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Old 12-04-2014, 09:40 PM   #1
stefano-bonalume
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25 Liters - Low Tech


Hey!
Here I'd like to talk about my adventure with a little low tech planted tank.

Soon I will buy a Wave Box 40 Cosmos (25 liters), in which I want to keep a Betta splendens.
I can't afford fertilizers and I don't want to use them, plus I'm going to grow plants like Microsorum, Bolbitis, Anubias and moss, so I think it won't be an issue.
The tank has a 20W Cosmos freshwater included, I think it will be enough.

The tank isn't big, so I don't want to put too many plants in it because I want to leave space for swim.
I'll use a very thin layer of yellow-ochre fine sand, maybe lighter if I don't find it at the store.
On the left side I want to plant, on little rocks, Microsorum (Needle Leaf or Narrow Leaf) and Bolbitis in the back.
In front of ferns I'll put Anubias to hide rocks on which ferns are.

That's the general idea: On the left a "bush" of plants that ends with sand only on the right.
From ferns clump maybe I'll add some little branches that come out going to the right side.

I'm not sure if I'll use Anubias 'Petit', it depends on what rocks I find, if they are nice to be seen or have to be hidden.
Same with moss.
I have to go for a forest walk searching for nice rocks and little woods! Ahah

I have a marimo ball (Aegagropila linnaei) in a glass jar, and some little pieces were not well attached, so I pull them away and put them on little dark lava rocks. I will use these little green pillows in the tank and see if it work.



With the Betta I'm going to put 2\3 Caridina japonica (Neocaridina are too small for the Betta) and Blue Planorbarius corneus.

Let me know what you think about this tank I'm planning.
I'm afraid if bolbitis will grow too big, but I read you can cut off big leaves and leave small ones only. Could I do the same with Microsorum 'Trident', if I don't find 'Needle Leaf'\'Narrow Leaf'?
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Old 12-07-2014, 02:07 PM   #2
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Collected some little woods and rocks near a creek. I can't wait to set up the tank!
I'm going to use dark, quite sharp rocks; some of them have little quartz veins. I'm not sure if I'll use all those rocks.
Some rocks are totally different from the others, in particular bigger ones, because I will put Bolbitis and Microsorum on them, so they will be covered and hidden.



I choose little woods without bark. I boiled them, same with rocks. They seem to be quite hard and I hope they will last for some time in the tank. Otherwise, I will go for a forest walk picking up new ones.

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Old 12-12-2014, 10:25 PM   #3
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Those are some nice looking rocks, the quartz adds character.

I'm going to try something similar with some of my Marimo, using superglue to attach, I think it'll look great once it settles in!
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Old 12-12-2014, 11:55 PM   #4
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Make sure you smooth out any sharp edges, I did this by grinding the sharp edges of my rocks on a rock I didn't en up using in my hardscape. It would take a lot of sandpaper to achieve this. Good luck with the setup!


~Travis
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Old 12-13-2014, 11:17 AM   #5
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Thank you for your replies!
Yes when I saw those dark rocks with little white veins I picked them up immediately.

@Travis, why should I smooth the rocks? You say that because they could harm fish? Anyway, they are not round like ones you can find in a river, but neither too sharp.
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Old 12-13-2014, 12:58 PM   #6
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Betta fins are very delicate, they're so far from the wild phenotype that they need a cushy environment! Imagine a pair of nylon stockings, the very fine ones, a bettas fins catch and tear just as easily as those. You can test your rocks by rubbing them over a pair of stockings: if they ladder the stockings, you need to rub down that edge.

If you get a plakat betta, or a female (who I think are just as splendid) you don't have to worry as much, because their fins are more compact.
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Old 12-13-2014, 01:16 PM   #7
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Ok, I'll test rocks! Thank you!
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Old 12-13-2014, 04:55 PM   #8
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+1 the nylon stocking test. You can usually find some cheap ones at a grocery store. Get some sand paper and sand off/down the small nubs on the wood where thinner branches broke off, those will rip betta fins.
Also you shudder do the vinegar test on the rocks (if they bubble with pure vinegar they will change pH) or submerge them in tap (test tap first as your 'control') then test the rock's water in a week for pH, GH, and KH change to see if it leeches anything.
I'd personal be very wary about using the ones with red/orange/rustic hues ans I'd think those may leech harmful minerals into the water. Btw you should never boil of bake rocks, if they had air pockets they could literally explode.
Do you know what type of wood you have? Is it a hardwood? If you are not sure press a fingernail to it, then scratch it. Does it leave and indention or remove some of the wood? if so its a softwood which will rot underwater much faster, it should not be used.
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Old 12-13-2014, 09:00 PM   #9
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Thank you! I will get some nylon stockings and sand paper! Ahah

Yes I tested rocks with vinegar yet, and didn't happen nothing.
Red-orange ones aren't that color really, they are more yellow-ochre and looks like chert.

I boiled woods, and when water was cooling down I put rocks in, so they have been in hot (not boiling) water only. Thank you, I did't think about risks.

Wood I found is a hardwood, probably Carpinus betulus, Fagus sylvatica or Quercus sp., but woods are very thin, so I'm not sure about how much will they last submerged.
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Old 12-13-2014, 09:59 PM   #10
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If its a true hardwood it should last a few years even if small.
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Old 12-20-2014, 01:24 PM   #11
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Today I found other interesting rocks. There is still some clay on them. Here there are old and found today rocks I think I'll use. Others more porous will be probably used to tie\attach ferns and Anubias, but they will be hidden by plants leaves and other rocks.



I particularly like this side of the bigger rock.

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Old 12-21-2014, 10:32 PM   #12
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Today I found some moss very similar to Fissidens growing near a temporary stream in the wood. Now I have a little piece of it in a glass. I'll tie it to some rocks and see if it grows.



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Old 12-22-2014, 12:04 AM   #13
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That appears to be a species of selaginella.
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Old 12-22-2014, 09:56 AM   #14
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I'm sure it is a moss, I think Fissidens taxifolius\Fissidens polyphyllus\Fissidens crassipes, but they are very similar.
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Old 12-23-2014, 12:05 AM   #15
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Finally today I got the tank!
I buy the gravel. I searched for ochre sand in lots of pet stores but the only sand color they have is an innatural white. So I bought a fine gravel which has a good natural color. I put the sand and rocks in.
I also bought some plants: Bolbitis heudelotii, Microsorum 'Trident' ('Narrow Leaf' \ 'Needle Leaf' apparently desn't exist here), Anubias 'Nangi' and Cryptocoryne parva.
I know C. parva requires fertile soil, but I will only use liquid fertiliser. I don' t care if it will grow slow.

Probably I won't use woods; rocks take too much space and I think woods fit with them in this scape.
I planted Anubias and Cryptocoryne. Tomorrow, after have added ferns I will post some photos.
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bolbitis, low tech tank, wave box, wave box 40, wave box 40 cosmos

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