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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Once every 10-20 years or so I get a request for a link to my methods.

So I let my head shrink down to more normal size and decided to start a thread I could link to.

material needed:

tank
something to set the tank on.
a room heated/air conditioned comfortable to humans.
Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss 1ftx1ftx3ft plastic wrapped cube ($11 building supply stores)
play sand ($3 for 50 pound bag building suppply stores)
pc select ($7 for 50 pound bag contact: Pro's Choice Products)
tap water from a commonly used cold faucet that has been ran for 30 seconds before collecting.
1.5-2 watts per gallon of flourescent 5500-6500k lighting (not the equilivant incandescent rating of the spiral bulbs).
plants and fish per instructions below
no chemicals
no filters
no mechanical filtration or circulation

setup

1) add 1" of peat moss to tank.
2) fill with water to just the top of the moss with nothing "floating".
3) level the moss and clean the tank sides.
4) repeat 1-3 with 1" play sand
5) repeat 1-3 with 1" pc select
6) add: (for 10g tank) 4-6 bunches of anacharis (back), 4-6 vals (back/sides) 4-6 small potted plants (crypts, small swords) left right of center, 1 amazon sword almost centered.
7) fill tank with water poured over a dish.
8) let set 1 week with normal (8-10 hours) lighting
9) add a single fish (male platy or tetra are my favs)
10) wait 1 week with no food being added
11) add more fish (2 female plattys or more than 4 tetras)
12) start feeding 1-2 flakes per day.

if the tank clouds up kill the lights and stop adding food until it clears.

Replace water that evaporates only. No water changes.

ignore the snails (they will be almost unnoticable in a year or so)

(if you use platys you will have a tank full of fish in 6 months to a year with a more or less stable population that lasts for years and years.) Neon tetras will last 2-4 years but will not breed so will have to be replaced.

So there it is now ya'all can comment and I can link when I get questions. *old dude

my .02

Added:

Here are typical cycle parameters I measured on a 20g long

 

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What about LED lighting. or is that too progressive LOL (sorry I just had to trow that in. )

One of theses days I will have to try that method just as a experiment.

is a 10 gallon too small for this build?
 

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Thanks, Beaslbob. This information is terrific. I can attest that, no, 10 gal. is not too small. Mine's been set up 6 mo. and thriving. People ask me all the time how I set up my tank. So glad to have a link to refer them to. Also, I used regular aquarium gravel rather than PC Select.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, Beaslbob. This information is terrific. I can attest that, no, 10 gal. is not too small. Mine's been set up 6 mo. and thriving. People ask me all the time how I set up my tank. So glad to have a link to refer them to. Also, I used regular aquarium gravel rather than PC Select.
for what it is worth here is a quote from joannabanana's intro thread:

[url]http://www.aquariumforum.com/f13/10-gallon-tank-build-15551-2.html[/url] said:
So, update on Derek, the Platy: a miraculous recovery. So he was just sitting on the bottom, next day he's zipping around again. I returned the PH balanced, picked up four more bunches of anacharis (snail city?) and planted those. Left and when I came home again, 4 hours later, he's the peppiest pup I've ever seen, zipping to and fro, nibbling off of the plants. I was beaming ear to ear! I'm not a serial killer after all! I guess it was just a little ammonia spike, probably brought on by the addition of himself to the tank, coupled with not quite enough plants? Sound about right? I am looking forward to adding some girlfriends for him next Wednesday
While I know these methods work great for me it is very rewarding to see such positive results with new aquariumist's tanks as well.

Thanks for posting and glad your tank is doing fine.

my .02
 

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Just a FYI, this method does not:

- support heavily stocked tanks or even close to what people may call the limit. Filtration and water changes are required for that.
-Without filtration or water movement, you will not be able to properly heat a tank either so the room it is in needs to be kept close to the required tank temp.
-Also will not be able to medicate fish properly in this tank and will definitely need a hospital tank or a usable container to medicate fish.


