The larger traveling wall

Wadly on his beloved John Deere moving the plant wall

In the last couple weeks we’ve made a number of changes to our aquarium/plant wall setup.  We moved our plant wall outside for the summer and swapped our original 28 gallon aquarium for a larger 50 gallon one.

Yesterday I swapped our fairly large plecostomus for a scaled down model too small to eat new hatchlings and sleeping fish.  I also got two more catfish and five neon tetra about the size of the tetra babies we already had.  I think that brings our tetra count to 10.  Wadly will have to buy some more guppies to round out the pack.

I’ve still got a lot to do to the new aquarium.  I need new air hose for one of my stones, I still need to find/build a sump and I need to run plumbing through the wall to connect the plant wall to the new tank.

When we moved the plant wall out we hung it on the horizontal beam on the east end of the sun porch.  To leave it outside and still connect it to the aquarium inside the living room it was necessary to move it to the north wall.  Rather than remove the gutter and disturb all the plants again, we fastened a 2×4 to the back of the plant wall and moved it with the tractor.  It was a little time consuming but very easy nothing damaged in the move.

There’s no way to get it back into the house using the tractor but I wish we could.  This last move was incredibly easy.

To sump or not to sump

I’m planning the changes I want to make to our aquaponic system when the wall comes back indoors.

This time I want the water level in the aquarium to be fixed, so I’m planning to install a sump.  In reading up on sumps I ran into a good tutorial on one of the salt water aquarium sites.  What I found delightful, beyond how clear and informative the information was the author’s style.  “I once had a zebra goby that, despite my lectures, would make the trip several times a week before I finally managed to find an effective way to enforce the height restrictions on the ride.”  Part 3, sump tutorial

Wadly’s changing to a bigger tank.  The new tank is the same depth front to back but is 4″ taller and 18″ longer.  That’s a fairly significant increase in water volume.  The addition of a sump bumps the volume even further.  I will be able to have the tank heater and small circulator pump in the sump along with the larger pump required for feeding the wall.  Moving the pump and heater out of the tank will really clean up the inside which will make Wadly even happier.

Wadly’s current tank has been very successful.  Having it attached to the wall keeps the tank’s inhabitants fairly healthy and clean with little work on our part.  The tank’s health and stability are supported by the baby catfish, baby guppies and, most surprising of all, baby neon tetras we’ve had since the tank was established.  The baby tetras were jousting last night.  They’re so flashy it’s easy to see their antics from across the room.

 

Carlos is coming

Lorr (our son) has discovered wholesale rot under the window and into the floor and floor supports where his 60 gallon aquarium housing Carlos the turtle, two gigantic plecos and a couple really fat goldfish.  Moving the tank is a must so it looks like Carlos is coming to stay.  The big concern is keeping Carlos comfortable.  The goldies can join mine in my 100 gallon tank outside and the plecos can go to the aquarium store.

Wadly’s next day off is Tue.  We’ll drag the big aquarium out of the loft, clean and set it up for all Wadly’s fish.  We’ll leave the smaller aquarium set up to accommodate Carlos temporarily while we get is larger tank set up and up to temp.

To keep both tanks using the wall, I’m going to have to install a sump.  I haven’t done that before.  It should be a learning experience.

Plant wall is out!

Wall hanging in the sun porch.

I’ve moved the plant wall into the sun porch for the next two months.  Terry wants to change his tank to a larger one and I need to solve my recurring aphid problem, so the wall’s out!

When I move the plant wall back in I’m going to make a couple changes.  I am going to mount the gutter on the room’s wall instead of attaching it to the plant wall.  Moving the plant wall with the gutter attached was not a productive act.  The way I’d built it, the gutter couldn’t be removed from the plant wall without taking the plant wall off the room wall.    The only way to set the wall down was on the gutter.  Yeah, it was ugly.  There was no permanent damage done but it was beyond messy.

The mounting system is a success.  The plant wall was easy to lift off the mounting bracket.  I’d definitely recommend using that scheme.  To hang the plant wall in the sun porch Terry used deck screws to fasten a beveled 2×4 to the horizontal support beam in the sun porch.  The wall slipped right on it with no fuss.

I’m using a temporary gutter right now made out of billboard vinyl.  It’s not bad!  The hydroton is light and takes up enough room so when the gutter is full of water it isn’t too heavy for the quick and dirty support assembly I build using 2 sticks screwed to the ends of the wall frame holding up a metal rod taped and rolled into the vinyl at the front.  The vinyl trough ends are folded up and stapled to the wall frame.  It doesn’t leak and it doesn’t add to the weight of the wall.  It’s not a permanent solution but it is a quick and dirty temporary one that works.  The drain is a threaded bulkhead fitting with a piece of plastic water pipe inserted in the top.  The water pipe has holes drilled to allow the water to drain.  The closer to the top of the pipe, the more holes I drilled.  It’s just enough to let the gutter flood to the right depth and slowly drain when the pump shuts off.

I’ve got the pipe for the new gutter ready to cut and mount but I’ll wait until the new aquarium is in so I know where to place my drain hole.  The new aquarium is 18″ longer so I have some good options.  I won’t be able to use a hard plastic threaded bulkhead because of the curve of the pipe but I have some Uniseal bulkhead fittings.  If I don’t have the right size I’ll order some more.

To keep the fish in the aquarium happy and healthy, I’m doing the water changes via buckets.  I siphon 5 gallons of water out of the 25 gallon wall receptacle and I siphon 5 gallons of water out of the aquarium.  Then I dump the aquarium water into the plant wall receptacle and the plant wall water into the aquarium.  It doesn’t take long, isn’t messy and isn’t very tedious so I’ll continue to do that twice a week until Terry gets the tanks swapped and I can move my plant wall back in.  We’ve got lots of baby fish right now and the catfish has just laid eggs again so I don’t know how he’s going to manage the swap without disturbing everyone.

Babies and seeds

Baby peppered corydoris catfish

Gutter avocado

Well, we’ve got a new baby.  Our Peppered Corydoris catfish have a youngun.  I noticed it this morning.  It’s about an inch long, so it’s been around a while.  I don’t pay too much attention to the aquarium.  The sun was out early and bright and there that little bugger was . . .

As to the attached plant wall, I’m in holding mode until my Rex Begonias arrive.  I dabble.  the current dabble is a gutter avocado.

I eat a lot of avocado.  I have already given away a 5′ tall many limbed avocado tree.  Sometimes I just can’t help myself . . . this was one of those “what if” moments.  I just had to set the seed in the gutter to see what happens.  I checked it this morning and it looks like it’s starting to split!

I’ll give this one away as well once it’s established.  I don’t have room for an avocado tree.

LouAnn’s Aquarium

I got the glass for LouAnn’s aquarium a couple days ago but didn’t get around to peeling the paper away until today.  It looks good.  The edges were really sharp so I used a foam sanding block to knock down the abrupt edges.

I need to make a frame for the bottom, so I’ll stop in at Home Depot and see what kind of corner molding I can find.  If I can’t find corner molding I can make a frame by cutting down some larger dimension lumber.  I’d like to use hard wood, if I can find something I like within my budget.  I used to have an iron wood 6×6 but I think Dan (brother) saw it and got wood envy.  Maybe I can find some maple . . .