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Old 08-03-2009, 03:39 AM   #1
hydrophyte
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Malay Hillstream Riparium


I have a concept for a new display pretty well-fleshed out and i'm ready to move on it.

Hardware/Life Support:

I plan to use this tank...

http://op5.triadinet.com/elmers/nlca...earchby|bydesc

This ought to be a good size and shape for a riparium setup. It is 24" tall, so there is plenty of room for plants to grow up, including the taller-statured stuff that I plan to use. This model is close to the Aqueon 65, but 6" shorter at 30" wide. It is still 18" deep front-to-back and closer in shape to a cube, a difference that I hope can help me to accentuate visual depth.

This will be a moderate humidity system an idea that I will explain more later on. I am not sure if that Perfecto tank comes supplied with a glass canopy, but I will essentially plan to cover most of the top while having a 1-2" gap along the front. This will permit a degree of air circulation that should keep the glass free of very much condensation on the inside. I'm guessing at a target relative humidity of ~70% or so.

I want to use an inexpensive T5 grow-light similar to the one that I have over my 55-gallon crypts riparium.



The same manufacturer makes a 24", 24-watt model--super cute and just 40 bucks...

http://www.hydrofarm.com/pb_detail.php?itemid=8880#

This will be a cheap option f I can get away with just this light at less than 1/2-watt/gallon of tank volume. I haven't tried to measure differences yet, I get the impression that planted ripariums can get along with relatively less light than traditional planted tanks. There are a number of good low-light plants to choose from and the light does not have to penetrate through such depths of water as in a regular tank. Anyway, I'll see how the plants perform with just one fixture. I can add a second later on if needed.

Filtration will be pretty cheap too. I should be able to make it with the littlest Filstar, applying a plumbing modification to reach down to the water.

For the cabinet I want to apply the same general idea that I used for some other stands that I made, but closer to this one in construction...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kimcadmus View Post


...and with a somewhat different construction to accommodate my caveman woodworking skills.

Last edited by hydrophyte; 01-07-2013 at 10:17 PM.. Reason: Title change.
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Old 08-03-2009, 04:27 AM   #2
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Yes! I was telling hoppy to make a rip out of a 56 column. Maybe you could make a video with this one and post it on youtube so that people will know how to set one up. You don't need anything fancy, just a camcorder, or a camera that has video mode
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Old 08-03-2009, 05:11 AM   #3
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The Perfecto 37 column and 47 column look pretty alright too, although those two models are both just 20 inches wide. It would be difficult to fit very many planters in there, but you could fill out the planting with the right big, full plants. More difficult too to find very good lighting for a tank so narrow.

I still gotta finish up some more of these written articles before trying to mess around with video. I made a little more headway on the step-by-step article:

http://hydrophytesblog.com/?p=455
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Old 08-04-2009, 03:46 AM   #4
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I picked up the tank tonight. With a double discount I got one new for a hundred and ten bucks. I have some continued conceptual observations.

Substrate:

My general plan is to use a light-colored coarse sand with larger stones and manzanita branches that will stand up erect out of the water. My 65 has the general layout for manzanita that I have in mind...



So, imagine that with some stones around the bases of the manzanita branches. That scape has a triangular orientation, but I think that a mound shape might be better for this new one. I'll probably just have to see how my plants fit into the space before settling on a scape theme.

I like to use these bases that I make with 1/4" sheet PVC to anchor manzanita branches...



...much easier than wedging into rockwork.

I found an interesting and different application of stones that jargonchipmunk used in his mineralized setup...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jargonchipmunk View Post
At first impression this material looks unnatural and like nothing you would see at the bottom of a river or lake, but I like it a lot. I wonder if it or some other boldly-patterned or brightly-colored rock will work in this display(?). I might purchase some samples to get a better idea. There are quite a few options at the nearby big-box petstore, but it is expensive. We also have a block & stone yard close by where I can hunt for rocks.

I intend to just use inert silica sand for the floor of the tank. I could also use a clay gravel plant substrate--for somewhat better plant nutrition--but most of these materials are darker in color and it is important to use bright materials in the underwater portions of ripariums because that region becomes shaded by the emersed plants. I hope to find some alternaive to the sand that I have been using, pool filter sand. I have a persistent and annoying growth of powdery red algae in a couple of my tanks--does anybody know what this might be?--and I suspect that it might be diatoms encouraged by the pool filter sand in those tanks. I might keep looking for 3m Colorquartz, which ought to be more stable, but haven't had any luck yet.
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Old 08-04-2009, 03:20 PM   #5
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Plants:

I am selecting plants for this display with the idea of maintaining low to moderate light and moderate humidity. I also have plant size and shape in mind. This tank has quite a bit of room, so I can include some larger specimens.


Spathiphyllum sp.

Peace lilies might build much of the background of the plant scape. <em>Spathiphyllum</em> are really great, low-maintenance plants, and they are cheap too. I purchased this one for just a few bucks at a big box home improvement store. With some time for their roots to adapt to wet conditions they grow really well in ripariums.


Spathiphyllum 'Golden Glow'

Here is another new Spathiphyllum that I acquired recently. The chartreuse to yellow coloration of this 'Golden Glow' will contrast nicely against those other peace lilies if I situate just one or two in among the other plants.


