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A 20" cube


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I picked up a lovely cube tank, stand and hood from a roadside collection a few weeks ago, and given the quantity of bettas coming from Lilli's fsh room, I am going to turn it into a grow-out betta community tank. The thing is though, that I don't have a fish room and this tank is going to be smack in the corner of the loungeroom.

It needs to be low maintenance, practical for netting and WCs, and be full of low to medium light plants.

I'm thinking of a peat substrate, or perhaps peat/riversand. My other main planted tank in the opposite corner of the room is Sydney beach sand which is utterly hopeless for rooted plants. I just have masses of weighted java fern, but to be honest I'd like something a bit different in this tank. I love my java fern and it suits the other tank, but it isn't good unless it is en masse and I don't think I can jam that much plant matter into this new setup.

Should I bother with hardscaping or just leave it flat? I don't want to try netting around mangrove roots, but I could probably deal with a rock or two. Maybe a round glazed orb?

Natural or nature-inspired? I'm happy to plant in pots or even DIY some terracotta structure to plant in should a good idea pop up :giggle:

What plants would be good for this type of setup? I don't want anything too strappy because nets will just get tangled. I am happy to just weight and not have things rooted. Maybe a mass of hornwort would be good given the likely bioload and proximity to the window, but how on earth do you make hornwort look stylish?? Fluro lighting will be less than 1WPG but it is right near a window so that seems to bump up growth somewhat.

Any thoughts on substrate? I want easy to clean or something that doesn't show the muck. I don't really want to muck about with layers if I can help it.

I have little to no budget for this project, so I'm hoping for as many creative ideas as you guys can muster! I'm feeling brave! :D I'll get pictures of the tank (still needs work before I can set it up) and the position shortly ;)

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my random thoughts: Something resembling Kitz's ADA tank... I have a big chunk of rose quartz you can have if you want it for a centrepiece ... your usual sand substrate over a layer of peat ... and some of those awesome low-growing vallis that Ian was showing us pictures of last night ... your new chain swords at the front ... maybe some riccia or java moss (AKA "spawning moss with possible rachovii eggs" lol) on the quartz held on with a hairnet. or one solid kind of low driftwood chunk at the bottom.

IME the juvies will stay near the surface and be netted out easily if you feed them at the surface.

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sorry, cat, but is that 20 inches or 20 cm?

if the former, your going to need very high lighting just to reach the bottom of the tank, but if it's a low light plant, like a moss, then suppose it's fine.

if you want something really simple, and you're not going to fill the tank anytime soon, say 3 weeks, you could use any old substrate for the bottom, with a slight gradient, and on top of this, add slate plates which has java moss attached to it, and press the slate into the substrate. obviously you have to tie the moss down, but you can grow a moss mat this way, growing the moss emersed or just damp by spraying it with water - it grows more quickly this way. so when the moss eventually attaches to the slate, you have a nice green mat that can be easily cleaned via vacuuming, and you just maintain it by trimming! alternatively you could make moss floor and walls, using some sort of plastic meshing! and amongst the mass of moss you could have little shrimpies cleaning up!!!! all very simple and easy to maintain and shouldn't look to bad either!

or you could attach the java fern to the slate, or slate pieces, place it at the back of the tank, and you'll eventually get it to fill out.

you could do the same with some sort of hair grass or echinodorus tenellus emersed, but the latter needs a bit of light, which will be difficult when you fully submerge it.

mosswall

Edited by holycow
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Pretty sure that would be 20 inches. When I first saw practical and pretty I thought 20cm as well then is saw the " mark. In my fishroom a 20 inch cube would be a monster. Mind you I would struggle to fit a 2 ft tank on my shelves. :giggle: Haven't got much to add that hasn't been already said. For low to medium plants you want about 70 to 100 watts of light. Looking forward to seeing the progress of this tank.

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I like the idea of a moss tank,

go for a moss carpet and wall? maybe thats a bit much, can easily be acheived using gutter guard, pretty cheap from bunnings.

that way you can throw in any substrate you like, your nets wont get caught in it, and the sunlight/fluro should be sufficient.

Peter

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Yes, definitely inches. I haven't measured, but I'm pretty sure it is close to 20 ;) It is a nice corner piece, and I'm very glad it comes with a stand because it would not really fit on anything else we have! The hood is nice and flat so is going to be our corner magazine/remote control table. It should have considerably more room than the table that is there now, which is kind of full of, um... tank. :giggle:

Mmm, the light is going to be a bit of a doozy. I've never had much in the way of lighting on any of my tanks. I am careful about the tubes I buy and how often I replace them, so I do get the most out of the fixtures, but I have a habit of severely underpowering my lights so this should be very interesting indeed. I'm crossing my fingers that the indirect window lighting from one side will give things a kick in the right direction, and I'll fix some shop lighting into the hood, but realistically it'll be lucky to get more than 40W total in fluros. Still, it is a challenge!

I like the moss idea, I have never had much success with moss unless I was growing it on the windowsill, but this is near a window so you never know. I have some hairnets left from when I was making moss balls, perhaps that could work. Would java moss be my best bet there? If I'm pushed for time, could I start it off in a shallow tray under lights? I have a spare 24" single reflector and a similarly sized tray, so I could push it along if that would help.

I love the idea of shrimpies! I'm feeling quite strange having crustacea-free tanks, so that could go a long way to solving my problems there!

I am a riccia killer extraordinaire. :D I have got some to grow in a cup in the laundry, but everywhere else it just dies dies dies. In fact, could someone take my cup of riccia? I'm never going to get it going in my tanks and I'm not sure how long it'll last where it is.

I'd kind of like to tie the two tanks together somehow, so I'm painting the stand and hood the same colour, and while I don't really want to carry over the java fern or beach sand, I might see about using some bushrock. It is difficult to get individual pieces rather than a full pallet load, but I have a few left from my last lot so maybe one of those could be suitable.

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Sounds like a good pick up!

Mosses don't mind lower light - I have a great hollow log covered with java moss in the bristlenose tank. The moss is slow to grow but its now long enough to wave in the current. Other mosses like flame moss or peacock moss could make a nice feature in your cube.

I have riccia in the BN tank too - just floating on the surface so it gets better light than if I had it at the bottom of the tank - it really has grown quite fast - at least 10 times the size of the original portion. I think I have a total of 48W of light above the tank. You could leave the lights on longer for the plants anyway and add a few BN's to keep the algae down perhaps?

Not sure of other lower light plants but I'm sure you could get a really nice selection without having to go crazy with lighting.

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