should be a few brown/red/purple highlight plants in there.

I've got all of my mosses and liverworts - riccardia chamedryfolia, fissidens fontanus, christmas moss & a bit of pelia from my dad's tank that's thriving. I was thinking of doing a dry start tomorrow, whizzing the mosses/liverworts up individually and painting them in all the wood so it's nicely evening covered. My thought was that tying all this moss to the many branches with be extremely annoying, though would love your thoughts.

Still not sure what colour cherry shrimps to get, currently considering red rillis, orange or yellow. Or all of them and just accept the wild types. Would also LOVE a rabbit snail, but I'm not sure if they'd eat everything/escape/be too big.
 

shangman

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Ok... so I've been very lazy about updating it, lots of things have happened. I didn't photogrpah them all, because I forgot... but will keep documenting. There's a long way to go!!

So I started with a dry start with marsiela hirsuta, and some mosses & liverworts... fissidens font, christmas moss, mini pelia and monosolenium tenerum. I blitzed the mosses with water and yoghurt and did that technique. Then I left it for 3 weeks. It worked quite well, but the wood kept sucking all the moisture from the plants.. even though I soaked it it didn't seem saturated enough. I'm afraid I've failed you all, as when the plants came I was so excited that I just started planting and forgot to show the results of the dry start. Whoops!


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This is the base which I planted first, I just added in some crypt lucens, and crypt albida. The marseila worked particularly well with the dry start

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This is with the wood added, I used the same mosses and added a few extra bits of the mono, and I got some mini Christmas moss that I just glued on. I also added a variety of buces which were interesting from aquasbai, including biblis and mini kedagang. A while ago my dad also bought me one of those interesting tiny ferns which I put in.

I'll post another update for how it's growing in later this week, as I took these photos a few weeks ago. Then going to the shop on Tues to hopefully pick up some extra plants!
 

shangman

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Thought I would update this journal :)

I've been v lazy about it because I have baby apistogramma in my other tank, that's been my main focus that takes up all my time.

The tank is now doing very well, but had some hiccups. A nice fern I bought brought with it spirogyra, which very quickly spread and took over the tank. I was really freaked out because online most people said it was impossible to treat, especially as I have red cherry shrimp, 2 amanos & a few rabbit snails (thanks @Steve Buce!), I couldn't OD it on various chemicals. I did a 3 day blackout, and it almost completely went away - there are still a few strands around, but it hasn't tried to take over again. I'll do another blackout to hopefully polish it off in the next few weeks. Success!!

After the blackout everything was fine, except that my buces had MAJOR staghorn on them, so I've started spot dosing with Excel Flourish, which has pretty much knobbled it, along with just having sponge ni the filter to add some more flow. The excel also made the mosses just that bit more green and luscious. The tank now has about 6 species of moss (including a riccia and monosolenium which aren't really mosses but they're similar enough), I'm really happy with how the dry start has developed, it's a great technique. Took about 5/6 weeks to properly grow in, but it's all thriving now. I have some crypts growing in the back that hopefully will slowly get bigger and give it more depth too.

Thinking of getting some yellow shrimp to go with the red, I don't mind some wild types that comes with the interbreeding really. Or maaayyybbeeeee considering a betta, a colourful fish would look so great in this green tank, though idk if I want the extra effort/worry/a fish that eats my shrimps.

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This is the angle I see it at from my desk chair:
PXL_20210206_171611086.jpg
 

noodlesuk

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21 Jul 2020
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Oxfordshire
Beautiful aquascape, love all the different green textures, mosses, mixed leaves. Looks great, I bet, especially with the spots of red from the shrimp.
 

shangman

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Thank you both :) I've been really happy with this tank, it's looking really lush and lovely now, the dry start looks so rubbish at first moss-wise but long-term it's brilliant! It was really nice to learn a new technique and have it be successful. Next question... how does one trim and maintain a mossy tank and keep it looking good? 😆

The red cherries do look great in there, I'm planning to get some really high grade red ones for my birthday to boost that too, as a lot of their offspring are loosing the red and going wild on me
 

shangman

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Recently I got some hygrophila pinnatifida from @Konrad Michalski which is super beautiful, I'm really obsessed with it!. I hope it survives in this low tech! It really adds a feeling of oak saplings, the leaf shape and colour is fantastic. I think this tank is pretty 'complete' and grown in, I relaly enjoy watching it every day. I'm hoping the HP might shoot up and out of the tank, I think that a bit of emergent growth would be the last step in making it great. What I really like about this one is I haven't had any problems, I just do a small wc and clean the glass weekly and when things go wrong they are simple and effective to fix. The shrimp did have some tiny worm paracites on their nose, but some discus de-wormer has got it with no casualties. I also got an outbreak of spyrogira, but with one 3-day blackout it completely went (not like my other tanks annoyingly).

