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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is part of my biology project: Eco-aquarium. I believe that aquarium can look cool with less. Why not try to create something beautiful, cheap and eco-friendly? Since this is going to be reviewed by the others, i thought why not see what other aquarist think of it and ask for their help. Feel free to state your opinion.

Aquarium- 10g (18*12*12)
Light-20W Compact Fluorescent Lamp.
Substrate- mineralized yard soil mixed with potting soil and sand on top.
I don't plan to fertilize though i might put a DIY CO2 bottle in there.

I have a little problem in aquascaping :). It has been so long since i designed an aquarium. So here is the hardscape.


What is your opinion about the hardscape ?
Where to put the plants?


Since it is a low-tech setup I selected some of my plants that can endure the harsh conditions. Please help me arrange some of the following plants in the aquarium,"+" means i really want them to be part of the setup.
Cryptocoryne pontederiifolia+
Cryptocoryne crispatula
Echinodorus amazonicus+
Echinodorus tenellus
Egeria densa+
Egeria najans+
Eleocharis acicularis
Hygrophila corymbosa
Hygrophila polysperma
Nymphea micrantha
Sagittaria subulata
Marsilea quatrifolia
Valisneria sp.+
In adition to those i will put the following on the wood:
Anubias nana
Microsorium pteropus
Microsorium pteropus "Windelov"
Monosolenium tenerum
and christmas moss (i think)
P.S. Because this is basically a "natural" aquarium i believe this is where this post should be. Aquascaping it is just part of the process.
 

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Read Diane Walsted's (spelling may be wrong) book on the ecology of the planted aquarium or just look up low-tech tank.
 

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Are your planning to add any fish? The water look brown, did you use wood from your yard? If so that color is from the wood tanning. Even if you are not planning to add any fish, the pH drop from all those wood can probably kill most if not all your plants. CO2 isn't all plants need to grow/stay alive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have read the book you recommended a few years ago and I plan to reread it for my science project. I also have tried many natural setups some of them worked some didn't. In fact 2 of my aquariums (except this one) have soil in their substrate.

Yes, Qwertus, you are right the water looks brown in the picture but it is a result of cloudliness+color spectrum of the lamp+white balance of the cam. To make everything clear, the water is only cloudy,this is the first day of the aquarium. The wood has been in aquariums for years but they have stayed outside for a while. I boiled them and put them in this aquarium.
I plan to add fish but i'm not yet sure. For the moment i put some small baby xipho to start cycling.
I believe that the soil will supply macro and micro fertilizers at least for the start. In time i will test the water and look for deficiencies. However adding KNO3 and KPO4 is not really part of my plan.
 

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Duky, I think your sequence of setup is a little bit different from how I would do it. First I would test the water of your tap. Depending on the hardness and ph, it helps you to narrow down the more suitable plants to have. It's hard to change the water to the plants' preference than the other way around. When you say harsh condition, I hope you don't imply low-tech. Because with a little water movement, good lighting and stable temperature with a heater, there is nothing harsh about low-tech. I would put the plants in right away before putting in the water and top layer as it makes the whole planting process so much easier and you don't have to disturb tho soil while planting. Since you have a lot of branches, I would have a few non-rooted plants as well such as java fern, moss etc attached along the wood surface using cotton threads. The thread will decompose in a couple month and by that time, your plant will be beautifully attached to the wood. Suggest some grass like plants in the foreground and some rooted mid ground plants in the back since it's only 10 gallon. Forget DIY CO2. You are set.
 

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I started an El Natural tank based on Ms. Walstad's method. Initially, I had a CO2 bottle. However, it will either drain the nutrients in the substrate at a faster rate based on the available light or you're end up with a lot of algae. When you're doing low-tech, it's better to not introduce CO2, especially if you're not adding fertilizer and keeping the light at 2 wpg.

regards,
Ravi
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Day 3-Planted the aquarium

First to answer your replies. The aquarium doesn't have a heater or a pump. The aquarium water is about 20*C (64*F), reason is that heaters are great energy consumers and the plants that i use proved they can withstand ( and grow) in low temperatures. I'm just trying to see how it goes without a pump and you've convinced me to stick to non CO2 ( for the moment). Now..

Day 3

I planted the aquarium and tested the water.The water is still cloudy and the plants don't look as well in the photo as they do in real life but.. Do you like it ? Any suggestions ?



The plants are : Cryptocoryne pontederiifolia, Echinodorus amazonicus, Egeria densa, Egeria najans, Eleocharis acicularis, Marsilea quatrifolia, Valisneria sp., Anubias nana, Microsorium pteropus, Microsorium pteropus "Windelov"
Monosolenium tenerum and christmas moss. I know the echinodorus is going to grow big but in 4 months it won't have the time to grow huge.

The results of the test :
PH : 7.2 GH: 9 Kh:8 NO3: 20 PO4 : 0 Fe: 0 NH4: 1.2
Looks like i'll have to wait until i add more fish. I am going to change the water in the weekend. Or should I leave it alone and see what happens, hmm...
 

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Looks very nice. You have fairly neutral PH. The water is a little soft. Your ammonia level is high. Normally with planted aquarium you don't have any trace. I've never seen level other than 0 or near 0. I would not put any more fish in there until this clears up. You need to do water change once every few days to clear the ammonia. It should help with the clarity of the water which maybe contain bacterial bloom maybe algae or because it's new aquarium dust etc. The NO3 or nitrate is fine. Is your ph stable throughout the day since you have a fairly soft water, it should fluctuate more through out the day than harder water. I would put a heater. The heater allows the aquarium to maintain a more constant temperature. In nature, the infinitely large volume of water do not fluctuate on daily basis which will stress the fish and plant. Also it is winter now and you should know these plants you have are tropical plants, in general the higher the temperature the faster it grows. Of course don't exceed the comfortable range on the thermometer. I don't have pump in my 10 gallon in the past but now have it. I think a little current is good and helps to move nutrients and maintain even water temperature but go without it for now should be fine. But consider charcoal to remove any initial bad trace elements etc from the water. Never know what's in the soil.
 

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What fish do you want to keep at that temp? Can even white clouds and Goldfish go that low? I think they may have trouble with their digestive functions, at least.
 

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dukydaf,
I have had a 10g NPT up and running now for about 2 years. No heater. In the winter my tanks temps range from 64F to 68F. (we keep our house cool)
I keep male guppies, oto's, snails and cherry shrimp in there along with java fern, crypts, vals, swords, hairgrass and microswords.

Only a small fountain pump for water movement.
Everything is thriving, the shrimp breed like crazy. Nothing seems to be deterred by the low temps.
 

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dukydaf,
I have had a 10g NPT up and running now for about 2 years. No heater. In the winter my tanks temps range from 64F to 68F. (we keep our house cool)
I keep male guppies, oto's, snails and cherry shrimp in there along with java fern, crypts, vals, swords, hairgrass and microswords.

Only a small fountain pump for water movement.
Everything is thriving, the shrimp breed like crazy. Nothing seems to be deterred by the low temps.
Nice tank! I'm impressed.

[You've inspired me to maybe get some Cherry Shrimp for my little flat 1 gal bowl at work. It has no heater or water circulation.]

As to your new setup, I would definitely change the water to remove the initial cloudiness. All those microscopic soil particles will settle on the leaves. This will start a biofilm of microorganisms growing on the upper surface of the leaves. Not a good way to start....

Even though this is an NPT, remember that you may have to do a little water changing and fiddling the first few months until it gets established.

In any case, you've already seen what you can do. Good luck!
 
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