Native Planted biotope thread (Houston, Texas)
I was recently asked to assist (setup and consult) a local nature center nearby in setting up a locally collected biotope type tank and wanted to bounce some ideas for what I believe I have to work with. The center stated it was a 20 gallon tank (unsure if it is a 20H or 20L) and that no one at the center had much experiance with aquariums. I was happy to assist as I know there are quite a lot of local schools that use the faciluty heavily for outings and such. I have some ideas and would be interested to hear opinions either way...
Substrate - Eco-Complete (I have a ton that is sitting dry and I could use) or perhaps collected sand from a nearby stream. I even thought about topping the eco-complete with it, but think it will eventually make a mixed up mess)
Lighting - I doubt they have anything that is very decent, so I'll likely just buy/donate a dual T5 fixture with 10,000K bulbs.
Filtration - Eheim 2211 with Purigen to control the tannins
Plants (Spring, Tx.) - Locally collected Sag, Floaters of some sort (look like red root, but local), Fissidens (not local per se, but found in Texas), Riccia, and anything else that I spot locally.
Hardscape - Locally collected dried oak and hardwoods branches that might work similar to Manzanita. I might use either Oak leaves or crush up some IAL for some substrate effect.
Livestock - Gammarus, Ghost Shrimp (Paleomontes sp.), Golden Topminnow ( Fundulus chrysotus) 1M/2F, Possibly a Banded pygmy perch (unsure about adding it as they are difficult to feed), Ramshorn snails (if they get too far out of control I can add some assassins and just remove them at a later time), Tadpole Madtom (if I can find one)
Lighting schedule of 8-10 hours daily on a timer, for ease of control
Dosing - No CO2, so I will recommend Excel dosing, with a compliment of Seachem Flourish and Iron. With either substrate I'll start with root tabs and maintain a 6 month schedule for maintanance.
Some issues I would appreciate feedback on
-I tried working other options over in my head, but can not seem to find any other loacally viable species in a tank that small.
-I think the plants should work with a dual T5 light and dosing, but minimal care is to be expected
-Is a tank like this doable with me only being able to do care every 2 weeks?
Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated and once I have a plan and get approval I will take some pics as the tank gets built.
"In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king" Desiderius Erasmus