Cactus Bastard's 1st attempt - 10 Gallon iwagumi (ish) with lots of DIY (56K!) - The Planted Tank Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 49 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 03:04 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 106
Cactus Bastard's 1st attempt - 10 Gallon iwagumi (ish) with lots of DIY (56K!)

Hi guys, this journal will be a mix of standard tank journal material, with a healthy dose of DIY thrown in. I love to build, tinker, or experiment with things, and have a few ideas I'd like to test out here.

Here is how this particular journey began: I found this chunk of filter media at a Big Al's that opened up here several months ago, it impressed me greatly. (I'm a bit of a nerd and regularly get excited over things like sponges.) So I bought it.


I should mention that I'm a shrimp nut also, and if you were not already aware, shrimp LOVE grazing off of sponges. This really was thee perfect sponge. It will become the main filter for this tank.

So I got a tank for it and built up a cage for my filter media.


I plan on making an overflow setup, with a sump. So I drilled some holes in the back:


I built a box for the overflow and attached it to the back


Why would you eat bad ice cream?

Last edited by Cactus Bastard; 02-27-2009 at 12:20 AM. Reason: Changed the title
Cactus Bastard is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 49 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 03:10 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
Ozymandias's Avatar
 
PTrader: (25/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Northern VT
Posts: 1,195
i assume you're doing to be putting the sponge inside that three strip back in the tank and have the water move through it?

"real cars don't have spark plugs"
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Ozymandias is offline  
post #3 of 49 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 03:36 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 106
I built an overflow out of PVC. IIRC it's called a "dursa" standpipe?

The top is removable, I've read that I have to find a balance between letting too much air in, or too little. Either will result in a toilet flushing sort of din. This I wish to avoid.


It feeds through a 1" bulkhead fitting and 1" barb into 7/8" ID food grade vinyl hose


I've only ever used inert aquarium gravel, but decided that I would finally step up and use something a little more plant friendly. Fluorite. Not very exciting to most of you I'm sure, but I feel pretty damn cool about it. "I'm using an actual plant substrate for my planted tank, Oh yeah!" I even took a picture of it:


But I'm still a cheap bastard, and my $30 bag of fluorite was worth more than the rest of this project combined (so far), so I decided to make the most of it. I sewed up a sac of window screen with nylon thread, and filled it with about 1 1/2" of laterite ($6 for a 25 lbs bag, should last me a while). This should keep the laterite from mixing with my fluorite.


It fits the tank properly. Oh yeah, I painted the back of the tank black. (krylon fusion of course)


Washing the fluorite. I was honestly excited about this, others may groan at the redundancy of my documentation. Yep, it's filthy stuff at first:


After several rinses it was actually really clean though, I was expecting much much worse.
Cactus Bastard is offline  
 
post #4 of 49 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 03:37 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozymandias View Post
i assume you're doing to be putting the sponge inside that three strip back in the tank and have the water move through it?
You got it.

Why would you eat bad ice cream?
Cactus Bastard is offline  
post #5 of 49 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 03:45 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 106
I'm out of photos, and am done with the tank for tonight.
Time for a brief bit of background

I've kept tanks for almost a decade, but have had live plants for less than two years. Even then, they were never really "planted tanks", so much as: tanks, with a couple plants in them.

My philosophy has always been "form follows function", and I'm happy enough watching my shrimp thrive that I've never really given aesthetics a second thought. Some of you may cringe over the giant intrusion that is my sponge. /Sorry about that; I like it - it stays./ At the same time, I am beginning to desire a tank that is beautiful in it's own right, not just because of the inhabitants.

I've bought a bunch of rocks, and have the basic hardscape planned out, but have no idea how to plant it really. When we get to that stage, I'm going to need help. Big time.

Why would you eat bad ice cream?
Cactus Bastard is offline  
post #6 of 49 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 03:50 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
Ozymandias's Avatar
 
PTrader: (25/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Northern VT
Posts: 1,195
i feel the window screen would get intertwined with plant root. if that happens then rearranging plant will be a pain. also i actually don't think you have much to worry about for the two substrate mixing as long as the fluorite is larger than the laterite

"real cars don't have spark plugs"
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Ozymandias is offline  
post #7 of 49 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 07:33 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Trallen44's Avatar
 
PTrader: (6/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Allen, TX
Posts: 708
Very interesting. Some of the stuff you are doing is out of my knowledge range, so I can't offer any advice as of yet. But I will be keeping up with this and learning all I can.

Tim
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Trallen44 is offline  
post #8 of 49 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 02:17 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 106
Ok, I put the fluorite in the tank, and started setting up the rocks I had picked out. Here are my observations so far:

1. Aquascaping is hard! I see all the tank journals with people "chucking" a few rocks in and all of a sudden their tank looks amazing. Apparently there's more to it than that

2. The braces I made to hold in my sponge are crooked. Crooked enough that I don't think I'd be able to enjoy the tank, so I'll have to re-do them. I'll build a jig for them this time. Last time I just eyeballed, and they really looked OK - until I had the tank at eye level directly in front of me that is..

3. Somewhere along the way, I chipped the corner of the tank.

Here's a picture of the tank the way it sits atm. It's supposed to look kind of like a mountain, big and bold. It's hard to keep things from getting too organized and looking uncomfortably forced though. You can see how crooked the pieces of glass are too.


You can see the substrate at this end of the tank is quite deep and there is a lot of slope happening. I wasn't expecting that much, but I think I quite like it.


Here is the chipped corner. I'm actually not worried about it at all, not in the corner like that.


