Wednesday, 18 April 2012 06:28

10g Aquatic Jungle Paradise

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10 gallon emergent aquariumDue to the popularity of our previous emergent growth aquarium space (Indoor Aquatic Rainforest), today we bring you BlueJack's "DirtLand," a 10 gallon jungle filled with both aquatic and tropical plants.

This small tank was picked up at a dollar per gallon sale as a dirt experiment for planted tanks, but turned into something truly astounding.


- 10 gallon tank from Petco - $10
- 2 hanging clamp lights with 23W bulbs - $16
- 1 hanging clamp light with 28W bulb - $8
- AquaClear 20 Power Filter (recommend using a pre-filter sponge) - $20

Total (excluding plants and substrate): $54.


The Space

The tank and plants are nestled by a windowsill, with 3 hanging clamp lights suspended above the substrate. Over the course of 9 months this small space has gone through many changes.

In the filter are zebrina pendula clippings, the fastest growing of the plants. Nestled behind the tank are planters filled with birds of paradise, coleus, an orchid, and a hawaiian portuluca. High light plants began to wilt in the area, but shade terrestrials seemed to do very well.

A small carnivorous terrarium was at one time growing in the back, containing venus flytrap, sundew, pitcher plant, with some moss and riccia ground cover.

But that experiment failed, so a lower maintenance cacti area soon followed.


The Tank

Setup and Maintenance

The substrate is simply top soil capped with black sand. The plants have thrived under the three lights and the dirt alone for the first few months. Regular pruning has been required. This was what the tank looked like on the first few days of planting

Left unchecked, the persistent growth can transform the space into a mangled mess, blocking light to the plants below. An example a few months after the initial setup:

Below is a latest FTS shot, after a recent trimming:



The tank itself features a wide array of both submersed and emergent plants. Over the course of 9 months this little tank has gone through many changes. A large variety of plant species have found its way into the tank:

- Dwarf Baby Tears (HC)
- Riccia
- Red Cabomba
- Purple Fanwort
- Golden Nesea (Nesea Pedicellata)
- Alternathera Reineckii
- Ludwigia Arcuata
- Barcopa
- Rotala Wallichi
- Lobelia Cardinalis
- Peace Lily (emergent)
- Limnophilla Aromatic

When the aquatic plants hit the surface their emergent growth take off like rockets. Over time the tank has seen its fair share of sporous hitchikers (see mushroom and green plant below). Emergent plants shown below, the purple queen and the spider lily, shoots out massive roots in the water. With roots like these, ammonia and nitrates simply don't have a chance to buildup in the water column.




Several species have been tenants of this beautiful tank, including:

- Dwarf Gourami
- Black Tetras
- Rasboras
- Von Rio Tetras

black tetrasvon rio tetras

BlueJack has never lost any fish to disease in this tank, thanks to the numerous plants that are able to keep the water pristine. For more pictures of BlueJack's flora and fauna, tank and setup, check out his thread on TPT.

Looking to start your own and not sure where to start? Read our in depth guides on starting a planted aquarium tank or a low maintenance Walstad bowl.

Would you like to submit your own planted space to be featured here? Start a photo journal for your planted space!

Read 18893 times Last modified on Tuesday, 19 June 2012 00:44
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