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[APD] Putting my new tank together -or- Yet another way-too-long messag e from an aquatics ignoramus
Well, it looks like I'm finally ready to finish up my new tank. I was
hoping to run my plan by the list in order to avoid any obvious mistakes
(uh-oh, more stupid questions). I kept several tanks when I was younger,
but didn't really know what I was doing and was never very successful in
raising particularly robust fish or plants. So I'm really excited about
trying again and, hopefully, getting it (more or less) right this time. I
know this is a long message, but it would be very, very helpful and
reassuring to me to get responses or thoughts from any of the pros out
there. As a poor, starving, emaciated (OK, a slight exaggeration), college
student, I'm on a tight budget and would like to avoid any grievous errors
the first time around.
So, here's the run-down:
The tank is an 80 gallon long. To make things a little different, I decided
to make the water only about 12" deep and do a terrestrial area (my
apartment-mate's idea, actually) using an acrylic ledge. We cut the plastic
to fit along the back and sides of the tank in a U type shape (it comes
close to the front of the tank in both front corners and has a gap in the
back on the left for some taller plants) and screwed it on to some thick
branches for support (at first I was going to use some sort of plastic
supports, but I decided this would be too hard to hide).
Next, I'm going to model around the edges of the ledge with some colored
Apoxie Sculpt clay (says it can be used in water features, so it should be
fine) and then fill the ledges with substrate and plant them. I plan to
drill holes in the acrylic and fill the tank so that the lower part of the
ledge is always submerged. I want to do this so that water will flow
through the ledge's substrate, supplying nutrients to the plants and keeping
waste products from collecting excessively. Also, I thought that the roots
from the plants on the ledge might grow down into the water, which would
look interesting, provide more hiding places for the fish, and hopefully
help with the biological filtration at the same time.
For filtration I've got a 2213 Eheim canister. I'll put the intake in the
back left corner and I'll probably let the output run over the right-hand
portion of the shelf to increase the circulation there even more.
I was hoping to get away without an air pump, but now I'm thinking the
filter won't be good enough by itself since it probably won't be causing a
lot of current. Any ideas how I might be able to increase oxygen content?
I keep thinking along the lines of something spliced into the filter output
tube, but perhaps it'd be better to just get a small air stone.
I bought a hanging shop light at Home Depot (not the prettiest, but not at
all bad for the price either) along with four T-8 Philips Alto, 32 watt,
5000k, full spectrum fluorescent bulbs.
The substrate is the part I haven't quite decided on. Currently I'm
thinking of using a very thin layer of pre-soaked potting soil covered by a
mix of ~50% fluorite, ~25% play sand, and ~25% profile (because it's cheap,
inert, and apparently doesn't get soft). For the ledge, I'd use the same
formula except without the sand and soil.
As I alluded to in an earlier message, I decided against a C02 system (at
least for the moment). I'm thinking the majority of the plants won't be
fully submerged and will be able to collect C02 from the air, while
collecting their nutrients from the substrate and water. Since the water is
about a foot deep, however, I'm definitely going to want to have a few fully
aquatic plants. Hopefully this will not be too difficult without additional
C02. What about oxygen, though? If the plants aren't photosynthesizing
underwater, then the oxygen levels won't be as high, even with increased
circulation and aeration, right?
Once I've got everything set up, I'll plant the tank and let it sit for
about 6 weeks (or longer if the plants need more time to get established)
before introducing a few algae-eaters of some sort. I'm not looking to have
a ridiculously gorgeous, planted tank, but I'd like to have healthy growth
and a stable environment for the organisms.
I guess that's about it (and a darn good thing, considering I'm approaching
1 ½ pages). Again, any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Even a
thumbs up would be nice if, by some infinitesimally miniscule chance, I'm on
the right track here.
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