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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry, if this is all over the place, just kinda putting it all down, for my use aswell...

So, i'm currently planning a 90 gallon [48''lX18''wX24''h] Ecuador biotope for a group of E. Anthonyi 'Salvias'... I'm going to be very picky on everything for this...I'm even going to the lengths to find moss from Ecuador...lol

So far, I have a list of plants, a couple of the plants, and more on hold/ordered, I have the rockwall design, aswell and the waterfall/river and pond. it will be a rocky cliff like background, with outcrops. these outcrops will have a small stream starting at the top, going through a small river to a decent pond area in the front right...

here's a very crappy quality sketch made in MSpaint to show what i mean:








For filtration in terms of the pump, i plan on creating a small box surrounding the pump, made of eggcrate and a sponge filter media.

here's what I mean:





For lighting, I plan on using either 2 or 4 Xwatt[have to check my lights again] t8's or a whole bunch of cfl's [i was thinking 6-8] lol...
Misting, I plan on ordering the smaller system as this will only have 3X t-nozzles.

As far as substrate, I'm a little stuck, I have found a PDF on the characteristics of Equador amazonian soil, but it's a little confusing, so I may contact Ed [on DB] and see if he can help me come up with a specific recipe for this tank.

So far I'm guessing this Vivarium will be close to $1000....[geez...thats a lot, glad i have a pay check now!]

If anyone sees any flaws on this, please let me know, i have missed things, but i can't remember what it is...

Again, sorry its all over the place, just putting my ideas somewhere so I don't forget them...lol


Any input would be greatly appreciated...
 

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This sounds awesome. I don't know if you posted it, but how large will it be? Also, I'd HIGHLY recommend T5 over CFL's here. That way these expensive, hard to find plants you are getting will be able to thrive and grow :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This sounds awesome. I don't know if you posted it, but how large will it be? Also, I'd HIGHLY recommend T5 over CFL's here. That way these expensive, hard to find plants you are getting will be able to thrive and grow :)
90 gallon [48''lX18''wX24''h]
I may use 2 t8's [would only cost me $25 for lighting...
Are t5's brighter than t8's?

Surprisingly enough, i've already found half the plants locally (Understory Enterprises) and they arent too bad in price.
the Ecuadorian Moss will be hard to find...

Last time I calculated, this is going to be $1150...but it depends on the substrate mix, and how many times i screw up the background :p
 

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90 gallon [48''lX18''wX24''h]
I may use 2 t8's [would only cost me $25 for lighting...
Are t5's brighter than t8's?

Surprisingly enough, i've already found half the plants locally (Understory Enterprises) and they arent too bad in price.
the Ecuadorian Moss will be hard to find...

Last time I calculated, this is going to be $1150...but it depends on the substrate mix, and how many times i screw up the background :p
Yes, T5 can be "brighter" than T8. T5HO (High Output) is what's best. I have a 4 bulb T5HO fixture over my two 20g verts and the broms are fantastically colored and all the plants grow very well. Check it out:



 

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boabab95 said:
I look forward to working with you and your response.
so, just on page one of that PDF and I saw the soil type listed in the new taxonomy, so I busted out my huge (boring) soil taxomnomy book.

it is actually a free text you can get here:
Soil Taxonomy | NRCS Soils

The description of that soil type (Kandiudult) goes into detail on characteristics that can only be observed/recreated if you had a significant depth of soil. Since most tanks only have 6 inches of soil (usually much less). only the characteristics of the top layer matter. One apporach is to try and recreate it from its components, which can be near impossible due to the specific mineralogy that has resulted from the thousands (to millions) of year the soil has been developing. The last sentence of the description on page 754 is useful for the alternative method of finding a good soil to use in place of it:
"Kandiudults are of moderate extent in the Southeastern United States."

The "udults" can be seen in green

<img src="http://www.frognet.org/albums/mineralsoil/Ultisols.sized.jpg" alt="Ultisols" />

It actually looks liek a good part of New Jersey has Ultisols, and though I live in NYC, staten island is geologically New Jersey (so I would not be surprised if the staten Island soils were also ultisols).

however as the article says, the Ecuador soil is a "typic kandiudult." To start to try and find one would be to look in the south east US. Typic is described as:

(skip to the bottom for the "take home" message)

1) specific color requirements in the surface layer
2) not saturated with water for more than 20 days in a row (or 30 days total). EG a well drained soil (which causes #1)
3)have a sandy or sandy-skeletal particle size (but also recall this soil has little to no true sand in it, just clay particles that clump to sand sizes).

