Penn-Plax 1.85G AquaTerrium? (Pico Riparium) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-04-2017, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb Penn-Plax 1.85G AquaTerrium? (Pico Riparium)

I am missing my smaller tanks from the past, including an 8 gallon riparium and my 0.5 gallon pico tank....I just seem to enjoy small tanks more. I had a lot of fun with my Marineland Contour 5 but the tall factor is what got old for me. My thought was to try a Contour 3 gallon which is the same tank only shorter, blow the back wall out and use a small HOB. I could plant in the HOB plus a back wall hanger.



Then I came across this "Penn-Plax AquaTerrium" for $10 more then the Contour 3 for a total of $80 and it is smaller than the Contour 3. The description calls it a 1.85 gallon tank but I am not sure if that is actual holding volume or not (I would assume so). The dimensions are 10.5 inches deep by 9.5 inches wide by 11.8 inches high. I can not believe they market it for housing fish (actually yes I can, the industry is cruel) to add insult to injury they show it with Cardinal Tetra, ADA soil, and dwarf baby tears lol. I would hope the glass is thick and of quality for $80 and the light be decent but of course I would upgrade the light. If done correctly this would be an extremely low maintenance Walstad tank that consumes its own nitrates, I probably could not even house a Betta in this...but Red Cherry shrimp and a Horned Nerite snail would be perfect (the smallest of the Nerites). The only thing is I can not find anything online that shows how the rock work opens or the filtration which I assume is nothing more than a simple fountain pump with no mechanical filtration. I modified the Contour to run floss and a custom mini Purigen bag, and I would want to do the same with this as well as hide a mini heater behind the rock. I think the rock looks pretty realistic but defines this as nothing more than a riparium, not quite a paludarium. With the right lighting up front I could potentially do Dwarf Baby Tears without the CO2 (I am now).




Not too concerned about the small scale under 3G, the 0.5G pico I am referring to was the size of a lighter and I had it for a year before I gave it away. I had 2 RCS in here that kept it clean and seemed to be happy and healthy, it did have a custom made air driven filter. At the time I did not play with Dwarf Baby Tears but the lighting was certainly strong enough for it.



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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 02:34 AM
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Your. 5 gallon tank looks great. Where can i find one?
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 05:35 AM Thread Starter
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Your. 5 gallon tank looks great. Where can i find one?
Marineland Contour 5? Petco, eBay, Amazon, etc.


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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-07-2017, 02:37 AM
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Sorry, i ment tge 0.5 gallon pico tank.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-07-2017, 07:02 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry, i ment tge 0.5 gallon pico tank.
Petco, eBay, Amazon, etc.


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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-07-2017, 12:45 PM
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I remember seeing the lighter tank before, thought it was a nicely packaged pico.

That mini riparium is actually kinda cool. For sanity's sake, I'm going to assume the tetras are just a sticker on the front of the tank...

When you have it setup, I'll be curious to have confirmation on the water volume. Also, how well the water flows over the 'rocks' to the various plants.
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I can only grow plants when they're completely under water. Everything else is doomed.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-08-2017, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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It will be here within a week, and my thoughts were that it could be filled higher than recommended to about 2G which will submerge that lower troth planter on the right side. I could do baby tears in the troth or something. I do not think the water gets delivered to the majority of the planters if any at all, looks as if the water just flows down the left side of the wall but I may be wrong.

HOB is out of the question but with some work a tiny canister filter could be used. I think I will plant a button fern on the back wall somewhere, as well as potentially some carnivorous plants. A pitcher plant up high will allow the pitchers to hang down, and I could do a sundew and fly trap lower on the wall granted this all has enough humidity to work. The benefit of the water not flowing into the planters would be the only thing allowing me to grow carnivorous plants since they do not like nutrients surrounding their roots.

So many ideas and possibilities, this is going to be a fun one!


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Last edited by Teebo; 10-08-2017 at 01:57 AM. Reason: .
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-12-2017, 06:08 PM
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Really nice project !
I really like your 0.5 gal pico as well. I have 2 of those teeny tiny tanks lying around (and I ordered the 2.5L version with a "easy clean" system.. I'm looking forward to moding this one to use the overflow system as a filter) I might try the tiny sponge filter for the 2L ones like you did.
The thing that's bugging me is the light though. Can I ask what light you used on it ? Sorry if you said it already, I couldn't find this info.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-13-2017, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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So I got my tank, I found the Amazon reviews a few days after ordering and there were a lot of bad reviews. It really is very cheaply built for $80 I will try to give as much usable information as possible. The light is bright, and is something like 8000k so it hurts your eyes and makes taking photos very hard to get an accurate white balance or even work with in photoshop. The glass is not perfect like a Marineland tank, and the fiberglass rock casting does not fit well it will need to be sanded or something to correct the large and loose seam.




I wish I could have been able to find this side of the box in a photo online! This was the real mystery, the filtration which is just the back wall of a sump from another Penn-Plax aquarium cube siliconed to the back of this tank. The flow path does not fully make sense to me, this provides nothing more than a biological filtration in the form of a sponge...no mechanical. The sump pump is under powered and overly loud for its size. Anyone who uses this as-is for a fish is setup for failure right from the start.





Mine even came complete with a genuine Chinese mouse turd to start my bacteria cycle and provide plant fertilizer lol. With this being said what is my plan? Long story short completely new light, and modifying it to use an external canister filter so that I do not have to remove that rear wall. I feel in my case I got a base to build off of for $80



Quote:
Originally Posted by Queina View Post
Really nice project!

The thing that's bugging me is the light though. Can I ask what light you used on it ? Sorry if you said it already, I couldn't find this info.
Thanks, the tank you are referring to was lit with a Pixar style desk lamp. I was using a cheap eBay/China LED bulb, something like an 8-16W 6500K Par10 bulb. PM me if you really need help I have bought 10-15 different style and wattage China bulbs before I found the perfect bulb for my tanks.


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Last edited by Teebo; 10-13-2017 at 05:18 PM. Reason: .
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-16-2017, 05:35 AM Thread Starter
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The feet holding the fountain cap on are some sort of bamboo chop sticks, I hope they hold up to moisture and mold....



I see why reviews say the fountain has poor flow, its not only a weak pump but also a poorly constructed seal. They held the tube in using a toothpick then used some sort of puddy to seal the hose (which leaks). The leaking would be a waste of some flow, and I am starting to wonder if any of this is invertebrate safe at all.



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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-12-2017, 07:31 PM
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Very interesting.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 05:12 AM Thread Starter
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Very interesting.
I will be starting a build thread on it soon, I have all sorts of modifications planned for it. As it stands out of the box though it is a pretty horrible value and experience....I see some potential in it though.


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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-16-2017, 12:57 AM
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Anything going on with this? Looks interesting despite the issues.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-19-2017, 04:55 AM Thread Starter
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Anything going on with this? Looks interesting despite the issues.
I have something in the works, but I am in the middle of a move to Florida so things are on hold for a bit.


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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-25-2018, 05:50 AM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up

Here is the official build thread for this tank: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/25...-riparium.html


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