The 12 gallon long lava rock scape! - Page 3 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #31 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 06:58 AM Thread Starter
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I stopped by the co-op today and picked up a bunch of supplies and a few fish, including one very handsome Betta for the five gallon at work. He was in a community tank like all of their bettas so I thought he would be fine, but it turns out he's a little hate machine. I put him in the tank with my RCS colony and he immediately started chowing down. He ate shrimp that I could have sworn wouldn't fit in his mouth. I quickly grabbed as many shrimp as I could catch and took them home.

The 12 gallon isn't cycled yet- one of the things I was picking up from Aquarium Co-op was one of their big filter sponges, since there's no way in hell I'm using those cartridges that came with the aqueon internal filter. Testing the water last night it came out at 1 ppm ammonia.

I also got a tissue culture of staurogyne repens and some marsilea hirsuta from the GSAS meeting, so I planted those, drained the tank, fitted the filter sponge, added some cycled media, did a 50% water change with seachem prime, added seachem stability, and finally dropped the shrimp. At this point it was 2 am so I called it a night.

I checked the params again today, and it was at .25 ppm ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 10 ppm nitrates. Thank God for the cycled media! In my experience shrimp can handle some ammonia, but nitrite kills them quickly. There have been no casualties in the 12 gallon so far, so as long as I keep watching the water parameters until there is no ammonia I think it should be good.

As for the betta? He ate every remaining shrimp in his tank overnight. I'm not feeding him for the next week, the little guy might explode. Picture of my miniature homicidal officemate below:

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post #32 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 05:01 AM Thread Starter
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Since nobody asked, here's how I set up my substrate for a new tank. This is a 20 long I have in the works. Someday I'll get a regular dimension tank, but this is not that day.

Step 1: Worm castings. Lots of nutrients, and high CEC. Lots of organics too, so if you use too much you might be setting yourself up for algae.

Step 2: Activated carbon. You can use the dust, I use pellets as there's less of a chance of it being pulled up by plant roots. Super high CEC, it acts like a sponge soaking up excess nutrients and making them available to plant roots.


Step 3: The nutes. A lot of osmocote+ (too much?) and Mexican red clay for iron.

Step 4: Cover the whole thing in organic potting soil. If I was less lazy I would have sifted out the perlite and bigger chunks of organic matter, but I'm pretty friggin lazy. I also add more Mexican red clay at this point, not only for iron but because it mixes with the soil and makes it heavier, so if you have to pull plants the clay keeps the dirt from being suspended in the water column and it settles way faster.
If I was planning on uprooting plants frequently, I would not be using this method. It does take extra maintenance to clean up dirt around the tank with this method when you uproot things. This section of the tank is going to be dense bushes, so I hopefully won't be uprooting anything.

Step 5: Wet down the soil, making sure it's saturated and fairly compact. You don't want it mixing with the capping substrate.

Step 6: Cap it. I like black diamond blasting sand, but for this tank I'm trying aquasoil because @Xiaozhuang said so


You can see it's a pretty thick cap (1.5 - 2 inches). You don't want the nutrients rich, high CEC layer to be mixing with the water column too much.

Side question: I'm thinking of just making this a thread for the 20 long, since the lava rock scape is now low-tech (gross, I know). Does anyone know how to edit the title to reflect that?

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post #33 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 08:01 AM Thread Starter
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Aaand what I'm thinking for the hardscape

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post #34 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 06:32 PM
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Nice, will it be planted? Here is my 12 gallon long. Thinking of redoing it with sand floor instead of carpet plants.


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post #35 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hapa Logie View Post
Nice, will it be planted? Here is my 12 gallon long. Thinking of redoing it with sand floor instead of carpet plants.
I feel like sand does look nice, but every time I make a sandy area I just want to put more plants in it haha. Now I try and restrict my use of sand to the very foreground. I personally like the look of that carpet!

You can always switch it up and try something different for a while. I do a pretty major rescape every 4 months or so.

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post #36 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by gjcarew View Post
I feel like sand does look nice, but every time I make a sandy area I just want to put more plants in it haha. Now I try and restrict my use of sand to the very foreground. I personally like the look of that carpet!

You can always switch it up and try something different for a while. I do a pretty major rescape every 4 months or so.

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Well I want to go for a clean look. Having carpet plants it gets dirty and is a decent amount to maintain. I was thinking sand floor and a big driftwood with java and anubius petite attached. Something like this but with plants attached to driftwood.


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