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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Yep I just couldn't stand it. Its just too cool, nifty looking, and new. Hoppy, hydrophyte, and trackhazard made it look so easy. :p Its been really fun so far. I am not one with the green thumb for terrestrial plants so this is pretty much an experiment at this point to see if I can get something decent going.

Those who might be interested in doing one of these don't hesitate to contact Riparium Supply. They have been excellent from my first message all the way to the order and beyond.

While at the local fish place buying stocking for another tank my wife told me to buy whatever I wanted as long as she got a dwarf gourami tank out of it. :icon_twis So here we are. A gent in my local club had a 7x2 ft. stand that he wanted to get rid of and fixed me up with the 29g for helping move a 240 plywood tank. Since its such an experiment for me I didn't really worry about aesthetics, thats why I set up the tank room. :) At some point in the not too distant future this tank will have a 120g beside it.

Equpment so far:
29G 30x12x18
150W HQI MH fixture with 8k bulb - massive overkill but hanging ~3 ft over tank
Base substrate - washed pool filter sand
Heater - still need to order
filtration - eheim aquaball 2206 - need to order
planters - 24" wide combo pack from riparium supply

Plants:
Echinodorus cordifolius
Spathiphytllum 'Petite'
Dichromena latifolia
Bacopa
Xanthosoma 'Dwarf Green'
Hyptis sp.
dwarf mondo grass - Ophiopogon japonicas
dracaena sp. x2

First thing to take care is lighting this puppy so I slapped up a few 12" planter hangers which put the MH fixture dead center over the tank... simple enough. I've got the hangers waaaay up there so I can adjust it all the way back to ~4ft away. I'm think its somewhere around 2.5-3ft away right now.

I do have a pressurized CO2 line that I can pop on this tank if needed but I'm going to try without it first...

Then the plants came...


Everything was removed from pots, separated, cleaned, and submerged in a bucket for a few hours to remove pests. Roots were trimmed to ~1-1.5 inches. While the plants soak a little its time to do some math.

Using the golden principle I measured out and marked with tape the water level and the "focal point". Its not as though I used it though, things are just thrown in there right now.


And then I played with some rocks that were used in my old 20 long...


Time to get to planting. I took it slow and tried to do the best I could considering I hadn't planted using these small planter boxes before, turns out it wasn't difficult at all. I think the main thing was to get the base of the cup filled, insert plant with roots trimmed, and then backfill using the topper (in this case aquasoil). I generally placed the plants lower in the cup than they should be and once I had the topsoil in I'd gently pull the plant up while wiggling to let the soil settle around it. Seemed to work well enough.

Base of hydroton


layer of planted substrate


layer of mineralized soil


Some mondo grass going in


Then I topped off the planters with aquasoil.

It took a little while but they are all ready


I know the dracaena's aren't well suited to marginal setups and prefer to dry out between waterings so they are pretty much just to see what happens. I did place their planter cups about an inch higher out of the water to see how they fare.

Popped everything in the tank


Fill'er up


and a final shot showing the "sun" above. :)


Hopefully it'll start shaping up in the next few days as the plants settle in but thats all I have in me for today. I'm sure the planter cups are going to move around a bit since I just chucked them in there for the night.
Tomorrow I need to go through a few tanks and pick out a few baby crypts (petchii+gecko) and some dwarf sag for the underwater portion. Once I get those planted I'll be adding a layer of fine polished stones over the sand.

Haven't decided on a background color just yet... considering trying something really bright.

'Til next time.
 

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Good job!
The riparium idea is finally catching on! Very cool.
Sewingalot is setting one up too.
I hope you weren't murdering fish with that knife in the last pic :hihi:
 

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My favorite part of this post is the fact that your wife let you set this up in exchange for her getting dwarf gouramies. You are a lucky man!

Tank looks great. Be sure to update once you get the emersed plants in there. What livestock are you going to put in there?
 

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That's a great start! I suggest trying for something to keep the water circulating around the tank. I have one of the tiny little Petco filters that people use for CO2 diffusers in my small riparium. I put the sponge back in the filter chamber to try to help keep the water clear. It works fine. In the other tank I ended up with a Boyu "koralia" copy powerhead, which also is working very well. Both of those are very black, so they become invisible due to my use of a black tank back.

If you have a Home Depot near you, it is fun to browse their house plant area for the 3-4 inch pots with nicely colored leaf plants, just to try them out. I'm convinced a lot of them will work well here.
 

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Oh crap. Even yours looks a lot better than mine. I need to start over. I'll make you jealous, yet. ;P Looks really great, MrJG. The dracenas are a nice touch.
 

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Please stop!! LOL
my brother has a 29g in his garage, not using it. I have some lights here. Tropical climate year long in here... Ohh noo!
wife is going to kill me!
I'm starting research LMAO !!
 

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Hey that's looking great.

Those Dracaena are nice. I haven't tried any of them and I am interested to hear how they do in those riparium planters. Dracaena are among the plants sold as faux aquatics at pet stores and I get the impression that the aquatic plant nurseries might grow them in the same semi-hydroponic conditions as emersed aquatics, so they might do alright in there.

That will be good to get more stuff growing on those Trellis Rafts for some more visual depth and also to obscure the cup planters.

