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setting up an amazon biotope/habitat aquarium

This is a discussion on setting up an amazon biotope/habitat aquarium within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I just wanted to add- Since you have a certain combination of aspects- tight budget, a heavily planted tank, a moderately sized tank... may ...

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setting up an amazon biotope/habitat aquarium
Old 01-20-2012, 02:23 PM   #21
 
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I just wanted to add-
Since you have a certain combination of aspects- tight budget, a heavily planted tank, a moderately sized tank... may I suggest considering a simple sponge filter instead of the canister?
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Old 01-20-2012, 04:35 PM   #22
 
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Quote:
thanks magpie and byron for the insight. i just looked up the water quality reports for my city. unfortunately they only have one up from 2010 and previous so its not as recent as i want to show you guys but hopefully it helps.

the GH of the water has a range of 8-104ppm with an average of 53ppm
the KH of the water has a range of 8-96ppm with an average of 49ppm
and i can't test the pH since i am at school in new york and i live in california. but according to the report, the pH ranges from 8.2-8.7 with an average of 8.5.

in my past tanks i haven't had any problems with fish and this water, except for my first (and failed) attempt at keeping neons. since then i have not tried any fish that need acidic water except maybe for otos which were able to cope fairly well. i remember when i measured the pH of the water a year ago, it was about 7.5. up at school i used driftwood to lower the pH and stain the water.
other than that, i confess, i know little to nothing about water hardness so im hoping you can enlighten me :)
i defintely do not want to kill any more neons because it was quite sad.
Those are not bad GH and KH numbers, assuming it remains around the average. Something is raising the pH, but the low KH will allow that to lower. When you come to setting this tank up, I would recheck the GH and KH and if still low use a good pH adjuster to lower the pH initially; it will stay there with a low KH. I have done this in new tanks (without fish). If the GH and KH increases by then, you could also mix pure water (rainwater, RO or distilled) with tap to reduce these.

For more info on hardness and pH, see this article:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...quarium-73276/

Quote:
and on another note, the tank i wanted to get was a 40 breeder but my father said it was too deep (front to back). the other option is a 38 gallon which has dimensions 36.5x13.5x19.8. i believe these are outside dimensions. would this affect me much at all? in terms of fish/substrate/rooms for plants to grow/etc? from the dimensions its slightly higher than a 40breeder tank but defintely thinner. any thoughts on this or am i overthinking it?
i wanted to set up a flooded forest tnak though a little different than your tanks byron. i will post an image when i can find it again. but i know i defintley have question about it.
Is there any particular reason why the 40 is considered too deep? Physical space in the intended room is a valid concern, but from the perspective solely of the tank itself, I would get a 40 over a smaller. One of the problems with my 3-foot 33g is the narrow depth front to back, 1 foot; another 6 inches would make a big difference aquascaping and give more surface area--on the substrate and at the water surface, and the surface area is far more important than the volume.
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Old 01-20-2012, 09:53 PM   #23
 
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Originally Posted by DavidC View Post
Hey Pandamonium, I am in the process of setting up a Amazon tank myself and Byron has been helping me a s well. I just purchased my lighting the other day. A lighting store in my area had a new type of T5 set up which does not have a ballast. With most florescents you will need to occasionally change the ballasts as they burn out. This new type has none and can be linked one to the other with simple plug connection. I am setting up a large tank, that will hopefully look half as good as Byron's 115g, so I am going with two of the T5's. One is around 6500k and the other is more of a cool white, around 4500k. I do not think they are HO's, but they put out more light than the T8's. Byron has his T8's sitting on top of his glass covers. My tank is going into a custom wall unit, so I can adjust the height of the T5's above the water in case they are too bright.
I went with this idea so I would not have to mess with changing out ballasts. Im not sure if this will actually save me money in the long run but should save time and effort which was what I was after. I will have them on a timer and probably start out with 8 hours a day based on my previous conversations with Byron. If you need more detail on these lights let me know and I will send it to you. I can give you the exact K ratings, etc, and you can see what Byron thinks. Hope this helps.
DavidC
hi davidc, thanks for the info. i dont know anything about lighting except what byron told me, which was about K ratings, and how the light penetrates water. so its very basic. other than that i dont know much about building lighting fixtures or lighting fixtures themselves (from a mechanical standpoint). anything you have would help a lot! :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by MinaMinaMina View Post
I just wanted to add-
Since you have a certain combination of aspects- tight budget, a heavily planted tank, a moderately sized tank... may I suggest considering a simple sponge filter instead of the canister?
i thought about a sponge filter but i dont know if it will circulate water enough. since i am getting a bunch of stuff either on sale or for cheap, money is not too huge of an issue. i have a feeling most of the money will be shelled out for the filter and maybe lighting. but as of now i am trying to do a lot of DIY, esepcially for lighting and lid. hopefully that helps :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
Those are not bad GH and KH numbers, assuming it remains around the average. Something is raising the pH, but the low KH will allow that to lower. When you come to setting this tank up, I would recheck the GH and KH and if still low use a good pH adjuster to lower the pH initially; it will stay there with a low KH. I have done this in new tanks (without fish). If the GH and KH increases by then, you could also mix pure water (rainwater, RO or distilled) with tap to reduce these.

