Monday, May 14, 2012

4.5 liter / 1 gallon planted tank

I've had my eye on a nano aquarium for quite some time now. I'm sure I'm going to own one sometime soon. In anticipation, to learn and just because I can I've decided to start up a small low-tech and low budget aquarium.

The tank
I've read all sorts of experiments featuring pickle jars. Unfortunately over here finding such a jar is difficult and what jars I looked at where made of very high tension glass, often with loads of distortions as well. So, in the end I settled for a plastic storage container, the rosti-mepal  Modula "Jumbo"

4500 ml of clear acrylic storage solution.

After buying that I've done all sorts of reading on further tech for these pico aquariums. There's some internal filter solutions but even the smallest would take a hefty chunk out of my budget and available space. Heaters, I'll get to heaters in a next episode, let's just say there's not much choice.
On one of my walks I'd found some slate, probably from a torn down building which was used to stabilize a path. After a failed experiment to wash and sieve some old paving sand I gave up and bought a 2.5kg bag of VDL river sand.

Setting it up
I've read a ton of resources and found the best looking nanos and picos are all CO2 supported and a lot of the good ones look alike. I'm not entirely sure if I want to participate inthat.
One of the things I did read was a few pages written by the legendary Diana Walstad on a low tech shrimp bowl.

Inspired by this I've taken a mixture of 75% potting soil and 25% river clay which is what most of this area where I live is made of anyway.

Pic shot before I fished the root bits out.

Now I washed the sand a few times to get the last bits of dust out. Applied it  and stuck in the slate.

I added some water and left it all to settle overnight.

The next day was maintenance day on my aquarium anyway. I took some cuttings of various plants and some tank water in which I rinsed out my ceramic filter medium.

Plating in something this small isn't easy. Some old trainer chopsticks do help:

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