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AquaAurora

Some of My DIYs

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First off I want to give a big thanks to my hubby who is always helpful in brainstorming (bouncing ideas off of/refining plan) and a big help in my DIYs, especially those involving power tools!  Most of these were done before I owned goldfish but I've applies a few to the goldfish tank too ^^

 

I'll start out with an easy one everyone everyone can do and apply to any fish keeping (tropical, cold water, etc).

DIY Garlic Extract

 

I blanch cucubmers every few days and put them in the goldfish tank.  I pre-cut and freeze my cucumber chunks.  To prep them for the tank I put them in a microwave safe cup with my diy garlic extra and a bit of tap then microwave for 1 minute.

 

Materials Used:
garlic!
a clean jar with lid
tap water

Tools Used:
hands
fridge

Other Material and Tool Options:
a knife or something to smash garlic open with

Photos:
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Details:
Some people like to use garlic extract to help boost immune systems for their fish, its also frequently used to help encourage fish to eat food when they're not so interested. Instead of throwing money at some fancy bottled stuff I'd rather buy garlic intended to use for meals at home and preserve it in the fridge in water, then use the water for the fish.  
I've dumped in (after dechlorinating it) garlic water directly into the tank and have used it to soak and when blanching food for fish and shrimp.  I've seen no advertise effects.
All you have to do it get a jar with a good lid to avoid leaks, 1 or more heads of garlic from the store (depending on how often you/your family use garlic for cooking).  Remove the outer shell/skin layer and take apart the garlic and de-shell them (each individual piece has a flaky shell around it- its not appealing to eat and not useful so get it off), you can crush the garlic in your fingers or use a knife blade and cutting board to press them which breaks open the shell and makes it easy to peal.  Sometimes you'll find garlic starting to grow little sprouts out the top, its not rotting or a bug, its normal- a very resilient plant, even when put in the fridge for months its still ready to grow!).  But if you do get some with some rot its easy enough to cut off and keep the healthy part.
Put the de-shelled garlic into the jar and add cold tap at least until the garlic is covered (or to the brim of the jar if you want), put on the lid and place in your fridge... The garlic will keep for a few extra months this way instead of just dry in fridge or in a pantry.  I've only noticed that when not used for many many months, garlic in the water will turn a blue-green  I've not cooked with these discolored pieces so I can't say if its still 'safe' at that point.. I typically pour the water down the sink and dump the garlic then start a new batch when its changed color.  As soon as 24-48 hours after putting garlic into water you will notice the water its smells like garlic and can be used as a substitute for garlic extract.
I do no dechlorinate the water for use in blanching since it will be boiled, but if you plan to put the water directly into a tank or soak foods that aren't being cooked in it I add a drop of de-chlorinator to the garlic water (once its been pour out of the jar into another cup).


Note: I make no claim to doing/reading any scientific studies stating that this method is the same as (or better than) the garlic extract in a bottle many people buy specifically for fish/pet use, it is just my cheap alternative.  You can add dechlorinator to your jar directly if you never intend to use the garlic for human consumption (some dechlorinators are not safe for us to ingest (have other additives)), a few won't harm anything but the sellers still advise against consuming the product), garlic does not loose/change its flavor from being in the water and still can be used as it would in any cooking scenario (being wet doesn't negatively effect it).

 

 

 

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DIY Ricca/Moss Rock
Probably not a goldfish tank DIY but if you keep shrimp they will love it (mine did)!  Some places sell these pre-made at a large markup, but if shipped through the mail to you they can come loose.  Better to Do It Yourself!

Materials Used:
slate
Riccia fluitans
Bath scrunchie
clear low poundage fishing line


Tools Used:
utility blade


Other Material and Tool Options:
inert small rock-lava rock woks (but be careful it using in betta tank very rough)
Any moss, liverword, bladderwort, even marimo
scissors, razor blade
hair net or flexable mesh perhaps window/door screen
100% acrylic thread or rubber band (rubber will break down over time-same for regular thread)


Photos:
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Will update post with new photo once riccia grows in more.


Details:
Want a plant carpet but not a medium-high light tank that required co2 injections?  Trying a moss, riccia, marimo or, liverwort carpet (Google up "moss carpet", "mairmo carpet", "riccia carpet" to see examples of grown-in carpets set up for a few weeks/months).  Note: moss are very slow growing and takes the least amount of light and trimming maintenance, marimo and subwassertangdo not tolerate Seachem Excel-do not dose in tanks with riccia or subwassertang.
First you need an inter rock, slate is easy to find and can be cheap or free!  Ask your local landscape yard or home improvement store for their throw away broken slate tiles.  My husband cut mine down to smaller pieces with a stone cutter but you can 9carefully) break these into small chunks with controlled dropping/smashing (wear shoes and eye protection). If you cover it completely lava rock is another option-be mindful no rough edged are sticking out if used in a betta tank.  True river rock is usually safe too-you can do a vinegar test to see if it raises pH or sock unknown rocks in a bucket of water for a week then test pH, GH and KH against your tap to see if they effect water chemistry... but again slate is an easy to find safe one.
For a cheap and easy mesh get one of those shower scrubber scrunchie things (so technical on the terminology I know), I got a green one at a grocery store for $1. Cut it loose from its ties in the core and you have several body lengths worth of mesh tubing!
Low poundage clear fishing line can be found at any bait or sporting store, I got mine for $4 and its many many hundreds of feet long.

Choose the plant you want to attach to this rock and set up an area you can work at (it will get wet from water squeezed off of the plants).  Choose your rock pieces and lay a liberal mount of live plant on it (in my case riccia).  Moss you don't have to cover the area completely wish as it will spread but marimo and riccia grow vertically not horizontally so add as much as you want covered now.
Cut a length of mesh and wrap it over the rock then tie it on the underside.  You can cut off the excess mesh after tieing.  Quick tip: When you place the rock in the mesh, flip it to the under side (plant facing down) and spin the mesh to make it bunch up tightly at the base of the rock then tie it to get tightest tie off, tucking in excess  under the knot will make it tighter.  If you are using fishing line multi knot-I do 3-4 knots.
Place your rocks in the aquarium plant side up and wiggle the bottom of the rock down into the substrate a little.  You are now done.  
Depending on species of plant used and your tank environment (lighting, ferts, co2 or liquid supplement) will determine how often you need to trim.  Riccia will die and break loose if the bottom part does not get enough light-it may take a weekly trim to keep it low enough to prevent it breaking loose and floating up.  Moss on the other hand can go months maybe over a year without trimming.  Marimo grows insanely slow at 5mm a year so doubt you'd ever have to trim it.

 

 

 

Later photos once grown in

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Edited by AquaAurora

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Minimalist Lids

I use this for all my tanks except the open top ripariums.  Have a nice big Lexan lid on the goldfish side of the 40g breeder.  Btw this stuff does not bow the way thin acrylic will.

I do the measuring/marking, hubby does the cutting ^^

Materials Used:
Clear Lexan polycarbonate (size varies for tank)

Tools used:
Measuring tape
Sharpie or pen
Circular saw
Sand paper

Other tool options:
Razor blade
Utility knife
Pretty much any saw or durable cutting tool can work

Photos:
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Details:
I don't care for aquarium standard hoods, or paying for glass ones.  Instead I'd rather custom cut lids for each tank that needs them to fit equipment in and leave a little room for air but not enough for jumpers to get out.
I'm sure you can find other materials, but my preferred option is Lexan Polycarbonate from Home Depot. Its clear, light weight, cheap, doesn't break as easy as glass, and is easy to clean.
Keep the cover on the Lexan and mark the tank top outline on it, remember to have all equipment in the tank (filter, heater, etc) and mark holes/cuts needed for them.  If you don't have access to an electric saw you can take the tank (empty) and put it on top of the Lexan (make sure something is under the Lexan you don't mind cutting like wood scrap or cardboard) and use a razor or utility knife to run around the edge of the tank on the Lexan many many times, it should cut in deep enough that you can snap it out.  Then you just cat the marked areas for equipment.  If you do have access to power tools you have a ton of cutting options from saws-all, circular saw, table saw, hand saw, Miter saw, Dremel motor tool.. even drill press (if smaller holes for cords/airline tubing are needed) and cut along mark lines for lid.  Best to use a saw blade with many teeth/high tooth count.  I think wood cutting blades work well.  Its recommended, but not necessary to lay tap down on the Lexan around where you'll be cutting to help prevent cracking and scratching from the cut, but you can skip this part.  After the cut, Lexan edges will still be rough, go over them gently with sand paper.  Wash loose debris off, remove the cover on the sheet and its ready to be used!
My 2 and 3g tanks have a single piece lid with small cut pvc pipe pieces toy hold them in place (aka make a tight fit so bettas can't knock off lid-tanks were next to eachother when this was made).  The 7g cube and 12g long are multi-part lids that allow easy access into the tank, the 'back' piece made to fit around the filtration pipes.  My 10g lid is 1 piece with a large gap in the 'back' to let em slide HOB9s) around with ease (foam was stuffed in the gap as I had ghost shrimp quarantined in there and they're known to jump).  These lids let light in fine for plant growing, but like most lids will build up condensation based on tank and air temp differences.

Edited by AquaAurora

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DIY Anti Reflection Background

This is a GREAT fix to glass surfing bettas.  Glass surfing is the act of the betta going back and forth constantly against the glass  They are chasing their refection because they see it as an intruder betta and are trying to chase it off 9rather unsuccessfully).  This can  stress bettas because to them, they never get left alone.  Some fixed include adjusting lighting and angle of light, adding more decor (fake/live plants) around the side and back wall to reduce amount of visibility and make it harder to surf the glass.  But my most successful fix for it was this DIY insert made to remove reflection.

Materials Used:
Acrylic sheet
Krylon Fusion Black

Tools Used:
Sharpie
Electric Saw

Other Material and Tool Options:
Lexan polycarbonate
Utility knife
razor blade.. just about any durable cutting tool

Photos:
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Sorry no paint application photos

Details:
So one of my bettas glass surfed a lot in quarantine.  TO keep it from being a problem in his final tank (and from him seeing another betta who is also on the desk in a tank next to his) I needed an aquarium safe way to paint inside the tank glass.  Putting a background against the outside of it does not stop reflections.  I looked into aquarium safe paints but non bound to glass.  Some Googling led me to Krylon Fusion spray-paint.  its commonly used in saltwater setups for DIY pvc plumbing for filters and for acrylic in tank sump boxes.  More Googling said 48 seemed to be a decent cure time before use.  I got acrylic sheets at my Home Depot and sanded one side to give a rough surface to let paint adhere to better.  After spray painting that side I noticed the texture of the sanding showed through the paint so the acrylic was flipped over and the un-sanded side was painted. I let the acrylic sheets sit over 48 hours then did a 48 hour water test just to be safe.  It turns out the un-sanded side took the pain better, and with only one coat per a side not giving a fully solid black (its transparent enough you can see dark shadows of objects behind it) it was good enough for use.  A back and one side wall piece were made and tucked into the tank using 'egg crate' (a plastic light diffuser) that were being used for rocks in the tank.  The beta does not glass surf the dark sides but one side wall was left un-coverd and he is glass surfing there so I will most likely make another piece to go in..
If you use Kyrlon read its directions and warnings.  I strongly suggest using it outside, if done indoors without proper ventilation it can be dangerous.  It was too cold to spay outside so this work was done in a room with a door to the outside nearby opened with a fan sucking the air out.  If you make these sheets make sure they are secure against the tank wall.  Mine are anchored under the substrate and I put a tiny piece of black tape at each corner at the top just to be safe.
I used Kryon Fusion and it seems to be the one other aquarium hobbiest use.. however I cannot say if other versions of Krylon (non 'fusion') are aquarium safe.

The tank has been set up for over a year and a half now and Aristocoles (ee betta boy in there) has had no issues with the Kyrlon...and its held up well.  I'll will make 3 more Krylon fusion painted pieces for my other betta's cube and paint his canister pipes black eventually.

 

Added bonus: black non reflective background in tank means diatoms (aka brown algae) is not noticeable on it compared to on clear shiny glass)

As a side not: I also made a lid with the acrylic to compare with my Lexan lids... in less than 6 days it was bowed more than my over 6 month old Lexan lids.. not good lid material.. but the sheets in the tank have no bowed.  I had to replace the lid with a Lexan one as the corners had turned up far enough on the acrylic that the betta could easily jump out.

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DIY Removable Tank Background

Did this for my 20g long and 55g.  The darker effect really makes fish/plants/decor pop.  Having something removable like this makes it easy to clean or find missing fish tucked away in the back of the tank.  Photos below are oooooold.  20g long is so over grown now you can't even see the back ^^

Materials Used:
Black fabric
Scrap Backer Board
Scrap 2"x4"
Short screws

Tools Used:
Measuring tape
Chalk
Fabric scissors
Sewing machine
Staple gun
Drill
Saw

Other Material and Tool Options:
Cardboard
Paint
Scrap drywall
Large scrap wood
Construction paper
... list goes on

Photos:
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(Note: the 2x4" was removed from this recently as the background (and tank) is now flush with the wall.. not a real tank scape this is a quarantine for fish and plant atm)


Details:
I wanted a dark backdrop of my tanks instead of seeing my wall which has trim and goes from upper half drywall to wood at the bottom (house came this way, not my idea).  I didn't care for something temporary like black construction paper (easily damaged by water), or the very reflective aquarium backgrounds you pay an arm and a leg for if its a long tank. I wanted something that wouldn't mold if it got wet so my husband suggested we use some of the leftover Backer board from a recent project (its a mold resistant drywall used in bathrooms and sometimes outdoor projects/extensions).  I picked up a small bolt of black fabric at my local small business sewing store, measured the back of the tank and used my husband's square to make straight lines on the fabric with some chalk.  I gave about 1-1.5" excess in material all around and cut this out of the fabric then handed it to my husband along with the tank back measurements.  He used a saw to cut the backer board to size as well as a piece of "2 by 4" to work as a back/stand for the board.  Drilled the two pieces together then using a staple gun put the fabric onto the backer board and it was done!  
This procedure was for the 20g, for the 55g we did the same thing but I got a more water resistant material at the sewing store and my husband used a glue (not sure which) instead of stapling the fabric.
If you try this be sure to measure how much space you have behind the tank to fit the background.  I have my HOBs n the sides instead of the back of the 20g, and use a canister in the 55 so there's no equipment in the way/front of the background (hide canister piping behind it in 55).  I can pull the backgrounds out as needed if I want to rotate the tank (scratched the front glass so not its the back) or need to find a missing/hiding fish, or just are done with that background and want to try something new.  No tape or sticky-ness on the glass from adhesive background methods and no scraping paint off.

Note: this will not cure glass surfing caused from betta seeing its own reflection-view above DIY for help with that.

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DIY Riparium Basket

Materials Used:
plastic shower basket with holes
'size' 12 coated copper wire-green
plastic window/door screen (optional)
clay media

Tools Used:
Needle Nose Pliers
wire cutters/clippers/dykes (old school name)
razor


Other Material and Tool Options:
Gardening Wire
crafting mesh (optional)
nylon stocking (optional)
gravel
lava rock
other sizes or colors for coated copper wire
zip ties


Photos:
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Details:
Ripariums are a great way bring more color and beauty to a tank as well as take up nitrates, but without taking up too much space under water.  Having the leaves directly exposed to air lets the plants get their co2 much quicker so they can grow faster which means absorbing nitrates from the water more rapidly (plus fish and shrimp love the under water roots).  
Some people spend over $20 for riparium specific baskets with suction cups, mesh, and media.  I decided to save more $ and use left over window/door screen (optional depending on media used), expanded clay pebble media (used commonly for aquaponic style gardening), and show baskets.  Make sure the baskets are plastic and not painted (could chip off), and have holes/slits to let water in and roots grow out.  You can skip the use of wire and just try the suction cups but the ones I got have issue staging in place and tend to sink below the water line.  So I'll be using coated wire to keep them permanently in place!  If you also use this DO NOT leave the exposed end of the copper in the water-it is not safe.  I cut a length of wire and put it through the suction cup holes and against the tank to mold around the trim so it stays in place (if you have a rimless tank I'd not recommend doing this as the tension may damage the glass, use pliers instead to shape the wire).  I used pliers to wrap the wire around itself on the back so it would not hand down past the black tank trim and be visible (alternatively you can just cut the wire).
Because I'm using a larger clay media (only because I have a large bag leftover from an aquaponics setup-the white chalky-ness on the above photo if from dried  calcium deposits from the tap) I don't really need the mesh for these baskets, but if you use smaller gravel or have a basket with larger holes you may need it.  I just cut it to fit in the basket and cover the holes then fill with media.  If you also use clay media I'd recommended soaking it for a day beforehand as it tends to float the first time it gets wet but once it absorbs enough water it will sink. You can also use tank gravel or pea gravel for your media, or even broken up lava rock.  

As for plants, well not all plants will like having their roots forever wet *(such as cacti/succulents), but some species do well for riparium setups. 

I've used the following plants successfully:
Hemigraphis colorata 'Exotica' (aka Purple waffle)

Hemigraphis repanda (aka Dragones tonue)
Pothos
Fittonia albivenis (aka angel kiss)
Tradescantia zebrine (aka wondering jew)
Cyperus Umbrella Sedge
Aluminum plant (I've used on a raft)

Friendship Plant (Pilea involucrata)
Ruellia brittoniana 'Katie'
Spathiphyllum (aka peace lily-be careful some species get HUGE)
Dwarf Palm Neanthe Bella
Syngonium (aka arrowhead plant)

Antherium

Aglaonema (Chinese evergreen)

Alocosia polly

Sweetflag
Star Grass
Rain lily

Helxine soleirolii

Philodendron

Dracaena braunii (aka lucky bamboo)

.. I'm sure I'm forgetting some

 

 

Emersed aquatic plants:
Riccia
Aquatic mosses
Creeping jenny

Ludwigia

Dwarf baby tears

Hydro sp japan

Water sprite

Note: Once you start getting into ripariums its gets addictive. You may find yourself stuffing conductive plants (or plants you want to try) in every available space around the upper walls of the tank (and in HOB filters) until you are out or room.... you have been warned!

 

 

Those are older photos here are more recent shots of the 20g long and 55g

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Edited by AquaAurora

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WOW you got my attention hun... WOW great DIY.. Gives me ideas for my Mollies once I get them out of SW :)

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WOW you got my attention hun... WOW great DIY.. Gives me ideas for my Mollies once I get them out of SW :)

Thank you.  Its always fun to make something yourself with a bit of creativity and a little handy-ness ^^ I enjoy sharing my DIYs and hope to get others thinking/do more DIYs themselves instead of just buying pre-made things at a store which can be limiting and more expensive. 

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Mini update: better photo (though old photo) of the Anti Glass Reflection DIY (reflection in photo is only from front glass)

009-39.jpg

ps that ghost shrimp became lobster dinner

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DIY Anubias/Fern/Buce anchor

Great easy way to tie down rhizome based plants like anubias, java ferns, and the quickly rising in popularity Bucephalandra (a realities of anubias).  This method makes move the plants to clean them/around them or to rescape much easier than tieing them to larger rocks, driftwood, or bulky decor.

Why go through all this trouble?  Rhizome based plants should not have their rhizomes buried in the substrate, I've found often burying the rhizome leads to rhizome rot and death of the plant.  IT best to keep the rhizome exposed in the water column.  What is the rhizome?  Its the horizontal part that both roots and leave sprout from.  You can bury just the roots in substrate and leave the rhizome fully exposed, but often when you get new anubias/buce/ferns they don't have all that long of roots yet, or if they do your fish may knock them free (especially those goldfish ^.~ ).

Materials Used:
live plants

low poundage clear fishing line

glass beads

Tools Used:

utility knife

Other Material and Tool Options:
razor blade

scissors

knife
100% Acrylic thread

rocks

suction cups

egg crate

stainless steel mesh

needle nose pliers

window screen mesh

shower scrunchie

 

Photos:

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Details:

Fairly straight forward.  I'd recommend using clear low poundage fishing line (bought at tackle shop or local sporting goods store.. or even Walmart) OR 100% acrylic thread (never bought so unsure where it is for sale).  Both will last forever, unlike cotton thread which does break down.

I found using glass beads bought from a craft store (got a large package for $2) work best as they already have a hole to thread through making tieing string to bead very easy.  I typically do 3 knots with fishing line or it may come undone.  The beads being glass means they have some weight/won't float and won't effect water quality the way certain rocks can.  After tieing one end to the bead I grab the plant I want anchors (java fern, anubias, etc.. you could even do it with a wad of moss), determine how high off the substrate I want it and loosely/gently tie around the rhizome (moss mass).  Think of the rhizome as your arm and don't tie it too tightly or it'd be lie cutting off circulation in your limb-not good.  After knotting and cutting off excess line, its as easy and plopping the weight into the tank and moving the pants where wanted then pushing the anchor under the substrate. 

While I sue glass beads you can also use egg crate (light diffuser), suction cups or rocks int eh same manner.

 

 

Side tangent.. a bit of a mix of this DIY and the riccia/moss rock, I've also used window screen mesh, or stainless steel mesh to tie java fern down and anchor them against the substrate.  For stainless steel I take needle nose pliers and bend all the tips down to avoid damaging fins then tie on fishing line and start weaving ferns onto it.  For rock and window screen I cut and wrap window screen over the rock, tie it on with fishing line, then tie fishing line to the screen and weave it through tieing down java ferns.

 

No suction cups so no eventual failure and float loose.

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Thats impressive... I just love watching this thread :thumbs:

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DIY Anubias/Fern/Buce anchor

Great easy way to tie down rhizome based plants like anubias, java ferns, and the quickly rising in popularity Bucephalandra (a realities of anubias).  This method makes move the plants to clean them/around them or to rescape much easier than tieing them to larger rocks, driftwood, or bulky decor.

Why go through all this trouble?  Rhizome based plants should not have their rhizomes buried in the substrate, I've found often burying the rhizome leads to rhizome rot and death of the plant.  IT best to keep the rhizome exposed in the water column.  What is the rhizome?  Its the horizontal part that both roots and leave sprout from.  You can bury just the roots in substrate and leave the rhizome fully exposed, but often when you get new anubias/buce/ferns they don't have all that long of roots yet, or if they do your fish may knock them free (especially those goldfish ^.~ ).

Materials Used:

live plants

low poundage clear fishing line

glass beads

Tools Used:

utility knife

Other Material and Tool Options:

razor blade

scissors

knife

100% Acrylic thread

rocks

suction cups

egg crate

stainless steel mesh

needle nose pliers

window screen mesh

shower scrunchie

 

Photos:

018_zpsgtr5oavm.jpg

022_zpsh5lbcezl.jpg

038_zpsx5cg08dm.jpg

 

021_zpszq5sd3da.jpg

022%202_zpsmhtwd2wy.jpg

025_zpsytdp8bwd.jpg

020_zps79sijr38.jpg

 

Details:

Fairly straight forward.  I'd recommend using clear low poundage fishing line (bought at tackle shop or local sporting goods store.. or even Walmart) OR 100% acrylic thread (never bought so unsure where it is for sale).  Both will last forever, unlike cotton thread which does break down.

I found using glass beads bought from a craft store (got a large package for $2) work best as they already have a hole to thread through making tieing string to bead very easy.  I typically do 3 knots with fishing line or it may come undone.  The beads being glass means they have some weight/won't float and won't effect water quality the way certain rocks can.  After tieing one end to the bead I grab the plant I want anchors (java fern, anubias, etc.. you could even do it with a wad of moss), determine how high off the substrate I want it and loosely/gently tie around the rhizome (moss mass).  Think of the rhizome as your arm and don't tie it too tightly or it'd be lie cutting off circulation in your limb-not good.  After knotting and cutting off excess line, its as easy and plopping the weight into the tank and moving the pants where wanted then pushing the anchor under the substrate. 

While I sue glass beads you can also use egg crate (light diffuser), suction cups or rocks int eh same manner.

 

 

Side tangent.. a bit of a mix of this DIY and the riccia/moss rock, I've also used window screen mesh, or stainless steel mesh to tie java fern down and anchor them against the substrate.  For stainless steel I take needle nose pliers and bend all the tips down to avoid damaging fins then tie on fishing line and start weaving ferns onto it.  For rock and window screen I cut and wrap window screen over the rock, tie it on with fishing line, then tie fishing line to the screen and weave it through tieing down java ferns.

 

No suction cups so no eventual failure and float loose.

 

Is that a koi betta in that tank??

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Thats impressive... I just love watching this thread :thumbs:

 ^^

 

 

Is that a koi betta in that tank??

 

In the last photo yes, she is a yellow koi (mostly yellow with black with a tiny bit of cellophane (clear areas of fins)).

Koi is a term used by betta breeders for marbles.  Marbles is a term used for bettas with unstable color genetics.. won't get too nerdy into ti but they tend to change color..  How much and what changes varies but with yellow koi they are fairly stable, typically the black will spread a bit more but that's about it (should not turn mostly/solid black).   Blue and red tend to be more dominant at taking over the body/fins of marbles.

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DIY Filter Baffle with Sponge/Foam Media

Bettas typically don't tolerate a lot of filter flow, especially the long finned variety as it can blast them around the tank.  If you betta is in a tank with too strong a filter it may stay in the calm/no current sections of the tank only (which may mean it doesn't want to come up to feed because that puts it in a strong current).  Also betta fins are very delicate and insanely easy to rip, so putting a cover over the intake pipe can help save fins from shredding!

This DIY can also be applied to goldfish tanks with veiltails or very over powdered filters just be mindful to remove and ring out the foam frequently to avoid clogging.

Materials Used:
Black sponge/foam filter media for aquariums-no specific brand get something thick/big like a canister filter foam insert so you have plenty to work with.


Tools Used:
scissors


Other Material and Tool Options:
non aquarium sponge/foam media-be careful of dies, detergents, or other chemicals on the sponge/foam!
razor blade or knife
rubber band, fishing line, or 100% acrylic thread to tie foam on

Photos:
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Details:
So the photo example are for an HOB (hang on back filter) with a "thick sock" over the intake and a cut piece of foam for the outflow.  You can see I used 2 different types of foam here, one fine and one course, it does not matter which you use, though the one on the outflow is more likely to shed fins-it feels like a rough plastic more than a foam but this tank is not a betta tank.  I use the same principle for all betta tanks with canister intakes and HOBs.  If you buy the Azoo palm hob filter it comes with a foam piece to put over the intake but it doesn't fit snugly as I would want so i used a rubber band on it.  When the rubberband finally broke down I tied the foam onto the azoo palm with some fishing line.

Ok enough babbling..HOW TO MAKE THESE: Go to a lfs and buy some sponge/foam filter media.  I typically use coarse (small holed) black foam but you can use what ever (if possible open the box and feel the foam-if its rough don't use it for betta tanks).  Sadly I cannot recall the brand of foam I used for my intake to recommend.  Get it home and get something to cut with: scissors, razor, knife.  
If you have an intake tube (HOB or canister) turn off the filter and take the intake off and out of the tank.  Lay it ontop of the foam and cut out a thick chunk around it.  After cut a hole at the 'top' and snip down into it (but not all the way through) to make it a "sock" and slip it over the intake.  Make sure it fully covers the slits, if its too small try to cut deeper into the core of the foam, if it simply is too short make a new one-this is why its good to get a big piece of foam to work with.  Once the intake is down stick it back on the filter. 

For the outflow sponge piece I take the remaining large chunk of foam and lay it over the outflow then roughly cut out a piece of foam slightly longer than outflow so it will fit in there snugly.  Let the piece of foam have enough height to it that it fits in the outflow but touches the surface or the water (or goes slightly below it). 
If you have an internal filter with waterfall outflow or a tank with a sump style (back compartment with pump that has slits to let water go into) use fishing line, thread, or rubber band (rubber bands will break down over time but should take months) where applicable and put a strip of foam over the intake slits.  If the outflow is not a water fall style (like pictured above) but a nozzle you can get some non coarse foam (look more like 2nd foam shown in photos above) and tie/band it over the nozzle to reduce flow. Note covering the nozzle may strain the pump.  An alternative it to poke holes in the hose that pushed water from pump to outflow.

As you can see from the intake photo-it can get clogged over time-especially if you have snails.  If its clogged and flow is getting reduced a lot simply turn off the filter during a water cahnge, take off the 'sock' and dunk/squeeze it in the removed tank water bucket then put it back on and turn the filter on again after tank si refilled (filter may need primed depending on type).

 

Sied note: if you have a canister filter and want to reduce flow, use the spray bar and aim the holes at the wall its suction cupped to so water comes out the bar and mmmedietly hits the wall then bounces off and moves around the tank.  I do this with an eheim 2211 on a 12" cube with an old betta, works great.

Old photo was rescaping, you can see the spray bar aim with the water level so low

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Also if you want to try try making the outflow less obvious you can take off your HOB lid and put foam on top of the media box along with the foam over the outflow and plant it.  There are a lot of terrestrial plants and some aquatic ones that do great in this sort of way.
Same take as above last spring
Riccia, wandering jew(Tradescantia zebrine), and Fittonia albivenis.. maidenhair fern (far left) didn't transition well and died-I was too rough on the roots.
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Shots of filter from last year
Riccia, wandering jew(Tradescantia zebrine), and Fittonia albivenis, hydro sp. japan, and  Helxine soleirolii (big blob)
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And most recently, the Helxine soleirolii completely took over!

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If you want more info/list on plants to put on HOB or for ripariums just ask (or view above post with list of riparium plants).

 

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DUDE!

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DUDE!

The plant mass overtaking the HOB its even bigger now!! The last photos are 3 months old.   I really should hack it back a bit >.>''  Its cool though, I only see the hob from the back side, front/side view its completely covered by this blob!  Downside: I forget there's an HOB under there and slack off on cleaning/unclogging the filter.

 

Close up view of the tiny cute leaves of the Helxine soleirolii (note this is also called soleirolia soleirolii)

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Edited by AquaAurora

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That is crazy, I can't wait to build my Molly tank. You gave me so many ideas

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That is crazy, I can't wait to build my Molly tank. You gave me so many ideas

Glad to hear!  Look forward to seeing photos after you build ^^

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DIY Removable Tank Background Part 2! For flat and curved tanks!
Just another variation on DIY out of tank backgrounds.  Made these for the betta tanks by a southern bay window that were getting too much indirect sun, causing green hair algae.  The backgrounds fixed the issue and I really liked the look of the fabric(its more green than the photos show) with that room's colors.

Materials Used:
Fabric
Cardboard box (standard shipping box)

Tools Used:
Utility knife
measuring tape
Elmers wood glue
Rolling pin


Other Material and Tool Options:
Scissors
Razor blade
Ruler
other glues or silicone
Shoe box
Plenty of other options

Photos:
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Details:
Recently with the help of my husband I made some more backgrounds.  Sadly no in progress shots, I didn't think to take photos.
I used cardboard from shipping boxes, measured each side of a standard 2.5g tank and cut, measured and cut fabric so it wrapped all the way around the cardboard and had a little extra.  Husband showed me a cool gluing trick: zig zag apply glue to cardboard then go over it with a finer or utility blade to spread it out evening and across the entire surface then press the fabric down on top of it.  We let glue dry for 24 hours (directions say 30 minutes but it doesn't hurt to wait).  Did one side then the other and cut off excess fabric.  Now the cardboard is the length of the back + both sides of the tank.. it needs to be folded.  Measure and bend cardboard with a straight ruler or other object to make the corners then place behind tank and done!
I also made one for my Anchor Hawking cookie jar tank.  Used a string to measure how far I wanted the background to go across then used measuring tape to see how long the string was for desired length.  Cut cardboard to length and cut fabric to wrap completely around cardboard.  Same trick with gluing it on.  After it was cured my husband grabbed a rolling pin and rolled the cardboard into a curve instead of being straight and it fits around the tank perfectly.
I could have cleaned up the excess fabric better, should have folded it over and glued it down but ah well ^^

 

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DIY Inline Heater

Great for tanks with canister filters to minimize exposed equipment in the tank.  I've also found it to be much ore efficient at heating!

There is a lot of info on the web about DIY in line heaters and a few variations. I had 3 DIY inline running at one time (3 separate tanks) but since decommissioned 1 tank's canister filters.  The 2 still running do a great job keeping perfect tamp and I've found they do so quicker than when placed in the tank.


Materials Used:
Eheim jagar 50 watt heater (bought on amazon)
1" to 1 1/2" (or 1 1/4") pvc reducer bushing
(2x) 2"x2"x1" pvc T
(2x) 1"x 1/2" barb adapter
2" pvc cap

zip ties

Tools Used:
measuring tape

pvc primer

pvc cement

silicone

Other Material and Tool Options:
Varying part sized depressing on canister tubing inner dimensions and heater size.

Photos:

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Details:

Sorry no in progress build photos.

This inline heater was build for an eheim jaguar 2211 canister filter which uses 12mm outflow pipe (where the unit is connected). When making your own make sure to check the canister tubing size to get appropriate parts.

The original parts list my husband and I went into Lowes to get we couldn't find several pieces for (stores don't stock EVERYTHING any more :/ ) but my wonderfully handy DIY hubby was able to wip up a new part list on the spot from what was available.  Its been running smoothly with no issues since June 2014. Its strapped to the table leg with zip ties.

Pvc primer and cement used to attach cap, reducers, barbs, and 'T's together. I believe teflon tape had to be used on the barbs to fit into the 'T'. Let set several days then ran tap water though it.. Husband kept running tap through it until the water coming out the barbs did not have any taste of the cement.. Let dry completely.  GE I door and window silicone used to seal the heater into the unit. Again let sit set several days and same water test (make sure not silicone flavored water) before putting to use.

 

 

Side note: Depending on your fauna you may need to periodically take the in line heater off and clean out mulm build up either by pushing water through it or (i know it sounds gross) putting a mouth to one and and blowing hard to push gunk loose/out.  I've only ever had to do this once so don't worry about ti too much-if you have a good canister cram packed with foam it should catch most everything.

 

Another side note: if you have issues with a leap at the connection of the pvc to the canister tubing consider using one of these (I'm brain farting the item's name atm sorry!)

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Last side note: if you unplug your canister filter remember to unplug the heater (and re plug again when canister is turned back on!).

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Ok so not so much a DIY but just helpful tips/fixes this time:

 

Pest snail removal (eradication):

I personally don't mind them that much as they eat diatoms, uneaten food, dead plant matter.. but a lot of people want them gone.

Anyone with live plants likely has 'pest snails' (pond, bladder, and ramshorn snails) they are easy enough to kill by squishing against the glass with a finger but there always seem to be more.  I've found my goldfish will eat the small pond snails I drop in (snails about the size and color of their pellets), some of my bettas also eat snails but not all of them.  I have 2 with diamond eye-a condition where scales grow over the eyes and leave the fish partially or fully blind.. I ended up with a lot of mini ramshorns due to diatom explosion in a tank with one nearly blind betta.  After clearing off most of the diatoms I wanted to get rid of the snails to reduce poop mess. 

I found from some online research that the product "No Planaria" kills snails but is safe for fish, shrimp, and live plants.  I bought it online from ebay (sadly don't see the US seller now, only from UK or elsewhere over seas) and tried it.  You dose for 3 days then do a water cahnge (and remove dead snails).  It worked and killed all the snails.  I did another treatment a week later to kill off any that might have hatched from eggs and did not see any more snails after that.

You get waaaaaaay more powder than you could ever possibly need when you buy this stuff.

A note: if you have snails you want to keep alive (like mystery/apple, nerite, etc) remove them before doing a treatment and do a large water change after before snail goes back in.

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Another variant of the glass bead plant weights using water sprite.  Don't need a deep substrate or worry about goldfish moving plants around.  Tie fishing line loosely-give the plant room to grow.

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In bunches made up of 2-5 plants, 6 bunches in tank
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Forgot about this one, hubby made it for me a few years ago as I tended to drop (and subsequently break) the api glass vials a lot.

 

Just a left over wood scrap, 2x4 i think? He drilled several holes in that snugly hold the vials (makes shaking/mixing several at once much easier, say if I want to do a nitrate test on 6 tanks).

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just posting a quick-y.

DIY SPONGE FILTER RE-SPONGING

So you have sponge filter that maybe is getting old and the foam is worn down.. or you decided to bleach dip to clean and happened to forget to take it out so when you come back the foam is mush (guilty).  Well you don't have to buy a new one, you can attach a fresh foam piece yourself and safe $

 

Materials Used:
sponge/foam material-must be detergent free
fishing line (I use clear low poundage)


Tools Used:
needle from sewing kit
knife or scissors

Other Material and Tool Options:

Photos:
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Details:
Made a quick DIY with some left over foam media for my canister filters, fishing line that I always have on hand for aquarium project-it doesn't break down like regular thread.  You can change out fishing line for 100% acrylic thread.  You may also want a thimble depending on thickness of needle and foam to protect yourself against stabbing.  I put it on a  bit tight as I tried to use a short scrap but it will do the job.  This is a small filter-for nano (beta) tanks but the same idea can be applied to large sponge filters for goldfish tanks ^^

Edited by AquaAurora

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You come up with great ideas!!!!

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