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post #16 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-26-2011, 04:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
Check here in the swap and shop for Marselia minuta, that's just about the only place I ever see it since for some reason the online stores only seem to carry the other species?
Aquariumplants.com used to carry it, but like you, all I see is the Marselia Hirsta (sp?) or the quadrifolia
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post #17 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-26-2011, 04:58 AM
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Good luck with the duckweed.
From what I've read so far I hope to never get it piggybacked in my tanks.
Grows back from the smallest bit of it when you think you got it all.
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post #18 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-26-2011, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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I actually like the duckweed... kinda... It's a small pain, but I think it looks good when there are just a few leaves floating around. I do weekly water changes, and just take out a couple of handfulls. and after about three days, the stuff explodes! And a few days after that, comes another water change. It's only a little more maintenance, and since I'm new to planted tanks, I still like it... sort of... lol. Only trouble is, once I plant some carpet, in an already low light tank, I just don't think anything will survive with the duckweed blocking the little light that I do have. BTW, love the name! First time I heard the song was when I was watching yellow submarine. Great music video!
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post #19 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Alright, so I did a water change yesterday, and picked up a couple things for the mineralized topsoil. I couldn't find muriate of potash anywhere, but I discovered that all it is, is potassium chloride. Which is used in some types of ice melt, some types of water softeners, and is the main ingredient in NOSALT (a salt substitute) So I picked up some nosalt, as it was the only potassium chloride I could find. I also got some cork (more on that later) and some HC from my LFS.

I also had a hard time finding "pottery clay" I had some clay at my house, but it's grey, not red. And since you need the clay for iron, which I assume is the reason the clay is red in the first place, the clay I have probably won't work. So I did a little brainstorming, and vuala!! I have steel wool! So I grabbed some steel wool, put it in a tupperware container, filled it with tap water, and by the time the water evaporates, the wool should pretty much be in powder form. It's been two days, and there is alot of iron oxide in the bottom of the tupperware. Also, just to make sure that there will be iron in the tank for a long time, I wadded up little balls of steel wool, and encapsulated them in clay. The clay isn't waterproof, so the steel wool should oxidize inside the little balls, and slowly leach the iron into the dirt. I'm guessing they will last for years this way, as long as the clay doesn't break down too quickly.

With the cork, I made a small planter on the very top of my slate wall (pics to come) And I made a very tiny amount of mineralized topsoil. I found out from an old post by Tom Barr that you can mineralize topsoil by boiling it for about 10 minutes. Fortunately I have a loving wife who didn't mind me boiling dirt in her pots. So I boiled my dirt, mixed in a little nosalt, and some of the steel wool water, and poured it into the planter on the wall. It was probably only about 4 or 5 tablespoons. Then I planted the HC in it. So the HC is sitting about 3 inches away from the 15 watt light, under 3/4 of an inch of water. I think this should be plenty of light for it.

The reason for the cork is because I've seen people grow HC emmersed in ripariums where cork was used as a planter. The HC will attach to the cork pretty firmly, so... hopefully the HC will grow out of the planter, and attach itself to the cork, covering the entire top of the wall with a nice, green, lush, carpet.

I'll post some pics of the planter, and steel wool clay balls later. Hopefully tonight, if I don't get too busy.
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post #20 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 01:01 PM
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Lucky bamboo will die if submerged. take it out...

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post #21 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 04:22 PM
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I've heard lucky bamboo will survive if it is emergent and has leaves above the surface. I'd still grow it taller and pot it as a houseplant though.

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post #22 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moonshinetheslacker View Post
Alright, so I did a water change yesterday, and picked up a couple things for the mineralized topsoil. I couldn't find muriate of potash anywhere, but I discovered that all it is, is potassium chloride. Which is used in some types of ice melt, some types of water softeners, and is the main ingredient in NOSALT (a salt substitute) So I picked up some nosalt, as it was the only potassium chloride I could find. I also got some cork (more on that later) and some HC from my LFS.

I also had a hard time finding "pottery clay" I had some clay at my house, but it's grey, not red. And since you need the clay for iron, which I assume is the reason the clay is red in the first place, the clay I have probably won't work. So I did a little brainstorming, and vuala!! I have steel wool! So I grabbed some steel wool, put it in a tupperware container, filled it with tap water, and by the time the water evaporates, the wool should pretty much be in powder form. It's been two days, and there is alot of iron oxide in the bottom of the tupperware. Also, just to make sure that there will be iron in the tank for a long time, I wadded up little balls of steel wool, and encapsulated them in clay. The clay isn't waterproof, so the steel wool should oxidize inside the little balls, and slowly leach the iron into the dirt. I'm guessing they will last for years this way, as long as the clay doesn't break down too quickly.

With the cork, I made a small planter on the very top of my slate wall (pics to come) And I made a very tiny amount of mineralized topsoil. I found out from an old post by Tom Barr that you can mineralize topsoil by boiling it for about 10 minutes. Fortunately I have a loving wife who didn't mind me boiling dirt in her pots. So I boiled my dirt, mixed in a little nosalt, and some of the steel wool water, and poured it into the planter on the wall. It was probably only about 4 or 5 tablespoons. Then I planted the HC in it. So the HC is sitting about 3 inches away from the 15 watt light, under 3/4 of an inch of water. I think this should be plenty of light for it.

