• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up
  • You can now follow UKAPS on Instagram.

My humble start - need plan advice

swyftfeet

Member
Joined
29 Oct 2021
Messages
147
Location
WNY
'Hello All
Christmas is coming and we plan to take my twin 6yo girls to disney in the early spring so my CEO/CFO/CDO (Entertainment / Financial / Discipline) has put a soft cap on my spending until those two are accomplished.

I found a I found a 19w x 17d x 22h (inches) tank on the side of the road in the neighborhood. It has some pretty bad scaling at the top that Ive attacked with about everything thats been suggested on the internet to no avail. I've used a magic eraser, white vinegar soaked paper towel on in for an hour and then went after it with the white eraser. nothing. Ive used a razor blade. no perceivable change. Oh well is what it is.

what I want to occur is an "Edge of the forest look"

So my plan is as follows:
Were on a budget and I'm a total beginner. No CO2, no amazing PLC controlled auto-ferts, no water changing sumps. I need to say that for myself more than anyone who wanders onto this thread. I have to pick and choose my battles

Substrate (need advice)
Eco-Complete and PFS, good enough?

Plants:
Grass Area:

pygmy swords for the grass area with maybe some s. repens on the back left to provide some contrast like low bushes
Tree Area(need help):
here's where I could use some suggestions for the canopy maybe weeping moss? Can I do some Anubis or crypts pushed into the rock base around the wood ?

Hardscape:
I heard you can use the #1 bottle of the nitrate test from the API kit as its a strong acid to test rocks if they bubble dont use the rock. We have access via some family friends who live on a large creek just downstream of a nature preserve to creek rocks, the girls and I went on a gathering expedition and out of the 20 or so interesting looking rocks we have three that were inert. Is that somewhat normal? its amazing that the entire creekbed is alkaline rocks. Im guessing I have to shift to another area to find rocks.

but the friends did have some driftwood. and a small tree on the edge where I harvested a portion of the rootball with a reciprocating saw.

Lights:

I saw this puppy on amazon when I was getting frustrated: LINK -Can this be used in a low tech tank?

RGBCW, 2700K-6500K, 2000LM

That enough power for a low tech tank? I think I prob need double or triple the lumens no?

Filter:
Eventially Prob build my own canister filter insanely oversized, but for the pre fish period i'm going to use a simple air pump with a sponge


Top down view

Top Down.jpg


Actual Starting point
IMG_7186.JPG



anyway thanks for reading
 
Last edited:

erwin123

Member
Joined
4 Mar 2021
Messages
835
Location
Singapore
DSC00714 29 oct 21 web.jpg



Lights:

I saw this puppy on amazon when I was getting frustrated: LINK -Can this be used in a low tech tank?

RGBCW, 2700K-6500K, 2000LM

That enough power for a low tech tank? I think I prob need double or triple the lumens no?

You'll be surprised how 'little' light plants need, especially for a low tech / low energy setup.
Having said that, i feel its ok to buy the most powerful light you can afford, as long as you can dim it, because a 40w light running at 50% usually runs cooler (and thus lasts longer) than a 20w light running at 100%.
 

swyftfeet

Member
Thread starter
Joined
29 Oct 2021
Messages
147
Location
WNY
View attachment 176149



You'll be surprised how 'little' light plants need, especially for a low tech / low energy setup.
Having said that, i feel its ok to buy the most powerful light you can afford, as long as you can dim it, because a 40w light running at 50% usually runs cooler (and thus lasts longer) than a 20w light running at 100%.

Right! heat is what kills LEDs good point. they make a 60W version. may go for that.
 

swyftfeet

Member
Thread starter
Joined
29 Oct 2021
Messages
147
Location
WNY
Gents,
I'm plain overwhelmed.

here is my hair-brained plan:

1) buy some black diamond medium blasting sand ( been told safe for aquariums in a number of different forums) its essentially inert coal slag
2) grab some garden soil from a raised garden, meaning theres no way It has any weed killer in it or any yard ferts. its been sun facing for a while so I'm assuming if I just skim the top inch or so its mineralised?
3) beg/borrow/steal a small portion of PFS from neighbors who likely have some in their shed to create my sand road.
4) using a liquid fert (just plain jane miracle grow) for the dry start. I assume any harmful ammonia will be used up in the 8 or so weeks that the dry start takes (Yea/Nay?)
4b) if this is terrible-bad-horrible idea I'll just use some tabs

5) So I was going to cap the garden soil with the Black diamond sand plant Dwarf Swords there for the carpet
6) Create a soldier row of rocks for my road and fill that with my PFS road. I want this area to be plant free.
7) what plants can I use to simulate tree leaves that wont get burned up by a light capable of satisfactory light enough to grow the d.swords at a depth of 19" or so?
8 I was thinking of putting just some java fern near the base of the tree.

animals will be be establishing a blue dream shrimp colony and then adding guppies and corys


any advice?
 

ScareCrow

Member
Joined
28 Jan 2019
Messages
441
Location
South west
I'm liking it so far.

I was also planning on using one of those multicolour floodlights if I upgrade my lighting. I currently have a 20w nondimmable warm white led floodlight on one of my tanks. The height of the tank is 16inches and the light is 6inches above the tank. I wouldn't go any higher wattage on a low tech as it's quite a lot of light. Mines on 6 hours a day and I have floating plants. In addition, I only have ferns, moss and buce so can't comment how it would do with stems. As the light you linked to is dimmable you can always adjust it to suit though.
For point 7, I've seen ludwigia used with good results.
 

Hufsa

Member
Joined
22 Aug 2019
Messages
1,276
Location
Norway
If I were you I would make the layout open for changes and additions down the road, both big and small.
I see a lot of people who make a really stylized and clean layout, but then soon become bored with it and regret not going for something they can do more with. You might find a bunch of plants that you really want to try, but have nowhere to put them without them looking very out of place. Im not sure im explaining it well
 

swyftfeet

Member
Thread starter
Joined
29 Oct 2021
Messages
147
Location
WNY
1 jelly cup of E.T. (dwarf chain sword) propagation experiment underway.

I am using well moistened potting soil over a 1cm of kitty litter which I dusted with normal organic fertilizer.

The idea being is to get enough plant mass of a fast grower for planting after doing a dark start on the tank for a few weeks.

who needs a fancy planting kit when you got chop sticks...

Am I doing this terribly wrong?​


IMG_7205.JPG
 
Last edited:

swyftfeet

Member
Thread starter
Joined
29 Oct 2021
Messages
147
Location
WNY
Ok so the grow experiment failed bigly. My mollies had babies and the tank mates were murdering them at a blistering pace so I had to use my grow tank as a NICU. I got so absorbed in watching/caring for the little suckers I totally forgot I left my plants outside and they died.

But I did manage to scape my tank. Haven't added water yet.

I used a full 12”x12” ceramic tile and drilled a hole through with a masonry bit and used a SS screw to fix the trunk of the tree to it.

I then plopped kitty litter mud mix about an inch thick all around under where the black sand lays.

The problem is when I went to rinse it it turns to mud, I’m sure this will come back to haunt me. But I’m not too terribly worried. What happens will happen and I’ll count it as a learning experience.

Blackout film is coming from Amazon in a day or two to block the incoming light from the window. and make the tank install look nicer, kinda a work in progress.

XMass came and I ended up getting a Hygger 18W 24/7 LED it fits the tank perfectly and from what Im reading has really good PAR for the cost. Also got a 150W heater and 2 gift certs to the LFS. Kids knew what daddy wanted.

It sits right to the left of my work monitor so it will be interesting to watch during the long conference calls.

I have a bunch of Jobe’s household plant sticks, if I’m not at all worried about stocking it with fish right away could I cut those down into 1/8” little tabs and plant them as deep as possible? I’m assuming the ammonia will come out fairly early and if I just dark run it for a couple weeks or so it will just seed the sponge filter.

should I :
A: just spend the $10 on the seachem tabs that dont have ammonia and plant, and get moving
B Use the cheap Jobe’s not worry about the 0.5% ammoniacal nitrogen ? Do a Dark start for a coujple weeks till ammonia reads zero.



BF2420CE-9E8C-4E5E-A636-802B5B945532.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Ajm200

Member
Joined
19 Feb 2010
Messages
516
Location
London
I’ve just taken on a second hand tank that had limescale. I took the worst off with a very sharp blade.

The rest I rubbed repeatedly with a cut lemon. It cleared it when vinegar failed

Might be worth a try.
 

Antix8989

New Member
Joined
17 Jan 2022
Messages
24
Location
London
Ok so the grow experiment failed bigly. My mollies had babies and the tank mates were murdering them at a blistering pace so I had to use my grow tank as a NICU. I got so absorbed in watching/caring for the little suckers I totally forgot I left my plants outside and they died.

But I did manage to scape my tank. Haven't added water yet.

I used a full 12”x12” ceramic tile and drilled a hole through with a masonry bit and used a SS screw to fix the trunk of the tree to it.

I then plopped kitty litter mud mix about an inch thick all around under where the black sand lays.

The problem is when I went to rinse it it turns to mud, I’m sure this will come back to haunt me. But I’m not too terribly worried. What happens will happen and I’ll count it as a learning experience.

Blackout film is coming from Amazon in a day or two to block the incoming light from the window. and make the tank install look nicer, kinda a work in progress.

XMass came and I ended up getting a Hygger 18W 24/7 LED it fits the tank perfectly and from what Im reading has really good PAR for the cost. Also got a 150W heater and 2 gift certs to the LFS. Kids knew what daddy wanted.

It sits right to the left of my work monitor so it will be interesting to watch during the long conference calls.

I have a bunch of Jobe’s household plant sticks, if I’m not at all worried about stocking it with fish right away could I cut those down into 1/8” little tabs and plant them as deep as possible? I’m assuming the ammonia will come out fairly early and if I just dark run it for a couple weeks or so it will just seed the sponge filter.

should I :
A: just spend the $10 on the seachem tabs that dont have ammonia and plant, and get moving
B Use the cheap Jobe’s not worry about the 0.5% ammoniacal nitrogen ? Do a Dark start for a coujple weeks till ammonia reads zero.



View attachment 180177
For what it's worth (new here), I would use the cheap jobs or don't bother. Save the $10 for more plants, and get cracking.
 

swyftfeet

Member
Thread starter
Joined
29 Oct 2021
Messages
147
Location
WNY
I’ve just taken on a second hand tank that had limescale. I took the worst off with a very sharp blade.

The rest I rubbed repeatedly with a cut lemon. It cleared it when vinegar failed

Might be worth a try.


Ive hit that scale with everything short of a 150W CO2 laser, after the razor blade used a headlight/glass polishing kit and a drill for over an hour and it didn't really touch most of the scale, it but it did get rid of a lot of minor scratches. The tank in most of the viewing area looks pretty good... The scale, Well I guess Im going to have to live with it. I did have another 10g that was a curbside rescue that I hit with White Vinegar and it wiped right off with very little work. same neighborhood same water supply. so Im not sure what this stuff is.

Im fully aware that without C02, a tank this deep, using curbside and cheap parts (only a sponge filter and maybe a HOB meant for a 10G) are severe handicaps to success, but Im going to give it my best shot.

I'm on the edge if I will get a CO2 package eventually. smaller CO2 tanks are about $80 atm filled with an exchange of $17 at the local welding supply. Would still need the regulator.
 

swyftfeet

Member
Thread starter
Joined
29 Oct 2021
Messages
147
Location
WNY
on second thought I'll hit up the grocery on the way home and try a lemon.
 

swyftfeet

Member
Thread starter
Joined
29 Oct 2021
Messages
147
Location
WNY
Is that river stone you're using?

Its stone I found in a local stream and culled it by acid testing a small spot on each of them to see if it bubbled. I kept only the inert stuff. The color banding is mostly due to the LED design and the branches of the wood. Its all a soft red for the most part.
 

Jaseon

Member
Joined
10 Jan 2021
Messages
374
Location
Wales
Its stone I found in a local stream and culled it by acid testing a small spot on each of them to see if it bubbled. I kept only the inert stuff. The color banding is mostly due to the LED design and the branches of the wood. Its all a soft red for the most part.

It looks exactly like river stone here in the UK. I used some of it for my small paladarium. Look more naturel than those other exotic dragon stone rocks and whatever.
 

swyftfeet

Member
Thread starter
Joined
29 Oct 2021
Messages
147
Location
WNY
Finally some progress. Put in some of the Jobes plant sticks… still managed to blow through $50 in plants, doesn’t seem to get you much.

BONUS: The scale largely disappeared when filled with water which is nice.

Why do plants pearl up when filled with fresh water?
 

bazz

Member
Joined
24 Jan 2009
Messages
333
Location
Lincoln
Hi,
That Java Fern Windelov wants it's rhizome removing from the substrate or it will rot. Attach it to some hardscape in a similar manner to what you have done with the Anubias.
Cheers!
 

swyftfeet

Member
Thread starter
Joined
29 Oct 2021
Messages
147
Location
WNY
At what level in ppm do you have to worry about ammonia burning up plants?

I noticed my moneywort was looking very poorly the once upward tilting flowerbud (you can see it on the left above is now hanging in the current. I was only running the LED on the lowest setting. I hadnt added any ferts yet besides the Jobes root tabs.

I did an ammonia test and nothing registered.

Since I had no traceable ammonia for the first few days and added a couple squirts of MiracleGro QuickStart 4-8-4 and one squirt of MiracleGro QuickFeed 12-9-6.

I tested the Next morning to give stuff the chance to mix around.

The ammonia Level is now 1PPM. I am not terribly worried as I will be adding some seeded filter material in a week or so and someone offered to give me some frogbit but that may be a few weeks away as well. I really like the idea of a sentinal plant like the duckweed index.

I wonder at what level will plants burn due to ammonia in ppm?
 

Attachments

  • A1181BE9-B643-4050-B1C7-C02C8B491FC2.jpeg
    A1181BE9-B643-4050-B1C7-C02C8B491FC2.jpeg
    1.8 MB · Views: 43

swyftfeet

Member
Thread starter
Joined
29 Oct 2021
Messages
147
Location
WNY
Had a little bba appear on the wood 2 days ago where the water flow was coming out of the added internal filter. I rubbed it off the wood and vacuumed it out. I lowered the internal filter so that the flow is much less, and it hasnt come back yet.

I did a 40% water change and ammonia is down to ~0.5 PPM.

Moneywort seems to be melting, maybe due to lack of light or could have been too much ammonia. I left 3 stems planted let 2 float. I also moved one to another somehwat established 10g tank that has an old school CFL aquarium light to see if theres a difference in growth. that tank has zero root tabs just blasting sand with 7 mollie fry, I call it my NICU.

I also picked up a baseball size bit of subwassertang(sp?) I put that in the NICU as well. I really love the deep green of that plant. When the main tank here stabilizes I am going to attempt a bonzai look by adding clumps to the wood.
 
Top