River's Edge - 30 gallon journal. Pic heavy
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Old 01-03-2015, 08:53 PM   #1
TheAnswerIs42
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River's Edge - 30 gallon journal. Pic heavy


I got this tank from my in-laws over Christmas. It was destined for the dump, so I rescued it.

I have been looking at tanks and really enjoying getting back into the hobby, so I decided that I would have a go at setting up a dirted tank. There are some amazing scapes that have been achieved using plain old dirt, and since I enjoy a challenge, I thought I would go for it.

Along with having a dirted tank is obviously saving a decent amount of $$ on things like expensive aquasoil. And since I got the tank for free, why not go all the way and see how much I could set this little beastie up for. I will lay out all costs (gulp, I haven't calculated that yet) on how much this all cost me. Keep in mind I am a very impatient person who does not like to wait for things, and shopping online in Canada can also be very expensive with lots of hidden duties on items that you don't know about until it has arrived and your cc gets billed a couple weeks later. So I tend to avoid shopping online.

Costs:
$0 Tank
$0 Rocks (local granite from the beach)
$0 French Red Clay
$0 Plants (Trimmings from my 12g Edge)
$16 Organic potting mix (30 litre bag)
$21 Pool Filter Sand (55 lb bag)
$14 Ceiling tile Eggcrate
$85 Fluval C3 HOB filter
$45 Fluval 100w heater
$16 Aqua

$201 total


Below are some pics with my setup process. I cut and used the egg crate to build up my substate to help give it more death. To avoid air bubbles the soil was packed in fairly tightly and added with each layer of egg crate. The crate was also staggered to ensure that plant roots will be able to spread out and not limited to growing down. This is a huge part of the experiment. I find it very frustrating when the substate collapses or slides. This has happened in my Fluval Edge and I really wanted to be able to maintain and control the horizon line in this new tank. Hopefully the egg crate provides enough support to hold the soil in place.

Trimmed plants rom my fluval edge waiting to be planted.


Rough layout of rockscape - decided to leave out the rose quartz


Being supervised while I cut the egg crate to size


First layer of egg crate with a dusting of clay. Stupidly I only took this one picture as I built up the substrate, so unfortunately I don't have any more pics of this process. But you will from the finished product how the crate creates a really nice landscape. Downside would be that you can't grow plants with bulbs unless you specifically plan where to put them and create pockets in the crate for them to grow.




Planting


Filled and looking great


I can't wait to see this grow in. I may add 1 or 2 plants, but for the most part I am going to sit back, try not to interfere too much, and watch it grow.
I has been up and running for a few days, I seeded the filter 2weeks ago with media from my established 12 gallon. Ammonia and nitrites are at 0, and nitrates are at 5ppm, so this morning I added 5 rummy nose tetras.
I hope to increase their group to about 15 and add a couple showy fish. The 9 pygmy Cories that are currently in my 12g will come to live here in a few weeks - think they'll go nuts over the pool filter sand

Any way, any comments, suggestions, feedback would be greatly appreciated. This is my 2nd planted tank so I am by no means an expert.

Last edited by TheAnswerIs42; 01-30-2015 at 02:18 AM.. Reason: Title change
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Old 01-03-2015, 09:24 PM   #2
Raymond S.
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Well it sure looks like you have a nice start in there.
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Old 01-03-2015, 10:40 PM   #3
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Well it sure looks like you have a nice start in there.
Thanks. I'm hoping that it doesn't grow in too thick. I like the look of the river stones and sand.
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Old 01-03-2015, 10:49 PM   #4
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Thanks for posting your build. I can't wait to see it as it grows and fills in.

I used a dirted bottom with Black Diamond Cap sand on top. My plants grow like crazy.

In my 5 gallon, I used Eco Complete and the plants are not doing as well. I just added CO2 yesterday to see if that will help.

How much dirt did you use or is the substrate just sand?
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Old 01-03-2015, 10:55 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Kntry View Post
Thanks for posting your build. I can't wait to see it as it grows and fills in.

I used a dirted bottom with Black Diamond Cap sand on top. My plants grow like crazy.

In my 5 gallon, I used Eco Complete and the plants are not doing as well. I just added CO2 yesterday to see if that will help.

