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Larry's Glade

hotweldfire

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Hi All,

This is my first journal, first Iwagumi and first attempt at a second tank. It's going to be a slow burner as I don't really have the cash for all the gear I need so the shrimp and plants in my main tank are going to have to subsidise this one until it's up and running and can pay for itself (will start a journal for my main tank shortly).

This is the cube:
http://www.ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=16036

I bought two of these. I had originally planned to buy one as a b'day present for a mate who used to keep a tank a few years ago but stopped after his wife did a water change with untreated tap water. Real shame as he was living in Singapore at the time (think of the rare shrimp he could have brought back). Anyway whilst I was there I thought I may as well buy another as they were so cheap and stick it in the attic until I could justify a second tank (that's what I told myself anyway). However, once I told the better half what an Iwagumi looked like and the philosophy behind it she told me to set it up in the living room (will take a pic of the space shortly).

As a result it needs to look as good as possible which will mean glass lily pipes, external filter, inline co2 and heater etc. That's all a bit longer term though. First I want to get it up and running with what came with it (need to buy a cheap heater still).

For now I need some advice on design, immersed/emersed, substrate and temporary co2. Firstly substrate and emersed.

Substrate: It's probably between ada amazonia (not amazonia II) and colombo florabase. Price is pretty equivalent but I'm tending towards the ada because I've got a bit of it lying around which will probably mean I'll only need a 3 litre bag rather than a larger one. At the same time I'd rather go for the powder form because I imagine it will be easier to plant in. But I'm struggling to justify the much higher cost. Is there any advantage to the powder other than the ease of planting?

Secondly emersed. Never tried this before but my recent tear-my-hair-out experiences (well would be if I had any) with HC makes me tempted. At the same time I have some boraras brigittae in my main tank that I want to get out soon as possible as they are struggling with the low temp, high flow and larger and more boisterous vietnamese minnows in there. How long typically do people grow something like HC for before flooding the tank? Is it worth doing with only the 11w light that came with this tank?

Additional comments and critiques very welcome.
 

Bobtastic

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Re: Hi-tech Iwagumi Nano - questions, questions

I would say if you have some Aquasoil laying around go for that. I've never used the powder so couldn't comment. Stu is currently doing an ADA setup using it tho. So have a read through and maybe send him a PM?

I don't think that there are many on here that do or have tried the Dry Start Method (DSM), but I believe that Tom Barr is the main man on this theory/application. It's not a sure fire way to get a lush HC carpet tho, as I've read of ppl that had very little success with it.
 

gmartins

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Re: Hi-tech Iwagumi Nano - questions, questions

Hi,

I've recently started a 12 litre tank as a DSM and with HC. I only have 11watts. So what I can say is. Under 11 watts, things grow but slowly. I have lots of CO2. Drop-cheker is pretty yellow and I've gased some red cherries now :(.
My tank is 20 cm tall plus a 4-5 cm to the light. If yours is taller, then maybe 11 watt is a bit low for HC, anyways.

On the other hand, with the lower light, it's easier to avoid CO2-related problems (algae). The DSM was good as it allowed the roots to become well established so it's easier to plant. I left mine dry for 2 1/2 months.

The only problem I had with the DSM is that because I was using inert substrate, I now have BGA. Apparently is just a consequence of the low nitrates. I've upped my ferts and hoping it disapears soon.

Hope this helps.
 

Stu Worrall

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Re: Hi-tech Iwagumi Nano - questions, questions

im with Bob, if you have some AS already then get a small bag of powder. Its lots easier to plant into when your doing a HC carpet so put some osmocote or power sand at the bottom, then some of the old AS then top with powder.

I'd also suggest to flood the tank straight away but this depends on if you can get the ferts/co2 and light into the tank from the off as you mentioned you were on a budget. The light looks sorted as its not going to be mega high but have you got pressurised co2 ready to go? Have a look at mark evans newest tank for the HC growth he got in 15 days. On that he was using powersand, soild subrate and ferts and high co2 plus an easycarbo mix from the go which has worked really well. If the tank has to be SWMBO friendly then a DSM tank sat for a couple of months with no water and condensation laden glass wont look so good IMO.

hope that helps some, links to my nano are in my sig below which ill be planting and flooding this weekend :)
 

JEK

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Re: Hi-tech Iwagumi Nano - questions, questions

Worth to mention is also that powder looks so much neater i small tanks.:)
 

hotweldfire

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Re: Hi-tech Iwagumi Nano - questions, questions

Thanks all. The advice is much appreciated.

gmartins said:
Hi,

I've recently started a 12 litre tank as a DSM and with HC. I only have 11watts. So what I can say is. Under 11 watts, things grow but slowly. I have lots of CO2. Drop-cheker is pretty yellow and I've gased some red cherries now :(.
My tank is 20 cm tall plus a 4-5 cm to the light. If yours is taller, then maybe 11 watt is a bit low for HC, anyways.

