Low Budget (and Maintenance) Riparium - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-07-2014, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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Low Budget (and Maintenance) Riparium

I thought some folks here might be interested in seeing this small riparium .
It's actually my wife's tank , and she's the one caring for it .
I did help a little on the initial set up
She's taken really good care of it , with weekly water changes and pruning, and it's been going great for almost a year now .



The tank is a just a standard AGA 20 gal long , that we already had from our dwarf cichlid breeding days.
I de-rimmed it (which took much of an afternoon) , by using a soldering iron with one of those cutting tips on it to cut the top rim into bite-size pieces .This works pretty well , and avoids a lot of prying on the tank to free the rim from the silicone - Of course you still need to clean it up by scraping it with a razor blade , afterward .
The back of the tank is painted with rattle-can Rustoleum black .

The substrate is just washed sand from our very sandy road .
The livestock includes some Panda Corydoras , and this fine sand is easy on them .

All the plants are in planters we bought from Riparium Supply , and they work really well so far .
The Crypts , Swords , and Peace Lilly (blooming at left) are all in the bottom planters from R.S. - One of the benefits , is that they seem to be automatically somewhat root-pruned this way , and although they continuously put out new growth , only increase in total size slowly .
I realize this probably wouldn't make the "big growth" people happy, but so far seems to work well for this small , low-maintenance tank .

There's also a small hollow tree stump , with some Java Fern growing on it - The Corys' hideout .........

The upper plantings are more in flux - Some of them have been changed over the tank's life, but others have been there from day one - It's an evolution ..........

One thing we changed is to substitute Caribsea Flora Max substrate for the supplied substrate in the hanging planters - This was really only an esthetic choice - The substrate that came with the planters was a light tan color, and the Flora Max was black, which made it "disappear" better against the background . The bottom planters use the original substrate .

The filtration is an Eheim 2211 , which works fine and silently (important), but is a little "touchy" to get re-started after cleaning. It's sitting on the same level as the tank , which may be the reason - It has to "lift" water over the rim , from a lower level - But it works .
The intake is through a little Tom surface skimmer - Also kind of touchy , but it also works .
There is also an air stone, in the back left corner - mainly to provide some extra circulation at the opposite end from the filter .

The lighting might be interesting to some here - It's one of the home-brew LED light fixtures I make for all my tanks .
It's basically some weatherproof LED yard/landscape lights , mounted on a hanging wood light bar, with additional small LED "pod" lights for moon/night lights .
The main lights are 10 watt 6500K floodlights - They work really great for this , as they don't get hot enough to bother the plants that invariably reach to touch them .
They also give quite an intense shimmer effect - more so than some "aquarium" LED's I've seen .The lights are hung about 20" above the substrate
The plants seem happy enough, and there's never been any hint of algae - because of the low intensity , I guess .
Did I mention , they were cheap ...?

Anyway , I hope you enjoy seeing the tank - It's been a real pleasure for us , as it's right next to our dining table .
A little tropical garden , even in the middle of winter.

Thanks ,
Rat
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-07-2014, 03:43 PM
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I don't think your giving yourself enough credit for that. Or should I say giving her
enough. And to think some people just cut a flower from the garden and put it in a vase.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-07-2014, 04:20 PM
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Outstanding.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-07-2014, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Raymond S. View Post
I don't think your giving yourself enough credit for that. Or should I say giving her
enough. And to think some people just cut a flower from the garden and put it in a vase.
Very well said.

The more pictures of Rips I see like this, the more I get inspired.

Gotta do one, and I hope it looks half as good.

Angelo

"Why can't my wife see all of this stuff as an investment?"
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-07-2014, 05:45 PM
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Really nice!
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2014, 01:17 PM
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Looks beautiful. I wish I had the kind of money to consider a setup like that "low budget"... lol
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2014, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Qwe View Post
Looks beautiful. I wish I had the kind of money to consider a setup like that "low budget"... lol
Well, It wasn't too big an expense, relatively speaking, even for me .........

We had the tank - bought probably 12+ years ago, + $3.95 for spray paint (but I already had that)
The substrate is sand from my road .
The lights cost $11 each = $44 - I don't count my labor on the fixture, + a timer for them - $3.95 .
The filter was more of a big $$ item - $60 I think , + $7.95 for the surface skimmer .
I forget how much the planters from R.S. cost , but that was an expense - $50 +/-, maybe ....
I had the little bit of Flora Max that I added .
The upper plants are all from cuttings "acquired" by my wife from various sources.
The underwater plants are all "babies" from other tanks .
The stump was free .

The fish cost something, of course, but I'm not going to count them , as everyone's taste is different in that regard .

So, where are we at now ....... $169.85 +/- , for a year's (so far) worth of enjoyment and education.
Probably could be brought down some, with sponge holders instead of dedicated planters, home-made filter, etc, etc .

But, seeing that total, it does take SOME kind of budget to do it, and I suppose I was amiss in quantifying it as "low" budget - My apologies .
I guess it depends on your budget .
Your basic notion is right, though - Hobbies can get expensive ............

You got me thinking maybe I should just take up TV watching ..... probably cheaper....... but I'd have to buy a TV .......... then there's the cable bill ............ and the chips and beer .........
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2014, 08:18 PM
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for a said low budget tank, you did a great job. Really love the lush growth!


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2014, 11:01 PM
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Beautiful setup and lovelyush plants! Really makes me want to try a riparium setup. Do you have to be sensitive to air humidity for these plants or have to mist it daily?

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2014, 12:56 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AquaAurora View Post
Do you have to be sensitive to air humidity for these plants or have to mist it daily?
No, that's one of the nice things about it -
All of the plants could be found in the indoor tropical plant dept. of any "big box" store - Some of them might even have been from Wally World.
In other words - Just houseplants

Most of them came from my wife's little habit of "sampling" attractive plants, often "planting" the cuttings in another, different, purchased plant (Note - My legal dept. disavows all knowledge of this practice - Proceed at your own risk, etc.), and none of the plants need any special care.
Some of them adapt well to the "floating world" - Some not so well .
It's an ongoing experiment .

But no misting or anything like that - Riparium-wise, I believe that's only needed for immersed/emerged Crypts, or something like that.
A few years ago, I kept a much larger paludarium for a while, with orchids, bromeliads, mosses, ferns, tree frogs, etc,
and that one I DID have to mist daily - Beautiful, but quite a bit more work .........
This tank is a piece of cake, in comparison - Very,very easy .
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2014, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by swamprat View Post
No, that's one of the nice things about it -
All of the plants could be found in the indoor tropical plant dept. of any "big box" store - Some of them might even have been from Wally World.
In other words - Just houseplants

Most of them came from my wife's little habit of "sampling" attractive plants, often "planting" the cuttings in another, different, purchased plant (Note - My legal dept. disavows all knowledge of this practice - Proceed at your own risk, etc.), and none of the plants need any special care.
Some of them adapt well to the "floating world" - Some not so well .
It's an ongoing experiment .

But no misting or anything like that - Riparium-wise, I believe that's only needed for immersed/emerged Crypts, or something like that.
A few years ago, I kept a much larger paludarium for a while, with orchids, bromeliads, mosses, ferns, tree frogs, etc,
and that one I DID have to mist daily - Beautiful, but quite a bit more work .........
This tank is a piece of cake, in comparison - Very,very easy .
Awesome, thanks for the info!

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 06:32 AM
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This turned out really nice!
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-13-2014, 03:25 AM
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What kind of house plants are on top? Thanks.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-18-2014, 05:38 PM
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How's the tank doing?
Could you post an update full tank shot and/or some close ups of the plants?

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