Backyard Pico Scape :)
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:42 AM   #1
asukawashere
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Backyard Pico Scape :)


After my plans for today (read: go to Milford and buy fish) got thrown out the window (or rather, fell over a railing and hit their head on the concrete, which is what my little sister did), I got stuck at home passing messages around and driving other siblings to their high school and stuff. It involved a lot of waiting around. And there is a rule in my household: do not allow Amanda to get bored, for she will set up aquariums.

At least I kept it small this time around.

(The sister in question is fine, by the way, it's just a mild concussion. -.-' )


Anyway, I found this funky squarish jar lying around without a lid:


(It's about a 5" cube, too lazy to dig up a ruler to measure it and find out for sure.)


And then I said to myself, why not make do with what you've got and turn it into a little pico scape?

So I went into my backyard and grabbed a shovelful of my "CT River Mix" substrate, which was out drying so I could pack it into bags. And then I wandered over to the stream from whence it came (technically it's stream sand, but "Stream Sand" sounds ridiculous so I call it "river sand" and let it have its delusions of grandeur XD) and found myself a few neat chunks of quartz with some flecks of mica and stuff.

Added those to the jar:

Closeup:


Then I decided it needed a background, so I cut a chunk off a spare bit of black matboard (being a starving college artist has its benefits, I guess):


After determining the hardscape to be satisfactory, I then walked down the road to the fishing hole and got some hairgrass (my stream flows into a small river down there)
Hairgrass in its native habitat:


Added hairgrass and water, and voila!

Closer shot:

I have absolutely no clue on the species, other than the fact that it's some form of Eleocharis. Possibly even two species of Eleocharis, since there were some patches that grew notably larger than others (~3" as opposed to ~1"). Couldn't tell you more than that, the hairgrasses all look alike to me.

Finished off by adding a few drops of excel and potassium nitrate.
The light is a little table light with a 20W incandescent (candelabra) bulb, about 5" from the water's surface. If I can find a compact flourescent locally that'll fit the tiny base, I'll swap out for that, but in the meantime this thing's so small that it can't need a ton of light.

The really cool thing is that nothing in the setup came from further than a few hundred yards from my home. It's truly a backyard scape. Not sure if I'm going to keep it for the long run, or just let it grow out for fun for a few weeks and then take it down and use the hairgrass elsewhere, but it filled some time that would otherwise have been spent fretting over whether my sister was bleeding out at the hospital or something. *sigh*

I don't usually do nano/pico scapes like this, so any feedback from veteran nano scapers would be appreciated!
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:18 AM   #2
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Cute. Do you have any plans on adding a shrimp or snail?
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:29 AM   #3
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Nice! Been thinking about doing something like this myself, let us know how it goes with a lack of filtration...
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:55 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by bitFUUL View Post
Nice! Been thinking about doing something like this myself, let us know how it goes with a lack of filtration...
Will do I'll probably do partial water changes every few days, but I'm also purposely not dosing phosphorus in an effort to keep algae growth to a minimum... hopefully it'll work out.

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Cute. Do you have any plans on adding a shrimp or snail?
I do want to add a shrimp if I can find a species that'll do well in an unheated jar and all... maybe snowball shrimp, if I can find some locally? Anyone have other suggestions for an easy-to-find, cool-water-tolerant shrimp? I'm not terribly experienced with inverts (other than pest snails, which I have unfortunately endured for as long as I can recall)

If the snails get in there, however, I'm hoping it turns out like your avatar!
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:29 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by asukawashere View Post
I do want to add a shrimp if I can find a species that'll do well in an unheated jar and all... maybe snowball shrimp, if I can find some locally? Anyone have other suggestions for an easy-to-find, cool-water-tolerant shrimp? I'm not terribly experienced with inverts (other than pest snails, which I have unfortunately endured for as long as I can recall)

If the snails get in there, however, I'm hoping it turns out like your avatar!
RCS, Snowball, Green, and Yellow, should all do fine assuming the temperature doesn't become drastically low. Water quality is probably something of more concern, though I've had RCS live in similar conditions for months (I then moved them to my 2.5g tank). You can try a Ghost shrimp if you want something easily attainable and cheap (~$.50). They are a bit meaner, but it'll be alone anyways.

And even though you dislike snails, have you thought about adding a red or blue Ramshorn? They are actually quite beautiful, at least I think so: Red, Blue
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Old 06-17-2010, 03:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by dj2005 View Post
RCS, Snowball, Green, and Yellow, should all do fine assuming the temperature doesn't become drastically low. Water quality is probably something of more concern, though I've had RCS live in similar conditions for months (I then moved them to my 2.5g tank). You can try a Ghost shrimp if you want something easily attainable and cheap (~$.50). They are a bit meaner, but it'll be alone anyways.

And even though you dislike snails, have you thought about adding a red or blue Ramshorn? They are actually quite beautiful, at least I think so: Red, Blue
Temp doesn't get too horrible... probably stays at least 70+ anyway. Thanks for the ideas. One of my RCS is heavily berried, maybe if/when the eggs hatch I'll snag a shrimplet for this pico... the ghost shrimp isn't a bad idea, either. Worst case scenario, I can toss it in my guppy tank for cleanup duty later on... hmm.

And, see, if my ramshorns looked like that, I might not be so inclined to put them in the loach tanks. Unfortunately, they're all the brown, slate blue-grey, and speckled varieties. Speckles are kind of pretty, but still more useful as loach food - they keep eating holes in my Lindernia! D=

Maybe I could just put a lone assasin snail in there instead of the shrimp and toss in a spare ram every now and then for a snack? :P

Of course, this pico is also unfortunately close to my bed... I kind of have weird mental images of the snail crawling out in the middle of the night and sliming its way all over my face. o_O' I'd probably move it if it started housing livestock.
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:46 PM   #7
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An Assassin snail would be entertaining if it can survive in such a small tank.

The only snails I know of that slide out of the tank would be some Nerites and Apple snails. Besides, there has been some research on the benefits of snail goo on the skin.
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Old 06-18-2010, 02:32 PM   #8
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My favorite benefit of snail goo is the benefit of it being not on my skin, lol. I have issues with slimy bug things. Shrimp are cute, assassin snails are useful, but that's about as far as I'm willing to venture into the world of keeping inverts. :P

Meanwhile, I'm traveling to a couple lfs over the course of the weekend. I'll keep my eye out for a ghost shrimp
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