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Magpie's 'Learning Curve' 90 x 75 updated 14/7 pics

magpie

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9 May 2010
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174
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Ludlow, Shropshire
So....

The cabinet's here, and painted.

The tank's here and we found one strong man and three less then strong women and we carried it in from the car and didn't drop it. Miracle.

The Columbo Fluro Base is here, as is the sand.

The bog wood (pauses to hear groans, but it fits what I want to do) is here and soaking.

I've got the plastic lawn edging and various other plasticy things to act as barriers between black flora-base and white sand.

Ready to go.

eeek

This is it in situ:

Side View: - 75 x 45 - This is the view we'll see when we walk in from either of the two doors

img09753768125.jpg


Front view - 90 x 45 - with 75 cm depth.... :) This is the main view, when we're sitting down

img09693689758.jpg


Plan: tank: Opti white 90 x 75 x 45 Opti White from TGM
so far no lid but may bet an acryclic one made - in 3 parts, with breaks horizontally so I can clean and work inside without lifting a sheet of 90 x 75 every time...
Cabinet - made by my partner's brother. He swears it will hold half a tonne.
Substrate: Columbo Flora-base from PlantedBox.com plus Argos white sand with bits of ADA sand for colour
Hardscape: bogwood and dragon stone from TGM
Filter: Eheim 2075 from TGM (will need more circulation - either another filter or Koralias x 2?)
Filter media: Siporex
CO2 - FE route with Sera diffuser from TGM (all the rest from ebay - I used to be a veterinary anaesthetist. If I can't do gases, I need to give up.)
heater - in line from TGM
lighting, Luminare w 4 x T5 w two switches, so can have 2 or 4 on at one time.
plants - HC lawn front left and on island to the right, others - yet to be decided, to define the river and form triangular backdrop back left and left side - Planning a Dry Start Method (thanks to NeilW and Ceg4048)
fauna - tbc

I haven't finished the first draft of the new book yet, so haven't got time to play with the various arty programs to draw layouts - but the primary plan is to have a 'river' of white sand snaking back from a sandy bay and 'cave' of bogwood (it'll make sense when you see it, promise) towards the back right when seen from in front, bending round so that it disappears behind an island of florabase topped with a bit of dragon stone - so there'll be an island on the right and a mass of florabase 'mainland' on the left. HC on the island and on the 'shores of the sandy bay at the front of the tank (seen along 90cm edge), possibly also along the river banks to hide the plastic lawn edging which will keep the river and the island/mainland separate. Then Staurogyne, P. helferi and others growing taller to the back.
I have this: http://showcase.aquatic-gardeners.org/2007.cgi?&op=showcase&category=0&vol=1&id=203 an this http://photos1.blogger.com/photoInclude/blogger2/5947/4210/1600/foto_05_05.jpg as models. But want a *lot* of moss on the wood.

So - big question is: if I make a river of sand, rising and narrowing to the back, but keep it separate from the flora-base with the plastic lawn edging - am I setting myself up for dead spots in the sand? Do I need to put something underneath to allow water to circulate? I have two pieces of 60 x 60 egg crate and had thought of putting them underneath at opposite angles to allow water through. Also have some Siporex and could line that underneath to lift the plastic and form little tunnels through...

or is it OK as it is?
 

Celestial

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Re: Magpie's 'Learning Curve' 90 x 75 opti-white

Woooooaaaa thats deep lol :D This will be very interesting because of the strange dimensions I'm sure! I think that if you have the plastic edges in you can take them out when filled - and I'm sorry but I can't help about creating dead spots I don't really know about that sort of stuff.

Thanks, Celestial.
 

JamesM

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The BIG End, South Wales
Re: Magpie's 'Learning Curve' 90 x 75 opti-white

Wow, how much fun are you going to have?! :D

Your brother in law did a great job with the cabinet, looks really good. Looking forward to following this one :)
 

magpie

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Ludlow, Shropshire
Re: Magpie's 'Learning Curve' 90 x 75 opti-white

Oh, wow, Sam.... That's amazing. If I can create that kind of depth... I just yearn for a carpet of HC... but maybe it won't work. I"ll keep thinking.

and JamesM - thank *you* - will keep posting as I go along -bound to need help

and Celestial... I think I might need to keep a bit of the plastic in, but will wait and see... Off to unpack today's goodies. This is like Christmas. Still haven't finished the first draft yet tho'.../sigh... :(
 

George Farmer

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Re: Magpie's 'Learning Curve' 90 x 75 opti-white

I've got depth envy! :D

Sand is ok without anything underneath long-term if you maintain it little and often. This is usually a case of simply poking it to ensure excess anaerobic pockets don't build. If the sand is a thin layer then the risk is lower still. Play sand will compact quicker as the grain size is so fine. Simply poke it all over with your fingers every couple of weeks or so.

