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Old 11-12-2009, 07:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Mudboots' Picotope

Well, as Texgal has mentioned many times, there's a collectoritis bug that stings us all. It seems as though I have once again invented a "need" for an aquarium (this makes number 4 within 6 months). Fortunately, or unfortunately, I have a brother (davemonkey) who is always more than willing to support me with encouragement and advice (our poor, poor wives). My guess is that it's just because he isn't allowed to have any more than what he's got already, so we can "scape" vicariously through each others tanks just to see what works and what doesn't (like completely ripping apart a 125 NPT just to put the Red Lotus in another spot and make room for some Stauo.porto vehlo - THANKS A LOT Kevin!!!).

Anyway, so now I have these little guys who need a "temporary" home. Are you reading this Melinda? Temporary...um, whatever...so these poor little critters need a place to hang for a while until they get a little older, at which time I'll have no choice but to find some fish to take their place.

So getting on with it, this set up is in the works as I type. The critters are East Texas "central" newts (Notophthalmus viridiscens var. louisianensis - say that 3 times real fast). Here are a few pics:

This is Day 1 after the hatch - cute little fellers; they are in water that is high in tannins on purpose.
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This is Day 2 in the preliminary setup, as they wait for me to make up my mind on how I'm going to go about this tank. These 3 gallon curved glass Picotope tanks are too nice to just toss some junk in there and hope for the best.
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This is Day 6 - they are developing quite nicely. Check out the experimental foreground plants.
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BTW - almost all of the plants that I will be using once it's set up are locally collected right here in Nacogdoches, Texas. I figure with a native critter I could at least TRY to use native plants in the set up. We'll see how it goes. More pics to come very soon.
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Old 11-12-2009, 08:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mudboots' Picotope

Okay, so now on to the preliminary setup. kwc1974 and HoustonFishFanatic were there with me on Day 1 and probably thought I was nuts when I pulled the "Emergency Driftwood" out of the refrigerator, but hey man, you never know when you'll need one, and this was a perfect case in point of why it's not a bad idea to have some pre-soaked wood vacuum sealed and stashed away where it'll keep for a while (how does Melinda put up with me?).

Keep in mind when checking these photos out that this is PRELIMINARY, and not a contest entry waiting to happen. There's not even any soil in there yet at the time these pictures were taken.

Full Tank Shot
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Left Side
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Left Half of Front
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Right Half of Front
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Right Side
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Melinda really liked the natural look with the natives and the blackwater, so I have set it up El Natural style. Pics will have to wait until the light comes back on and I get around to taking them.
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Old 11-12-2009, 08:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mudboots' Picotope

I'm liking your tank. Really nice. Tex Guy has one of these little tanks and they are great for a desktop. Where is yours?....

BTW, that collectoritis will get you every time!



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Old 11-12-2009, 08:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mudboots' Picotope

It was supposed to go to work with me, but once I told Melinda kind of how I was going to set it up (this was AFTER she TOLD me how to tell her I was going to set it up) "we" decided it would look great sitting on an antique end table under a lamp (part of a set we inherited). It's every bit of 2 feet from the left edge of the 125.

I can't wait to get it all cleared up so I can post pics of it finished. I think the experimental foreground is really going to do well, especially as a native scape. Kwc1974 and HoustonFishFanatic also collected some and we are trying it in various emmersed and submersed situations. I think I was the only one who left it alone though (seperating the veilwort from the moss versus leaving it natural).
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mudboots' Picotope

The tank looks really natural. Have you added a nano filter to the tank? It would help clear the slight couldiness in the water.

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Old 11-13-2009, 10:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mudboots' Picotope

FYI, that picotype sticker on the front can be removed. We just pulled it off our tank.



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Old 11-13-2009, 11:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mudboots' Picotope

I see baby newt-lets (or whatever they are called)! Cool blackwater biotope, Darren.
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mudboots' Picotope

Houston - I added a fliter to it last night after finishing the scape (very cloudy). I'm using a half inch layer of organic choice and close to an inch of aquasol. It's clearing slowly because I've got it set to the lowest flow possible and even then have filter media slowing it further (this keeps from having newt soup). The critters are capable IMHO of avoiding the filter intake, but Melinda gave me The Eye and said to slow it down or else...

Texgal - Thanks; I feel extremely intelligent now, like a real winner...Hah!!!

'preciate it Dave. BTW - I'm still working on positive plant id and will list them once I'm more certain. I'd hate to list the natives and then be completely wrong since I'm kind of supposed to know them to begin with...

As an aside, I know where to get some very nice, though very short, Elatine sp. I think the ones I have found are E.brachysperma, and they grow relatively fast for such a small, delicate plant.

Last edited by mudboots; 11-13-2009 at 07:10 PM.. Reason: type errors
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mudboots' Picotope

As I get ready to start on the rescape of the pico, here are a couple pics

Quote:
Tex Guy has one of these little tanks and they are great for a desktop. Where is yours?....
Exactly where Melinda told it to be
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Here is some locally collected mermaid weed. I've got a lot of this in the 10 gallon and am not exactly sure how I will use it in the scape, but since I'm using all natives and it really loves my water I'll find a place for it. It's grown another 2 inches since this pic a few days ago.
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Old 12-01-2009, 07:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mudboots' Picotope

Well, all of the tadpoles became newt food, so there was nothing living in the tank. I found a wild crayfish and tossed it in, but I was not impressed with the results. Not that I wasn't aware of his diet, just not aware of his appetite in such a short amount of time. Then, I came across some blue pearl shrimp (thanks davemonkey) with babies. Of 7 adults and many little ones, only 3 adults, one female and two males, were spared. So the mud-bug is no longer a resident in the Manthei household.

Here's a pic of what's left of my wild-collected Elatine. I had probably 15 stems, and only on split-stem was not eaten. I guess while we were having turkey for the holiday the cray was having this delicate little morsel.
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The mermaid weed was fine, but I noticed just before he left that he had started to munch on it as well. I guess he fely guilty about ruining my native stand of Elatine...yeah right...
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Here is one last shot of the shrimp killer himself. Since this pic, that big wad of java moss is in a jar waiting to be adopted, and I have added 3 otos and a filter with a stocking-strainer to keep from losing future baby shrimp and to keep from sucking up the other tiny little critters I can see darting around in there.
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