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Discussion Starter #42
UPDATE:

So, I used some hot glue and foam to do this...


Then I hit the LFS and grabbed a few random plants so I could get to this...


Obviously not fully planted, but this shows the basic idea. On the big island there's some Monte Carlo along the front, some staurogyne behind it, and some r. rotundifolia at the back. I'll still need to get the rest of the plants I want to try this way (riccia, lysimachia, some hydrocotyle sp., some moss, etc.) and I need some stuff for the substrate (anubias nana or coffeefolia, l. mauritius, etc.).

Questions, comments, critiques all welcome. Thanks for looking!
 

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Hey there, looking very nice. I have a few plants but not sure if they would fit your needs. Shoot me a PM.

Love the barn wood and the lighting idea is looking great! Also there are great bargins at the Colorado Aquarium Society (CAS) mini auctions at every meeting. South Denver every 1st Friday of the month. Spring auction will be coming soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
Hey there, looking very nice. I have a few plants but not sure if they would fit your needs. Shoot me a PM.

Love the barn wood and the lighting idea is looking great! Also there are great bargins at the Colorado Aquarium Society (CAS) mini auctions at every meeting. South Denver every 1st Friday of the month. Spring auction will be coming soon.
Cheers! Thanks for the heads-up. What sorts of things are available at these mini-auctions? Fish? Plants? Hardscape materials? And I made a note of last year's Spring Auction but wasn't far enough along on this project to make it worthwhile... I'll definitely look into this year's.
 

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Cheers! Thanks for the heads-up. What sorts of things are available at these mini-auctions? Fish? Plants? Hardscape materials? And I made a note of last year's Spring Auction but wasn't far enough along on this project to make it worthwhile... I'll definitely look into this year's.
Everything!!! From old tanks and stands to rock and gravel, to nicer items and lfs donate new fish and tank related items as well. The CAS orders in a variety of interesting fish too for the sale and there are breeders of just about every kind of fish who bring items to sell. There is more detailed info on the website

Welcome to The Colorado Aquarium Society

Hundreds of things.

Plus quick sale tables where used items or common items like plants say duck weed, or java moss or Vals, or aquarium lettuce ( misc variety of tank trimmings) used tanks and stands, gravel rock, plastic plants, air pumps, tubing, hob filters, etc, stuff people bought and never used like filter pads, certain container foods, bioballs. Small amount of misc SW.

Bring $$$ (or CC)! lol, there are always great bargains and some hard to find fish or plants.
 

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Great looking set up! Definitely add a farlowella catfish when your ready for fish, they are really cool the way they walk around on their pectoral fins and very peaceful.
 

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Cool looking setup! One quick question, what did you put between the tank and the stand? Some kind of foam?
 

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Discussion Starter #48
Cool looking setup! One quick question, what did you put between the tank and the stand? Some kind of foam?
Thanks - I appreciate the feedback.

For under the tank, I just tracked down a plain black yoga mat and used that. I want to say it was 6mm (about 1/4 inch) foam, but I'm not 100% sure.

Bump:
Great looking set up! Definitely add a farlowella catfish when your ready for fish, they are really cool the way they walk around on their pectoral fins and very peaceful.
Ha ha - farlowella is definitely already on the list. Here's what I posted originally as a fish wishlist...

Grendel said:
The overall idea is a South American “biotopey” (see what I did there?) tank, with dicrossus filamentosas, green neons, some cories (Sterbai? Trilineatus?), and a few otos and more curious algae eaters like farlowella/nannoptopoma/hypoptopoma.
(Though now I'm debating going with black neons instead of greens, as I'll be able to easily source them locally).

Thanks for checking in too. Hopefully I'll start adding fish next week (just waiting for my plants to grow in a bit).
 

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Thanks - I appreciate the feedback.

For under the tank, I just tracked down a plain black yoga mat and used that. I want to say it was 6mm (about 1/4 inch) foam, but I'm not 100% sure.
Yoga mat! Awesome idea! My wife is gonna kill me...>:)
 

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Discussion Starter #50
UPDATE:

FTS


Top of tank


I added some c. spiralis and isoetes sp. to the right side, and some a. nana to the rocks. REALLY kicking myself for that choice now too - I had chosen to go with a. coffeefolia but at the last second switched to the nana because I was worried the coffeefolia would get too large... Clearly I now have the opposite problem and the nana just looks tiny and insignificant. Aw well - here's hoping it fills in well.

