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Discussion Starter #1
OK, so I was going to start a journal about how I desperately need to get my tanks under control. But then I found this giant vase at HomeGoods. And what's more fun than a new project?





I estimated five gallons, but I filled it to see. Five gallons with a little room to spare!

I have all kinds of ideas for this thing. Due to the dimensions, I'm obviously going to have to go with lots of tall plants. I think for now I'll throw in some hornwort and moss to help get it cycled and then make it a temporary home for my endler fry. I have a long-term vision of a school of chili rasbora. It'll be on my desk, so it will be one of the first things guests see when they walk into my house.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Filter... filter...

I know I could go filterless here, but I just can't bring myself to embrace the concept. So what to do? Can't have anything hanging off of the rim. Don't want an internal filter stuck to the side.

Then I remembered I ordered two Azoo sponge filters a few weeks ago for my 10G shrimp tanks. Silly me, didn't pay attention to the dimensions and these things were huge! would have ruined the look of my tanks. But could I somehow get one to work here?

The sponges (there are two on one filter) themselves are pretty big. But surround them with plants, and it should give good filtration for the tank. But the tubes were way too big, so I broke out the hacksaw.



Whoops! I cut the airline tube the same size and it needed to be a tad longer. Back out to the garage, and a few minutes later I had it right. Decided to bury the tubes completely in the substrate. I found a pond fountainhead that fit on the output tube. Wonder if this will create a unique bubble spray?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
OK, got the filter in the tank and started to hardscape a little. Unfortunately, I used all of my remaining Flourite Black Sand and Petco black sand. And I need about another half inch. I have some Tahitian Moon, but not enough, so I guess I'll save it for another project. I couldn't justify packing the kids in the car to go to Petco before it closed. Guess I'm stuck for tonight...



Not sure I like the rocks I put in there, but I have some more I can play with. What I don't have is any available wood, and this vase definitely needs a branch or two. I might be able to find some dried twigs out in the yard, but most of my trees are river birches. Anyone know what kind of domestic woods work well in a tank like this?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
OK, plant ideas? Here's what I have available:

-Lots of "dwarf" sag that can grow as high as 10-12 inches
-A few jungle vals that need to be uprooted from my 1G in my bedroom. I've been hesitant to do it for fear of disturbing the substrate and harming my last few BV's
-TONS of hornwort
-Narrow leaf anacharis
-Java moss out the wazoo
-Xmas moss
-Dwarf hairgrass
-S. repens
-Crypt Wendtii Red
-Java fern
-P. helferi
-Some kind of najas

As I mentioned, I'll probably start with lots of moss and hornwort to help with the cycling (and eliminate a few bowls/vases so my wife doesn't flip about this new one). I have a 5G bucket of very well-aged tank water that has been sitting on the floor for three weeks. It has a few nematodes, but also a few cherry shrimplets that I haven't been able to catch and transfer. Thinking I might just siphon all that into the vase. The endlers will eat the nematodes eventually when I add them to the vase.

So what do you guys think about possible placement of some of the plants I mentioned? I'm also not opposed to buying more plants, although I'd like to start with what I have.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Oh, lighting is going to be a lamp with a 10 Watt Daylight LED bulb. The lamp doesn't adjust quite high enough, so I'm searching for something so sit it on. I'll use some floaters at the top to help cut the light a little. I have giant duckweed and tons of regular duckweed. I used to have frogbit, but I think it all died.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, the filter placement failed. The bubbles couldn't make the 90 degree turn and wound up leaking out of the sponge. I pulled the filter out and replaced the guts with the uncut tubes from my other filter. It is now suction-cupped to the side of the jar. Doesn't look too bad and there is a nice current on the surface. It also opened up the middle of the jar for planting. I only have a few bunches of stem plants and some dwarf sag in there right now. Need to plant more and update with more pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I've been meaning to post updated pics. It's a long way from where I want it, but growing out nicely. That big sponge is keeping the water quality up. I moved my adult Endlers in there a few weeks ago, and in the process, a bajillion fry jumped into the net. So now I'd say there are probably 15+ of varying sizes. Other fauna include a couple of horned nerites and a bunch of blue and leopard ramshorns.

Flora is a bit of a mess, but I'm getting there. I've got marsilea minuta, ludwigia repens, dwarf sag (which is never dwarf for me), bunches of hornwort weighted, stems of hornwort floating, najas that I'm trying unsuccessfully to anchor, and about 2/3 coverage of duckweed and giant duckweed. At some point soon, I'm going to pick out the little duckweed and feed it to my pearl gouramis. They both stick to my hand every time I work in the jar, but the big stuff is much easier to get back in the water.

I was using a desk lamp with a 7 watt LED bulb, but it didn't look great because I had to put it on a box to raise it to the right level. I just replaced it with an EHEIM Power LED +, and I love the way it looks!

The water level is a bit low right now. I need to add more. The great thing about this sponge filter is the output tube is easy to raise and lower, so I can have the bubbles at or below the water's surface.

Ignore the AC pre-filter sponge. It has been soaking in there pending another project that I have going right now. I also have a big, ugly Tetra 25W heater in the back next to the filter. It's OK for now, but I may replace with something smaller and less obtrusive.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Wow, very impressive for a challenging setup.
Thanks, I love this thing! I just started a new job working from home, and it's right next to my laptop. The bubbles are soothing and the fish keep me entertained.

I've started dosing Excel, and I noticed some holes in the leaves on my ludwigia, so I probably need to start dosing some ferts too. I added a Flourish root tab when I set it up, but the stem plants probably need something. I think the red ludwigia will look awesome once it grows tall in the back.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Updates on this?
It's still an Endler breeding ground ATM. I'm out of town for an extended period, so I'll have to post more pics once I get home and clean it up a bit. The najas has gone crazy and needs to be thinned out dramatically.
 
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