This method will (if carried to the full extent with no filters or water movement of any type) cause an extremely high ph of approx 8.5. Refer to this thread for more info: http://www.aquariumforum.com/f15/plants-ph-36166.html You should be very familiar with the needs of the type of fish you intend to have and consider what ph the breed in, if you intend to breed any of your fish. Having a filter or providing a powerhead for water flow may keep the ph from rising to a high level, but that has not been tested.

Just something to think about.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just a FYI, this method does not:

- support heavily stocked tanks or even close to what people may call the limit. Filtration and water changes are required for that.
I have had 20-30 fish in a 10g tank for years and years. Guess that's a low bioload. *old dude
-Without filtration or water movement, you will not be able to properly heat a tank either so the room it is in needs to be kept close to the required tank temp.
correct. I added a heated/air conditioned room comforatble to humans under material needed.
-Also will not be able to medicate fish properly in this tank and will definitely need a hospital tank or a usable container to medicate fish.

Just something to think about.
While you could be correct that is also true for any display tank. IME the healthy environment created eliminates the need for medications.

agreed. just something to think about.

worth at most .02
 
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Of course the intention is to not to need to medicate fish, but if you have to you really have no method without at least adding a powerhead or getting a different container. This was recently witnessed by chillwill who lost quite a few of his fish and uses your methods. A powerhead may be best to have standing by in those instances. The "healthy environment" in your tanks is no different than most all planted tanks with thriving plants.
 

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It's interesting - I've been an aquarist for (gulp) 45 years now,. and your method is how I started. I had an aquaintance who kept fish from when he was 17 until he died at 96 ten years ago, and he held to that method - light stocking, heavy planting, no filtration. As I read your posting, I felt I was reading advice from 'back in the day'. It works, too.

I don't use this method, as my kick is more fish behavior than plants, and except for some killies, small rasboras, gouramis and bettas, very few of our fish live in stagnant, unmoving water. I've watched platies in nature swimming in good strong currents, as river fishes. They do, however, spend the rainy season in still ditches. The adaptation to low oxygen and low current is there. You have to choose your fish for a set-up like this with some knowledge of their natural lifestyle.

You have to know your water too. If it comes out of the tap medium hard, this would be fine. I have rainforest soft tap, and peat with no water changes adds up to velvet outbreaks, really quickly here. It was never an issue when I had hard tap water.


The behavioral changes a current can make in a tank are well worth it for me, although that can't work in a tank less than three feet long.

As for needing to medicate - I feel the biggest reason for disease is poor stock from the store. I get fish from local breeders, wild imports and a store that is very selective and doesn't base its purchases on cost, and I just had to use medications for the first time in 2 years (internal parasites). If you stock lightly, feed well and change water (sorry beaslbob), you should not have to use meds more than once every few years.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
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Discussion Starter #10
and here is one of my ugly tanks showing the "light" bioload. a 10g with little maintenance and the glass has not been touched in 2 years.


Aquarium Gallery - 2006021210glotsafishcentersmall


(all of the guppies are descendants of the original cycle fish from 5 years earlier. Plattys were new.)
 

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I kinda want to try and see if my parents would use this method. I miss having a fish tank that was visible to everyone (mine sits in my room at school and at home). My dad had an issue with them because he was doing all the maintenance and this would essentially eliminate the need for maintenance.
 

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lol, a 5sec video titled Aunt Pearl's 10g. Convincing. Is the mention of the glass not being cleaned for 2yrs just letting everyone know why it looks as bad as it does, or just a mention of how little maintenance it gets. Either way, who would want something that looks that bad in their house? It looks abandoned. I would rather spend 15-20min a week and keep it looking nice than look like some type of experiment.

Just my .02
 

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lol, a 5sec video titled Aunt Pearl's 10g. Convincing.
Sounds like sarcasm. However, 5 seconds of video are just as informative (or "convincing") as a photograph, if not more so. The other one he admitted was his "ugly tank" for whatever reason. Why you gotta be a hater? ;-)
 

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lol, hater. I was just saying that Aunt Pearl didn't sound like him. My other comment meant that why have a tank if you don't want it to look nice? Its like the ugly chair in the living room detracting away from your otherwise nice decor. If they looked that bad and I was married I am sure they would have to be pushed outside if I wanted to keep them.
 

