Artificial Island, 8GAL Nano Hi-Tech Build - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-27-2020, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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Artificial Island, 8GAL Nano Hi-Tech Build

"Ne saurait faire d'omelette sans casser des œufs" (You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs) said François de Charette in 1742.

Which means in order to accomplish my new vision, I must bear hardships to gain something desirable.

The idea first came to me close to a year ago while I was still working on Office Space II during it's infancy that lead me to a fork in the road.

Shall I continue Office Space II on it's current trajectory, or take a risk and redo the tank while still in the grow out phase? I obviously opted to continue with Office Space II.

In retrospect, I should have changed gears and worked towards this vision.

Now that I have entered the AGA with Office Space II in it's current format, I am going to slowly retool the tank for next year's competition (and actively seek either Best of Show (top 10) or award winner) and a design which will be much more challenging and require me to rethink how this design will play out in the long term.



Changes, Additions, Deletions

What I am still going to use:

Equipment:

- Lights, the AI Freshwater Prime are amazing. I will never return to standard lighting. I have insane PAR levels
- Tank, the dimensions are what I want to challenge me on this next phase
- Heater, for time being. I am deciding if I should get an inline as I am upgrading hose size to 12/16 from my current 9/12
- My entire CO2 setup (the atomizer is much more nicer than the Bell)
- Eheim 2211 (for the time being, this has been promised to a member of my local Aquarium Society)
- Small Powerhead (once I get the 2213, this is also going to the member of my local Aquarium Society)

Plants:

- Blyxa japonica. I will never let this plant go.
- Bucephalandra kedagang, this will have a new location in the new look

Fauna:

- Chili Rasboras (Boraras brigattae)
- Red Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi)

What my End Goals are:

Equipment:

- Eheim 2213, a bit more power than the 2211 and larger hose diameter 12/16
- Stainless Steel Output (Jet) and Intake (w/Skimmer) for cleaner and better water flow
- Possible small inline heater to remove yet another piece of equipment from the Aquascape

Plants:

- Tentatively, Rotala rotundifolia (location will become apparent below), looking for a red plant I have not tried before, which I am finding is more daunting that originally thought

Fauna:

- Spotted Blue-Eye (Pseudomugil gertrudae)
- Corydoras pygameus/hasbrosus (still undecided which one, though I am leaning towards C.hasbrosus)

Hardscape:

- A few more Seiryu Stones
- 3 pieces of wood (will become apparent below)



Artificial Island you say?

The whole idea is to build on the name (also, an amazing song by Carbon Based Lifeforms:
, video is trippy but worth the watch and listen) and continue my work with a true center island format in a small tank.

Hard? You bet, this is why I am doing it. Not because it is easy.

The real pain is retooling a tank while it is still currently running without causing too much disruption (admittingly there is going to be some) to the Chili Rasboras and Shrimp in the tank. In fact, I plan to do this in stages so keep the stress levels as low as possible. The first to go, is the Hairgrass, and that is today.

While I love carpeting plants, I have concluded I can grow them, have success with them but it is time to get outside of my comfort zone again and do more of an open substrate look. The dark color (Flourite Black Sand)) of my current substrate will have a more dramatic effect on the look I want to eventually achieve.

I want Corydoras and have for a long time. Having a carpet of plants is often counter productive to the Corydoras behavior on open substrate. Also with an open substrate, the focus again can return to the rocks which will be more plentiful this time around.

Carpet plants are debris, algae and gunk magnets. Having a small squad of Corydoras constantly shifting the substrate will help keep it clean, throw particulate matter into the water column to get removed and processed by the filtration and most importantly, getting to enjoy the antics of Corydoras once again.

A member of my local Aquarium Society, is having amazing success at breeding them (WTG NoodleAquatics) which includes C.pygmaeus. Local bred means they have adapted to the water where I live. Cannot argue with that logic. Which is making my decision tough on what species of Dwarf Corydoras. Either way, I will be getting one for Artificial Island.

Which means, I will be slowly shifting the substrate again to create a "mound" which will eventually form the basis for the final appearance.


The grey color will be the Flourite Substrate.
The Light Green will be the Buce growing on the rocks (also, some will be out in the substrate)
The Dark Green will be the Blyxa
The Red in the center is my tentative Red Plant
The Brown is the 3, bare pieces of wood sticking out.

