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Old & In The Way (Photos deleted by photobucket - now using Imgur)

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Decided to clean out the attic last Thanksgiving. Found an old JBJ picotope tank, a small internal filter, and a mini CO2 system that have been sitting idle for about 6 years. Figured I could set this up for some extra plant trimmings; mainly because it would not require much space, would be 'light' on my wallet, and would be put to good use instead of just collecting dust. After a thorough cleaning (and inspection), the tank and associated equipment were good to go.
JBJ 3 gallon Picotope tank
Aquael Mikro Fan (for circulation)
Fluval pressurized CO2 system (1 bubble every 3-4 seconds)
CO2 nano diffuser
DIY lights ("gutted" 12in. Aquaneat fixture/housing with (2) 3w white LED COBs for the front light, along with a 3w white LED COB DIY spot for the rear light)
Standard inert gravel substrate (bowls used for stem plants: contain a clay based soil capped with sand - bowls make it easy to remove stems from the tank for trimming/topping/replanting).
*PPS (lean) fertilizer dosing
*40-50% water change once a week (de-chlorinated tap water)
*frequent pruning of stems (keeping trimmed small) & trimming mosses when needed
Alternanthera reineckii 'rosaefolia'
Anubias barteri var. nana
Bacopa monnieri
Ceratophyllum demersum
Cladophora aegagropila
Dracaena sanderiana
Lobelia cardinalis
Microsorum pteropus
Monosolenium tenerum (Lomariopsis sp. ?)
Taxiphyllum barbieri

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Nice to see folks recycling.
Very nice tank! I was also happy to see that, after reading the thread title, I wasn't looking at a picture of myself! :laugh2:

I'm kind of old (everything is relative) but hopefully not in the way yet.
Nice to see folks recycling.
Definitely not a high clarity & sleek looking "wish list" tank with the stunning aquascape, but using/recycling the old things I already had on hand makes this tank very enjoyable (and I like the footprint of this tank). The lights were a very inexpensive (and fairly simple) project that seem to do well for my plants. I know those mini CO2 cartridges can become an expensive in the long run, which is a draw back. One good thing was that I had 2 boxes (3 ea. per box) of 95gram CO2 cartridges in the attic. Although not the Fluval brand, the threads are the same as the Fluval 88g cartridges. The cartridges are still good after 6+ years. Mileage of the cartridges is fair, lasting just over 2 months running at a one bubble rate every 3-4 seconds, 24/7.

Very nice tank! I was also happy to see that, after reading the thread title, I wasn't looking at a picture of myself! :laugh2:

I'm kind of old (everything is relative) but hopefully not in the way yet.
Appreciate the kind words. I can surely relate... I'm no longer a spring chicken myself, and hopefully "not in the way" yet either. But that "old & in the way" saying does cross my mind every now and then. And, at times, I also find myself thinking about an old album title by Jimmy Buffett: "Living and dying in 3/4 time".
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Brief update... decided to go with slow growing plants (mainly rhizomes) in this tank and eliminated the stems. Trimming/shaping of stems is no longer a constant chore. Other changes: switching out the circulation pump (am now using an AQUATOP SWP-230), converting/switching out the disposable CO2 cartridges to a paintball tank (more mileage with the 20 oz. tank and refills are under $5), switching out my light source with a single diy 10w white cob pendant (made out of a kitchen sink drain assembly).

Old lighting

New lighting

Upped CO2 levels to 25ppm (+/-). Plants have been responding favorably. Hmmm...25ppm, (sounds like complete bull crap, eh)? Was able to access a TOA-DKK CGP-31 handheld Carbon Dioxide meter. This meter has the capability to measure either the liquid or gas phase of CO2. Measurement range for the liquid phase is 1.49 to 1490 mg/l, but the display range on this meter can be set 0 - 2020 mg/l. You have to be careful with the probe because it is not designed to be completely immersed into liquid samples (lower portion of probe is the sensor for liquid, upper portion is for gas).

Bucephalandra starting to flower.

Riccardia chamedryfolia starting to take a toehold.

Knock on wood, plants seem healthy - no algae issues.

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Another brief update.

Plants have been steadily growing, becoming thick and starting to overcrowd. Thinned-out and/or removed a good portion of the Microsorum ferns, Anubias nana 'petite', Bucephalandra 'mini', and a small amount of Riccardia chamedryfolia (placed these plants into another set-up). Also adjusted the height of my light to 17" above substrate. Originally had it mounted 12" above the substrate (no noticeable algae issues at 12" - raising fixture another 5" has eliminated the "hot" spot directly under the LED). Additional height has also allowed for easy tank access. Added some Riccia fluitans and a heard of very young Cryptocoryne wendtii (plan to grow these out for awhile in this tank until they become larger). No fauna presently, except for a few ramshorn snails. Will probably add some shrimp in the near future.

New additions

Really surprised by the growth spurt of the 'crypts' (they put on some serious size within a few weeks). Removed them to another tank. Decided to shake things up and added some Alternanthera reineckii, along with some Proserpinaca palustris. 'Riccia' is starting to fill-in and becoming dense... seems to be pearling non-stop. Increased my photo-period an extra hour, and shuffled plants around to different positions.

After a recent trim
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UPDATE (changes & improvements)
Have been pleased with the growth and progression of this set-up. A few plants have been added and subtracted (mainly because of size).

No heater in this nano. Temperature stays fairly stable in ambient room temperature (72-76F). I noticed temperatures rising to 80F during a couple of recent hot/humid days, which got me thinking "to expect the unexpected". Installed a small fan behind the tank knowing the "scorchers of summer" are right around the corner. Tried the fan out and was able to drop the water temperature around 4-5F in a short period of time.

CO2 levels have been consistent, but never have been completely satisfied with my diffusion (using a glass nano diffuser). No problems with the diffuser itself, it produces very fine bubbles. Just unhappy with the CO2 distribution (tried different flow patterns within the tank, feeding the CO2 mist through the intake of my circulation pump, and tried different placements of the diffuser within the tank). Always the same result: a lot of CO2 bubbles rising to the surface without being dissolved.

I came up with an idea to help improve this problem... mounted a very small pump near the diffuser with a 90 degree fitting on the pump's output. Water discharged from the pump pushes down directly over the top of the diffuser (kind of like a downdraft). Bubbles rising from diffuser are constantly forced downward, over and over again. After doing this, there appears to be no CO2 bubbles reaching the surface. Any bubbles that do escape and`start heading toward the surface are captured by the pump's intake and forced down again. I do notice a few bubbles circulating around the tank, but they are almost microscopic in size. Another pump is used on the other side of the tank for circulation and surface flow.

The circulation pump on the other side

Bucephalandra has been growing (and flowering) at a steady pace. The Buce's with their roots buried in substrate are growing faster, and seem to have more of an upright growth pattern.

'Buce' tied to rock and wedged in rock wool.


P. palustris

Started to gradually shift back over to stem plants in this set-up. I plan to eventually turn this tank into a 'dwarf cray' playground (wood, rocks, various moss species).
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