The theme is to make the most of vertical space with a stepped multi-tank system and riparium planters out the top to extend the space even higher.
an educational experience for me in a multi-tank system using gravity feed, overflow plumbing, and a sump pump. I will get a lot of DIY and equipment learning out of it. Call this an experimental test bed for me to try things out I've only read about. I've dirted a tank for the first time. I'm doing cheap LED lighting, I'm playing with sump pumps, and I'm trying out riparium planters. The best thing about the multi-tank system is that I can pull one out and slide another in if I want to try something new out (cycling tanks in a system should be faster, right?).
This is probably not
a beautiful piece of aquarium design, but there's hope.
My stand build project is over in this thread on the DIY subforum
. There was a little controversy about how strong my 1x4 and plywood stand was going to be. Some people were sure I'd have a wet carpet and a forfeited security deposit on my apartment. Rest assured that the stand passed the full wet weight test with flying colors (after my 190 lb dude sitting on top test).
(1) 20g long tank
(1) 29g tank
(1) 10g tank (sump... might trade up to a 20g tall for more volume and safety factor in case of a rogue siphon catastrophe)
= 59 gallons
Dirt in all tanks (maybe not the sump): Miracle Grow Organic flavor with red clay added. The 20 long is capped with Flourite Black, and the 29 will be capped with fine size natural mix color inert gravel.
Lighting: not sure, but I'm thinking 60W equivalent LED bulbs in cans, but I'm not decided.
Heater: 150W in the sump, and a second 50-150W hidden in one of the other tanks.
Filtration: sponge filter with bubbler in the sump. Maybe a sponge on the inlets to the overflow plumbing. I could build a system for bio media in the sump. I have no idea what I'm doing, but it will be all right.
Water: RO water brought back up to 6dGH. Changes as infrequently as once a month once the tannins from the dirt calm down. Right now 25-50% every week on the dirted 20L. I'm switching from MG Organic Garden Soil over to MG Org. Potting Soil when I dirt the 29 gal with the expectation that the tannins will be lower from the potting soil.
Ferts: only dosing Flourish for micronutrients 2mL once a week, but I just got a phosphate test kit that I want to use to fine tune my dosage and frequency.
Plants: all kinds of stuff. This will be a collectoritis tank system for sure until I get a feeling for what grows well in this setup. I'm winging it and I see myself rescaping a few months down the road. However, I am going to play around with riparium planters and try out Peace Lilies, some sedges, some Pilea, and other stuff. Even cuttings and daughter plants from my houseplants.
Livestock: Currently housing some neon tetras in the top 20L and a miraculous Turquoise Rainbowfish fry in the tea-water dirted 20L on bottom, but I probably want to put in some cherry barbs, rainbows, or something I haven't tried before.
Here it is today with the dirted 20L long tank temporarily in the bottom spot and the top tank is a second 20L that I'll remove and use for quarantine and grow-out: