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 New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates

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Gabe79
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PostSubject: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Mon May 30, 2016 9:50 pm

Hi, im glad to have found you all. Im in Richmond in the Far West End.

   Ive been reading about the Walstad method and smaller natural planted setups.  I setup my first 1 gallon storage jar with some anacharis, val, free "pest snails", some soil, gravel, and a north facing window on my desk.  Its been a few weeks, my levels are stable and the Anacharis has almost doubled in size along with my little pond snails.

Im getting ready to setup a 3 gallon jar soon for some RCS and am doing my research.  Ive already found a bunch of posts on here about natural planted tank setups, and harvesting driftwood and plants from the James.  Id also be interested if anyone in town has Red Cherry Shrimp for sale or a few small plant trimmings that I might be able to use to setup my 3 gallon with.

I've also been hanging out in Reddit asking questions in a really neat subReddit called Jarrariums where they setup small Walstad planted jars of all sizes.

I used to hang out on the Applesnail.net forrum and had a small tank with some Mystery snails and java ferns 10 years ago, but Ive been taking a break since then. These little low maintenance planted jars seem like the perfect easy and inexpensive way to get back into the hobby. Back in 2005 nobody really talked about plant fertilizers, and little freshwater shrimp only came in the Ghost variety ;-)

Im also a member of Coastals.org and do white water stand up paddle boarding in Richmond, in case there are any Coastal Canoeists members on here, too Cool
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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Tue May 31, 2016 10:49 am

Welcome, Gabe! I've been into natural setups for decades, and they can be a total snap, and a lovely decorative item as well.

There used to be a Natural Aquarium forum that I was involved with about 8 or 10 years ago, but I don't think they're around anymore, but I'm sure there's plenty of people doing it. At the last Capital Cichlid Association Big Fish Deal there were a couple of lovely bowls entered into the aquascaping contest, and it reminded me of the bowls I used to have, inspiring me to get back into it.

Stand up paddle boarding is very appealing to me and my husband and I keep talking about trying it! We spend a lot of time on Mobjack Bay and I think that would be a perfect place to do it. White water, maybe not..... baby steps!

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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:09 pm

Hi Liz, thanks for contacting me! I was looking at a few of your natural tank threads and you looked like the expert! I'm super exited that there is a way to get back into aquariums using small setups with less moving parts and less maintenance, and less stuff to buy. It really lowers the barrier to entry.

Plus I love geeking out on stuff and how each setup it's own science experiment Cool
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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:23 pm

If you want to try SUPing, you can do it in town.  You can either contact Black Dog Paddle and take the basic SUP class at Dutch Gap, which is a really fun and scenic eco tour where they really hold your hand every step of the way.  

If you like to just jump into something hands on, the other option is to head down to Brown Island anytime and rent a SUP by the hour from Riverside Outfitters and paddle the big patch of flat water between Brown and Belle Island.  That is my personal favorite spot because once you paddle behind Belle island the water is really still and calm and you can see a TON of wildlife in and out of the water.

Im not sure how old your kids are, but they also have sit on top kayaks and a 2-seater kayak, in case you need to have one of your kids be a passenger.

Baby steps is definitely the way to go with white water, but we are lucky that the James in town has a really newbie friendly Class II section between Pony Pasture and Reedy Creek. Riverside Outfitters guides SUP trips down it as well, that was my introduction into white water!
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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Sat Jun 04, 2016 8:34 am

Welcome, @Gabe79 ! Welcome to CVAS and the discussion forum. I love the tiny jar in your avatar! Would you be interested in posting a step-by-step guide outlining how you set this up? That would be awesome!

Our members are interested in many aspects of the hobby and are always ready to hear about something they haven't tried yet. We welcome you and hope to see you posting on here as often as you feel like it.
Smile

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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Sat Jun 04, 2016 10:09 am

Best place I have found to get Paddling! Kayaks and Kayaks Awesome family and awesome prices!
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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:33 pm

Hi Deb, I can certainly do that, although Liz may want to point out my newbie mistakes since she has so much more experience with these! I'll post something over at Planted Tank Adventures, unless there is a better place to post it to get more eyes on it.

