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MABJ's Mossy Bonsai

13495 Views 96 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  AutumnSky
Hey all!

I'm excited to finally start another journal on here. I took a vacation from tanks and shrimping but as some of you know, I graduated college and I've got time now to devote to some tanks.

I'll be making two or three new tanks in the next year, and this is the first.

As you'll be able to tell by the title; I want this to be a very mossy tank. SO mossy in fact that it will have a moss wall, a moss floor and a tree of moss!

So over the past few weeks I've worked with Han and we put together a plan for the flora in the tank.

My moss wall will be flame moss, so it should look interesting as the moss creeps up, not down. My moss floor will be Christmas moss (that and mini Xmas are my personal favorites). And my moss tree will be well maintained round pellia.

I'll also have in this tank several Anubias Micro plants to keep with the scale of the tree.

The tank itself will be one of my favorite tank brands -- AquaTop. The AquaTop 4g package includes a beautiful tank and some extras. They build top quality tanks that are low-iron, affordable and gorgeous.

My scape will be interesting I hope. I plan to do 2/3 of the floor a low to the ground 1-2 inch gravel bed of black flourite and 1/3 will be divided by a jutting out rock I plan to make look like a cliff. Behind the cliff, I intend to have a 3.5-4.5 inch substrate bed.

On top of that cliff I have a moss tree which will be the main focus of the tank.

Other plans: I hope to cycle it quickly with a combination of Safe Start, seeded filter media and snails. I hope to develop quick biofilm with a product called Bacter AE, and the plan is to get a very blue species of shrimp in here within a month.

So as I do with all my builds, here's a cost breakdown:

Tank/filter/light- $80

3X Moss species & Anubias - $190

Substrate (large grain flourite black)- $20

Filter cover- $5

Safe start- $10

Moss tree- $60

I don't have shrimp yet, but I hope to not spend more than $70-80 shipped.
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Just wait ... You've innoculated the tank with both Safestart and some of the good scuz from one of your established tanks so the bacteria are there , they just have to multiply . That small ammonia reading should start to show an equally small nitrite reading in a week or so , then everything will go to 0 except nitrates , and you're good to go . Just check your water chemistry every few days . Sure ... throw in some snails if you can handle the threat of overpopulation . Be patient .
 

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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
Just wait ... You've inoculated the tank with both Safestart and some of the good scuz from one of your established tanks so the bacteria are there , they just have to multiply . That small ammonia reading should start to show an equally small nitrite reading in a week or so , then everything will go to 0 except nitrates , and you're good to go . Just check your water chemistry every few days . Sure ... throw in some snails if you can handle the threat of overpopulation . Be patient .
Hehe the snails I have, I'm pretty sure most of TPT will want. I'm breeding blue leopard spotted ramshorns.

Thanks for the comment. Now the way I USED to understand cycling was this:

Water > Stuff breaks down in water > Stuff becomes ammonia.

There's ammonia in water > nitrIte develops to handle the ammonia

There's now ammonia and nitrIte > NitrAte develops to handle the ammonia AND nitrIte.

So based off those three statements above, isn't it true that I might never see a NitrIte reading? I might just stick with ammonia and nitrAte, then just nitrAte?
 

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Far as I know it still works that way , but then I'm not a water chemist nor do I play one on TV . Maybe there's some magic pixie dust in the Safestart that accelerates the conversion of nitrite to nitrate . Never used the stuff so I don't know . I'm pretty casual re: cycling . Generally I'll charge up the filter with stuff from a running filter , siphon off some bottom filth from a happy tank and throw it into the new tank with a maybe 20 % used water siphoned from elsewhere , wait a week or so , and I'm rolling . Anyway , keep checking your water , everything will settle out soon .
 

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Here is the fishless cycle.
With the Tetra Safe Start, and a bit of goodies from your other tank this ought to go really fast. I am concerned about the low KH, though. These bacteria get their carbon from carbonates. When you are trying to get the bacteria to grow as fast as possible you want optimum conditions for them. After the colony has grown you can sure do a big water change and set the water chemistry to whatever you want.

