Check out these vibrant underwater, glass cube adventures. Commonly known as an aquarium, mine are designed to be a thriving ecosystem with real soil and plants that go beyond the traditional blue pebbles and bubble wand...
- Plants: Riccia Fluitans, Java Fern, Micro-sword grass, Star Lily, P. Gayi, Baby Tears (Micranthemum umbrosum), and Java Moss.
- CO2 injected (pH controlled)
- Metal Halide light (50-120 umol/m2/s measured)
- dKh 4.5 (prepared from R/O water)
- Conductivity: 285 microSiemens (155 ppm)
- pH 6.95-7.05
- Temp 75-88 F (no heater or chiller)
Substrate: Back-yard soil, depth 0.5 inch topped with 2mm fine gravel, depth 1.0 inch.
Maintenance: No fertilizers or dosing used. Water changes about once every three months. Nitrates are not detectable with common test kits. Algae is extremely minimal.
Fish and inverts: Galaxy Rasboras, Cherry Shrimp. and snails. Fish do not get fed any flake food or pellets ever. They only eat live or frozen whole food, i.e. blood worms, daphnia, brine shrimp, spiders, fruit fly larve, and plants. Tank duration as of this photo: 6 months. Lots of trimming.
- This is a tank that I created for my cubicle at work. It has a long tall design in order to fit into the small space that was available in my cube. It's a high-tech tank with a custom built cabinet that I built. It uses metal halide lights and even has a chiller. It's pH controlled with CO2 injection and uses garden soil as the substrate (topped with fine gravel). It's peaceful and beautiful to sit and watch!
- Here is a closer view of the 15 gallon tall tank. Given the injected CO2 and the high light, the plants in this tank grow very fast and need to be trimmed weekly. At this stage, I am still concentrating on the "how" of things, and the mechanics. But eventually, I plan to put more effort into the design of the aquascape itself - working toward that elusive Nature Aquarium style mastered by Takashi Amano and others.
- This view shows the inside of the lower cabinet of the 15 gallon tall tank. I prefer that no equipment be visible in the actual tank, so it all has to reside here. It's packed quite dense, but I feel it is important for the equipment to be just as artful and thought out as the main tank. In this way, it is easier to maintain.
- This view shows the metal halide lights under the canopy of the 15 gallon tall tank. Metal halides are very efficient and produce a full spectrum light that mimics sunlight. These particular kind also have a very high Color Rendition Index (> 90 CRI) The pictured photon flux meter shows how much of the light is contributing to photosynthesis for the plants. Full sun light would produce about 1800 micromol/m2/sec. This 50 watt bulb is producing over 800! These lights really bring out the natural color of the plants and fish. But they produce a lot of heat, which is why there is a chiller on the tank.
- This view shows the surface of the aquarium in the 15 gallon tall tank. I regularly get flowers from the Sagitaria Subulata that bloom just above the water's surface. The flower stalks grow from the very bottom of the tank and keep rising until they sense the water surface. There, buds form and I get white blooms all over the surface.
- Conclusion: This nitrate test kit is an "average" test kit from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. I was really amazed at how the color chart matched the tests of the known concentrations of nitrate. The setup is lit from both the front and the back using softboxes in order t to get even illumination. Use just enough light to not clip the image. I actually ended up under exposing by a little for better color separation and saturation.
- Here's a way to verify your test kit...
- Create "reference" solutions using KNO3
- I created nitrate concentrations of 0ppm, 5ppm, 10ppm, 15ppm, and 20ppm
- Perform nitrate test each in its own test tube
- Use digital camera to photograph test tubes and color chart together
- Use paint program to copy small squares from color chart and place above corresponding test tube
- This photo is the result of all that.
- I created this little tank to sit on my kitchen counter. I love to experiment with aquatic plants and see how they grow. When I first saw Takashi Amano's Nature Aquarium books, my first thought was, "Wow, how many tanks did he have to go through to get to these beautiful aquascapes." In this tank, I proved to myself some of the mechanics of using garden soil, how to grow Glosso, and how hard small tanks are to keep trimmed! Pictured on the side is a home-made dropchecker which is used to indirectly measure the amount of CO2 in the water. CO2 is a much needed plant nutrient that is usually limited. But in these tanks, it is injected to produce explosive growth.
- This image shows some newly hatched Galaxy Rasbora fry (or Celestial Pearl Danios as they have been renamed). The fry came about a week after the parents disappeared into the undergrowth of the tank to breed. During breeding, the Rasboras don't seem to be too concerned with eating. In my densely planted nano cube, it was actually difficult to find the adult Rasboras.
- Notice the scale of the fry in this image. Each fry is about 1.5mm in length! - Very tiny. Here, a small bubble reveals their size. In the past, I've never had this many fry show up at one time. The tank is VERY heavily planted, so I'm guessing that more of them survived due to having more places to hide.