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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My main tank is a small community tank (organic soil with sand cap), that is about nine months old. As I have worked thru the learning curve on that aquarium, I have saved most of the plants that I have pulled, and kept them alive in a couple of filtered buckets on my windowsill. This includes Java Fern, Amazon Sword, Bacopa—basically all the plants I got in plastic tubes.

Today I decided to turn my rescue buckets into rescue aquariums. I went and bought a pair of Deep Blue 5B tanks, plus a couple of bags of Fluval Stratum. While I love sand over soil, I wanted to try something where I could replant much more frequently, since I hope to give away Walstad jars as soon as I find the right jar (with lid for travel).

I should have known from the packaging, but I was surprised to find that each of them came with 4 glass dividers. I didn't use any at first, but then as I tried to find which of my filters would fit in the tank, I kept having issues with the suction cups, which I never had on my rimless tank. I installed one divider and used it to mount my filter, so now I can slide the filter out or just the glass up to squeeze out my sponge.

This created a separate chamber in each tank. There is still enough minimal water movement to filter that section. What should I do with those chambers? Hospital, fry, sump, experiments?

I should add that I quickly realized that these tanks are way too small to host more than the small scraps from my main tank, so I think I am just going to give all those tube plants away that can't fit.

I am also going to keep going with my terrestrial moss rock in one of them, since it is still alive after about two months.

Now I think I should breed stuff in them, shrimp in one, and I will take suggestions for the other!

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Another day. Sorry for the water stains and such.

I also think I finally caught my cat watching my main tank. He drinks out of my filter bucket but usually ignores the tanks.

On a cat tangent, my kitty Valcour is a former stray, so he doesn't trust standing water. When I first took him in, I had to leave the sink running all the time. I have a cycling water thing in the kitchen, but he actually now likes my new water filter bucket where I run an internal filter. I'm thinking of replacing his feeder thing because my bucket and filter is better and easier to clean!

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Update:

I added some plants, and updated my internal sump so that I could use the Fluval Nano without cutting my rim. I also added a tiny heater, because of the window proximity.

I siphoned out a bunch of this Fluval substrate to get it to a lower average level than my foam pre-filter block. I also added a U-tube so shrimp could get in and out of the sump without trying to squeeze past the glass divider. I will probably get the divider drilled for a one-inch hole, since I have a bunch of spares.

I am just a few weeks into using this Fluval Stratum. I appreciate that it has let me change my tank configuration easily, but it is so strange compared to the soil/sand layering in my main tank, which I love. My Fluval tongs are almost totally useless planting into these little spheres. I have to push a plant down and then scatter spheres over the roots.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I got sick of trying to keep things rooted in the Fluval Stratum. I threw most of my plants into my 20 gallon, along with all my shrimp. It now looks like a crazy jungle with all the floating plants and moss.

I put a few plants and some moss in my pico sumps, and then drained all the Stratum. I may use it for aquaponics, but it just doesn't work for my style of tank.

I ran my spare BF5 filters overnight, cleaned up the leftover substrate, and then filled with organic potting soil, sorted out floaters, did a couple of water changes, capped with black sand, and ran a couple more water changes. Now my regular filters are running, and I should be able to plant tomorrow.

I may go back and delete some of the old prep photos from this thread.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Here they are after about ten days with soil, sand, and my tiny un-sealed sump. All that foam is a pre-filter for my MF-10, and I had to use the partition to fit my light. I just added the gravel to slow the flow of sand and mulm into my sump, like you would do to slow erosion in a ditch. I'm also trying a little trickle of CO2, about one bubble every two seconds. I think I am almost ready to add shrimp back to the tanks.

Cheers,

Jason

https://vimeo.com/347003002
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I've just been topping off the water, and running the lights with two siestas. The shrimp are happy with all the plants and their little sponge rooms. I really only have the glass betta dividers to hold my Fluval Nano lights.

Here is a little video update:

https://vimeo.com/357027133

https://vimeo.com/357027207

Cheers,

Jason
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The duckweed has taken over, so now I am working on removing it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I don't even hate it. It just exists on a totally different time scale. I am trying to stay as simple as possible, and now I have a new job!
 

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Discussion Starter #13

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
I moved all my shrimp, my Mopani wood, and will soon be removing half my substrate before re-planting.

This is the last video before my next step. It is interesting to see how the gravel and sand adjust with the water flow where the wood was removed.

https://vimeo.com/365412709

Edit: I just moved two more shrimp fry, so I need to be patient.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I finally removed almost all the plants, thinned out the substrate, and replanted.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I moved a few shrimp from my nano cube to these two tanks. The nano cube was stocked with red, yellow, blue, wild, and any fry from these gemini tanks when I cleared them to redo the substrate.

I put three adult red shrimp, and one fry in the right gemini tank. When I was netting those out, I noticed some movement in the little gap for my flow control on my little Top Fin MF10. I took the filter apart, and rescued two fry, which I put in the left gemini tank. One is wild-type, but the other is clear with orange stripes!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I have some updated photos.





I removed all the Bacopa from both tanks. The left one is ready for some orange neo rilis (tomorrow), and the right tank has about thirty red neos.
 
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