The reason for the cork is because I've seen people grow HC emmersed in ripariums where cork was used as a planter. The HC will attach to the cork pretty firmly, so... hopefully the HC will grow out of the planter, and attach itself to the cork, covering the entire top of the wall with a nice, green, lush, carpet.

I'll post some pics of the planter, and steel wool clay balls later. Hopefully tonight, if I don't get too busy.
That's what I call some nifty DIY thinking! Please keep us updated on how all your substitutions seem to work out for you?

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post #23 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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With regard to the lucky bamboo; I've had the lucky bamboo in there for over six months now, and it has done perfectly fine. A little algae growth on it, but that's about it. I do know that supposedly lucky bamboo will die if it is totally submerged. Right now I do have it potted as a regular houseplant on the window sill. Once the mineralized topsoil goes in, the bamboo will also go back in. I would assume that if you take the lucky bamboo out every few months, and plant it for a week or two, it would probably live just fine in the aquarium. The reason this stuff dies when it's totally submerged is because it gets water logged and rots. So, as long as it gets to dry out every few months, I figure it will be fine. Also, it only cost me 3 bucks. So if it dies, I'm not too terribly concerned about it.

Laura, I will certainly keep you posted on how the mineralized topsoil does. I'm a little worried about all the substitutions that I'm using, but then again, if nobody ever took a chance, we probably would have never invented the wheel. So if everything thrives, and nothing dies, then most people will think it's quite a bit easier then previously suspected to do this.

I figure most people don't want to use MTS, or can't for various reasons. Like, not having a yard to dry soil in. Or don't have the time to keep wetting and drying for several weeks, or just can't seem to find the proper clay, or dolomite, or potash. So I would imagine a few more people will do this, as long as everything works out well... and I'm certainly hoping it does!

Does anyone know if I can use tums instead of dolomite? Their main ingredient is calcium carbonate, just like dolomite, but it doesn't have the magnesium that dolomite does. The only thing that looks like it might actually hurt the plants in tums would be the Sodium Polyphosphate... what effect would have have on the plants or fish? I have some tums laying around, along with some magnesium supplements. I'm guessing that they would work..? Help?
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post #24 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 10:36 PM
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I'd probably use some crushed coral or cichlid substrate if dolomite isn't an option.

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post #25 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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I stopped by petsmart today, as I had a little bit of time on my hands (very rare) and saw some stuff in the reptile section called "calcium sand" made of calcium carbonate. Anyone know about this stuff? I called the manufacturer to ask them a question, and the guy read to me exactly what was on the back of the bag, and said that's all the info he had.
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post #26 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 01:07 AM
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I remember hearing some bad stuff about using that stuff in reptile tanks... Can't remember exactly what the issue was and if it would transfer to an aquarium, though?

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post #27 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 05:02 AM
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Quote:
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Seadreamer: You know, as soon as I read your post I said DUH! Yeah, I certainly can leave just a little bit under the wall. In fact, do you by chance know of any aquarium safe clay I could put under there? If not, it's really no big deal, I can certainly leave the ugly blue gravel, and just cover it with something else.
Sorry. I forgot I responded here. Looks like you've moved on but, no, I don't know about aquarium-safe clay. It may exist. I'm no expert.

You might consider crypts for some low-light plantings. Lots to choose from.

As for growing moss near the surface, I've done it and had no problem. I think it was java moss. I had it tied to a piece of wood and hung from the top of the tank. It made a moss overhang, which was my intent. Anyway, it was about 2 inches from my lights (had a glass top) and thrived.
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post #28 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 01:54 AM Thread Starter
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Here's a couple pics of the planter I did on the top of the wall









Also, some pics of the substrate science experiment that's taking over my kitchen counter, lol!





There's the steel wool, the encapsulated steel wool, the small amount of substrate I made for the HC, and a pot of boiling dirt. I threw the duckweed in there because DEATH TO DUCKWEED! hehe... I figured boiling it for 15 minutes would make me feel better. And it did.

Oh, and Seadreamer, I just wish there were a book entitled "Crypts, sizes, and needs" It would make things a bit easier, that's for sure!
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post #29 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 10:45 PM
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first, if you have such low light wattage, i recommend taking out the duckweed, then, i would get driftwood, eco-complete black gravel, and a few low light plants. ( anubias, java moss, java fern, bacopa, and spiranulis crypt)

BELIEVE IT!!!!!
new tank = new algae!

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post #30 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-06-2011, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Well, the tank is full of mud today! Once the water clears (tomorrow, or the next day probably) I'll plant the crypt parva I just picked up, along with the crypt spiralis going up along the left side, and the anubias is jammed between the stone wall, and the glass, on the right side. I'm still trying to find some marselia minuta, but if nothing else, I'm wondering if I might be able to make a carpet out of the parva?

Quick update on the clay and steel wool: Don't bother. The clay melts within about 24 hours. But, I suppose the steel wool will just rust away under the substrate anyway.
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