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First planed tank setup ... I'm finally starting

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by pat w, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. pat w

    pat w Member

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    OK, now for the real work.

    A little background … When we finally were able to move to the Mobile, AL area, I decided I would ditch the artificial plants in my second hand 90 gal. aquarium and try my hand at a fully planted tank. I already had a few 'musts haves' that were part of the deal with my wife to go ahead with the $$$ and time that I knew would be involved. We had picked out some ornaments that we could both live with for the original setup and part of the deal was that those items that she liked would be in the new setup. Three items would be a part of the layout or I risked banishment to the sofa at night. … So be it.

    The three items are:
    [​IMG]
    A bridge ruin.
    [​IMG]
    A Temple ruin

    As luck would have it both are pretty close to scale, so I'm really OK with these.

    The last item is an out of scale, fake alligator, with bubbles coming out of a mouth that opens periodically. … Al ... He's become kind of a family mascot and must be included. … Deal with it.

    So the materials were set, the question was what to do with them. Not being overly imaginative I settled on trying to have something passing for a river flowing under the bridge and past the temple. I've decided to go with a 'river' of riccia flowing from the left side of the tank under the center arch of the bridge and in front of the temple off to the right side. Al would lurk somewhere in the stems ready to pounce on any unsuspecting passerby. The remaining ground cover would be HC. I thought that if I could get the riccia to pearl well enough the effect might be pretty cool. I became a little worried, after comments made in other threads I started, that the HC runners would over run the riccia and turn it into a unmaintainable mess so I'm going to do a little work on the front end in an attempt to head off trouble.

    Using vinyl carpet runner from Home Depot I'm going to first cut a false bottom for the tank and hot glue to that piece two vertical walls aprox. 2.75 inches in height. The minimum depth of the substrate will be just lower than the top of the channel walls, hopefully enough to keep the HC runners from crossing into the channel. The channel will be filled just deep enough to support whatever I decide on for a riccia support. The channel should look something like this.
    [​IMG]

    Enough talk …

    More to come …

    Pat
     
    #1 pat w, Feb 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2010
  2. CL_

    CL_ Guest

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    One thing that you might want to reconsider is using hot glue, which might have various undesirable chemicals in it. Others more knowledgeable would know, I've only taken chem for two years. If you can get 100% silicone (such as GE I from and hardware store) to bond to the carpet runners, then I would go for that, but silicone doesn't bond well to some plastics.
     
  3. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Typically silicone bonds well to glass, poorly to acrylic. No idea on the vinyl. If you hunt around on the reef sites you might be able to figure out what hot glue they use, when they use it. Since the point of the hot glue is to stick things together with a mechanical joint made while hot and then cool into a solid mass, there doesn't need to be most or any of the usual nasties in the glue. If they can use it without killing their critters I'd be amazed if you killed anything with it in a planted tank, but you never know. I'd be more concerned about what might be in the vinyl fencing you plan on using. You might also be able to use something else along the "shore" to try and contain the HC somehow. Blyxa might grow tall enough not to be overrun and might be wide enough to split off the two if planted a couple rows deep. Alternately, you could use some silver sand as your "river" vs. the riccia. I still have no idea how to deal with the HC issue though. Maybe the open sand would give you enough room/visibility along the edge and you could just get ruthless when trimming comes and keep the HC off the sandy areas. I don't really have any experience with HC or Riccia so I can't really offer you much in the way of useful advice other than the above.

    -
    S
     
  4. pat w

    pat w Member

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    I have a friend at work that uses hot glue extensivly in his coral setups. Also I found this post on TPT on the use of PVC and vinyl:

    ---------------------

    "Reef inhabitants are much more sensitive to water pollution than are most all fresh water fish and plants. PVC is commonly used to plumb reef tanks. PVC is used to to plumb houses.

    Vinyl can also contain lead. That's one reason there are drinking water safe garden hoses and standard garden hoses.

    I have used lots of PVC and vinyl in my aquariums and never had a problem. "

    --------------------

    It's from a well known and gernerally respected source but since I don't have his OK to use his name I'll just put up the public domain info and allow him to remain anonymous.

    Thank for the input though. I need all the help I can get.

    Just cause I ain't tuggin' on the rope don't mean I don't still need a lifeline.

    Thanks again,
    Pat
     
    #4 pat w, Feb 20, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2010
  5. pat w

    pat w Member

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    I completed the work on the false bottom and the river channel.

    The first step was to make a template of the bottom of the tank.

    [​IMG]

    Then position the hardscape elements.

    [​IMG]

    Trace the path for the river, making sure the channel will clear the inside arch of the bridge.

    [​IMG]

    Now just trim the vinyl mat to size and secure it to the template.

    [​IMG]

    I glued down the channel walls following the trace lines on the template. I cut the wall strips 3/4 inch wider than the final height of the wall and cut 3/4 inch tabs allong the bottom. The tabs were folded in an alternating pattern for stability and to allow for the curve required. A spot of hot glue under each tab. First the back wall then the front.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And installed in the tank.

    [​IMG]

    Nice fit. ... Now it's time to rinse me some Turface.

    More to come.

    Pat
     
  6. pat w

    pat w Member

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    Back with more pic's.

    I laid down 60 grams of Osmocote, then went to work.

    FYI for the other noobs that are courious, the following reflects one full 50 lb. bag of Turface Allsport.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I still have a little to go.

    More later,
    Pat
     
  7. pat w

    pat w Member

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    I think this is the final product. My wife and son think so, too, so I better quit.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I quess I need to order my plants. The LFS has a very limited supply IMO.

    HC and Riccia first for the dry start, others later. I was thinking I would just get the Algae Buster stem special from AquaBotanic:

    http://www.aquabotanicstore.com/product_p/p118.htm

    Then I can get everything settled in and develop the design a little at a time.

    Comments and suggestions welcome as always.

    Later,
    Pat
     
  8. pat w

    pat w Member

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    Well, I have to eat my words on the LFS and plants. They didn't have either HC or Riccia, but the owner is ordering me two portions of each for inspection. He said if I like what I see he'd order more.:eek:

    That was a couple of days ago. They should come in on friday's delivery, so I should be planting this weekend.:D

    Pat
     
  9. Wet

    Wet Lifetime Members
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    Just a word of warning about Riccia: this is a pest-y looking plant emergent and does not adapt well back to submerged growth in my experience. Have you thought about Fissidens sp or maybe HM shaped low? (I've never grown any Fissidens sp.)
     
  10. pat w

    pat w Member

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    Quick post.

    LFS got the HC in and it was Two for 1 + 2 Tuesday (two plants or fish for the price of 1 + 2 cents). Got two pots. First pot of HC has been divided into nine portions and is in the tank. Second pot tomorrow. No Riccia yet.

    Pics Later
    Pat
     
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