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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-27-2015 08:22 PM
An amazing 'journey' with a great end!

Thank you Kathy for taking the time to share your amazing story of patience and success. It will be an inspiration to any of us that have had 'down moments' when 'disaster' strikes our tank and we wonder if we have the energy to carry on. Your story certainly inspired me!!

03-22-2015 04:37 AM
Kathyy Well it is early days yet. It may or may not work. I am sure just felt wouldn't work but it is possible the plants would be better off with either just Spyra or Spyra+something that doesn't hold water at all. Is there enough room for plants to develop, will salts build up too fast, what about gnats and other pests and so on.

Lots of options for growing plants out of water these days. My creation is an elaboration of part of Crazydaz square tank's out of water planting, riparium planters, planted walls behind the tank, just planting an HOB filter and that nifty window box planter sump theatermusic87 has just set up. When I was first trying to do this it was either allow aquatics to grow out of the tank which created quite a mess in the underwater scape I had at the time or put planters behind the tank and that was difficult for me to care for.
03-22-2015 03:27 AM
BigJay180 Absolutely stunning tank. I love the branch coming out of the top, that's definitely something I want to do
03-22-2015 12:23 AM
Kathyy Thanks. I haven't changed the hardscape at all and the tank looks so different with the differing background and foreground plants. After 2 years the rocks are just starting to get covered with moss and I really love that.

Marsilea is still in the tank but there isn't enough of it to show up. Only a floating 3 leaf fragment survived the latest apocalypse and it took a while to settle down and start growing. The fragment is maybe 5" long now and I will pull it to cut up to replant soon. Right now it is growing in a perfectly straight line and I am sort of wondering what will happen. Will it branch out at the oldest part at some point? Will it branch out when it runs into the rock it is headed for?

Ground covers are high maintenance. Even if you do get the Marselia to carpet then you will have to pull it up and replant it as it will pile on top of itself and get algae or pull out of the substrate. S. repens loves to sulk even when you think you have it figured out and melt on you but it will come right back so long as the stems are solid. Hairgrass has never failed me but it needs regularly mowing or pulling up and replanting too.
03-21-2015 11:52 PM
fishophile What made you get rid of the marsilea? I'm not having the best of luck getting it to carpet and am debating replacing it with s. repens.

Great looking tank, the newest edition is really cool.
03-21-2015 05:05 AM
Kathyy Got out the tripod and took some photos with the lights on 'sunrise' mode. Kind of pretty. Light was still too dim to capture fish and no idea what is going on the left side, looks fuzzy.

My experimental branch is doing fine but no growth after all of 3 days.No news is good news I suppose. Loving the variegated creeping fig. It is so commonly planted here one discounts its attractiveness I guess.
03-18-2015 04:39 PM
Kathyy Interesting that just twisting and bending to fit makes for a natural feel. Branch is completely damp throughout this morning but I will use a sponge to water it all several times today anyway.

Be great if the rabbit foot fern grows well as it is one of my favorites. If this is a go then I have a link [or road trip] to a terrific orchid nursery and a real branch with some tillandsias growing would be pretty great as well. Main reason I can keep aquatics alive is the water situation is taken care of, if this works in the house then I can keep small epiphytic house plants alive without watering problems as well.
03-18-2015 02:14 PM
vanish Interesting. In your last photo it looks like an actual branch, so I'd say success for now!
03-18-2015 11:37 AM
andrewss great looking tank
03-18-2015 04:08 AM
Kathyy Hope my link helped with your research!

Tank is looking nice now, pretty much as I wanted it to look. Algae has been nearly gone for a few weeks now and all plants are growing well not that you can tell from my lousy photos. Have been continuing to move the lighting so tank is bright during the day and quite dim at night.

I think I finally may have my above tank plantings worked out! I have always wanted plants above the tank but have failed miserably so far. Skinny window boxes behind, I forget to water. Couldn't figure out how to anchor plants in the tank [pre riparium planter era] and the tank had a wide center brace anyway. The tank now has a 3" wide brace all around so riparium planters cannot work but reading back through Crazydaz's journal again I noted that he was experimenting with a wicking fabric called Hygrolon on top of manzanita here are some photos. I looked into it and while that fabric is no longer available one called Spyra is offered by the same importer.

This type of fabric is used in quite a lot in vivarium and to mount orchids. I also read up on capillary matting/living wall fabric and realized all that is is felt. Tried my unused filter felt suspended in a glass of water, it could pull water up 2". Not good enough so I went for the Spyra. It can pull water horizontally or vertically for 12" or so.

