Riparium with Refugium/Auto Feeder for Kindergarten Class - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 102 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 01:29 AM
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Great thread! Lucky kids!

Loving the anthurium--now i gotta get some for the back of my tank. Makes a great tropical look. How long have yours been in? How much light do they get, and do they continue to flower? Do they do as well as the peace lilies?
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post #17 of 102 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 02:48 AM Thread Starter
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This tank is only a bit over two weeks old. This is my first riparium. This tank is in front of a window that faces west and gets partial sun. Also because it's a classroom there are bright flourescents overhead. From a plant care website I read the following
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Anthurium plants can tolerate all levels of indirect light, but anthuriums growing in low light will have fewer flowers and will grow slower. These plants cannot tolerate direct light however, as this can burn the leaves. It grows best in bright, indirect light.
The guy in my LPS said peace lillies were low light but I didn't double check. If you look up anthuriums grown in water you'll see it's pretty common. Good luck with yours!
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post #18 of 102 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 03:09 AM
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It honestly looks really good, and again I apologize for taking your post in the other thread out of context.

I think neocaridina shrimp might be a good possibility for the refugium.


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post #19 of 102 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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No worries. My post needed more context. I understand why you read it that way. Cherries arrive in two weeks!
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post #20 of 102 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 12:07 AM
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No worries. My post needed more context. I understand why you read it that way. Cherries arrive in two weeks!


Awesome, canít wait to see the progress!


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post #21 of 102 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 04:01 AM Thread Starter
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Away for the week and already missing the tank. Wondering how it's doing? Are levels good? Are organisms thriving or declining? I think I messed up those culture jars. Too much filter bacteria. One of them seemed funky. Hopefully the whole culture doesn't die off. Also the substrate was releasing bubbles. Makes me think things were not going well. In hindsight all they needed was greenwater. Hopefully they pull through.
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post #22 of 102 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 12:38 PM
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Rakali I am very impressed. In a way you are doing what I am trying to do myself. I have a grow-out tank full of scuds, pods and cods. I intend to make an order for aquatic isopods and a few others. I like how you are allowing your plants in the fuge section to grow emerged. I am going to do that also with cattails, Temple Compactus, and a few native plants. I am going for a build that would remind one in a way of a reef tank but without the expense. I too am striving for as much diversity as possible. One of the most impressive aspects of your setup is that it is in a 20 high yet it is so well put together so it seems larger than it might otherwise. I also like the refugium idea. It is awesome that you are inspiring your students, presenting fish keeping and teaching them about all the different creatures one can find in freshwater. Bravo! Almost forgot to tell you that the bubbles you see are likely CO2 from decaying bits of organic material in the soil. I have them too.
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post #23 of 102 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much. I'd love to see your tank and I'll accept your request as soon as I can figure out how to do it on my phone. Also the bubbles I was referring to are in the culture jars not the main tank thankfully. I believe you are correct. Probably the cooked vegetables I added. I think I went a little overboard and put too much in.
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post #24 of 102 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 02:59 PM
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How much of the cooked veggies did you put in? If you only added little pieces to each jar all is good. The planktonic animals and algaes will benefit but if you put a lot in the resulting ammonia spike could wipe out everything in those jars including the greenwater. Those jars are 1 quart Mason jars it looks like. I seem to remember the pic of your jars and I don't think you overdid it. Now if there was no substrate I'd be much more worried. I need to get some live blackworms to culture speaking of culture jars.

I just looked at the pic of the jars. You definitely did not over do it with the veggies. You may want to get a strainer lid for each culture jar so they get O2 if you haven't already. Of course you can put some air holes in the normal lids if you don't want to purchase strainer lids.

I can't wait to see this build come together considering the great start so far. I am subscribing to this thread for certain!

Last edited by N7QL; 09-29-2019 at 03:12 PM. Reason: Checking out the pic of the culture jars
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post #25 of 102 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your feedback. I punched holes in the lid but at least one of them seemed pretty funky. On the plus side if there is a little ammonia spike I told the teacher to add some of it to the tank so it will aid in further cycling. I'll know tomorrow how they are doing. I got a small order of black worms from Carolina Biological. Look them up by their scientific name if you don't have another source. I remember when you could get them at LFSs.
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post #26 of 102 (permalink) Old 09-30-2019, 09:15 PM
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Oh I have been looking at them for a few species I want in addition to the blackworms. I might be able to get them locally at a real LFS (ie not a big box store). It is where I am getting my clams.
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post #27 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-09-2019, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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Week 3 Update

Back from vacation and tank is looking great. Daphnia population exploded while I was away and cleared most of the greenwater which is great for visibility but not so great for the daphnia population which is probably going to crash if I don't get more quick or add yeast I guess. I got some ASTAXANTHIN powder to make greenwater as @auban suggested but the quantity is pretty small and I'm not 100% sure it's going to work. Might just add it to the tank and see what happens. Might also reach out to the person who sold me my scuds, which came in greenwater, and see if they can sell me just greenwater. If anyone has greenwater they'd like to donate I'd appreciate it. Happy to pay for shipping.

