As promised, I will give you some more details about this build. First, I wanted to provide two links to Discovery Planetuk You tube videos that provided inspiration
This is a stream in Thialand with C. ciliata.
This is from Lingga Island focusing on C. yurithiae and Boraras maculata.
Well, I had several items available stored away in the garage. Specifically:
A 60 gallon long tank drilled at both ends
A closer look at the 1”bulk heads
The tank originally was a closed loop system. This worked well, and still does on my 90 gallon tank. For awhile now, I have been interested in trying a sump and I had an acrylic cube 20”L x 18”W by 17”D. This would work very well as a sump for my 60 gallon tank. It is big enough to hold a filter sock and the large CO2 reactor I wanted to try. Pictures a little later.
Protein Skimmer to be re-purposed as a CO2 reactor/aeration system
I did not take a picture before I inserted it into the sump but I found a picture online:
You can see the small ˝” port that accepts the input from the needle wheel pump. It is located right in the middle of the 20” tall x 7” diameter column. Water flows out from the larger tube starting at the bottom of the skimmer and flowing out at the top of the tube where the white filter floss is attached. My version does not have the foam collection cup or the filter floss on the outflow. Here are a couple of pictures of the sump:
A closer look at the reactor/aerator
The sump also contains an 8”x8”x4” Marine Pure ceramic biomedia plate and a 7” filter sock. The needle wheel pump is an Aquatrance 2000s that pushes 198 gph and 720l/h of air. The return pump is a Sicce Syncra 3.5 pump rated at 634 gph. This will offer a 10x turn over per hour.
So, with holes drilled in the tank bottom, I needed to make an internal overflow. I bought a CPR retrofit over flow box. It is bigger than I need at 12” L by 4”W but, as I had two drilled holes, this allowed me to use two Durso over flows. Safety in redundancy. Some pics:
So far, this system has worked very well. A slight turn of the ball valve on the main over flow has the system absolutely quiet.
The last technical challenge for me was how would I create a steep bank in such a narrow tank – only 15” wide. I was using Aquasoil and wanted the slopes to not be filled with lava rocks or other scaffolding material. Crypts have deep roots and I wanted them to have plenty of substrate. Lucky for me, I had a roll of 100 micron, stainless steel mesh. This material is pretty flexible and I cut strips of various widths to use along the contour lines of my slope. The mesh was attached to the rock work and tank bottom using aquarium grade silicone sealant. Some pics:
Last but not least, the plants!
One of my challenges was to figure out how to re-create the views from the natural habitat in my small aquarium. I needed to chose my plants carefully. In the streams, the plants grow in large groups of a single species. I also love the way some of the larger leaved species waved in the current. I needed to find small species but didn’t want a lawn of C. parva. I also wanted easy to care for species. So here is the plant list:
– Three of these placed right at the overflow. The only bare root plants as I wanted some size to mask the hardware. Upper left corner of the picture.
C. crispatula var tonkinensis
- These are planted at the upper left hand part of the tank, right in front of the filter return. Hoping to see the leaves waving in the current. Located at the top of the picture.
C. wendtii “brown”
– These will make my “wall of crypts” planted in the middle of the scape between the two large rocks. They also are planted vertically from the river bottom up to the top of the slope.
- A recommend from Seattle Aquarist (thanks Roy). I small crypt, a little bigger that C. parva and with a little broader leaf. This plant makes up the bulk of the trailing slope on the left side of the scape. It is also used just below the C. undulata on the right hand side of the tank.
- Used along the edge of the river bottom and in the rock work. Located at the edge of the stream and extending into the sand in this picture.
Clearly a long way to go yet. Very few roots with the tissue culture plants so I am worried about how well they will stay in place. Keeping my fingers crossed!
Last – the lighting
. I almost forgot and don’t have a great photo. I bought two Kessil 160WE Tuna Suns. I love the shimmer these provide. Here they are peaking into a full tank shot. Yes, it is in my garage.