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#1 Aquatopes

Aquatopes
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  • Bemidji, MN

Posted 10 February 2020 - 12:30 PM

I finally got an idea on what I wanted to do with a 29 biocube that I got from a friend for Christmas (very cheap too...only $10 for the tank, stand, pump and heater) and I think I'm happy with the direction the tank is going in. The first idea for the tank was a saltwater tank (as what most biocubes are), but with my limited college budget and little time that I am really around the tank a saltwater tank was not working. The air in my dorm is very dry and I had to top off the tank almost daily with a gallon of RODI and it got expensive fast. So, I sold off a large chunk of my saltwater supplies and the tank sat empty for a few weeks and let me tell you starting at an empty tank is not a fun thing to come home to after class. In my Streams & Rivers class we have a predator tank with some young pike and gar as well as a tank of young perch, bass and shiners. Both of these tanks got me inspired to possibly setup a native fish tank again and this time on a larger scale which I was excited about. 

 

I had a few Ideas in my head on possible scaping layouts, the first was a pseudopaludarium where I would get some substrate balls and wedge them in the nooks of wood to allow me to plant terrestrial plants just above the water line. I also thought of doing a straight up pauludarium with a drip wall, but I wanted something a bit lower maintenance. I was thinking of making a bank that ended with and area to hold around 1-2" of water to allow me to plant some spike rushes/sedges and create a very realistic pond bank tank, but I ultimately went with the basic aquarium full of water approach. I feel like I made the right choice and I really do love the way the tank looks, it has great depth and the tannins are almost at the perfect level.

 

When I scaped the tank I did however make the bank system for my tank, when thinking of ways to make my bank I thought about using foam boards to build up the back. This could've worked but would have taken a lot of time (which I didn't really have) and it could have made my dorm a huge mess from carving. I chose to try using filter floss to make my banks and I would say it worked out perfectly. I like using filter floss as it is easy to "mold", cheap and can work as bio-filtration under the substrate (or it will go anaerobic and kill my tank). I did weight it down with Aqua soil, this worked great and allows me to plant up with whole bank if I want to in the future, along with a few accent rocks for good measure. 

 

Here is how the scape looked in the early stages:

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The real showstopper or centerpiece of the tank has to be the piece of tigerwood that I got from Modern Aquatics, its the perfect size and I love how it looks like a root ball which is perfect for the stream like habitat that I will be replicating. The piece is roughly 14-16" wide and 15" tall or so. I love how dark it got after it was submerged and it did not even float which is good because I forgot to soak it beforehand!

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The aqua soil was covered in some sand I got from a lake this past summer and I mixed in 2 grades of gravel (one smaller more tan and a larger redder tone), some crushed oak leaves and twigs and a few pieces of sphagnum moss. On top of the sand substrate a layer of Oak leaves and birch cones were added to get a more natural look. I did talk to the owner of Tannin Aquatics and are working out a US botanical pack that would contain seed pods and leaves from the US, I also picked up some Bur oak caps and KJE Aquatics had some alder cones.

 

Here is how big the Bur oak caps are, almost like a mini coconut hut!

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The biocube is great due to the AIO chamber that allows all the filtration to be hid and if needed a heater to keep stable temps as my water is in the high 60s to low 70s. These temps might be okay for the fish I want, but I am unsure how well they will do in the long run. 

 

 


"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man"

       -Heraclitus


#2 Aquatopes

Aquatopes
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  • Bemidji, MN

Posted 10 February 2020 - 01:21 PM

Scape

The tank took the turn to becoming a blackwater almost stream bank like to due to high sloping substrate and the branches that sit in the water from above, It was originally going to be more of a pond style tank but the pump puts out a lot more flow than expected which actually works out perfectly. The surface of the water has a very nice slow ripple effect that looks amazing when viewed from below. This tank also is really ice because I can relate some of the ideas that I learn in my Streams & Rivers class to whats happening in my tank. An example is that for a bit the main source of carbon for the tank was allochthonous or terrestrial carbon sources like the botanicals and wood, now the tank also has autochthonous sources in the form of the moss and other plants that will be added. I still think that a large sum of the tank will come from allochthonous sources, much like any blackwater source found in nature. 

 

Here is what the tank currently looks like as of last night after adding more botanicals:

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Plants

Speaking of the autochthonous carbon source, the only plant that is currently in the tank is non-native and that would be Java moss. I do wish to maybe switch it out for a native moss, but Ive heard fissidens moss is picky and not as easy to care for. The other plants that I hope to add would mainly be some giant hairgrass (eleocharis montevidensis) scattered throughout the back and I won some dwarf water lettuce at an auction recently, so they should be here soon. The last component of the tank is the botanicals, I am wondering to get more variety in this section of the tank. Possibly another leaf variety or two and some more seed pods will be the way to go 

 

Fish

The hardest part of the whole process is decided on what species of fish I would think fits the scape, flow and general goals of the tank. I have thought of roughly 10-15 speices of fish that could be the inhabitants for the tank, anything from sunfish to sticklebacks were thought of to inhabit the tank. In the end I believe that the Least killifsh or Bluefin Killifish will make a great smaller fish species that will swim amongst the branches/roots, one of the pteronotropis shiners ideally the lowland or metallic shiner would be a nice free-swimming fish, likely a school 5-7, and lastly a few swamp darters and ghost shrimp to add some activity to the bottom levels of the tank will round out the stock. 

 


Edited by Aquatopes, 10 February 2020 - 01:27 PM.

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man"

       -Heraclitus


#3 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
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  • Ohio

Posted 10 February 2020 - 06:43 PM

This looks very nice.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#4 JasonL

JasonL
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  • Kentucky

Posted 10 February 2020 - 09:50 PM

Very nice looking tank.  

