Cement Riparium / Greetings from India - Aquascaping - Aquatic Plant Central

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Old 02-29-2012, 09:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cement Riparium / Greetings from India

Hello to everybody from Chennai, India.

I am new to aquascaping... its the first hobby I've had in my adult life. A couple of months ago, I bummed some 'contrasoil' from a friend, put it in a 18 x 12 x 12 tank, and added one sagittaria and and some hygrophila difformis, 8 neon tetras, and a dozen amano shrimps. To my surprise, they are all thriving, and I'm actually regular with water changes... Now I want to move on to the next level.

Chennai is a particularly hot city... we see temperatures of 40 degrees centigrade (104F) for several hours a day, from March through August. November through February we are doing 26C-32C (79F to 89F). I do not want to, and possibly cannot afford to buy a chiller and co2 system.

The attached images illustrate my idea. The plants will be in the substrate in the 6" balcony at the back of the tank. I'm thinking crypts at this time, but thats a decision which can wait. Below it will be a dry scape, some small schooling fish, some red cherry shrimp and maybe a couple of otos. The following are my reasons for this setup:

* cement tank will keep water cooler.
* because its a riparium, plants can get their co2 supply from the atmosphere - no need for a co2 system.
* water volume will be about 25 gallons, so water changes become manageable. I use expensive, packaged water because the tap water here is highly unreliable.
* reduced/no algae problems because of emersed plants - low maintenance.

I intend to keep it in my bedroom and turn the aquarium light on at night, when the room will be air conditioned. During the day, I'll pull the dark curtains in, and leave the fan on. Hopefully this should minimize the heat issues.

So, before I proceed to specific questions - is there anything fundamentally wrong with my idea? Have I overlooked some critical problem area?

Thanks in advance...

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Last edited by audiothings; 02-29-2012 at 09:13 PM..
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Old 03-01-2012, 01:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Nice idea, but cement is permeable by water. How do you plan on sealing the inside of the container?
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cement Riparium / Greetings from India

Thanks for the greetings. Got to say i love this forum and the way it connects people across the globe with differing cultures through our mutual love to look at plants grow in water.

Love the idea of a cement aquarium. I'm a winemaker just outside of Portland, Oregon USA. Some of us use cement fermentors because of the amazing insulation values buffering the natural propensity of a ferment to get too hot. Before the tanks can be used, we have to do a lot of tartaric acid washing of the tanks otherwise they leach out lime. The prep for the fermentors is quite laborious and the acid wash is required several times before things mellow out.

Really interested to follow this thread and to see how things works out.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cement Riparium / Greetings from India

Pretty cool. So will water changes be done by siphoning from the top, or will you have an outlet in one of the sides or back?
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Old 03-02-2012, 08:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cement Riparium / Greetings from India

Quote:
Nice idea, but cement is permeable by water. How do you plan on sealing the inside of the container?
Thank you. The idea is not completely original. All the breeders here use cement tanks to keep the water cool in summer (which is 9 months a year ) Don't know what they do to tackle the permeability, will find out...

Quote:
Before the tanks can be used, we have to do a lot of tartaric acid washing of the tanks otherwise they leach out lime. The prep for the fermentors is quite laborious and the acid wash is required several times before things mellow out.
Thank you for the tip. Don't want to kill a bunch of fish and plants and figure these things out the hard way.

Quote:
Really interested to follow this thread and to see how things works out.
Its going to be a while... Yesterday we setup my first semi-serious (nano) scape. (The previous one was a joke.) I'm hooked. Wanted to keep it low tech, but I can't stop myself now. Will add a Co2 system in the next couple of days. See the plants flourish. Plan my cement tank over the next few months and set it up when the weather is nicer... both for the running around I'll have to do, and for the plants, when they come into my home.

Quote:
Pretty cool. So will water changes be done by siphoning from the top, or will you have an outlet in one of the sides or back?
Siphoning is the only way I know, but you've given me something to think about. Thanks.
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cement Riparium / Greetings from India

There should be no problem with such a tank.
I had such a tank in open light for many years.
The water changes were with simple tap water and I followed a weekly overflow system.
Before planting fill out the tank and empty it after 1 day, do this 4-5 times so that cement stops leaching.
I had many healthy fish in this tank, livebearers used to breed regularly.
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cement Riparium / Greetings from India

Thank you Sandeep, for your kind input. My father has a deep love for Mathura, which he visited regularly, when he was a student at IIT Delhi.

Quick update - a pic of my new scape (mostly setup by a friend). Bought canister filter yesterday. Will buy and install co2 system tomorrow. I'm going to learn to take care of it while I prepare for my riparium project. Waiting for the plants to get acclimatized and look happy. buzzing with ideas

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