Prime's rimless 25g dirt-planted setup and journal - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Prime's rimless 25g dirt-planted setup and journal

I am getting back into the hobby after a solid 5 year break. I was into reefs when I got out last time, but kept a planted tank about 10 years ago. However, I was running with inert gravel, ferts, high tech lighting, and CO2 injection.

Recently, I stumbled down a YouTube rabbit hole and discovered the Walstad methodology and "low tech" approach to the planted aquarium and decided to give it a shot. I figure that if I can keep costs relatively low, then worst case I dump it all out by the time next year with little lost, and best case I get a thriving ecosystem in my living room!

The tank is a low-iron 8mm glass rimless aquarium that I found on amazon. It measures 23.6" L ◊ 15.7" W ◊ 15.7" H (60cm x 40cm x 40cm) and holds about 25.4 gallons. It will be my first rimless, but I love the look of planted rimless that I see online so I decided to spend a bit more. For lighting, I plan on using one of the two-bulb T5HO units I had over my reef, except with one 6500k and one 10,000k bulb in it. Exact bulbs TBD, but the unit itself sits about 2-3 inches off the surface of the water. I am thinking about starting with a 2 or 3 hour morning window of light, and then for the next 7 hours it will get ambient light from the windows in the room, and then another 5-6 hour period of light from the bulbs. This might not be enough, but I dont want to over-light the tank early when there arent as many nutrients in the water column. I will also be adding floating plants to absorb some light.

I intend to use organic soil as a base, and cover that with a 1.5 inch cap of carib sea peace river gravel.

I do not intend to attach filtration to the tank. I will however setup a Hydor pico powerhead at 180gph to provide some water circulation while keeping it quiet.

The tank arrived today, and I am headed to pickup the parts for my stand this afternoon. Pics to come!

Edit:

Day 1 - April 6th



Latest - October 29th
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Last edited by jprime84; 10-29-2018 at 12:42 PM. Reason: added photos
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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Prime's rimless 25g dirt-planted setup and journal

Here is the stand I purchased - inexpensive and sturdy!


One problem though, is this stand is clearly meant to hold a 36 inch 40 gallon tank, and mine is only 24 inches. To solve this, I picked up a stain-grade piece of 3/4" spruce pine board measuring 20 inches by 4 feet. I will cut this to length, apply a coat of wipe-on poly, and set it on top of the metal stand to evenly distribute the weight and to turn it into more of a table. I might even do shelves underneath it later.

Fun times last night when I assembled the whole thing before finding the bag of washers in the box.... had to take it apart and start over. Nothing more precarious than an insecure aquarium stand.

Some floating plants arrived last night. I think I will through them into my goldfish pond out back while I wait to get the tank together.

Last edited by jprime84; 10-19-2018 at 07:55 PM. Reason: title change
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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jprime84 View Post

Fun times last night when I assembled the whole thing before finding the bag of washers in the box.... had to take it apart and start over. Nothing more precarious than an insecure aquarium stand.
Sounds like my experiences with IKEA furniture lol. At least you will be a pro if you need to dismantle it again.

I am also experimenting with Walstad in my 30 gal. I'm looking forward to seeing pictures of your full setup!

From what I understand, that photoperiod should be more than enough to start off.
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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 08:35 PM
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walstad style tanks are rare here

please do sure your project

looking forward to it!
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 09:05 PM
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I have a similar tank (60P), similar stand (for 29g), and I also used plywood for the top.
2 x t5 is a lot of light for that tank, especially so for Walstad.
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 09:38 PM
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I have the same stand got it at petco . my tank is a mr aqua17.1 gal rimless 23 1/2 x 12 x14 1/2 tall .I used 3/4 birch cabinet grade ply wood . I cut the top 1 1/2 inches larger on all four sides , To give me some working room water testing etc . The only thing I don't like about the stand is its too short for my my taste . only 30' tall . I put mine on half sizes cinder blocks which are 8x8x8 and skinned the sides with 1/2 birch and used Neodymium Magnets to hold the panels in place. The thing looks awesome .
post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-05-2018, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Still waiting on the poly to dry. Here’s where the tank will sit and how things look now.

Hoping to unbox the tank tonight!

Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
I have a similar tank (60P), similar stand (for 29g), and I also used plywood for the top.
2 x t5 is a lot of light for that tank, especially so for Walstad.
I considered trying to run with only 1 bulb in it but thought that might not be enough. Thoughts?
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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-05-2018, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I have the same stand got it at petco . my tank is a mr aqua17.1 gal rimless 23 1/2 x 12 x14 1/2 tall .I used 3/4 birch cabinet grade ply wood . I cut the top 1 1/2 inches larger on all four sides , To give me some working room water testing etc . The only thing I don't like about the stand is its too short for my my taste . only 30' tall . I put mine on half sizes cinder blocks which are 8x8x8 and skinned the sides with 1/2 birch and used Neodymium Magnets to hold the panels in place. The thing looks awesome .
It is a tad short especially for a smaller tank, but ours is going in a corner between our computer desks, so I anticipate it being an ideal height for viewing while we sit at our desks. Also, we have a 4 year old whom I hope to get interested in the hobby and its a great viewing height for him.
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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-05-2018, 02:14 PM
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I'm also getting back into fish. Been keeping chameleons for decades, ignoring everything else. I'm setting up a 60 gallon (48"*13"*25") soon. Currently building the stand.

I just read waldstadt's book, and I'm going that route. Fish tanks for me should be as self sustaining as possible!

I'm in Western NC, but I go to Raleigh often. You guys have better freshwater selection than I do in the Asheville area. I'll be following to see your progress. Should be interesting
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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-06-2018, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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Progress!

The tank arrived in a steel-lined wood crate. The wood was actually very thin though. In one image you can see where something broke through the bottom of the crate but luckily didn’t damage the glass.

At 8mm thick, the glass is nice and thick! (Or thicc? &#x1f602. The silicone work is super clean too. It’s honestly the nicest tank I’ve had.

Applying the foam pad to the bottom was easy. Stick it on, cut off excess.

The rest of my night was spent sifting Miracle Grow raised bed soil. I chose it because it had all organic fertilizer sources, and it contains compost which will have the CO2 producing bacteria inside. The compost also has bone and kelp meal which should help provide trace nutrients. I bothered with sifting it to try and remove the chunks of wood that might add a lot of tannins to the water.

I was going for about an inch of soil for the bed. I added too much water and it got a bit soupy. This caused it to be a bit uneven as I added the gravel cap since some of the gravel sank into the mud rather than sitting on top.

I partially filled it with water and added the hydor pico to circulate it. The plan is to let it sit like this for the day, then tap the substrate to release any trapped air bubbles before draining and filling it to clear the cloudy water. I also test fit my lights. I think it’s going to be a great looking tank!
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post #11 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-08-2018, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Filled and planted. Let’s see how this goes! The little hanging filter was temporary to help polish debris from the water.
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post #12 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quick update! I replaced one of my older 10,000k AquaticLife bulbs with a new Giesemann 24W Super Flora bulb.

Also, the wood has turned my water into tea with the tannins. Planning to do a big water change later tonight to dilute.
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post #13 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 05:45 PM
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Looks great so far! Iím about a month in to my first dirted tank as well.
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post #14 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-13-2018, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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So I decided to add an Aquaclear30 HOB filter.

Two reasons:
1. Surface film - It had become GROSS. No surface agitation was causing an issue and I began to worry about oxygenation (plants arent established enough yet to bolster that).
2. Water polishing - As is typical with plants through the mail, theres a fair amount of dead material in the water column. I will be removing what I can with periodic spot-siphoning, but otherwise all it does is dirty up the look of the tank.

I did not add the ceramic rings or (obviously) the charcoal. I just run it at low speed with the coarse sponge in it, and it has helped circulate the tank and get rid of the floating debris in the water column. I removed the Hydo Pico because it was redundant.

Thinking about getting some feeder shrimp (ghost shrimp) and seeing how they do in here.

I do see new growth on basically all the stem plants, but not too much yet. Little tips with new green leaves.
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post #15 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-16-2018, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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A few pics after the first few weeks. I have snail hitchhikers galore apparently. The roots of the floating plants are really reaching down and they seem happy. The valisneria that I got seemed near death when it came in, and I’m not sure how it’s going to do.

Any ID on the fine-leaf stem plant pictured? It’s been doing the best.
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