Yet another journal for me to follow! The UKAPS massive is keeping us busy! :D
 

magpie

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Re: Magpie's 'Learning Curve' 90 x 75 opti-white

Perfect timing, St George... thank you...

everything takes so much longer than I'd imagined... even fitting the extension leads in the cabinet was a nightmare, but that was mainly because Herself's daughter had nicked the drill and taken it to the boyfriend's to fix the van... It used to be that all my tools went missing into OH's studio. Now they could be anywhere in Shropshire.

Anyways, got the diffuser background and side on, with difficulty - not at all sure it's going to stay. Are we *really* supposed just to do it with spray-on water as per the Ollie Knott TGM video? Or did he have something extra sticky in the bottle?

that aside, I'm about to start sticking down the green lawn edging, so we'll get an idea of scale. Oh... this is fun...:)

m
 

NeilW

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Re: Magpie's 'Learning Curve' 90 x 75 opti-white

What a lovely sized tank you have there! I'll be keeping my eyes peeled.

With the sand +1 on what George has already said, but I just use my long tweezers instead of a finger when I'm already doing the general maintenance. When you whack the sand in there keep it thin as possible and you shouldn't have any issues. My shrimp love it when I stir up the sand as it unearths lots of uneaten micro food. :thumbup:
 

Graeme Edwards

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Re: Magpie's 'Learning Curve' 90 x 75 opti-white

Hey Manda,

Well, the dog doesnt seem to be that impressed, but we all are.

I cant wait to see your start to scape this, very exciting....

I have never had to much trouble with sand, only when it is very very fine sand, like silver sand. The more course sand like the ADA has always been very good and has never caused me dead spots in the substrate.

Cheers.
 

Tony Swinney

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Re: Magpie's 'Learning Curve' 90 x 75 opti-white

Hi Magpie

As has been said - thats a great size tank to work with and I look forward to seeing it shape up :) I had silver sand in my discus tank for nearly 3 years and it was generally OK. I would heed Georges advice about disturbing the sand every so often. I didnt and the only trouble I had was after a couple of years when I replanted the tank, disturbing all the sand and I then had a spike which led to a spyrogyra outbreak.

magpie said:
lighting, Luminare w 4 x T5 w two switches, so can have 2 or 4 on at one time.

If this is an arcadia luminaire with two switches, but with only one plug its well worth rewiring it so that each switch runs off its own plug, so that you can control each bank of lights with a timer. I did mine last night and its dead easy :)

Good luck with it and keep the pics coming ;)

Tony
 

George Farmer

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Re: Magpie's 'Learning Curve' 90 x 75 opti-white

magpie said:
Are we *really* supposed just to do it with spray-on water as per the Ollie Knott TGM video? Or did he have something extra sticky in the bottle?
Yes, it works fine. You can put a drop of washing up liquid in there to make it more adhesive. Our resident background sticking pro, Dan Crawford, does this.
 

magpie

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Re: Magpie's 'Learning Curve' 90 x 75 opti-white

Thanks, all - pics soon of the interesting (but perhaps useless) attempts to sketch something out last night.

Tony - the lamp is from AllPondSolutions who rewired it for me with an extra plug (nice people) Tho' I realise late that it might not send the light to the right place. Pics will tell that, too. Need to change the bulbs... also later.. Everything later... got a 1st draft to finish... :)

thanks for all comments.

m
 

magpie

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Re: Magpie's 'Learning Curve' 90 x 75 opti-white

Day two:

Diffuser on back and left, sort of.