I recently added some MTS which are very cute, like mini rabbit snails. I've also noticed a lot more tiny life in the tank in the past few weeks, like tiny ostracods, limpits, a few small planeria and some mysterious worms I think might be leeches, or maybe large blackworms. Either way I don't mind, I don't feed the tank that much so I think it should remain in balance easily. I've never vacuumed any mulm or waste out of the bottom, only from the water because I can't really reach the substrate, maybe that's why interesting things are popping up. I have 2 amanos in here which are very funny and very very active, swimming around quickly and always the first to steal food from the cherries.

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I have some brown stuff growing on the side of the tank which you can see on the right, but I leave it there because the baby shrimp really love it, I usually have 30+ on there at all times.

I have started netting out the wild-coloured shrimp, they go into my main tank where they either get eaten by the cichlids, or get big enough to be ok.

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Finally, a cherry on a pinnatifida leaf shot from the top of the tank, looking fabulously aesthetic.
 

mort

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Which plant species is that on the emersed wood in the first picture? Looks an interesting species that I can't quite make out.
 

shangman

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Which plant species is that on the emersed wood in the first picture? Looks an interesting species that I can't quite make out.
It's an interesting species of sorts... it's a lasercut, heat-shaped & gold leafed polypropylene version of a dog rose I made as a student a few years ago, which used to be on a hat but I thought it would look nice hanging on the light in lieu of an actual emmersed plant. I studied fashion & textiles and made all sorts of fake nature accessories and things :) below is it scanned & on a model for my final project.

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F2104.jpg
 

shangman

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Very nice
Thanks :)

Looks so good, I'm jealous of the fissidens as i have never been able to keep it alive =/
Thanks!! I don't do anything to it at all really - the water is hard, the light isn't fancy, small wc each week. I do fertilise though, and I set it up with a dry start which I think really helped - it started off with tiny growth for a good 2 months looking crap, but now it's come in lovely and bushy from those tiny bits. I dosed a bit of excel flourish for a month to kill off some bba & staghorn, it quite liked that, but life's too short to dose things every day.
 

shangman

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View attachment 164045
My HP that I also got from Konrad has grown out of the tank, it’s lost all its submerged growth but seems to be loving life above the surface. Shame I have a lid on the tank so I can’t even see it 😂
Absolutely LOVE THAT. 😍 I'll hopefully trim it at the front so it stays submerged since it looks great with moss, and let it grow up and out at the back. Emergent growth somehow makes things look so much more magical, I love watching plants joyfully growing up and out the confines we've set.
 

CSouthgate

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7 Dec 2014
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Thanks :)


Thanks!! I don't do anything to it at all really - the water is hard, the light isn't fancy, small wc each week. I do fertilise though, and I set it up with a dry start which I think really helped - it started off with tiny growth for a good 2 months looking crap, but now it's come in lovely and bushy from those tiny bits. I dosed a bit of excel flourish for a month to kill off some bba & staghorn, it quite liked that, but life's too short to dose things every day.
I'll have to have another go when I move and set up a new crystal shrimp tank, I fall into the fairly lazy fishkeeper category if it ain't broke don't mess with it and I will forget about daily dosing, I'm lucky if I remember to feed every day :rolleyes:
 

shangman

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I'll have to have another go when I move and set up a new crystal shrimp tank, I fall into the fairly lazy fishkeeper category if it ain't broke don't mess with it and I will forget about daily dosing, I'm lucky if I remember to feed every day :rolleyes:
Life's too short for daily dosing!! I only fertilise with a WC. With your new tank I 100% recommend the dry start for the fissidens, it's worked really well with only a bit of moss to start with. Takes a while to really establish but then is great.
 

CSouthgate

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Life's too short for daily dosing!! I only fertilise with a WC. With your new tank I 100% recommend the dry start for the fissidens, it's worked really well with only a bit of moss to start with. Takes a while to really establish but then is great.
Oooo i have not done a dry start for a long long time but it may be worth it in this case, going to be a few months until im actually moved and ready to set up, hopefully plants will be more readily available again by then.
 
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