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NFC: Re: Plants - and more

I have a 10g experimental tank that I keep at a friend's house.  It is so
heavily planted that it never needs to be cleaned.  In fact, I have not
cleaned it in about 3 years.  My friend tops off the water and feeds the
fish, but she does nothing else.  I do a 30% water change about 3-4 times a
year, but I take it from the top and don't touch the gravel.  At that time,
I usually have to remove some plants to clear up some swimming (and viewing)
area, but that's about it.  (Okay, no Java Moss in there for obvious
reasons!)  The fish are healthy, there is very little algae, and the water
stays clear.  It is the most beautiful tank I've ever owned and would love
to get it back (if I only had the room).  People are always tempted to
rearrange their tanks and try different things, but it's great when you can
leave something alone and just let nature go crazy!


----- Original Message -----
From: Chris Hedemark <chris at yonderway_com>
To: <nfc at actwin_com>
Sent: Sunday, December 19, 1999 3:07 PM
Subject: NFC: Plants - and more

> Christian C Burke wrote:
> > Well, I guess you can't believe everything you read.  It sounds like
> > done some experimenting with this, perhaps because you read the same
> No it's just that the stuff is growing like kudzu and I hated to throw
> it out. :-)  So I expermented with different ways to use the stuff.
> It's interesting, though.  Forgive me if this is off topic I'll kill
> this thread if y'all want.  But my 20 gallon terrarium is a model of
> self sufficiency.  I just put live crickets and water in it.  I
> occaisionally prune back the plants when they reach the lid.  I have
> never cleaned it once in about 2 years.  It has no odor.  The tank is
> self cleaning.
> This was an experiment, BTW.
> The substrate is peat moss at the base, moistened and then packed into
> the tank.
> On top of that I added leaf litter and pine needles from outside.  I
> also added some small pieces of rotting wood with all the fauna still on
> it.
> I try to keep the substrate misted once a day, and "flood" it about once
> a month where I just keep adding water until it almost reaches the top
> of the substrate.  This helps to chase the crickets out of hiding so the
> mantellas can catch them before the crickets grow too large.
> I throw java moss on the substrate and keep it moist through regular
> watering.  It still dies, and becomes part of the substrate over time.
> But when it is alive it provides hiding places for the inhabitants and
> helps keep the humidity up.  The lid is just a screen lid so I don't
> block air flow to keep humidity high.  Good ventilation can't be
> sacraficed to reach high humidity levels.
> I honestly don't know how many mantellas are in there now.  A couple of
> years ago it was seven.  But I hate them.  They hide all the time, and I
> never ever see them.  My wife swears they are there.  If you pick up a
> piece of wood you can find one or two but I hate to disturb them.  The
> red efts that they live with are far more interesting to watch.
> While I don't much care for the mantellas, the experiment itself is the
> only reason I keep them around.  I know they are there.  I put crickets
> in and they disappear.  If they were simply dying, that is STILL
> biomatter added to the tank so the experiment is still valid for me.  I
> don't use fancy test kits of any kind, just my nose.  It always smells
> pleasent and mildly earthy in there.  Never foul.  It's proved to me
> that you can strike a natural balance in a pet environment that totally
> eliminates the need for cleaning.
> I had similar success with a saltwater fish tank using nothing but an
> air stone and lights.  No inverts whatsoever.  Just a few fish in a 55
> gallon tank that lived about 18 months without filtration.  The tangs
> suffered lateral line disease but the other inhabitants did fine.  The
> experiment ended when I moved from that house.
> --
> "I would remind you that extremism in defense of liberty is no vice; and
> I would remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no
> virtue." - Barry Goldwater
Christian C. Burke
cburke.fish-head at worldnet_att.net