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Old 10-29-2009, 11:03 PM   #16
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I decided to use a RFUG to filter the water, because of the low maintenance they need, and the very clear water I'm getting in my 65 gallon riparium using one. This one will have no pre-filter, so it will get gunked up under the substrate sooner, but I doubt keeping this tank going that long anyway.

Today I installed 26 watt, GE 6500K light bulbs in the two reflectors, and measured the PAR they produce. To my surprise I get less PAR than measured with 23 watt bulbs by AirSong, in his stickie in the Lighting forum. It didn't take long to figure that out - my reflectors are 8.5 inches in diameter, and not great quality, while his were smaller, and probably of better surface quality. Still, I am getting over 100 micromols of PAR at the top of the tank, with the lights a foot above the tank, and the light is very uniform over the whole tank area. This is a good 10 gallon lighting method, if the appearance doesn't turn you off.

Plants: Are there any Crotons, Codiaeum Variegatum, that are miniature, and not 6 foot trees when mature? That's another nice looking varigated leaf plant, that looks like it would do well in a riparium. (No luck finding caladiums yet.)

EDIT: I was wrong above about the reason for the reduced intensity vs AirSong's data. The real reason is that his data is taken in water, in a very small tank, where the glass walls of the tank reflect light to the bottom, and the water tends to focus the light slightly, both of which increase the intensity a bit. My data is in air above the tank.
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Old 10-30-2009, 01:41 AM   #17
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Awesome so far. I wish I could offer any type of guidance with the plants but its going to take me a while to catch up.
I cant wait to get things finalized and re-arranged in mine this weekend!
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Old 10-30-2009, 01:46 AM   #18
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Awesome so far. I wish I could offer any type of guidance with the plants but its going to take me a while to catch up.
I cant wait to get things finalized and re-arranged in mine this weekend!
So many different plants that might work, so many to learn about, and so many to enjoy
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Old 10-30-2009, 01:48 AM   #19
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That would be a great riparium tank! I wish I had that now, not the 63 but the 90, also 18 inches deep and high. The website doesn't state the shipping cost, but that would be a consideration.
Shipping was $90 for freight. I ordered the tank monday, it was shipped out Tuesday, and arrived today, Thursday.
It sure is a beautiful tank.

This project is really shaping up fast!
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Old 10-30-2009, 06:06 AM   #20
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Today I installed 26 watt, GE 6500K light bulbs in the two reflectors, and measured the PAR they produce. To my surprise I get less PAR than measured with 23 watt bulbs by AirSong, in his stickie in the Lighting forum. It didn't take long to figure that out - my reflectors are 8.5 inches in diameter, and not great quality, while his were smaller, and probably of better surface quality. Still, I am getting over 100 micromols of PAR at the top of the tank, with the lights a foot above the tank, and the light is very uniform over the whole tank area. This is a good 10 gallon lighting method, if the appearance doesn't turn you off.
I imagine this question has been raised before, but how do you think this might compare watt-per-watt with a T5 lamp or other regular fluorescent?
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Old 10-30-2009, 04:00 PM   #21
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I imagine this question has been raised before, but how do you think this might compare watt-per-watt with a T5 lamp or other regular fluorescent?
My 15H tank, which has the same footprint, has a 36 watt PC light. I get about the same PAR as I'm getting in the 10 gallon tank, with 52 watts. So, it is obvious that screw-in powersaver bulbs are not close to being as efficient as regular tubular fluorescent lights. And, T5 lights are even more efficient. But, you can't beat the low price for a screw-in bulb light "fixture". And, when I tear down this setup I can always use the clamp on lights as work lights in my garage work area.
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Old 10-31-2009, 04:05 PM   #22
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Minor setback: yesterday I added pool filter sand, water and a heater. I washed the PFS, but not as well as I should. When I started up the RFUG it was comical. First some air volcanoes erupted all over the tank. Then a fog of cloudy water slowly rose from substrate to water surface, as the fine silt I didn't adequately wash out of the PFS was released into the tank from the upward flowing water.

