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Formerly called the Doghouse Tank (How a nearly dead Marimo leads to 180+gal in less than 3 months.)

It all started with a stupid moss ball

It all started innocently enough. The wife had found a genuine marimo moss ball online that hadn't been disposed of in the great zebra muscle kill (and wasn't just some java moss tied to some cork) off and without a plan beyond 'I can put it in a mason jar, till I find an aquarium' adopted it. We were both stunned when the package arrived. Instead of a small box with one of those dinky beta cups in it as we expected, the package was a bubble envelope the size of a business card, that looked like it had been run over a half a dozen times. 

Inside was a tiny ziplock bag, with a mostly brown, flat little blob the size of a dime. How long had this marimo been sitting on a shelf in a warehouse somewhere?! We popped it in a jar, convinced it was all but dead, and moved on. But the wife had the itch, she wanted a tank, even if it was just a small desktop number. A few days later she brought home a zen tank she'd found for free on Facebook marketplace a few miles from the house. A whopping 3.5 gallons total. We've both had tanks in the past, but this is by far the smallest thing either one of us has tried to do. 3.5 Gal Freebie from FB marketplace

After giving her a hard time about it being tiny, etc. We headed up to aquarium coop to figure out what to do with this tiny tank so it wasn't just a sad tiny moss ball we were still convinced was going to die any day now. 

We both fell in love with the little planted nano tank that lives in the shrimp room at aquarium co-op and set about making a version of our own. Not even halfway home we decided to upgrade the sad little 3.5 to a bigger tank so we could do some more complicated plants. We ended up getting a 20 long, 2 of the fluval planted tank lights, and hooking it all up to the sump from my old 150gal. The idea was to have larger water volume, while keeping the tank small enough to still sit on the desk space the wife had planned for the little 3.5, 

 

The river tank was born:

We scrounged up some driftwood from our property and cleaned it up and boiled it. Added our substrate, planted our goodies from Aquarium Coop and let the tank run for a few weeks before adding our first round of cherry shrimp, and the neon tetras, and our score of the evening, a pair of uncommon galaxy ottos. A month later, the wife brought home a few wood shrimp to add to the collection. 

Close up of Cherry Shrimp on LogGalaxy Otto eat algae off a piece of wood.Aquarium plants, cherry shrimp and a moss ball

 

Now I'm hooked again too.

Helping the wife setup her office tank has been a great project for us to both work on, and it's reminded me of how much I love this hobby. So tomorrow, (4/15/22) we are driving into Seattle to pick up a 180gal tank, and stand. We are planning on sticking with the nano river bottom theme, but going on a much larger scale. The long term plan is 300+ nano fish, cherries for days, and a few other friends I'm sure. 

We hope you enjoy this journey with us, it sure has been a weird ride so far. 

And to think, it all started with a nearly dead marimo.

Edited by KnineDHP
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First update on the aquarium upgrade saga. The Marimo are starting to look more and more like white rabbits we are meant to follow. We went to pick up the  180 acrylic tank yesterday and it had a few major flaws where a seem had started to separate, but after consulting with the forums a bit I took the risk of trying to repair them. We brought it home and the more I worked on it, the more it just wasn't the right tank for us. The cutouts at the top were to small for the types of décor we wanted in it etc. etc. so back onto facebook marketplace, to see what other options we might find. To give credit where credit was due, the wife spotted a 167 Waterbox aquarium and stand about an hour away, and pinged the seller. After a bit of chat, the wife, I and our youngest dog, (2 year old malamute) loaded up for a scenic car ride. When we get there, we find out the tank was used as a green house for some rare plants, and never had even had water in it! No scratches, scuffs, or wear and tear on the tank or the stand.

 1656375535_167waterbox.png.20be5c22979184cee461ba876ead748c.png

And that's when the marimo strike again!

As we are chatting with the couple about how they got into rare/weird plants they asked how we got into planted tanks etc & the story  our fish tank folly has been so far unfolded. I never assume, but him being a rare plant guy, I asked if he knew what Marimo were, and without skipping a beat, the guy mentions he's got 2 just chilling on his bathroom counter and asked if we wanted them. The wife nearly schoolgirl squealed, and grinned like the Cheshire cat all at the same time. marimo.jpg.9d7d9e8bc4e424d3a85df7cd5a756221.jpg

 

They marimo came home today, we will go back and pick up the tank/stand next weekend with some extra muscle.