This is the image that started it all. Can I achieve this? Not sure, but the only way to figure it out is to try.


Gary


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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-27-2020, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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Phase I complete. Removal of the Hairgrass and left side Staurogyne repens. One hour session.

I am not sure whom this was more stressful for... myself or the occupants of the former Office Space II.

Removing the Hairgrass (it is the stuff that is hidden that will require seek and destroy) revealed a one inch layer of detritus.

I vacuumed up what I can, the rest the Filtration will absorb.

I plan to employ "The Cleaner" (a small HOB that I stuff with Filter Moss for this very purpose) on Wednesday as while I did get most of it, some remains which will need to be "swished" into the water column.

Having "The Cleaner" in operation will help with absorption and get the substrate clean again. Another reason for bare substrate and Corydoras. The Eheim is going to get yet another cleaning next weekend.

I can see my rocks again! Holy cow Batman! They are really nice, but alas, will be vessels for my Buce in the new look. Though I will include rubble and bare rocks as well.

I might use a piece of the Spiderwood for the new vision and look I want.

For the next little while, little changes until I have all the materials in hand for the big change (which may be a good portion of an afternoon). Pictures tomorrow, I will not be removing the equipment, as these are not meant to be glamor shots just yet.

If anything it will show how dramatic bare substrate would have made Office Space II.

Album this week was "Songs for Courtiers and Cavaliers" by Helen Watts, Desmond Dupre, Thurston Dart and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Nice Operatic selection for deconstruction. Yes, I did listen to "Artificial Islands" by Carbon Based Lifeforms.

Gary


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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-29-2020, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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Sometime during the night, my entire Blyxa forest decided to recreate the floating Mountains from Avatar. I spent 30 minutes this afternoon, during a meeting, replanting. Not the greatest but it will do for the time being. I will post some pictures tomorrow.

I guess this will lead me to fast track getting the rocks sorted out. This weekend will be the rest of the Stauro into the trash and the following plants up for grabs this weekend:

  • Hygrophila pinnatifida (all)
  • Alternanthera reineckii 'mini' (all)

Would rather give these away than have to throw them out but if I get no takers, then garbage they will go.

The Spiderwood with the Buce will be cleaned up and de-buce-ified as well. Though I plan cut off the ground level branch as it will add a nice effect to the vision I have.

Looks like this weekend will be another marathon session.

Gary
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-29-2020, 07:05 PM
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Might I suggest, that if you find the C. Pygmeaus to be a bit shy (mine hide all the time unless you just fed the tank), that you go with C.Habrosus. I find the Habrosus are much more outgoing and actively swim around the bottom of the tank out in the open more comfortably than the Pygmeaus.

For Rotala Rotundifolia, I would suggest you go with Rotala H'ra. With the lighting you have and C02 use, it will get really nice and red and bushy for you. Will you need to trim this a lot within a month of planting it because it really likes to send out the longer shoots to spread.

As for plants you are getting rid of from the other build, you can always send them my way. LOL

Can't wait to see some pictures as this starts being put together.
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-29-2020, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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Good some advice on Corydoras. I honestly prefer the look of the C.habrosus over the C.pygmaeus anyways. I want something that is always out so I can enjoy watching their antics.

I will take a look into that species of Rotala. One, I have not tried yet.

LOL Nebthet, how are the plants I sent up on a totally unrelated (somewhat) note?

Doing the re-arrange has me real excited as well. I have been wanting to try this format for a long, long time. Now that I have the chance I am going for it. Already had one small episode (I cannot go through a day without something weird or dramatic happening) with Blyxa, hopefully that is it for the time being.

Gary


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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-29-2020, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazygar View Post

LOL Nebthet, how are the plants I sent up on a totally unrelated (somewhat) note?

Doing the re-arrange has me real excited as well. I have been wanting to try this format for a long, long time. Now that I have the chance I am going for it. Already had one small episode (I cannot go through a day without something weird or dramatic happening) with Blyxa, hopefully that is it for the time being.

Gary
The blyxa and buce are doing really well. I didn't lose any of them. They've transitioned slowly and I had to keep pulling the one blyxa up higher in the subtrate level because it kept sinking deeper into it (a couple of my crypts do that too). But they've settled nicely and don't seem to mind the lack of CO2 in my system. The buce seems to like where I put it and has not only developed new leaves, but the one that had the flower on it did it's thing, and now a second one has developed a flower now too. That made me all excited because it told me it's happy.