Cryptocoryne ciliata

C. ciliata is a great plant. It is hardy, pretty fast-growing and has bizarre and showy flowers. These also have the same general leaf shape and growth habit as peace lilies, so I can also mix one or two of these large plants into the background of the display.


Alocasia 'Polly'

Another great one, this "African mask plant", Alocasia 'Polly', might work well as a single centerpiece specimen. I was really pleased to find this one to grow well in a riparium planters: I had been advised that it requires drier conditions


Microsorum sp.

Java ferns grow really well on Trellis Rafts. I might start to run out of room with my other large plants, but I think I will try to float this one in there as a midground plant.


Anubias barteri var. [i]nana[/i]

Anubias barteri, planted on an Ep-Trellis, is another good midground element. So far, all of the plants that I have picked out as die from the fern are aroids, belonging to Family Araceae. I might include this one in favor of the Microsorum in order to keep a strict aroid theme


Cryptocoryne 'Green Gecko'

Crypts are also aroids. I think that the the above water area of this setup will be too dry for most crypts, aside from ciliata, but I will definitely use crypts underwater. 'Green Gecko' s one of my favorites and it has a nice, tidy growth habit that will mimic the shape of some of the emersed plants that I plan to use.
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Old 08-04-2009, 04:29 PM   #6
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Thank you for starting on the 56 gallon column tank. I'm very close to doing so myself, and I have my stand designed - similar proportions and shape to your galvanized steel and 2x4 design, but without the metal. (My wife isn't impressed by the metal). Now, I can't wait to see the stand you make for this one.
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:29 PM   #7
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Man, those are some cool plants! You probably have already considered but what do you plan for the winter? Would you need additional arrangements for maintaining heat and moisture?
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Old 08-04-2009, 07:12 PM   #8
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I think that I have the plants pretty well figured out. Planting will be easy because I have all of the emersed stuff already planted in planters. Looking at that list again I am remind that I have a high-humidity plant in there, the A. barteri nana, which will probably find it to be too dry in this tank. I will probably just use the Java fern in the midground. I really need to get some needle-leaf going emersed. That one that I have gets awful big and coarse.

I will probably just stick a regular heater in there when the room cools down. Like I mentioned above, these are all moderate-humidity plants that can gorw well with relaitve humidity 50% or higher. I should be able to maitain this by covering most of the top with a glass top, but leaving a gap of an inch or two to encourage some air circulation. If the room gets very dry in the winter I can close that gap down.
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:42 PM   #9
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Digsy recently complete a rescape that has the same general shape I have in mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digsy View Post

My planting will be similar in having a mound shape, but it will be repeated above and below the water. I am also using a lot of broad-leaved plants. I am going to try to get the manzanit to reach up high if I can.
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Old 08-05-2009, 06:13 PM   #10
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I set up the tank in a temporary way in the shop.



As you might notice, this bench is just a hollow-core door atop a pair of sawhorses. I plan to put some water in there. This oughta be OK--the aquarium is centered right over one of the horses and I'll only add about 8" of water. I'll have to take it all apart again to move it into its permanent spot, but while I put the stand together I can start adapting a few of the plants to life in this environment and also cycle the sand substrate.
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Old 08-05-2009, 06:51 PM   #11
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Are you going to remove the plastic rim? I know you want a glass cover on the tank, but is that rim necessary for that? Actually, I'm asking because I want to remove the rim when I get one of those, and I'm curious about how big a job that is.
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:07 PM   #12
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I'm leaving the rim on this one because I am going to use moderate-humidity plants, especially Spathiphyllum, and I want to be able to control humidity with a partial canopy covering. It is my hope that this plant combination will be very low maintenance.

Hey what do you think about my rock ideas?

Those top rims are on pretty tight. The way to take them off is to shave away plastic all around the top outside edge with a block plane. Having split the rim into two pieces it should be easy to pull it away. But this is still a lot of work, requiring a lot of laborious silicone scraping and careful replacement of the silicone seam in each top corner.

I removed the rim on another tank by sinking a small drill bit deep into the chuck on my cordless driver and using it like a router--a method that I do not recommend.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrophyte View Post
Hey what do you think about my rock ideas?
I rarely ever comment about the aesthetics of aquascaping, simply because I am all thumbs when it comes to that. It is hard for me to judge how any aquascape will look, just from the basic ideas, but for a riparium, where the underwater part has to compliment the above water part, I feel like I have no thumbs at all! Maybe in a year or so I will have enough of a feel for this to have an opinion when a question like this comes up, but not now.
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Old 08-06-2009, 06:19 AM   #14
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"African mask plant", Alocasia 'Polly'
Now that is one interesting plant!

Natural or not the rocks in the above pic look good to me!
Have you tried larger rock or rocks that break above the water line in a few places? I think that would add a nice effect to bring the hardscape above the water line in a place or two.
md!
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Old 08-06-2009, 07:10 AM   #15
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I've noticed that all your ripariums which I've seen are 1/3 full. Any reason not 2/3 with a lot out of the tank? Too hard to light the submersed plants without burning the emmersed ones? Humidity issues? Just curious!
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