Fishless Cycle

Set up tank and equipment.
Fill with water, including dechlor.
Optimum conditions to grow these bacteria the fastest:
GH and KH at least 3 German degrees of hardness, and higher is just fine.
Add some other minerals, for example plant fertilizers: KH2PO4, trace minerals.
High oxygen levels.
Good water movement.
A place to grow. They grow on surfaces, not drifting free in the water. Filter media is great. Sponges, floss, bio-media are all good places for these bacteria.
You can add a starter culture of the right bacteria if you want. It is optional. The cycle can go faster if you add something. Media from a cycled, healthy filter. Bottled bacteria containing Nitrospira species of bacteria. Do not waste money on anything else.

Add ammonia (no surfactants, no perfumes) to test 5 ppm.
Test daily. Add more ammonia to keep the test at 5 ppm through the first few days.
Test for nitrite. When nitrite shows up allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.
Test daily, adding enough ammonia to bring the test to 3 ppm once a day. If you are growing plants that do not like this level of ammonia then test twice a day, and add enough ammonia to bring the test to 1 ppm twice a day.
If the nitrite gets to 5 ppm do a water change. Perhaps add less ammonia for a few days. The nitrite removing bacteria (Nitrospira species) are slower growing, and the ammonia removing bacteria might be making more nitrite than they can deal with.

When the ammonia returns to 0 ppm after 24 hours, and no nitrite shows up at that same 24 hour mark, then the cycle is done.
A fishless cycle with no plants might have VERY high nitrate. Do a BIG water change, or even a couple of them to get the nitrate way down before adding the fish. You can fully stock the tank.
A fishless cycle with lots of plants might show almost no nitrate. The plants are part of the bio filter, and are removing a certain amount of the ammonia before the bacteria even have a chance to turn it into nitrate, and then the plants are removing some or all of the nitrate produced by the bacteria. I would still do a big water change.

If the fish you want to keep need water different than the hard, alkaline water that grow the bacteria so well, now is the time to change that to softer, acidic water. While you were trying to grow the bacteria as fast as possible you wanted optimum conditions for the bacteria. Now that the colony is well established you can change the conditions. They might not grow so fast, but that is OK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #67 ·
I retested the KH, and it's at least two, but I'm not sure exactly how to get it to three.

Thanks SO much for commenting! I'll keep my eye out on the cycle and I'll make sure to test daily.

How do you exactly 'add' ammonia I'm wondering? I've got none on hand. I've got snails in there creating waste, and I can feed them. Do you think that will suffice?
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
i am using this stand as well , quite a pita to adjust the height at times
Yeah if there's tanks on it, you likely won't be adjusting the height. But it's better than a fixed height stand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #72 ·
This thread needs more pictures. This is a really awesome scape, look forward to the progression.
Much appreciated! I'll post more pictures. I'll get some snail shots tonight!
 

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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
New pics tonight. First thing is the 1/3 done shrimp rack! Hehe. Super excited about it. Starting to look decent. I added boxes to the bottom shelf.



The light isn't actually that bright. No worries. Next up is a shot of the tree and grass. Moss has grown some.





Next is mah snail. This one has spots, and an egg sac on it. Lol.



Finally a FTS. Really starting to come together.



Did I mention how I LOVE the SunSun?!
 

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Great choice on the filter! You will notice that the moss on the branch closer to the light and closer to being emerged will grow much nicer, sorry if I haven't read through your whole post but whats your lighting on this?
 

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dude the egg sac on the snail is to funny! haha

how big are those hose for that sun sun filter they look huge? Does it come with a spray bar?
 

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Discussion Starter · #76 ·
Great choice on the filter! You will notice that the moss on the branch closer to the light and closer to being emerged will grow much nicer, sorry if I haven't read through your whole post but whats your lighting on this?
No it's completely fine. Yeah I think the moss being close to the light will be very neat if I can avoid hair algae.

So the light is a beamsworks light. Was cheap, but it was just a spare light I had on hand.

I've got a 36" Beamswork coming to light up the whole shelf.
 

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dude the egg sac on the snail is to funny! haha

how big are those hose for that sun sun filter they look huge? Does it come with a spray bar?
They're massive. They're at least an inch thick. They're super durable. Yeah it comes with a spraybar.

And yeah lol these snails are laying eggs everywhere lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #79 ·
wow that's so big! lol! smallish filter huge hoses haha

did you get the same type of beamworks for the 36"?
It should be similar output, but I got smaller LEDs. So there's more of the LEDs, but they're a better spread out.
 
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