LOL... blyxa seems to be the Diva of a lot of aquariums.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-30-2020, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nebthet78 View Post
LOL... blyxa seems to be the Diva of a lot of aquariums.
Never has such a truer statement been uttered. I agree, but it is allowed the status.

Gary


Bump: No more Hairgrass. I am not going to groom the substrate until all the changes are complete, but I honestly like it with bare substrate:


Substrate looks trippy with the light bouncing off the waves from the Powerhead.

This weekend, the rest of the Staurogyne is being turfed and replaced by Blyxa (for the time being). You can clearly see the Blyxa in a million green pieces in the background but still hanging in there.

Hygrophila and AR 'Mini' are hopefully leaving on Saturday.

Gary
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-01-2020, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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Week of the 13th (how is that for a coincidence, I am off that week on vacation) I will be finally getting my Stainless Steel Output/Intake (w/Skimmer) so I plan to do some most of the major work this week. Also means removal of the powerhead as the Jet output and one size up Filtration (2213 from 2211) means greater flow and skimming.

I wonder how small they make inline heaters?

Gary


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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-01-2020, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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Just a note, they make a small Hydor 200W Inline for 1/2 (12/16mm) hoses....

Gary
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-01-2020, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
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Just a note, they make a small Hydor 200W Inline for 1/2 (12/16mm) hoses....

Gary
I use the Hydor 300W Inline heater that uses 5/8" hose. My filter is an ecco pro 2236 that uses 12/16mm hoses. I made the sucker fit. I used some 1/2" clear tubing from home depot, dipped the end in hot water from my faucet, for about 30 seconds, then shoved it over the barbs on the heater. I also used a hose clamp for some insurance. All in all good unit though!
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-02-2020, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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LOL that's MacGyver'ing it! I plan to take a safer route and get the HTW 200W, with the 12/16 barbed fitting, which I need.

Less in the tank, the better.

Gary
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-04-2020, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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A 44 minute session.

During the week, the H.pinnatifida, and AR 'Mini' were scooped up. The only thing left in the tank was the Staurogyne which was removed this session. Today I did:

  • Removed the rest of the Stauro
  • Removed errant pieces of Hairgrass (this will be a long process but manageable)
  • Replanted more of the Blyxa, and move some rocks around to shape the island

During this session I made a startling discovery, a large mound of Buce has grown on top of my heater and become attached to it. I have more Buce than I originally thought. This I am sure will make some members of my Local Aquarium Society happy.

The tank looks weird, only Blyxa and Buce remain now. That piece of wood seriously needs to go, it is by all intents and purposes, a large obstacle.

If my Stainless Steel Lily Pipes arrive this week, then I will start the reconfigure. If not, things will need to wait until the equipment arrival.

The Eheim 2213 is still in the box, unopened, I am putting a note on it to remove all cardboard and plastic this time. :P

As usual pictures forth coming tomorrow.

Gary
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-05-2020, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Just Buce and Blyxa now.

Starting to define the Island shape. As stated, since I am on a small week vacation next week, I plan to work more on the tank when I have time during the week to get things from the LFS rather than just waiting for the weekend.

My goal for now is to get a few more Seiryu stones, hopefully a mixture of small and medium sized. If I can only find large, then one large one and smash it into pieces. Actually feels pretty good to smash something from time to time.

Once the island is defined, I am going to remove all the Blyxa into a bucket of tank water, place a thick plastic border inside of the Rock Island and move as much substrate into the area to create a mound.

Then it's a matter of attaching the Buce to the island rocks. I plan to put in a thick plastic border somewhere in the middle to coral in the Rotala H'ra when I get that.

Looking at an external heater. Hydor HTW 200W is perfect, 12/16mm hose size. This would remove all my equipment outside of the tank giving it a much cleaner look.

Also need to look for some thin, branchy pieces of Driftwood (only 3 or 4 pieces) for the look I want to achieve.

Gary
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-06-2020, 03:09 AM
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It's starting to look so different already. It kind of looks like the blyxa dropped down to where it is on the left hand side now. Soooo much in there. The angle of your photographs were really hiding how much you had.
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-06-2020, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah I was pretty tired last night, so I plan to retake the photos again. The angle is really off.

Still loads of Blyxa and Buce just need to take better pictures without being in a rum haze.

Gary
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