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If you stock lightly, feed well and change water (sorry beaslbob), you should not have to use meds more than once every few years.
@ Navigator Black: What is your recommended water change ratio and schedule?

very few of our fish live in stagnant, unmoving water. I've watched platies in nature swimming in good strong currents, as river fishes. They do, however, spend the rainy season in still ditches. The adaptation to low oxygen and low current is there. You have to choose your fish for a set-up like this with some knowledge of their natural lifestyle.
What other fish do you know of that live in stagnant unmoving water? Are there any ideal tank mates for those conditions?
 

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I dont even see the point in wanting a tank that you ignore for the most part.If you dont want to do the maintenance get a screensaver or one of those hangy pictures with the lights and leave the aquarium keeping to responsible people.

Also no way in hell would i let an ugly tank in my house.If people saw that as a representation of my scaping skills i would be embarrassed.
 

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I keep killies, which come from the margins of streams in West Africa - overgrown with plants but with moving water. They can persist for years in a set-up like the one photographed here, but with a slow bubbling sponge filter and regular 25% water changes, they flourish. They become active, and breed.
An unfiltered, dirty tank is low in oxygen, even with the plants. Fish will hover, conserving energy - they will hover for a lifetime if that's how you want to go.
There are natural hoverers - Betta splendens is a famous one as its low oxygen, naturally polluted environment will only support air breathing fish. Bettas have a labyrinth - to simplify, their inner ear has evolved into a breathing structure and they don't rely on oxygen in the water.
There are other fish from swamps and peat bogs (the tiny sparkling gouramis for example) that are adapted to low oxygen, stagnant water, but they are hard to find. Most hobbyists like fish that move around.
Go on Youtube and search for underwater clips of swordtails in the wild (search "Xiphophorus"). It'll take five minutes, and it will show you where platys, swords and mollies live. Look at the fish, but then look at the water movement.
I actually like beaslbob's build (if the glass were wiped) as a natural plant tank. It could have one betta splendens in it. But as a fishtank, I'll respectfully disagree with his methods, as it is too far removed from how the fish in it live in nature, and I believe we should at least try to replicate a natural environment. I used this technique when I started, when I was a kid who couldn't afford a filter, and I produced magnificently stunted variatus that were full grown at one inch. I regret that.
 

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I've mentioned a number of times that whomever used the methods mentioned here probably wouldn't work with all fish and certainly not all plants. A Cardinal Tetra is not the test of "if that fish works, they all will", like what is believed here.

I also agree that water unfiltered is low in oxygen despite plants. Plants do put oxygen in the water, but not even close to what a filter will do or even a powerhead causing surface movement. It is easy to understand why dechlors, or any other chemical is vehemently pushed against since they can deplete oxygen levels in an already low oxygen tank.

The substrate scheme is pretty sound. Some things I disagree on it, but it works and similar layering and putting peat as the first layer has abeen around for many years.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
lol, a 5sec video titled Aunt Pearl's 10g. Convincing. Is the mention of the glass not being cleaned for 2yrs just letting everyone know why it looks as bad as it does, or just a mention of how little maintenance it gets. Either way, who would want something that looks that bad in their house? It looks abandoned. I would rather spend 15-20min a week and keep it looking nice than look like some type of experiment.

Just my .02
Just for clarity the "unmaintained" tank was not aunt pearl's---- two seperate tanks.

sure you can spend a few minutes to keep it looking nicer.

And it is not really the "correct" substrate as it was just play sand.

but still that doesn't look like a light bioload and there is no algae on the glass.

the point really is a heavy bioload with little maintenance can be successful for years. Which to me is exactly what a new aquariumist should strive for.

Bob
 

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I got a dog when I was little, and my mom didnt like how big he got or how much he shed so she banned him to being chained to a dog house for life. He ended up having to be put down at the age of 16. My point is, he had "little maintenance" and still lived for many years. BUT he hardly had what a dog SHOULD have to live a happy life. Just because something works for years doesnt mean it is done the right way.
 
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