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March '06

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Photos & Descriptions

March '06 - Palmtop Aquariums!

Since the qualifiers Mini-, Micro-, Nano- and Pico- are already being used for "enormous" aquariums with several liters in volume, I had to come up with a new name to categorize these ingenious beauties that two friends from Londrina (Brazil) have been creating. Rony Suzuki and Fabio Yoshida are veteran aquatic gardeners, with heaps of cuttings and talent to keep inventing new setups that are always surprising and inspiring us, but this time they've really outdone themselves...or indone themselves, whatever! :D

Rony Suzuki's Bird-Feeder Aquarium.

This aquarium was born in response to a challenge: when recent news came out on the discovery of the smallest fish in the world, a friend from our forum commented "I'm thinking that if this fish ever gets commercialized, Rony is bound to make a setup that'll need a magnifying lens." Well, here it is... ;-)

603_Palmtop_Aquarium_1a.jpg (21kb)

The aquarium was set up using a plastic bird-feeder pot that goes into bird cages, it has around 100 ml of nominal volume, probably half of that effectively. It has sand substrate, a few "boulders" (haha) and the flora is composed of Hemianthus callitrichoides and Java Moss.

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603_Palmtop_Aquarium_1b.jpg (37kb)

Fábio Yoshida's Light-Bulb Aquarium

The other day I was at home, just looking at the ceiling, when I had a great idea! So I stopped by Rony's place to get some pool filter sand. Then went to my little Anubias corner in my planted tank and tried to choose a nice little cutting. I put it all together with my idea, and here's what it turned into! :-)

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Setup: October'05.
Aquarium: 250 W Light Bulb.
Dimensions: ~79 mm in diameter.
Volume: ~250 ml.
Substrate: pool filter sand.
Fertilization: Tetra Flora Pride administered sporadically.
Lighting: indirect, but applied directly a few days a week.
Flora: Anubias nana.

The setup didn't take too long to be completed, it was even quick, I think about 3 or 4 hours in total. The bulb was opened by the metal part. In this case the metal ended up detaching from the glass bulb, which made my setup job really easy. I opened it by carefully breaking the glass part that goes together with the metal, where it touches the bottom of the socket, thus I made an opening through which I removed the “inner parts” of the bulb and gained access to its interior. I didn't add a fertile layer to the substrate in fear that I wouldn't be able to reach stability due to the small size. I did think about putting some fauna in it (not fish) but I decided against it when I thought about how little space the inhabitant would have, and the tiny surface area. I thought it'd be cruel, but I don't know, maybe a snail would work.

Right now the setup is on a shelf right beside one of my aquariums, from which it receives a bit of indirect lighting. I had some problems with brown algae and cyanobacteria, but more out of laziness than anything else. With the brown algae I even had to dismantle everything and restart it, but now I'm taking better care and everything's OK. I sincerely hope it will last a reasonably long time. The plant has been growing well and started shooting some roots, I just don't know what I'm going to do if it grows more than expected...I'll either have to try and remove it the same way it entered or else do it the more drastic way.

Fábio Yoshida's Flower-Tube Aquarium

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Aquarium: Flower tube with stand.
Dimensions: 140x37 mm cylinder.
Volume: ~150 ml (nominal).
Substrate: pool filter sand.
Fertilization: Tetra Flora Pride administered sporadically.
Lighting: indirect (beside my planted tank).
Flora: Lilaeopsis brasiliensis.

Once I told my sister about a type of setup I'd been planning, then the other day she stopped by a home depot, bought a cheap flower holder and came over to ask me if it was suitable for the setup I wanted. It wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but I gave it some thought and came up with a setup that might look good. I planted using a Nisso aquarium tweezer that my sister brought me from Japan. This setup was MUCH easier to plant than the bulb, since the tank's “mouth” is larger than the bulb's.

About the blue background...it's a blue bed sheet that I taped to a corned formed by an aquarium and a wardrobe. A very simple thing to do which nonetheless looks really good for presentation. As for the lighting for the photos, I used a PC light strip. I also put a led spotlight directly over the mouth. Under normal daily conditions these setups get only the indirect light from my main planted tank beside them, this helps me keep control the algae and since the plants are undemanding there's no problem. I hope you like it, to me it came out a nice setup.

Rony Suzuki's Cracker-Box Paludarium

I had initially decided to grow some more Hemianthus callitrichoides, and for that I bought this really nice plastic pot for storing crackers. I added garden soil, earthworm compost, covered it with pool filter sand, filled with water and planted a few cuttings of Hemianthus. Since there was some space left I decided to put in a bit of moss as well. There was still some space to put in a Hydrocotyle sp., and I also took the opportunity to add a few shoots of Eleocharis parvula. Even with all those plants there was still a bit of room for Eleocharis sp., for another type of moss, and for the Ricciocarpus. When I was done, it ended up turning into this. The poor Hemianthus ended up not having any space left to grow... :-)

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603_Palmtop_Aquarium_2b.jpg (34kb)

603_Palmtop_Aquarium_2c.jpg (35kb)

If you'd like to submit an aquarium for Tank of the Month, just contact me.

Photos taken by their respective authors and displayed here with their permission.



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