The tank is 30cm tall with the same lights as you. Might not be enough but given enough patience the HC will hopefully grow in. As you say, I'd rather have a slower growing scape than battle the algae. Have done enough of that to last a lifetime.

stuworrall said:
im with Bob, if you have some AS already then get a small bag of powder. Its lots easier to plant into when your doing a HC carpet so put some osmocote or power sand at the bottom, then some of the old AS then top with powder.

I'd also suggest to flood the tank straight away but this depends on if you can get the ferts/co2 and light into the tank from the off as you mentioned you were on a budget. The light looks sorted as its not going to be mega high but have you got pressurised co2 ready to go? Have a look at mark evans newest tank for the HC growth he got in 15 days. On that he was using powersand, soild subrate and ferts and high co2 plus an easycarbo mix from the go which has worked really well. If the tank has to be SWMBO friendly then a DSM tank sat for a couple of months with no water and condensation laden glass wont look so good IMO.

hope that helps some, links to my nano are in my sig below which ill be planting and flooding this weekend :)

Yep, will probably go with the powder and was thinking about osmocote (power sand too expensive for the amount I need). I certainly can't wait 2 months before flooding. What's SWMBO? I assume it's something to do with those who patiently tolerate our hobby and obsession?

Have read through the blue sky journal today and the growth is quite incredible. It has become one of my inspirations for this tank.

Ferts are sorted. Have the option of going for ADA green brighty step 2 + brighty k (which I have lying around) or an EI premix.

You've hit the nail on the head with the co2 issue though. I want to be flooding the tank with co2 from the get go but I can't afford a proper regulator and bottle right now so don't have pressurised co2 ready to go. I was trying to come up with a temporary solution i.e. one of the nano sets or maybe just job lots of excel/easy carbo. However, at least for the first option, the research I've done today suggests they're so not cost effective I should try to stump up the cash for some proper co2 gear now rather than waste a ton on a temporary kit. Unless liquid carbon on it's own will sustain the early stages of growth which I assume it won't.

Not about to go out and buy a whole jbl kit though. Considering one of the far east regs. Have seen worrying things on this forum about the solenoids on the HSL:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI....120693&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT#ht_5286wt_956
and UP:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI....625325&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT#ht_5860wt_905
ones.
Am also considering these:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270707059891&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI....87210&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT#ht_5042wt_1041
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI....466520&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT#ht_4489wt_925


Anyone have any experience with these?

There's also a TMC v2 on sale on this site too.
 

hotweldfire

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Re: Hi-tech Iwagumi Nano - questions, questions

Sorry to totally and utterly waste everybody's time on this but I'm afraid I've had a complete rethink. Two reasons:

1) Have put the tank on top of the cabinet that I was planning to have it on and it looks stupid. Basically too small. There's 30 cm on either side. Happily there's another, more tucked away, shelf in the same room that's smaller and that would work better. Unfortunately it's a shelf rather than the top of a cabinet so nowhere to put externals like filter co2 etc.

2) More importantly I've realised I don't have the time or (after doing some research on all the gear I need) the money to attempt a hi-tech tank right now.

So am going in completely the opposite direction, i.e. totally low tech nano. Will do some trawling around for inspiration and then come back and ask for opinions/ideas shortly. Ta muchly for the patience and help.
 

hotweldfire

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Re: Hi-tech Iwagumi Nano - questions, questions

Apologies for the awful photos - phone camera and low light.

This is where it was going to go (without all that crap around it obviously):

imag0167w.jpg


This is where it is now going to go:


imag0166v.jpg


Filter currently running in my main tank:

imag0163w.jpg
 

hotweldfire

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Re: Hi-tech Iwagumi Nano - questions, questions

So, quick question. Is it sensible to use an active substrate like aquasoil in a low tech nano or should I be using something inert? The reason I'm asking is that this tank is going to be moss heavy which obviously won't be planted in the substrate and the tank won't have many fast growing plants to use up ferts.