Lights on, but need to change bulbs. Two leads are on the wrong side for good aesthetics, so have turned the light round. Looks OK, but may not shed enough light over the tank

First efforts at hardscaping. Nasty. Considering throwing 50 liters of florabase at it and sticking plants on top....

evidence below:

Front view:

Bogwood to the left. I want a cave and a cove and a river of sand - that's my plan. With moss-magic on the wood. The bits of green lawn edging are outlining the river, the cove and an 'island' to the right which will have dragon stone in it - maybe. More images of that later. might be a terrible waste of nice stone given that it'll be over grown. Might go for slate. Or simply flora base. Dunno. Currently the bend in the river is the focal point at the 2/3: 1/3 boundary when seen from both the front and the right.

img09765775037.jpg


Right end view - this also has a bay and a curving river...

img09845837327.jpg


Top view:

Not enough room behind the bog wood for my planned plants. Need to bring it forward

img09785788299.jpg


The cave and cove:

Need to create a break between flora-base behind and sand/pebbles in front while maintaining the 'see through' ability of the cave.

img09805801989.jpg


Lots more work before I even get to open the bags of flora-base.

/sigh

but fun

Now to the fight scene at the end of the fourth section of the book...

m

PS: Edit to add stones:

Nice arrow stone:

img0985hp.jpg


middle stone:

img0980d.jpg


Biggest stone:

img0981gu.jpg


any or all could be used either under the leading edge of the wood (original plan, but I think there isn't room) or in the island to the right, to form the right bank of the river. But may be entirely redundant in which case I"ll take them back to TGM and someone more worthy can use them in a magical scape and I'll wonder why I didn't think of it... :)

m
 

magpie

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Re: Magpie's 'Learning Curve' 90 x 75 opti-white

OK - so.... I'm looking at the Amano stuff, and at this http://showcase.aquatic-gardeners.org/2008.cgi?&op=showcase&category=0&vol=2&id=102 and thinking that they don't seem to leave barriers in holding the two types of substrate separate, and if they do, they cover the join with rocks... which I don't have unless I'm going to smash up some seriously nice bits of dragon stone which would be better kept intact.

so two questions:

1. - if I decide to keep the plastic in there and just hope the plants grow over it, what's the best way to hold it in the tank

2. if I decide to use cardboard and pull it out, what's the likelihood of the substrates staying separate?

this may be harder than I'd thought... :wideyed:
 

JamesM

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Re: Magpie's 'Learning Curve' 90 x 75 opti-white

Depends on many things, including fish choice, maintenance and flow rates.. Shrimp also love to pick up grains of soil for kicks and giggles :lol:

What about using moss to hide the barrier? Tie to small stones (slate or pebbles are great for this) and cover the plastic edge. You could also use riccia, but this could get a little demanding as it will require regular pruning and good co2 levels.
 

NeilW

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Re: Magpie's 'Learning Curve' 90 x 75 opti-white

Keeping sand and soil apart is the bane of my tanks. I am now very thorough in planning barriers with rocks and gravel above and below the surface. Moss rocks are good as James says and you can also grow HC over the join if you use plastic (see Andyh's kitchen tank starting from page 5 or so, theres some good tips there). Every now and then I used to remove the old mixed sand and refresh it with new sand from the bag. I must admit though this was the final nail in my old 'scape though as there was just one leak I could never plug...hopefully with better planning my new tank won't suffer the same fate.
 

magpie

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Re: Magpie's 'Learning Curve' 90 x 75 opti-white

Thanks James/Neil... all...

I spent an hour or two moving stones before I read your posts, particularly Neil's, so maybe I'll resort to the plastic lawn edging stuff. Plan A for tonight was to tie/superglue/whatever moss to the slate to create a moss wall.
That said, Plan B, which seems rather better now, is to abandon the idea of decorative sand, and simply throw in the florabase and learn to grow plants... I imagine I could create a 'river' of hemianthus between walls of other stuff... but then I imagined I could create a sand river effortlessly too... /sigh

pics of tonight- two tiny partitions of plasticy stuff from Jim at TGM, the rest is stone...

Front view:

img09892338933.jpg


Right end view:

img09872326220.jpg


Top view:

http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/4300/img09882329380.jpg

View 'upriver':
img09922349087.jpg


view of the bogwood, just because I think it's cool... :)

img09942360620.jpg


off to bed, to think of fight scenes and end of first draft...and better ways to make this work that don't involve stupidity... and will let me have shrimp and corries (argh - so I'd need sand... double argh... :? ) and snails and general nice community fish...

m (edited for spelling and seeing Neil's post)
 
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