Introducing the LOGIC 31 Aquarium Filter
It's here! We've added the LOGIC 31 to the online store...
Buy it today with the 20% off coupon code, valid now through 3 October...
We are very excited about our new filter concept, born of requent frustrations with submersible power filters and other options. Among other features, the LOGIC 31 uses a large (31 in3) 20ppi Poret® Foam block, so it can run for a relatively long time (several weeks or more) between cleanings. The foam block can also be removed for cleaning while the filter box remains in place attached to the aquarium glass, another plus for ease of maintenance.
Last week, we uploaded a video to our YouTube channel with detailed LOGIC 31 assembly instructions. Click here to watch...
The LOGIC 31 will be especially appealing for display aquariums. Since the Jetlifter™ Filter Tube bubble stream is contained inside, there is no unnatural column of bubbles rising up through the aquarium—as you would see with operation of an air-driven foam filter—or bubble splash to damage lighting, auto-feeders or wood canopies. The filter box is relatively large, but its simple rectangular shape follows aquarium geometry and the opaque black color blends in against dark aquarium backgrounds. Positioning away from the aquarium bottom will also help to maintain a natural scene. There is no magnetic impeller inside to jam!
While the Jetlifter™ Filter Tube supplied with the LOGIC 31 can generate up to 90 gallons of water flow per hour, the return hole is relatively large at 1" in diameter, so it creates a broad and gentle flow through the aquarium. Shy fish such as bettas, Apistogramma and nano species will appreciate this more mellow current. To provide more water flow for more active fish, use the LOGIC 31 in combination with an aquarium circulation pump or powerhead.
Thanks for reading. Be sure to click the catalog listing above for a few more details.
Mangroves in Planted Ripariums
New planted riparium methods create opportunities for growing many kinds of plants that have not been kept previously as aquarium foliage. There are likewise several kinds of wild aquatic habitats that can be represented more faithfully with a riparium setup. Mangrove swamps, estuary areas characterized by brackish water and the growth of mangrove trees, are among the Earth's most distinctive kinds of ecosystems. While the plant diversity in mangrove swamps is rather low, true mangrove plants grow nowhere else and exhibit remarkable adaptations to this challenging, but productive environment. Mangrove trees and other features of the mangrove swamps create critical habitat for birds, ocean fish and other animals.
Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) is the only species of mangrove plant that has been used extensively in aquariums in the United States. While other mangroves trees grow in estuary areas further from the sea and have varying levels of salt tolerance, Red Mangrove can grow directly in seawater. For this reason it has been employed as a biological filter component in illuminated refugium or sump areas of reef aquarium systems. Red Mangrove grows rather slowly, so its true utility as a nitrate or phosphate-removing plant might be questionable, but its dense and fibrous root system creates extensive habitat for de-nitrifying bacteria and other beneficial microorganisms.
Several other kinds of mangrove trees and other plants should be explored more for their riparium display potential! These include species that can grow in moderately salty water, along with others that only tolerate lightly brackish conditions. A number of unusual and beautiful fish, such as Mudskippers (Oxudercinae spp.), species Mollies (Poecilia spp.), Sheepshead Minnow (Cyprinodon variegatus) that characterize mangrove swamps are available as aquarium selections to complete a riparium mangrove biotope.
I wrote a magazine article on this topic for AMAZONAS Magazine (November/December 2013) and used it to share experiences developing a mangrove riparium layout in an open-top 65-gallon tank. The following lists the plant species used along with a few notes for each:
- Pandanus tectorius, Hala Tree - most often found on ocean beaches in Hawaii and other places in the Pacific, this lily-like tree also sometimes grows in or near mangrove swamp habitats.
- Laguncularia racemosa, White Mangrove - this tree grows near the coast in Florida, Texas and other environments further south in the Neotropics, while also extending to the Atlantic coast of West Africa. It is found in estuary areas further away from the ocean and adapted to water with moderate salinity.
- Rhizophora mangle, Red Mangrove - while it is often used as a living filter in reef aquariums, this species was found to grow very slowly in the riparium. The foliage was also the least attractive of the five mangrove species in the setup.
- Avicennia germinans, Black Mangrove - this mangrove tree also occurs near the coast in Florida, Texas and elsewhere. While it usually grows further away from the sea than Red Mangrove, it can also tolerate the salinity of seawater.
- Acrostichum danaeifolium, Leather Fern - this huge fern with a prehistoric appearance grows wild in Florida, Mexico the Caribbean and Northern South America. It grows in freshwater swamps, as well as lightly brackish water in estuary areas some distance away from the ocean.
Red Mangrove is fairly easy to find for sale by aquarium vendors, but I found all of the other mangrove species to be more appealing as brackish riparium foliage. Both White Mangrove and Black Mangrove can withstand light pruning, an important feature for maintaining the plants at the proper scale for an aquarium enclosure, but a young Red Mangrove tree can perish if just a single twig is trimmed.
They are more difficult to find for sale, but the propagules of White Mangrove and Black Mangrove can be purchased from vendors at ebay.com and a few online stores. Leather Fern is usually sold as a freshwater pond plant. I had the most difficulty finding seedling Hala Trees, but I was able to find these listed by an ebay seller based in Hawaii.
For readers interested in developing planted mangrove ripariums, please email us (email@example.com) for a few additional tips and suggestions for finding, establishing and growing these specialized and fascinating plants.
A Special Paludarium Build - Northern Acid Bog
We have an update with a new planted paludarium setup representing a special kind of native North America plant community, a northern acid bog. This kind of environment is distinguished by thick growth of Sphagnum spp. mosses and other plants adapted to grow in acidic, nutrient-poor water. In the United States, acid bogs are most common in glaciated, northern areas with sandy soils in New England and around the Great Lakes.
We have not employed any Aqua Verdi accessories for this planting, but we did make use of a sheet of EpiWeb, a unique terrarium plant substrate available at GlassBoxTropicals.com. EpiWeb is usually used as a vertical terrarium planted panel, but it should work well as an inert rooting substrate for these acid bog plants.
Along with the Sphagnum sp. moss, the planting also includes a few roundleaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) plants and several of the Family Ericaceae shrubs that grow in northern acid bogs:
- Bog Laurel (Kalmia polifolia)
- Leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata),
- Small Cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccus)
- Labrador Tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum)
These photos show most of the steps in construction. A few manzanita twigs were added as hardscape features. The planting is illuminated with a PAR38 pendant LED lamp, while a 12v case fan provides internal air circulation to reduce water condensation on the glass and keep the plants healthy. We have also made use of our new view-through-the-top glass lid with laser-cut acrylic frame.
Notice also the special water feature, but don't be fooled by the small size of this round pool. The whole void area beneath the false bottom + EpiWeb is filled with water, so there is extra water volume to provide more system stability.
The final planted view in this series shows the bed of moss a little disorganized and with bare patches. We have already tried a planting like this in another enclosure and the Sphagnum and other plants have done well with good growth. We will see this bog begin to green up some more in a few weeks.
Stay tuned for updates!
Aqua Verdi on YouTube!
Thank you everyone for your interest in our new and improved Website and online store!
We have also opened a new YouTube channel. There is a short list of videos there already and we will add more exploring a range of topics in aquascaping, plant culture and aquarium livestock.
The first uploaded video includes a detailed description of the Tab & Slot assembly for the Aqua Verdi Riparium Planter. Check it out and subscribe to Aqua Verdi on YouTube..