An all natural planted soil tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 12:55 AM Thread Starter
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An all natural planted soil tank

Well after reading a post of mine in another thread a member asked me to start a thread about my natural tank so here goes.

It pretty much started with an ad in Craigslist. I've been keeping and breeding tropicals since 1980 so when I saw the ad for a Metaframe tank and stand for $30 it was a no brainer. Anyhow, these tanks are notorious for leaking so I set it up on the porch of my workshop to test it. After 2 weeks still no leaks. But I didn't have time to tear down the 29 in the kitchen and set up the "new" 55. So I threw in 2 bags of Big Box Store top soil. Went to Nolans and got some plants and put them in. Some Cabomba, temple, Amazon Sword, (that threw out 3 pups in no time), and a bunch of others I can't remember. They all grew like weeds. Trimming, replanting, trimming again. And on and on. Finally the time came to move the tank. Went to the Big Box Store and got a 35 gallon pond. Threw in another 2 bags of top soil. Added all the plants from the 55 and unloaded the dirt and put it aside. Things got delayed as life happens with a 2 year old. soil dried out. It rained and then dried out again. Finally the 55 was setup and soiled with a gravel cap. It has a Penguin filter and a bunch of gouramis. Needless to say the cabomba in that tank is gone.
So where does the natural tank come in? Right about here.
Nature abhors a vacuum and I hate another empty tank. So the 29 went on the back porch. I added in some of the top soil and a few plants. Well Florida is the capital of many things. Lightning being one and mosquitos are the state bird. The porch is screened but after 11 years it has many areas that are uhm, toast. (Yeah I've since rescreened it.) So in went some livebearers. The tank has no filters on it at all. The plants do it all. It also helps that the bioload is really low. The platys have had quite a few fry and are doing great. It can keep my son's interest for a full 5 minutes. When I get a chance I'll get some pictures of the 55 and the 29. The water in both tanks is clear. I have no idea what the water parameters. Don't really care. The fish are doing well as are the plants. Now with the sun lower in the sky the 29 isn't getting as much light so the cabomba is dying off. That's OK though since it's thriving in the pond and I'll replant it in the spring. Oh. There's no lid and it gets no light other than what it gets from daylight. I replace water lost from evaporation and when I think about it I do a water change.
I've attached a pretty ratty picture I just took with a P&S. It's mighty dark out there.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 01:30 AM
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I guess that is all natural. I am beginning to enjoy low maintenance tanks.
I met a guy local here on the east side that had a bunch-o tubs on his porch, in the winter, and they were full of plants. If I had my own place, I would totally toss some dirt and stems in a old tank or tub on the back porch and sell them!


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 01:32 AM
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uhh, is there anyway you could turn the lights off in the room and take another pic?


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 03:52 AM Thread Starter
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Uhm, this is out on my back porch. At 9 p.m. That's a flash shot guessing at where I was pointing it. Not really but there is only a 60 watt bulb overhead. If I turn it off I can't see a darn thing. It's outside not in the house. When I said natural I pretty much meant it. Am hoping that one heater will do the job if it freezes down here as bad as it did last winter. This may be Florida but it does freeze.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 04:45 AM
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Thanks for the thread!
That's as 'natural' as it can get and very cool to see it here posted in a thread.


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 05:18 AM
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oh wow ok


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 05:21 AM
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you can try turning off the flash on the camera for a better shot.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patriot100% View Post
you can try turning off the flash on the camera for a better shot.
Since it's outside and it was 9 PM if I had turned off the flash you would be looking at a picture of a black square. The tank is on the outside wall. The porch light is centered on the room and is attached to the ceiling.

One of the good things about this tank is I could still "garden" while recovering from rotator cuff surgery. Just reach in and trim or pull out the algae that tends to grow in there. I don't clean the glass like I did when this tank was in the kitchen as a display tank with an actual filter and lid and light. G4 gets his fingerprints all over it and it really doesn't matter a hill of beans.

And since I still abhor an empty tank the next project is the fish room. I've still got about 30 empty tanks. Fortunately the building is up. It was my print shop and someday darkroom and studio but since I use the living room as a studio and I haven't turned the press over in years and Photoshop is my darkroom might as well put it to use as the fish room. It's all for my son after all. ( insert devious laughter here.)
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-25-2011, 01:43 AM
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To avoid getting a reflection of the flash on the tank, it helps to take the picture at an angle so the light doesn't bounce right back to the camera.

How do you keep the tank from overheating?

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-28-2011, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishly View Post
To avoid getting a reflection of the flash on the tank, it helps to take the picture at an angle so the light doesn't bounce right back to the camera.

How do you keep the tank from overheating?
Since it is in a screened porch it really hasn't been a problem. Evaporation keeps it cool enough even in August. The tank is in a north facing location and the screening cuts out some of the light. When I've been working on it i did notice temperature differences from top to bottom as I would expect. Fish staying in the temperature zone they were comfortable in.
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