Thinking of setting up an auto top up with a plastic bin filled with greenwater to keep the daphnia going and to combat evaporation which seems to be an issue with this heated tank. I've never set up an auto top up so if anyone could point me in the right direction that would be great. I have no running water in the space but there's power and a space to put a bin below (behind) or above the tank.

Added some filter media to the outside of the power head just to disperse the suction of the inlet a bit so as not to suck in too many organisms. Added some java moss to the refugium although it wasn't looking too good by the time I got it in the tank. I'm going to add a light to the back of the tank for the plants in the refugium. The refugium screen really cuts the light down.

The culture jars crashed as expected. They really stank when I cleaned them. Set up another one with just gravel and tank water for Moina and some Daphnia Magna just as insurance. Probably need to add yeast or spirulina to that pretty soon. Hoping the other organisms like the blackworms will reproduce enough in the refugium that another back up culture will be unnecessary. Right now everything seems happy. Worms are all over the substrate. I see copepods zipping by, scuds are happy, seed shrimp are multiplying. So far everything I've put in the tank seems ok with the exception of a few of the plants.

Cherries arrive this week and I think the tank is ready for them. The numbers have been rock solid for 3 weeks and the crushed coral I added brought the PH up to 6.8 which is right where I want it. I've added fish food to the tank a few times in the hopes that it will help ensure cycling has occurred. The snails certainly make a lot of waste so from a bio load perspective I'm hoping the RCS will be fine.

Here's the latest pictures and some videos that really show the daphnia. it kind of amazes me that this tank is only 3 weeks old.




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Last edited by rakali; 10-09-2019 at 01:48 AM. Reason: Forgot some things.
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post #28 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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RCS arrived today and I added them to the tank. They came in two little bags so one went in the refugium and one went in the main tank. I'm going to add nori tomorrow. It's my cherry secret weapon. They love it and it seems to make their color really pop. Also in my experience it doesn't foul the tank.

I'm a little worried about the daphnia population crashing. The greenwater was completely gone this morning. The water was crystal clear. I added some spirulina and barley grass powder. I mixed a small amount in a jar with some tank water and then added it to the tank. Does anyone have a recommendation for daphnia feeding amounts? I read somewhere that you really don't want to overfeed them. I'm worried the greenwater may have done just that. Thoughts?

I'll add some pictures of the RCS in the tank/refugium tomorrow. I had this panicked thought that the babies would be too big to pass through the refugium mesh but I can see that won't be a problem.

With the daphnia multiplying like crazy I'm considering introducing the Endlers sooner than later to cull the population a little. Another alternative would be to set up little pasta sauce jar mini tanks with daphnia for each kid. I'd need to make about 20 of them. I could send them home with some barley grass/spirulina mix and some small spoon for feeding. Need to find the magic amount that would keep them alive but not reproducing so much to fill the jar. Thoughts?
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Last edited by rakali; 10-11-2019 at 03:01 AM. Reason: typo
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post #29 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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RCS seem to be doing well. Attempted version 1 of an auto top off. Failed because I am trying to use gravity feed and the container I was using is not solid so it just crushes as the water pours out of it. Version 2 will use a more rigid water cooler bottle.

Just received my little clip on polarizer but not before I took the photo of the refugium with the big light reflection.


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post #30 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 11:58 PM
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My daphnia do quite well just on decomposing leaves, without the water going green at all. Need to keep up with adding the leaves as they decompose. I usually use raspberry leaves (fresh not dried) as I have some growing and some catappa leaves too.

I would be inclined to go for leaf matter over chunks of human cultivated veggies. It's more natural for most critters including the shrimps and less likely to cause problems left uneaten. Bramble/blackberry leaves are another fairly common one and similar to raspberry you could feed if you have them available. Have a look at what's available locally and maybe tree/plant identification and a bit of foraging is another option to add to the educational aspect

I have a tank of critters on my window sill, I'll try and remember to take a pic for you tomorrow... it's dark now and it's not lit.
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