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New Hardscape and Blended Moss

June 7th, 2015

This weekend I started to rescape my 33g aquarium. This is my Green Leaf Aquarium tank that’s exactly half of a standard 75g tank. So far, I’ve only completed the hardscape, that you can see below.

Hardscape in 33g

I use my camera phone to take pictures of the hardscape as I go. This allows me to very easily see if I like the positioning of the rocks/wood, and make adjustments on the fly. The GIF below shows a demonstration of how things changed as I moved along. Before I even started, I did a prototype on the floor in front of the tank to try and work out what kind of hardscape layout I would aim for.


You can see that I used a mixture of rosewood and ohko stone, sometimes referred to as dragonstone. I was inspired by many of the cliffs and elements on the U.S. West Coast at the Olympic and Mount Rainier National Parks near Seattle, Washington. There, many trees grow out of amazing rock faces, and I was hoping to capture some element of that in this scape.

Shot of Mossy Hardscape


I’m also doing a dry start for this aquascape, which is something I do not usually do. I wanted to try George Farmer’s suggestion of blending moss with Greek yogurt and painting on the millions of tiny fronds that result.

Moss in a Blender

I got my wife’s permission to use the Vitamix to blend the moss, and the result was this soupy mixture below. I literally used a paintbrush to apply the moss to the wood. You can see the result of that in the close-up above.

Yogurt Moss Mixture

Now, the tank is sealed off with plastic wrap, and I’ll mist it each day for the next few weeks. With luck, the moss will begin to attach to the wood, and I’ll be able to continue with the full planting and filling of the tank. Comments welcome!

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New Addition to Pond

May 31st, 2015

This weekend I added capacity to my raised brick pond. I had been toying with the idea for years of adding a container above the pond that would circulate water back into it. Here’s what I ended up with:


New whiskey barrel above pond

I found a fake resin whiskey barrel at Costco, and drilled it in three places to install bulkheads. I have a more decorative spout on the side, and an input line directly in the center that feeds water from the pond through a fountain head, and into the barrel. As an extra safety, I also installed a standpipe to handle any overflow situations.


The pump in my pond is pretty strong so it turns out that the standpipe is the main outlet for water leaving the barrel. I made sure to use twice the diameter piping and tubing so it can handle a lot of outflow.


As you can see above the water returns via a hose and the faucet. On the pond side, I had to install a bulkhead to allow me to plumb a simple elbow up into the bottom of the barrel. I also installed a ball valve allowing me to regulate the flow into the barrel if need be.


Right now I’m just floating from Acmella repens which I hope will trail over the side of the container. I also dropped in an iris. I’d love to hear feedback, particularly on the plumbing as I’ve never done this before and would love to avoid any obvious problems going forward.

Oh, and in the pond, I’m keeping Vietnamese White Clouds and Endlers this year.

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EcoQube C: New AquaPonics Filter on KickStarter

April 7th, 2015


Aquarium Design Innovations is out with a new iteration of their EcoQube line, the EcoQube C, a desktop ecosystem that uses basil to filter the water. And for a very short time, they’re offering early backers of their kickstarter compaign the EcoQube C for just $39 — that’s half of their normal $79 retail price!


The desktop aquarium is designed to be a complete ecosystem for your home or office. The basil filter removes waste from the fish, a UV lamp sterilizes the water, and a full-spectrum LED keeps all of the plants growing. Compared to a normal filtration cycle that uses bacteria to convert ammonia into nitrate, which can then cause algae growth, the EcoQube’s filter uses basil to remove the nitrate altogether.


ADI’s goal is simple:

“Aquaponics is a clear solution to address many issues of water and food shortages all over the world and we hope the EcoQube can help bring this incredible yet simple solution into our everyday lives and influence the way we perceive the larger issues in the world today. We know there are these horrific things happening but we’ve been so disconnected with our environment and the negative impacts we make with our everyday decisions.”

Kickstarter is all about backers – the more backers ADI gets on the first day, the more it will help them reach their goal. So even if you don’t want an EcoQube of your own, but you support ADI and their mission, donating $1 will help them tremendously. So please go to their campaign and back them!

Learn more about the EcoQube C at www.aquaponicsfilter.com

Support ADI by backing their kickstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kevinzl/1902509544?token=c8c86f74

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Aquavas Updated Photo

March 7th, 2015

Here’s an updated photo of my Aquavas aquarium after doing some trimming and a water change today.


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Interview on Home Aquaria

March 1st, 2015

I was recently interviewed on HomeAquaria.com, and my recent AquaVas blog was reposted there. Take a moment to check it out!

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