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-   -   Floating Plant "corral" options (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/diy-aquarium/floating-plant-corral-options-126650/)

DKRST 01-23-2013 07:42 PM

Floating Plant "corral" options
 
One of the problems I have with floating plants in my tanks is they won't stay where I want them to!
Chesherca was asking how I kept my plants corralled so I thought I'd post my methods

Here are a couple of solutions I have tried over the past couple of years.

1) The quick, simple, and inexpensive method:
I took two suction cups designed to hold aquarium airline in place (these suction cups have small rings molded onto the cup), black thread, and a small aquarium-safe weight of some kind (I used a tiny 'fridge magnet).
* Cut a length of black thread about 6" longer than the front-to-back width of your tank.
* Take one suction cup and tie the thread securely to the suction cup's ring (This is suction cup #1)
* Insert the free thread end through the second suction cup's ring.
* Tie the weight onto the threads free end
* the second suction cup should freely slide on the thread
* Place the suction cup #1 on the front glass of the tank where you want the corral, adhere the cup right at or just very, very slightly below water level. Attach the second suction cup, the free-moving one, to the back glass, in the same position relative to the water's surface.
* Let the weight hang down to keep the thread tight.
* Voila! The thread acts as a barrier to the movement of floating plants, it snags on their roots
* This basically makes a line of thread across the tank to act as a barrier
* Disadvantage: you have to watch the water level and the suction cups may let go if you use too much weight.

Ok, that's method one. I'll post method two that I use, along with some pics, in a moment!

DKRST 01-23-2013 08:02 PM

5 Attachment(s)
ok, on to method two.
NOTE: I over-engineered my solution, but it works for me.

*I took two pieces of bar acrylic (square pieces) and cut them the exact length to fit on my tank top, along the ledge inside the tank. They move easily side-to-side when the tank is full, but get tight during 60%+ water changes.

* I cut a small piece of standard plastic/fiberglass window screen material the front-to-back width of the tank.

* I drilled three holes in the bar acrylic

* I placed the window screen between the two pieces of acrylic, "pinching it in place"

* I used three stainless steel nuts and bolts to secure the acrylic pieces, and the screen, together

* Done! A fence to keep floaters in place. Easy to shift as plants grow, aesthetically ok

* Advantage? It helps cut light and current to a portion of the tank. I keep my anubias shaded by frogbit.

Can be made from pretty much any material, just make sure your screws/bolts won't rust.


Pictures below:

Chesh 01-23-2013 08:43 PM

Brilliant! Thank you so much for the step-by-stepl! It seems so obvious in retrospect, but it really is terribly clever! Thanks again for taking the time to post it up - with pictures. I'm sure this will help a lot of people - and me. :D

One question - how obvious is the screen in the tank when viewed normally? In the image it looks plain to see, but I believe I remember you saying that it isn't noticeable?

Chesh 01-23-2013 09:06 PM

Okay, so NOW I have MORE questions - because I'm irritating like that ;)

First. . . I had something similar to your string trick in my tank with the WaterSprite. It didn't like it, because even though it was being forced to hold still, the water was still flowing around/through it. I remember you mentioning on my 55g tank thread that you had custom-built your spraybars to flow from the back to the front of the tank, as opposed to end-to-end, like they kind of design them to. I can see it on that picture - kind of. . . does the spraybar just not run into the corral at all? Do you have any problems with the water on that side getting scummy at the surface due to a lack of circulation?

DKRST 01-24-2013 08:35 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chesherca (Post 1402804)
One question - how obvious is the screen in the tank when viewed normally? In the image it looks plain to see, but I believe I remember you saying that it isn't noticeable?

The black screen is not very obvious (pic below from front of the tank). The screen extends down just slightly below the tank's plastic trim line, but I could cut it shorter easily, I just can't be bothered and the screen helps cut the current flow around the roots. The plant roots are still short since my Angelfish like to graze on the Frogbit roots. The acrylic bars are also useful to support equipment on the tank (told you I over-engineered it). You could substitute some wooden dowels or square wood for the acrylic pieces, and it would cost much less

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chesherca (Post 1402856)
Okay, so NOW I have MORE questions
I remember you mentioning on my 55g tank thread that you had custom-built your spraybars to flow from the back to the front of the tank, as opposed to end-to-end, like they kind of design them to. I can see it on that picture - kind of. . . does the spraybar just not run into the corral at all? Do you have any problems with the water on that side getting scummy at the surface due to a lack of circulation?

