Riparium Adventure Time!!! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-15-2012, 07:10 AM Thread Starter
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Riparium Adventure Time!!!

Hey folks,
So I've been lurking around this forum for a while oohing and aaahing over y'alls gorgeous riparium setups, so when hydrophye's excellent discount-in-exchange-for-documentation deal popped up a few weeks ago I decided to go for it. I am sort of new-ish to freshwater aquariums in general, I set one up as a kid but never have since, but I got a tank and most of the necessary equipment for free.99 when a friend of mine moved out of the country. So I may or may not know what I am doing, but anyways heregoes...

My stuff:
1. Strangely shaped tank... would be a 45(?) gallon if you could fill it to the top, but it's currently got about 25 in it. Note the bizarre geometry.
2. ZooMed Aquasun T5HO fixture. Right now I have 2x 24watt T5HOs. Is this too much light? Opinions???
3. Rena XP2, does its filter-y thing.
4. Heater... nothing special.
5. Goofy "bioreacter" CO2 system. As far as I can tell, this things just circulates tank water around the headspace of a mini yeast/sugar fermenter and then air-pumps it back out into the tank. Not so sure this is really necessary b/c I have very few submerged plants but I am currently doing this mostly to control algae while I wait for my plants to grow in and block out some of the light. Does that make sense??
5. Hella fluorite
6. Some real nice manzanita branches courtesy of plantbrain!

So yeah, here's my "scape" and various gear...



So the look I'm going for is sort of western temperate stream-y, or as my boyfriend calls it "So-Cal drainage ditch". Har har. I really like the look of Cyperus ubrella sedge combined with a carpet of stems like I've seen on this forum a few times.

Tomorrow I'll post some pics of it filled and planted. Here's what I got so far:
Anemopsis californica, or "yerba mansa"
Cyperus alternifolius var. gracilis, "umbrella sedge"
Bacopa monnieri
Pilea grandifolia
Asclepias currasivarica, "milkweed"
Ruellia "mexican petunia"
Hemigraphis exotica "purple waffle"... doesn't really fit I know, but i happened to get some for free.

I'm currently looking for some more stem plants, especially limnophillia aromatica and other stems that will have fine leaves and/or interesting flowers grown emersed. I saw somebody on the forum growing some gratiola aurea emersed and it was quite lovely.

So yeah, I'd welcome suggestions, corrections, put-downs, childish name calling, etc. Thanks for reading!
-Megan
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-15-2012, 07:11 PM
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Hi Megan, welcome aboard the Riparium train! I must admit that I'm not really good at childish name calling or put-downs, but I suspect you'll be ok with that?

The tank is a great change and I love the size if it! The woods structure and placement is very cool and your plan looks good! Depending on what you have for underwater plants you might not need the co2. The light sounds good and if you find it's too much you might want to think about running only one bulb (if you can with that fixture)

About the only suggestion I'd like to pictures of the wood buried a bit more in the substrate - so it looks like it's been there for a long time.

Looking forward to seeing updates!

Duff


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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-15-2012, 08:49 PM
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Thats a fantastic bit of wood, looks awsome in there. Love it, should look great when its done.


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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 01:15 AM
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Where did you find such a cool tank? And the wood is going to be super in there, can't wait to see it develope!

I hadn't thought you'd need CO2 in a riparium...?

sox


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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 01:25 AM
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That IS a cool tank - perfect for a riparium that doesn't require high humidity plants - I'd love to find something like that!

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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 06:54 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, at some point I tried to find some kind of documentation for this tank on the web, but I could never find it and I got the tank second hand, so I'm not entirely sure what this geometry is intended for. I *suspect* it was not made for the intended use of ripariums but who knows. It's some sort of lifetech model, but I'm afraid that all the info I have on it.

CO2 wise: So my impression was that adding CO2 to your tank somehow suppresses the growth of algae. The fact is, I just don't know enough about what conditions algae likes to grow in to rationalize this, but I had this reactor thingy come with my tank so I thought what the heck. If I am wrong about this by all means correct me.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by sockfish View Post
Where did you find such a cool tank? And the wood is going to be super in there, can't wait to see it develope!

I hadn't thought you'd need CO2 in a riparium...?

sox

That tank looks similar to the ones that Petsmart and Petco used to sell for turtles. I had thought about picking one up several months ago when one of the stores had them on clearance. I don't know if it is the same tank, but I remember that they were lower in the front than the back, like this one.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 03:28 PM
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I may be off in saying this but you may want a deeper substrate. It doesn't look like its very deep and if you want to plant it you may want some depth. Even in my 2.5 gal tank I have an inch of depth or more just for carpeting plants.


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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 05:02 PM
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Looking great Megan!

I agree with lots of riparium plants you will probably find just a little bit of room for underwater plants, and with the extra shade overhead those won't really be able to optimize use of extra CO2 in the water. For ripariums I like to use low tech underwater plants like crypts and Anubias that don't relaly need extra CO2.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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Hi guys,
So I guess when I said new pics were coming by “tomorrow”, I meant “in a couple days”. Anyhow, here’s the tank filled and planted. All emersed plants are planted using hydrophyte’s nifty planter and nano raft system.



Plants in planters, from left to right:
Cyperus, Anemopis, Cyperus/Ruellia, Cyperus/Asclepias, Ruellia/Asclepias, Bacopa
In nano rafts:
Hemigraphis, Hemigraphis/Pilea, Hemigraphis/Bacopa



I decided to spread out the cyperus a little, so my background is kinda sparse at the moment. I’m particularly excited about the Anemopis, or “yerba mansa” or “lizards tail”, which like Ruellia and Asclepias (and Manzanita and myself for that matter) is native to the southwestern US and Mexico. It’s got these really cool white cone flowers, check out this pic courtesy of Wikipedia.



Mine is looking a little sad right now because it arrived here in Chicago in the middle of a cold snap, but I think it’s starting to bounce back with some new growth.



Despite its role as filler, the Hemigraphis is rooting very nicely on the nano rafts!



For now I’m just using the Hemigraphis to fill in the nano rafts where they look a little empty. I’m looking for a few more nice stem plants to grow over the nano rafts, preferably something kindof western US/riparian looking. I actually have 3 more rafts but no plants for them yet, please give some suggestions if you have them. I’m actually looking for some Nolina microcarpa (basket grass) and limnophilia aromatica for this purpose if anybody happens to have some. I have some very nicely rooted Hemigraphis available for trade!!

I also planted some swords submerged. Hopefully these can get by on iffy light once the riparium plants grow in.



I’m actually out of town this week, so I’m really looking forward to coming home and seeing how things have grown in!
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, actually Nolina is another species with the common name "basket grass". I am actually looking for Oplismenus hirtellus.
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
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One more thing: anybody ever grow Rotula as a riparium plant or ? It's got seriously adorable little pink flowers grown emersed.
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 01:34 AM
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Looks great! Nice job planting that stuff. I'll be interested to hear how the Anemopsis performs.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-20-2012, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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Hey folks!

Things in my riparium are really starting to grow in! There was a period of diatom invasion, hence the fairly long time between posts. They are still doggedly clinging to the interior of my filter (see below.. ugh). Right now I am doing a fish-less cycle.





These guys appeared today after a few days of warmer water and a dose of Ammonia/Dr. Tim's nitrifying bacteria. I'm not too worried, once I get some actual fish I suspect they are breakfast.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-b...5/P1020632.JPG

I added a piece of back cardstock as a background and did a little rearrangement of the driftwood to make it sort of peak up out of the water a bit more. Anybody have any recommendations for a moss to grow on pieces of driftwood just above the water level? The wood stays pretty damp (yay capillary action) so I thing it could sustain some sort of nice moss especially if I mist it a bit.



Amazon swords are looking good, I'm starting to think about doing some more submerged plantings. Maybe some crypts?



All of the riparium plants seems to be doing pretty well, especially the Anemopis which has made a brilliant comeback. here it is whith some nice new leaves coming in.



The pilea grows great on these rafts.



The Asclepias has some purpleish leaf tips, which I think is usually due to a mineral deficiency of some kind, I forget which one. I popped a flourish tab in the planter for good measure. I think I have also been neglecting the nitrogen needs of my plants, I only just started the fishless cycle. Nothing looks especially yellowish, but the Ruellia has been dropping lower leaves and it's looking a little leggy.







Now that winter is over and I don't have to worry so much about shipping plants, I am thinking of adding a few more riparium plants. The Hemigraphis is kind of growing on me, plus it's pretty much inseparable from the nano raft at this point, but I have another raft or two plus another planter. Definitely another "carpet" type stem plant like Limnophilia aromatica. Rotala rondifloria could be fun to try too. Look at these precious little flowers!



I was also considering maybe replacing one of the Ruellias with an Echondritis or something more to add more vertical interest. Also the next thing to think about is (duh) fish. I am thinking of some schooling fish plus a couple of livebearers. Green swordtails perhaps. Any advice is much appreciated, I am not too experienced int he "fish" aspect of things yet. Thoughts?
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-20-2012, 04:24 PM
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Very nice set-up. That tank reminds me a lot of one that is available through one of my biological supplies as a terrarium type planter.
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