Effectively, what I'm asking is does aquasoil and the like leach NPK into the water column? Because if it does then I'm likely looking at an algae bloom because there's going to be little else using that up. If it doesn't then it's worth me using because long term I might want to use plants embedded into the substrate.
 

John Starkey

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Re: Hi-tech Iwagumi Nano - questions, questions

hotweldfire said:
So, quick question. Is it sensible to use an active substrate like aquasoil in a low tech nano or should I be using something inert? The reason I'm asking is that this tank is going to be moss heavy which obviously won't be planted in the substrate and the tank won't have many fast growing plants to use up ferts.

Effectively, what I'm asking is does aquasoil and the like leach NPK into the water column? Because if it does then I'm likely looking at an algae bloom because there's going to be little else using that up. If it doesn't then it's worth me using because long term I might want to use plants embedded into the substrate.

Hi,in my opinion you don't need the ADA soil for what you are aiming to achieve,i am not too sure if ADA soil leache's NKP into the water,i suspect not, plain old gravel will be fine because as you say you are not planning on planting anything into the substrate,to make it look even better you could use some graded gravel's too,

john.
 

hotweldfire

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Re: Hi-tech Iwagumi Nano - questions, questions

Thanks for the reply. Am trying to hedge my bets a bit in case I can eventually move this to a space that will allow me to go high tech some time in the future. If that happens I'd rather not have to rip it all apart therefore having an active substrate in would be sensible as long as it doesn't play havoc with the water whilst it's a low tech setup. Also, whilst it will be moss heavy I will plant something in the substrate.

Am probably going to go for TMC Nutrasoil as my LFS sell 5 litres for £15. Exactly what they owe me for some shrimp I gave them. Would also be nice to have some spare to give to my mate as part of his tank present.
 

hotweldfire

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Re: Hi-tech Iwagumi Nano - questions, questions

Found this in the garden shed:

imag0168w.jpg


imag0169i.jpg


Thinking about putting a sprinkle in the base of the tank as a powersand substitute. 5g for a 30x30x30? Other thing is I have no idea how old it is and there's not a best before. I didn't buy it and I moved in 6 years ago. Will this stuff degrade over time? Any consequences?
 

Stu Worrall

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Re: Hi-tech Iwagumi Nano - questions, questions

i think the osmocote will be fine. thats what I use to sprinkle in the bottom of my tanks.

Re the degredation the only thing they do is pop and realease the contents of the sphere in liquid form. This is probably fine for planted tanks as its under the substrate. They are bad for bonsai as if the pellet stays intact over summer then it can pop in the winter and flood the soil with a load of ferts you dont want at the wrong time of year. As planted tanks dont seem to have seasons again it will be fine in there unless anyone knows any different?
 

hotweldfire

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Re: Now Lo-Tech nano - still questions, questions

Thanks again Stu. Will put a teaspoon's worth in the bottom.

So, here's what's currently inspiring me:

http://showcase.aquatic-gardeners.org/2009.cgi?&op=showcase&category=0&vol=0&id=58

Love that Heteranthera. Apparently a very fragile plant though so will have to be treated with care.

Want to go for this sort of look but with a few differences

1) Redmoor twigs (have loads in main tank) sticking out of the Heteranthera. Won't poke through the surface. I might put some fissidens on the ends of some, not sure yet as that might detract from the Heteranthera.
2) Put some anubias petite scattered around the base of Heteranthera, at the darkest points
3) No HC, but use mini xmas moss as well as coral pelia on the rocks
4) Go for a carpet in front of the cliff instead of sand. I think this might look more natural if I broke it up with some smaller rocks. Thinking maybe marsilea

Picked this rock up yesterday (sorry again for photos, new SD card for DSLR on it's way):

imag0170mt.jpg


imag0171h.jpg


Really like the layered look.

So, a few questions again I'm afraid:

1) Am I making a mistake using a carpet at the front? Will this ruin the cliff look?

2) If not, should I have an unbroken carpet or would using smaller rocks to break it up work? I was thinking of smaller rocks emerging in fingers from the cliff, maybe with some mid ground plants like hydrocotyle planted amongst them.

3) Again, if not, would marsilea be too big? Any low light alternatives? Thought about dwarf hairgrass but I think this would need to constantly trimmed to keep it short enough

4) Any tips on breaking up this rock?
 

hotweldfire

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Re: Now Lo-Tech nano - still questions, questions

First effort at scaping it (actually first effort at scaping anything really).

