I've been stalking these and other forums for many months trying to gather as much information as I could before I took a plunge into the planted tank world. So here are some pics from my first attempt at a planted tank, along with a little bit of a step by step time line.
This tank is a 10 gallon Betta sorority tank which houses 6 betta girls and 3 otos. It is a little over stocked but the fish are doing great and the biological filtration is working well in keeping water parameters in check. Here are the basic stats on my tank.
10 gallon tank
Substrate: Flourite Black Sand substrate with 3/4" base of Diamond Black Leonardite
Lighting: 2x15 Watt CFL Spiral 6500K Bulbs (8 hours a day)
Filtration: Aquaclear 50 HOB with Purigen, Seachem Matrix and Filter floss
CO2: None, only Excel as a Carbon supplement
Ferts: Modified EI
1/16 teaspoon of KNO3, 2x a week
1/32 teaspoon of KH2PO4, 2x a week
2mls of CSM+B trace solution, 1x a week (1 tbsp or 3 tsp in 250ml)
SeaChem Equilibrium 1/16th once a week (Immediately after weekly water change)
50% weekly water change
Dose 1-1.5x the recommended dose for Excel
Philippine Java Fern
I started off by growing the hairgrass using the emersed growth technique as suggested by Tom Barr ( http://www.barrreport.com/articles/3...add-water.html
) a while ago. I documented my progress over 1 month and a half in this thread:
After I was happy with the emersed growth I went ahead and ordered the plants for my tank. I had a lot of manzanita branches from a package I bought from Badcopnofish. Hardscaping was challenging but tonnes of fun. This is a pic of the tank after initial planting:
I was still awaiting my shipment of Philippine Java fern from AquaticMagic to help fill up the midground area. All the rotalas died on me due to the bleach dip that I used to clean/disinfect them. I ended up ordering some Bacopa Caroliniana, Ludwigia Arcuata and Rotala Rotundifolia. The shipment arrived in pretty bad shape so I had to salvage what I could (a few stems here and there) so the stems aren't doing too well and my background hasn't come out very nicely.
Here are a couple of recent pics of my tank after the Philippine Java fern came in (kudos to AquaticMagic for an awesome shipment).
The Java fern and Anubias are doing very well and sending out a lot of new leaves. The hairgrass responded extremely well to being submersed and sent out runners all over the place. It has grown very thick now, especially in areas receiving more light. The stems are growing pretty slowly. I'd put that down to less light in my tank (I plan on converting this to a non Excel-low tech tank once the plants grow out a little more).
Below are some pics of the betta girls in the tank. Some of their fins are a little frayed from the initial in-fighting when they are introduced into the tank. Now that a hierarchy has formed things are very peaceful and everyone seems to get along fine.
Here's the tank after trimming the hairgrass:
I hope you'll like the tank. Any suggestions/constructive criticism is more than welcome. Do keep in mind that I plan to make this a completely low-tech setup, so DIY/pressurized CO2 along with more tricky plants are out of the equation as far as this tank is concerned.