Basement Budget Build (Tank Rack) Native Plants - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-11-2015, 06:29 AM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Basement Budget Build (Tank Rack) Native Plants

I am new to planted tanks, I am preparing to aquascape some nicer tanks I have in my bedroom this winter with all native plants. Until I am ready I need to collect native plants before they go dormant, and keep them alive in holding tanks which is the purpose of this build.

I picked up a metal shelving rack for free on the side of the road and bolted it to the wall after leveling. I then managed to find a used 10 gallon Aqua Culture tank still in the box also for free on the side of the road, and a new Top Fin 5.5 gallon tank never used in the box for $10 including a new HOB!

The LED hood that came with the 5.5 gallon was pathetic so I ordered two 9W 10K bulbs from China for $6 each, then removed the lenses to soften the light they work perfect!

I de-rimmed the 10 gallon with no issue, and I have a temporary 10W 6500K floodlight on the bottom that has been working perfectly to light my 10 gallon and the plants I have on the floor. I like the 10K much better and plants do too, its not enough to look like a reef tank to me, also in this photo I just did a water change on the 10 gallon after a week and the 5.5 gallon has week old water in it...after I shut the lights off and compared the two tanks I could instantly see the algae in my 5.5 gallon so 10K helps hide minor algae very well!!

I am using all ceramic pots because they breath much better for the roots, this was a week ago when I first collected plants:

Here it is a week later I can never get Fanwort (Cabomba) to grow as you can see it has lost its green hue and will soon fall apart, the what I think is Parrots Feather (Myriophyllum Aquaticum) is making a come back I think it will make it:

The 10 gallon on the bottom is holding Watershield (Brasenia), Rush, and White Water Lily (Nymphaea Alba) that are growing new pads

On the floor I have emerging plants; Arrowhead, Bur-reed, Cats Tail, etc.

Both tanks use Miracle Grow Organic Choice topped with tank gravel, both HOB filters have the carbon removed, using filter floss and smashed up clay pot bits as bio-media. I will go into more detail on the rest of the hardware on my next post.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-11-2015, 09:22 AM
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Nice deals!

First time seeing someone use clay pots as biomedia. Looks like the painted terra cotta pots block a lot of pores/surface area. Lava rock at home depot or Lowes or any hardware store might work out better and it's cheap too. Then again pot/shower scrubbies or sponges could be used as well.

Planning on any fish or just the plants?

What's the bungee cord thing for? To hold up a light?

Just hope the stand will last. If the shelves are particle board and get wet often, they will start to sag and create torque on the tank corners or just give out all together. Doesn't look like the shelving has framed supports (just resting in corners/legs), but that weight isn't too heavy and most shelves should be able to support that weight.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-11-2015, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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I do not think there is any paint on it the pot released air bubbled when submerged for an entire day, I also mixed pieces from another pot without the layers you see in this photo.

Fish will be in the tanks I plan to move these plants to, I will catch native shiner sized fish in the spring (by that time my display tanks will be established with these plants).

Yes the bungee is holding extra tension on the gooseneck I bolted to a floor lamp post but the light is getting bolted to the shelving itself.

The shelf is made of steel lol the imitation wood is painted on somehow.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-12-2015, 03:23 AM
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Regarding the biomedia, why not use lava rocks? comes in various sizes and are cheap with an even bigger surface area than the pot pieces i imagine
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-12-2015, 03:31 AM
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Cool project.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-12-2015, 06:44 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Remmy View Post
Regarding the biomedia, why not use lava rocks? comes in various sizes and are cheap with an even bigger surface area than the pot pieces i imagine
I did not know about it, I do not live near a Home Depot but I will see if I can order a small bag off eBay which is where I like to buy things when possible.

Originally Posted by burr740 View Post
Cool project.

I bolted that floodlight to the shelf:

I have one 10K bulb laying around, it is 12W a bit brighter than the 9W's over the top tank it has a 4th LED I will also remove the lens. I have to wire it up tomorrow but it will be centered a bit higher then the 9W's over the top tank:

I am very comfortable with electrical work, I wired the top lights like this and the floodlight was tied into the top lights power you can see the double line on the left:

I originally had my power on the bottom but realized that was a bad idea and moved it to the top, the power strip comes right from a plug on my circuit breaker box. I can only use 2 of the 4 plugs though because I need door access to my panel, I have an old timer I got for free for installing a new digital one for someone this one left a dark spot on their wall but I will keep an eye on it the thing works fine and does not get hot I run the lights 10 hours a day. Since all my lights are tied into 1 plug end that is all I have plugged into the timer, on the other side of the power strip I am using a 3-way splitter the black cord is for the air pump and the white cord runs to both the tanks.

