The 30 cube riparium project - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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The 30 cube riparium project

A bit of background, I've had a low tech shrimp and micro fish tank running for years now, and I'm bored to tears with it at this point. I'm sure it would have been great for a desk top tank, but when you tuck away these tiny critters into the corner of a large living room, nobody cares that they exist. I guess there is something to be said for scale!

So anyhow, I had put some bolbitus in the tank, awesome plant. The problem with bolbitus though, is the tank eventually became a bolbitus+some other plants struggling for some light or flow tank. So, it had to go.

In order to rid myself of the bolbeastus, I had to tear apart my carefully laid out hardscape (which has been completely obscured from view for at least two years), and scrape the infernal fern out of every crevice on each rock and chunk of wood.

Finished with the removal, I was left with this:
Take note Amano, THAT is a nature 'scape

So that is what currently resides in my living room, and I really want to go a different direction with the tank, something I've never done before. So, macro algae and seahorses! Oh wait, how about something I can do on a budget of +/-0? Riparium it is then


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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
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First step, remove fauna. The remaining microrasboras should be alright in my high tech 40, and the shrimp are going to a new owner.

Next step, I try a bit different of an approach to planters.


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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 10:36 PM
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Look forward to seeing this progress! Where did you get your planters? Will you use suction cups or create a self within the tank (such as a thin(width) but long sheet of glass silicones on) to set these on?

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 02:36 AM Thread Starter
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The planters are from a pond store, and fit my criteria of extremely inexpensive. Luckily, the row of 4 fits across my tank perfectly, and they zip tie together really easily. Plan A is to place them on a rock wall at the proper height. If that doesn't work well, I can whip up some sort of rack or shelf. I've never met a suction cup that functioned beyond a year or two, so I avoid them like the plague.


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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 02:56 AM
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I used shower caddies as my planters. I secured them using fishing line and binder clips attached to the back edge of the rim. It was easy and has held up over the years. but my tank is open top.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 02:56 AM
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My ehiem jagar heaters with suction cups have lasted well, but they're only a little over a year old. I like the idea of a glass shelf or a 'bench' of glass (3 pieces of glass glues together but can be removed from tank) for a stable set up and minimal visual distraction, but that's just my opinion

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 04:19 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by alex009 View Post
I used shower caddies as my planters. I secured them using fishing line and binder clips attached to the back edge of the rim. It was easy and has held up over the years. but my tank is open top.
Cool idea. I'm going to file that one away for future use.

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My ehiem jagar heaters with suction cups have lasted well, but they're only a little over a year old. I like the idea of a glass shelf or a 'bench' of glass (3 pieces of glass glues together but can be removed from tank) for a stable set up and minimal visual distraction, but that's just my opinion
If there is no down side to a suction cup failure, I don't actually mind using them. But in this situation, I would prefer to never have my planters dropped into the water. Not that it would be the end of the world, but if I can avoid a future annoyance, why not?

I do really like your glass bench idea, that will be my plan b in car the rock wall doesn't turn out well(I already have a pile of rocks in the closet). Acrylic might work better than glass though.


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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 02:44 PM
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I've never used acrylic so I can't say. What type of rocks do you have? Have you tested if they effect ph or gh if unsure of type?
Be sure to keep us updated with photos and such as your progress!

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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I've never used acrylic so I can't say. What type of rocks do you have? Have you tested if they effect ph or gh if unsure of type?
Be sure to keep us updated with photos and such as your progress!
The rocks I use are basalt and other lava rocks, and have proven to be pH neutral. However, after playing around with the rock wall, it wasn't producing quite the results I was hoping for. I'm thinking for my next attempt, I'm going to try to KISS and use ABS pipe as risers.


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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Update: I think I really nailed that "rescape in progress" look.
What do you think


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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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On the positive side, a piece of wood I put some anubias on oh so long ago has secretly turned into an awesome center price for the water section of the riparium.


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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 07:53 PM
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On the positive side, a piece of wood I put some anubias on oh so long ago has secretly turned into an awesome center price for the water section of the riparium.
Wood,, what wood? *completely covered in roots* btw nice flower, got good phosphate levels in its tank ^^
Whenever I re-scape and get a lot of sediment kicked up and making the water all murky i end up doing a 120%+ water change to reduce it... so much snail poo...

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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-07-2014, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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And... the tank is live ABS risers were put under the planters, a custom spraybar was fabricated, and the plants have been planted!

Filter hidden behind hardscape, and custom spraybar


Full tank shot with excessive reflections


And the new inhabitant


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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-07-2014, 02:43 AM
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Very lovely betta boy, have you named him yet? I had a simular one (teal/blue-green hue with white at the outer edged of fins) that passed recently, he was a petco save.. is yours a lfs fish-in-a-cup save, or direct buy from a breeder?
Look forward to seeing what plants you use in the riparium setup. The way you have the spray-bar setup is very reminiscent of aquaponic setups with grow beds, though those typically use gravel or hydroton (clay media) and not foam.

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-07-2014, 04:03 AM Thread Starter
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Very lovely betta boy, have you named him yet? I had a simular one (teal/blue-green hue with white at the outer edged of fins) that passed recently, he was a petco save.. is yours a lfs fish-in-a-cup save, or direct buy from a breeder?
Look forward to seeing what plants you use in the riparium setup. The way you have the spray-bar setup is very reminiscent of aquaponic setups with grow beds, though those typically use gravel or hydroton (clay media) and not foam.
The LFS had named him Freedom, so I will go with that until my 3 year old decides otherwise. I'm not sure where my LFS gets their bettas, but they are an awesome store, and are happy to spend time with their customers educating them on proper care, as well as being huge planted tank advocates.

The plants in the emersed section are java fern and an assortment of crypts. There are quite a few plants back there, but being grown sub
mersed, they all flopped over. I'm really looking forward to seeing them transition. I also plan on adding hc emersed, unfortunately, the LFS was all sold out. I'm not really sure if I should add anything else, suggestions are appreciated. I do want to try some mini pellia on the wood as well.

The planters are actually full of hydroton, with an aquasoil cap. The only place I am using foam is as a prefilter for the maxijet powering the spraybar.

So far the tank is coming out just as I imagined it, which is a first. Now to repair the light fixture I want to use, and it is good to go


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