Island Shore - 60 x 30 x 45 Rock, grass and hopefully class!

Chris Jackson

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23 Apr 2014
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725
Location
Falmouth, Cornwall
DSCF4527.jpg


Hello! So a new project commences...
Having run a v large 120x60x60 tank for the last 9 years I've decided to downsize to something smaller and easier to manage tightly. For this fresh start I wanted only v high quality equipment that will integrate beautifully into our home. I spent ages looking at different LED light units with non really inspiring me until I discovered the Amano Aquasky units which really are a thing of minimalist excellence that apparently perform as well as they look. I selected the 602 unit in order to be sure to have ample light for grasses and carpet plants in a 45cm deep tank. To start I am going down the full Amano route with Aquasoil Amazonia and Powersand substrate and fertilisers. I built my own cabinet out of birch ply, walnut and zebrano and walnut veneers. It cost less in materials than a quality Amano or german tank and building it was more fun than buying one and allowed me to make it at 90cm high rather than the usual 70ish and, to my eye, better proportioned to the 45cm high tank.

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I've run it without plants for 3 weeks changing 70% of the water each week as recommended by those helpful guys at The Green Machine. Planting happened a day ago using excellent tissue culture plants from Aqua Essentials (I figured the Green Machine had had enough of my cash for now..!)
Very simple:
Eleocharis sp
Eleocharis parvula
Micranthemum 'Monte-Carlo'

I maybe over ordered...
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One day on there are early signs of roots taking hold... I'm using the dry start technique to get things established swiftly with hopefully a minimum of plants up rooting and floating off..

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Stay tuned...
 

TOO

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4 Jul 2012
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Aarhus, Denmark
Looks really nice. What are the stones?

I am just starting up an ADA 60P, which is the same size except only 36 cm high. I also have the Aquasky, but only the 601, as well as the same plants that you do (and lots of others). I absolutely enjoy the design of the lamp and its colour rendition. I would strongly recommend that you only use one of the two units at first. I am two weeks in and the above plants seem to be doing quite well under just one unit. I am aware that you have some more height, but none of these plants are very light demanding, so with good co2 they should do well. With two lights on you really need to be on top of your game. I was surprised at how bright the 601 is.

Looking forward to following this.

Thomas
 

Crossocheilus

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23 Mar 2014
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Location
Oxford
I know nothing about dry starting but from what I've heard no plants should be submerged under water, the substrate should be damp, the tank sealed and the humidity kept as high as possible with regular misting. You seem to have submerged the Monte Carlo, are you sure this is the right thing to do? That aside it looks great, nice equipment, should be a very good minimalist iwagumi 'scape. What rock have you used? The hardscape positioning is spot on :thumbup:
Good luck!
 

mr. luke

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7 Dec 2008
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Lincoln
That rock is slate i belive :)
Look in any garden center, this type is labeled as rustic slate.
Very nice use of it i might add.
Agree on the dry start method, drain as much water out as you can and it will be about right :)
 

Roddy123

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1 Oct 2010
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Looking great! I went with nearly the same set up but instead I have a 60P. Love your cabinet looks really retro. Good luck with the rest.
 

Chris Jackson

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23 Apr 2014
Messages
725
Location
Falmouth, Cornwall
Thanks, yes I agree about the water level! I left that in while I considered humidity levels over the first day or so. With a cover glass mounted that does not seal the tank thoroughly it was all looking a bit dry particularly on the high ground in spite of regular misting with a sprayer. So yesterday I sealed across the cover glass and top of tank with cling film and this morning everything is good and steamy. So out with some airline tube and syphon off the excess water...all aided by the prompting from you wise people...

The rocks are local Cornish slate that I sulvaged from a pile of rocks used for building a dry stone wall in our garden. For the lighting I went with the 602 because I felt that gave me the most options because I can turn a bank off far more easily than adding another. I also have a theory that including one or two hours of high intensity light to simulate the noonday sun pays dividends....
 

mr. luke

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Lincoln
You would be supprised how dry you can have the leaves :)
Hairgrass can be grown in open air as long as they can access water, and i know hc can be grown in the same way so maybe h can too?
 

Chris Jackson

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23 Apr 2014
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Location
Falmouth, Cornwall
Day Three:

Clear signs of the plants settling in with more leaves moving to face the light and stems spreading out.

It's not very scientific but I'm possibly giving a mild Co2 enrichment by exhaling a few held breaths into the tank in the morning by lifting the cling film at each side so that the air exchanges across the tank :) . 8 hours of full intensity light initially so that the plants have everything going for them to get their strength back after the trauma of being planted out. I'll reduce this once the tank is flooded and algae becomes more of an issue.

