From the beginning 8/10/12
I was torn between a tall tank or a long tank. I had a vision in my head for these tall rock cliffs with moss growing out of them. But a long tank gets light to the bottom better and my table is plenty long enough. I looked at a lot of aquascape photos and knew what i liked best so in the end i just went for what I really wanted.
I took advantage of a 10% off coupon and picked up an Aqueon 25g tall kit from Petsmart. It gave me the height I needed for the rock and it had a filter with an intake tube that would easily attach to PVC for a remote intake. The kit was geared towards plants as well. With a nice looking dual T5 light (28w total). It even came with a small bottle of ferts.
Here it is unboxed and mocked up
I painted the back black
Materials for the intake tube.
Nifty planting tongs ordered off of Amazon
here are the rocks for the tank. sourced from public land near Red Spring in Nevada. Only the largest one intended to stand vertical.
Cutting the bottom off the rock so it'll stand. Height of the tank is 21 inches. Legth of the rock before cutting was 21 inches. after cutting its 15 inches
Done. had to take a hammer and screwdriver to it to break off chunks so i could grind deeper. a piece broke off where i didnt want it to but the rock stands solidly in spite of that so all is well.
The intake tube version 1 mocked up
Substrate materials. ended up using only 1 bag of miricle grow instead of 2. Also used my old substrate which in hindsight was a bad idea.
Wasnt happy with the filter intake so I picked up this cheap sponge filter from Amazon with intentions to modify
Newly modded end on the intake tube. that piece came in the sponge filter. all the joints on the tube were secured/sealed with aquarium silicone
With the foam on it
The tank in place
Step one of setting up the substrate. Its a mix of black sand and my old
substrate which was white sand and white gravel.
Put down a thin layer of laterite that was left over from setting up a friends tank. Then a little bit of wet miracle grow organic potting soil. Then setup the primary rock on top of that.
More soil and the other two rocks in position
Filling tank. Moss tied to the rock with cotton thread. The moss will anchor itself to the rock and the thread will deteriorate and fade away. I think its Java moss but it might be Christmas moss. There was a small piece of Fissedens in there too. Hopefully it grows
First FTS. I dont like how bright the substrate ended up. gradually I'll pick out white gravel and then add black gravel
Feeding dish with a couple small shrimps already at it.
The shrimp are mixed color Rili juveniles. (Neocaridina heteropoda var. Rili) I got them from xenxes
The tank was a little cloudy the first few days but cleared up nicely. For the initial water I used ~5g from my old tank and 10g of RO (walmart "drinking" water) and tap for the rest with plenty of water conditioner and a packet of startup bacteria/water clearifier. plus my old substrate and driftwood with an anubias on it. Cycling was pretty fast at about a week and a half. i guess u could say it was partially pre-cycled. My tap is on the hardish side with ph of around 7.4 and the bottled RO tests soft with a lower PH, dont remember it exactly. I was a little worried the rocks might leech minerals into the water but it hasnt been getting harder per the test strips but idk if mayb there could be something that the strips dont test for?
Shrimp are all very active and happy. at first they were swimming around like mad. now they spend most their time grazing around. they seem to heard a bit when i feed them. its funny. like they are tiny invert cows. funny watching two fight over a piece of food too. shrimp tug of war
I started picking out the white gravel but the MTS keep stirring up the substrate and bringing more to the top. I guess eventually there just wont be any left. you guys recommend putting in gravel to replace what i'm taking out? i've read that sand alone compacts. idk how that will affect the potting soil underneath.
I havent decided what type of fish i want to put in here yet. they need to be small and not overly aggressive towards shrimp. I kno that only Otos are shrimp safe and anything else will cause a change in shrimp behavior and some loss of shrimplets. I can minimize both those effects by choosing the right fish. I want a good looking school that sticks together well and will breed naturally. so far the list in my head is Harlequin Rasbora, Neon Tetra, White Cloud Minnow, Ember Tetra, Chili Rasbora, Dwarf Pencilfish and other breeds similar to any of those. Seems like Tetras are a bit too aggresive when in a school and 2" Harleys might be a little too big. Any Input? Other suggestions welcome.
Planted some Dwarf Hairgrass but i'm having trouble keeping it in the substrate. Any thoughts? Still to come is a moss tree, more Dwarf Hairgrass and either Hemianthus callitrichoides or Hemianthus micranthemoides. Maybe some small ferns or Micro Sword here and there. Also i want to do Giant Vallisneria in the back but its a little TOO big. is there a similar tall grass that gets only 16-20 inches tall instead of 4+ feet? And I'm still debating on co2.
Comments and suggestions welcome