For more info on hardness and pH, see this article:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...quarium-73276/



Is there any particular reason why the 40 is considered too deep? Physical space in the intended room is a valid concern, but from the perspective solely of the tank itself, I would get a 40 over a smaller. One of the problems with my 3-foot 33g is the narrow depth front to back, 1 foot; another 6 inches would make a big difference aquascaping and give more surface area--on the substrate and at the water surface, and the surface area is far more important than the volume.
the only reason is because the places i wanted to put the tank were in my room or in a corner by the wall. the problem there is the 40BR is i think 16 or 18 deep. and 18 high or something. i am going to make a stand which would then be at least 18-22inches deep. this would stick out into a doorway. if i keep it in my room, then i would have to rearrange my room. so the depth is merely a size concern.

when my dad spoke to the salespeople back home, they told him that to cover a 40BR in 1 inch of sand, i woul dneed about 50 pounds of sand. is this about right? and for 2 inches of sand, would that then mean 100 pounds of sand?
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Old 01-21-2012, 12:55 PM   #24
 
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when my dad spoke to the salespeople back home, they told him that to cover a 40BR in 1 inch of sand, i woul dneed about 50 pounds of sand. is this about right? and for 2 inches of sand, would that then mean 100 pounds of sand?
One bag will be more than enough. Playsand comes in 25kg/55lb bags. You should have about 1.5 to 2 inches depth throughout, front can be an inch and graded up slightly deeper in the back (use rocks) for the larger rooted plants, or leave it fairly even throughout. It will level itself in time due to water movement through the substrate and gravity.
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Old 01-21-2012, 01:08 PM   #25
 
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I'd definitely go with the canister filter! I personally think it's worth the expense, particularly if you're saving money on other areas. I got my first Eheim and am in love. It is wonderful and just exceptionally quiet to boot.
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Old 01-22-2012, 11:35 PM   #26
 
thanks magpie and byron! now that i have heard a lot more about eheim filters i am more inclined to buy one. i didnt know that it was a brand before but i did my own research and it is looking good.

also i found the tank that i wanted to model mine after. it was on another forum. the tank is a 29 gallon tank, amazon flooded forest setup as well.
does anyone know what kind of branches they are using? i like the color and design but i am not sure there is driftwood sold in that shape. any place to buy driftwood online? i will check around my area as well.
and for plants i would just assume the general amazon swords and e. tenellus as ground cover. im not sure about floating plants but i plan to use some as well.
and last thing, would this type of setup be viable in a 38gallon or 40BR tank? i know the highs and depths are a bit different but that should not affect it much right?

here are the images of the tank i would like to emulate.



THESE ARE NOT MY TANKS. THEY ARE JUST TANKS I WOULD LIKE TO COPY SO CREDIT GOES TO THE ORIGINAL OWNER WHOEVER HE/SHE MIGHT BE
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Old 01-23-2012, 12:41 PM   #27
 
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That is nice. Just use authentic SA plants and you're set. Echinodorus (swords) to replace the crypts and Java Fern. Water Sprite or Frogbit for floating.

Those branches may have been collected. Oak and beech are safe woods. Collect them dry (i.e., off the ground, not from the tree), and strip off all bark. May have a tendancy to float but there are ways to deal with that.

In another thread some driftwood sites were linked:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...iftwood-91337/
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Old 01-27-2012, 02:22 PM   #28
 
ok i will look around for those pieces of wood. i imagine it would be hard to find ones that would look proportional with the size of the tank.
is there any type of preparation i have to do if i use any wood that comes from outdoors? and also do you think mangrove would work? or like mangrove branches?
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:00 AM   #29
 
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Originally Posted by pandamonium View Post
ok i will look around for those pieces of wood. i imagine it would be hard to find ones that would look proportional with the size of the tank.
is there any type of preparation i have to do if i use any wood that comes from outdoors? and also do you think mangrove would work? or like mangrove branches?
Mangrove is fine, years ago I used that because it was the most common in local stores. It is basically black in colour, very authentic.

Collecting wood can work, there is always a bit of a risk since we cannot know what if anything it may have soaked up. Collecting it in a forest would likely resolve this issue as far as chemicals and pesticides go. Hard woods like oak and beech, there may be others but I have often seen these two recommended as "safe" as far as the hardness and sap iisues go. It must be dry, i.e., off the tree for a while so there is no sap left in it. Remove all bark. Rinse it, in boiling water.
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:40 AM   #30
 
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I'm excited to see your tank! :)

I had good luck with this guy:
The Driftwood Store

Good customer service, reasonable pricing and quite a variety. There are large stumpy pieces and also thinner more squiggly pieces (which is what I got).
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