So my plan? Bend PVC pipe with the aid of a heat gun so it goes into water every 12" and balances on the rim of the tank then cover it with that old felt because more water is always better and then Spyra. I tested for a few days before planting and it does stay good and wet. Hoping that my plants won't be overwatered but that is usually due to low O2 at the roots and that shouldn't be an issue in this case. I hope.

Ended up doing this *3* times. First one [shown in construction photos] was massive and looked like a stuffed sock in the tank. Second one was 2 'branches' with a sand bag covered with felt/Spyra laying on top to hold them in place, very clunky plus I forgot my main point was to have just enough fabric in the water to keep the stuff out of water wet!

Anyway here are some build photos. First two are construction, next is how my final version looks then last how it looks planted.
Attachment 447746

Attachment 447754

Attachment 447762

Attachment 447770

Final version [I hope] is of 1" PVC with 2/3s of it cut away for the branches and left whole for the part on top of the overflow and all bent mostly to fit in the water where needed. I am VERY glad I decided to just sew the fabric on so didn't lose any when I kept ripping it apart to redo it! I did sort of a corset stitch with very strong nylon thread so the slightly stretchy fabrics are very snug fitting. Last version was much tighter than what is shown.

Plants are simply houseplants I bought locally plus java moss, a stray Bolbitis and some Hydrocotyle 'Japan'. I suspect Brazilian pennywort will be growing out of the water as well.
Microsorum diversifolium, kangaroo foot fern
Davallia fejeensis, rabbit foot fern
Ficus pumila 'Variegata', variegated creeping fig
03-01-2015 03:54 PM
Originally Posted by Kathyy View Post
Another reason was this brand has been discussed on a couple different forums quite thoroughly and reading through every single one I could find helped cement my decision. One was an Australian planted tank forum, thread is many pages long with a number of tanks showing the fixture in use.
Can I get a link to the forum where this light was discussed please? I am thinking about ordering one.

02-26-2015 03:56 PM
tomfromstlouis Yeah, I like how this is coming together. Still love those congos too.

I am sorry to say it appears your photography skills are no better than mine.
02-21-2015 02:01 AM
Kathyy Thanks for the nice comments everybody. If it wasn't for this place and all the threads about scaping and the sale forum so I could nickel and dime all the wood and plants in there it sure wouldn't look like it does today.

I haven't changed the hardscape at all and most of the changes to the plants are in the rear and fore where it is just going to be P. gayi for the time being in back and a couple of new types of plants in front.

There are a couple of new buces that have attached to rocks in the front. Pygmea is going pretty well but Pinky Mambo is taking time to get going. I tried to glue one down but had to resort to a rubber band so just banded the other down. This week I removed the bands and they are stuck down nicely so maybe they will start to show their stuff soon.

The tank is open on the left side as that end is viewed when you come into the house. Makes perfect sense to have the scape open on that side, I really think it is the way to go with a tank placed like this.

I have some light over the tank from 9am-12am! Peak light is currently at 2pm for 10 minutes at 70% for the white LEDs. Lighting seems bright enough until 10 pm though. This means unless I specially turn the lights up I am either shooting in dim light or there are going to be reflections. For some reason it is exhausting standing up at the tripod even for 5 minutes so these photos are taken from my usual POV, my comfy chair.

Still having fun playing with the programming. While equal amounts of all channels is rich and true I don't like the fluorescent orange of the platies so am experimenting with differing amounts of the channels. With RB turned to about 1/2 the whites platies are a more natural color to my eye.

The scape is close to my vision other than the ground covers haven't grown in yet. I finally pulled out a couple of overgrown Anubias that were cramping things, that really made a difference. The P. gayi, Bolbitis and java fern are finally looking like plants. There is moss attaching to some of the rocks and I really love that look. I have been pulling weed moss with gravel+STS bits attached from the substrate and draping it on rocks to see if it will start growing but that has been a flop as the water currents push the moss+substrate right off by the next day. Maybe I will glue one of the substrate bits to the rock next time.
01-23-2015 07:14 PM
tomfromstlouis Love this tank. Love this journal.

I really liked the old look and look forward to this one maturing. I think we both are experiencing that it takes significant time to reboot a look in a large tank. I confess that my efforts are being influenced by your overall balance, with more openness at one end. I think that works well.
01-23-2015 06:28 PM
Kathyy Thanks. I am loving looking at it. I wanted programmable LED for the sunrise/sunset feature and it is working out well. So nice to be able to see the tank all day long. Hope I am not stressing fish/plants out by having such a long photoperiod even though light is dim for 6.5 of those hours. I cannot measure anything at the bottom of the tank and the top of the cover has all of 35PAR at 15%.
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