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Old 06-27-2012, 02:35 AM   #91
skabooya
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RODI and bottled water would just be too expensive and/or heavy to carry to school every week
And there is no way I would get funding for anything like that either.
I ended up bringing my own tap water in jugs from home weekly. My classroom tank was suffering pretty bad. Im assuming I did not clean it well enough from the copper and lead exposure from the school water. All students had to bring drinking water and the district only supplied water temporarily to the students and staff for consumption.
Now, it was deemed that if the water is ran at least 10 min daily the water is safe for consumption. However, I could not run my tap unless the teacher across the hall also ran hers at the same time or we ran the risk of the basement flooding from the wonky piping.
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Old 06-27-2012, 02:51 AM   #92
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Wow, sounds like a real mess! I think I'd be running my tap for ten minutes and then taking that water in for testing, and then I'd be making a public spectacle to the school board of the test results. I hardly think that copper and lead settles out after 10 minutes.
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Old 06-27-2012, 02:14 PM   #93
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Looks great Wy! I have a few questions, if you dont mind. I read that rabbit fern, on lava rock, doesn't do well emersed. They say you're supposed to let the lava rock and roots dry out from time to time, to prevent root rot. But, yours seem to be doing great. Do you have any thoughts on this? Also, did you attach the moss that you added to you wood cave, somehow? Or, just lay it there and hope that it attaches itself?
Finally, I know this question is a little vague but, is there anything you would do differently, if you did it over again?
Thanks,
Bill
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Old 06-27-2012, 02:43 PM   #94
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Good for you on starting your masters I've debated on going for mine, but will likely wait until my own kids are a bit bigger. This summer is going to be busy for me too - I'll be heading to Pennsylvania with the Alberta Envirothon team.
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Old 06-27-2012, 03:46 PM   #95
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Looks great Wy! I have a few questions, if you dont mind. I read that rabbit fern, on lava rock, doesn't do well emersed. They say you're supposed to let the lava rock and roots dry out from time to time, to prevent root rot. But, yours seem to be doing great. Do you have any thoughts on this? Also, did you attach the moss that you added to you wood cave, somehow? Or, just lay it there and hope that it attaches itself?
Finally, I know this question is a little vague but, is there anything you would do differently, if you did it over again?
Thanks,
Bill
I'm sorry. 1 more question. Assuming I can order from Carolina, what are the benifits to having the live micro-organisms in the water? Is it for keeping the water clean? Food source?
Thanks Again,
Bill
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Old 06-27-2012, 04:04 PM   #96
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The results of the water before running was really bad. We had specialists brought in through WCB and they tested the water before and after running the taps in all the schools in town from each tap. It was deemed that the water was safe for consumption after the taps were flushed. The levels of copper and lead were low enough that it would not cause harm to anyone drinking it.... I don't believe it. If my and others animals cant survive off that water in our classrooms then why the hell would I give permission to my students to drink the stuff. I wouldn't even wash my hands with it for fear of absorption through my skin. I'm now pregnant so I was extra cautious.
Nope, I would much rather bring water from home, even if it broke my back. However that is one reason why I will only ever do tanks with lids now. Its easier on the evaporation.
I tell ya though, using the school water on house plants sure makes the red colours come out LOL.

So, when are we going to have an update on your beautiful tank ?
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:51 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by Guns286 View Post
Looks great Wy! I have a few questions, if you dont mind. I read that rabbit fern, on lava rock, doesn't do well emersed. They say you're supposed to let the lava rock and roots dry out from time to time, to prevent root rot. But, yours seem to be doing great. Do you have any thoughts on this? Also, did you attach the moss that you added to you wood cave, somehow? Or, just lay it there and hope that it attaches itself?
Finally, I know this question is a little vague but, is there anything you would do differently, if you did it over again?
Thanks,
Bill
Hey Bill, no problem.

In regards to the Rabbit fern, I've had that particular plant for 2 years now. Prior to going in this tank it was emersed in a terrerium within a large bowl. In all honesty, it may have dried out a few times during that time period, I really can't say for sure. I do know that since it has been placed in this tank, it has lost all of the old fronds, except for one, however the new ones as you can see appear to have great color and look very happy and healthy. I'm not sure that I can speak for the long term however. As for the moss, I made no attempt to attach it as I was much more interested in creating a carpet within the cave than I was in getting it to attach. If it attaches, great if not, no worries. I tried several different types to try and see which one or ones do better, but most where simply randomly collected from the environment.

