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5' Rimless - The Malaysian Driftwood Installation

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I have been picking away at this project for a little while: building a light mount, gathering equipment, etc... Just this evening I was finally able to get the tank itself onto the stand (it has been in the garage waiting on sufficient muscle and planning to make the move into the house). I figure this is a good time to start a journal.

Here's where things stand as of this evening:

Window Wood Twig Rectangle Art


Table Furniture Property Picture frame Building


Wood Building Couch Floor Art


Some of you may be familiar with this space, as it is the same spot that previously housed a 68g chronicled in this tank journal. As I came to realize (and note in that journal), this is the best spot in my house for a larger tank due to the arrangement of floor joists for the main level, which sits above a full unfinished basement. Ultimately, as much as I loved that tank, it was a missed opportunity for the space. I finished that project on a high note and took it down to make room for this five-footer. This tank size is a much better fit.

I already knew I was going to put a bigger tank in this space when I found this truly massive piece of driftwood at my local fish shop. Once I had the wood, the contours of the project started to take shape. For example, I was going to need spot lighting from about 90" off the floor. There will be no lid. There will be the potential for emergent growth and/or a mixed aquatic and terrestrial planting. Many things are still unknown, but they're starting to fall into place. One thing at a time!

First - the name of the tank journal should reflect the absurdity of the wood's proportions. Check.

Next is plumbing.

Then, hardscape.

More (much more) to come.
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Discussion Starter · #707 ·
Tank is looking great, seems like it's humming along nicely.
Thanks. Yeah, I make little tweaks here and there, but nothing major going on. I almost changed out the plants and then... didn't. I almost sucked out the sand and replaced it with a natural rock mix and then... didn't. Maybe this winter I'll muster the energy to change things up a bit, but then maybe not. It's probably a good exercise for me to just be with this tank and not change it just for the sake of change.
 

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Thanks. Yeah, I make little tweaks here and there, but nothing major going on. I almost changed out the plants and then... didn't. I almost sucked out the sand and replaced it with a natural rock mix and then... didn't. Maybe this winter I'll muster the energy to change things up a bit, but then maybe not. It's probably a good exercise for me to just be with this tank and not change it just for the sake of change.
That's really the hardest part is leaving it be. I'm still going through growing pains on mine and having been considering replacing many of the Rotala stems because half of them aren't doing very well. But then I start thinking about the amount of work it'll take to plant new plants and let them get used to my water, ferts, lighting, etc. and I lose the motivation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #709 ·
A couple pics...

Water Fin Organism Underwater Fish


Water Fin Rectangle Organism Fish


The tank has been responding well to the increased fertilizers - the plants look more plump and vibrant. I think it will take a while longer to assess the impact of the remineralization change. That could be part of the increased plant health, but since I changed two things at once it's impossible to know!
 

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Discussion Starter · #711 ·
Saturday snap...

Plant Houseplant Rectangle Art Tints and shades


The tank is doing quite well at the moment. The plants are really appreciating the increased fertilizers, and the GH reduction is at least not hurting anything. It's probably helping, but it's hard to tell. The hydrocotyle in front especially is growing nicely, while it's always been a challenge to get things to grow well down there. Maybe some of those crypts in that zone will finally get big. They completely melted away in The Great Water Hardening of 2022, and are taking their sweet time coming back in full. It surely doesn't help that they're surrounded by hydrocotyle, but I'm really wanting them to burst out from a pillowy cloud of green, so they'll just have to deal.

I'm at the point where I've run out of room for the big monstera to grow any more, so last week I cut off the most recent fresh shoot. I didn't cut it low enough, though, so it immediately sent out a fresh shoot from the stump. I sheered it all the way down to the base this morning. I'm not sure how this plant will respond to this kind of pruning (i.e., is it a grow-or-die situation?)... if it doesn't take it well, I suppose I'll just have to cut it back and let it grow out anew.

I also had to intervene to pull a couple big leaves out from in front of the #2 light. I used a combination of fishing line and green vet wrap to pull the leaves back and anchor them to the light mount. All in all I think it's worked out well as it does the trick nicely without being visually obtrusive.

'til next time...
 

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Discussion Starter · #713 ·
I love how that whole left side looks. It really blends well into the tank and look very natural.

My monstera that I had in my tank were transplanted into pots recently so I'm looking forward to them getting big, but seeing yours gives me an idea of how they'll get, which I'm looking forward to.
Thanks!

I've seen them much smaller, but this one I think went bananas from the massive, continuous supply of fertilizers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #716 ·
@EmotionalFescue: Have you been to Aqua Imports recently? If so, do they have any large driftwood there?

Might stop there en route to my in-laws’ in FC tomorrow.


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Haven't been in a couple months, though I need to head down there this weekend for some frozen food...

Last time I was there they didn't have too much and nothing very big. That said, I have seen truly enormous pieces there from time to time, so it may be worth checking out.

I got the piece in this tank from Exotic Aquatics which is only a couple blocks from Aqua Imports, so if you're going to one you might hit both. Though Exotic is under new ownership, so I'm not really sure what it's like in there these days...
 

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Discussion Starter · #719 ·
I went to the fish store a few days ago to get some frozen food. They didn't have the food I was looking for, but they did have a nice selection of fresh tissue cultures. I grabbed a few cups of juncus repens, crypt undulata, and a chain grass of some variety (I don't remember the name and threw the cups away without writing it down!). Out with the old and in with the new...

Step 1 was rinsing the new substrate... and dumping it all over the floor after ripping the bag like a dummy.
Shoe Sky Human Scale Lighting


I removed all of the hydrocotyle and rotala from the central garden area. I left the crypts that were already there... they couldn't thrive surrounded by the hydrocotyle, but I haven't given up on my dreams of a crypt garden front and center. So, I removed the competition and added a bunch of fresh plants.
Gas Grass Rectangle Electric blue Plastic


After syphoning the old substrate, I added (most of :\ ) a fresh bag of fluorite black. I always had trouble planting in that zone because of the accessory wood. It's now got a thick, plantable layer, and I quite like the little hill it made as well.
Plant Green World Organism Pet supply


I've got the juncus in the old rotala spot with the chain grass along the base of the hill. The crypts are planted in the same general area, and once they get tall the grass is gonna have a hard time... I really didn't need as much of the grass as I got, so I used it, but I doubt there's a long-term place for it.
Plant Water Pet supply Organism Aquatic plant


Top view.
World Organism Water Rectangle Terrestrial plant


We'll see how it turns out, but I'm excited for a bit of change!
 

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Discussion Starter · #720 · (Edited)
I was looking back through the journal today to see when I planted this tank, and I realized that I missed its first birthday - first planted on Nov 12, 2021.

Happy belated birthday, big tank!
 
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