You can also see that I switched out my hook/island combos for a raft attached to the driftwood. That's because the hooks ended up wicking water up over the top edge of the tank and down the back side, and I was delighted to find a couple gallons of water creeping out around the edges of the stand. The water went right down into the subfloor too, causing the wood floor boards to cup up pretty severely. Been running a fan and dehumidifier non-stop for the past week in the hopes that it will revert to normal eventually. Didn't even think it possible for the water to defy gravity like that, but the hooks must have gotten water under them and been just snug enough to create that wicking action.

Anyway, I aalso added plants to the raft: utricularia, hydrocotyle, ranunculus, and some h. pinnatifida. All plants that should do OK and look cool emersed. For some reason the existing plants have been really struggling. The rotala and staurogyne will do great for a couple days and then any good new growth will just fade and the cycle will repeat. Right now I'm thinking I need to up my fert dosing a bit, but I'm not exactly sure what else to consider.

I tossed in a couple fish last week as well. I went with black neons so they'd stand out against the lighter background and thus far I'm really pleased. They look robust, school well, and have a great glow to them when they're under the LEDs. I added five but will eventually get to 15 or so. Also added a couple otos - one went belly up right away even after a couple hours of drip acclimation, but the other seems pretty happy. Waiting for weather to be a bit warmer before ordering in some dicrossus and cories.

As always, feedback, thoughts, questions, etc. are all appreciated.

Thanks for looking!
 

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Discussion Starter #53
UPDATE:


I know it looks like there's less plant-mass than the last picture, but that was all emersed crypt growth that has since melted and regrown. The new growth is coming in slowly, as expected, but steadily. I did lose a couple isoetes plants that melted completely, but the others are going strong - still have a few of the original leaves to shed, and new growth is much shorter and curved, but they look good.

I've been battling some brown hair-like algae for the past few weeks (maybe the filamentous type of diatoms?) and finally settled on the lights being the issue. They were about 8 inches above the surface plants, which resulted in really great growth from the lysimachia (which I plucked right out of my garden) and hydrocotyle, but also created a breeding ground for that algae in the moss and monte carlo growing there. I reduced the photoperiod to 6 hours and dimmed them (yay for installing a dimmer switch) but that didn't resolve it. So I stripped my floating mat, trimmed and cleaned up plants mercilessly, then bumped the lights up even further, approximately 16 inches from the surface. So far so good, but I'm a little worried that the isoetes won't end up with enough light (I figure the a. nana and c. spiralis will do fine).



QUESTIONS:
I've been losing frogbit like crazy. I've been bringing the filter outlet to the surface every night to help battle some surface protein film - is that agitation killing them? Or could it be the Metracide I'm adding as my glutaraldehyde source? Anyone have experience/wisdom here?

Surface film - any solutions other than agitating the surface? What tends to be the root cause of this stuff? I've found a surprising lack of consensus on ye olde internet...

Thanks for looking and I'd appreciate any feedback (especially to my questions) you have. Cheers!
 

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Recently I got the film on a tank set up for awhile / Spec V, after I moved the spray directional lower as to make sure not to make excess noise when the water evaporates. It was more quiet, AND started with the glaze of oily film. I recently used StressCoat another item have not used in a long time. Stating that anecdotally.

Changed the spray upwards again and after a week it is nearly gone. Previously used good paper towels to help as well as better circulation at the surface.
 

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Discussion Starter #55
Recently I got the film on a tank set up for awhile / Spec V, after I moved the spray directional lower as to make sure not to make excess noise when the water evaporates. It was more quiet, AND started with the glaze of oily film. I recently used StressCoat another item have not used in a long time. Stating that anecdotally.

Changed the spray upwards again and after a week it is nearly gone. Previously used good paper towels to help as well as better circulation at the surface.
Thanks for the ideas - I've tried the paper towels and currently do the filter return at the water-line, but the film keeps coming back... I'd love to be able to tackle the root cause, but that seems really hard to pin down...
 