I asked Facebook if anyone had an old air pump laying around and someone had a brand new one in the box they bought for a chemical bath project and never used it, sold it to me for $5

I ran the air pump through a gang valve so I can split the line and control the tanks independently which is important, I switched out an air stone for a CO2 diffuser and I am very pleased with the results and have ordered a second one. The air lines and power run down the back rack corners out of sight it really helps clean it up in my opinion:

Today I decided to swap the HOB's because the AQUA HOB has a much greater flow rate than the TopFin HOB even though the 'TopFin 10' filter says online it is for up to 10 gallon tanks (came on the 5.5 gallon) and the AQUA filter came with that 10 gallon tank...possibly the AQUA filter is for tanks up to 15 gallon not sure. Anyway I needed less surface agitation in the 10 gallon because of the Lily pads and Watershield so that is why I did it and from the photos you can see how much of a difference there is in surface agitation the bubbles from the air stone in the 10 gallon no longer hit the front of the tank.

However since my filtration probably just dropped by 50% in the 10 gallon with the filter swap and the weak circulation I added a second filter I had laying around it came with one of my bow front tanks since I run canisters on those (the tanks in my bedroom I am growing plants for in this thread). It is a National Geographic submarine powerhead style filter model CS-400 it came with an 8.5 gallon bow front and is rated for I think up to 20 gallon tanks, it has a very powerful output and causes a mild wirlpool under the surface plants while skimming the bottom of the tank, you can see the surface of the water move gently so the circulation is great and does not affect my surface plants anymore plus blows right at the heater on the opposite side of the tank! I am able to keep the benefits of an aerated HOB meanwhile the 5.5 gallon has excellent flow now with much more surface agitation it worked out perfect

Last edited by Teebo; 09-12-2015 at 07:00 AM. Reason: .
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-15-2015, 05:50 AM Thread Starter
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I wired up the light socket pulling power from the floodlight:

I ordered some of these glass air line u-bend pipes they are only $2

This is how it looks with mixed temperature lighting, looks better...

I am having a bit of an algae problem due to I think just excess nutrients in the soil so I have been doing water changes frequently but I just added some Duckweed in hopes it will help remove nutrients from the water column, it stays right here because the HOB has a downward angle that forms a whirlpool above it keeping them contained in a circle this HOB is perfect for my floater tank!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 06:00 AM Thread Starter
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Still making changes, I put the glass U-pipe on the top tank with the glass diffuser because I got a free broken J-pipe:

I ordered a J-pipe and it was broken in the mail so they sent me another one for happen to break at a perfect height to use in a 10 gallon tank so I took a small piece of hose and managed to slip it over the broken glass OD and left enough to mate an air stone (since my pump is not strong enough to run two diffusers)

I cut back a lot of dying pads and new ones are growing, I have a problem with some new pads rotting under water before reaching surface though:

I bought a new tub and added another CS-400 pump like I did in the 10 gallon bottom tank, I removed the media chamber and left just the bottom intake piece with a sponge in it. I think I am going to stop submerging the pots with emerging plants in a tub and just water them daily instead its just more water to have to change that is not needed:

I got sick of water changing real quick trying to get into this hobby, my tanks are lower than my basement sink so I had to get creative...I bought an Aqueon water changer only for mixing water temp before sending it to the tanks, instead of buying like 50 feet of hose for it I took a 50 foot garden hose I had around ran it across my ceiling and bought a pipe thread to garden hose adapter:

This is what I built for the tank side of the garden hose; a DIY Aqueon valve without the venturi effect so it is against the floor, the only thing I changed after I made this diagram was the waste discharge hose adapter on the elbow, I got a 3/4" barbed nip and 3/4" hose for maximum output so it has half the venturi effect using pressure on the opposite side:

I close the waste valve and open the brass valve until the vac hose going to a tank is primed then close it, open the waste valve and vola instant fast siphon into a 5 gallon bucket conveniently located in my floor sump box. I use that to water plants around my home and such, then I can fill the tanks easily with the set temp from the Aqueon:

Overall some things are livings fine others are not...still need more time to tell and I will update in more depth on plants:
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