need help--first riparium - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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need help--first riparium

Hi. I have a 30gal planted low tech tank so I'm not totally clueless, but I definitely need some help setting this up. I have been reading and reading as much as I can but I still have questions.

Originally I hoped I could just de-rim the 10gal tank I have but I think maybe I should just get a rimless. I'm aiming for something between 10 and 20 gal. I like the look of the plants growing out of the top of the tank, rather than being kept in like in the high humidity set ups. This tank would be for a betta. Ok on to questions:

1. I want to go with LED lighting. How do you determine the amount of light to use and how do you know how high to put it over the tank?

2. I like the look of the hardscape being various sized smooth, round river stones with I guess sand. I've read people buy special sand from ADA etc. but I've also seen people use play sand? I would like to plant some low-tech, easy plants among the rocks so should I use dirt topped with sand or should I buy special substrate?

3. I have a submersible filter. It's good for up to 10 gal, which I think would be enough if I got a tank that was say around ~15gal I would fill it about half way right? So that's not even 10 gal. But should I get a canister filter instead? Can I go filterless? Only that I'm thinking my betta would probably prefer very little flow in the tank but then again how to make sure the heat is evenly distributed? What do you think the best option would be for the betta?

That's all I can think of right now. Thanks a bunch!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 06:50 PM
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1. The plants will and presence of algae will tell you if your light is too low. You may have to experiment with different heights. In terms of which light fixture to use, check out the Finnex and buildmyled brands. I'm sure someone will chime in with a better answer to this question.

2. If you're going low tech, just go with pool filter sand. I've used play sand, and I think it's too fine. In my experience, plants have grown better in pfs than play sand.

3. Try your internal filter first. See how it performs and then decide if you should upgrade.


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 06:53 PM
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I agree pool filter sand is a good choice.

Do you have plants in mind yet?
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you both!

I don't know yet about the emersed plants. But for the submersed I was thinking maybe a either a sword, dwarf sag or java fern. Or a combination or those.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-18-2013, 06:59 PM
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I'll chime in with a third on pool filter sand, I really like its grain size. As for selecting the right amount of light for your setup, Ponyo, if you let me know which size tank you end up going for I'll be happy to recommend a reasonable size of fixture for it. We've just released our first Riparium light here at BuildMyLED and I'm hoping to start a similar project for my little HMPK betta over the holidays.

As for your Betta, he won't want high flow, but some flow and filtration will keep him happier plus mean fewer water changes for you. If you have a good way to hide the submersible filter while still keeping it accessible for cleanings, it may work perfectly for this application!

Cheers,

Cara
post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-18-2013, 07:40 PM
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For a single betta you would also be fine with just a small air-driven sponge filter or airstone. The plants and biofilter gravel bed along with water changes will give you plenty of denitrifaction.

What kind of tank do you have this fish in now? If you use a rimless tank it would probably be a good idea to lower the water level several inches to make it harder for the fish to jump out. This will still look good as a riparium setup. I have lost several betta to jumping.

If you use a tank 10 gallons or bigger you might also consider adding some other micro fish, such as a Boraras sp., in a small group. This would add some more action and might also make your betta feel more secure.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks again for all the replies.

I ordered the 17.1 gal Mr. Aqua rimless.

Right now I have the betta in a 10 gal tank that is filled about half way. I don't have a top for it.

The micro fish is a good idea. I always thought they were adorable.

Would a sponge filter be large and unsightly?
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