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Old 08-15-2012, 08:48 PM   #166
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Tom's Bucket O' Mud (semi self-sustaining aquarium)


Hello...

Am very interested in the subject of semi self-sustaning aquariums. Just need to emerse the roots of certain land plants in the tank and add a little aeration around the roots and the plants remove the bulk of the nitrogens produced by the fish and maintain stable water properties.

I'm not totally without responsiblity though. I do have to feed the fish a couple of times a week and maintain the standard filtration equipment, because you need a backup system to work at night when the plants rest. I also have to replace the water lost to evaporation, a few gallons per week for 5 larger tanks.

Attached are some pics of my tank room.

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Old 08-15-2012, 09:44 PM   #167
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Nice setup B. Are those hostas?
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Old 08-16-2012, 02:17 PM   #168
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Nice setup B. Are those hostas?
Hello Tom...

Not Hosta. But, Hosta might be an option. They do prefer low light, but not sure they would tolerate their roots emersed in water all the time. Anyway, I have three plants: Chinese Evergreen "Aglaonema modestum", a variety of Philodendron, I can't recall the scientific name and Pothos "Queen Marble".

Tanks are as close to "pain free" as I can get them. Nitrogens, especially ammonia and nitrites are picked up by the plant roots almost before the good bacteria can do their job. The roots also use the bulk of the nitrates. A good thing, since there is no bacteria that can use the nitrates.

Last time I tested the water, the ammonia and nitrites were at "0" and nitrates were 10 ppm. I never got that nitrate reading when I was changing half the tank water in the tanks every week.

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Old 08-26-2012, 04:24 AM   #169
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An inspiration, and a gentleman!
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Old 09-11-2012, 02:46 AM   #170
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each rendition is wonderful in it's own right! but the last has taken on a whole new flavor! I even see current!
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Old 09-19-2012, 03:56 AM   #171
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What a wonderful thread. Congratulations, all three renditions have been excellent. Also, you pick the most interesting fish species. What made you decide on the Parosphromenus sp. 'sentang', and then the Sawbwa resplendens?

Also, you mentioned a PhD supervisor so I take it you are in school. I would be interested to know what you are studying, if it isn't too intrusive to ask. I think your low tech approach should be inspiring to all. Examples such as this show that perhaps some of us try too hard with our aquariums. That is perhaps we try to do too much, and should let them take their own course.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:50 PM   #172
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Just back from my final field trip... frankly amazed by how good the tank is looking after 6 weeks of only fish feeding and water top ups by flatmates. Everything is growing in nicely and there's nothing unsightly except a smidge of green spot algae to clear up, which I was worried about as I lowered the light 6 inches before going away.

However, the experimental pond plants have all died off, sadly. So, needs a bit of a rescape to reintroduce some height to the back corners, but otherwise pretty happy so far. Will post more pics once my LEDs arrive and I've sorted a more elegant lighting rig next week.

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Old 09-30-2012, 09:54 PM   #173
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislewistx View Post
What a wonderful thread. Congratulations, all three renditions have been excellent. Also, you pick the most interesting fish species. What made you decide on the Parosphromenus sp. 'sentang', and then the Sawbwa resplendens?

Also, you mentioned a PhD supervisor so I take it you are in school. I would be interested to know what you are studying, if it isn't too intrusive to ask. I think your low tech approach should be inspiring to all. Examples such as this show that perhaps some of us try too hard with our aquariums. That is perhaps we try to do too much, and should let them take their own course.
Thanks very much.

The Paros were something I've always wanted, just amazing little fish, but can be a bit tricky. The current fauna, including the Sawbwa are due to wantign to change the stocking to fish more suited to the particular water parameters in this tank - also I was after something a little more active than the Paros, as this is the 'display' tank.

I'm in the final 6 months of a PhD studying the ecology of an endemic giant subspecies of field mouse on a remote Scottish archipelago. Couldn't make it up!
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:01 PM   #174
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Nice tank!
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:31 PM   #175
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I've been wanting to build a self-sustaining biotope/aquarium but haven't seen a good one to use as an example until I found this thread. The Walstad type tanks I've seen do look more like a bucket o'mud than your tanks does. AND, I am glad I found it after it's already 12 pages old/long, or I'd be constantly waiting for updates. I aspire to build a miniature version for my cubicle. A breath of fresh air from all the ADA Iwagumi designs I've seen on this site. Definitely a "Thanks!" for sharing. BTW, love your fish choices too.
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:28 PM   #176
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etane View Post
I've been wanting to build a self-sustaining biotope/aquarium but haven't seen a good one to use as an example until I found this thread. The Walstad type tanks I've seen do look more like a bucket o'mud than your tanks does. AND, I am glad I found it after it's already 12 pages old/long, or I'd be constantly waiting for updates. I aspire to build a miniature version for my cubicle. A breath of fresh air from all the ADA Iwagumi designs I've seen on this site. Definitely a "Thanks!" for sharing. BTW, love your fish choices too.
Ah great, glad to be of use.

Amazingly I've managed to get my arse in gear enough for a bit of a video update. Very happy with how things are progressing. Plants and livestock doing well, except for the Mexican gammarus which are being hunted with much enthusiasm by the Peacock gudgeons I added recently.

As you can see, the Hydrocotyle tripartita has gone berserk. Love it.

http://vimeo.com/54645045

Please click through to Vimeo for the HD version, much sharper.
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:44 PM   #177
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big tom i love your setup, great tank and growth. what kind of lighting are you using?


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Old 12-01-2012, 03:16 PM   #178
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Quote:
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big tom i love your setup, great tank and growth. what kind of lighting are you using?


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Cheers buddy. I'm really impressed with the rate of growth in this latest incarnation. The lighting is a 70w metal halide shop spotlight (cost £20 on ebay), hanging 2 feet above the water.
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Old 12-01-2012, 03:56 PM   #179
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Your tanks are always so inspirational to me - they embody to me the most soothing of natural tanks. They really are a slice of pure nature, I don't see that hand of man in your tanks at all - and that's how I like them.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:25 PM   #180
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Your tanks are always so inspirational to me - they embody to me the most soothing of natural tanks. They really are a slice of pure nature, I don't see that hand of man in your tanks at all - and that's how I like them.
Thanks. I find the trick is laziness - things look much more natural if allowed to do their own thing. I reckon I probably spend about 10 minutes a month tops on pruning, etc.
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