 

If you want Lepomis I would suggest a few L. humilis since they are native to MN and that is the type of habitat they like.  Plus they stay fairly small and aren’t really as aggressive as other sunfish species.  Also double check on the MN regulations for some of the non native species you mentioned.  Not all states allow you to keep them.

 

Anyhow, good luck and please post some updates as you have a very interesting tank.



#5 NotCousteau

NotCousteau
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  • Minnesota

Posted 11 February 2020 - 04:57 PM

Great aquascape. Mud minnows could make great inhabitants for that type of setup, although they're big enough to eat bluefin killies. Good luck, and keep us updated with photos.



#6 Josh Blaylock

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  • Central Kentucky

Posted 12 February 2020 - 08:43 AM

I'm thinking Pteronotropis would look amazing in there.  Some Flagfin or Metallic shiners


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#7 UncleWillie

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Posted 12 February 2020 - 10:11 AM

Very nice setup.  This really reminds me of a tank/scape I had in college.  At the time I had rainwater and bluefin killiefish in the tank and they did well in that tannin stained water with lots of java moss, java fern, and wood branches.  That cube style has a different footprint than a typical 10 gallon tank, which I why I wouldn't suggest sunfish.  My tastes have changed over the years and I typically find a tank with several tiny fish more interesting to watch than a tank with few, large, predatory or "grumpy" fish.

 

Now, that same tank is mostly least killifish (Heterandira formosa) and one female Betta (yes, I know - not native, but the fiance insisted), and they will occupy all spaces in that tank and are interesting to watch.  While they aren't as "showy" as the bluefins or rainwaters, they are still fun to watch.  Plus I am a sucker for "brown" fish.  I also REALLY like Josh's suggestion if you can get your hands on some smaller Pteronotropis.


Willie P
Roswell, GA


#8 Aquatopes

Aquatopes
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  • Bemidji, MN

Posted 12 February 2020 - 04:59 PM

Very nice setup.  This really reminds me of a tank/scape I had in college.  At the time I had rainwater and bluefin killiefish in the tank and they did well in that tannin stained water with lots of java moss, java fern, and wood branches.  That cube style has a different footprint than a typical 10 gallon tank, which I why I wouldn't suggest sunfish.  My tastes have changed over the years and I typically find a tank with several tiny fish more interesting to watch than a tank with few, large, predatory or "grumpy" fish.

 

Now, that same tank is mostly least killifish (Heterandira formosa) and one female Betta (yes, I know - not native, but the fiance insisted), and they will occupy all spaces in that tank and are interesting to watch.  While they aren't as "showy" as the bluefins or rainwaters, they are still fun to watch.  Plus I am a sucker for "brown" fish.  I also REALLY like Josh's suggestion if you can get your hands on some smaller Pteronotropis.

 

Very nice setup.  This really reminds me of a tank/scape I had in college.  At the time I had rainwater and bluefin killiefish in the tank and they did well in that tannin stained water with lots of java moss, java fern, and wood branches.  That cube style has a different footprint than a typical 10 gallon tank, which I why I wouldn't suggest sunfish.  My tastes have changed over the years and I typically find a tank with several tiny fish more interesting to watch than a tank with few, large, predatory or "grumpy" fish.

 

Now, that same tank is mostly least killifish (Heterandira formosa) and one female Betta (yes, I know - not native, but the fiance insisted), and they will occupy all spaces in that tank and are interesting to watch.  While they aren't as "showy" as the bluefins or rainwaters, they are still fun to watch.  Plus I am a sucker for "brown" fish.  I also REALLY like Josh's suggestion if you can get your hands on some smaller Pteronotropis.

 

Great aquascape. Mud minnows could make great inhabitants for that type of setup, although they're big enough to eat bluefin killies. Good luck, and keep us updated with photos.

 

Well, I think I'm going to pick up some mudminnows as I love the fact they can take small inverts from the surface. I might also try to get some metallic shiners or dace but I do not have a lid so jumping might be a problem. I do have an 8 gallon bowfront that I could keep some least killis and the add as "enrichment" (it sounds terribel but its life) for the mudminnows. I would also look to add some iowa or johnny darters If I can get down to Stillwater for the MAS Darter hunt


Edited by Aquatopes, 12 February 2020 - 04:59 PM.

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man"

       -Heraclitus


#9 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 12 February 2020 - 05:42 PM

Just an FYI,  eastern mudminnows stay smaller than central mudminnows. The mudminnows are some of my personal favorites and I think having H. formosa with them as a live food dispensary will be very interesting. 


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#10 Aquatopes

Aquatopes
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  • Bemidji, MN

Posted 13 February 2020 - 12:15 AM

Just an FYI,  eastern mudminnows stay smaller than central mudminnows. The mudminnows are some of my personal favorites and I think having H. formosa with them as a live food dispensary will be very interesting. 

I only have a source for centrals, I would LOVE some easterns but am unable to find any or find a place to buy any, I get mine from a bait store for free and QT the heck out of them


"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man"

       -Heraclitus


#11 Aquatopes

Aquatopes
  • NANFA Guest
  • Bemidji, MN

Posted 14 February 2020 - 08:09 PM

Photo Dump of the tank, I did add 4 Alder cones and did get the look I wanted....now to just get those dang plants and possibly try to reduce flow for the fish species I want.

Attached Files


"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man"

       -Heraclitus


#12 Betta132

Betta132
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  • San Gabriel drainage area

Posted 23 February 2020 - 07:17 PM

Beautiful! I wouldn't entirely suggest ghost shrimp, though, especially not if you get the extremely small least killies. Some species referred to as ghost shrimp will kill and eat small fish. 






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