Rock is pagoda rock. It fails the vinegar test but LFS assure me it won't harden the water much, especially with nutrasoil to counter act it.

Breaking it down from this:

imag0172bc.jpg


to this:

imag0174k.jpg


Soaking in boiling water:

imag0175ag.jpg


One teaspoon of Miracle Grow slow release:

imag0177k.jpg


Nutrasoil with my two year olds gardening set (great aquascaping tools BTW :lol: ). Quite impressed with the size of the granules, smaller than aquasoil :

imag0178z.jpg


Base layer:

imag0179q.jpg


Building a bit of a slope:

imag0181cv.jpg


Rocks in. From level of top rim of tank:

0023xx.jpg


And from substrate level:

0013vo.jpg


Somewhat closer:

0033fs.jpg


And from above:

0043fh.jpg


I think it needs more of a slope. Also, whilst I really like the rock laying more flattened out I think they need to be a bit more upright. Otherwise the stems behind are going to totally dominate the rock. Also, want to grow coral pelia in the cracks between the rocks and mini xmas/singapore on the tops of the rock. At the moment the xmas is just going to end up covering the nice layering near the top as it has got a top ridge to grow on.

Thoughts comments and critiques very welcome. Still struggling with what carpet to go for.
 

spyder

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Re: Now Lo-Tech nano - still questions, questions

A bit more height for sure.

If you going to carpet then those rocks would soon dissapear. More substrate, more slope it's looking very flat.

NIce rocks. :thumbup:

Got me one of these cubes (20cm) , gonna grab a 30cm soon, or two :shh:
 

Stu Worrall

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Re: Now Lo-Tech nano - still questions, questions

nice start and I like the pagoda. As you said it is very low lying so if youve got any soil left id slope it a lot more as if you're going for any sort of carpet the rocks will be lost as soon as it starts growing. It also looks quite low at the front which you may find difficult to plant into when you do the carpet. The pelia in the crags sounds like a really good idea.
 

hotweldfire

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Re: Now Lo-Tech nano - still questions, questions

Well, I've had a bit of a brain fart and have gone and run the thing probably quicker than I should have.

Coral pelia ready for attaching to the cracks between the rocks:

0014rq.jpg


Then the camera battery ran out.

Here's what it looks like set up:

0034j.jpg


0024f.jpg


0072f.jpg


0044m.jpg


Yep, that is HC in a low light non-CO2 tank. I know I'm on to a hiding for nothing but I couldn't for the life of me come up with another carpet that would look right. We'll just have to see how it works out. Almost certainly it'll all be melting and floating up over the next couple of weeks. Then I'll have to come up with a plan B.

Still not happy with the slope. There is quite a strong slope which you can see from the penultimate pic but I didn't manage to fill out the substrate behind the rocks. Will attempt to do that this weekend.. Have slapped in a bunch of egeria densa as an ammonia sponge but couldn't get as much as I wanted so have shifted over some H. Angustifolia from my other tank as well as some rather ragged rotundifolia green and some frogbit. Also put in some hydrocotyle sibthorpioides and a couple of blades of DHG that was attached to the HC I bought.

Will eventually replace the background stems with the ones I've been planning and attach some anubias petite to some small remaining rocks to go behind the main rock face. Will also add some redmoor twigs that will come out of the stem bush.

Am going uber low tech aka Diana Walstad with this. I.e. no water changes if I can help it.

Wish me luck :crazy:
 

nayr88

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Re: Now Lo-Tech nano - still questions, questions

Hey mate, haven't checked back in a while, but has made for a good little read :) I like the rock a lot, havnt seen it before but looks really interesting.

I can't see the hc taking off :( I'd I 10000000% would of gone for an xmas moss carpet, they look brilliant and would suit your set up. You can always replace the hc with moss at a later date anyway.

A low tech tank isn't complete without crypts!! So go get some haha.

The diana walstad tank approach isn't really going to work, I mean low tech guys and gals usualy do a lot less water changes, but your whole set up is what d.walstads method is not, you do have a nutrient rich soil but its not the same as top soil and the 'idea' behind the d.walstad thing is just ....I dunno...not this haha.

I had a d.walstad tank, mud from the garden, toped with gravel, loads of stems and crypts and low light loving plants, and the thing thrived, I didn't have a filter and it had a desk lamp over it :) my betta loved it and was always setting up bubbles nests :)
 
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