And Ozymandias, you're right about the roots getting tangled into the mesh. I expected they will, but I liked the thought of being able to yank off dead leaves without pulling up the whole plant. I hadn't even thought of ever having to move a plant though. Hmm. Oh well, I'm leaving it in anyways, it's one of the experiment aspects of this tank. There are a lot of things about this tank that may not work at all, but I'll have learned a great deal either way. The sump is the most obvious one, but I'm also going to be DIYing the lighting fixture for this.

Why would you eat bad ice cream?
Cactus Bastard is offline  
post #9 of 49 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 04:26 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
Ozymandias's Avatar
 
PTrader: (25/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Northern VT
Posts: 1,195
i really like that hard scape.

"real cars don't have spark plugs"
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Ozymandias is offline  
post #10 of 49 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 106
You know that sponge I loved so much? The entire reason for building this tank? Well, I don't like it anymore. At first I thought it would be awesome to have shrimp all over it, so close to the glass, but I'm starting to feel that it encroaches on the tank more than I'd like.
I'm not abandoning the idea, I found myself a sheet of filter media that was about half the thickness and cut it to size.

This will be less visually intrusive, as well as give me a little more space for my hardscape. Also, it's more of a straight black, while the old one was dark grey. This will blend with the background better.

Since I had to rebuild the sponge cage because it was crooked, it is no big deal to build it a different size for the thinner piece of filter media. I also decided to use different glass this time. I bought a piece of smoked glass from a glass shop, and have cut it into pieces. Cutting small pieces out of (relatively) thick glass is difficult, and the cuts do not come out perfect. I had to spend a good solid hour sanding the edges of these pieces to square them up.


Ok, that photo is blurry, but trust me, they're pretty much perfect.

I think this will look much nicer, as well as prevent algae from growing on the inside, where the shrimp and snails can not get to it.

I want to build a jig this time, so that I can silicone those pieces in place evenly. I think building one out of lego would be awesome. I could build it quickly, it would be perfectly square, and evenly spaced, etc. Plus, Lego is fun! I'm getting all nostalgic now...

But I have no lego. I may go visit my parents, or just build it out of wood. Building small structures out of wood that are perfectly square is harder than it sounds though, and I'm pretty lazy..

Ozymandias, thanks for the compliment. I still have some fiddling to do, but that's the basic idea I'm going for.
Cactus Bastard is offline  
post #11 of 49 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 08:51 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Trallen44's Avatar
 
PTrader: (6/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Allen, TX
Posts: 708
Looks like your coming along with this one. x2 on the hardscape. I think the black sponge will look better in there too.

Tim
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Trallen44 is offline  
post #12 of 49 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 106
Talking

I built the new filter cage, using jigs made out of Lego Ė it worked great! Nice and square now, lower profile than my original setup, and the smoked glass looks pretty nice. I simplified my scape a bit, removing some of the rocks, and changing the slope. I also opened up and levelled out the clearing in the lower left. The current plan is to get a small manzanita w/ moss tree in that area, maybe also some small rocks, Pogostemon helferi, clumps of riciaÖ there are all kinds of things that could look cool in that spot.


I created a narrow valley that can be viewed in full from the front right.


This shot just shows a detail of the top piece I used, I really like the overhang.


Anyway, none of that was terribly exciting, but this is! Utricularia Graminifolia! My absolute favourite freakiní plant! Iíve been drooling over all the tanks with this stuff ever since I first noticed it a couple months ago. I had always assumed I would have to mail order some in the spring, but actually found some locally. Itís a really healthy bunch too.


For those of you not aware of how small UG is :P


I also bought a bag of black fluorite sand to make planting easier. I only used about a two cups of it, spread thinly.

I know people usually use tweezers for planting things, but that didnít work for me at all. I tried several times, and always ended up either crushing or dropping them. Also, since there is no water in my tank, they stuck to the tweezers anyway, and got pulled out when I removed the tweezers.

Once I gave up on the tweezers, planting bcame fun. I just poked a small hole.


Separated a couple plants,


Dropped them in,


And closed the hole.


After Iíd planted a couple dozen I began to realize I was starting to run out of room to plant, and hadnít even made a dent in my pot of graminifolia, so I started planting in heavier groups of around 8.


And this is where it sits right now. I plan to grow the UG emersed like this for at least a week.


I put a sheet of glass sitting over the tank, and Iíve got a couple inches of water in the bottom with a heater to keep the humidity up in there.

Can somebody please tell me how to change the title of the thread? I'd like to add a 56K warning for one thing..

Why would you eat bad ice cream?
Cactus Bastard is offline  
post #13 of 49 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 12:40 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
SeaSerpant's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Posts: 1,279
To change the title you go to your first post and click edit. go to the top and change the name. Oh and i love your tank so far.

Thanks
Jonathan/SeaSerpant


__________________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
SeaSerpant is offline  
post #14 of 49 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 12:55 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
Tex Gal's Avatar
 
PTrader: (78/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Joshua, TX
Posts: 1,734
Send a message via Yahoo to Tex Gal
What a wonderful job you are doing! I'm impressed. I like your rock arrangement and your hill. I think you may be a natural at this. PS.. I love UG too!

Just keeping on keeping on....


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Tex Gal is offline  
post #15 of 49 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 12:34 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 106
Thanks guys. I'm super excited over this little tank. I mean really, absurdly excited. I've hardly even been able to sleep since I found out on Monday that I'd be getting the Utricularia graminifolia. I actually picked it up and planted it all on Tuesday. Now I get to practice my patience.

I've got parts in the mail for my lighting, and a bottomless list of other things to keep my busy. Now if I could just figure out how to stop wasting so much time staring at my UG willing it to grow

Why would you eat bad ice cream?
Cactus Bastard is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome