November 7, 2009

November 2009 Meeting

On November 7th, 2009, the New Jersey Aquatic Gardeners Club had a meeting of grand proportions at the offices of Little Falls Alloys, Inc., where Jerry works.

In attendance were:


The plan was to aquascape, with low maintenance in mind, a 150 gallon monster.

Upon arrival, it was clear that this needed more than an aquascape. The plumbing of the overflow, the filtration, the CO2 injection via a Mazzi, with an industrial heater controller as well as an industrial pH probe controlling the CO2 injection all had to be setup.

So, with the coffee brewing and the bagels out, we all started tackling the various tasks.

A brief meeting to discuss the plumbing went on, and a schematic was agreed on paper.

Mike and I starting draining the Manzanita as more folks started showing up.

Manzanita Soak

Manzanita Soaking in a 55 gallon drum

From there, the mineralized soil bed, which was previously dried out, was broken up, mixed with clay and and assortment of other minerals by Mike, Glenn, and Drew.

Dried out mineralize soil

Dried out mineralize soil

They really must be missing their childhood days of playing in the mud, because they were really gung-ho to get dirty with it!

Playing with the mud

Mike and Glenn reliving their childhood

While they were playing in the mud, Jens was busy trying to get us high on PVC cleaner and glue he was using to assemble the parts for the overflow plumbing.

Jens and Steve Plumbing

Steve watches while Jens works on the plumbing

Once the basic plumbing was in enough that water wouldn’t flow out onto the floor, the substrate started coming together, with Seachem’s black flourite surrounding and capping the mineralized brew.

Laying down the mineralized soil and Flourite

Seachem’s Black Flourite capping the mineralized soil


Another angle on that

More mineralized

And a close-up of that

From there, one of the longer processes began – the hardscape. A multitude of arrangements of the wood were tried and re-tried.

Mike playing with hardscape ideas

Mike needs longer arms

I don’t know how many options we went through with the hmmmms, ahhhhhs, and flat out “NO’s”, but eventually a layout with the wood and rocks was achieved, always keeping in mind where the vast assortment of plants we had on hand would wind up.

Agreeing on the hardscape

While all that was going on, Paula was busy cutting and installing the trim for the glass lid pieces. I got to install the hinges, which are an incredibly tight fit, all the time worrying that I’d go home with a massive laceration from the glass, but, I came out injury free.

Paula putting the trim on the glass

Paula cutting and install the rubber trim on the glass lid

Once the hardscape was set and agreed, water started flowing, and plants were being selected. Hank brought a massive bunch of narrow leaf java fern which was going to be used, and many others brought some really nice crypts and more, which also made their way into the scape.

Mike starts planting

Some where around the middle of the planting, the next round of food arrived – sandwiches and cookies, which kept the crew moving.

Placing the plants

FTWDD in view

The water had to added very carefully, so as to not disturb the soil too much, utilizing a very specialized tool, no, not the python, the foil tray water dispersing device (FTWDD).

Large narrow leaf java fern placed

Some moss was also tied onto smaller rocks to be placed, as well as a few Anubias species.

Paula Tying some moss

Steve, Paula (selecting moss and tying it), Mike and Jens

Sadly, it was around this time that I had to depart. I didn’t get to see this to completion in person, but it did go for a while longer.

Jens and Mike setting the lights

Jens and Mike place the lights

And, this is how a scape comes together in under 6 minutes (cut from about 4 hours of footage):

Admiring the tank at the the end of the day – Mike, Jerry, Jens and Paula

And, here are a few other photos I didn’t work into the recap…

The Church of Glenn

Another use for your kid’s beach “tools”

What’s that smell????? – Jerry

I knew I shouldn’t have had that last cup of coffee… – Hank

caption contest tie

Sorry Jens but I had chili for lunch 

by the caption contest winner – Glenn

Thanks to Jerry
for hosting!

Until next time,

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