50 gal - show tank - help - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-01-2009, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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50 gal - show tank - help

Hi...I just bought a 50 gal - show tank - so it is extra tall. I need help in soil and construction. I am a rare plant collector, and I don't have any problems with what to put in it or how to grow it.
I would really like to have a pond of sorts which would hold a few Iriatherina werneri - threadfin raindows.

Is there a good starting point for me to read as far as putting this thing together? I'm not even sure what soil to use.

It will house orchids, ferns, mosses and begonias all suited for terrarium culture.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-02-2009, 02:08 AM
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Let me start by saying I looove threadfins (I like P. furcata a bit more, but the threadfins are really cool).

As far as soils, my mixes usually are made up mostly of the orchid bark mix (fir wood chips) with coco or sphagnum peat, charcoal, a bit of organic potting soil, and sand. Many people skip the soil stating it can go rotten.

As far as construction, how are you looking to set it up? Are you going basic paludarium, like left side land right side water type deal? Here's my viv link, although it would be minimally helpful for a full blown paludarium.

-Pat
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-02-2009, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your link, it was a good source of information.
I'm not keeping anything in this tank besides plants and a few fish. I know from small terrariums that you really don't want to use potting soil. The last thing I want to do is have to tear something this big down because a soil choice. So, I'm thinking I can make my own using peat moss and sand? Honestly, I would think that orchid bark mix would break down rather quickly in such a moist environment and might sour?
What I am imaging is an oval pool slightly off center or the entire bottom with water. Because this is such a tall tank I think that might be okay. I can get a lot of plants vertical and aquatics in the pool?
If I use a waterfall would I still need a mist system? What about ventilation? Do you think I would need fans?
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-02-2009, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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btw...is that Alocasia reginula 'Black Velvet' mid center in your tank?
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-02-2009, 02:28 PM
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It is. Very pretty plant.

But as far as the viv world goes, orchid barks always seem to be the staple of most mixes. I think the longes I've had a single viv running before being torn down for other projects was about 3 years. I never had any problems with my mixes over that time. I have yet to hear bad things about using chips in such a moist environment. A bit of the potting charcoal will also help keep any odors to minimum also.

-Pat
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-02-2009, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, you are the expert on the soil. I'll add in the orchid bark.

Another couple of questions - are the mixes that out there with ground coconut fiber of any use? I can promise that I will NEVER have a frog in one of my tanks. I only have one phobia and it is with frogs. I wish someone could catch all the white's tree frogs that are on my porch

What about fans and misting?

Thanks for answering questions...btw I bought another tank this one is a 30 extra tall...it will be planted as well.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-05-2009, 07:11 PM
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It seems the Atlanta botanical garden mix is a staple, and people just sort of take it and make it their own. Their mix is as follows:

2 parts fine fir bark
2 parts fine tree fern fiber
2 parts milled sphagnum moss
1 part fine charcoal
1 part peat moss

Coconut fiber is fine to use in the mix, as it breaks down very slowly and holds water nicely. As for misting, it depends on the plants. Most plants I keep enjoy the humidity, but it is more a requirement for the frogs. I mist twice daily, but you probably wouldn't have to do this simply for the plants.

Too bad about the tree frogs, I bet there's lots of people here that would love to have such a problem, haha.

-Pat
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-06-2009, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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I would love to be able to pack each and every scary Cuban tree frog along with the scarcer (is that a word?) White's to every member on this forum. I would wager I've enough in various stages of growth to fulfill the list. The problem would be me trying to touch them. For a person with frog-phobia even the front door can be a nightmare - they hang there at night just waiting to plop my way

Thanks for the info on the soil mix - I think that you are right on the misting. My biggest concern would be air movement in a tank this tall. I would probably keep orchids closer to the top but the plants towards the bottom would have little if any air movement.

I think I'm kicking the full hoods to the curb. I work for Grainger and can buy a few pendant fixtures pretty cheap for over a glass top - I'm just not savvy enough to figure out how to move the air in the tanks.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-20-2009, 01:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patm View Post
As far as soils, my mixes usually are made up mostly sphagnum peat, charcoal, a bit of organic potting soil, and sand.
Any specific charcoal? What brand of organic potting soil and sand?
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-21-2009, 06:31 PM
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This is a quick note. If you are hunting for plants I have quite a few marginal/emergent things that might work well and I might have cuttings and divisions to spare for some.

Have you considered using those CPU "pancake" fans. One or two of those will move the air around pretty well.

I have wondered about that tank. What are the dimensions?
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