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· Retired Groomer
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171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
About 10 years ago I was into low tech planted tanks. When I retired and started travelling south in the winter, I gave up the aquarium hobby and focused on outdoor ponds that I could leave on their own for a few months at a time.
Now, I am staying home year round and want to get back into planted tanks, and am interested in trying high tech. I’m going to take my time and spread the build out over the coming cold and rainy months (PacNW winter). Perfect Pandemic Project!
I remembered from some post here that Karen had written a book on the subject - I love just absorbing information in a new hobby, the book should be here tomorrow from Amazon. So excited! Maybe I will chronicle my build here, if anyone is interested.

As for grooming, well... again, I retired 10 years ago. I had become very jaded about dogs (and owners) at the time. Just the amount of bad health, poor care, matted, abscessed and flea ridden messes, lax and ignorant attitudes ... I’m probably not the one to give advice to potential groomers! The dog I choose to own when i retired was a MinPin who needed the least amount of grooming possible and I vowed to never own a dog with ‘hair’ again!

But, now, of course there is my Bingo boy - enough time has gone by and I take great pride in his beautiful coat and am grateful that I have the knowhow to keep it up.
 

· Retired Groomer
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171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Oh, and I just found your website, Karen. Someone on The Planted Tank forum mentioned an article from your blog. And scrolling through, I found some info that is very timely and helpful for me - the one on your storing system for emersed plants.
I am finding that here, in Canada, most of the online aquatic plant sources are out of stock of most plants. My aquascape idea includes dark coloured bucephalandra, which I found at one dealer, so I ordered them even though I am not close to planting the tank yet. I will use your ideas to set up a basement 'nursery'.

https://www.sunkengardens.net/about

Are you active on any aquatic forums?
 

· Retired Groomer
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171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #48 ·
LOVE it!!! i
I'm saving this picture, but when you get the tank going, and it's looking lovely, I want a photo of THAT with my book. I collect photos of my reader's tanks with my books!!! <3
Well, 9 months later and already a few re-scapes, the tank is doing great. I’ve learned a lot about growing plants, balancing ferts, tweeking C02, adjusting the lights and keeping the fauna alive and well! The tank is algae free at this point and maintenance is easy and pleasurable. Some of the stem plants grow like crazy and others seem to take their time (like the Ozelot sword in the back right corner that is eventually going to fill that big gap, lol).

175389


I’ve stepped away from most social media including forums, in an effort to greatly reduce my screen time and pursue more “organic” interests such as my koi pond, aquarium, new grandson, gardens, bonsai and my beloved companions, Mitzi and Bingo. Bingo is happy and healthy for any of you who remember him (the Shih Tzu/Chihuahua Havanese Look-alike!). These days I shave his face and feet, so he has a decidedly more Chinese Crested Powderpuff look : )

Thanks again for your book, Karen. I’ve very much enjoyed it.
And Cheers to everyone else here on the forum!

175390
 

· Retired Groomer
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171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #51 · (Edited)
Hi Karen,
Here it is a year later and time for a little update. My tank has gone through a few rescapes over time. I removed the wood as it seemed to attract black beard algae and I grew tired of cleaning it off. I kept taking more and more rocks out to have room for more plants, until there were none left. All of my snails died off - I think living in a prolonged low pH and high Co2 level was not healthy for them.
With no hardscape left I was leaning towards a Dutch feel to the tank and it was looking fairly nice:
Property Plant Green Output device Wood


However, it was developing some algae issues on older leaves of most of the stem plants and green dust on the glass every week that I was getting frustrated with. Adjusting light and co2, waiting a week, repeat, repeat … trimming tops and replanting, having those sections looking bad until they filled in again etc. I don’t know, I was losing interest, and looking back to the days 10 years ago when I kept a 125g low tech fancy goldfish tank with large potted plants and minimal work involved.
Finally, I made the decision to completely change up the aquascape. I removed all the plants, saving the ones best suited to a low light, non- co2 environment. I put in a 1/2“, easy to vacuum layer of fine gravel and potted the plants in black glass vases. Removed the co2 system and stopped running my t5ho lights, leaving just the LED’s. I put the driftwood back in and planted it with some anubias. Cut way back on ferts and bought more fish and snails.

