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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Inspired from the book of the same title
"An Alternative Aquarium: A Robust Habitat" that I just finished reading.
It'a also discussed here on TPT http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=915833&highlight=

I will use my 20 gal long that I recently bought. It was not really intended for this but for some dirt setup anyway. I did not have a stand, so had to make one. Good old 2X4 held together with home made ash dowels and 12 1/2in carriage bolts. A coat of iron buff to throw in some color and a coat of Dasish oil still drying. And I need to decide where to set it up. It might be my bedroom tank.





I dug out 2 full buckets of clay from the backyard. Dug almost 2 feet down. I don't fertilize the lawn. So that should be ok. There were some pretty big earthworms. Then I need to decide if I go wild hunting for soil or if I use the pond soil I bought as this is what I was supposed to use before I read the book...

Haven't decided yet on the plants and fauna. There will be a heater as it gets cold here in the winter. No filter, just a pump.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
The circulation pump.

The "circulation pump I will be using is a "humongous" Hydor Pico 70 centrifugal pump encased inside an empty fish food container slightly modified.
I cut off the bottom and drilled holes in it. It fits inside the container. Then the green scrubby pad will sit on top.






I cut a small opening to allow for the electric cable to go through. By unscrewing the lid I can remove the pump. Sliding open the food dispenser, the electric plug can slide out.


I wrapped a piece of geotextile around the ugly white container. Once stuff grows on it, it should become part of the environment. The pump hangs on the corner with stiff electric wire. The plactic tube will extend to the other side of the tank.
 

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Nice stand! Gotta love good old 2 by 4 huh? I like how you didn't make the stain even in colour.
Use the pond soil! Unless there's not enough, then of course, go hunting for soil lol. Hunting, for soil. Lol again.

PS just purchased the book. Gotta love Kindle, instant gratification. Now I have to stop forum lurking and get to reading it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Nice stand! Gotta love good old 2 by 4 huh? I like how you didn't make the stain even in colour.
Use the pond soil! Unless there's not enough, then of course, go hunting for soil lol. Hunting, for soil. Lol again.

PS just purchased the book. Gotta love Kindle, instant gratification. Now I have to stop forum lurking and get to reading it.
LOL. Have you used pond soil before? For trial purposes, I set up my small 2.5 gal with some crypts with pond soil and sand capped. Tank is by a window. Crypts have new leave.

I may end up using the pond soil i bought. I bought 2 bags... Thing is it's loaded with clay buy I already setup with almost an inch of pure clay. It's dirty moments lol.

Yep nice reading. Go read now. :)

Bump: Oh yes, you said you used pond soil... http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=907553&highlight=
 

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I used it in two vases, just planted two days ago, so no post yet. It's coming. I'm planning on using it again in a bowl/vase. Hey, I bought a bag, gotta use it, yeah? Otherwise money potentially wasted. I really like the texture of it. Gritty, not too many sticks, no perlite. Just good earthy damp smell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Layed out the dirt. One can see the layer of clay under the pond soil.
Pond soil is rather dry. I will let this sit for few days.

I like to see the layers so I can appreciate what is going. And this tank stand does not have a full top, just the frame supporting the plastic rim. I will be able to see the roots go through the clay.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I chickened out and decided to add a layer of sand. Consequently, I have a layer of clay, a layer of pond soil and a layer of sand.

I should be planting tomorrow with the following:

Bacopa caroliniana
Egeria densa
Ludwigia repens
Blyxa japonica
Alternanthera reineckii
Ceratopteris thalictroides
Hygrophila difformis
Cryptocoryne wendtii
Echinodorus radicans(?)
Sagittaria subulata
 

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I would not be brave enough to go "capless" especially on a big project. So I'm not surprised by your decision to cap with sand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I would not be brave enough to go "capless" especially on a big project. So I'm not surprised by your decision to cap with sand.
Thank you for sharing my "chickening out" lol. Doing my vase capless was enough I think. I may try my ten gallon when I redo it as it is just gravel. I have too many things to try for the 20 long. I bought the watering mat today. I will thinker about that instead :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I am fitting My Alternative Aquarium with some pieces planters watered with watering mats as described on my Watering Mat thread

Some shots after today's reorg.



This is Pasha watching closely the watering mat making sure I don't use to much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
19 days after filling in the tank, nitrites are almost returning beck to 0 after going up pretty off chart.

All plants are doing fine, even the Blyxa japonica has survived.

More than likely it's this week end I will get some fishes. Being unheated, I am thinking White cloud mountain minnows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Update on wicked watered plants.

The ivy on the left has a root crawling down the wick. The root is about one inch in the water.


The wandering jews grow well and are starting to show their color. The Rumex Sanguineus, second pot, which was almost dead when I put it there is coming back


The plant on the left (name??) has a small offshoot on the left.
 

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Weed, huh?
I planted 12 strawberries (freebies from a friend) into a home-made tower this summer. Didn't produce much because it was too late when I planted it. Then I put the tower right on to my raised bed. Wouldn't you know it, it's weedy now all right. I have to decide how much I need to keep for a decent harvest next June. Probably fifty plus plants from the original dozen. Heh, not really complaining here. Sometimes I just gotta go with the flow :grin2:
 

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This is an awesome tank, I've been wanting do something like this for a while.
 
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