4)less than 5% plinthite (a hard iron oxide mineral formed by repeated wetting and drying that is hard even when the soil is wet). in this case it would be evidence the soil was once a lot wetter more routinely than criteria 1,2 & 3 may otherwise indicate.

5) specific colors

a.Hue of 2.5YR or redder; and
b.A value, moist, of 3 or less; and
c.A dry value no more than 1 unit higher than the moist
value;

6) not too much iron or aluminum oxides (then it would be an oxisol). Not a lot of rock fragments (see specific details in the pdf)

7)not too red (or it might be an oxisol)

8) a set minimum nutrient holding capacity of 1.5 cmol(+)/kg (again to be sure it isn't an oxisol)

9) no subsurface humus (no sombric horizon)

The description thens goes on to say:
"The central concept or Typic subgroup of Kandiudults is fixed on freely drained soils that do not have a sombric horizon and are very deep. The epipedon (top of the soil) is not both thick and sandy (not sand or loamy sand, soil texturing is easy, you can find a protocol online). These soils have less than 5 percent plinthite and have a low, but not extremely low, cation-exchange capacity. They do not have a surface mantle or layer in the upper 75 cm that has both a low bulk density and a high content of weakly crystalline minerals.
Ground water at a moderate depth, redox depletions with
low chroma at a shallow depth, and a fluctuating level of
ground water in the iron-depleted zone are properties shared
with Aquults and define the Oxyaquic and Aquic subgroups. A
thick sandy layer, starting at the mineral soil surface, defines
Arenic and Grossarenic subgroups."

AND the important part:

"Typic Kandiudults are of small extent in the Southeastern United States. The natural vegetation consisted of forest plants. Slopes range from nearly level to steep. Where slopes are suitable, many of these soils are used as cropland. Where
slopes are steep, the soils are used as forest. Some of the soils are used as pasture or homesites"

I googled "Typic Kandiudult" to see what I could find out.

this soil falls into that category:
Official Series Description - NORFOLK Series
TYPE LOCATION: Robeson County, North Carolina; 1.25 miles south of Parkton; 300 feet west of State Road 1724 and 60 feet south of farm road.
(the specific soil sample that was used as the type description, thus not the only place to find it but it is a start)
Distribution: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia
Extent: Large

It should not be too hard to find this soil since it is described as being in many places. you may have to look up a county's soil map to get a specific idea on where to find the soil. Also the similar soils listed are probably comparable for what you are doing (remember the differences from other soils may be in layers below which you are interested in using).

I read into the report some more and extracted some more info of note:

organic carbon is higher int he top 18 cm but. lots of fine roots but little to no dead plant remnants.

"temporary saturated conditions" meaning the soil is not saturated with water all the time (a challenge to achieve in a terrarium). It also mentions how soil fauna have "disturbed and loosened the soil material" creating voids, channels and infillings

and:

"the upper 5 cm of the Ah [top] horizon the frequency of channels and other voids is abundant, creating porous structure with crumbs, granules and fine angular blocky aggregates"

there is a low amount of silica sand mixed in with he mostly clay/silt components. Probably not of major consequence. X-ray analysis confirms kaolinite. the red color due to extremely fine iron oxides stuck to the clays.

I will sleep on it and write more tomorrow!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
WOW!!!!! that's alot... and amazingly, I understood all of it!!!

So, since I'm not in the south eastern USA [Canada's soil is either rocky or too loamy...]
is there a mix I could use to recreate the soil? i'd imagine the clay substrate would be a big part of it, but is there more I can add?
 

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Recreating that soil from raw components would be difficult. The color can be matched fairly easy. The texture is harder to match but is less of an issue depending on what your goal is. Do you want the soil just one ht surface for the look or deeper?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
the drainage rate, etc... basically a complete recreation of it... i can actually care less about the look, i mainly want the "function" of it...

i hope that made sense...
 

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There are a lot of ways to replicate the function without the look. Infield conditioner has the drainage you are looking for and the ability to hold nutrients,you can cover a layer of it with a well drained soil and leaf litter
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So, how would I create the texture, look and drainage of ecuadorian soil????


Also, this maybe a stupid question, but are the rivers comprised of the same soil along the banks? or it more clay like?
 
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