Correct, my original Eheim spraybar wouldn't fit across the end of my 55 gallon, it was too long. I made a 90-degree turn using plastic tubing to rotate cut plastic parts so I could mount a spraybar along the back of my 55. My Eheim 2217 is really over-size for a 55 so I wanted to reduce the current stream. The actual spraybar, that I made from acrylic tubing, is 3' long, so there is a one-foot area of the tank that's not covered by the outflow. That's the end where I have the filter intake and the floating plants. Interestingly, that tank end doesn't usually get scummy, but it's adjacent to the portion of the spraybar that ripples the surface. I know what you mean though. IF it does start to get scummy, I just slide the bar down so one hole of the spraybar jets into the "corral" and that breaks up any scum. The opposite end of my tank, where an 18" portion of the spraybar directs outflow straight down to better distribute my pressurized CO2, does get scum on the surface all the time. Go figure...
I do weekly water changes and always try to do a little surface skimming, using a bucket, when pulling out old water.

If you want a better picture of my spraybar modifications, just let me know!

DKRST 01-24-2013 08:44 AM

1 Attachment(s)
ok, here is a better picture showing how the screen is not very obvious. Screen is on the left end of the tank just to the left of the Red Flame Sword's leaves...
Tanks kind of a mess right now, I pulled a lot of plants for sale and got a bunch of new plants at our recent club trade show. I just stuck them in where I had substrate space!

Chesh 01-24-2013 11:45 AM

Thanks for the additional details and image! I'm loving some of those gorgeous plants in the tank :) If you get a chance, I'd love to see your spray bar - no rush, as I've finally got mine to a point that seems to be working out for us, but I've been very curious as to how you've got yours situated for quite some time now - since you first mentioned it. I don't think I've seen it done that way before, and it makes sense. Where is your intake located, and do you have any/many 'dead spots' where more waste accumulates? Mine is directly beneath my spraybar on one side, but having it situated the way you do . . . I'd think that the current would actually be ideal. . .

On a side note, I'm finally starting to see some steady growth in those Bar Swords! It isn't nearly as fast as it would be if I had the right lighting for them and/or Co2, but we're rocking out 1-2 leaves a week - which makes me VERY happy! They start off very red and slowly fade into green. I hope they start gaining some height sometime this year, lol, and eventually get somewhere close to where they were when they started. For now I'm just THRILLED that the growth-rate has picked up!

DKRST 01-24-2013 02:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chesherca (Post 1403459)
Thanks for the additional details and image! I'm loving some of those gorgeous plants in the tank :) If you get a chance, I'd love to see your spray bar

I'll try to remember to take some pictures of the spraybar, intake location and return pipe when I do a water change. Much easier to see it then. No dead spots in the tank that I've ever found.

Glad your swords are growing and 1-2 leaves a week is great! Keep fertilizing and using root tabs, don't move the swords around (disrupts the roots), and you should be good! More light=redder leaves, but watch out for algae.

Chesh 01-24-2013 02:58 PM

Right, I know I don't have enough light for them to get that vibrant red color, comparatively anyway - I'm surprised the new leaves are so red at first, actually. They've been slowly plugging along until now. I moved them one time, about Thanksgiving, took some out and into another tank (those are doing well there, too) and moved the remaining two into an area where I hoped they'd do better - I guess I was right, it took them some time to recoup from the move, but now all is well. I do try not to move anything with roots once planted. *nods*

Thanks for getting the pics, again - no rush! I really appreciate you letting me pick your brain a bit. 'tis a very NICE brain! :D

Chesh 02-23-2013 11:53 AM

I've made a couple 'ghetto' versions made from things found on-hand with absolutley ZERO effort required, lol.

They aren't pretty like yours, or *as* effective over time, but they work! The only thing is that I have to be mindful of the water levels, since they aren't as 'deep' as yours, if I get too much evaporation over the course of a week, I have to slide them down, or bump the water level back up to keep the duckweed/floaters contained. For the most part, they're holding steady between water changes, unless I'm a few days late, and I've now used variants of these on 5 different tanks. They are absolutley doing the intended job of keeping the floating plants from blowing all over the place, and on the side of the tank that is relatively calm - especially in these tanks that have HOB filters! Thanks for the inspiration!

The blue one was made from the plastic crossbar from a tank divider, and I have 3 different versions using various suction cups and thicknesses of tubing or siphon material. . . some of the suction cups are as pictured, and the tubing (just extra bubbler tubing) fits inside of the little hole (where a 'grabber' originally went to hold a bubbler in place), others, not pictured here, were made using the thermometer suction cups - they have a little ring for the thermometer to slide through, so I just tied some tubing through these rings. In some, the tubing was wide enough to slip OVER the bump on the suction cups, and I've used actual siphon tubing on my extra suction cups with the wider 'grabbers' meant for heaters.

A friend of mine asked me to show her pics of what I had done, so I figured I'd post them here, too (I also linked her to this thread, she's inspired! by your masterpiece, too) One day I'm going to do a good version, like what you have - my husband has already agreed to help me with this, as I'm NOT very good at handyman stuff, lol! For right now, they'll do, and so far they're working well! Hopefully they can help someone else come up with a simple idea that works for them, too!

Thanks again for posting this!

http://i677.photobucket.com/albums/v...weedcorral.jpg


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