In regards to the last question, one thing I can tell you for sure that I absolutely would do, is start with a brand new tank. Viewing and taking pictures through all the scratches and scraps really is a bummer. Beyond that, I really like this tank. I love the external filter and the screen top, so I know that everything is nice and secure. The deeper gravel and inclusion of a drain tube under the terrestrial region is a must, I've actually managed to flood the terrestrial area twice now. I also think that size is something else I would consider carefully. I like the footprint for where it fits in my classroom, but would like it to actually be taller. I've already had a couple of plants out grow it. I actually have four of these built now, although only two are up and functioning. The oldest and smallest is actually a 20 gal Long Turtle tank; I love the turtle tank for the sake of the cutout for the HOB filter (I'm going to try and do the planted HOB next year with this one). What I really don't like are the size and the opening of the cutout even with the filter. When I built this one, which I refer to as the bog tank, I didn't get the rock divider sealed, and so the terrestrial area is always saturated with water. That makes it a little more difficult to find plants that will work. However, I have successfully raised damselflies, dragonflies, caddisflies, stoneflies and even crayfish in the tank. It is probably the greatest center of attention in terms of the tanks in the room. This one of course is a 30 gal. The final two which we just finished building last year and haven't set up yet are 40 breeder Turtle tanks. I love the foot print and we were able to do some pretty cool stuff in terms of the scaping - both have the terrestrial areas down the side rather than at the end, and one has great cave in the wall that will make a supreme home for some Kribs. We also sealed these a little different in that I did a sealed area with glass panes, and then a none watertight barrier of river rock. Thus creating an area completely terrestrial as well as a wetland area. What I can already tell you that I don't like about them is the height of the tank, the cutout for the HOB, and the glass dividers. The height is just too short. The cutout I think I can seal with some fiberglass window screen, and with some plants in the HOB, I think it will be fine. The glass divider has to go. In order not to see it, it has be the same height or a little lower than the stone wall, and this allows the soil to wick water over the wall. I have two more to build, and I think that most likely I will try and do a sealed taller wall in the back, and a shorter none sealed wall in the front.

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Originally Posted by Guns286 View Post
I'm sorry. 1 more question. Assuming I can order from Carolina, what are the benifits to having the live micro-organisms in the water? Is it for keeping the water clean? Food source?
Thanks Again,
Bill
In all honesty, I included the microorganisms for two reasons. One, to help with the environment of the tank. Several of the introduced organisms are algae/plankton eaters (amphipods, daphnia, snails), so they help control some of the algae issues in the tank, which as I'm sure you can imagine in a very shallow tank are pretty significant. Others (planaria, redworms) are detrius feeders, so they will help keep the plant debris under control and some are simply cool and/or predators to help population issues (hydra). Now that I have the terrestrial side pretty well finished and settled, I'm think that I would like to add some small natives to the aquatic size. I'm considering pygmy sunfish, swamp darters, and killifish. That would help control the population of amphipods and pond snails.

HTH
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:53 AM   #98
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Good for you on starting your masters I've debated on going for mine, but will likely wait until my own kids are a bit bigger. This summer is going to be busy for me too - I'll be heading to Pennsylvania with the Alberta Envirothon team.
Thanks, thats what I did as well. My youngest will be starting her second year of college this fall, so I finally felt like I could take the time to do it.
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:59 AM   #99
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Originally Posted by skabooya View Post
The results of the water before running was really bad. We had specialists brought in through WCB and they tested the water before and after running the taps in all the schools in town from each tap. It was deemed that the water was safe for consumption after the taps were flushed. The levels of copper and lead were low enough that it would not cause harm to anyone drinking it.... I don't believe it. If my and others animals cant survive off that water in our classrooms then why the hell would I give permission to my students to drink the stuff. I wouldn't even wash my hands with it for fear of absorption through my skin. I'm now pregnant so I was extra cautious.
Nope, I would much rather bring water from home, even if it broke my back. However that is one reason why I will only ever do tanks with lids now. Its easier on the evaporation.
I tell ya though, using the school water on house plants sure makes the red colours come out LOL.

So, when are we going to have an update on your beautiful tank ?
Wow, yeah that sound pretty terrible, but good for you for being cautious! Water from home sounds do able for now, but if I were you, I'd look into a RO filter system for sure. You can find some now for around $150 that are pretty good and it would save carrying all that water. Speaking from experience (cause I hauled it in 5 gallon jugs for 15 years for saltwater tanks), it is really nice to have it filtered and ready to go.

