When the sleeper wakes...

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Bruce Leyland-Jones

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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Before I commit to adding substrate, I thought it might be helpful to explain my thought processes, with regards principles I intend to pay attention to.

  1. I want it to look as natural as I can get it. This means natural materials and a natural 'flow' to those materials. Wood, stone and substrate should be as coordinated as possible.
  2. I want an area dedicated to plants, so I can test out the new plant substrates I've discovered, and an beach area for loaches.
  3. I need to create a gradual high point, leading down to a low point. I don't want 'dead' areas and, ideally, I want all the waste to accumulate in the one spot, preferably as close to the filter as I can get it.
  4. I want plenty of hidey holes, even before planting, but I'll want to be able to see inside those hidey-holes. (No hidden corpses, rotting away in my tank, thank you very much!
  5. I do want to create still zones in the water, without compromising #3 above.
  6. This will be a planted tank, but I'm not going to obsess about plant types and their country of origin. (Probably).
 
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Bruce Leyland-Jones

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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So I've got a background, to sort-of match my wood and have chosen some items to start with...a skeleton, as it were.
DSCN3875.JPG


This afternoon, I went a-wandering on the beach, for some matching stones. (Yes...I did do the Vinegar Test on them and I'm happy with what I've chosen).
NOTE that I've inserted a stone in the fork of that root, to give the impression that the root had grown around the stone.

DSCN3876.JPG


DSCN3877.JPG
 
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Bruce Leyland-Jones

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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Time to add the rest of the woody bits...
Right-hand side of the tank;

DSCN3882.JPG

DSCN3883.JPG


Tank centre

DSCN3884.JPG



Left-hand side of the tank;

DSCN3885.JPG

DSCN3886.JPG


A close-up of that 'Octopus Wood' in the back corner;

DSCN3887.JPG


Now, before I add water, I need to study what I can plant, work out where I can plant it and then go and find it.
Watch this space.
 

Myraan

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Looks good.
Well done for not rushing it. I expect you will have better looking tank than I would because of that :)
 
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Bruce Leyland-Jones

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Looks good.
Well done for not rushing it. I expect you will have better looking tank than I would because of that :)
Thank you. It's easier not to rush when I'm documenting the process for future use.
I've also got an established tank already set up to gawp at, when I'm waiting for things to happen.
For example, when I add some water, I might find that I still haven't cleaned the sand well enough.
That'll give me the choice of scooping it out and washing it again, or doing repeated water changes...both of which will take time.

Then there'll be another waiting period while the plants get established and another to make sure that cycling is occurring as it should.

Then :D there'll be gaps of time between each addition of fish and snails, etc..
 
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Bruce Leyland-Jones

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My 'Special Bowl'* in place, addition of water, for the use of;

DSCN3888.JPG


Gadzooks!
It looks like I might've cleaned the sand sufficiently after all...

DSCN3889.JPG


NOTE #1: I've been keeping tally of just how many buckets of water I'm using and ten gets me so far...meaning 80 litres.
(Remember those discussions about tank capacity? By the end of this excerise, I should know exactly how much water the tank holds, which will be useful knowledge).
NOTE #2: I'm aware of those little gas pockets in the bottom right...one of the many cons to a sand substrate. These will be dealt with when I start planting. Gas pockets form easily in sand and the resulting gas, if and when the substrate 'farts' them out, can be toxic to the fish. Regular raking will be necessary to stop these from happening.

*Made by my own fair hand and a great shape for pouring the water from a bucket into. Added water goes straight back up the water 'fall' and doesn't disturb the substrate one iota.
 

wasmewasntit

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Buy a turkey baster...a big one.

Awesomely simple piece of kit when you have sandy bottoms....fill baster with water, stick the end into the sand and puff it, instant removal of gas pockets and any debris lands on the surface to be collected by the baster for disposal

Basters are also handy for spot hoovering where the vac will not reach and picking up any uneaten food

Fluval sell them but your local hardware shop or supermarket do too......a definite "must have" when you have a sandy bottom.
 
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Bruce Leyland-Jones

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That 80 litre level has been marked onto the rear side of the tank, for future reference.
I've now begun acquiring plants, taking note of substrate requirements.
So far, I've plundered Pets at Home, to try some Tropica plants;
Hygrophila Siamensis - for the rear.
Cryptocoryne beckettii - for the middle.
Lobelia cardinalis - for the rear,
Eleocharis acicularis - for the front.

All are rooted and I'm aware the Lobelia may be a challenge to grow, so it'll be a real test of the substrate. I'll also be using Tropica rooting tablets.

EDIT: Plants and animals in bold text.
 
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Bruce Leyland-Jones

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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Buy a turkey baster...a big one.

Awesomely simple piece of kit when you have sandy bottoms....fill baster with water, stick the end into the sand and puff it, instant removal of gas pockets and any debris lands on the surface to be collected by the baster for disposal

Basters are also handy for spot hoovering where the vac will not reach and picking up any uneaten food

Fluval sell them but your local hardware shop or supermarket do too......a definite "must have" when you have a sandy bottom.
Good tip.
I actually already have one and use it for blowing surface wastes to one spot, were I can then syphon it away and, as you mention, sucking up from crevices.
 

wasmewasntit

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Good tip.
I actually already have one and use it for blowing surface wastes to one spot, were I can then syphon it away and, as you mention, sucking up from crevices.
I used my basters alot when I owned my Axie, but since keeping the sandy bottoms, its invaluable for puffing compacted sand under ornaments/rocks and removing the black gunge/gas pockets easily and quickly
 
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Bruce Leyland-Jones

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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Planting took place this morning, which was fun...I really REALLY don't like planting in sand.
I used my newly bought plants, listed above and the clippings that have been floating around in the top of my established tank, along with 'spare' floaters.
Anyway, after the plants, the tank was topped up with 3 buckets I took out of my established tank.

This confirms my tank capacity, with all hard landscaping, to be 104 litres.
(Of interest, according to the Aquarium Calculator on this Forum, the capacity should be 98 litres.

All that done, I turned the water into a soup, with water conditioner added...followed sometime later with liquid plant fertiliser and Microbe-Lift 'Special Blend' and Nite-Out II.
(So, so much easier and safer with fish absent ;) ).

I'm going to let it all settle down for a bit now.
 
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Bruce Leyland-Jones

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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Filter now installed and switched on.
I got an Aquael Turbo 1000 and am impressed so far.
I've also got a Tetra 1000 Plus on the subs bench, but I had plans to modify that quite a bit, so that one's on the back-burner for now.
If I'm not, later on I'll know who to grizzle at, won't I @wasmewasntit ? :D
 

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