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  Topic Review (Newest First)
05-29-2015 05:24 AM
Kathyy Bunch of us overcoming adversity right now. LOVE having a hobby so I am not just wishing I could do this or that and can obsess over something beautiful.

Today I attempted to be strict and only play in the tank for short periods of time and rest 3x as long but I kept ignoring the timer chime and worked longer. All I was doing was standing on the step [the hardest thing still], wiping down the tank walls [super easy but time consuming] and pruning out excessive growth plus removing the little bit of BBA on wood and substrate that remains in the tank. I am wiped out and only got about 2/3 of the way through.

Plants are extremely happy with the lighting. I planted 4 stems of pennywort last week and it was starting to bloom and covering half the water surface this week! Hairgrass has finally carpeted in the only spot the ferns haven't shaded and the ferns are growing ridiculously fast. I just pruned off a couple of old Anubias flowers as well. P. gayi is equally robust and I pulled a couple of its vigorous rhizomes from the front of the tank this week.

Review of the plants on the faux branch is mixed. The Kangaroo Paw fern and variegated fig are doing very well with lots of new growth. Moss below the water line is growing nicely and I ought to remove the thread. The Rabbit's Foot fern isn't doing well. New fronds sprout then dry up. I suspect I broke the plant apart too much so there isn't quite enough root on each piece and will try with another plant. I see white salt deposits on the fabric so have started putting it in the water on water change day to try to soak them off.

I missed the point where the tank was where I was hoping it could be and it is seriously overgrown now. One can see very little of the supporting wood and rocks. I cannot believe how huge those pitiful fern fragments I glued down in November have gotten! It is time for a rescape at last and plans are afoot.

First photo shows how full the tank is and you can see how long the Marsilea fragment has gotten. It continues into the darkness with larger lobed fronds. Taken at 30% of all channels.

Second, the Hygrophila Araguaia is looking good now it is well rooted so I could pull out the crypt weeds growing through it. I pulled Utricularia gibba off it today. Must have been a really tiny fragment as I've never seen it in my tank and there haven't been any new plants introduced for months and months. Taken at 100% of all channels.

Last, tank shot showing the emerse branch. Clearly I need to prune the P. gayi tomorrow! Taken at 30% of all channels.
04-19-2015 04:28 AM
audioaficionado Just had eye surgery. Nice to have two eyes again. All the better to see your tank Kathy. Beautiful and natural look to it. My tank is a mess, but has tons of over growth. I fill up a 5 gal bucket when I thin it every few months.
04-08-2015 01:35 AM
navarro1950 Kathyy I'm not down and I'm taking chemo for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia for the 4th time and I'm still enjoying my aquarium, plants, water changes and all. I was diagnosed at age 52 and this year I'll be 65, so you keep putting together those beautiful aquascapes and we'll keep those compliments coming your way.
04-05-2015 07:05 PM
Kathyy Either that or too much time on my hands! I am the daughter of a librarian and librarians research to the end. That dendro board is amazing, I never would have thought to make a faux branch without seeing it there first.

Down with knee replacement surgery at the moment so have just been feeding/fertilizing the tank. My daughter and I did a water change yesterday though. Daughter moved the python around outside so I didn't have to go in and out of the house half a dozen times so one plant didn't get 90 gallons of water and I started the siphon and yelled to turn off the kitchen faucet when it was time. Hoping to get the sponges out to rinse this morning and maybe will get the tank wiped down tomorrow. Stooping over is big time leg work and going up a step is terrifying. Good to have a half ton tank that cannot be pulled over to hold on to! I cleaned up the tank last year feeling just about like this, I can do it! The idiot congo tetras that like the overflow probably will just get a couple flakes of food though, doubt I will want to fish them out any time soon.

The 'branch' has been awesome. One unrooted rhizome of the rabbit's foot fern has lost a frond but there is a new frond growing elsewhere and I see new light colored tips on most rhizomes. The pennywort has a few tiny leaves, the moss is mostly brown but I am sure it will sprout again. The creeping fig has roots going in the water now and sure didn't skip a beat getting planted on the 'branch'. Am concerned about Amano shrimp though. Saw one picking at the branch and it could walk on up and out of the tank. Acrylic tanks have overhangs that make it pretty hard to get out usually.

Four of the tiny Congo tetra fry have decided to stay in the big tank rather than the overflow and two have turned out to be male so of the 6 young ones I seem to have 3/3 combining with the 4 mature females. Lost my old male, he swam to the front of the tank and locked eyes with me his last day. Since he generally headed for the pennywort when I got close to the tank I knew it was the end for him. The tinies are now the size of black neons and the 2 largest ones are the size of platies. Congo tetras are pigs and grow fast.

I decided to increase the LED lighting but changed the whole program. LEDzeal has a built in 'sunrise' mode that lights the tank from 6am-12am and has a lot of red early and late in the lighting period. A bit long so I squished it to run from 9am-11:30pm and had the twilight last longer so the brightest peak is sharper. Plants are delighted with more light. Hairgrass is finally carpeting, that 18" tall crypt is shrinking to more like 12" and Blyxa is bronzing. This program seems to avoid the green look the tank was getting with too much WW and so far [knocking on wood] no increase in algae.
04-05-2015 05:57 AM
navarro1950 Kathyy you have a remarkable talent .
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
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