Fward, I love appomattox river company! I need to go up to the new Ashland location and see if they have a drain plug fitting to replace the one I managed to crack on my plastic SUP.
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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Sat Jun 04, 2016 1:44 pm

I just spent 40 minutes writing a guide over at Planted Tank Adventures, and didnt save, so when I went to preview I lost it all. stunned

I guess that was a rough draft, I will type it all up again later.  In the mean time: here's my jarrarium before I trimmed the Anacharis to make room for the duckweed, with a pic of a pond snalio snackin on the duck weed allready and a picture of my desk setup at my window with my Ikea bendy lamp.




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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Sat Jun 04, 2016 3:02 pm

If the Anacharis (Egeria) gets too hard to control, you might replace it with native Elodea canadensis or E. nutalli, which stay smaller than Egeria. Both occur wild in VA.
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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Sat Jun 04, 2016 3:33 pm

Gerald, I've actually been hunting for native plants with no luck. Where do I find those? So far I've checked the south side of belle island and the pipeline walkway by 14th street and havn't found anything besides that large emergent leafed plant that grows straight up about a foot out of water.

I saw what looked like a few delicate Anacharis in the rock pools at Belle isle, but the water allready looked so stagnant I didn't want to stick my hands in there.
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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Sat Jun 04, 2016 3:35 pm

I'm thinking about heading over to Tredegar pool downtown and checking the sand bars and along the north bank of Belle island tomorrow. I'm hoping to find some wild jungle val, but I think it is too early in the year for it?
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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Sun Jun 05, 2016 1:37 pm

I've never explored Richmond area streams, so cant help much on where to look.  I've only seen wild Vallisneria once, in northeastern NC (fresh/brackish transition area) but i've been fooled several times by Sparganium, which looks quite Val-like when its growing submersed.

The native Elodea species are not easy to find either in NC, but are more common in VA.  Range maps by county are here: http://vaplantatlas.org/  Type Elodea in the search box, then select each species for range maps.  

Elodea has mostly 3 leaves per whorl, Egeria (Anacharis) has mostly 4, and Hydrilla has mostly 5, but young or nutrient-starved Hydrilla often has 3 like Elodea.  Egeria and Hydrilla are invasive exotics in the USA.

If you dont find any Elodea I can send you some from my tubs, but FYI it'll probably have hair algae with it. My E. canadensis came from a creek in Glade Spring VA, and my E. nutallii came from a pond in Wake Forest NC.
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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Mon Jun 06, 2016 9:09 am

@Gabe79 wrote:
I just spent 40 minutes writing a guide over at Planted Tank Adventures, and didnt save, so when I went to preview I lost it all. stunned
 

This is very sad Sad and has happened to me.  I have the feeling our time for holding open long posts has dwindled, due to some software updates on the part of our hosts.  I will look into it as a technical issue, because nothing is more frustrating online than to lose a whole train of ideas in an instant!  

The jar looks great, great pix. Very Happy  What sort of jar is it?  What was in it before? Just curious.

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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Mon Jun 06, 2016 11:07 am

Well, it's my own fault for not saving my work ;-) I kept getting interrupted and comming back to it didn't realize how long I had spent with the window open.

It's a 1 gallon Anchor Hocking "storage jar" that I got from Target. Nothing in it before, it was only 7.99 ;-). It's a really useful size, i was thinking maybe I could move everything to a bigger jar and turn it into a mossy terrarium or something.
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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:46 pm

@Gabe79 Will any fish work in that type of setup? Least Killifish come to mind.

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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:49 pm

That is a great question, would they be happy an healthy with the small space of a heavily planted 2.5 gallon jar? The theory is that there is so much fast growing vegetation that it oxygenates the water and processes the ammonia and nitrogen from the livestock.