Thanks! The last pictures I posted are from last weekend and that will have to do for now. I finish this class on Friday, and head home, but will be pretty tied up over the weekend. I'll probably get in during the week to check on tanks since I don't have a class next week, so I'll try and update some photos then.
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:25 PM   #100
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Thanks for all the info! I really like the way the rabbit fern and lava rock look together and want to give it a try. I found a couple of places online that I can order one from, if my local nursery doesn't have any. It will actually go pretty good in the tank I'm going to make because I have a bunch of lava rock that I ordered from another member here.
Terrestrial moss is a new thing for me. I've been researching it and trying to find out how to get it to grow on things. I'm trying a method right now. I gathered some moss from my yard, put it in a blender with some beer and sugar, and mixed it up until it looked like pesto sauce. Then I spread it over a piece of driftwood. Now I have it sitting in my yard, in the same area that I collected the moss (so its exposed to the same light cycle), and I mist it from time to time. We'll see how it turns out.
I'm one of those people who randomly gets tanks from friends and yard sales. Dont know why. I's like a sickness I planned on using a 75g bow front to build my new paludarium, but a friend just offered me a 100g standard, so I might have to rethink my plans. But I will look it over and they to pick the option with minimal scratches.
I've been into aquariums for about 15-20 years and have had just about every type of tank, except salt. In that time I've learned a decient amount about them. Friends and co-workers (I'm a police officer here in NY) ask me advice when setting up a new tank. But, it must be great to have experience AND be a science teacher. I would have never thought about the micro-organism's. But, now that you've explained it, its seems like a great idea. And more natural. So, I'm going to give that a try too. Thanks.

You mentioned a drain tube from the terrestrial area. I think I might have missed that part in your thread. How did you set it up? I've been thinking about the drainage issue and am curious how you did it.
Thanks,
Bill
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:54 PM   #101
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Hey Bill

No problem. I saw your thread on the branch. I've seen people do that with some of the aquatic plants and mosses, but not the terrestrial varieties so I'll be following along to see how it turns out. Like you I have a lot of tanks going, at last count there were 16 (including my personal one from home). With the two new additions we will be up to 18 next year. Most of mine are African cichlid tanks (because they are hardy enough to deal with whatever the students throw at them) with a few saltwater ones sprinkled in. In the last two years I've started getting into the planted tanks, and next year I'd like to convert a 55 we have over to a riparium tank in addition to setting up the two new paludariums and building the last two. The nice thing about aquarium keeping is it seems like there is always something new to try. Hopefully you can order directly from Carolina, but if that doesn't work let me know.

What I did on the terrestrial part is placed about a 2" layer of large gravel down first, then laid the black landscaping fabric down on top of that. I then cut a piece of 3/8" inside diameter tubing as high as the soil would set and placed it in the back corner through the landscape fabric. I lifted it just slightly off the bottom. I then placed my soil. Once the soil was in place, I fitted a piece of 1/4" airline tubing through the 3/8" tube and ran it up the back corner and out of the tank. That way when I flood or overwater the terrestrial side I can see the excess water in the gravel and using the airline tubing as a siphon I can drain if off. With the automisting system, I have to drain it about every two or three days and as I said, I've managed to completely flood it twice, so the tubing has been a real life saver.
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Old 07-01-2012, 08:08 PM   #102
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Looks fantastic and I have enjoyed following your construction process. It's wonderful to see everything coming together! The orchids are quite lovely.
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Old 07-07-2012, 08:09 PM   #103
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i would watch the frogs if i were you if you are going to put them in with the tiger salamanders as they will eat them and you dont want that

other than that this tank is awesome
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Old 07-08-2012, 01:09 AM   #104
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I saw that you had freshwater sponges in there. How did those turn out? Nice setup!
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Old 07-11-2012, 01:18 PM   #105
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Looks fantastic and I have enjoyed following your construction process. It's wonderful to see everything coming together! The orchids are quite lovely.
Thanks duff. I'm pretty pleased with how it has turned out so far, but I think there are going to be some changes down the road. I'm looking forward to introducing some fish as well.

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i would watch the frogs if i were you if you are going to put them in with the tiger salamanders as they will eat them and you dont want that

other than that this tank is awesome
Thank you. I have decided against the tiger salamanders at the moment, they will be rehomed into a 40b paludarium rather than this one. So the frogs are in no danger of being eaten by them.

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I saw that you had freshwater sponges in there. How did those turn out? Nice setup!
You know, that is a good question. I haven't even thought about them for awhile now, I'll have to check on them when I get home again this next weekend.
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