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The solving thing with the film always tend to be surface skimmer, or increase agitation by a lot. I think it may be a build of stuff that the plants and bacteria excrete but I'm not sure.
As for frogbit issues, it did well eventhough I had a decent amount of flow going through it, but usually floaters and flow don't do well together. Metricide is always a decent culprit but I'm sure there are a fair few online who dose Excel etc. with frogbit. I also had the occasional Excel use and I was seeing holes in the frogbit but I think that was mainly due to overcrowding of it. I think Excel was giving my Crypts trouble though. This is all just speculation. You may have to do a bit of trial and error.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #57
The solving thing with the film always tend to be surface skimmer, or increase agitation by a lot. I think it may be a build of stuff that the plants and bacteria excrete but I'm not sure.
As for frogbit issues, it did well eventhough I had a decent amount of flow going through it, but usually floaters and flow don't do well together. Metricide is always a decent culprit but I'm sure there are a fair few online who dose Excel etc. with frogbit. I also had the occasional Excel use and I was seeing holes in the frogbit but I think that was mainly due to overcrowding of it. I think Excel was giving my Crypts trouble though. This is all just speculation. You may have to do a bit of trial and error.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
It's funny - since I posted my comments about the protein film it's not come back at all... Previously it would start to return within a few hours, but at this point it's been four days and counting and there's not even a hint of it. I didn't do anything different - maybe it was just something that the tank had to work through on its own.

I also reconfigured things and managed to create a totally still little lagoon behind my floating raft - I tucked all the tiny struggling bits of frogbit there after last water change and that seems to have done the trick... They are throwing new leaves all over the place and seem to be reviving well. I'll chalk up the troubles to "flow" for now.
 

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Discussion Starter #58 (Edited)
UPDATE:

So, long overdue update... Over the summer my daughter and I traveled with some of my students to New Zealand, Australia, and Fiji (all amazing in their own way, BTW) and while I was gone, I asked my oldest son to feed fish and plants and top off the water while I was gone. I must have accidentally bumped the dimmers on the lamps because when we got back virtually every plant on the top of the tank was dead or dying.

I set up an emersed tenner in the basement and slowly nursed the little bits and pieces I managed to save back to health, but it was sloooooow going. I was only able to get a decent amount of plant mass put back in on my little rafts at the beginning of November, and after a readjustment period, here's where it's at:




with that stupid Elf as a bonus here - not sure why, but I hate that thing to an irrational degree (though my eight year old loves it).

Almond leaves are out until I actually get my actual fish stock in (which I've been waiting on until I got the plants back, and now I'm waiting on until the weather warms up). The leaves degrade pretty quickly and it's just not worth it for the black neons by themselves.

Speaking of those guys, they had a spate of suicides over the tank edge to bring their numbers down but they also managed to breed on me somehow - I found one tiny little blue/black glimmer of a fry swimming around the base of the crypts one day and watched as it grew and grew and grew. Now it's just one of the crew. Not sure about the specifics of breeding for black neons, but it was pretty cool - I've had fry from other species before, but have never tried to foster them and have (probably unsurprisingly) never had them grow to maturity.

Anyway, it might not look like much but that's a pretty dense pile of ammania capitellata on top, with a few bits of cardimine lyrata, staurogyne, moss, and hemianthus micranthemoides growing around the edges. It's hard to get a decent close up shot of the island because of the lights but I'll give it another try once I get my hands on a decent camera.

As always, any feedback is good feedback. Cheers!
 

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Sorry about the bad side to a fun holiday away. Tank looks okay. You have got the plants coming back well.

I grew up with that Elf (wearing a green outfit) but never knew the story of it being a creepy stalker, until a few years ago. Don't know how one can go for over 45 years and not know that, having kids too (wow!!!). I thought it just sat on a tree branch or shelf.

Big congrats on the success of getting an adult Black Neon. Fish do seem to like when we stop messing with the tanks and let things mellow. Numerous times friends have reported these circumstances.
 

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Discussion Starter #60
UPDATE:

Loooooooong overdue, too. Had a bit of a die off which forced me to scavenge as many tiny scraps of the plants as I could and nurse them slowly back to health in my 10G emersed setup over the course of 3-4 months. Eventually I had enough to reset the top island (with a couple new additions), which is just new settling in and looking better IMO. The pothos has been divided and is thriving now, plus I added an anthurium sp., dracaena, and an emersed sword from Petsmart to some kitchen caddy planters that are hanging on the back glass. Finally starting to seem a bit more like the overhanging riverbank I've been shooting for all along.


In addition, I got my dicrossus filamentosus finally! I was putting off ordering from The Wet Spot until summer was over, then I had to wait until the tank was back in shape... And in the interim I just happened upon these guys at the LFS (shout out to The Fish Crew) during an awesome Black Friday sale and pounced. They were so tiny I was worried they wouldn't make it but they seem to be doing great. Can't wait for them to mature and color up a bit.


At any rate, here are some current pics. Enjoy! (And any feedback you have is appreciated!)


P.S. Anybody know WTF is going on with the TPT photo upload tool? It seems totally FUBAR from my end...



FTS



TOP



NEW FISH



BEST VIEW IN THE HOUSE
 
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