I havn't really looked into if fish can be happy in jar and bowl setups, the majority of hobbyists that I have found so far stick to shrimp and snails.

I'd like to put a single mystery snail in my new 2.5 jar, and see if the plants can keep up with it's waste. I havn't heard of it being done before, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. I can always siphon up extra waste with a turkey baster, keep an eye on water levels, and do water changes as needed until the plants have developed roots and begin taking over the tank. The jar is big enough to put in a little bubbler or sponge filter if needed.

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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:37 pm

2-4 w/o filtration should be OK. Hopefully people smarter than me will add their thoughts.

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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Tue Jun 07, 2016 12:19 am

Cool! Are they pretty docile? The problem with adding fish in with mystery snails is that if they try to eat those tempting long mystery snail antennae, the snails will start to keep their heads in their shell all the time so you never get to see their funny snail faces. That's what happened when i added a dwarf Gourami to my 10 gal I used to have.

I know Cory's wont harass them, for example.
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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Tue Jun 07, 2016 12:23 am

Snail faces are the best Razz


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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:18 am

@Gabe79 Nice snail! May I post it on the CVAS facebook page?

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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:40 am

It's not mine, i grabbed it from the internet just to show how cute their faces are ;-)

My first snails were chestnuts, the light brown and yellow stripped color variety with the albino foot like that guy and I fell in love with their orange eyes and wavy feelers.
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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Tue Jun 07, 2016 1:06 pm

@Gabe79 wrote:
Cool! Are they pretty docile?  The problem with adding fish in with mystery snails is that if they try to eat those tempting long mystery snail antennae, the snails will start to keep their heads in their shell all the time so you never get to see their funny snail faces.  That's what happened when i added a dwarf Gourami to my 10 gal I used to have.  

I know Cory's wont harass them, for example.

Here is some info on Least Killifish: http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/heterandria-formosa/ The pictures do not do them justice. Very peaceful in my experiences.

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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:49 pm

Sure it has. William Innes described Elodea + Snails + Jar setups in Exotic Aquarium Fishes in 1935, and it wasn't a new idea even then. The old low-tech methods are typically ignored in online sites. Marketers of high-tech, high-end aquarium products would rather let those old simple but effective techniques fade into oblivion. I'm not saying that advanced technology is a bad thing; some new gadgets have certainly made it possible to keep a wide range of critters alive that couldn't be kept long-term previously.

@Gabe79 wrote:
I'd like to put a single mystery snail in my new 2.5 jar, and see if the plants can keep up with it's waste.  I havn't heard of it being done before, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.
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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:22 pm

@Gabe79 So, Gabe, have you tried the snail? If the mystery snail does not work out for some reason - i.e., it is too big and produces too much waste - try a nerite snail.

We have two articles on this website about them:  
http://cvas.forumotion.com/t1203-nerite-snails-neritina-turrita#10665  
http://cvas.forumotion.com/t1110-grazing-snails-genus-clithon

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PostSubject: Re: New and into small natural bowl setups for invertabrates   Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:37 pm

Thanks Deb. The mysteries are doing well so far. I've got my 2.5 gal up and running but I'm not entirely happy with my plant placement so I havn't posted pictures yet. I think I might need to trim the wood into an easier shape to work with and get one bunch of stalk plants so the jar has some fast growing height. It's hard figuring out how to place everything in such a smal space!

Nerites are probably a better idea, but I'm happy with my mysteries. I'm having a bit of trouble keeping the 2.5 gal jar warm with just a lamp. Although I know thy are fine above 65 degrees, they are less active in the low 70's, but that does extend their life from why I've read.

There is a TON of snail poo on the botom that gets stired up when I turn the jar, but all the plants are still keeping the amonia levels low, incredibly. I'm
thinking about tearing it down and using coarser gravel instead of sand, that way the poop will have a better chance of getting into dirt below and composting.

Once I get that all sorted, I think I'll add some shrimp and call it a day.
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