That dwarf mondo grass is another interesting find. I like how you used it around the bases of larger plants in the planter cups. I have tried to apply other carpeting plants like emersed Marsilea and hairgrass in a similar manner without much luck. But Ophiopogon is a much sturdier plant so it might work well that way. I need to watch out for some of the dwarf stuff. It looks like there are many divisions in full pot of mondo grass.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hoppy: the hagen mini elite filters? The tank that you have one running in... how much water volume is in there? I'd considered one but wasn't sure if it would be enough filtration for keeping a gourami trio in there. I guess I could do 2 of the elites if they push enough water.
I've been scoping some plants at the depot as well. I got the dracenaes and mondo grass from there and noticed they had a ton of sweet flag there too. I think thats a good part of the fun of these (even though I just got started) is the fact that there are lots of plants that will possibly do well in there that we wouldn't consider otherwise.
I'll definitely be going with the black background now which conveniently requires another home depot visit. It just does too great of a job at hiding the hardware and planting cups.

Phil/sewingalot: Thanks! I'm sure yours will look great soon.

pandapr: Go for it! Its a whole new game with so many new plants to try out.

hydrophyte: I'd like to hope they will survive in there (Dracaena), I do know from what I've read that they will eventually get too large if they do well but it adds an interesting bit of color for the moment. I think that is going to be one of the biggest challenges layout wise in using the smaller tank. Finding plants that will not quickly outgrow the tank and throw off the scale.
On the rafts I have some ideas for a few things that I'll work on soon and I'll be painting the background black which should help.
The dwarf mondo grass came from home depot and yes there were tons of divisions once I got everything taken out, one of the nano rafts is stuffed with it right now although its a little hard to tell from my pics.
 

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Hey, defs looking good so far! I was just wondering though, what that other glowing goodness was in the tank the the right of it.
Also, I've noticed that the light is very bright- do you think you'll have problems with algae on the white sand? Like, how sometimes white sand can get the green algal tinge to it.
 

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Hoppy: the hagen mini elite filters? The tank that you have one running in... how much water volume is in there? I'd considered one but wasn't sure if it would be enough filtration for keeping a gourami trio in there. I guess I could do 2 of the elites if they push enough water.
I've been scoping some plants at the depot as well. I got the dracenaes and mondo grass from there and noticed they had a ton of sweet flag there too. I think that's a good part of the fun of these (even though I just got started) is the fact that there are lots of plants that will possibly do well in there that we wouldn't consider otherwise.
I'll definitely be going with the black background now which conveniently requires another home depot visit. It just does too great of a job at hiding the hardware and planting cups.
Yes, it's a Hagen mini elite, from Petco - I had a senior moment there when I couldn't remember the name. I use it in a 15H tank with about 6 gallons of water, and no fish. I doubt that it is sufficient filtration to keep fish healthy. My big riparium uses a reverse flow undergravel filter to keep the water clean, with a Catalina filter like a much bigger Hagen mini elite driving the water through the RFUG.

I agree that looking for new plants you would otherwise not give a second look at is half the fun of this. I'm spending quite a bit of time on google looking for plants too. Every time Hydrophyte drops another Latin plant name I google it, usually following links to lots of similar plants. This is definitely just what I wanted from my riparium - enjoyment all around.

If you don't have the tank back painted yet, consider getting http://www.tapplastics.com/shop/product.php?pid=272& which is easy to apply and cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I was thinking the hagen deals would be a little small. I couldn't find a eheim aquaball 2206 at any of the normal places I order so I ended up getting a duetto 100 internal filter and a stealth 100w heater (was only 3 bucks more than the 50 so what the heck). I would have made a special order but I hate shipping charges and I needed bulbs, excel, and other stuff. I'm sure everyone does the same thing... a simple order grows into a massive beast very quickly.

Hopefully I'll have time in the next couple of days to dig around in a few tanks for plants to populate the underwater area and paint the back of the tank... thanks for the link Hoppy but I'm going to stick with the roller. :)

The hitchhiker stuff that came in the mondo grass is doing well in the raft and if it keeps it up I'll have to get some pics of it this weekend after the other stuff is done. Plants are settling in, starting to perk up, and turn their leaves to a more natural looking position. Can't wait to get back to work on it. :thumbsup:
 

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Do you plant to use a heater? I am thinking about doing a cool water tank to take on less thing out of the tank. I am not sure if the plants would respond to this as well, though. I can wait to see more pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yep heater + filter should be here on friday. I'm laying out of work today with the funk and I'm going to try to keep myself out of the fish room. I cleaned 4 tanks, 2 canisters, and trimmed the 40 breeder yesterday... so I just need to thin out the 10g hex a bit and find a few more crypt babies and I'm ready to plant this thing.

The BOD has approved the 30 breeder in the sun room. Its going to be nothing more than a holding/growout tank though so a journal is doubtful. This will let me thin out the planters and start working on some type of composition for the upper area as things grow out. I have some ideas on a few things I want to try out up there but I'll wait to see how it turns out before I share. :)

So I'm here on the couch bundled up and trying not to put my arms in tanks today because I really need to rest... but its going to be hard.
 

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I hope that you are feeling better.

The 30 Breeder sounds like fun. It is handy to have all of that surface area to accommodate the emersed plants.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
hydrophyte: Feeling a little better, actually came to work today... not getting much done though :)

trackhazard: thanks man! You guys are setting the bar way up there so I'm trying to keep up.

Just got a call that my package of goodies showed at our main office. Picking up more pebbles and paint on the way home from work. Can't wait to get crackin' on this thing tonight/tomorrow.

If you guys have any techniques for replanting pots let me know, I think there are 1-2 that I'm not satisfied with that need it.
 
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