How much dirt did you use or is the substrate just sand?
I wanted to use black diamond originally, but it was extremely hard to find in Vancouver, and when I did find it, it was copper slag..... NOT GOOD
So I decided to go with pool filter sand. I love this stuff! No rinsing required. I could have gone cheaper and got play sand, but that stuff is super dusty and I didn't want a dust bowl or was willing to stand doubled-over cleaning sand in the bathtub for hours on end.

At the highest point there is about 2-3 inches of dirt packed in to the egg crate with about a 1.5 inch cap of pool filter sand over the entire scape. The thinnest section of dirt is about 1.5 inches.

I originally had eco-complete in my Fluval 12g, but that stuff was useless. Nice to have an instantly ready bioload, but not worth it cause it is too gritty. I also found it scratched my tank
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Old 01-03-2015, 11:07 PM   #6
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I'm glad I'm not the only one that didn't like Eco Complete. It's dull and the chunks are so large, it's hard to plant in.

In the Spring, I may take that tank apart, again, and use dirt. I love the dirt in my big tank.
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Old 01-03-2015, 11:08 PM   #7
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Looks great - your pool filter sand is a very nice color. Most are usually much lighter/whiter.

Are you sure the table you have this on is sturdy enough to support it?
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Old 01-03-2015, 11:09 PM   #8
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It is a complete PITA to plant in.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROYWS3 View Post
Looks great - your pool filter sand is a very nice color. Most are usually much lighter/whiter.

Are you sure the table you have this on is sturdy enough to support it?
Good question. I thought long and hard about it. The construction of the table is solid and is only 18" high, so quite stable. We have hundreds of these tables in my apartment building storage (from the 70's), so not cheap IKEA stuff.
I jumped up and down on it a few times before putting the tank on, then slowly filled it - also testing for leaks. Once filled, I tested the stability of the table again by shaking and bumping it lightly; what I would expect from accidentally doing so, or housework such as vacuuming. The tank and table are not going anywhere unless we get a decent size earthquake, at which point I think I will have other things to worry about.
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Old 01-03-2015, 11:37 PM   #9
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You did I nice job to start this tank. I can't wait to see it fill in.
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Old 01-04-2015, 01:02 AM   #10
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I really like your layout. I am looking forward to seeing it grow in. Subscribed


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Old 01-08-2015, 04:30 PM   #11
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Default Stocking time

So things are progressing nicely with the new setup. It has been a week now and the plants, especially the Didiplis, are growing. Water quality has been excellent. By running the filter for a week before I set things up, I think I have avoided dealing with ammonia problems. Water has been testing at safe stocking levels for a couple days now, with ammonia and nitrites at zero and nitrates at 30ppm. It's a bit high for a new tank, so I have been doing water changes to keep the nitrates down. But ore than that, it's looking good so I'm going to start adding fish.

I've got my eye on rummy nose tetras. I really like how they school tightly and don't get too big. I am also totally enamoured with electric blue balloon rams. They are super cool but I am not sure if they would be a good fit for my tank. I really don't want fish digging in the sand. It would suck if they got down to the dirt layer and mucked things up, so feedback from the fish ether would be great.

I am also contemplating moving my pygmy Cories from my small tank into this one, but that will be a chore as it is super hard to catch fish in the 12g Edge
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Old 01-08-2015, 04:47 PM   #12
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Stay away from "ballon "anythings.
Man made health defects IMO.

Love the rummies .
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Old 01-09-2015, 12:43 AM   #13
TheAnswerIs42
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Default New inhabitants

So I visited the LFS this morning and picked up a couple male dwarf honey gouramis. I love these guys, they are bright, even tempered and already looking very comfortable. The rummynose are a little interested them but for the most part just want them to school with.
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Old 01-09-2015, 05:24 AM   #14
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Awesome! Can't wait for pictures. I love gouramis of any kind. So far I've only kept a DG but I look forward to others in the future. I really like the hardscape you chose. The rocks look really good.
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Old 01-11-2015, 07:36 AM   #15
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Default The new residents





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community tank, dirt tank, low budget, pool filter sand, rummynose tetra

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