My DIY Planted Aquarium - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-10-2008, 03:19 AM Thread Starter
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My DIY Planted Aquarium

Chapter 1

Though this project started from the moment I acquired some square steel tubes for the stand and continued to construction of the stand, the tank, its corrections….. Before the setup, I must leave out most of that story as I don’t think it was fishy enough for this forum.

The tank size is (in inches) 60x24x24. The bottom glass is 16mm, side glasses 12mm. After sticking up the glass and allowing the silicon to set, I filled it up to test for leaks. There were none, but the long glasses showed a definite bulge out, discernable visibly and easily. Braces were needed, and I hate cross braces. I find them to be too much of a bother when attending to cleaning process; the bottom of the braces get discoloured with water stains and the top gets dirt causing blockage of light. So I fitted it with a 2” strip 12mm glass all along the rim. Tested it again, and there was no measurable bulging.

I still use UGF. I have adapted it for my fish and plant aquarium and have posted many a tales about it from time to time, so I will touch the subject very lightly. The front 1/3 of the aquarium is walled off from the rest of the floor by a 3” high acrylic strip glued to the floor with silicon. Interlocking UG plates cover this 1/3 of the floor. I have 2 rows of UG plates. In each row, every third plate is connected in series to a pipe which is the suction of a submersible pump. I have covered the UG plates with mosquito proof PVC net to allow myself to use finer gravel than normal. This allows me to increase mechanical filtration, a supposedly weak point of the UGF.

The picture has been taken from the top. You can see the UGF setup and the suction pipes leading to the bottom portion of the pumps to be installed. The dark grey is the styrofoam under the tank seen through the bare glass floor. The band of tan colour you see is the graded sand of the UGF. The hardware you see are the suction pipe and the lower section of the submersible pump. This is to demonstrate the floor division for the UGF.

If you have a choice, you have a problem, till you elect your choice. No choice, no problem, only consequences, learn to live with them.

Last edited by essabee; 11-27-2008 at 03:42 AM.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-10-2008, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
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Chapter 2

The foreground, the lighter coloured, is the UG filter and is filled with graded sand (same as used for swimming pools) and gravel, the rear is filled to 3" depth with my soil mix.

The soil mix is 2 parts lateritic clay obtained by screening the lateritic nodules at the nodules quarry. This clay is very fine, red and sticky which makes it compact so I mix 1 part silty sand with it. This mixture is more friable, but lacks calcium, sulphur, and phosphate. So I mix a common agricultural fertiliser called 'Single Super Phosphate', SSP. This SSP is essentially 2 Parts gypsum (CaSO4) and one part calcium-phosphate (Ca3 (PO4)2). This makes the soil a magic portion for plant growth.

After patting down the soil mix, I cover it with a plastic net so that when I lay the top layer of gravel and fine sand, the clay mix does not rise up through it. The vertical pipes that you see in the rear corners, are CO2 inline reactors, and the pumps draw water from the UG and flow from the top downward through the vertical pipes (2" Dia) to the horizontal pipes (1" Dia) which are spray bars pushing the water upwards along the rear wall of the aquarium. So the water movement in the aquarium is from the bottom of the foreground flowing upwards from the rear.

If you have a choice, you have a problem, till you elect your choice. No choice, no problem, only consequences, learn to live with them.

Last edited by essabee; 11-27-2008 at 03:42 AM.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-10-2008, 03:27 AM Thread Starter
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Chapter 3

Now here is the complete setup. I have just enough water to submerge the power-heads which draws water from the UG (lighter portion of the substrate at the foreground). I believe that keeping the water to the minimum level while setting up, helps you to control algae growth. The nutrients in the water column are more concentrated and it is easier for the plants to process it. Further the plants now can shade of greater portion of the tank.

There are 19 distinct species of plants in the tank although at this stage you can hardly see some of them.

Tank size 5’ x2’ x2’, Lights 12X36W PL lamps (compact florescent), CO2 DIY.

If you have a choice, you have a problem, till you elect your choice. No choice, no problem, only consequences, learn to live with them.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-10-2008, 03:33 AM Thread Starter
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Chapter 4

The stone arrangements have been created for the tank by me using epoxy putty to stick the different stones together. Details of the arrangement on the right corner can be seen below with Creeping Jenny and Java Fern Windelov.

If you have a choice, you have a problem, till you elect your choice. No choice, no problem, only consequences, learn to live with them.

Last edited by essabee; 11-27-2008 at 03:42 AM.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-12-2008, 01:08 AM
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This is comming out awesome. Keep us posted as those plants fill in!
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-12-2008, 02:37 AM
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As an alternative to bracing or trim on the tank, I've seen the canopy made to fit snuggly to provide top-of-the-tank support from bulging (though I probably wouldnt' recommend this method )

Thanks,
AndrewH


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