Plant Flowerpot Houseplant Terrestrial plant Aquatic plant


It has been running in the new low tech configuration for almost 4 months so far and no sign of algae anywhere. The plants seem to be thriving and maintenance is a breeze. I am finding myself sitting and watching the fish a lot and enjoying the beauty rather than thinking so much about what I have to do to fix things. Karen, I think you mentioned that you prefered not being a slave to your tank … you are so right!
The aquarium now has a spare, modern feel to it that I’m sure is not to everyones taste, but I think it suits the Osaka tank, my room decor and my own sensibilities.

And because this is actually a DOG forum:

Dog Plant Dog breed Carnivore Companion dog


Mitzi is 13 now and Bingo is 5 and both are thriving! ~•♥•~
Cheers to all!
 

· Retired Groomer
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171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #53 ·
I find that the tanks that are actually the VERY easiest to maintain are low light, tanks, with slow growth, easy plants, but KEEP the CO2... Just on low, you don't need to be pumping a lot in. Then you have the best of all worlds a very stable environment, with very healthy plants! But your method works too!
Hmmm, I don’t know why but I never thought about just having the Co2 on low. The equipment is all in place, even the inline diffuser, so I could give it a try. When I had it on before, the bubbles per second were uncountable to get to a 1.4 drop in pH, so maybe this time around I can do just an obvious 1-3 bbs or something … do you have a formula?
On the other hand, I could also just leave well enough alone al long as things are going so well. Plus the fish and snails are happy with the current pH and conditions : )

Thanks for your advice and kind words about my pups!
 

· Retired Groomer
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171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #57 ·
Fo gH, I add calcium chloride and magnesium sulphate as well, again, both zero in my tap. Since my background is all goldfish and koi, I am used to using these particular salts for kH and gH with my extremely soft water. My shrimp and snails are doing much better with these numbers than before.
If I try a small amount of c02, I’ll make sure it doesn’t drop the pH more than a half point or so.
 

· Retired Groomer
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171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #60 ·
I was browsing FB marketplace when, lo and behold, there was another Osaka tank for sale in my town! Needless to say … I bought it.
Fluval made 3 sizes of the Osaka line of tanks. My 260 (litres) was the middle size and the new one is the larger size - 360L or 84.5g. Whoop!

I shored up the floor underneath and put the new tank on the wall opposite the old one. I am going for the same low tech, easy to maintain esthetic, with potted plants and wood. This time I am putting in a moss wall, which is basically a mesh grid suction cupped to the glass with bits of moss tied on that will eventually fill in to cover the back wall. So far I have anubias and java fern attached to Malaysian driftwood, crinum bulbs, Amazon swords and a lace leaf aponogeton, Christmas moss logs and weeping moss on the wall.

Fish will be larger and all either black or yellow. I bought an Oase Biomaster Thermal 850 filter for it, moved some filter material from my established canisters to jumpstart the filters and added 6 black lyretail mollies for the rest of the cycle. I expect no large ammonia or nitrite spikes with this combination. I’ll add more fish slowly over the next few months. Black Angels, gold Gouramis, black Corydoras, gold Lazer Cories, yellow long finned Danios, Black Knight rams, and yellow Plecos.

Nothing like a new winter project!

Picture frame Property Plant Lighting Wood
 

· Retired Groomer
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171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #62 ·
The line came out in the mid 2000’s or so and were discontinued a few years later (maybe, 2011).
Very high quality, thick curved glass. Intended to be a mid century modern/retro look. I have seen a few used ones around, especially the smallest model, but mostly in Vancouver which is an expensive ferry ride away from me! I feel lucky to have found the two I have : )

Plant Product Interior design Houseplant Wood
 

· Retired Groomer
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171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #66 ·
Oh, the paludarium! So beautiful! I have a large, shallow tank in storage that would make a fantastic, open air paludarium, if I could only find space in my small house to put it.
I feel very lucky to live in an area with plentiful, clean, soft water. I keep a 2500g gallon koi pond, as well, which is basically a huge outdoor fish tank (literally, it is a custom made aluminum tank), that gets treated and fussed over just as much as my indoor aquariums.

Plant Building Botany Shade Architecture


Automotive tire Asphalt Motor vehicle Plant Technology


 
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