I can't believe our luck with the tank, and that the marimo continue to lead the way on this wild and crazy journey. #mostspoiledmossever 

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Marimo are your friend!!!

I have 3 marimo in my fry grow out tank. Because zebra mussels are tiny, horribly invasive, and can destroy your plumbing (and we don't actually know how far back the potential issue went), I will share with you what my sister (a former Federal Wildlife Fish & Game employee) told me is best practices for all fishkeeping.

  • Don't put aquarium water down the drain. Pour it on inside plants, or outside (including on plants) a minimum of 150 feet from any drains that could possibly carry the aquarium water into contact with waterways. 
  • Keep aquarium water at least 300 feet away from open water ways.
  • Use aquarium water and aquarium plants in the compost pile, which should also meet all of the above criteria.

I love my giant marimo ball. It happily rolls from one end of the tank to the other during water changes.

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On 4/16/2022 at 9:52 PM, Torrey said:

Because zebra mussels are tiny, horribly invasive, and can destroy your plumbing (and we don't actually know how far back the potential issue went), I will share with you what my sister (a former Federal Wildlife Fish & Game employee) told me is best practices for all fishkeeping.

I can't stress enough how important it is to stop the spread. Thus my signature "don't move a mussel". The quagga and zebra mussels have the byssal threads making them able to attach to things. They clog up all kinds of things in a hurry.

Water Hyacinth is considered invasive as well. I am a strong believer in watering my plants and garden with tank water, but I never let my aquatic project water get into the waste water system.

https://stopaquatichitchhikers.org/hitchhikers/#species-profiles

 

I LOVE that beautiful tank you guys scored. That is awesome! I look forward to seeing it come together!

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On 4/16/2022 at 10:31 PM, Minanora said:

I can't stress enough how important it is to stop the spread. Thus my signature "don't move a mussel". The quagga and zebra mussels have the byssal threads making them able to attach to things. They clog up all kinds of things in a hurry.

Water Hyacinth is considered invasive as well. I am a strong believer in watering my plants and garden with tank water, but I never let my aquatic project water get into the waste water system.

https://stopaquatichitchhikers.org/hitchhikers/#species-profiles

 

I LOVE that beautiful tank you guys scored. That is awesome! I look forward to seeing it come together!

For our Mirimo we treated the first and will the other two to be 100% sure there clean. Zebra muscles can fairly easily be killed by a few weeks of treatment the process is outlined below (THIS WILL KILL INVERTEBRATES BE CAREFUL) 

 

Potassium Chloride (KCl) for tanks with plants or animals
This method can be used when plants and animals cannot be removed, or if Method 1 is not possible.
This treatment requires using potassium chloride (KCl), a sodium-free table salt substitute commonly sold at grocery and nutritional stores. The highest available purity of KCl available should be used. “Half- Salt” products cannot be used.
 1. Remove a small volume of water (approximately 1 litre) from the container that housed the moss ball and place this water into a separate container.
 2. Determine the volume of water in your container and the corresponding amount of KCl required to achieve the required treatment concentration using the table below.
3. Add the required amount of KCl to the separate container of water and mix thoroughly.
4. Pour the mixture back into your original container that housed the moss ball and leave it in for
at least two weeks at a minimum temperature of 17°C.
5. Water changes should be avoided during the 14-day treatment period. If this is not possible,
treat the discharge water with Method 1 prior to disposal.
6. Evaporated water can be replenished provided the replacement water does not exceed the
volume of water that evaporated.
7. To ensure consistent treatment conditions, all make-up water must be prepared using water
from an uncontaminated source, warmed to a minimum of 17°C and pre-treated using KCI.
 Additional notes: While this method is considered safe for most finfish and plants, it may not be safe for invertebrates.
 Method 2: Potassium Chloride (KCl) for tanks with plants or animals
 Volume of Water in Aquarium
 Amount of KCl Required* (100% Solubility)
 
D73D04BD-391A-446D-97D2-122A02AA786F.jpeg.86eee30b21ac939e622c9ac6ca816348.jpeg

 *Dosages outlined in this table are based on a known, lethal concentration of 100ppm KCl to invasive mussels, over an exposure period of 14 days and within the expected temperature range of home and retail aquariums (above 17 o C). Measurements in this table have been rounded up for ease of measurement.

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