This morning it still hasn't cleared up, except very slightly. Before I went to bed I stuck a sponge on the powerhead inlet to try to filter out some of the silt, but that doesn't seem to have done any good. My next step is likely to be a few water changes to remove the cloudy water. Lesson learned: if using a RFUG, always thoroughly wash the substrate first!!
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Old 10-31-2009, 05:38 PM   #23
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Ok, this is a really stupid question, but how hard is it to maintain a riparium, with hardy plants? also, could I keep a pair of Convict Cichlids in a 20g high riparium? Really like the tank so far Hoppy!
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Old 10-31-2009, 06:17 PM   #24
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JakeJ I have lots of plants for you if you might want to set up a riparium. Where are you anyway? Are you in the Milwaukee area?

Your 20-gallon might work for a riparium with convicts. I am contemplating setting one up for my very pretty Cryptoheros cutteri. I think that the compatibility of the convict and the plants might depend on just how rambunctious your fish is.
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Old 10-31-2009, 06:18 PM   #25
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So far the maintenance I am doing is:
every other day add fertilizers to the water, using EI dosages,
every other day feed the fish,
every other day add make up water for evaporation,
about every 4th day, on my 65 gallon tank, do about a 15% water change,
every few days look closely for problems and correct what you can (like toppled rafts, plants slipping out of raft notches,
once a week or so remove dead or dying leafs,
occasionally wipe down the water line to get rid of deposits.

All of that is for my 65 gallon tank. This 10 gallon one will likely get a bit less maintenance. My 15H tank is just a nursery now, so it mostly just gets fertilized and dead leaf removal.

I find it a lot less demanding than a regular planted tank, and more fun for me.

And, my 3 x 50+% water changes seem to be effective enough for clearing the water. Still a bit cloudy, but I think that will filter out. It was really creepy to watch the clouds move up from the substrate!
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Old 10-31-2009, 07:44 PM   #26
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Thanks alot guys! I live in the Green Bay area, and I would really like to "recreate" the Convict's home (not useing S. A. plants though), a South American river\stream. Once I get the money, I would lower the water level and add some riparium plants. But thats once I get the money ):. Also what type of lighting would work? Mabey a coralife T5? Thanks and sorry for butting in to you thread Hoppy.
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Old 10-31-2009, 09:17 PM   #27
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Also what type of lighting would work? Maybe a coralife T5? Thanks and sorry for butting in to you thread Hoppy.
You will want to raise whatever light you use so it gives enough clearance for plants to grow up out of the tank, unless you use emersed aquatic plants that need the humidity of a closed tank. So, any light that would give you high light intensity in an aquarium should work fine, in my opinion. And, no problem for butting in - it is all relevant.



I just got back from a very successful trip to Target, of all places. Their nursery section had a lot of little potted "houseplants", some of which are sure things for a riiparium. The three I bought, for about $12 total, are, left to right, Dracaena godseffiana, Gynura aurantiaca (Purple Passion), and Hemigraphis alternata (Purple Waffle Plant) - the latter is commonly sold as an aquatic plant, even though it can't grow submersed.

Now I need to clean them thoroughly, separate into individual plants, plant them in planter cups, etc. This is really a fun project!
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Old 10-31-2009, 10:42 PM   #28
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Thanks!
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Old 11-01-2009, 12:44 AM   #29
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I got the planters in place today, using two of the Target plants, plus some I had in my 15H nursery tank. But, I'm out of nano rafts, so I couldn't complete the planting. Tomorrow I will order some more stuff. One thing that immediately shows up is the need for a good submersed planting when you reverse the golden ratio - more water, less air. Here is a head on view that emphasizes that:


I'm thinking that I will very soon go back to the conventional proportions - I also don't think the plants above the tank work as well as I expected, even though the picture exaggerates the washed out appearance without the black background above the tank.
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Old 11-01-2009, 05:15 PM   #30
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This is really a beautiful plant for a riparium, Hemigraphis alternata "purple waffle". The deeply rippled leaves with purple backs look great close up like you tend to look at a riparium. I need to get one of these in my 65 gallon tank, as soon as I get another planter cup.
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