DSCF4627.jpg
 

Vinkenoog1977

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14 Apr 2014
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The Hague, Netherlands
Looks good, however, it looks very wet!!! Be sure to keep the water level WELL below the substrate, basically drain out as much water as you can, with a syringe or a turkey baster, or something like that. Also, you can increase the light period to 14 hours if you want to, in a dry start, the longer the light is on, the better. You might want to dim the light, if possible, to maybe 80%, and they should grow and root very well and quickly! You can either poke a few tiny holes in the cling flim with a tooth pick or something, or let it "breathe" a bit every day; too high a moister and/ or water level could cause mould; been there, done that. A light misting, LIGHT, twice a day should help, but keep the water levels down, so drain the excess water from the substrate every couple of days.

Really like the hardscape and planting by the way!
 

Chris Jackson

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23 Apr 2014
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Falmouth, Cornwall
Right oh...this is my first dry start so I'll take your advice and remove some more water.

I was picturing some swampy wetland ground as my "dry" much like I imagine the native environment to be but I haven't really researched the method v much.

Thanks
 

Chris Jackson

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23 Apr 2014
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Falmouth, Cornwall
Dat Four:

Plenty of new growth and runners heading out. I had a bit of a pruning session and sowed some cuttings as well.
I've decided that I am happy with how wet things are because drawing any more water out simply doesn't feel like the way forward and ultimately I have to trust my own judgement. However I have seen talk of ammonia spikes with Aquasoil Amazonia so I did a test on the water in the substrate and got a well below 10 reading exactly as the water that came out of the tank after three weeks of filtration in virgin media (ADA Carbon and Bio Rio). So that is encouraging...

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TallDragon

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5 Mar 2013
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Chris, could I ask you to take picture of the inside of your cabinet, please. I am gathering ideas for my own custom cabinet plans. What were your considerations when designing the cabinet? Also, more questions: does the 90cm height of the cabinet and the 45 height of the tank make it convenient to maintain the tank? For this size tank would you think that a JBL CristalProfi e901 is sufficient, or should I save up more and get an e1501? What filter will you be running this tank with, with what media? Please share plans.
 
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Chris Jackson

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Falmouth, Cornwall
Hi TallDragon,
I'll add more cabinet pictures with tomorrows update.
I'm 6' 2" and the 90 + 45 turns out to be pretty much perfect for access for me though I did not really consider this much as I've long been used to standing on a kids chair to maintain my old big tank. 90cm is the standard height for kitchen worktops and as this tank is sighted in a kitchen/family room it fits well and I like the 2:1 ratio to the tank height. The space under the doors is 9cm high and the radius of the curves to the legs is exactly half that of the curves next to the tank so there is a lot of 2:1 balance going on. I also felt 2 doors rather than one was more elegant visually, encroached less into the room when open and made for easier access.
Other than that I wanted strong, stable, different and fun and a bit challenging to build which was why I added the curves, veneers and solid walnut face frame. I don't have any detailed drawings I just drew a basic design on graph paper.
Personally I'd have thought the JBL e901 would be ideal (I'm using a Eheim Experience 250T) but I have noticed a lot of focus on high flow rates on this forum so others may think differently.
 

TallDragon

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5 Mar 2013
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Hi TallDragon,
I'll add more cabinet pictures with tomorrows update.
I'm 6' 2" and the 90 + 45 turns out to be pretty much perfect for access for me though I did not really consider this much as I've long been used to standing on a kids chair to maintain my old big tank. 90cm is the standard height for kitchen worktops and as this tank is sighted in a kitchen/family room it fits well and I like the 2:1 ratio to the tank height.
Thanks for the answer. I'm 6'8" , so that is why the 70cm typical cabinet would be a bit too low, especially with a 45cm tall tank. I love your cabinet, it has a nice visual balance. Looking forward to the inside pictures. If I go with a custom cabinet I do not really want to say in a few months/years : "I wish I had put in X".
 

TallDragon

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5 Mar 2013
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211
Chris, have you considered taking any extra measures to increase the oxygenization of the tank, given that it is quite voluminous, and has a relatively smaller surface area, given its height?
 

Chris Jackson

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Joined
23 Apr 2014
Messages
725
Location
Falmouth, Cornwall
Day 6:
All looking well with noticeable growth from the hair grasses also:
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Here is a cabinet shot...it's not very exciting! So far I've installed a double set of surface mounted individually switched sockets right up at the top where they will be accessible regardless of intrusions from CO2 cylinder and pipework etc. (I'm sick of nasty wobbly multi socket extension leads with no space for timers or loads of cables getting in a mess squashed behind the cabinet)
The CO2 cylinder will be positioned to the right and once that is finalised I'm currently thinking I'll arrange small shelves/hooks for tools and ferts. on the door backs so that everything comes easily to hand. Other less used stuff like test kits, pipe cleaners, syphon hoses and replacement filter media is stored in a nearby utility room.
No thoughts for increasing oxygenation during daylight hours at least as I'm quite confident the plants will take care of that and I have run a bigger tank at 120 x 40 x 60 with a low surface area without any dramas. Night time aeration might be on the cards but really I want to keep everything as simple as reasonably possible so I'll see how things progress.

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